#WATWB – connection

It’s the last Friday of the month – again – June is almost here. On the last Friday of each month bloggers from around the world post a good news story to help ameliorate the news that is often dark and confusing. Especially now when we are in the thick of covid-19, the effects of which are felt on thousands of levels including isolation, hunger, loss of income, restrictions, depression, despair …

It was not that easy this time round to find a single good news story. We certainly know of 1000’s of initiatives by NGO’s, businesses, individuals that are going all out to help communities and individuals in distress. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that only when faced with tragedies does the face of humanity present itself; but it does seem a time when an event of this nature pulls out all the stops to help those in need.

This story appealed to me. It’s of mothers and their babies in hospital, in the neonatal units of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. I love that mother and baby are together, and the mother who is in isolation with her infant, can use technology to connect with her larger family, so that they can see the new infant, this new arrival, into a new world. The mother no longer feels so isolated and can spend time with family virtually.

There is connection.

Take a look at the mothers chatting to their loved ones and showing off their little babies below. The Newborns Trust was sponsored by RSA Web giving free wifi for mothers for this purpose. The little video is just under 4 minutes long (with thanks for this post to Tyler Leigh Vivier of GoodThingsGuy).

These are the co-hosts this month. Do pop by and say hello and get a dose of good news:

Susan Scott, Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary Giese and Damyanti Biswas.

Thank you for reading. Hope you all have a good weekend. Stay safe.

May the Force be with you.

Black Swan, Birthing and Betrayal

On a walk a few days ago, my husband picked up this pod on the roadside and said it reminded him of a swan. Which reminded me of a post I’d written at the end of January 2017 on the ‘Black Swan’. It was apropos a birding walk we’d done one morning on the grounds of the Johannesburg Country Club. I photographed a black swan on the lake though with my phone it was barely visible. In my post at the end of January 2017 I wrote about the ‘Black Swan’ as a phenomenon – i.e. that all of a sudden an entirely unpredictable and improbable event occurs that upsets the apple cart hugely, and has enormous effects in many ways, geopolitically particularly.

So, above are photos of the pod, picked up on the path. The top one, looking a little swan like; the next two where the same one faces left and then right, one looking up one looking down (the same pod, just at different positions). I like too that it also looks boat-like, or leaf-like, with an indentation, or container –

Excerpt from my January 2017 post. “The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic”.

In that particular Wikipedia article, mention is also made of the necessity of being able to withstand the fall out.

I see these days as unlikely as a black swan.

I’m reminded of the words of Julian David, Jungian analyst from Devon UK who was visiting South Africa many years ago in which he gave a lecture. In that lecture, he stressed the importance of sitting in the fire when we are in it, and not leaping out of the flames to escape being burned even if that be our inclination. We have to sit in it, he said, and be burned. I think of today, when we want redemption and renewal/resurrection, now. But this is a long process, one that will be keeping us in limbo and uncertainty for who knows how long.

The first photo below is the one I took with my cell phone a few years back of the swan. It is in the middle. The one below was taken by someone who was on the bird walk with us and took the photo with a telephoto lens and forwarded it onto me. What is not visible is just as real though –

Can anything be birthed from this time we are now in? We’ve been experiencing birth pangs for a long time already. Is this going to be a long gestation period in which the process cannot be hurried much? Will we be able to be stretched and sit in the discomfort? Are we flexible towards the unknown? Are we adapting as we go along on this seemingly treacherous road, as we face upheaval, betrayal of all that we held dear? Will we honour the dark, like the embryo in the womb? Will we somehow remember the grace of the swan? Our confidence in our governments who gained our trust when we thought were acting in our best interests? In what way were we complicit in allowing matters to come to this sorry pass? Civil liberties slowly being eroded? Lives at risk? The grief we experience on all levels, deaths, illness, isolation, uncertainty. Fear. Betrayal. Will we emerge from the ruins? What will be acceptable or more noble to us as individuals and collectively some years ahead? Will the black swan effect help us towards a brother/sisterhood of humanity? Will be still be Waiting for Godot, waiting for tomorrow?

Can we look up and down, like the pod of the swan, left and right, and sail serenely like the swan from my friend’s photo? Do we need a telephoto lens to see what is not visible?

I don’t know what kind of lens I use to see while in this zeitgeist. All I know is, is that this time has to be endured and that patience in the waiting is needed. at the same time always questioning the information we’re fed. Much of the time I feel and am unproductive and slothful. Questioning the information we’re fed from various sources is exhausting, yet in my view necessary. Hard science vs contrary information which is sometimes compelling. The moments, few and far between, when I get my hands into the soil are good, or paint, or play with clay (after great resistance). Baking – I also believe that our old way of consciousness has to give way to a renewed one and that it will take time. What can kill can also cure. We’re in both an individual collective ‘dark night of the soul’ –

My thoughts are with you all and with those on the front line who meet this virus head on to best assist. May the Force be with you. May we withstand the fall out. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend. Keep safe and well.

#WATWB

The last Friday of this month – how quickly ‘last Fridays of the month’ come by. Things race along as they do everyday while at the same time we’re in the midst of the biggest pause we’ve (or I’ve) ever been asked to experience. A huge pause in the last long while – and a long pause still to come – we’re caught in many complexes both individually and collectively.

#WATWB – We are the World is an initiative set up by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath Witzhuizen some years ago, as a way of broadcasting good news posts from bloggers around the world. It’s intention is to illustrate that in spite of the denseness of darkness that surrounds us and our communities and further beyond, there are those out there who are angels who see where a need is and take steps to fill that need for another, or for communities, or for planet earth and her inhabitants. Whether it is feeding programmes for the hungry, water for drought stricken areas, accommodation for the homeless, caring for abandoned pets, supporting businesses that have had to close – well, the list is long of those in need, sometimes dire. We’re all being stretched in many uncomfortable ways. We’re all facing the same storm that is covid-19, although our ships and sails are of different sizes and strengths and we sail them differently. Some storms are easier to sail, some very difficult …

‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.

Mr Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers

Here in South Africa there are so many initiatives, from government, NGO’s, NPO’s, individuals, communities, businesses, CEO’s, in fact just about everyone who can, are donating their time, money and efforts to keep our people and animals as safe as possible in this lockdown from covid-19. Our greatest strength is our people as someone said –

The diamonds in the detritus are there –

faceted diamonds on dark background colourbox.com

I can’t decide what story to highlight – I know of sooooo many and I follow many of these initiatives very closely. Communities, individuals, organisations, businesses, stores – the whole bang shoot – coming together, practising UBUNTU, helping, sharing, being in compassion and in humanity, emptying their pockets as much as they can to help, where needed. Feeding the hungry is one of the priorities. People are being creative, sharing their ideas, making things like masks at their homes by the thousands, to buy and donate, many so very pretty, soft and comfortable, washable, affordable, and effective in preventing the spread of germs – #Masks4AllPlettandbeyondTeams

Feeding schemes request ice-cream and yoghurt containers and the like to be delivered at designated points to be collected and used to fill with soup and delivered to the needy. Animals who have been abandoned are lovingly taken care of and fed daily by volunteers. There are many designated places outside the stores where coffee, tea, bread, oil, maize meal, jam, peanut butter, basic provisions, where one can place their donations. Places to drop off your unused curtains, or any material used to make masks … these are just a few of many initiatives in Plettenberg Bay where I live –

The air is clearer is many parts of the world, rivers are cleaner, animals are returning to their natural habitat and numbers, coral is being restored inter alia which makes me realise how majestic Mother Nature is in her ability to strive for healing and balance. It is truly heart inspiring to see UBUNTU in action in very small and very large ways, humanity in action, caring for our neighbours and beyond. I believe we’re all striving for healing and balance.

Our co-hosts this month are as below. Do pop by and say hello. Their stories are bound to be fabulous and inspiring and bring a sense of the goodness that prevails in spite of –

Eric Lahti
Susan Scott
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
Damyanti Biswas
Dan Antion

Should you wish to take part in this monthly event and share some good news, we’d love to have you along. This is the linky-list to add your name. Posts to be be 500 words, non-religious, non-political and to say why you liked this particular spot of good news, and attach the link to the story, which I have NOT done this month. Please use social media to spread the good news, using the #WATWB hashtag and badge.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you and yours.

A lovely song below – 1min 31 secs., for those who have not seen it. An Irish Blessing, now a South African cover Blessing, in honour of all those in the front line –

Pesach and Easter

Leaving Exile and Returning Home: Pesach
A Crown/Corona of Thorns: Easter

Two very significant events in our history, celebrated around the world.

I wish you all a Blessed Pesach and a happy and meaningful Easter.

Over the last several days, it has struck me how much we use the words ‘war’, ‘fight’, ‘battle’, ‘strike’; ‘overcome’, ‘kill’; ‘threat’; ‘destroy’; ‘annihilate’; bomb; defeat; attack etc. To me it’s a little disturbing – language used invariably by those in power –

We can Fight the Good Fight, as others have before in striving for a better world. We can send love bombs out into the world. Before we overcome, we must go through. We can empathise with our doctors and nurses, the cleaners, the carers, all those who are in the frontline of this attack. We pledge them our co-operation and hope for resilience for them and us all.

We know that our world is likely to be irrevocably turned upside down in the near future and in the long term and indeed is, already.

We are all exposed to covid-19, it’s somewhere out there, who knows where, floating in the atmosphere in its grand impartiality … so we’re urged to stay at home, and follow best procedure for minimising exposure.

In this process there is I feel, another kind of exposure. The word ‘expose’ has many meanings. ‘Reveal’ is one of them. Uncover, show, display, disclose, manifest are others. Make (something) visible by exposure.

We’re aware of the underbelly that has been simmering for a long time and is now being exposed for what it is. Steps taken to redress the imbalance, whether by government, NGO’s, communities, individuals to assist with e.g. the homeless, those who don’t have food or money and no access to medicine or shelter.

We’re re-thinking and re-feeling; re-membering and dis-membering; re-evaluating; re-assessing with a fair amount of resistance thrown into the mix.

And while I have ongoing concerns of having freedoms taken away as a form of control I know that I must work within the system as we do battle.

Yet in this constriction there is also expansion, an apparently unlikely outcome as they appear to be in contradiction to each other. We’re almost forced to expand. Necessity is the Mother of Invention after all.

We can expose and expand ourselves to our higher aspirations … those which are profound and soulful and those which assume more meaning to us in these particular times. We can open up to love and care, for ourselves and our neighbour. We can open up to those deep and hidden golden parts of ourselves that are there, waiting to be invited in as a welcome guest into your house.

I ask myself in various sorts of ways, how much is enough? Is a more beautiful world possible? Will there be love and peace? Will there be co-operation in our co-existence? Will we grieve? Will we strive or aspire to a more equitable share of resources for all? Will Mother Nature appreciate our efforts at re-storing Her Beauty and Bounty and accept our profound sorrow for her suffering? In our isolation can we find togetherness? Can we extend ourselves in ways we never imagined? What can I do?

Rilke : Let me not squander the hour of my pain –

My son David is a musician. He’s been making videos over this last while which he puts up his FB and twitter page – he is in touch with the times. Many times they are humourous parodies yet with a serious underlying message. He uses music and his skills to his best ability and is thoroughly entertaining. The one below (no parody) is from a week or so ago, and his beautiful wife Jüte sings with him. The languages are English, Afrikaans and Zulu. It’s a ‘cover’ of the Irish Blessing and was made to honour the health care workers. (Sponsored by Adcock Ingram) 1min 33 secs

Thank you for reading. May this time of Easter and Pesach bring renewal in every way. May The Force be with you.

#WATWB

‘In Darkness, Be Light’ has been the intention of this ‘We are the World Blogfest’ since its inception. In Darkness, Be Light.

We are entering the 4th year of this particular blogging platform. Small beginnings from 3 or 4 years ago. A handful of people, energetic, from different parts of the world, keen to shine some light on the world, by showing individual acts or collective acts that make a profound difference to another and/or to the/a community. Each month, on the last Friday of the month, a #WATWB blog is put up, of some act, by an individual or a collective, some initiative, that has hugely benefitted the receiver/s. Some person had an idea and wanted to do good in the world. These posts always make my blood vessels expand a little, I feel my my heart widen, and it always fills me with an abiding sense of the inherent goodness of men and women and children.

This is my offering this time, the song ‘We are the World’ Kenny Rogers – RIP – is in it. Willie, Tina, Michael, The Boss, Billy, Cyndy, Dionne, Stevie, Ray, Diana – many others. It’s about 6 mins long. And joyous. And a reminder of how we can make the world a better place for you and for me.

The co-hosts this time round are below and our thanks to them.

Sylvia McGrath, Damyanti Biswas, Shilpa Garg and Belinda Witzenhausen. and Dan Antion on “http://nofacilities.com/

Do pop by them and check out their posts. You will be amazed and heartened at SO much good that is done in the world.

We really are going into the unknown at this time. We feel the ground beneath our feet is shaky. We are concerned for ourselves and loved ones, and concerned for all others too in the midst of this corona virus covid-19. (Corona is Latin for Crown – is the crown and all that is ‘at the top’ and overbearing, dissolving somewhat?) Whatever is happening, may we find meaning – and hope – that a new world may emerge that is for the better for us individually and collectively.

Thank you for reading. Take care, be safe, wash your hands. May you find togetherness in aloneness. May the Force and Grace be with you –

In Darkness, Be Light

This That and the next

I half knew that the equinox was this last Thursday 19th March, but it passed me by and I didn’t put up a post as I always have at equinoxes and solstices. They’re timely points of the seasons and so symbolic of a going towards and a going back – light and dark – each fecund – Did we reach a still point of balance at the equinox I wonder?

We’re moving into high gear here in South Africa. Our covid-19 numbers of confirmed cases are doubling every few days. Today they stand at 276. No deaths reported as yet. Of concern is the majority who live in crowded conditions and many do not have access to fresh running water; and those who use taxis, buses and trains for transport. And those who refuse to see the reality of it …

Our Health Minister gives us updates and re-inforces the message of self-isolating as much as possible. Our president is finally being presidential. Groups may be only maximum 100 though there is talk of lowering to this to 50. Probably less. International travel is disallowed and internal travel discouraged. Schools, libraries, restaurants, gyms are closed (or most of them). Churches, synagogues and mosques are closing. People are being innovative at this time. The elderly and pensioners are given their own hour to shop at stores. Bulk buying is not allowed and putting up prices is not OK. Bulking up on bog roll is the butt of many jokes here..

Soap and water is the best for hygiene. It is not necessary to keep the water running while hand washing. Like brushing your teeth – turn tap off while brushing, turn tap on when rinsing. Water conservation. In fact I think today is ‘Water Conservation Day’ –

In our isolation we have the opportunity be more together in co-operation. You’ve all no doubt read of the lovely things that are occurring, blue skies in China, clean rivers in Italy, Italians singing from their rooftops, various organisations making live viewing or streaming available free of charge. It was Fake news about dolphins and flamingos suddenly appearing – National Geographic has put paid to that rumour. But there are wonderful stories of people helping each out, beautiful poetry posted on eg FB that speaks to the soul. Meditation is also available on various media. As are opera, art houses and much more –

I am aware that I could be more slothful as the days go by and I need to guard against that. I can see myself on the sofa watching endless series or movies, avidly watching the news, reading till my eyes get tired, not moving very much and so on. As advised, one can still get up from slouching and do a few stretches. I have listed some tasks, like finally planting the various waterwise cactus that I have dotted around the garden into one place in among some white stones. I plan turning a room downstairs into an art room, get my easel and a table set up for all the art paraphernalia. I’m pretty much self isolating, staying at home. Shopping done, things in the freezer.

I tidied my study the other day, re-arranged books etc. I have so many lovely books, a veritable treasure house. I foresee re-reading some of them. Maybe show my husband Jung’s The Red Book. If only for the amazing art work.

The Red Book within sight of my desk
the other book shelf

Some paintings to be put up – still more to be re-arranged until they are just as I want them to be!

I’ve resurrected Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell ‘The Power of Myth’ CD’s to watch and listen to. Rich material. A long time back since I last viewed it –

Parabola (based in New York) very generously offered a free PDF of their 2012 quarterly journal entitled ‘Alone & Together’ which I downloaded after DM’ing them and have yet to read. I know it will speak to my soul – hopefully yours too – It’s a wonderful organisation to follow on FB. They often publish excerpted essays from their various editions.

Click here to access the PDF.

I’ll tidy up my computer and delete a lot that’s been sitting there forever. I’ll need to gird my loins for that ..

I can walk on the beach so that’s a blessing. The weather is mild. The last two times I walked with son Mike (actually not on the beach but the lovely surrounds of his home) he kept a distance from me, of 2 meters.

My husband & I walked down to the lagoon this morning, a glorious day. I put up the photo of the small boat on a Plett what’s app page, thinking that the owner may like to ‘know’ or identify it. One or two of the comments were amusing; one said the boat was self-isolating, another that no oxygen required –

It was lovely to watch the antics of two dogs trying to get onto a paddle ski; this one was successful. I asked permission to take the photo –

May you all keep safe – these troubling times present an opportunity to go both inwards and outwards and to find new and creative ways to stay connected while isolated. We’re way out of our comfort zones … it’s a challenge for sure. May we meet it …

To end, my younger son David the musician, The Kiffness, has produced a spoof on Sweet Caroline/Carona and is in my view very funny and the funniest part of it is left to the last. Do watch, I’m sure you’ll laugh!

May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.

Strangeness

Things are strange indeed –

spider web

The threads, holding it all together is strange – a thread as fine as a spider’s web and fiercely strong. The silk from the spider’s web is used in the manufacture of pilots’ parachutes. Delicate and strong. Two apparently opposite words in meaning.

It seems as if we, collectively and individually, hang suspended, in mid-air, wondering when the thread is going to break – and hoping that that very strong parachute will stay aloft and not come crashing down when tested to the limits and finally giving way and breaking. Slowly at first, each break weakening the next thread … and then the next and so on – on a trajectory towards the tipping and then the breaking point. The limit is reached, the centre cannot hold ..

the stuff of writers and poets, artists and those who see perhaps with a different eye, and the stuff of those of us who wish to see further trying to discern what’s going on.

We know what a virus means, we have viruses entering our computers and the hard drive being wiped out. We have cold and flu viruses. HIV, hepatitis B and so on. An antibiotic does not help as this is a virus and not a bacteria. But viruses can be treated medically and the patient is advised to be patient. Rest is often prescribed and to stay at home so as not to spread it.

The word is late Middle English (denoting the venom of a snake): from Latin, literally ‘slimy liquid, poison’. The earlier medical sense, superseded by the current use as a result of improved scientific understanding, was ‘a substance produced in the body as the result of disease, especially one capable of infecting others’.

Corona: mid 16th century (in corona1 (sense 5): from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’.

So, the corona/crown virus that is capable of wiping out peoples’ hard drives.

Is it the crown that is wiped out? Does this have some sort of symbolic meaning? I suspect it does – the head being chopped off. History comes to mind as does the practice in this current day in different fundamentalist parts of the world.

Well, I’m not going to wax lyrical ad nauseam as to the symbology of it all. Although I can’t help wondering if ‘coronary’ has its etymology in ‘corona’ . Even as I write, I want to say the symbol is always in state of change or meaning, but this symbol of the chopping the head off, does seem rather fixed – I mean, once the head is off its off right? No more breathing, no more pulse, no more nothing. Just bleeding until the body is all bled out ….

Who knows if this speaks to the dismantling of patriarchy thread by thread; the dismantling of much hitherto known and familiar; the dismantling of that which no longer serves us; the dismantling of illusion; the dismantling of excessive reason and logic which, when extreme, is quite fixed, as if in stone. I can’t help but wonder …

But, can spirit or soul emerge from the stone? Especially when forced to? Even if a hammer has to be used to crack it open?

There is no huge panic as yet in South Africa – a mild form of it is evident, which is in itself a form of virus in that it spreads, along with fear. Panic and Fear, two well known – and used – psychological weapons of war. I know that our National Defence Force has flown to Wuhan to fetch the 122 South Africans who’ve been working there and their location on return is known and will be in lockdown.

Many thoughts come to mind: a concern for those who are frail and elderly, those who have compromised immune systems or underlying health concerns, the rural areas where fresh water is not always available or polluted, the poor and malnourished, the readiness of our health institutions to meet it should it become a crisis.

So much is falling apart, and of all this we are a part. I definitely live in a bubble here in Plettenberg Bay. One more prick and the bubble will burst. Hundreds of pricks have been happening here in this beleaguered country – rioting, burning of academic institutions, burning tyres on national roads, our stock exchange crashing, murders and assassinations galore, appalling road deaths most times due to overloading of taxis and buses and aggro drivers who do not know what a speed limit means, ongoing commissions of enquiry into corrupt politicians, and wondering whether the ratings agency is going to downgrade us even further …

And yet – what is the limit? And if that limit is reached and the threads break irrevocably, then what? What is our limit? Can a limit be limiting? Can we look at all that is happening in some other way and endure our discomfort in the process? Can we rethink our attitude to all that is happening and see our own role in the larger world view? Could the breaking down of the world as we know it be some sort of break through, where we use our hearts instead of our heads?

Can all that is being put on hold such as concerts, gatherings, sports events, travel and much else besides, be an opportunity to pause, be still and find the meaning in all of this – because that is what we have to do, find meaning, even if it means asking difficult questions. What does it feel like to have my freedoms taken away at least temporarily, in service to the greater good? Can I isolate myself to some extent so as not to be an agent of spreading the virus? Can I turn inwards, towards the heart, and listen to its messages –

This little spider appeared on my computer today. It crawls up onto the screen and then falls back into the crack between screen and keyboard, disappears for a moment, re-appears, is still, then starts its journey again, upwards.


There’s something about this little spider that speaks to me even if I am a bit scared of them. And the snake as mentioned above is something I hope to not come across in my house. But I do know that what can kill can also cure. And I’m hoping that this virus and all that it means in our lives, brings about transcendence in one way or the other and that we see our way through it. And that Grace and Unity helps us along. We’re aware of medical teams and staff working under extreme pressure and our gratitude goes to them too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is oroborus-1.jpg

P!nk – What’s Up (from Live from Wembley Arena, London … It’s a great song

Thank you for reading, stay safe, follow the advice given (wash your hands frequently) and may the Force be with you.

#We are the World Blogfest

It’s hard to believe that it’s the last Friday of this month 2020! January is whizzing by at the rate of knots, like much else that is happening in the world.

airplanes with SAA flag

I wonder every day what this day will bring. Uppermost in mind is the safety of us all in this troubled world.

#WATWB is now in its 4th year, initially begun by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath as a way of tempering darkness and shining some light onto it to make the darkness leas fearful. To this end, bloggers from around the world post something that has inspired them, some action whose ripples are felt, which show and remind us of humanity at its best and which inspire us to do whatever we can, some random act of kindness or a planned community initiative. The stories are always amazing and uplifting so do pop round and see them, and drop a line – we’d love to see you there –

Here in South Africa we have millions of ordinary folk doing extraordinary things for others. As well as The Gift of the Givers, an extraordinary organisation here in South Africa that delivers whatever what is needed throughout the world. It is hard to select just one story. But since there are parts of our country that are facing severe drought with the lives of farmers and animals in dire straits, I’ve chosen this one. There’s been some lovely rainfall in recent days, but not enough.

The link below shows how women, men joining in too, started small, baking cookies to sell to bring in much needed relief funds for those in the drought stricken Karoo. Small became big! I love these kind of initiatives and the biscuits look delicious!

Our co hosts this month are below, and our thanks to them –

D. Biswas – https://www.damyantiwrites.com/  (Damyanti)

L. Hartz – https://authorlizbethhartz.com/blog (Lizbeth)

S. Garg – http://shilpaagarg.com/ (Shilpa)

M. Giese – https://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/ (Mary)

S. Stein – https://ssteinwriting.wordpress.com/ Sylvia)

Thank you for reading.

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

Revolution and Chaos

My apologies for Tuesday and pushing publish instead of preview. This post is entirely refashioned and much of what was mistakenly published no longer appears, though I’m still focusing my attention on revolution – and chaos.

Last week my sons, husband and myself were having a quiet lunch on the balcony overlooking the sea. Mike asked me, do you have any new year resolutions ma? A dreaded question in its way. So I thought for a minute. I said no, not resolutions, maybe revolutions. (photo below is my husband who, while smiling, was actually a bit anxious about my stating revolutions, not resolutions).

Increasingly, ‘revolution’ has come up these last several days on social media and I’m pleased that the word revolution is coming more into conscious awareness. A revolution in our way of thinking and feeling, a way of looking beyond all the chaos that is happening in our world.

But what is chaos? Can we imagine it? Or re-imagine it? Can we trust chaos? Do we have to throw our hands up in despair? Can we suffer it thereby allowing it? Can we bear and endure it? Is chaos the other side of order, neither exclusive to each other?

I wish I’d noted the source at the time, but I didn’t. But the notion stuck firmly in my mind, i.e. that for there to be good or ‘worthwhile’ suffering, there has to be an allowing of suffering. Allow the suffering. Allow it. Which means I guess acceptance of it. It does no good surely, to turn aside from the real suffering of the world, the planet, its inhabitants, human and otherwise, plant and otherwise, above ground, below ground, ourselves. But suffering in the sense that I mean it is a way of acknowledging it, re-cognising it, and the suffering of it means that we allow our suffering to be real, deep, true, tragic –  we feel it at the core of our being –

Is chaos a necessity of order, and if so, can we then understand that there is the possibility of movement away from utter chaos? But surely it does not mean a great rush towards order which in itself can be suffocating? Chaos stirs things up adding flavour and vitality to order – who does not know the aftermath of peace and quiet of a violent storm or fire and feels blessed indeed when Mother Nature calms down; or the vitality on awakening after a deep and restful sleep; or even the vitality of a hectic dream, disturbing our sleep to be sure, yet knowing that the dream holds vital clues. 

I feel at the core of my being that the feminine energies are rising to take their place in the world. I suspect the clash of erstwhile masculine and patriarchal energies with all that is good about rising feminine energies also invites chaos to the process. That what has been rejected is no longer allowed invisibility. The wheel is turning, and what has been formerly seen as obstacles in restoring the feminine and all her energies, dark and light, can also be seen as the path.  The feminine energies call for our honouring of Mother Earth not for the mastery of her. The feminine energies of nurturance and care, protection of all that is sacred and mundane are present in men as well. There are so many obstacles on the way to the meeting of the feminine and masculine – but the obstacles are the path. Both the outward and inner world are frightening, awful, destructive, painful, confusing, overly uncertain. So for me, a revolution in my thinking and feeling is required if I am to allow what is. Can I use my experience of chaos in a revolutionary way, just sit with it and not run away from it? Can I suffer it, allow it, trust that chaos gives rise to order? Can I re-imagine chaos and re-cognise it? That’s my resolve, or my resolution .. I wonder if it will be a revelation –

We went walking down at the lagoon the other evening. It was indescribably beautiful.

There’s a full moon today and an eclipse I believe. I’ll be looking out for it and will honour her phases and all she represents – her fullness and emptiness and even when not visible, she is there as a guiding light.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you all.

Computer-generated image of the sun’s “lines of chaos,” emitted during the eleven-year solar magnetic cycle.

Towards the end of the year

 

Where did the year go? In a few days time it will be the solstice – longest day shortest night in the southern hemisphere, and shortest day longest night in the northern hemisphere.

on the same day as Hanukkah – the festival of lights –

and a few days after that, it’s Christmas, the miracle birth of Jesus –

and then it’s the new year –

I’ve deliberately chosen images that have no messages on them but they all show ‘light’ in one form or another.

But I do have some quotes relating to this time of year with the word ‘light’:

           ‘Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterise our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognise our options as we move through our lives’. Gary Zukav

“A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” — Moshe Davis

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.  Psalm119:105 

People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

All my good wishes are with you all as we approach the end of 2019 and enter into 2020. May 2020 bring you plenty plenty – good health, peace, joy, respite, renewal, creativity.  As we navigate from 2019 which has been pretty tumultuous on all fronts, all around the world, may we find our centre from which everything stems.
Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.

#WATWB being part of the solution

#WATWB

How on earth is it the last Friday of the month again? It comes by so quickly, but it is the date on which bloggers from around the world post an item of good news that shows humanity whether individually or communally at its best, as a way of countering the negativity that we’re continuously exposed to.

Thank you to our hosts this month – do pop by and say hello and be enchanted.

Damyanti Biswas http://www.damyantiwrites.com/ Lizbeth Hartz  https://www.authorlizbethhartz.com/blog/ Shilpa Garg  http://shilpaagarg.com/

Peter Nena https://drkillpatient01.wordpress.com/ Simon Falk https://simonfalk28.wordpress.com/ –

I love highlighting stories from my part of the world. Here, there’s a very strong movement called #imstaying and I believe it’s now reached over a million stories from individuals in South Africa (and those abroad who write of their longing for our wide open skies, the friendliness and exuberance of the people – well, I could go on -)

Below, are thumbnail sketches of 4 stories with links if you want to check them out further

                                                                By Justin Foxton (SA the Good News)

Whether you like the #imstaying campaign or not, it is doing a significant job of giving a section of the population a much-needed shot in the arm. Given the vast numbers of people lending their voice to the movement (850 000 and counting), there is a huge opportunity for a phase 2 called something like #impartofthesolution.

To inspire us and hopefully get things started, here are 4 short stories from my own life of people who have been part of the solution. There is an entrepreneur, an Organisational Development specialist, a mother and a group of passionate S’affers now living abroad. All 4 have one thing in common; they have used what was in their hearts and hands to be part of the solution.

Mam Khanyi – Home of Hope (www.hopehome.org.za)

Nearly 20 years ago, an import/export entrepreneur noticed 4 girl children standing at the robots near her Johannesburg apartment. She asked a man who these children were and was horrified when he told her they were prostitutes. She invited them into her apartment for tea and after being told that they were forced to deal drugs and sell their bodies on behalf of pimps and drug lords, she stormed off to find said men and gave them a dressing down they will never forget. Those 4 girls were rescued and nearly 2 decades later Mam Khanyi has cared for over 10 000 girl children all of whom had been trafficked and sold for sex.

Dr Louise van Rhyn – Partners for Possibility (www.pfp4sa.org)

Nearly 10 years ago, an Organisational Development specialist was profoundly moved by the Dinokeng Scenarios (www.dinokengscenarios.co.za). Dr Louise van Rhyn responded to a scenario inviting us to work together to build the nation, by starting a program called Partners for Possibility. The program partners school Principals of marginalised schools, with ordinary citizens from the non-educational working world in a co-learning, facilitated 1-year leadership development program. Since then over 1000 schools and hundreds of thousands of children nationwide have been positively impacted by the power of this globally recognised program.

Eunice Khumalo – the uMlazi Baby Home (www.peaceagency.org.za)

“Auntie Eunice” has cared for abandoned and orphaned babies all her life. Just this week, she got the keys to a house in uMlazi, South of Durban. From this home, she will now run her own Baby Home and will work together with the local community to care for babies, drive down infant abandonment and provide necessary support to vulnerable girls and women who are unable to care for their babies.

Lana & David Stephenson and Barry and Katherine Corden

These passionate South Africans now living abroad are leveraging their networks and social media skills to raise the funds necessary for Auntie Eunice to open and run the uMLazi Baby Home.

For each one of these 4 stories there are tens of thousands of others; stories of ordinary South Africans using their talents, passions and contacts to be part of the solution in South Africa.

A recipe for being part of the solution:

What are you best at? What do you love doing? What is easy and satisfying for you? Add these things to what gets your blood boiling and you have a perfect recipe. At some point these people – all ordinary South Africans like you and I – used this recipe and are now in their sweet-spot, making a difference and being part of the solution.

I invite you to give this recipe a bash so that you too can say #impartofthesolution.

This column is proudly sponsored by Partners for Possibility.

Thank you Justin Fox for this, thank you all for reading and have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

#WATWB – planting seeds of hope

#WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month – how quickly it comes by – and time for a shot of inspiring stories around the globe. This time round I haven’t provided the link; the story is in full. The idea is to spread good will, to show an individual or community in action and how this makes a positive impact. It is a lovely way of humanity showing its positive side among all the doom and gloom that is pretty pervasive. The names and places may seem unpronounceable; these are local South African women from up north where it is dry and dusty and riddled with poverty.

A woman concerned about hungry children in her community, decided to make a difference.

Women from the We Can Women’s Cooperative with the produce from their food garden.

After getting married in 1996, Esther Masekoameng (60) moved from Phalaborwa to Mathibaskraal in Limpopo, but she was shocked by the level of poverty in her new hometown.

“IT WASN’T LIKE PHALABORWA. PEOPLE ARE VERY POOR HERE AND THE CHILDREN AT THE SCHOOL WERE LEARNING UNDER THE TREES.”

Most of the pupils didn’t bring lunch to school and because the school was near to her house, Esther began to make soup for them and also started to sell vetkoek.

“THE CHILDREN WHO COULD AFFORD TO BUY LUNCH PAID 10 CENTS FOR A VETKOEK AND THE OTHERS, WHO WERE TOO POOR GOT FREE VEGETABLE SOUP.”

The unemployment and poverty in Mathibaskraal worsened over the years, and in 2006, Esther decided to approach the school principal to expand her garden to cater for more learners. “I knew that if I had a little help, I would be able to grow more vegetables and make more soup for those in need, so when the principal agreed, I asked some of the older ladies in the community to help and that’s how we started. We also give vegetables and seedlings to the crèche in our area.”

Women from the We Can Women’s Cooperative – (aren’t their smiles lovely!)

Esther used the funds from the sale of vetkoek (dough, fried in oil, sweetened) to buy a variety of seedlings for the We Can Women’s Cooperative, which was formally established in 2018. She also bought chilli seedlings and started to sell chillies to the grocery shop in town.

The Shoprite Group has been supporting community food gardens for a number of years. Its implementation partner, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), assess existing gardens to better understand their requirements and Shoprite then assists with the necessary tools, training, infrastructure and seedlings.

Shoprite is enabling the We Can Women’s Cooperative to grow its community food garden by providing proper water infrastructure.

Shoprite’s support also enabled Esther to erect a fence around the garden and for the team of nine women to receive extensive gardening training.

“WHEN WE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO WATER, OUR CROPS SUFFER. THIS YEAR, WE WEREN’T ABLE TO SELL CHILIES FOR TWO MONTHS BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE WATER. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING A PROPER WATER SUPPLY AND WE’RE ALSO EXCITED TO LEARN NEW GARDENING SKILLS LIKE COMPANION PLANTING AND COMPOSTING TO MAKE OUR GARDEN MORE SUCCESSFUL.”

Our thanks to our co-hosts this month. Do pop by them, their posts are sure to be wonderful. Please share on social media.

Sylvia McGrath, Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary Giese, and Belinda Witzenhausen

If you’d like to be part of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST, please sign up in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

Thank you for reading and have a great November!

Visuals

Visuals

These last few months have been so busy – it’s hard to believe that we’re heading towards the end of October which means November is around the corner and, as we know, it’s then full steam ahead at a cracking pace for Christmas and New Year. I sometimes wonder if I’ll feel ‘settled’, maybe only February next year.

We vacated our townhouse in Johannesburg mid July so that new tenants could move in – and a few days after being in Plett, we kept to the booking we’d made at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. It was such a wonderful weekend –

We drove from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town in early August so my husband could catch his flight from Cape Town to London and from there, after a few days of staying with friends, he flew to Edinburgh to join golfing friends. Thereafter he joined his sister from the US in Scotland and they handed over their great uncle’s medals to the Scottish Military Museum in Edinburgh.

On the drive to Cape Town, about 600 kms from Plett, we passed canola fields – there were fields upon fields of this gorgeous gold –

After getting my husband off, I hung around in Cape Town for a few days, staying with my sweet sister. I saw only two very special friends as well as my younger son and his lovely wife. This was the sky from my sister’s garden one evening. The photo IS the right way up – and that IS the moon in the centre –

I then hived off to Wellington (about an hour away from my sister’s home in Cape Town) where I stayed with my dear friend in her gorgeous home on a wine estate among the most magnificent mountains. We set off the next day, her husband doing the driving (so we could chat and I could look out the window and remember) for Stanford, a lovely little village some distance away and stayed overnight with her sister. We went up river the next day – and did some walking, saying hello to Sarah’s horses in a field that late afternoon.

A day or so later, after returning to Wellington, I set off for home in Plett driving on a route I was not very familiar with. The windiest of roads and the most magnificent scenery – I would have liked to stop, but I didn’t and took several photos while my car was in motion.This one doesn’t do it justice –

So, back home in Plett, on my own … valuable time. A friend flew down from Johannesburg and stayed here at my home, her husband a few days later for the weekend. It was lovely to show them Plett and surrounds … My husband returned at the end of August after an excellent time away, fit as a fiddle and full of stories.

September flew by … the equinox was a landmark, the days becoming longer. We ordered a bit of extra furniture, ordered new curtains & changed some things around. New built in bookcases were installed in my study. My left foot gave me grief for several weeks but it is now better.

But the shadows of September were long. Too many deaths of people I know. Sudden, tragic – too many aching hearts.

Earlier this month, we trekked again up to Johannesburg, this time staying for 2 nights at the Mountain Zebra Lodge in the Karoo en route. This is such a beautiful place -the photograph shows the evening light. There was very welcome rain the one night.

Then Johannesburg, staying in the most comfortable apartment given us by good friends. Oh, those spring colours –

We visited our tenants in the townhouse and it was a joy to see how beautifully Michelle had maintained our garden – an orchid I left behind, roses budding, everything lush and green glowing and those jacarandas over the garden wall were magnificent ..

A friend or two here and there, lunch and dinner, brunch and coffee, a bit of shopping looking for a slinky heeled sandal ..

Then off again, this time up to a game lodge in Madikwe, about 450 kms north of Jo’burg very close to the Botswana border. We’d been invited by our UK friends – we’ve been there before. The comforts, company and cuisine were excellent and the game viewing superb. We did early morning game drives, returning to the lodge for a slap up breakfast, and out again in the landrover at 4.30 returning around 7.00. 

Back to Johannesburg again to our very comfortable apartment, then full steam ahead for ‘The Wedding’ last Sat 12th October. There was a dinner last Thursday pre-wedding; wonderful to see old friends. The wedding service and reception is one that we’ll never forget – the photo below is of flowers at the entrance of the church.

We left Johannesburg last Sunday morning – there was a wedding brunch on Sunday, but we’d long decided to forgo that as we needed to get back to Plett. We overnighted in Graaf Reinet, about 850 south of Jo’burg. We went out for dinner in the town that evening. The photo immediately below is of the full moon rising over an historic building and the next one is of the main church, also very historic. I wish we’d had time to visit the Valley of Desolation – next time …

A deep breath for the both of us – we arrived back home in Plett this past Monday. Do all good things come to an end? No, I don’t think so … we set off again tomorrow morning. We’ll be staying with same friends in Wellington tomorrow night and on Saturday shooting over to Stellenbosch (about 3/4 hr away) to attend my sister and her husband’s birthday celebrations on a wine farm that day and night. Sunday is a very big day on our sports calendar … South Africa is playing Japan, the hosts for the World Cup Rugby this time round (every four years). It’s the quarter final … and there is NO WAY that we will be travelling on that day. They play around midday on Sunday. South Africa will be glued to their TV sets.

We’ll get back to Plett on Monday next week, either euphoric – or not –

 The last photo is of what was originally just a cutting of a small branch and tendrils, transplanted from Jo’burg and attached to a tree here in Plett in our garden a few months ago and I am thrilled to see how well it has flourished and bloomed.

This post is way longer than I imagined it would be.

May you all flourish and bloom even amidst these troubling times. May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.

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