Sunday, 30 January 2011

Peace Page

I've added a page on my top bar for Blogblast for Peace.

All my Peace posts and videos are linked there, as well as links to Mimi's templates, etc.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Measure of Self Worth

Today I read something in the news that really shocked me.
Marsha Coupe was travelling home from London when she was attacked. She heard herself called a "fat pig" and then she was kicked in the stomach and punched in the face. Her crime was to take up two seats on the train. Her attacker was a middle-aged woman.
Punched and kicked for not being an acceptable weight?

And we call ourselves evolved?

It really struck me because, just last week, a friend was telling me about her memories of being a chubby child - the constant nagging and comments about her weight or needing to lose weight. My childhood memories are the complete opposite. I was a skinny sickly kid who got nagged to put on weight!

You see, my mom was picked on at school, only in her case it was for being too thin. Mom was born in the era when children with dimpled cheeks and girls with curves were considered beautiful and healthy, not wispy waifs like my mom was.

So when I came along, as scrawny as she'd been, she was determined I wouldn't get bullied for being skinny. She made sure I ate three full meals a day with lots of cake and biscuits for snacks and school break. It never worked - I stayed skinny. Did anyone pick on me for being thin? I did get teased now and then, but only mild joking stuff, like 'being invisible' if I stood sideways. If I did have any issues with my body it was me getting angry at it for not allowing me the freedom other kids had - for being sick with allergies and fevers so often. But mostly I enjoyed being a kid and having fun.

Then somewhere between nine and eleven everything changed. We moved to the coast and my health improved... and I started to put on weight. I never noticed anything at first except that I actually felt healthy. Then one day at school the teacher asked everyone to pick partners for a game. I was always last to be picked for games. As the sickly kid I never played sport and I have zero co-ordination skills. I was used to being last to be chosen, but this time was far worse than the usual stress and humiliation of no-one wanting me on their team. When the teacher tried to pair me with another last left-over girl she threw a fit and yelled, "I don't want to be with fatso!"


I was shocked at the comment, but even more shocked at the anger and hate behind it. I felt like I'd been punched. How could anyone hate me that much? What had happened to me to make me so disgusting and loathsome? I went home and looked in the mirror and saw an entirely new person. I looked and saw the new fat ugly me.

Looking back I now can see that I was actually a fairly average girl going through puberty, but to my mind I was a walrus. I dieted constantly; I never ate chocolate from the age of 13 to 19. I had always enjoyed being outdoors and swimming as a child, but not anymore. Being on a beach meant being in a swim suit and that was something I was NOT going to do!

I hated going shopping for clothes too, because they only reminded me how I wasn't good enough. From age 16 to 36 I was pretty much a constant size and shape - short and curvy. Being short and curvy is not a shape the fashion world caters for. I've never found a pair of jeans that fit - they are always too big around the waistline. It's obviously my natural genetic shape, because no matter if I put on weight, or lost weight, I always return to roughly the same size... except recently.

Since I've had more health problems I've steadily plodded up the dress size scale year by year. I've talked to the doctors. Dr #1 thinks my weight gain is a symptom, Dr #2 thinks it's a side-effect of my medication and Dr #3 thinks it's me being depressed by my health and not taking enough care of my body. They're probably all right. The nurse who handles my medication says that it causes constant weight gain, but this stops when the treatment stops... except I'm not going to stop. I'm most likely going to stay on this stuff for another decade.

What size will I be by then? My mind boggles! (or wobbles, like a giant jelly or blob of blubber!)

After years of fretting about feeling fat I'm finally being forced to face the reality of actually BEING fat. It's a strange experience, because now I realise how perfectly normal I was in my teens when I thought I wasn't. Now I can see how much I missed out on by feeling self-conscious. How many young people are inactive not because they're lazy, but because they're too scared of being called 'Fatso' or being laughed at?

...and if being called 'Fatso' feels like a punch in the stomach, then what does being genuinely punched, because you're overweight, do to your sense of self-esteem? Yesterday I only feared the tubby me in the mirror... must I learn to now fear the stranger on the bus who now thinks he/she has the right to hit me because I'm not as thin as I used to be?

You don't cease to be yourself because your body changes. You do not lose the right to respect because you have a different shape, less limbs, more wrinkles, less height or you skin is a different colour... or your weight is different to the norm. Even if you aren't perfect, why should that mean you can't have fun and enjoy life? I'm not happy to be ill or have physical problems, but I am happy that I'm here and able to keep on enjoying life and all there is to experience. If that has to happen in a more "well rounded" form than I once had... I can live with that! And I can live with my family, friends and neighbours being perfectly average and imprefect too.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Chakra Conundrum


When I first started this blog, in 2007, I wrote about the strange experience that introduced me to chakras.

At the time I had intended to explore that adventure in this blog, but somehow it never quite happened. It's been on my mind, because recently I've been spending more time dealing with chakras than writing on blogs and I've wondered about putting some of that up on my blog, maybe on a separate page. It's also on my mind because last week my dad asked me whether other cultures also used chakras and although I had a feeling Reiki was similar, I really didn't know for sure.
I went and did some research and I can now say that the answer to dad's question is, Yes, other cultures have similar ideas. I tried to find a short simple version of the info to share here and opted for this from Wikipedia:

The chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head.

They are considered loci of life energy or prana, also called shakti, qi (Chinese; ki in Japanese), bios (Greek) & aether (Greek, English), which is thought to flow among them along pathways called nadis. The function of the chakras is to spin and draw in this energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in balance.

Due to the similarities between the Chinese and Indian philosophies, the notion of chakras was quickly amalgamated into Chinese practices such as acupuncture and belief in ki. The confluence of these two distinct healing traditions and their common practitioners' own inventiveness have led to an ever-changing and expanding array of concepts in the western world.

In Japan, the word qi is written ki, and is related to the practice of Reiki, and plays an important role in Japanese martial arts such as Aikido.

In Western culture, a concept similar to that of prana can be traced back as far as the 18th century's Franz Anton Mesmer that used 'animal magnetism' to cure disease. However it was only in 1927 that the shakta theory of seven main chakras, that has become most popular in the West, was introduced...
After four years of exploring and working with chakras I still don't see spinning balls or glowing energy in the traditional sense, I don't feel energy in the traditional qi sense either, I still see critters!

Little glowing rainbow-coloured creatures that give me information to report back to the person they belong to. The only chakras I see as the traditional light spheres are the chakras of animals. I've only done a horse and a dog so far so I can't swear they are all that way. I also see more than seven for humans. Sometimes I see a black or brown one below a person's feet, connecting them to the Earth, and sometimes I see a white-gold one flying around or above the person - connecting them to... well I'm not sure yet. I'm still exploring that one. :-)

I'm glad actually; seeing creatures that I can interact with is far more fun than seeing spinning light balls, but I have wondered sometimes about the fact that what I see isn't the traditional form of chakras. Chakras are supposed to be inanimate energy centres in the body, not independent little creatures with distinct opinions and personalities.

Why do I see them differently? Why, for me, do they react so actively? I found a quote about chakras on Wikipedia that might explain my chakra conundrum:
Rudolf Steiner (one-time Theosophist, and founder of Anthroposophy) says much about the chakras that is unusual, especially that the chakra system is dynamic and evolving and is very different for modern people than it was in ancient times, and will in turn be radically different in future times.
Am I seeing a step in the evolution of human chakras?
That is a very cool thought!


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Four Hundred Rabbits

I was browsing the internet recently when I saw a small mention of the Aztec dieties called Centzon Totochtin - the four hundred rabbits.

Four hundred Aztec rabbit gods?

I couldn't resist finding out more about these ancient Buns. What I found was even more fun than I expected. A lot of the time mythology can be a bit... dull, but not when you're dealing with rabbits.

It seems the four hundred rabbits aren't just gods - they were the gods of drunkenness and partying. The ultimate playbunnies, it seems? Wikipedia has this lovely photo of an Aztec drinking vessel shaped like a rabbit, for holding the alcoholic beverage Aztec bunnies love best - Pulque.

And there I was thinking our wild bunnies spent the festive season tucked up underground in semi-hibernation... they probably popped on the karaoke machine, got out the carrot gin and celebrated their ancestral gods all winter!

No wonder we always have so many baby rabbits each Spring... ;-)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Earth - Water - Air - Fire


I never saw so many business suits.
Never knew a dollar sign that looked so cute.
Never knew a junkie with a money Jones:
He's singing, "Who's selling Park Place. Who's buying Boardwalk"?
These old men they make their dirty deals.
Go in the back room and see what they can steal.
Talk about your beautiful and spacious skies.
It's about uranium; it's about the water rights.
Put Mother Nature on a luncheon plate.
They cut her up and call it real estate.
Want all the resources and all of the land.
They make a war over it: Blow things up for it.
The reservation now is poverty row.
There's something cooking and the lights are low.
Somebody's trying to save our mother earth.
I'm gonna help them to save it,
To sing it and bring it

Singing: No no Keshagesh:
You can't do that no more, no more, no more, no more...

Ole Columbus he was looking good,
When he got lost in our neighborhood.
Garden of Eden right before his eyes.
Now it's all spy ware: now it's all income tax.
Ole' brother Midas looking hungry today.
What he can't buy he'll get some other way.
Send in the troopers if the natives resist.
Old, old story boys, that's how you do it boys.
Look at these people; ah they're on a roll.
Gonna have it all, gonna have complete control.
Want all the resources and all of the land.
They'll break the law for it: Blow things up for it.
When all our champions are off in the war,
Their final rip off here and is always on.
Mr. greed I think your time has come.
We're gonna sing it and pray it and live it then say it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Inuit Wisdom


I think over again my small adventures, my fears,
These small ones that seemed so big.
For all the vital things I had to get and to reach.
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing.
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Winter Doldrums

January is the only month I've never liked - it seems to just hang there in a doldrum, after all the bustle and energy of October-December.

The weather never seems to get it quite right either. In South Africa it's often the hottest month of the year, when I'd try to hide in the shade and hope for an early autumn. I don't like super hot weather - it just drains me. Here in Scotland I've moved from too hot to too cold, but the funny thing is I'm facing the same photographic dilemma. Nature, when faced with either prolonged dry heat or dry cold... goes brown.

Whether it's summer scorched brown or winter dead brown - it's still boring to photograph! :-\ The best picture I've managed this month is taking the morning sunrise through our bedroom window...

I'm probably one of the few who is pleased to see the snow has returned this morning. Snow and frost are much prettier to look at and photograph.

The doldrums are also the result of a lot of waiting: mom's waiting to hear when her surgery will be this month, dad's waiting for three health check ups and we're all waiting on several other assorted things. The only thing worse than dull weather is dull waiting. :-\ I am keeping busy with catching up with emails and some other stuff I might blog about later. I have been promising myself I'll use this time to start book 2 of First Light and I have loads of notes and ideas in my head, but that's as far as I'm getting. Mostly I'm as dull and doldrum as the weather.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Random Thoughts

My banner for January is actually an old photo, but one that fitted the theme if not the actual date. It's a photo I took on a truly PERFECT day during my first holiday in Scotland. You see... yesterday was our wedding anniversary - so I've been browsing old photos of when we met, married, etc.

It got me thinking about how we first started chatting online on New Year's day 2002. Met at New Year's... married almost exactly one year later. ;-)

Hubby pointed out that this New Year was also the start of a new decade. Were now in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Hard to believe! Seems like just yesterday the world moved to 1900 numbered years and 2000 only showed up in Science Fiction.

So my mind has been wandering around New Years and new decades. It has been a strange decade - so much change, not only in my own personal life, but in the world in general. Not always enjoyable change, but I can honestly say it hasn't been boring!

If I had to make a wish for this new decade it would be,

"Good change that grows and flows gently" opposed to the last ten years that seem to have been a constant shake up of everything from health and home to politics and weather!