#WATWB catching the wave

The last Friday of the month has rolled around – again! Time for bloggers around the world to post a piece of good news that helps to uplift the mood and lessen the tension that anyone may be experiencing in these strange and disturbing times.

This is the purpose of #WATWB .. to highlight stories that spread good will, good thought and feeling, stories that are different, maybe a little unusual, that show a person, or an organisation, an event ‘paying it forward’ – many times illustrating people who rise above their circumstances and have a good news story to tell. With the aid of another or others and that’s person sense of courage and fortitude, much can be and is achieved.

My contribution is a little different. It popped up on my FB feed a few days ago as a memory. It’s a 4 year old post put up by David Scott. Given that my last month’s post for #WATWB was tilted ‘say no to racism’ I thought it appropriate to ‘use’ this one, this time round. A young man’s observations – and another ‘no to racism’ – and some hope in looking forward to what is possible – catching the wave –

David Scott is feeling hopeful

27 October 2016  · Cape Town  · Yesterday, I saw something quite profound. I was sitting in the water on my surfboard at Muizenberg & the offshore wind had created spray from the waves, which cast a rainbow. As I saw this, I noticed that the rainbow was arching over the children beneath it, black & white – all enjoying themselves in the ocean. I was touched by their interaction – the black kids were pushing white kids into the waves, the white kids were cheering the black kids on when they caught the wave – they were all getting enjoyment out of seeing the other succeed. I was reminded that in order to see this picture, I had to paddle past the breakers. What we see with the student protests can often feel like waves smashing into us, knocking us back – but without them, there would be no spray to cast the rainbow. It gave me hope that Mandela & Tutu’s idea of a rainbow nation is not so crazy after all. We may be a long way from it, but what I saw yesterday showed me that true democracy is not as far fetched as it sounds. It’s also why I love surfing at Muizenberg. There’s such a diversity of people there but your social status is irrelevant – everyone is equal in the water.

Surfing rules in Muizenberg | SA Country Life
This actually is a photo of the Muizenberg beach 🙂

Please pop by and visit our co-hosts for this month. Our thanks to them. Their stories are sure to be wonderful, uplifting & restorative – Our co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath Mary J. Giese Shilpa Garg
Sylvia Stein and  Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen

Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!

Click HERE  to sign up for this if you’d like to. The linky list will open up in a new window.

Thank you for reading. May you be well and safe and have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you ..

Interview with Dr. Jean Raffa

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Raffa the other day via Zoom on her new book “The Soul’s Twins ~ Emancipate your Feminine & Masculine Archetypes”. The video is below, and runs for 45 mins. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Jean’s biographical details are below, and also included is the trailer to her launch of her book. The music is lovely as is the content and the graphics. The trailer runs for 7 mins.

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops and dream groups. Formerly a television producer and college professor, Jean changed directions in mid-life to write about her passions:  Jungian psychology, empowering the feminine in all of us, and psychological and spiritual growth.  Her books—The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, and Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork—have been used in university classes and dreamwork courses throughout the country. Her book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, received the 2013 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council.

Her newest book, The Soul’s Twins, is about how to create partnership between femininity and masculinity within yourself and in your relationships. It will be launched in November of 2020.

You can find more information about Jean at her website and blog, http://www.jeanbenedictraffa.com, on her Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/jeanraffa. She can be contacted at jeanraffaauthor@gmail.com

Thank you for listening and reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe. Happy All Souls’ Day. May the Force be with you..

A Few Firsts

There’ve been a few firsts for me these last few weeks that have brightened my mood. One adventure was going out on a whale watching boat. O those big wide seas! I swear I could see the curve of the planet on the horizon. We saw seals frolicking in the waves against sheer rocky hills, a few sharks gliding by and then much further out, the spotting of whales!

On another day, I went collecting river stones that have been dumped into an area fairly close by. I’m using them in the creation of my cactus patch. Further along we could see the entrance to Sky Villa, a boutique hotel set high up on the lower hills. So, after picking some up, we went for tea. Beautiful place. Windy, overcast, cool. Magnificent views of Plettenberg Bay. What I did NOT expect to see, on the other side of the glass window was –

I’ve started attending art meetings on Saturday afternoons. Already I feel less stale, less cramped in my withering creativity.

But the real purpose of my blog today is to notify you of a post I’ll be putting up next week. I’ll be interviewing Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa. This is definitely a first for me and one I’m looking forward to, with some trepidation if truth be told. Jean is the author of several books and has one coming out very soon, called ‘The Soul’s Twins – Emancipate Your Masculine & Feminine Archetypes’. I really hope you’ll do us the honour of tuning in – her book is beautiful and the wisdom she imparts is invaluable.

Below, are Jean’s bio and weblinks.

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops and dream groups. Formerly a television producer and college professor, Jean changed directions in mid-life to write about her passions:  Jungian psychology, empowering the feminine in all of us, and psychological and spiritual growth.  Her books—The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, and Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork—have been used in university classes and dreamwork courses throughout the country. Her book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, received the 2013 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council. Her newest book, The Soul’s Twins, is about how to create partnership between femininity and masculinity within yourself and in your relationships. It will be launched in November of 2020.

You can find more information about Jean at her website and blog, http://www.jeanbenedictraffa.com, on her Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/jeanraffa. She can be contacted at jeanraffaauthor@gmail.com

One of many early reviews of ‘The Soul’s Twins: Emancipate Your Masculine & Feminine Archetypes’.

‘The author gifts us with practical knowledge acquired from 30 years of inner work and her impressive wisdom and research into Jungian psychology. Readers will find enlightening recognition of themselves and others in artfully told stories that describe the complexity of the male and female archetypes and the vital roles they play in our lives today. Each of us has both within us. By becoming aware of them and their different shades and levels of activity, including the shadow side of each, we can consciously embrace a marriage of the two. This is an important message for modern times. The Soul’s Twin is highly recommended for anyone keen to deepen the dictum “Know Thyself”. It has been a joy to read’.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you safe and well. I hope also that you’ll view the Skype or Zoom video with Dr. Jean Raffa that I put up next week. May The Force be with you.

#WATWB no to racism

The last Friday of the month has come around again. It’s the day on which bloggers around the world post a good news story as a foil to the dark and disturbing news that permeates our everyday world. Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen started this a few years back.

Here in South Africa, we have many positive groups who say no to racism. Move One Million (M1M) and #I’m staying are two examples. Both groups have had enormous success in highlighting unity vs division. M1M have held peaceful protests around the country and have been represented in many different parts of the world when, at a particular time, they held up their flags standing in unity for South Africa. It has gained much traction globally. The last one was on 5th September. Another one coming up in October.

I’ve chosen one from #I’m Staying. It’s a public group in which people of all shades and stripes proudly tell stories of why they’re staying in SA.

SA Flag

I like this story because this woman named a white Afrikaner who was of great assistance to her and in my view shows that race need not be a factor in thought, word and deed as many would have us believe.

Constance Gololo Montja #I’m staying.

‘I want to share a story of how the action of one man changed my life. I was a Candidate Attorney and could barely afford anything and I needed a flat to stay. He let me stay at his flat that he was letting for R1500 for the duration of my articles and beyond at that time rental for a place like that was around R3500 – 4000. He was Mr SP Van Zyl. He could not speak a single English word, saw him once on the day that I met with him to sign my lease agreement  at Absa Bank at Queenswood.

What brought tears to my eyes and completely broke my heart and fill it with gratitude was that after his passing his kids came to the flat and told me that their father told them that whatever they did with his properties they must never kick me out and increase my rent. To think that someone who did not know me, was a white Afrikaner gave me so much than anyone had ever given me showed me that humanity triumphs above everything else .

I moved on and have a house of my own but he has taught me to lend a helping hand where I can to those less fortunate than I am.

God bless his soul and may he rest in eternal peace . He made such a difference in my life’.

Eric Lahti, Roshan Radhakrishnan , Shilpa GargPeter Nena and Sylvia Stein are our hosts for this month. Thank you! Do pop by and say hello and read their posts, they’re sure to be uplifting and a reminder of how much good there is in the world.

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you and have a great weekend.

Equinox, tilts, transitions

For a brief moment the sun stands directly over the equator and each hemisphere receives the same amount of daylight (barring clouds), ie 12 hours, each equally illuminated. Then begins the earth’s tilt, ushering in a new season and transitions for both hemispheres. For us here in the southern hemisphere, spring although fickle, is on its way with summer on its heels. For the northern hemisphere, the nights are longer and much goes underground to rest.

I was shocked and saddened at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, may her memory be a blessing. I know that there are political implications in her successor, who and when. In South Africa we were saddened by the recent death of Mr. George Bizos, who was part of the defence team of Mr. Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial (1963-1964). They were the greatest of friends.

We’ve been lying very low over these times. But we did take a road trip earlier this month and did something that we’ve always wanted to do. It was my husband’s idea. With the help of son Mike we booked a few places to overnight and set off a few days later to visit the flowers up country.

Our first overnight stop was with very dear friends in Wellington, a good 8 hour drive from our home in Plettenberg Bay. I watched her make a vegan lasagne for dinner; o my goodness it was delicious! I’ve made a vegan lasagne a few times since being home and am impressed with my culinary skills (had never made any kind of lasagne in my life before).

This little buck stepped out from hiding into the sunshine as we were leaving the next morning –

at Di & Rob’s home

The Namaqualand flower show and the West Coast National Park is so special. I gather there are about 4000 different species of plant seeds. Visitors come from all over the world to ooh and ahh at the display of wildflowers set against dramatic mountains (not now in these times obviously). And speaking of seeds, we can all plant seeds, whether plant or vegetable seeds, seeds of love and kindness.

some photos en route and during our adventure

not my photo
cold, windy, even statue wearing a mask
Bird Island Lambert’s Bay. Gannets by the 1000’s in foreground
scrambled egg with salmon – West Coast National Park
not my photo

My sister who lives in Cape Town has a holiday home in The Wilderness, an hour and a half drive from me. I visited her last Wednesday, and ooh’d and aah’d at her pretty garden.

Debora’s garden

Although you can’t see it in the photo, she had an airplant hanging on a branch. In fact a few dotted around. She gave me this one below now hanging on a tree in my garden.

random photo, one I took a few weeks ago on a walk
tiny leaf looks like a tree

There is much tension here in South Africa. Every day I acknowledge Dorothy Parker’s words ‘What Fresh Hell Is This?’ Not just here in SA but everywhere. The wheels of justice turn soooo slowly. There are times I feel hopeful, other times not.

But at the equinox, there is a moment when things stand still, as we can too, acknowledging the tilts and transitions, along with change – and embrace all that is good, strong and true –

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

#WATWB

On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world post an item on good news, an incident that raises our vibrations and which helps towards making the world a better place and restores our faith in humanity.

It can be an individual act; a collective act; an initiative that gets off the ground serving the greater whole; it can be a known act, or an unknown one.

Here in Plettenberg Bay where I live, there are so many people and organisations that help feed the needy, and do much else besides for many communities who live on the fringe of this town. This one took my fancy, this young lad who lives in the UK, and whose grandparents live in Plettenberg Bay

This young hero, 7 yr old Bradley Watson who lives in the UK, decided during lockdown he wanted to raise money for hungry children in Plett where his Grandparents live. He told his family he wanted to run a marathon over 7 days, but with their support completed the marathon in just 4 days. (5 hrs & 32 min). He raised R6000 and chose the Plett Meal Centre as the recipient, who feed 350 children & adults daily from Faris Rd in the Industrial area. Bradley, you are an absolute star. Thank you. #plett_volunteers Knysna-Plett Herald CXpress Garden Route Newspaper

Image may contain: 7 people, outdoor, text that says "UNITED Kingdom King Day Finished 29 July 2020 12,7 kms Ashtead urrey ΑΙΑ DAY 12.7km MARATHON Bradley Watson yrs old- Ran 42 km for Charity-Completed/in 4 days Day 2 27 27July 10 kms FINISHED Start Day 1 13 Kms 26 July Finished Marathon: 42 Km Day 3 28July 28 7 kms AIA SupportTeam Support eam The Plett Meal Centre Eyethu Educare PE MEAL CENTRE &EYETHU EDUCARE"

Our co-hosts this month are below. Do pop by them to say hello and get a shot of good news to set you sailing through the weekend.


Lizbeth Hartz
Peter Nena
Shilpa Garg
Roshan Radhakrishnan and
Sylvia Steyn

Please share on social media. It’s nice to share good news.

September is around the corner – hard to believe. Here in the southern hemisphere, we’re turning towards Spring and you in the northern hemisphere, towards Fall, or as we call it here in South Africa, Autumn.

But wherever we are, whatever season approaches or recedes, things are changing. Day by day. There’s pretty much upheaval here, there and everywhere.

Keep safe, thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.

beauty

There is so much that is unpleasant around the world, it can really get to me. I sometimes feel I have compassion fatigue, empathy fatigue, donation fatigue and wish I could be like an ostrich and keep my head in the sand. I feel sometimes that I’ve forgotten how to pray or meditate and that I don’t know how anymore –

But there is so much that is lovely, and softening, and beautiful.

Please go to 2nd page of this post for reading – it’s truly lovely –

Closer to home on my walks, or up early in the morning to see the sunrise, to see a flower in bloom, the sky and strange cloud formations. The night sky and stars, the bird calls, butterflies, bees …

from my bedroom balcony
pincushion from my son’s garden
candle on my study desk which I light every now and then for loved ones and for the world
rainbow over there from my balcony
different rainbow, different day on sea from my balcony
red plant on sidewalk
strange plant on sidewalk – reminds me of praying, or like the Buddha touching the earth or is it like an ostrich –
strange person on beach (me)
flamingoes on lagoon
quote on sugar pack at coffee shop
laughing buddha on my dressing table (I think it was my mother’s)
my husband’s spinach patch
owl in tree on my son’s property here in Plett
other-worldly markings on tar road outside my home
This is NOT my photo of the Robberg. Taken by Carol Main who I gather is resident here in Plettenberg Bay and posted on one of the Plett feeds –
full moon a while ago

Dr Ian McCallum is a South African psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst, ecologist and poet. The link I’ve given is a wonderful and fierce read and I felt uplifted reading it. He notes ‘How ironic that 2020 is the symbol of perfect vision. If we had such vision, then we must have seen it coming’. What will we do with this ‘perfect vision’? He writes about the earth, society’s and the individual’s response to ‘I can’t breath’ and much else besides ….

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/ecological-and-psychological-perspective-year-coronavirus-reflections/

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

#WATWB meditation and prayer

Its that time of the month again – the last Friday of the month when bloggers from around the world post good news to alleviate the darkness of the current situation and the pandemic.

I’ve been keeping an eye open for some good news but I don’t really have any. Everything is not right and well. Yes, many are doing sterling work helping those in need. NGO’s, businesses, NPO’s, individuals, feeding the hungry, keeping them warm, animals too. All efforts are simply amazing and heart warming. All this while the taxpayers’ rands (SA currency) and large donations (eg for PPE) are being diverted to enrich politicians and the politically connected (pandemic of corruption).

I thought long and hard about what to post for this #WATWB post. What is good and helpful? What is good for each of us individually and for the other? What do we desire in this world? What can each of us do that allows healing light to emerge from the darkness. Does the light come from above towards the dark, or does darkness reach towards the light. Maybe both …

Much has been researched about the power of prayer and meditation and its beneficial effects not only on the individual but on the surrounds as well. I remember many years ago when conflict in the Middle East was at an all time high and meditators got together en masse for a lengthy period of time. Conflict was significantly decreased. There is I think an annual day of meditation when meditators around the world come together.

I think of monks and nuns and all those who devote time in prayer. Individuals who offer their prayers to their God, or Force or something that they know is greater than they. I feel sure that the effects and affects of that help in some way to offset the darkness for us all.

I mostly use my old TM mantra which I learned many years ago. When I wake in the morning I sit up and meditate in bed. The time flies by. I don’t concentrate on anything, just awareness of my breath to begin –

There are times when I bring the world to mind and imagine a golden light, sometimes, silver surrounding it.

I find the om mani padme hum chant very peace inducing … it’s a three hour chant which I put on in the background when at my desk. Tibetan singing bells in the background .. and chanting .. Raising the vibrations may be a drop in the ocean – I’m happy to be that drop –

The co-hosts for this month are below. Do pop by and say hello. Their stories are sure to lift your spirits.


Eric Lahti
 – https://ericlahti.wordpress.com

Susan Scott – https://www.gardenofedenblog.com/

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal – http://inderpreetuppal.com/

Shilpa Garg – https://shilpaagarg.com/

Peter Nena – https://drkillpatient01.wordpress.com/

If you’d like to be part of spreading good news Click here and add your name. Post to be short providing a link if it’s easier, 500 words or so, non-political, non religious …

Thank you for reading, have a lovely weekend, and may the Force be with you.

#WATWB education

It’s the last Friday of the month – again – and the day on which bloggers from around the world post a good news story as a way of mitigating the ongoing wave of negativity that can permeate into our lives. Good news stories remind us of all the good that is in the world and what individuals can achieve in helping alleviate the struggles that the disadvantaged face.

The story below is remarkable. I confess that I didn’t know of this benefactress and her work in Cape Town, South Africa.

Established in 2001 by Christel DeHaan, its efficacy is proven through a 99% Matric pass rate with 93% of alumni studying, working or both.

Christel DeHaan – True Hero

SA HEROES

By Alec Hogg

“Among my memorable assignments was a visit five years ago to Christel House, Cape Town’s 750-pupil Grade R to Matric school which only enrols children from abject poverty (household income under R1,500pm). Established in 2001 by Christel DeHaan, its efficacy is proven through a 99% Matric pass rate with 93% of alumni studying, working or both.

News reached us yesterday that DeHaan, 77, co-founder of global timeshare giant RCI, passed away on Saturday at her home in Indianapolis. Born during World War Two, she was a toddler when her father was killed in a bombing raid. She made her fortune after emigrating to the US from Germany as a 20 year old.

After banking $850m when selling out of RCI in 1996, DeHaan applied her fortune to helping children from backgrounds similar to hers. Her vision was to reach into the poorest communities and grant 100% scholarships to excellent education for children, covering everything from uniforms to food and professionalhealthcare.

DeHaan’s Endless Success Foundation will ensure eight Christel Houses around the world continue to give their 6,000 students a hand up. Adri Marais, CEO of Christel House SA, says the benefactor was “an absolute force for change.” From the smiling kids I met on my visit to the Cape establishment, that’s quite an understatement”.

From me and I’m sure on behalf of all South Africans who read this, I extend my thanks to Christel DeHaan who, with her donation from the DeHaan’s Endless Success Foundation, founded this very successful school in Ottery, Cape Town. On her recent death I extend my condolences and may her dear soul rest in peace.

The hosts for this month McGrathSusan Scott , Shilpa GargDamyanti Biswas,  Belinda Witzenhausen.

Do pop by their stories. They’re sure to bring a smile to your face and a warming of the cockles of your heart.

If you’d like to be part of spreading the good news, please click on the link to add your name. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!

Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend. May the Force be with you all.

Solstice, synchronicity, stars, sunrise, seven

Longest night, shortest day here in the southern hemisphere and then from tomorrow the days begin incrementally to lengthen. The opposite happens in the northern hemisphere. But for both, there is a moment of balance before the tilt towards a new season either way begins – Solstice –

It’s amazing and affirming to me when synchronicities happen. I take it as a message that I must perk up, notice and take in its meaning. In the last three days I’ve been exposed by 3 other writers to Jonah being in the belly of the whale. Each speaks to the powerlessness and vulnerability we individually experience and now, also collectively.

Deborah Gregory put her poem up on Thursday. Here is the link, do read it. http://theliberatedsheep.com/belly-whale/

below are the last two verses excerpted with her permission –

Below is the Facebook post from the other day.

And lastly Dr Deon van Zyl’s newly published book which I’m slowly reading on my Kindle –

Are we in the Belly of the Whale right now, those great Leviathans of the deep? How long do we have to sit in it and experience the Dark Night of the Soul? Is it a death-rebirth cycle? When we are finally spat out naked, will we face a newly ordered world, one we do not recognise? Will our experience in the Belly change us? Will there be a re-orientation of attitude, a willingness to re-engage in a more real way, one that recognises that some attitudes that we previously had no longer serve us, or anyone else for that matter. Will we take to heart a little more ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ and ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ …

A few mornings ago I stepped out onto my balcony – Venus.

followed by a few hours later –

Today, the 20th June, is the day seven years ago when I had a terrible car accident. It was the day before our final move to our new home at the time in Johannesburg. The 20th June is a day I always acknowledge and give thanks that it wasn’t worse. Both sons were up in Johannesburg to help with the move and the final move was done on the 21st June, 2013. That day then was the solstice and with a full moon to boot. Tomorrow will be a new moon.

All is well in Plettenberg Bay. Our son David and his lovely wife Jüte returned to Cape Town today after spending 2 weeks with us. We had such a lovely time with Mike our older son who lives in Plett in his own home. The brothers spent useful time making new videos, shooting the breeze, being creative. We’ve played Scrabble, discussed much about ongoing politics, eaten like kings and queens thanks to Jüte who’s training to be a chef. I’ve been walking a fair bit, upping my steps and looking for a sighting of whales in the bay. We’re STILL not allowed to walk on the beaches in Plett for exercise.

Covid-19 wise our number of deaths are rising daily; as of today we’re under 2000 deaths country wide. Deaths are expected to rise as the winter months continue and business, restaurants, salons and travel open up. Full release of lockdown is some way away. We practise wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands etc. when shopping or out walking in public. And while we’re living in historical times, we’re paying attention to the history that has gone before locally and internationally and being well and truly stretched out of our comfort zones. I think so often of white privilege – I want to do a blog post on this one day – but in the meantime, this is an audio clip from several years ago, of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words as voice over –

 ‘No one is born hating another person for the colour of their skin, religion or background. Never, never, never again, shall it be, that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another’ –

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you all.

#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.

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