When life becomes confusing, crazy and overwhelming, the truth can bring us closer to who we want to be as a person.
It makes us real, soft, full and perhaps more focused. Sometimes the truth ain’t easy to tell. Sometimes we are shy and fearful. Afraid of the consequences. Afraid of something beautiful even. Afraid to love and afraid to be seen for who we really are.
Sometimes the truth literally falls out of our mouths, in a hurry, rushed and thoughtless. It stings and hurts, us and others. At other times, the truth kept inside can paralyse us. The truth can set us free on many levels…
If we remain true to ourselves, our passions, our fire, our stories – then we remain in our power. We can stay centred and in our hearts.
When we forget our truth or we spend time in denial, shit can spin out of control and we forget our true selves. That’s when illness can strike and even depression.
The truth pretty much trumps all other versions of reality. Unless it doesn’t and the truth is OK and left buried deep and hidden. Although, you’ll always know where to find this kind of truth. As it’s never really gone. Sometimes it will erupt like a volcano. This isn’t good or bad, it just is…
We all have secrets, that’s called real life. The truth can be painful and harsh, it can be liberating and give you clarity. It all brings us closer to our true nature.
Like all things, our truth is an energy and can be directed as a force for good. Too much false stuff can weaken our sense of self or make us into clones.. Staying true to yourself is a challenge and is a practice. A daily, gentle reminder that we can be who we want to be and more…
It has to be your truth though, and not the truth that others want for you. Your own truth will have alchemy.
I believe in independence. But I also believe in unity. I believe in people power and I believe that humans are inherently good. There is beauty and power in sharing. It’s how our race evolved and how we will survive in the future. By working stuff out together, for the many and not for the few.
There is power in grief and sadness. Rock bottom can (if you let it) be the springboard to love and peace and well-being. There is friction in confusion. Friction is good, it heats us up and gets us fired up for change.
I believe the world is abundant. There are enough resources, we just haven’t found a way yet to distribute them. I believe that in 300 years, we will look back at the human race with excitement but also disbelief. As a race, we are still in toddlerhood.
There’s enough of everything. We just don’t know how to share yet. We aren’t ready to organise ourselves efficiently enough to ensure the have’s share with the have not’s. Old paradigms always break down eventually to make space for regeneration and growth. This is not a time for cruel jokes and racist taunts. Not that there is ever a time for that! But we need to go with the flow, move onwards and keep reminding ourselves there’s more than enough to go round: resources, food, water, love…
There’s enough love in our hearts to heal almost any wound. There’s enough love in our minds to make peace with our enemies. There’s enough common sense to know that one-up-man-ship sends us spiralling into war.
Vitriol in your heart can kill you. Sadness and stress will weaken your immune system and make you ill. These are facts. I have never understood why humans feel the need to be so awful, negative and mean to each other. Whether it’s a shitty comment on social media or the bully in the workplace. I’ve experienced both of the above. Only recently, my 12-year-old sister took part in a photographic series called ‘Freckles’. While her picture got nearly 4,000 likes on Instagram and dozens of lovely comments, there were a handful of aggressive and ugly words from grown adult humans, which were, quite frankly embarrassing.
Humans were given minds to think and be logical and hearts to love and find peace. Both need to be used, together, to solve problems and puzzles and navigate through life. There is love in conviction. There is love in being strong. There’s love and strength in being vulnerable. There is love in being yourself.
We over think and exhaust ourselves and are sometimes too tired to love. When you see a piece of work created or executed with love, you know it. When you see a family that love each other – besides the heartbreak and dysfunction, you see it.
There’s always enough love. Coming from a place of love doesn’t mean being walked all over. It means I’m in my power and I have an infinite well of love for life. Then applying it to the mundane. The mundane can become magical when love is present.
Putting yourself first is actually a very sacred act and a sexy one too.
It’s also a must.
So many women, mothers or not, working or not, are in the habit of putting all their own needs behind everyone else’s in the family. For some, it’s become a habit to be a little bit of a martyr in the household, for others it’s simply survival. But for those who love more than anything to be of service to their families – that is the ultimate act of love and is held in the highest regard. I for one love cooking but hate housework and ironing! And I’m honest about it! We all have to do stuff we don’t like. But this is not what I’m talking about.
We are told time and time again that by giving to others we give to ourselves. This is true. But not if our own tanks are empty. Life’s like a set of complicated cogs and you give each cog a priority above the other.
When we make our own wellbeing and self-care and having fun a priority, that means we are giving to ourselves, making us happy, filling up our tanks, which in turn overflows into energy for our beloveds.
At this moment, I am writing this blog with my four-year-old girl sitting on my knee while my dog watches us. And I’ve spent the last hour or so, working out childcare for work for tomorrow, so I can work around her.
What I do know, is leaving the tank completely empty drains you of vital energy. It can make you sick. It’s the wasteground where forgotten potential lives and it can breed resentment. Being eternally broke and stuck in the same routine can be like hell too. Living out the same old patterns is pretty sh*t and never figuring out what you want is a recipe for an unfulfilled life.
So, do whatever it takes to get your agenda on to the priority leaderboard at least once per week. Whether it’s exercise, a night out, a massage, lunch with the girls, a date out alone or something that just makes you feel good and alive! Time to eliminate the excuses. It’s all about feeling alive!
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival…’ Audre Lorde
Beauty is a feeling. Real beauty is an act. It’s an act of being loving, being loved, being vulnerable, being creative. It’s an act of inner work.
We can’t be beautiful all of the time. And that would be boring and send us to sleep for 100 years, just like Sleeping Beauty…
Beauty is in the small things we do each day, that reflect our human nature.
It’s in the detail and attention in our craft, it’s in the love we share with our family, in the laughs we have with friends. In how we treat our neighbours and pets.
And of course, we can’t be kind all of the time either, as sometimes the beauty is in standing up for yourself and say a big, fat NO. Beauty is in having the strength to say ‘f*ck you’ from time to time and when it’s needed. Beauty is in the confidence to be yourself. Whoever that may be…
Beauty is in the compliments we give – not only to people’s physical appearances but for the kind gestures and sweet things we do for each other. Outer beauty is attractive but real inner beauty is mesmerising.
I am mindful of what I tell my daughter…I often say to her.. ‘You are smart, kind and clever’. I want her to know that there’s more to compliments than just her physical appearance. Yes, she’s very cute and very sporty and smart too. But I want her to know that there’s more beauty in trying her best than there is in how lovely her dress or hair looks.
Of course, we want to hear that we are accepted and little girls love to hear they look pretty. Being pretty has become more of an emphasis over the past ten years. Although, humans are addicted to aesthetic beauty, and we have been for centuries.
We should be encouraging our children to work on the beautiful side of their personalities, just as much as how to contour their make-up, get good abs and take a decent selfie. This goes for the boys too!
As human consciousness grows and we learn more about the world around us, we understand that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves. There are mini-movements everywhere. This is such an exciting time to be alive! But we can’t all be brain surgeons, we can’t all be athletes, or astronauts, or presidents or super models. We all have our unique gifts and it is through those gifts, we bring our true essence… Our inner beauty.
‘In the end, you will not see the physical beauty in others that caught your eye, but the fire that burned within them.’ Shannon L. Alder.
Life moves so fast. We spend hours wasting time these days… Trawling through social media, looking at other people’s lives, reading gossip, comparing yourself against everyone else’s made up life, catching up on ‘essential news’. So much so, that we risk taking the time and making the space that’s needed to create our very own magic.
I’m totally guilty of this too at times. Watching others can become an addiction, if we’re not careful. It’s all too easy to forget that it’s all a construction. The late night rants, the perfect pictures, the SOS call’s for help, the dramatic posts…I love social media and wouldn’t be without it. It’s an extension of our expression.
We also make our lives so busy and full that we distort our own dreams. And we can put others lives at a higher priority than our own…
If we have magic in our hearts that needs to be birthed, then we need to nurture the time we have. Use it wisely, protect it, give the dream wings, journal, think, take action, small steps, big leaps, talk it though, or keep it a secret – which ever is more powerful to you. Shape it, let it sit for a while, let it sink in. Then take more action…
I remember as a kid, I would lay on my futon in my bedroom in the loft, listening to the rain on the window, making up fantastical stories in my head… This is where my love of story- telling began.. As adults we don’t get much time to day dream any more…
There needs to be periods of saturation and getting fired up, being inspired.. Then time to incubate, fertilise, labour and birth the magic..
To allow space for the magic to be born, we need to create space in our heads and lives. That sometimes means stepping away from drama, unsubscribing to lists, unfollowing others, stepping bravely back on to our own path, no matter how many times we fall…
Then getting to work, allowing the magic to come in…
“By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere..” Emmanuel Dagher
Sometimes, our feelings can have a lot to answer for… They take us in all kinds of directions and off on crazy tangents.
They bring us a rainbow of emotions; joy, love, fear, anxiety… Not to mention confusion, guilt, and everything in between. Life changes in every moment. Day by day, hour by hour, second by second..And our feelings reflect in those changes.
We are often at the mercy of our feelings… There have been times in my own life where I felt suffocated by my own feelings. Why do we get trapped by our own feelings? They can cause arguments, feuds and misunderstandings. They can also bring about true love, weddings, happiness and new life!
We can always ask ourselves how we can reduce negative feelings… Watching the news and reading news papers can induce fear. That’s what it’s there for.. Media can cause uncertainty, paranoia and blame.. Then the blame culture in turn disempowers us and can paralyse us as individuals and as nations.
But negative emotions can also inspire us to change ourselves; our thinking or to make a difference in the world around us. Not all negative emotions are bad either… Our nervous system is a navigational system, designed to help us feel our way through life. We read a situation, get internal feedback and can then act.
Humans, were made to not just survive, but thrive. To connect and love, to be whole and real. And to remember that sometimes it’s OK to be a bit lost. To drift, be sad and empty. Only when your vessel is empty, you can choose to refill and start again…
To gather ourselves up and start again once more. It’s all OK. To make mistakes. It’s all OK. Grief can rip us apart. It’s still all OK…
I saw this lovely quote this week from Heart Centered Rebalancing and it really resonated…
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass…”
We use many metaphorical frameworks in life. We make our decisions based on them. We form friendships around them. We make priorities based on them. They are the scaffolding of our daily lives.
Just like grapevines and ivy need structures to grow and flourish on – our lives need frames on which to drape our human nature on. If our structures are built on superficial stuff; money, material objects, trends, fads, clothes and stories, our human nature doesn’t quite thrive as it should.
The stuff and things we love are without a doubt the fabric of life. But they are not the actual structure. Because what’s left when they change, disintegrate, fall away, fall apart? Potential voids, black holes, gaps and canyons…
I’m not saying for one second that these elements of the fabric aren’t important or fun. They are! I love my stuff! I love my clothes, my jewellery, my fancy dress up stuff, my running trainers, the pictures I hang on my walls, the products I use to make me feel fresh and smooth and pretty on the weekends, the books I read, the places I love to travel to, my phone and laptop and the music I dance to. These possessions help us to creatively express who are are as humans.
Love is the frame on which to hang our fabric of life. Love is the force that holds our world together. It is an energy field, the cosmic glue, that binds us and holds us, connects us to one another. To our family, friends, lovers, mates, acquaintances, colleagues, to our pets and to nature…
It can help us forgive when there’s no apology. It’s the support we can give each other when the going gets tough, it’s the laughs we have when things go wrong. It’s the helping hand we can give when the shit hits the fan. It’s the way we look at each other in times of darkness and light, it’s the way we encourage each other when we fall down. It’s sharing what we have when we don’t have enough. It bonds us with our nearest and dearest and binds communities in times of crisis and it’s the tiny day to day things that let our neighbours and strangers know we care.
Love is the GPS which can help us navigate our way through life. Everything else, our baggage, our hordes, can literally fall away at any point….
But when it’s all stripped back, when stuff decomposes, slips away or is lost, the only thing we are left with is love.
I LOVE this quote from Daniel Pinchbeck..
“The universe only pretends to be made of matter. Secretly, it’s made of love’.
I wrote out a blog back in January about ‘goal setting for busy mama’s’. Which made sense, as I’m a busy mama. BUT I realised that what I needed in my life right now – is LESS goals! After last years goal-a-thon. Plus I moved to the town next door which is a pretty big goal as far as goals go… So, I left it there and didn’t post it… My little angel-whirlwind and I have finally settled in and we are looking forward to meeting and making new friends in a new town. Another goal, right there! I like new friends!
My last sort-of-goal and perhaps most important – is to do a little more for others, in whatever small way I can. So, this weekend just gone, I travelled to Calais. To the Jungle. The refugee camp. Although it’s not a camp. It’s almost a slum. That’s really trying to be a camp. It’s a slum, not because of the people living in it – they are doing their best to survive in tents and caravans and wooden huts. And it’s got nothing to do with the angel-like volunteers who are there unpaid working many hours and taking on roles that volunteers at Glastonbury festival would turn their noses up at. It’s a slum because, no one has offered or taken charge of this humanitarian crisis at ground-zero level. It’s a slum because it’s on waste land that was a dump. It’s a slum because there’s no real infrastructure or public health protection and it’s chaos.
Bear showed us around the camp. Bear is a super human (along with all the others)! He’s an assistant coordinator at the warehouse and the camp. The warehouse is where the coordination happens. Where the goods like food and blankets and clothes come in and get distributed out.
We needed a pass to enter the jungle, which was checked 3 times at 3 check points going into the camp by very unfriendly police.
Walking through that camp was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. You’ll walk past groups of youths who look like they’re at holiday camp, playing badminton, football and scaling make-shift buildings. Then you’ll ask a guy if he’s OK and he gives you the hundred mile stare and says ‘No- I’m not OK- would you be?’ We all agreed with him. And tried to understand his point. But we couldn’t really understand. As we all have beds to go to, warm running water, heating, comfort and money flowing in and out of our bank accounts. Even if it’s only a little money.
Make no mistake – this is no holiday camp. These youths are finding ways to keep warm, numb the pain, boredom and escape the living reality of existing in the next town to Hell.
Why did I go? For two reasons. firstly to track down Phoebe Hope – the caravan my family donated to the Camp. It is named after my cousin Oliver and his lovely wife Fiona’s little girl who passed away as a young baby last year. And to see if I could talk to the family who live in her now. I was told I may not find her. As there are no allocated plots (this isn’t a caravan park either). There are thousands living there now in caravans, tents and makeshift huts.
There aren’t many words that I can use to explain what I saw that day and I’m still trying to process it now. But what I can say that in the despair, there are glimmers of hope. In the sadness there is strong faith. In the dismay there is still laughter and in the humiliation there is still pride.
I found my own emotions swung between intrigue, despair and inertia. One minute I was enjoying a light joke with a native camp dweller, who asked me to take photos of him posing and the next I was looking at a baby peering out of the back of a caravan.. The baby wanted to go outside but I realised that a baby would not even be able to walk on this ground, littered with all sorts of everything and muddy puddles the size of small streams. The babies are like little prisoners, or like baby chicks caged-in unable to feel or experience much freedom. And no matter what you read in the press – about it being all men, trying to sneak into the UK, there are many families here, with small children. This is one of the saddest parts of camp life.
This level of poverty I have witnessed before. My daughters papa is from the poorest country in South America, Bolivia. Many people live like this there. I spent a few months in Bolivia and many people in extreme poverty are happy (they smile and laugh a lot) and not starving (they have access to 2 meals a day). I’m not romanticising poverty. Poverty is shit. Poverty deprives you and steals your time and energy. Poverty can strip you of your self worth and pride. I could tell when I walked past the group of grown men washing at the make-shift wash area (taps on wooden boards) that they felt humiliated as I looked at them, so I looked away quickly and swallowed the lump in my throat.
We know many people all over the world live like this. In many countries, from Brazil to the Philippines. But there’s something very wrong about this here. The real asylum seekers will have arrived after travelling for weeks, months even. Broken and exhausted, weak, humiliated, tortured and traumatised. The last thing they need to hear is ‘Why are you here? Why didn’t you go there? Why aren’t you doing things properly? Why aren’t you being a sensible, well-organised asylum seeker and going down the ‘proper route’? Why didn’t you google your nearest refugee centre (over in Turkey or elsewhere) and travel there instead?’ Why, why, why?
I was listening to Greg James from BBC Radio One talking today on the morning show – he travelled to Jordan to speak with the refugees there. And I couldn’t agree more than with this point about them not wanting to be in this situation. These people fled their lovely homes, studies and good jobs, usually with nothing or very little. They ran and sailed and begged. They were terrified and hungry. Many don’t want our precious benefits (and I know they are precious, to us and everyone in the UK) – they want help. And after they have had some help, they want to return to their beloved countries. To help re-build them and create lovely homes and lives once more.
Bear took us to Afghan Square, where the enterprising folk have set up small shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to sample the goods this time, but I intend to eat there next time and support them in supporting themselves.
Many charities (from Britain and France) are doing amazing work there every day. There’s a church – a tranquil haven in amidst all the madness. There’s a theatre dome – for creative endeavours, a small school, a women and children’s centre, a health centre, a youth centre and a legal centre. All set up in old donated shabby tents or shanty huts – this is human civilisation springing up and rising in the face of the lowest adversity.
So, we were walking through a group of shabby caravans and Rebecca from Caravans for Calais turned to me and said ‘There’s Phoebe Hope’ and pointed to a green, weathered looking van. We knocked on the window and it was opened by a lady and her teenage son. Bear explained who I was and I promptly showed her a photo of my daughter standing at the door of Phoebe Hope. I can’t explain what happened but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. She ran out and held me and thanked me over and over. She couldn’t speak English but her son Sajjad could speak a little. Fatima offered me food and tea in her little van. Her son repeated ‘This is your van’. I said ‘No, it’s yours’. I went and sat with her briefly and she showed me a hand drawn picture of her 7 year old son Mohamat. (Her other family members were at the little children’s school). Our tears dropped as we hugged and I promised to visit again. I only got a few minutes with Fatima, but I felt deeply connected.
Living in the town next to hell is not a choice anyone in their right mind would make. It is the ground-zero of choices. Whether you’re an economic migrant or a war refugee. It’s awful.
The next time I make the trip, it will be to spend the full day with Fatima and her family and to hear their stories. I also hope to start setting up a creative project for the women and children’s centre too.
Something that will stay with me is the spirit and generosity of all the people there. I smiled at a man sitting outside his wooden coffin-like hut (about 6 ft tall by 3 ft wide). There were 3 beds built like bunks inside. He had a bunch of bananas and insisted on giving me one. I wanted to refuse but I thought – humans need to share. It’s in the fibre of our being. So, I stood and ate a banana with him. Looking out into the jungle chaos in silence. I bowed and said thank you and walked away, then I got into the comfy car, ready to sail back to my warm, comfy life.
Each night since I’ve returned, after tucking my little one in to bed and kissing her all over her sweet face, and I sink into my own warm, soft bed- I think about Fatima. Crammed into our little old caravan with 5 of her family. I think about her dreams for her three children, her life before the war, about what she’s doing to stay sane and survive. And she’s one of the lucky ones.
So, what are my real goals for 2016 – more love, compassion and empathy.
If you feel moved by what is written here, then I urge you to do one or all of these three things:
1)Share this blog.
2)Check out the pictures – they say more than words ever can. See them on my Facecook page here.
3)Get in touch with one of the charities helping here to see how you can contribute or get involved – Check these guys out:
2015 was epic for me. In every way possible. I sometimes couldn’t keep up with it. Here’s some sentiments on that…
Time is an anchor, a tool to make sure everything doesn’t happen all at once. It aligns the chaos and makes a runway for our desires. Time isn’t somewhere out there.. It’s where we come from.
Expansion happens with the fruition of ideas, the movement of plans and the follow through of those desires. Feel the impulse of possibility, but make decisions swiftly.
Constriction happens after all expansions. It’s the natural rhythm of the universe. It’s the power testing you, on your power. Feel your way. Slip back into expansion.
Allowing is an art. Accepting is a practice. Having gratitude for them both is also power. Acknowledging the compliments of beloveds and allowance of your ‘loving self-talk’ is what should be guiding you.
2015 broke many barriers for me. I learned to harness my power, I burned brightly, I expanded, I constricted, I allowed, shut down, I realigned and re-learned. I went off course, then realised what was important.
Each human has their own desires. Their own needs and urges. We are one cog within a set of gears that is our family, friends and community or tribe.
It is up to us to live and own our truth. To step in to and own our power. To apply purpose to the sojourn we are on. To learn the magic of light and dark. To feel the pulse of our heart and longing. To honour that stuff.
You and you alone know what that means for you. When we stop asking for others’ acceptance, we grow. Let go of that shit that didn’t serve you with deep breath, let go of 2015 with love…
Your way begins at the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now. —Rumi
Wow! Christmas has finally hit me! (In a good way)… I worked at the Winter Solstice Celebration last night at Alternatives at St James in Piccadilly and NOW I feel in the Christmas spirit! Along with several hundred other people… From age 10 up to 95 years old! (I know this because it was announced that a lady in the audience was actually 95 that day and had been going to Alternatives for 30 years)…
I’ve been rushing around for a few weeks, yet I haven’t bought a thing.. (Well apart from a spa day for me and my sisters in January)! And I even heard myself groan at the first Xmas song belted out on radio 1 on the 1st of December. I’m certainly not a Christmas party pooper but I’m a 12 days before Christmas kinda gal! That is until my daughter absolutely insisted on me putting the tree an decorations up on the first weekend in December! I have a feeling that this is what happens when kids pick up on the Christmas vibe..
So, back to the solstice.. I LOVE this celebration. It’s to celebrate the longest night of the year and it has to be one of my favourites… I love the light but I love the dark too. It’s time to reflect on and germinate ideas. Time to rest and rejuvenate.
The night opened with reflections and meditations from the directors. The whole audience lit candles.. We listened to poems and talked to people we’ve never met before. YES! We actually talked to people we didn’t know.
We listened to gospel choirs and a community choir. We chanted and danced. We ate and laughed. I love the diversity of the Solstice celebrations and the talent that it brings. We had artist Sarah Warwick singing her own songs and leading the community choir. And the IDMC Choir belting out a few numbers from their current Christmas album and tour…
The night finished with some African drumming and dancing. It was such a happy time! I want to do it every night until Christmas.. OK, maybe not, that would be tiring, but I really loved this… Thanks Alternatives for another awesome night…
Here’s a quote from a Spiritual Reveller, Leni Neo….‘I feel so blessed to have been able to attend such a magical, uplifting & inspiring evening. The atmosphere created was enchanting & the energy floating among us was profoundly healing. I departed knowing I had experienced something so special, with a glowing, grateful heart; my soul buzzing with joy. A tremendous, heart-felt thank you to all those who made this exhilarating event happen. I look forward to next year’s celebration with excited anticipation’.
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