Category: uncategorised

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Winds of Change

Winds of Change

What a strange, unsettling and uncomfortable month September has been. Pretty awful in many ways. Femicide, filicide, xenophobia, murders most foul, rape, gender based violence, racism, weak and divisive political leadership, destructive protests, looting, burning, ongoing commissions of enquiry with none being imprisoned. That’s just in my neck of the woods. The recent death of Robert Mugabe, past president of Zimbabwe has had political sycophants here excelling themselves in praising him for liberating Rhodesia. That man was a murderous thug, who enriched himself at the expense of Zimbabweans.

To add to my gloom, I injured my left foot some days ago so any walking has been anything but of the ‘out and about’ kind. Gone was my plan of walking on the beach, getting fit, losing a bit of weight. Gone was my plan of looking for a lovely outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding in Johannesburg. The thought of wearing a moon boot instead of slinky sparkly heeled shoes brought my spirits even lower. Ah vanity –

Are the winds of change upon us? The Global March in many parts of the world on Friday, initiated by Greta Thunberg, the young 16 year old Swedish lass already several months ago, speaks not only to our minds but to our hearts as well. Who can not fail to be moved by her addressing the climate change crisis, fearlessly, clearly, truthfully, calling out those in power who appear to have no concern about the future of Mother Earth and her inhabitants.

The 23rd September, tomorrow, the equinox, when for a moment the axis stands still before it turns, heralding new seasons in both the north and south hemispheres. 

A deepening in the northern hemisphere, an arising in the southern hemisphere. Can we hope for peaceful change of the seasons, and in the world?

The upcoming Rosh Hashanah on the 29th September which marks – by the blowing of the shofar – the beginning of the world in prayer and self reflection. It is one of the two High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, culminating in Yom Kippur.

A few things helped to lift my personal gloom. The one was our local Ndlovu Youth Choir and their performance at America’s Got Talent (AGT – could also stand for Africa’s Got Talent). The energy of these young people from impoverished communities, their wonderful costumes, the way they were received by audiences, their being in the finals, their homecoming this last Friday, was joyous. There is no other word. All thanks are due to Dr. Hugo Templeman, the conductor of this 40 strong choir, and musical director Ralf Schmitt.

Another thing that has lifted my spirits immeasurably is a tag that my son recently linked me to on Facebook. It’s the #ImStaying tag. It was begun only 2 weeks ago with a small ‘membership’ and now it has reached epic proportions. The personal experiences of South Africans who’ve lived and travelled elsewhere in the world, or haven’t travelled at all, speak to my heart and mind. Each and every one (many thousands already) says why they’re staying – it’s the people mostly, their energy, their diversity, their ordinary human ubuntu kindness, the feeling of being one with the soil, the land and sea scapes, the wild life, the birds and bees and the swaying trees … The song and the dance – black and white like the yin yang symbol … people of all stripes and cultures standing up, tall and proud. Every reason to believe that South Africa will turn the tide.

This one below I came across this morning; it’s certainly one of the longer ones. Malusi Thabethe is a man with the heart of a poet and the strength of a lion. I hope you read it.

Malusi Thabethe to #ImStaying

I define South African.
I am the child of the soil, the branch that grew from the seed that became a tree called South Africa.
I strive and strike to make my country the better one in Africa.
I am the remainder of the blacks that were burnt fighting for freedom and equality and their ashes gave birth to me.
I am the light that will shine tomorrow to give light to our generations regardless of their Race.
I am the doorman who is going to chase out Xenophobia from our beautiful Hotel South Africa and welcome my fellow African brother’s with open arms.
I am the product of the past of South Africa, but I am the future to the improved South Africa;
The South Africa that does not discriminate against any race,
where children feel safe to walk on their own, anytime without the fear of being abused.
The South Africa that have politicians who care more about the people than their own greed.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy on the street whose life depends on the crumbs on the bins and leftovers from strangers.
I see my fellow brothers who made it in life driving past me on a daily basis and they close their windows every time they see me.
I don’t blame them the Government is also closing the door to better life for all. Remember the one they promised us during Election campaigns?
Yes that very same door is closed and I have no choice but to stay on this streets.
I used to believe that my vote count, oh yes it does count when it matters but once counted they forgot about me and their promises.
I am now a disgrace to my fellow leaders and I am labeled a failure.
Yes I failed but you failed me and the entire society.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy who is doing 2 shifts to ensure that my family is well taken care off.
I work for less to ensure that tomorrow my children are able to generate more for themselves.
I slave myself out for their future which I am hoping would be better.
I don’t see them as I leave early and come back when they are asleep,
This is life of a typical South African man, work hard for your offspring and hope for the better.
Every morning I pray for their safety and sure hope that I will come back home safe.
This streets is full of vultures, it’s a dog eat dog country and the dog I am want to go back to my puppies safe every evening.
I walk in the valley of death, oh God are you still my Shepard? Or because my name is Shepard I need to be my own Shepard?
I live in fear every turn I make might be my last one and every time I see my child might be my last time.
I define South Africa.
I can write ten thousand things about my country but
I am Love
I am hope
I am Reconciliation
I am Faith
I am the Smiling Stranger on the street.
I am the Diversity
I am the Past
I am the FUTURE
I am Malusi Thabethe
I am South Africa

Winds of change – they’re in the air, and in the soil. They’re in the birth of books by a few of my internet friends who have published books recently. They went through the labours of writing, editing, proofs – and launched their creations into the world.***

The winds of change are about – people are more aware of non biodegradable items and refusing them. People are voluntarily cleaning up beaches, and other areas. People are pushing for change – not only pushing, they’re doing it themselves.

Tuesday is a public holiday here in South Africa. Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation.

South Africa is a rugby mad world (also soccer and cricket – women’s teams too; as well as tennis, music, dance, braaivleis). The opening of the Rugby World Cup was on Friday night SA time. It happens every 4 years and this time it is being hosted in Yokohama Japan, the first time that an Asian country has hosted the RWC. The opening ceremony was wonderful.

Yokohama Port

Sad to say, our Springboks lost to the All Blacks on Saturday midday SA time. But, all is by no means lost. The Springboks know that South Africa is behind them every inch of the way. There are still plenty of games ahead … 

Other things that are uplifting for me, is that I saw a GP here in Plettenberg Bay this past Thursday. My husband had a separate appointment with him after mine. The GP examined my foot very carefully and tenderly and prescribed an x-ray and some blood tests to be done which I did first thing on Friday morning. As well as a strong short course of anti-inflammatories. On Thursday night son Mike joined us for supper prior to his flying to Johannesburg on Friday for the #comicconafrica annual convention at which he was incidentally giving a talk this Sunday afternoon at 3.00 p.m. Mike didn’t really know about how sore my foot was. He was very concerned and took my foot very gently in his hands and performed some Michael magic …

X-rays first thing Friday morning, bloods taken and a call from the GP around 1.00 that day to say there were no broken bones in my foot and no sign of a stress fracture. My bloods were all within normal range. Sugars good etc .. Already my foot started feeling better, and has become increasingly less painful in these last few days though I’m being careful with it. I wonder if in part at least, the fact that I took matters into my own hands (or foot) by making that GP appointment – putting my trust in a yet as ‘unknown other’ helped my recovery. Maybe it was I who needed to make the first step, in aiding it. Maybe I needed to be own shepherd/Shepard. I feel as if I’m on a better footing with the world.

There’ve been a few tragic deaths lately. A dear friend of mine’s husband died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. I know someone whose daughter died tragically. The clouds are dark indeed for them. It’s an unknown journey for them as they mourn and grieve deeply.

‘Where there is sorrow, there is Holy Ground’ – Oscar Wilde.

Thank you for reading; I know it’s a long post.

***For a few of my internet friends who’s newly birthed books have been launched into the world, all success with them! I’ll do a blog post fairly soon I hope and give you details. The authors are Jacqui Murray, Marian Beaman and Damyanti Biswas.

 

 

Packing up is hard to do

Packing up is hard to do

Does order come from chaos as the Bible and quantum physics claim? Have we underestimated the magnitude of this relocation from Johannesburg down to Plettenberg Bay? Our lovely home down there is already furnished, but now that we are renting out our townhouse with furniture and all else to a corporate SOE, we have to remove our personal belongings, clothes, toiletries, books (mine are down there but my husband still has tooooo many of his here, including medical and golf books galore), too many boxes of photographs, files, paintings, my art stuff (much of it down there) and I don’t know what else – more stuff –

It’s too soon to panic or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. At least the appointment is made for professional carpet and tile cleaners to come by this Friday. We plan to drive down in our 2 cars with trailer in tow on Saturday. My husband is aghast at my wanting to take down my beautiful hanging orchid and at least one pot plant of my already blooming orchids.

What to keep, what to toss. An existential question for me. Already I’ve given away many clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff. Breaking up is hard to do – I’ve tossed photos of old boyfriends with a loving thought to them. No time for any reminiscing. I’m keeping letters and post cards from family and friends from when Moses was a boy; there’s no time for any reading of them now. It would take forever –

In among this all (and Wimbledon – my nerves), my lovely blogger friend Norah Colvin in Sydney Australia, has and is running a series on School Day reminiscences. It’s been so interesting to read these guest posts which appear on Sundays in which she interviews fellow bloggers from around the world on their memories of school days. My school memories went up on Sunday and can be read on her link below. The below photo is one I found of my sister and me which is not on Norah’s post & which I sent via what’s app to my sister in Cape Town while sorting photographs, which made her a bit weepy – I MUCH prefer her rounded collar –

https://norahcolvin.com/2019/07/07/school-days-reminiscences-of-susan-scott

Norah is a great proponent of early learning and especially reading – www.readilearn.com.au – learn.com.au – and her posts for parents and teachers are always excellent and innovative on this topic. Her web page is www.NorahColvin.com .com 

I’d better get on with it – thankfully Jane my housekeeper is here and will work for the new tenants a few days a week; and although our employer-employee relationship officially came to an end at the end of May, she’s being an enormous help right now in the cleaning of cupboards and much more –

Little by little, bit by bit, slowly we come to the end of it – 

To begin again.

Everything is pretty tumultuous around the world. Here as well. Plettenberg Bay where we’re heading to has recently seen several days of terrible protest action with some pretty darn revolting thuggery and destruction thrown in among the mess – may order reign everywhere and not a moment too soon.

Jean Raffa, author of beautiful books and Matrignosis: A blog about Inner Wisdom (rich and real soul food), blogged today on Susan E. Schwartz’s and my co-authored book, ‘Aging and Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ – it was a wonderful surprise to see this today! 

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

 

www.NorahColvin.com 

www.readilearn.com.au

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