Start Close In – David Whyte

Start Close In

winter-solstice2

A strange day today – I’d hoped for Susan Schwartz’s and my book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry ~’ to be live on amazon.com today or tomorrow. Or the next day – but that’s not going to happen. It’ll happen in a while – 

I was doing some catch-up at my desk earlier this afternoon, after a busy morning out and about. I was at sixes and sevens – much to attend to at my desk, some tasks achieved, diary somewhat updated, much still to do –

There are a couple of threads on FB that I follow, usually requiring more from me than I am able to give, or respond to adequately, or as I would like. These are psychological posts on FB. I came upon this one just now – it was from Parker Palmer, a columnist for ‘On Being’ and at the end of his post, he included David Whyte’s poem –

Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first

thing

close in,

the step you don’t want to take.

Start with

the ground

you know,

the pale ground

beneath your feet,

your own

way of starting

the conversation.

Start with your own

question,

give up on other

people’s questions,

don’t let them

smother something

simple.

To find

another’s voice

follow

your own voice,

wait until

that voice

becomes a

private ear

listening

to another.

Start right now

take a small step

you can call your own

don’t follow

someone else’s

heroics, be humble

and focused,

start close in,

don’t mistake

that other

for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

 My love to you all, may your Thanksgiving be happy and joyous ~ may there be peace and quiet amidst it all ~ and take the step also that you do want to take ~

Full moon energies

Full Moon

moon

I took the photo last night. The moon will be full tonight …

I had not planned it but this morning saw me tidying, organising my bathroom cupboards, taking stuff out of bedroom to my study (still to be sorted), colouring my hair, a facial scrub and baobab oil on my face right now as I go about tasks.

My American friend who lives in Cape Town phoned this morning – she is arriving tomorrow in Johannesburg to see her eye surgeon and will overnight here at my home. She recently returned from the US after attending the funeral of her older sister.

She is in deep pain at the outcome of POTUS. She is politically savvy and right now, aghast and fearful of today’s news of the election of Trump’s Chief of Staff. Plus Trump repealing the 2009 interdict (though I think it was never interdicted?) which kept bank and private money separated after the ‘lesson’ of the crash of 2008..

We are very aware of the heart-felt pain of Americans who are exceedingly alarmed at the election of Donald Trump. I have several friends in the States both personal and through the Internet whose views I deeply respect and I can feel their deep concern.

The reverberations are huge. Everywhere and every one in the world has reason to be exceedingly alarmed. The thought of nationalism on the rise is extremely worrying. So many, many concerns ….

As I was going about my tasks this morning I found myself thinking about these extraordinary times in which we are living. I’ve read much on social media, some very excellent posts on FB for example, clear analyses facing the dangers, thoughtful blog posts, quotes by the Dalai Lama, Buddha and so on reminding us of the inner light. I follow a few Jungian FB threads which are always interesting. A man who lives in Sweden for example recently had a dream where the underground systems of Stockholm were crumbling and out of the morass exited a woman dressed in white charging away from the mess. He wondered what it meant. It’s a powerful dream in my view.

Susan Schwartz writes in our soon to be published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry ~’ of a woman who dreamed that she was in a nuclear explosion and who could she turn to – there was no-one. Or was there  –

Many posts are memes if that’s the right word, short, profound, exhorting kindness, more so than ever. Some write about the need for the shadow to be exposed and at least things are clearer though no less troubling. I remember hearing a political analyst on TV saying that in this last 100 year span, only once before has the ruling party in the US been elected to a third term.  That gave me cause for pause – and made me wonder about cycles and the crying need for change –

Many FB posts write of their shock and hurt and deep deep pain.

Susan and I write in our book about the moon in a chapter called ‘Moon, Mourning & Mystery’. What force other than the moon who pulls the oceans from shore to shore. The moon has a direct effect on women’s monthly bleeding when a group is in synch. Plantings are done by the moon – and much more. Mourning – such a time right now. Mystery – will we ever know –  what is next?

The full moon is tonight – may we pay attention to this occasion at this time.

Her energies are feminine ones. We can call on her. We can look up at her beauty tonight. We can look up at her while looking deep down into our hearts, and send a message or a prayer or an invocation to her that we need her healing energies. We know that she is a guide – she has guided ancient travellers for aeons as have the stars ..

I will consciously ask her for peace and patience, calm and still, to be a balm to all in this time of upheaval. I will ask her to bear with us in our pain and woundedness at least for a while. I will ask her for her feminine energies to shine brightly on the masculine energies so that unification can happen. I will ask that she shine benignly on our planet in crisis on so many levels.

serpent3images-1

Simone Weil: ‘Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity’. 

img_1907-3Photo taken at 6.15 this evening after major afternoon rainstorm. ..

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

mantis

I always get excited when I see a praying mantis. This one landed on my son Mike’s arm last evening (he was here overnight en route this morning to Mauritius for a working 2 weeks) and he transferred it to a geranium leaf. It was tiny … less than 1/2 inch maybe 4 cm. A baby …

Why do I get excited? Well, it is a symbol of much. The praying mantis was believed by the African Bushmen to be a symbol of God. They believed it was a manifestation of God, and when they saw one, they tried to discern its message. The word ‘mantis’ is a Greek word meaning ‘prophet’ and is a reference to mystical or spiritual powers.

The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when our lives and the world seem chaotic, so much so we can no longer hear the still, small voice within us because of the outer noise that surrounds us.

We’ve been living on a knife’s edge here in South Africa. We expected our Finance Minister Mr. Pravin Gordhan along with two colleagues to appear in the High Court tomorrow on fraud charges.  There were plans to get myself and a few friends off to Pretoria tomorrow to take part in the protests. The support for the Minister is very strong from all quarters, the public, government ministers, business, civil society – Min. Gordhan has commandeered us through some very tricky waters. The head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Adv. Shaun Abrahams has been after Mr Gordhan for a long while. Yesterday, at a press conference, Abrahams dropped charges against Mr Gordhan and his two co-accused and Abrahams has egg on his face. Now there are calls for Abrahams to fall on his sword, and he and his pathetic minions to disappear off the face of the earth.

We’re awaiting the release of the Public Protector’s report in which it is purported that our president has allowed our government to be captured by the Gupta Family (like the mafiosa), for nefarious reasons. There is every reason to believe so. Nuclear deal with the Russians for several billion rands, dollars, whatever currency? When we have the best wind and solar resources? And not that much money to spend on yet more state deals when for example our national air carrier is running into a few billion rands debt for the last few years running. Pres. Zuma and his cohorts are doing their best to not have it released. We’re undergoing our own Watergate – there are calls to have the president impeached.

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After observing this creature for any length of time you can see why the symbolism of the praying mantis deals with stillness and patience. The mantis takes her time, and lives her life at her own silent pace. A reminder of the beauty of nature – its calm and storm – its unexpectedness –

I once had one on my desk. I’ve seen one once or twice on a plant just outside my study. I once saw one on the wall behind me when I was lounging outside on the deck at a game lodge.Their appearances are rare. When I see a lady bird, I also feel something within. A reminder of the beauty of nature and to bring that stilness within amidst the turmoil of the world.

It rained a bit last evening. And now as I write, it is raining. It is so much needed. It has cooled things down by a degree or two. We need the skies to fall and to cleanse this land we call home, to wash away the dust and grime that clings to us in so many ways.

The praying mantis gives me hope. 

Thank you for reading – may the Force be with you and us all –

 From whence arrived the praying man

From outer space, or lost Atlantis?

I glimpse the grim, green metal mug

That masks this pseudo-saintly bug,

Orthopterous, also carnivorous,

And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.

— Ogden Nash

Floating

Floating

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We spent 3 nights 4 days very recently at a privately owned non-commercial game farm in the eastern part of our country (a 6 hour drive) at the invitation of a girlfriend who turned 70 the other day. It borders on the Kruger National Park and fancy lodges like Londolozi & Mala Mala, 

We’ve been many times over the years at the family’s kind invitation, from when my boys were small …

Although the drought is severe, the animals looked well and strong. I took photos and even a video with my cell phone. This was on our first landrover drive, in the coolth of the evening –elle_alicecot

On our 2nd evening, I took this photo of the sunset out on the plains – the clouds seemed to be floating –

sunset_alicecot

~0~

I spent 10 years travelling between Johannesburg and The Midlands, Natal, to the boarding school my boys attended. A 41/2 drive there and same back. Most times on my own, sometimes with my husband. Beautiful countryside, and those mountains! As my elder son left, so my younger one began high school the following year.

Close to the school is a spa – in my younger son’s last year, about 12 years ago, I thought it was about time to treat myself. 10 years and never going? So I did. Checked in on a Wednesday out on Friday and the weekend to attend son’s sporting activities at the school and to take him out on a one night ‘leave’ i.e. the Sat night after sports.

I was on my own at the spa, knew no-one, didn’t really strike up conversations, read a lot, wrote a lot, ate half a banana for breakfast, a carrot for lunch, a piece of cucumber, half an avocado for supper, maybe with a lettuce leaf, drank water or herbal tea* (I brought my own coffee to make in my private room), did a bit of exercise – a walk or two in the mists, a group meditation I recall, I don’t remember if I had a beauty treatment, I don’t think so but maybe I had a reflexology treatment or a 20 min shoulder massage if it was on offer and included in the price.

I saw the advertisement within the gilded chambers for the flotation tank … I was intrigued. It was not included in the cost. It was fairly costly to spend an hour in total darkness, on one’s own, with the lid closed over one – naked as the day being born

I’m going to have to find what I wrote about it – it’s in one of my ridiculously many notebooks and journals. It would take a great search, but I will when time permits.

If I cast my mind back, it was a profound experience. I think I was skeptical at the beginning – nothing happened. 

All I remember now is a feeling of timelessness and weightlessness, I can’t even say suspended – just weightless. In that weightless state thoughts passed my mind – I remember becoming more and more light, perhaps a sense of suspension, and floating – while traversing – at peace –

I’ll have to find my journal writing – I’m intriguing myself –

As I write the clouds are gathering. I looked out while drafting this post earlier and took the picture below from just outside my study. Five seconds later the heart wasn’t there …

heart_in_cloudsWe’ve had good and much needed rains the last few days. A blessing.

All is still in turmoil – ‘still in turmoil’, a contradiction if ever i heard one but maybe it’s a paradox. Stillness in turmoil. May we all find that quiet place in amongst it all – 

Thank you for listening and may the Force be with us all

*not as severe as I say but almost

Susan Scott on video ‘Aging & Becoming’

Video – ‘Aging & Becoming’

It is 2.10 minutes long. I talk about Susan Schwartz’s and my collaboration on our book ‘Aging & Becoming’. It went up on youtube yesterday and onto my Face Book author page. So far – this is as far as I’ve got in ‘going public’. I am in the throes of putting out enquiries to potential traditional publishers although it will be available sooner as an ebook.

My thanks to son Mike in Plettenberg Bay and my sister Debora Irish in Cape Town for their patience in making this video possible. (I’m unsure of the ‘gleam’ in one eye).

Thank you for listening!

We continue to live on the knife-edge here in South Africa. Protests and violence everywhere by university students: #feesmustfall,  #futuremustfall, #sciencemustfall, #Zuma (our president)must fall –

I’d be happy for a ‘rain must fall’ campaign – or a rain dance – anything to encourage the rain to fall. I’ve watered my little garden in the light of the moon over the last few nights. We have water restrictions – no watering between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. But my garden seems to be doing ok though definitely thirsty. I have put a whole lot of compost around the plants in the garden and potting soil into the pots. This helps retain the moisture of tap or rain water.

*Rilke’s poem:

All of us are falling. See this hand now fall.

And now see the others; it is part of us all.

And still there is one who in his hands gently

holds this falling endlessly.

So, in these troubled times, may we all find our centre, our holding place, a place of calm amidst the storm.

*In Flores, trans and ed., Anthology of German Poetry, p.390

this and that and everything –

‘I am not an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope’.

Words said by our (ex) Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu –

quoted by a journalist in a recent Daily Maverick opinion piece.

stone_

All of this and that and everything feels extreme. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post on e.g. ‘Clash of Civilisations’ or ‘On the Edge’ or some such, because it does feel to me that the container is no longer there, no firm support to catch our falling star – no container anymore  – somehow, the centre seems not to be holding. And it is anxious making as everything seems to be extra hyped up. And destruction is the name of the game. Here in South Africa, universities are being torched and set alight, buses too, police vehicles turned over and torched, tear gas, bullets, 1000’s of students country-wide protesting about the #feesmustfall campaign and disallowing student attendance and in last few hours a new campaign ‘thefuturemustfall’. In the midst of this, our Minister of Finance who has kept us so far from being downgraded to junk status, has to appear early next month in court on charges. This is trumped up – and a political nasty –

Is this level of destruction part of a necessary process? This is what makes me ponder – and reminds me of a question I asked a Jungian analyst a long time ago – do we have to put our hand in the frying pan to know we will be burned? To which he said Yes.

But also, on an inner level – Joseph Rubin’s death this last Monday, a sudden shock to me – and his daughter Marilyn letting me know by email yesterday and my putting up a post on his death and so many of you responding to her and for all of us who are saddened.

And more on an inner level – my dear friend Lyndy, my oldest friend (though she’s a year younger than I), who I saw in hospital before I left to go away at the end of September. So lovely to see her then – her son had come from the US to be with his Mum. I tried from yesterday to contact her, the morning after the previous night’s flight … to see her, to say I’m back, at your command .. I was getting fairly anxious about no response from her. Until today when her son Richard called me. I was amazed. I thought he was back in the US. He got here last Sunday. He’s now back for the long haul – She has carcinomas which have returned. She is gravely ill …  I will have to digest this and acknowledge this, her illness … he has asked me to be strong when I see her – I feel wretched –

And my Jane my housekeeper – in tears midday because one of the gardeners had screamed and shouted and ranted at her. We talked when she was more composed and ready to talk. And then later she said she and one of the other gardeners had had a talk about the ranting gardener, and that there was consensus that he was not well, he looked not well also, and to encourage him to have an Aids test – which, if he has it, may be part cause of his unwarranted, uncharacteristic outburst.

My husband was returning last night from an Old Boys dinner downtown at a swish restaurant, stopped at a red traffic light, his friend was driving, and 5 men jumped out of the shadows and they thought they were window washers – they weren’t – they were attackers, who tried to smash the windows – a man pointed a gun at my husband’s friend the driver, and another man at my husband in the passenger seat –

they shot the lights knocking aside one or two

Everything feels on tenterhooks – is there reason to think about WW3 being unleashed? Am I being overly morbid? In a way I see what is happening all over the world as the manifestation of that which has been repressed for a long time, bubbling up to the fore. We see mysogyny upfront, the destruction by weapons on people and places, corruption in high places, political battles for the highest stakes and to Hell with the consequences, the rise of extreme rightwing parties – i.e. nationalism, the desecration of Mother Nature, all of this is upfront, we cannot fail to see it. …

Is anarchy being loosed upon the world? Are we slouching towards Bethlehem?

Desmond Tutu’s words again:

I am not an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope.

The picture at the top – I found this when I was in Botswana in April this year. I wanted to lay it on my brother’s burial place in Maun in his garden. But I couldn’t find it at the time I was at his family home. I placed a flower instead. But I did find it at a later stage – it was so beautiful and really quite extraordinary to the touch. Velvety .. 

This is the underside of it –

underside_-of-stone

I took it with me on my travels thinking maybe to put it into the sea at the end of the jetty in Gordon’s Bay where we used to live as teenagers for a while. Where my sister and I tossed our parents’ ashes so many years ago on 2 different occasions. This past Monday, the day of my return ex Cape Town where I was for few days, we motored out to Gordon’s Bay, a good 3/4 hour from where my sister lives. We walked the jetty to the end and said our greetings to our parents and wished them well, and said a prayer and I threw this little stone onto the rocks in the sea .. it was about as big or small as when you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger …

The photo below is of my sister ahead of me. You can see the end of the jetty –  jetty_-g-bayThank you for listening – may peace prevail wherever we are –

Joseph Rubin –

Joseph Rubin – may his soul rest in peace –

roses-with-thorns

I came home last night, and this afternoon I received a letter from Marilyn Rubin, daughter of Joseph Rubin. Those of you who read my blog will have noticed Joseph’s comments on my blog, always supportive and encouraging. I’m unsure how long he’s been a follower of my blog, at a guess about 3 years. I also know that he popped over to others’ blog and followed them too and made supportive comments. I had personal emails from him too, and loved to hear about Anita his wife, his daughters, the cat that came to visit, the squirrels, the changing seasons …

This is Marilyn’s letter –

 Sunday morning, my father was having difficulty breathing, and was brought to the hospital. The ambulance took a long time to come, and by the time they arrived at his house, he had stopped breathing and had little or no pulse. They were able to resuscitate him, and he remained in the hospital until this morning, about 6:40 AM Detroit time, when he passed away.

 I am about to go to the hospital to console my mother, and be with the rest of my family. But first, I wanted to write to you. I feel there was a very special section of his life that he shared with you, and the writers community associated with your blog and other related blogs. So I feel that you are as close to him as family. You all were very special to him.

 The writers community that you and he were part of was very important to him. He constantly spoke of how much he admired your talent. But it was more than that – I think there was a special connection that he felt in this community. A funny thing is that I used to exclaim that sometimes, I would write a comment on your blog, and you would then find a way to repeat it, rephrased in a way that better expressed what I was trying to say. So, as I feel my words are not adequate here to express how much you and the writers community added to his life, and therefore mine, I know you will find a way.

 Please also pass on this news to other readers and posters on your blog, as you see fit.

Dear Joseph Rubin – may your dear soul rest in peace. Your life was well lived. We mourn the deep loss. To the family, a long life. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May G.d grant you comfort and peace in this sorrowful time.

I’m reminded of Oscar Wilde’s words ‘Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground’.

 

Hair, Youtube and Amaryllis

Hair, Youtube & Amaryllis 

sunriseplett

Sunrise from my bedroom balcony in Plettenberg Bay last Sat morning, the day after I arrived –

Hair and youtube – is there anything that links them? Yes, in my instance there is ..

Where to start?

My elder son Mike, did a youtube thingamy of me this past Tuesday. A 5 minute promo of me speaking about ‘Aging & Becoming’ a book in collaboration with Susan Schwartz (Phoenix Az.) and myself, soon to be ‘launched’.  We did many takes. I was down in Plettenberg Bay for this purpose; also to be there for his birthday on Wednesday, and also because my younger son David was visiting from Cape Town with his lovely bride (whose parents and family live in Plett). And also to wrap up the mansuscript that my son is formatting into an e-book ~ ‘Aging & Becoming’ ~

It was fairly stressful being filmed while talking about the book. They were many takes. I did NOT like that my lipstick was too dark, my hair very peculiar and that I blinked like a crazy woman at the beginning. And I think I did not sound like myself – I sounded like a Rhodesian. We lived there for 6 years a very long time ago in my formative years. We all spoke the Queen’s English.  I received a message on my computer that evening that my you-tube was now live. I got such a fright. Dave fortunately was there, Mike was out. Dave was able to have it deleted IMMEDIATELY.

So, I’ve been worrying a wee bit as is my wont with regard to matters such as this ~

We left Plett yesterday midday after a birthday breakfast with Mike – Dave & his lovely bride brought me to my sister’s home in Cape Town last evening. It’s about a 6 hour drive.

It’s cold and wet here in Cape Town – strange weather about in South Africa. My sister took me to her hairdresser Nicole at midday today. I said I wanted a short-long trim. The long and the short of it is that my hair is now really short. It’s an excellent cut of that there is no doubt.  Does it flatter me? They, Nicole and my sister said I ‘don’t look my age’. That kind of statement always make me feel strange.  I know it’s meant as a compliment but –

I think in a week’s time I will like it better.

I asked my sister if she could film me talking a bit about the book, ‘Aging & Becoming’ while I’m here for a few days. We are going to give it a go, and the other part of the ‘promo’ of the book that Mike did, he can hopefully incorporate into the youtube thingamy. I’ll think about it being even shorter (like my hair) – from 5 mins to 3 mins max. Mike did a very good job of it on Tuesday, Dave gave him some suggestions for post production, but I am not happy with it. Clearly it is myself I am not happy with. Maybe a part of it is a sort of a fear of putting myself out there … for all to see. It’s a big step – for me at least.

We’ve just come back from a very brisk walk in her suburb with her poodles – it was lovely and refreshing –

I took this photo last week of my amaryllis before I left Johannesburg –amaryllis_2

I asked my husband to please photograph the same, this week, in my absence, so I could see, which he did on Tuesday and sent it to me from his Ipad to my email –

neil_amaryllis

Check out those other buds still to bloom –

Thank you for reading. Be safe. I know that Hurricane Michael is approaching the east coast of the US – my thoughts are with you all. A blessed Yom Kippur to all, the Day of At-One-Ment. 

Peace –

Brief Encounters

 Brief Encounters

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I took my car to the dealer for an overdue service on Tuesday morning and was lifted home by Joseph a driver. A whole day without a car? No problem, much at home that needed my attention.

On the way home, I wanted to engage with him while we spent 20 minutes in traffic. I enquired of Joseph what he thought of the state of our nation given all that has happened recently. Well, it was interesting to say the least. The man in the back seat who Joseph was delivering to work after dropping me, also engaged. How they ranted at raved at our people in government. No, no longer were they going to vote for the ANC (the African National Congress of which Mr. Nelson Mandela was our first democratically elected president in 1994). They could not believe that their own people in power had done so much wrong. They felt totally betrayed. Unbelievably, they said they would NEVER vote for the ANC again.

The same Joseph fetched me this morning to return to the car dealer to fetch my car and pay – his radio was on. Xhosa or Zula I asked him (we have 11 official languages). No, Pedi, he said. The discussion on the radio he said was the issue of women who, once married, got fat. And that it was no wonder that their men ran off with other women when their wives got fat! Well, blow me down with a feather. So I gave my view – and we had a lively talk. He switched the radio off, but as he said it was good that the issue was being talked about and all sides of the story were being heard!

On Monday night, 10.30 or so, I was driving home from my Jung study group (every other Monday night). A traffic cop flashed me down. He said, good evening, where are you going? Home I said. Aren’t you afraid of driving alone at night he asked me. No, I said. Have you had a glass of wine he asked. No, I said. Oh he said, well, drive carefully. Thanks Officer I said, and for doing a good job. A 2 minute encounter.

I had much to do once I got my car back midday today. I stopped in at the pharmacy, and wished the woman pharmacist Shana Tovah for the New Year beginning 2nd October. Please God, she said, peace for all. 

I went for a walk this evening in the coolth of it. I saw Gideon who looks just like I imagine Gideon from the Bible. Grey head of hair, shaggy grey beard, a few teeth missing, the widest smile. Oh ho he said booming. I think mebbe you dead. I not see you for long time. We chatted a bit, I told him of my broken toes. And a few minutes later, I saw another gardener, in his red T-shirt, walking up the road. A Malawian. High pitched voice, the blackest skin, the whitest teeth, and always so friendly. Hello ma’am, I think you been overseas I haven’t seen you for long time. At least he didn’t think I was dead –

And the best encounter was seeing my friend Lyndy in high care this afternoon. Her son had arrived from the US. I’ve known Lyndy forever, she really is my oldest friend from my school days. Lyndy’s op was major, she’ll be in high care for a long while still and her recuperation will be long. Her hair was being washed, her head leaning back into a basin, and the nurse washing her hair so gently. I had the privilege of drying it. She’s doing well, praise be –

I took photos this morning of my amayrillis and a bottle brush tree. Already by late this afternoon the amaryllis was budding even more. I’m going away on Friday back 10 days later – I can hardly imagine how beauteous this amaryllis will be on my return!amaryllis_2

bottle-brush_2

Peace to all – and Happy New Year to my Jewish friends!

rosh-hashanah-dove

I

Apologies

Apologies

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I am so sorry that those of you who came by my post last night (South Africa time) and wanted to leave comments were unable to do so. I was alerted by three people who said that they’d made a comment and it disappeared. One person said they were asked if they wanted to post from an insecure site which she accepted and their comment disappeared. I tried to make a comment on my own post and up came ‘ please enable referrers in your browser’.

In the normal course of events I would have phoned Mike my son who lives in Plettenberg Bay but he is hiking the Otter Trail along the Garden Route. I tried to investigate this on my own – made enquiries via Google etc – and late last night I what’s-apped Mike with profuse apologies for asking for help, but he has not picked up on it. He may have switched off communication entirely while on the trail. I remember he said he was going to do that.

So, in I went to the Apple Mac store in Sandton City this morning. Sandla is always so welcoming and so helpful, and Doron a technician behind the desk was so obliging. They tried everything – they think it may be WordPress itself, or possibly Mike’s site – he hosts me on his site  – (which is doubtful because he is extra security conscious).

So, that’s the story for the moment. I may try to e-mail WP support this afternoon and see if they have any clue what’s going on. Or I may just leave it for the moment until Mike gets back to Plett. Which I think is the most likely – perhaps I’ll go and have my hair cut. 

Thank you to those who came by. I would have LOVED to have seen your comments! And again I’m really sorry for any aggro.

While at the Apple Mac store, my oldest girlfriend called me – she’s a year younger than I, but she is my only friend from school days and a precious friend. She has to go into hospital today, for op tomorrow, and 2 weeks in hospital for treatment. She’d triumphed over a rare form of cancer about 2 years ago. Hair loss, the whole bang shoot. I can only hope and pray that this is not a recurrence. Doron at the Apple store saw my distress and I told him – he said he’ll pray to G.d she’ll be ok – it was hard holding back my tears.

plants-house

 These are outside my study – I’ve just taken the photo.

And Happy Equinox day today! I’ve scheduled my post to come up at 16.21 (SA time) which is when the momentary balance occurs.

World Peace Day and the Equinox

World Peace Day & the Equinox

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 22nd September is the Equinox when or where the length of day is equal to the length of night. That one nano-second of perfect balance when the earth’s axis reaches a momentary still point.. Balance – a moment before it turns on its axis and we in the southern hemisphere tilt towards summer and the northern hemisphere tilts towards Fall (Autumn). Fall in the north, Spring in the south. One inward looking, the other more outward looking – both beautiful and significant. A transition – 

The below photo is what was on the beach at Keurbooms Strand when we were there last week.. A beautiful piece with those crystals centre-piece –

crystal

The below photo was from the balcony at Plettenberg Bay, last Thursday, 2 nights after the Full Moon .. 

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Beach sand art – on the Beacon Island beach at Plettenberg Bay.

beachsandart

We returned home from Plettenberg Bay last night and it was wonderful to see the plants, flowers and trees this morning and to note how they’ve fared over the last week or so in our absence. I really ‘should’ have taken these photos earlier this afternoon.and not in shadow as I have but still, these are a glimpse –

Below is a treasured hanging orchid from a branch of a tree, gifted to us a few years ago – it was not showing buds when we left 10 days or so ago –

tree-orchid

This last one below I am very excited about – s’truth those amaryllis bloom so abundantly and vibrantly. I’m watching it like a hawk. I was so excited to see the buds this morning –

amyrillis

World Peace Day today –

I have to pause – 

I lit a candle – it was the least I could do. Photo below –

a-candle

And we must pray, and keep on praying, and keep on praying some more. Hard work is what is required of us, each and individually. Whether to a deity or not is our choice or belief or profound faith. In thought, word and deed is what matters. Atheists, non believers, all of each stripe and persuasion to join in the fight for peace. Men, women, all. Bring up all that is underground. Fight for our planet and all that is abundant in it and worth saving, for future generations and for ourselves and because it’s the right thing to do. That we do not pollute in any shape or form. That we do not desecrate Mother Earth and we will fight for her.  For us to hear her battle-cry and answer to it. Such a crazy paradox – Fight for Peace. But perhaps we do have to go into the battle-ground, and fight for peace – fight by praying, fight by saying no to what is not right, fight for standing up with what you believe in. We cannot stand by while all about is just totally crazy. I don’t know – madness has its own allure – maybe that extreme has to be reached – but maybe every now and then we can in any way, be a candle unto the darkness –

World Peace Day – one day, maybe one day, it will be every day –

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The world is pretty frightful everywhere. I pray for the Syrians, I pray for the families of shooting victims; I pray for those in sorrow and despair; I pray for Planet Earth and her survival; I pray that the emerging feminine energies will continue to be heard, from women and men alike –

‘Where is sorrow, there is Holy ground’. Oscar Wilde, de Profundis.

And the Equinox – a changing of energies – a tilt of our planet Earth – and balance for one brief moment. It’s real. We can each bring that tiny bit of balance into our everyday lives, every now and then; it will always have ripple effects. We can each be kind in whatever way and do no harm –

While in Plett I did some serious editing on the mss: ‘Reflections ~ Aging & Becoming’. A fair bit of going backwards and forwards with Susan Schwartz in Phoenix, Az. Believe it or not I think we are ‘getting there’ – it’s been a long while ‘getting there’. My son in Plett helped a lot but now wants to use an Indesign program to format etc. Which he can do by remote. He’s hiking the Otter Trail right now so this won’t get his attention for a while. Meanwhile I am pondering the next baby steps … to e or not to e (e.g).-  I heard it is dead simple to hijack one’s e-book and ‘get it for free’ –

No whales to be seen in Plettenberg Bay sad to say – I think Amanda when she called for them, saw the only one to be seen – my last post – we had a lovely time – and it is lovely to be home.

This last photo is of me in Plett last week; I’d snitched a few twigs of bougainvillea from a very abundant tree on the outside. My hair was terrible, in dire need of a cut, and I was wearing no lipstick. Nevertheless it is a lovely photo of the bouganvillea and I was clearly in a happy mood (probably from having snitched the blooms); that’s my husband in the background and the photo of me is representative though I do wish I’d been wearing lipstick – and had the haircut.

So, the flowers are from me to you, on World Peace Day and in honour of the Equinox. 

bouganvillea-plett

Thank you for reading – Peace to you all, and may the Force be with us all –

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call

yogaimages

 This morning I attended yoga, the first time I’d been to a Thursday morning class. The teacher was new to me. Her class had been with her for about 8 years she told me so they were ‘advanced’. I was to go at my own pace. It was amazing to watch her go so gracefully into various poses and hold them. And the pupils too. 

Then it was the headstand. My late mother was a yoga teacher and I remembered that it was her policy that no pupil attempt the headstand until had they’d several years of training. So I sat and watched. The teacher’s execution was a delight. Grace in slow motion, balance and stillness. And most of the pupils did it effortlessly.

A pupil walked to the wall. ‘My friend the wall’, she said and performed the head stand balancing her legs against the wall. Of course being me I made all sorts of associations. Hitting our heads against brick walls we seemingly can’t get through. A wall of pain and grief. Walling ourselves in and not allowing our vulnerability to show. Building walls instead of bridges. On and on went my associations while I sat on my yoga mat watching others. 

Can a wall become a friend as it did for the yoga pupil who used the wall for balance? Can I break down walls and build bridges in myself and in the world? Can I befriend the wall and see it as an aspirational metaphor, using it as a stepping stone to break down my inner walls that keep me from my fullness of being?

On ‘Hearing the Call‘ : My son who was visiting for several days last week took back with him to Plettenberg Bay a small gift from me to his girlfriend. She called me yesterday to thank me. I asked whether there had been any sightings of whales in the bay. We’re flying down to Plett this coming Sunday. No, she said, she hadn’t seen or heard. Call them to come I said to her. She said she would when next running on the beach.

I checked my cell phone I’d left behind to charge when I returned home  after yoga for an urgent cup of coffee. The first message was from Amanda. She’d seen whales in the bay this morning while running! My heart did a little leap –

Am I suggesting that the whales heard Amanda’s call? No, not really.

What it did suggest to me so soon after my yoga class, was my need to break down the inner wall in order to better hear the call. To make a friend of it and invite it in. Use it for clambering and climbing. Paint those walls with my own inner deep recesses. See, sniff through the walls. Knock down those inner walls that keep me bound. 

Could the obstacle be the path?

I tried to find some photos of whales I’d taken a few years back but no luck. Hopefully I’ll be able to put up a photo or two next week.

Those leviathans of the deep always stir something deep inside me. I like to think that I hear better the call of the deep – 

Thank you for coming by and all good wishes. May the Force be with you.

 

Spring

SPRING

strelitzia

Tomorrow the 1st of September is the official day of Spring! It certainly looks like it here up on the highveld in South Africa. Jasmine is showing her jewels everywhere and her scent is sublime. Yesterday Today & Tomorrow (brunfelsia – I had to look it up; aka Oxford & Cambridge) is beginning to bloom, its fragrance  and colour a delight and the clivias are gorgeous. I took the above photo yesterday morning of a strelitzia, also known as ‘bird of paradise’ and indigenous to South Africa. The top right hand corner probably had my thumb over my phone – but somehow that doesn’t matter. You can see another bloom about to burst behind the glowing flower. 

My garden is showing winter snow drops. It’s always a lovely surprise to see them pop up. They’re so pretty and delicate. My orchids continue to bloom in their pots on the patio; they’re a real wonder to me. My rose bushes are sprouting, as are my bougainvilleas in their large pots, their green leaves shooting. My azaleas – today I saw tiny buds! The jacaranda trees don’t seem to know what to do – they’re half in process of shedding many leaves and looking bare while others look as if they’re about to bloom. A friend of mine in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal says they’re showing in all their purple-mauvey-bluey glory.

I had my first walk in ages this late afternoon. I broke my two middle toes several weeks ago when I banged them against the dressing table as I was rushing to find my shoes to attend an evening meeting. I had my injured toes strapped together for a few weeks. I didn’t think it worth an x-ray. They were either broken or badly sprained. They were sore, bruised and plumped up like pork sausages. So, I haven’t walked for a long while, though I’ve been attending yoga and pilates since the beginning of this month, doing what I can. No rising up or bending down on tippy toes – all quite flat footed thank you.

For the last two mornings I’ve arrived at school earlier than usual where I volunteer to help poor readers. Instead of checking for emails and reading the news on my phone in the car before fetching the first pupil from class, I decided to walk briskly around the soccer field in the bright still early-ish morning. I was so pleased – my toes seemed to manage. This gave me the impetus to walk this evening. It was so lovely – and, since my elder son is up here in Johannesburg for a few days from Plettenberg Bay, he and my husband also came for a walk! Joy indeed! And most unusual!

While we welcome the arrival of Spring here in the southern hemisphere (although it’s been known to snow in October), those of you in northern climes have your Fall approaching. Always, the change of seasons brings about inner changes. May these in-between times bring good constructive changes and may peace, goodwill, justice and freedom prevail.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

Opposition

Opposition

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I tried to find the quote which has always stayed with me ~ I can’t ~ but to paraphrase  as I remember it, ‘a healthy democracy is dependant on its opposition’.

This is evident by the outcome of our recent national municipal elections held every 5 years this past August 3rd. Although there wasn’t a huge voter turn out, our ruling* party the ANC~ the African National Congress ~ was severely trumped in 3 major metros and elsewhere in previously held ANC strongholds. The opposition leader of the DA ~ Democratic Alliance ~ Mmusi Maimane ~ led a clean and inspiring challenge to the ANC.

We’re hopeful that the Democratic Alliance will bring back values enshrined in our Constitution, drawn up by Mr. Nelson Mandela and many other worthies. We’re hopeful that those who remain in the ANC will be similarly inspired. There are/were many within the ANC who did sterling jobs but there were far too many who were feeding at the trough. We’re hopeful that money for education & schools, health clinics, housing, water and electricity will be properly allocated and implemented; tenders will follow proper transparent procedures; councillors will be accountable; people who are qualified for the job will be given the job and no more positions for pals; and that tax payers money will no longer be used to line the pockets of those in the ‘inner circle’ ~ the sycophants.

The lead up to these municipal elections was seriously rough. Racism reared its ugly head at every turn. Dirt on candidates was unearthed; 20 potential candidates were murdered, perpetrators still to be found.

At long last, we can hope that our country can pull together in spite of the challenges ahead. That there will be more job opportunities for our youth who find fulfilment in their work and can foresee a future for themselves and future generations. That women and girls rise up from their position of subservience and disallow a firmly entrenched culture of patriarchy ~ and that men and boys do not feel threatened by the natural feminine.

It really does seem to me that we’re in a process of transformation in my neck of the woods ~ a slow one as worthy ones are ~ and while there opportunities for all in our beloved country, there are also dangers. There always are as the old gives way to the new, as a new consciousness and a new vision is born. Waking from sleeping is never easy ~

I think this is true for the world at large as well ~ the soul of the world is calling out for recognition of pervasive social malaise and a re-dressing of serious imbalances. We’re all being called to be in opposition that does not serve ourselves or our planet.

There are many seismic shifts worldwide. Locally we’re still in winter here in South Africa but I am heartened to see buds on plants that looked very tired. A bougainvillea pot plant looked quite dead yesterday but I today I can see the shoots! The below photo of orchids I took this afternoon. Snowdrops in the background. Opposition is healthy ~

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May The Force be with you, and thank you for reading.

 

*I wish they’d do away with ‘ruling party’ and-rather call it the ‘serving’ party ~

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