Tag Archives: Opinion

Irrational Fear Will Be Our Undoing

heart-195862_960_720

Most people love a label. We like to compartmentalise everything. We pop ‘it’ in its box and we feel secure in the knowledge that we now know exactly what ‘it’ now is. We don’t get it back out of the box for another look very often once it has been given its label either. We can now judge it, worship it, revile it, discredit it or love it and it is okay because we have labelled it, we know what ‘it’ is and our minds are set.

With every new report of imminent war, fingers on triggers and terror attacks we all slowly go into ourselves with fear and start pointing the finger of blame on to unseen populations. We accuse whole groups of hiding those who would harm us. Every person who has the same ethnicity will be looked upon with suspicion. We can’t continue to do this to ourselves.

Wars are started and fought over this labelling habit. Communities are split. We judge on appearances or personal preferences far too quickly when, in fact, everybody is different regardless of their skin colour, religion or sexual preference. Deep down we all know that but it is fear which can stop us from being rational about it.

stop-1715720_960_720

This mass labelling has resulted in groups of people and their religion being accused of the same crimes as other people who have committed them and belong to the same religious or ethnic group. This is led by fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of the hidden. Unknown because it is assumed all those people are dangerous terrorists and hidden because people think these terrorists are everywhere. Of course, this is ideal for the actual terrorists because not only does it make them look as if they are everywhere and all-powerful, it also stirs up bad feeling between innocent parties and their accusers and leads more of the innocent on the path of resentment, thereby giving fresh meat to the terrorists.

It’s a nasty, vicious cycle which only gives power away.

A habit like this is not a new thing. Those whose countries have fought others in bloody battles in the past century or so are brought up to remember those battles and the atrocities acted out by the losing side through education in schools. This helps us remember those who suffered and died for us and to also make sure we remember never to do certain things ourselves again but it also reinforces we should be afraid of that culture or blame the people still alive in the next generation for what their ancestors did. A further note on this would be for us to remember it was the government of the country who caused the war not the civilians themselves. A few people, deciding for all.

We need to remember that there is hardly a country on this planet which has led a blameless existence when it comes to warmongering and war-related atrocities. None of our leaders are above reproach and none of them made war with others just for the good of the people.

As citizens of those countries, do we take the actions of our past leaders and feel the guilt of those deeds ourselves, personally, every single day? Of course not. Yet we can often look at someone else’s geographical location and presume them evil. Hmm.

smartphone-1445489_960_720

It is what we do NOW which matters, folks! Don’t judge your neighbours and people you see in the street out of fear or conditioning. See them as the individuals they are and allow them the freedom to choose to live their own preferences, as long as it harms no other, without fear until that fear is earned and not merely speculated upon.

We must learn to accept one another if we are to save ourselves as a species.

There is nothing happy, clappy about that statement. The more we fight and the greedier we become then the more we fear and the more we misjudge and the greater the risk of our own extinction.

The change must start with us as individuals.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Your Spiritual Cement Mix

When you are building the foundation for your life path you are going to want to make sure your cement mix is well-balanced so your cobblestones stay fixed 😉

Your mix may consist of many things, here are a few of mine, not in any particular order, apart from the first. Meditation is one of my foundation corner stones.

Meditation Aromatherapy
Mindfulness Flipboard Creativity
Podcasts Tarot Cards Oracle Cards
Knowledge Audiobooks Laughter
Love Herbs Hugs
Understanding Gardening Appreciation
Reiki Photography Gratitude
Crystals Films Learning

These are just some of the things which, together, see me through life and keep me walking forward. Now there are still days when this lot aren’t enough and I allow myself a pyjama day. Yes, awful, isn’t it?Awfully GOOD! Do I feel guilty because I am having a not-so-good day? Nope. Life happens. One foot in front of the other. A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is optional.

Getting your mix right is a lifelong challenge and when it works you won’t need to change a thing. Sometimes though you can come unstuck and then you may want to try other things. It is worth investigating potential things for your cement mix when things are going well. That way, on a difficult day, you don’t have to think too much. What about having something crafty to do on standby or go to somewhere like a park in your lunch break with a new book to read as you eat? Keep something to one side which you will see as a treat and something to fortify yourself with in times of greater need. I have a bar of Dairy Crunch on hand for emergencies. You may see a theme here…chocolate and ice cream are real treats for me and are also a bit naughty 😉

Whatever floats your boat and rocks your world.

Personally I don’t watch the news on television. I get the main headlines online and then I do some investigating if I want to know more. This not only means I choose how much negativity to bombard myself with, it also means I am more informed than I would be by just listening to one or two news channel’s narrow reporting. It allows me to read about both sides and make my own mind up rather than being told what to think.

For other news, such as science, nature or environmental issues, I simply use Flipboard to weed out the latest and then, again, research it myself if it piques my interest. It is amazing how much more you find out and, sometimes, how different it might be from what you have heard. The above video made me laugh, laughter is good, and yet the content is also so very true.

Once you have the right cement mix you can start building your path and then start trying out various things which enhance you and encourage emotional and intellectual growth whilst knowing your emotional core is strong. A strong foundation gives you the strength to be more independent in thought and more curious to try out new things. Find out what resonates with you and don’t wait for someone else to tell you what that might be.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Together We MUST Stand

heart-195862_960_720

I have tried to write something light for my blog for the past few days and I am getting nowhere.

I know exactly why that is.

I want to write about Standing Rock and about how important that water supply is to the lives of those people and the animals on the land they have sworn to protect. I want to say how disappointed I am that President Obama (who isn’t my president but whom I thought was a good man) hasn’t made this his last humanitarian drive before he leaves office. I guess there is money to be made in after dinner speeches to these companies in the future which can’t be put at risk.

I want to write about ALL the indigenous people who have had the land that sustains them ripped away from them by corporations who want to make money from the resources and therefore (with the governments backing…thanks to a backhand reward or two, no doubt) they get to ride roughshod over any complaints made by people who know nothing of money and greed nor have the capacity or knowledge to fight back.

2048
Photograph – Reuters

I want to write about the Chagos islanders who were moved from their homes in 1971 by gunpoint so that the UK government could give the land to the USA to base a military post there years ago. The base lease is up for renewal, wildlife devastation has been left behind and now the government have turned the island into a nature preservation area thereby preventing the return of the islanders. It was the islanders who protected and conserved the wildlife and the military base which damaged it. There is room for about 5,000 people in the homes on the military base and about 10,000 islanders and their descendants currently living in the UK, Gibraltar and Mauritius who may want to return.

The UK government has recently ruled that they cannot return, not least because it would cost around £100m to make it happen. Where they get that amount from I have no idea although I am guessing they aren’t planning on dividing that sum between the islanders as an apology for what is said to be the worst and most shameful colonial cock-up since the second world war.  Let the islanders back so they can repair the damage and reclaim the home of their ancestors!

I want to stop the greed, the lies, the bullying and hate which is gradually consuming our species based on skin colour, gender, sexual preference, geographical location and religion.

I want to ask why the heck we still see homeless people on the streets? Why are they homeless in 2016?! What are we DOING?

And yet I am one person, a drop in an ocean and all I can do is send a ripple of discontent by publishing it on my blog and hope the next person who reads it does the same so that ripple travels and grows. Give them all a voice and maybe, just maybe, it will gather enough momentum and volume to become a shout loud enough to be heard above the noise of the corporate wheel.

stop-1715720_960_720

 

Ancient Woodland Tour

dscf4638

Last weekend was spent settling our garden in for the colder months again so we had time yesterday to go a little further afield and visit an ancient wood we had been meaning to see for ourselves.

This wood is particularly special to me as it was the wood my grandparents walked in as they courted each other many years ago. My grandmother’s family moved up here from London and she was born not long afterwards.

The wood is looked after very well and the ancient ash stools created by the coppicing make some of these trees the oldest living things in my part of the country.

dscf4675

dscf4664

dscf4656

There are wonderful plants growing in the woods including Spindle with its popcorn shaped fruit.

dscf4634

Crab Apples – my grandmother made crab apple jelly when I was a child, very sweet to counteract the bitterness of the fruit.

dscf4665

Lots of lovely berries and fruits including rosehips.

dscf4679

dscf4618

dscf4628

There was plenty to see here, untouched by pesticides and just how a wood should be with food and healing plants enough for all. At the end of October the fungi this wood is also famous for will start appearing in abundance.

If only all woods were kept like this we would be able to heal ourselves of so many ailments using what Mother Nature has so generously given us. As it is we salivate at conservation areas like this, look but don’t touch and wonder if lessons will ever be learnt.

dscf4647

dscf4648

dscf4654

dscf4674

 

 

The Simplicity of Logging Off

 

tree-200795__180

I am back after a lovely break chilling out with my family and a fairly strict self imposed ban online! We had a wonderful week as a family and excellent news of fantastic AS level results for my college attending daughter. She is much relieved and is motivated even more to aim for the university group place she is keen on securing an offer from in the near future. Proud parents!

Today I wanted to write about being so connected online and what that means to us on a day to day basis. Although phone companies will tell you it is good to talk, I think it comes with its own stresses. I think we all need some internet and phone free time each day.

I tend to deal quite quickly with emails when they come in so I didn’t realise quite how many I have until I started leaving them until the end of the day. My least busy day last week was 312!! When I think of all the text messages and phone calls I also get it is a wonder I get anything else done at all 😀

girl-1532733_960_720

What this did bring home to me was the need for social media free time. Leaving the mobile phone at home whenever possible or turning the internet off at home for a few hours whilst doing something else so I can give my full attention to the task at hand without being tempted to peek at notifications or getting drawn in to reading a blog post. It also reminded me to make a note to look at some of the settings I have so that I can reduce the amount of notifications and emails I have coming in which so regularly light up my tablet.

flowers-164754__180

We ended up in the forest for the day last week and whilst the others went bike riding I just sat in the shade of a welcoming tree and spent my time reading and watching the world go by with the dog by my feet. I had no signal on my phone and I was lost in the ether as far as the rest of the human race was concerned.

soap-bubble-1533561_960_720

It was quiet there in my bubble. You forget what it is like to be so disconnected from the rest of the world. Let me tell you – it is good. I still remember when we had to walk a mile to get to a phone box in the 1970’s. We dialled, stuck our 2p in the box and got to speak for a minute or two…if we shouted loud enough, they heard us! And when we did get a phone installed if we were out we were out and that was that. Now, I am contactable 24/7 unless I make a choice not to be and that is something I am going to do more often in the future, even if it is only for an hour a day.

hand-1571851_960_720

It is so hard to be unavailable. We are often apologetic when we miss a phone call or feel we have taken too long to answer a text. One of my adult daughters gets quite affronted if she can’t get an answer from me straight away. Not because she is worried I have inadvertently fell under a bus but because ‘That’s what mobile phones are for, Mother!’.

People seem to either love this instant availability or loathe it. I am in the second camp and I realise I am probably going as extinct as a dinosaur with this viewpoint but I often find it quite stifling. In my defense I want to be able to enjoy moments of peace and quiet without having to turn off half a dozen gadgets around the house beforehand and losing the spontaneity which comes with the perfect moment. I don’t want to feel I have stolen it. I want to feel I have earned it and then I get to savour it and taste it fully.

Of course, you can get a digital detox by booking up a holiday specifically catering to this…in other words they haven’t had WiFi connected yet…and they will charge you a nice hefty added extra for not doing so! Just the other day I read an advert for a holiday home whose main selling point was that it had no WiFi…the owners called it a retreat and were charging a premium for the guaranteed relaxing stay and the chance to play board games for that old fashioned family holiday!! Now THAT’S enterprising! Or cheeky, depending on your viewpoint 😀

Still, it’s one way to get the teenagers off their devices without it being seen as an unreasonable demand, us off our phones and everyone back into the real world…albeit kicking and screaming!

Better make the most of it before we all get hooked up with implants from birth and the choice to be ‘off grid’ is no longer ours to make…resistance is futile 😉