C: Change

C: CHANGE

The only constant is change

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I’ve changed my mind –

I changed my mind about my theme being about heroes and heroines and heroic acts although I would have loved to have written about eg Irene Sendler or Anne Frank or Helen Keller or – Cybele, Hermes, Persephone, Demeter, Ishtar – but a gal can change her mind –

My posts from henceforth will focus on Change – from C – Z – this is my C post

So, Change – sometimes slow and imperceptible sometimes fast and furious – 

I suppose the question is what are our thoughts and feelings about change. But of course, it’s a huge question to which there is no short answer – nor should there be –

We could look at it from many perspectives I suppose: change on the outer level as in eg climatic change, economic change, political earthquakes, whatever – we’ve just had such a one in which our President was found to be in violation of our Constitution, by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, last Thursday. It was gripping listening on the radio as I delivered my son and new bride to the airport to return to Cape Town; they’d spent a few days with us after their honeymoon in Mauritius. Change I thought! Hallelujah! Ripple effects! Calls for his impeachment or at least that he resigns. Zuma addressed the nation on Friday night – he apologised for the drama (saying he didn’t know what was going on), and has not acknowledged his wrong-doing or complicity. The fall-out is coming –

We can approach it as well in another way and ask of ourselves  – what are the changes that are happening to me on an inner level as I traverse this particular stage of my life. Who and where am I at this particular stage of my life? No short answers to those questions either nor do I intend to provide any –

This is the approach I will taking in my posts – a psychological one. For D tomorrow (pre-scheduled) I’ll probably do Dark and the potential for change in it. E probably Energy and how it is never lost and always transformed. ..

This is my own photo of a cheetah taken in Plettenberg Bay 2 years ago – small head and tear lines –

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And, I messed up badly, the below is a LEOPARD (by me) taken in Oct 2014 in the Sabi Sand! O my, having to change the photo!

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The image at beginning of post is a caduceus – an embrace of the masculine & feminine principles inter alia

B: Botswana

B: Botswana

Botswana lies on the borders of South Africa, up north from us. It also borders Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Mocambique and is entirely landlocked. It’s a 2 hour international flight from Johannesburg to Maun.

I fly with local and US friends on Saturday 16th April to Maun, two weeks today! Truly, a going into the unknown, as is any going into the bush, the wilderness. It is a going outside but also inside into our own wilderness of the psyche and it seems that some connections are made while in that liminal space –map botswana

from space-botswan

We overnight in Maun – the next day or 2 we are on water, transported by mokoros, those dug-out, flat bottomed canoes carved from wood. We’ll be on the Okavango Delta … a man will be standing at the top end of the mokoro, poling/navigating us – probably two passengers per boat – with his oar. And we take in the sights and the sounds –

okavango delta

I think I will die and (hopefully) go to heaven if I hear the cry of the fish eagle. If I also see it swoop from high to take a fish in the water in its talons and soar up again to its high perch, it will be heaven all over again – I don’t think I’d care too much if a hippo or a croc in the water suddenly decided it had its eye on me –

I don’t know why this has such a strong primal feel for me – but the pure animal cry of it gives me goose-bumps –

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The waterways are filled with lilies of all colours – this one from google: ‘almay stock’ on the Okavango

lotus on okavango

I’ve been there before, each time a soulful replenishing experience. The last time was 6 or 7 years ago with my friend Liz, here in Johannesburg. The time before was many years ago, maybe 20 years or so – a prize that my husband won from entering a medical competition – and the time before that was 26 years ago – many many elephants outside our tent on their way  to the water hole –

My US friends arrive on Thursday 14th April. Susan Schwartz, Jungian Analyst from Phoenix, Az., will give a talk to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on Friday 15th April: ‘Longing to Belong – Otherness, Culture and Jungian Psychology’ – and then we fly out the next day. My husband is not coming as he is too fearful of contracting malaria.

After 2 days on the delta (probably camping overnight in tents on the banks with a fire and guard on watch all night long, to warn any wild animals of getting too close – and perhaps each of us if we’re brave may elect to keep watch in the dead of night) we return to Maun from where we overland to Khwai. I don’t know much about this at this stage. We’re there for 4 nights I think. We’re all in the hands of my nephew David S, son of my late half-brother David who lived in Maun for all of his adult life –

I hope to visit the tree at which he is buried, on the banks of the delta, at his home in Maun and pay my respects. And to see Anne, his widow who lives there –

Botswana – two weeks to go –

A-Z begins!

ATTENTION: THE ADVENTURE OF A-Z BEGINS

A2Z_BADGE_2016All thanks to Arlee Bird and helpful gnomes, fairies, minions – all those who work so hard at this annual blog-fest and encourage us all along the way – Thank you! Deep gratitude!

If it’s your first time participating, good luck! Your 2nd 3rd 4th or 5th time – good luck! We all know it’s a mission and a half in spite of how well we’re prepared. Many of my posts have been done in advance for April 2016. I’m busy with ‘L’ as I write. I remember the early days of still putting up a post for the next days’ letter at midnight .. that particular April was a killer. Being let off on Sundays was a blessing!

I’ll be away from the middle of April, in Botswana! Tomorrow’s letter will say something about Botswana but the post will not be my immediate experience of it as I am there from 16th April to 23rd April. I HOPE to have my A-Z posts lined up so that they go into the stratosphere while I’m away, irrespective of whether or not I have internet access while away which I doubt actually … so in advance, I’m notifying you that there may be a gap in my responding to any comments you may make on my posts (always so grateful) as well as my making comments on yours.  If late in responding please understand the reason why. Unless a croc or a hippo or a lion gets me while out in the bush, my responses to yours on mine and my comments on yours may take a while … off to Botswana on Sat 16th April, back the following Sat 23rd April.

By the time you read this, I will have given a talk last night on ‘The Art of Ageing’ and, since I am prescheduling my posts, I can’t give you any feedback –

I’ll be keeping my posts short-ish. Hopefully 350 words or less …

So, may the adrenalin serve you well, but do not let an overload adversely affect your adrenals ..

At this point I bid you adieu as I wonder what to say about Botswana –

A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

A-Z CHALLENGE THEME  REVEAL

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Thank you all who help so much and so well in making the April A-Z blog challenge the success that it is … and for those of you whose reveal themes I’ve peeked at, I’ll be getting to your posts in due course. I’m looking forward to reading them more thoroughly in the next few days – 

I haven’t decided yet! I wrote up on ‘A’ & ‘B’ a few weeks ago while I was able and without many distractions eg my son’s wedding this last Saturday and finding something to wear. ‘B’ is a brief on Botswana which is where I’m going mid-April (the 16th April back on 23rd) on safari! Ideally I’d like to have posts on this adventure from about M onwards (actually I haven’t worked this out, I’m guessing) but it will be difficult I think to have up to date posts using that particular letter for that particular day – but if I can post something on safari while away I certainly will! A picture of a croc or elephants, or lions and rhinos – I have no idea – hopefully photographs while on the Okavango Delta –

At this stage I have no real clue as to my theme – I know/hope it will come to me.

Maybe I’ll do something on heroes & heroines & heroic acts … . I have much research to do, and once home this weekend I hope to get them lined up and scheduled in the next week. But I’ll keep them brief (I hope) …

Happy writing! Always a great idea to have written and scheduled them – time moveth so fast! Good luck everyone!

full moonFull moon tonight – from my balcony in Plett –

Easter, Pesach, Equinox

Easter, Pesach, Equinox –

yinyangimagesa time for reflection – to deepen faith –

a time for redemption – to deepen faith –

a time for renewal – to deepen faith –

Pesach – Passover – commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt led by Moses out of 400 years of slavery into Israel, the land that God had promised on oath to Abraham. The Promised Land was finally reached, His promise fulfilled. It’s a time of looking back to the going forward – a joyous celebration indeed!

Easter – Pasch – a remembrance of the carpenter from Nazareth and his wise teachings, told most times in parable form. A reflection on His resurrection 3 days after his burial. Did you know that when Christ was crucified and there then was an earthquake? It’s a recorded fact. A remembrance of His love for the sinner who truly repents and the saint, reminding us that we too can put aside our hates and enmity even in these troubled times in which we live – and experience the renewal of our faith in love –

When I write above – to deepen faith – what do I really mean? I mean a faith in our potential wholeness, for those of us who can bear and carry our own particular cross as consciously as we possibly can. And to allow a conscious experience of ourselves being torn between the opposites of e.g. joy and sadness, love and indifference – to find our own individuality. We have our own crosses to bear, our own crucifixions, and to bear them consciously, to experience them as truthfully as we can, and therein to find our unique and individual life means deepening our faith in the mysteries of life –

And the equinox – I’m never truly sure of it’s exact date in March – 21, 22 or 23 – today is the 23rd and I do know that it is full moon tonight. Here in Plettenberg Bay where I am (leaving tomorrow evening for Johannesburg), the tides will be very high. Right now, out on my balcony, the sea looks calm. All is fresh and lovely. I looked out at the moon last night, almost full, sliding behind night clouds from time to time and then peeking out and revealing her light and beauty. We in South Africa are now in the autumn season officially and already I have seen yellowing leaves on the ground and on trees –

below, balcony view taken today, the Tsitsikama mountains off to the left –

balcony view

And for you in the northern hemisphere – Spring! How lovely! Such a wonderful time to visibly see plants and flowers beginning to bloom, the air fresher, the weather milder, maybe a little warmer! A time of renewal – in ourselves, the land, Mother Earth – a celebration indeed!


My Easter and Chag Sameach love and good wishes to you all! May it be a blessed time –  

 

Wedding!

Our son David’s wedding to Jüte Dorfling on Saturday 19th March at Bramon Wine Estate at The Crags outside Plettenberg BayjutedavidA joyous and happy day! 

How to say about the wedding in few words? I can’t actually – though I will write about it in my journal in due course when I’ve had time to digest and process it.

The energy of it all – Davey and Jüte surrounded by young men and women with whom they’ve maintained loving and meaningful relationships over the years. It was not a large wedding really – about 90 people. Davey & Jüte were clear on having only friends who meant something to them; those with whom they maintain contact. Many were from his prep school days; others from his senior school, and many from his university days. All bright and beautiful people – good hearts. How lovely to see Hannah and meet her new husband! How lovely to see Andy and Jess, Andy with Dave though both prep and senior school, university also where they shared digs! Alex and Nic from Davey’s prep school years, Sploddy (Duncan) from senior school, Shandu and his lovely girlfriend Allegra – Shandu who was Davey’s partner in the Kiffness band – larger than life; Clem, saxophonist in Davey’s band, with his lovely girlfriend Bonj. Dan his MC who was in the jazz band and choir with Davey in senior school who told hilarious stories. Elizabeth my niece just so beautiful; my sister looking lovely and very slim and gorgeous legs – oh well, I’m now completely green with envy.

The groomsmen, so handsome – Nic, my brother’s son, David my sister’s son, Mike my elder son, Miekel Jüte’s younger brother. The bridesmaids, all beautiful warm and friendly.

The ring bearer was Matthew my niece Elizabeth’s 4 year old son who took his duties very seriously. Especially when Matthew asked Mike for the rings at the venue (the wine cellar of Bramon) – they’d been left behind at our Plett home, the one thing that David did not take into account. Mike screamed back to Plett and came running down the slope as Jüte arrived by car with her parents having just been notified (because of this emergency) by someone that the bride must always be late …

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Youth, energy, beauty – how we oldies admired them for their joie de vivre, their natural warmth and joy, their kind hearts.

Neil made a speech in which he used the words of Cat Stevens’ song ‘Father and Son’; and then started singing it himself … and all the guests joined in! A magic moment – it gives me chills just thinking of it.

Deon, father of Jüte, had us in stitches speaking of her as a child and how he couldn’t quite engage in the continual changing of Barbie’s clothes for different adventures and having tea in tiny tea cups with nothing in them with them both –

Mike as best man and Dave’s speeches were wonderful …

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meneil

It was truly a fabulous wedding!

dave jute

Park Free and Go Shopping Card –

Park Free & Go Shopping Card

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Several weeks ago, a friend was here in Johannesburg from Cape Town as an events manager of a 3 day economic conference in the Sandton City Conference Centre. Which is part of Sandton City, I think the largest shopping mall in South Africa. She gave me several parking vouchers left over from attendees, which meant that if I were to use them I would not have to pay for parking. The Centre in ordinary circumstances allows for a half hour free parking and I use that time to collect the mail from the post box, or dash into Woolworths for food, pay an account or two – but never for any serious shopping. I have a ‘thing’ about paying for parking while supporting the vendors. It’s just one of my peculiarities –

But, as many of you know, I have a wedding coming up – my son David’s wedding in Plettenberg Bay, in less than 3 weeks time. And I haven’t got anything to wear! (Well, I do, though they’re items I found the other day in my wardrobe that are rather ancient).

I’ve been walking the centre in recent days in a bit of a dream-like state and looking at glamourously dressed mannequins in the windows of trés chic shops. I felt the allure of shopping unrestricted by ‘paying for parking’. Much of the while thinking … how do I want to be, or appear, for this joyous occasion of the wedding of my son to his beautiful bride? I know that I value comfort above everything … but how it would be to wear e.g. a bold and colourful African print dress? Absolutely different to anyone else’s. I was falling under a spell. I sensed and felt the pull of the desire to find that perfect outfit that would make me feel like a million dollars on this occasion. And that I could use afterwards.

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But, I also thought about this go free parking voucher – does this slip of a parking ticket have anything to do with my feeling a certain freedom, at least in terms of free parking and taking my time about shopping to find that elusive outfit? How much of me is slightly panicking and thus maybe putting caution to the winds and buying irrespective of what it costs? No, I would never do that – 

It reminds me of my own wedding 34 years ago when I bought my wedding dress a week before and a flouncy hat the day before ..

But, those thoughts aside, I felt myself seduced in some strange way by the allure of shopping. I’ve returned zillions of items after trying them on at home in my own time – after initially raving about them and thinking ‘This is great! Problem solved!’ Maybe the allure had something to do with the free parking voucher –

I think I’ve come to my senses – those old and lovely things that I already have is what I will wear. Now, to look for a lovely striking belt, a necklace of some kind or the other, and a fascinator – those things one wears as a sort of a clip on one’s hair … which I had cut coloured and styled yesterday and which I’m hoping like mad will grow into its own by the time of the wedding …

I’ll be using my go free parking vouchers to look for above items and I only hope that I don’t have to step into the Dior fashion house to find such things. This free parking ticket ain’t so free after all and it’s taking altogether too much of my not so free time –

Synchronicity

Synchronicity

tortoise

I had a dream in November in which a friend gave back to me some gifts I had given her. But she kept a few of my gifts, including a wooden tortoise. This dream puzzled me; not only that she appeared in the dream as we haven’t been in any contact for several years (although she does appear in my dreams from time to time), but that she kept the tortoise I had given her, a bracelet with gems as well – 

The next day at school where I volunteer helping poor readers to read better, my little pupil chose his book of stories and selected the Tortoise & the Hare from it. OK, I thought, interesting.

I pondered the dream for several days – this theme of giving things away that are of value to me has occurred in past dreams over the years – and sometimes getting them back – and the last part of the dream in which a mother with her two daughters appears, my brother as well. The days passed – and then Susanne of mindfunda.com posted about the symbology of the Hare. It was interesting, but obviously the tortoise was what was of particular interest to me. But her post on the Hare, following on from my dream and the young boy selecting that particular story gave me cause for pause.

I thought of fashioning a tortoise for myself so that I could ‘re-claim’ the gift in some way and started playing with some clay. In fact it was rather old clay that had gone hard. I soaked it for several days in a bowl of water and over the days I was able to break and mush it up to allow for more soaking. I took this wrapped up moist clay (in plastic and foil, and had my bag with this ‘foreign and suspicious object’ searched at the airport) down to Plettenberg Bay in the New Year. I was quite unsure how to proceed, but I started shaping it and allowing it to dry in the sun and then used an emery board to smooth the cracks though I was not wholly successful there. All the while I was wondering what next to do with it. Back home late-ish January, I painted it all over with red acrylic paint. 

Then art circle, a once a month meeting on a Saturday morning loomed at the end of January at which, if we wish (we’re urged to), to bring an art work to the group. I thought of painting it with a few IChing hexagrams – but then the night before I knew I had to finish it. So, with a white pen and a gold one, I made the little patterns. With no guidance from IChing or anywhere else …

So, that’s my story of the tortoise – from a dream in November. I photographed it this afternoon.

Do you find synchronicity appearing in your life every now and then? When events appear to have no causal link? 

I hope this finds you all well – we’re on tenter hooks here in South Africa – our Finance Minister is making his budget speech on Wednesday. This follows on from President Zuma’s State of the Nation two weeks back which was heckled by a particular opposition party for over an hour. We don’t know where we’re going as a country … and can only hope for positive change.

Change: it never happens unless it has to – which is just about all the time –

Blind Spots and Racism

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It’s been a turbulent start to the year here in South Africa. Amid dreadful drought and searing heat, water shortages, a falling rand (our currency), bleak economic prospects, failing parastatals, protests, poor education, rising unemployment, rising cost of food and much else that is dismal, it seems as if racism is not about to end anytime soon. The rants of others towards others on social media have been vicious and pernicious in their name calling. We’re pulling each other apart –

When, if ever, will it end? The outpouring of hatred continues unabated and many of us wonder if these are diversions tactic used by divisive factions that are not representative of S.A. as a whole, and if there’s something afoot to hi-jack the unfolding of our beautiful country to its full potential. Is racism rearing its ugly head at a crucial time in our history with elections around the corner inter alia, in order to keep our eye off other pressing issues mentioned above? Does democracy take 50 years to stabilise? 

But, racism is real, its wound is real. We fail ourselves and our fellow human badly if we don’t uncover our blind spots which are by definition invisible. Blind spots, like deep wounds, need uncovering for them to be seen for what they are. The invisible festering wounds if not acknowledged can wreak untold damage without treatment – and continue. As Freud said regarding the repetition compulsion: history keeps on repeating itself until and if/when we learn from the lessons of the past. The underlying dynamic or theme is compelled to repeat until the lesson is learned and the pattern finally broken.

The blind spot is in my view fear: fear of the other; and here I’m speaking of the other within our own selves which we do not acknowledge and is thus projected out onto the other – so we fear the other, who ‘is not like us’.

If I look at this psychologically in terms of our past and on a wider scale, I remember when we feared the red under the bed, or the yellow peril, or the hippie era and the larger freedom of sex. Here in South Africa, during apartheid, we feared the black man. We whites mostly lived in an ‘us’ and ‘them’ cocoon enforced by the regime of the time and of which by extension, we were a part. Too many of us, the minority by 1:10, were fearful of the black majority in some defined and undifferentiated way. We were kept separate, blacks from whites; separate facilities; separate entrances and exits. It was institutionalised – though it takes two to tango –

Why this fear? Is it possible that the very qualities that we projected onto the black man, the other, was our own darkness that we vehemently denied was a part of us? Far easier for us as white South Africans to say from our position of supposed superiority, that ‘the other’ was lazy, irresponsible, superstitious, savage and brutal, irrational, envious, jealous, had unhealthy sexual drives, desired power above all, ambitious, greedy, and this projection of our own undesirable qualities was made easier by virtue of the colour of the skin of the other.

How much easier it was for we whites to put ‘out there’ our own maelstrom of darkness rather than acknowledging that it is within ourselves –

 We see ourselves in a certain way that fits in with our tribal or world view, the way we’ve been conditioned by family, religion, society and culture. We like our comfort zones and stay away from being challenged for fear of re-shaping our thinking and acknowledging and re-cognising what is sometimes unthinkable.

We, no-one, sees ourselves as cruel and inhuman. But history tells us another story. We fear the unknown stranger within ourselves and do not want to bring that unknown part of ourselves out of the shadows. That part who is very capable of hate and hateful speech and action. We know that we may have the best intentions in the world with regard to ourselves and others, yet we are very capable of being destructive. In our everyday lives we overeat, waste water, drink too much, continue with violence in one way or the other, distract ourselves with matters that have nothing to do with soul-searching. What we do to ourselves we also do to the other; what we do to the other we do to ourselves. We cannot continue to use ‘the other’ as a scapegoat for the ills that plague us. Our souls cannot continue shrinking. 

My son David put up a Facebook post yesterday morning of a song he composed on Sunday night, reflecting how he feels as a white South African. I’m excerpting his words on his post prior to the song ‘Make Amends‘ and then an excerpt from his song.

His words prior to the song excerpted:

“… I believe there is a great responsibility for white South Africans to undergo deep introspection and gain understanding of why things are the way they are in SA to avoid any further racial tension. If we can humble ourselves in order to gain understanding of each others views … that is a good starting point to making change. It may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary….”

An excerpt from his song:

‘I know that I’ve been quick to blame,

but it’s only because I never saw your pain.

And in the past I was quick to talk, 

Until I took the time to walk a mile in your shoes.

It’s a life I would never choose,

Now that I see your point of view

And I’ll never comprehend the cost of the

cross you’ve had to bear,

I hope we can make amends….’

He received many comments on his FB page mostly encouraging, a few damning saying this doesn’t cut it or go far enough. That’s not really the point; being responsible for his thoughts and feelings and expressing them allows for personal change which has its effects on a larger scale.

I believe we all have a healthy desire, perhaps somewhat still unconscious and not yet differentiated, to unify as a nation, between all peoples. Do we need to be torn apart and rendered still further? As much as we have an archetypal desire for union, do we also fear it its polar opposite: of being subsumed by it? It’s such a huge task, holding those opposites in the alchemical vessel that is South Africa and allowing the transformation to finally begin – by bringing the outsider and insider closer together – warts and all – shadows –

The wilderness is within – I am not madly sure of Jung’s exact quote: ‘The jungle is in us, in our unconscious’ – it is our task to encounter and bravely explore it –

This post is far longer than I initially imagined – and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface.

We’re still in Plettenberg Bay, returning to Johannesburg in a few days time. Last week when my brother was here with us, my elder son Mike, Christopher and I went for a long walk on the Keurbooms beach. It was a misty-ish sort of day, and I never wear a hat of any description any time. But the heat on my head was fierce so I wrapped my beach scarf around it. We came across this ‘totem pole’ that was on the beach – which reminded me of building – and balance – and solidity – and beauty – of which we as South Africans are capable.

totem pole

Yes, the cracks are showing in our democracy and wonderful constitution – that’s how the light gets in – 

There’s a crack in everything

amaryllis

I bought this pot plant – amaryllis – about 2 weeks ago and have been watching the buds blossom. I had no idea how beautiful it would be. I’d bought another one about 3 weeks previously but I gave it away as a thank you to someone who was very kind about delivering something at no charge – a new mattress actually, for my housekeeper. Such a nice man, Mr. Clifford Lyons of Lyons Wholesale. What a pleasure to have it on hand (bought by me, for me, that morning) and give it to him – I hope his bloomed as beautifully as mine – he said his wife loves gardening so I am sure it brought them both joy.

Last evening I was outside in the coolth of the night wondering if I would put up a blog post today for New Year’s Eve. I didn’t really want to say about this past year which has had wings of its own supercharged aerodynamic batteries. I would have had to put my thinking cap on to look back – and the batteries are now flat. I was thinking of some lovely books I devoured e.g. ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’; ‘The Light Between Oceans’; ‘Girl on a Train’ and several others … then I was thinking of music and my Willie Nelson CD’s that I play sometimes when I’m at my desk. I’m a country gal at heart.  What really is my most favourite song? Leonard Cohen’s ‘There’s a crack, there’s a crack in Everything’. I was pretty sure that I didn’t put up a blog last New Year’s Eve but I went to have a look – and indeed I did! Similar title!

My son Mike helped me ’embed it’ – (whatever that means). I love the sentiment of the crack – that’s how the light gets in. There are so many ever-widening cracks in our world these days yet I find it hopeful that this allows for light. And without researching it properly, I do know that ancient pottery was the more valued for the cracks it had which were painted over with fine gold – not to hide, but to emphasise – and value –

Many of us are missing loved ones who are no longer with us. It’s more sad and sore over this festive season and New Year when the bells ring in change. The longing for those who are no longer with us can make the crack a little deeper …

‘Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in’ –

 

 Dave my younger son, Juté his fiancé, Mike my elder son – taken in early December. Dave & Juté marry in March 2016.
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I took this photo today of Mike and Toko, his old prep school buddy. Toko and his family is and always will be a treasured part of our family. They were setting off for golf with Neil … still to change their shoes and golf shirts …

IMG_0741 3So, the New Year is upon us – may the bells ring how they may and make beautiful music. May our hearts and souls continue to deepen and take root and blossom. May the path with its cracks lead to peace, joy, fulfilment, compassion, creativity – within and without –542591_620348161315085_803962571_nAll my very best and warm wishes for a blessed 2016!

Solstice, Christmas, New Year

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Image: courtesy etsy.com

‘Solstice’ is from the Latin: sol:sun; sistere:stand still. For a nano-second there is a pause – then the turning towards a new season begins. An ascent and a descent occurring at the same time – and we hold the tension of the opposites.

 The summer solstice is today in the southern hemisphere – the longest day of the year, the shortest night. Most mornings I’ve been awake at 4.30 and it’s already light. Up here in Johannesburg on the highveld (2000 metres above sea level) it gets dark only around 7.30 p.m. Down south at the sea, night time falls only around 8.30 p.m. It’s both a still point and a turning point –  it gets lighter fractionally later and darker imperceptibly earlier – 

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, your winter solstice means the longest night and shortest day of the year – and slowly, spring with its promise of hope and renewal approaches.

May the winter and summer solstice’s stillness be the precursor to the turning point for our world as we approach the new year.  May we rise here in South Africa and stop already with the slanging matches across all spectrums. It’s been a very difficult and trying year here. We are more, much more than Zuma (our president) and his sycophants. We have very good people within the government but it seems all their hard work is overshadowed by corruption and greed. World wide as well – let nations and its peoples rise into their full potential. More than anything we need peace, compassion and goodwill on our planet. There is great uncertainty around the world; we’re saturated with bad news. Where do we stand in the midst all of this? Yet, this allows for a deeper consideration of what it means to live our lives as authentically as possible not only for ourselves but to help others too in whichever way we can.

May we revel in Mother Nature’s rains and thunder storms, bringing much needed relief to the drought in our land and a break from the devastating heat we’ve been experiencing.

May the snow and coolth be beneficial and beautiful in your part of the world. Each snowflake is a part of the snow fall –

The Christmas cake was made by my good friend Nicki, and the remaining mince pie is the last of a home-made batch by her sister Leigh. Mince pies (18) and Christmas cake were received this past Saturday – I’m saving the last one for my younger son Dave when he arrives on Christmas Eve and we’ll cut the cake on Christmas Day.

Christmas Cake

The card was created by my elder son Mike

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Thank you all so much for your friendship and support to my blog. I so appreciate this community – more than words can say. In a significantly meaningful way my life is enriched because of you. Thank you!

A very Happy Christmas and festive season to you all and may the new year bring health, joy, peace and renewed creativity.

Mandela 2 Year Anniversary of Death

2 years on – my post then on Mr. Mandela’s death. Yesterday, here in South Africa there were various commemorations going on, past clips on TV. I thought I’d check out my post from 2 years ago, and am re-posting it today –

Our absent father – o how we all need leaders such as he in these troubled times – peace and reconciliation –

 I woke up to the news at 7.00 a.m. this past Friday here in Johannesburg, South Africa. It seems that many had heard the news in different parts of the world before we did. The announcement was officially made some hours after his death at 8.50 p.m on Thursday night.

Did it ‘help’ that we had been expecting his death for a long while now? No, not really. Death is always sudden and shocking – it’s so final –

Friday was wet and cool. I was in my car much of the time; hearing people call in to the radio station expressing their shock and sadness was a release valve for me. I was in tears most of the morning with ongoing pangs somewhere in the region of my heart. I got to the clinic for my afternoon shift just before 1.00 and saw a prominently placed large table inside the clinic with a large head and shoulder framed photograph of Mr. Mandela placed against the wall. There were zillions of small, already burnt candles on the table. Again, that pang – I looked for a lighter but there wasn’t one. The girls at the rooms said that earlier in the morning all the candles were lit and the entire staff of the clinic had gathered around the table singing and swaying. Pat and Lyn said they had never heard anything quite so beautiful or seen anything quite so moving. I can only imagine – plaintive, beautiful singing, chorus, dancing, ululating –

 I remember that day on 27th April 1994 when we cast our vote, black and white, voting for a democratic South Africa for which we had fought so long and hard. O such a day of celebration! – those long, long queues from early morning to late at night, walking alongside fellow human beings to cast our votes, the majority of whom had been denied the vote since 1948. Also, such celebration when he was released from prison in February 1990. We came alight and alive. Such a sense of rightness and gladness, a sense of practical freedom at last in the air, each having a vote, breaking from the bonds of apartheid, and separateness. Voting for Mr. Mandela as president of our beloved country. ‘Never’, said he, ‘Never again. Never again will we have one claiming superiority over another ..’ *

I saw former President Thabo Mbeki addressing people at Oxford Road Synagogue last evening wearing a yarmulke, on TV, emphasising the need to remember Mr. Mandela’s life and all that he stood for; and to remember the constitution as the struggle continues for inter alia economic freedom.

The spotlight on him during his lifetime will be on him again as people from all corners of the world come to pay tribute to him and to mourn his passing. 85 current heads of state as I write, 10 past heads of state, royalty, dignitaries, eminences, the famous, celebrities .. …

We celebrate his life at the same time. A beautiful paradox. Or, if not a paradox, most certainly a bringing together of those two seeming contradictions. We mourn the passing of Mr. Nelson Mandela, and celebrate his magnificent life, for which we are in eternal gratitude. As we mourn our loss, so are we celebrating his life. There is a reconciling of those two powerful emotions, coming together in a magical way, uniting our nation. Us, as South Africans. We, as people. It is a shared pain. And a shared remembrance of all that he stood for. Prepared to sacrifice his life no less. There is unity amongst us, of all shades and hues, of all ages, now, as a nation, as we mourn and celebrate.

The world is arriving on our doorstep here in South Africa. It’s already begun. We have MAJOR security issues to attend to. We must deal with all unprecedented, convoluted logistics in a practical way as we are about to experience a particularly large event in history.

Mr. Mandela will be laid to rest on Sunday, at his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape, the Wild Coast, the Transkei – on the other side of the Kei River. He was born into royalty of the Xhosa clan, of the abaThembu tribe in Mvezo; his father was deposed as chief magistrate when Mr. Mandela was 5 years old, and Qunu became their refuge and home. He had a happy childhood it seems and developed a deep love for the Transkei and its land, people and Nature. Qunu will be descended upon by thousands, including the villagers from that rural area and further afield. There is a memorial service tomorrow at the FNB stadium, more commonly known as Soccer Stadium, in which we hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup. There will be thousands and thousands of common people, people like me, as well as heads of state and dignitaries and attendant security. I trust we will rise to this monumental practical task of ensuring security and smoothness for all.

Imagine, on the outer level, as an act of homage to our Madiba –

It is not the time for anxiety right now. We have a common purpose in celebrating and mourning and our attention needs to be there. It is a loss, to each of us in some real way, to our country as a collective, to the wider world …

I would imagine that from next week when all have left to return home, and when the dust begins to settle, we will, as South Africans, sigh a collective breath. But when we gather our  breath again, will we continue to honour Madiba and all that he stood for?

We will have to take a deep collective breath of courage when the dust is at least partly settled. We have huge issues ahead. The freedom of the press is under dire threat. As I write, the owner of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings who recently bought Independent News and Media PIC (for a cost of $194 million) has fired the executive editor from The Cape times for reporting on alleged corruption within – just this past Friday. Our public protector Thuli Madonsela is under fire from parliament and the government for her exposure of corruption in the government. We have gantries for road users that have just come into effect about which we are protesting. We have an election looming next year. There is much else that is of great concern. Education is an ongoing worry and a disaster for the masses.

But, for the moment, it is not a time for anxiety about those matters. It will be though, and we will continue the struggle in Mr. Nelson Mandela’s name. It is necessary to make Mr Mandela’s name continue to be an inspiration to us – keep him alive as a symbol of reconciliation.

I hope that we as South Africans, will rise to this, once the dust drops. It won’t be easy. Hopefully, those who have visited from different parts of the globe will also let his name continue to inspire – we are grateful for your outpouring of shared grief and respect.

Hambe Gahle, Madiba. Go well, rest in peace. We will never forget you. We will honour your legacy. Thank you.

* My son met him some years ago at his home in Houghton when his school jazz band performed for him. He was fit and well and my son knows that he was hugely privileged to have Mr. Mandela shake his hand and beam on him. He made this song some years later in honour of Madiba’s birthday last year in July 2012.

The link below is ‘The Kifnness’ recording of ‘Never Again’. http://soundcloud.com/thekiffness/the-kiffness-never-again

Colour me Blue

Colour me Blue

blue sky

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The skies are blue with cloud about, some flowers are blue – and I feel blue and cloudy inside. I am beating myself up for this blue feeling when I have so much on the material level. I want to give it all away and have nothing. Start off over again with a blue slate. I want the world to start all over again. There is too much bloody red.

I am pondering my white privilege. There is still too much poverty in this country. Too many unemployed and rising in spite of 21 years of democracy. So much blame and hatred and stuck-ness. Too much crime, some petty many gruesome. Too many daily deaths on the road from bad driving.

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Another suicide – this time on Friday night in the complex where I live. Someone saw him on Friday during the day and he was jolly and cheerful. My husband, our younger son up from Cape Town for a few music gigs and I went out for dinner on Friday night and we had a gay and fun time. I walked into it on Saturday morning when back from a delightful 2 hour hike, when his wife had just discovered him. She had been away; just back. Here today, gone tomorrow.

I am trying to locate inner peace. I meditate most mornings when I wake up and sometimes go for an early morning walk when all is quiet and still. The news on the radio assaults me while we have our morning tea. My stomach turns. I think about the day ahead and how to use my time fruitfully. We had our last meeting yesterday at the school where I volunteer twice a week for poor readers. Many of those young ones come from dysfunctional families. Much looks bleak on the educational front given the government’s poor track record on delivery of basic amenities to schools. Children come to school already tired from leaving home at 5.00 a.m. 

The polarised views and opinions all over social media are alarming. It’s them against us and ne’er the twain shall meet. Fear abounds in dark threatening shadowy colours, choking and cloaking over love and peace.

My salary check was in my bank account this morning. I can buy whatever takes my fancy. I can donate money to a worthy cause. I can clear my cupboards and take clothes and tinned foodstuffs to a depot for those whose shacks were devastated by a fire or their tin roofs blown off by hailstorms and are left with nothing. I can hand out bananas and water to the beggars on the road as I drive here and there. I can drop off a small thank you gift and card for the woman who helped me find my keys in a shopping centre last week. I can do this and more, yet I still feel empty, powerless, bereft …

I water my indoor plants and am pleased to see the yellow ones spruce up and look angelic.yellow

I look at the first sky and cloud photo I took this morning and imagine I can see a child praying. 

I’ll look out at the almost full moon tonight and say a silent prayer for peace to prevail upon our precious planet, and may we all find the love in our hearts to extend goodwill to all. Peace is the path …

Thank you for listening

I was on the Way, too ..

I was on the way to –

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I was out walking early this morning. We’ve had a very welcome break from the heat in the last few days. This recent coolth is from the Drakensberg mountains, south east of Johannesburg 500 kms or so away, which are covered in snow. In winter those grand mountains are always snow-covered; parts of South Africa do sometimes get snow, but snow in November anywhere in South Africa is extremely unusual.

We know that the weather patterns are extreme throughout the world.  We hear it on the news. Mud slides, tremors. A friend of mine in Canada was saying how the the trees were still so beautiful, adorned in oranges and reds ..

Here in South Africa we’re in drought. I wrote a post or two back about The Rain Queen. Up here on the highveld, we have summer rains and they usually begin in the first week of October. We’ve had precisely two rains in October, none this month – and no rain is in sight or forecast. Meanwhile, down in Cape Town, 1600 kms away, they’ve had floods. There is talk about water restrictions. Farmers are desperate, the animals too. I water my garden only after 6.00 p.m. So far it still looks pretty and vibrant though my orchids are now kaput.

I was on the main road on the last leg of my walk this morning. The traffic was intense as it always is. People get to wherever they’re going, early. A red car pulled up onto the verge ahead of me, helpfully pushed by another man who, when the car was at standstill walked on, on his way. The number plate of the car was interesting … THEIS, then the numbers, then GP (GP stands for Gauteng Province or, as we joke, Gangsters Paradise). I wondered idly about ‘the’ and ‘is’. Theistic? A young man got out of the car.

Can I help? I asked. He’d run out of petrol. I pointed – there’s a garage just there. I noticed yesterday, he said, that I needed petrol and that’s where I was headed. I was on my way to fill up he said –

Walking home, on my way, I wondered about being on one’s way and then – too much has happened within my personal sphere just lately. An unexpected and tragic death of a lovely woman I knew from the complex where I live, from an embolism while recuperating in hospital from a back op. The suicide of the husband of a very dear friend of mine in the U.S.. Illness of one kind or another of dear friends. Tremors all about. Not only within my personal sphere but in the world on all levels. 

http://mindfunda.com is a lovely site hosted by Susanne van Doorn in Holland. I wish I had more time to absorb many more of Susanne’s contributions, of such value. I listened to a few of Susanne’s interviews last evening, two brief ones of Anne Baring, British Jungian Analyst. Baring makes a strong plea for us all to hear the call that comes from within, to pay attention to what is going on within and without not only for ourselves but for Mother Earth.

She also put up my article on Eve as Goddess on Wednesday … http://mindfunda.com/eve. I hope you pop by and check it out.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

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