Category: uncategorised

On the Road again …

On the Road again …

road trip Karoo

August 16, 2014, driving through the Karoo –

A restlessness, a yearning to be on the road. It would be less expensive to fly down to the coast, certainly far quicker, probably safer. A two hour flight as opposed to a 14 hour road trip. My husband has a car at our holiday home so it’s not as if I wouldn’t have wheels down there, I would.

I plan to overnight tomorrow night in Graaf Reinet, a very charming Karoo town and stay at a BnB we’ve stayed at before in October 2 years ago. Such comfort, so charming, such a genial host. Then it’s only about 450 kms still to get to my destination. 2 years back this August I did a road trip down to Plettenberg Bay, leaving Johannesburg very early in the morning and did the trip solo in one go. I want to recapture that sense of being on my own again, winding through the Karoo and those never ending roads and wide open blue winter skies and be part of the changing scenery, unfolding in all Nature’s grandeur. Just me and thee and Mother Nature –

The timing is right – government schools are on holiday so I am not tied to my volunteer work. The girls at the rooms are happy to stand in for me in my absence. My husband will manage. Already the freezer is half-full. There is food for the cats. I’ve changed a few arrangements for next week. But the following week I have to be back and not just for school. I have other commitments that can’t be changed.

I want to get off the treadmill for a bit. I know I’m lucky to have a treadmill when so many don’t. I want to walk on the beach, feel the sand and sea on my feet, watch the waves and who knows, there may be whales to watch and climb Robberg maybe.

20th Aug 2014
20th Aug 2014 Robberg.

I hope to paint, play with clay, do nothing, dream, read, finish what I’ve started reading on my Kindle, finish off the WIP, so close to finishing. June is almost over – we’re halfway through the year –

I want to be back by Sunday next week to prepare for the following week but also to watch the finals of Wimbledon on TV. I wondered which route I will take to return … perhaps I’ll meander back on a different route.

Well, those photos are old photos – here’s a recent one from last Sunday when we trekked out to Nirox, a beautiful place not far from where I live, to see the land art sculptures.Nirox June

Lethargy

Lethargy

shadow

I was thinking to myself the other day that the only good thing about lethargy is that it too passes. But this was too easy a thought and dismissive of what lethargy is. In hindsight, I look back at lethargy that was my companion for the last several weeks. I can quite easily describe the sense of it as it pertained to me. I can say I felt wooden, somewhat immobilised, powerless, helpless, heavy – yet I needed to reflect on the why’s and the wherefores and my role in all of this, if any, in relation to my brother who suffers – from depression.

He lives elsewhere, in isolation. He visited for just over a week. He and I were on our own. My husband was away. We walked a bit, played Scrabble. Once I took him for a walk around the Zoo Lake, photo below. He was not open to anything of a psychological nature, like playing with clay or doodling or any in-depth talking. My husband returned from being away for my brother’s last 2 nights here so that was good and timely. My younger son was up in Johannesburg for 2 nights during the time my brother was here, so that lightened the load in a good way. Two dear girlfriends came by at different times to say hello to him and play a game of Scrabble, so that was also nice.

Zoo Lake – late May

zoo lake

Depression: Dear God. An Affliction. We did talk occasionally. But there were barriers. He returned home in early June and we’ve spoken a few times since. One day at a time …

The during and aftermath of his visit has left me with much to digest and I’m doing so in my way. I can only continue to hope and pray that he finds his way in some way. I’m aware that he may not – and that a person has their own destiny to fulfil – 

The changing of the seasons have I think mirrored me in some way – lengthening shadows, cold, heavy, dark.

Last week, preparations were underway for a birthday lunch for me of which my husband took total control. He had no control over the weather though. Sunday was forecast to be bitterly cold. So we brought in tables from outside to inside the day before and re-configured things. The tables looked lovely. The room looked lovely and festive. The fire and heaters were blazing. It was a lovely birthday celebration, much fun and laughter, excellent food (sourced from Giovanni the owner and chef of the best Italian restaurant down the road, anti pasta, lasagne, vegetarian pasta, salads), limoncello, wine, champagne, phone calls and messages from my friends and family, lovely presents I opened later when a few stayed on – it was very very special. As well, a heightened appreciation of my husband who laboriously brought it all together –

I started lightening up from the lethargy last week sometime. I’m attending to things left unattended.

And writing a blog on lethargy.

I’ve also realised that while lethargy has its place, it also has its danger of becoming entrenched. Or at least that was the sense that I had. I could see the possibility inherent in me of becoming fully immobilised, not attending to anything, not attending to my psyche, wanting to just do nothing.

Brexit looms when the UK will know whether or not it will exit the EU. There are ramifications either way and there is tension in that.

The Orlando shootings have happened – I have no words. There will be ongoing ramifications of that, and there is tension in this.

Our country is facing municipal elections in early August and there is much ongoing infighting amongst other issues on many fronts. We are all tense.

Yesterday, I drove to school with my lights on as the day was heavily overcast and visibility low. When I returned to my car the battery was flat as I’d left the lights on – but I was helped by two men who got it going. I was very grateful.

Later on in the day I drove down to the shops for a few provisions as well as to buy a couple of doughnuts for my helpers yesterday, to deliver today when I was again at school (I’m a volunteer for an organisation that assists poor readers). I left the shops yesterday, waited at the traffic lights to change to green, made a right, and was almost side-swiped by a speeding BMW who shot the red lights. It was seriously close, a hair’s breadth .. up ahead I saw a speeding police car obviously giving chase. It’s only a few days to the anniversary of the serious car accident when a truck shot the stop street and upended my car, three years ago on 20th June.

20th June is the winter solstice for the southern hemisphere and it’s also full moon that night. Turning points –

The sun is shining today, though still very cold. The photo below is of my orchids heavily laden with dew on the patio taken just now –

orchidsJune

I reflect that there is beauty among the difficulties and challenges that life presents –

faith

and some words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes – 

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some poor portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip towards an enduring good ..

Thank you for listening –  

A-Z Blog Challenge T: Trauma as Initiating Agent

A-Z Blog Challenge T: Trauma as Initiating Agent.

roses-with-thorns

The Rose with its Thorns

Oscar Wilde: Where there is sorrow there is holy ground (De Profundis)

Many of us have had some kind of trauma in our lives, whether the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent who we’ve loved, or of a partner or loved one; the loss of a job, home, security; betrayal; illness or injury of ourselves or loved ones.  The list is endless. What was once beautiful, has shown its’ hurtful thorns.

A friend of mine here in Johannesburg is feeling totally whacked and weary to the bone. She says she’s seeing so many trauma cases in her clinical practice – this was correspondence via email apropos something else entirely but she mentioned it at the end of her email. I felt for her tender and gentle soul. This got me thinking – could trauma to the individual in a psychological sense be an initiating agent? I’m not speaking of the Holocaust, or the Vietnam war or of those having to flee because of atrocities in their home of origin. That is too big a something to write about here. Individuals such as Victor Frankl, Anne Frank and many many others have written movingly about their experiences. It must be said though that people such as they have looked into the heart of the matter and brought their wisdom to bear on human nature and the ability to rise above trauma, irrespective of how unimaginably damaging. 

I’m thinking of the wounding we may have received as a child in our normally dysfunctional families from eg a cold mother, or an emotionally absent father or a bullying sibling or relative or at school. Or any of the traumas mentioned above at the beginning of my post.

Do we have any helpful guides along the way who can help us hold the trauma, and see into the heart of it? A friend, a therapist, a counsellor, an outreach programme? Do these traumas propel us towards change whereby we can say when there is light at the end of the tunnel: we’ve changed – and for the better for I am now stronger, wiser, more compassionate, not so alone in my feelings of hopelessness. I’m human, like everyone else …

I think of Lilith, first wife of Adam (according to the Midrash) exiled to the depths of the Red Sea for her refusal to obey him and her subsequent blasphemy to God for refusing to hear her plea. Aeons sitting in the depths, wounded to the core. She returned and in disguise offered the apple to Eve which she took and she and Adam were exiled from Paradise. (according to the creation story). Trauma, that kind of wounding leading to a new world to be learned. Rosa Parks, refusing to give up her seat in the bus. Mr. Nelson Mandela spending 27 years in prison yet emerging with peace and forgiveness in his heart. Propelling us forward, all those acts initiated from trauma .. 

Is the rose any more beautiful without its thorns? I don’t think so – the thorns are a timely reminder of beauty and sadness residing together. 

A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

A-Z CHALLENGE THEME  REVEAL

atoz-theme-reveal-2016

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

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

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

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

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

full moonFull moon tonight – from my balcony in Plett –

Easter, Pesach, Equinox

Easter, Pesach, Equinox –

yinyangimagesa time for reflection – to deepen faith –

a time for redemption – to deepen faith –

a time for renewal – to deepen faith –

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

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

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

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

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

balcony view

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


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

 

Wedding!

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

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

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

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

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

matthew

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

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

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

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

mike

meneil

It was truly a fabulous wedding!

dave jute

Park Free and Go Shopping Card –

Park Free & Go Shopping Card

parking voucherIMG_0252

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

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

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

mannequin4IMG_0244

mann1IMG_0248

mann2IMG_0249

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

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

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

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

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

Synchronicity

Synchronicity

tortoise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blind Spots and Racism

yinyang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His words prior to the song excerpted:

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

An excerpt from his song:

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

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

And in the past I was quick to talk, 

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

It’s a life I would never choose,

Now that I see your point of view

And I’ll never comprehend the cost of the

cross you’ve had to bear,

I hope we can make amends….’

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

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

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

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

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

totem pole

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

There’s a crack in everything

amaryllis

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

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

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

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

‘Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in’ –

 

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

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

Solstice, Christmas, New Year

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Image: courtesy etsy.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Cake

The card was created by my elder son Mike

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

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

Colour me Blue

Colour me Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening

I was on the Way, too ..

I was on the way to –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

Excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank

Excerpt from The Diary of Anne FrankAnne Frank

*Wednesday, 13th May, 1944 ‘:..As you can easily imagine we often ask ourselves here despairingly: “What, oh what is the use of the war? Why can’t people live peacefully together? Why all this destruction?”

‘The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic ‘planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there’s not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people?

‘Why do some people have to starve, while there are surpluses rotting in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy?

‘I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.

‘I have often been downcast, but never in despair … (in later paragraph/s, same entry) Why, then, should I be in despair?’

She wrote this from the ‘Secret Annexe’ a month before her 15th birthday in June 1944. Her last entry was Tuesday, 1st August 1944. On the 4th August the ‘Secret Annexe’ was raided and the Jewish prisoners taken to Westerbork, the main German concentration camp in Holland, before being packed off in cattle trucks to Auschwitz on 3rd September. Anne and her sister were sent to Bergen-Belsen in November where in February 1945 they both contracted typhus. The death of her beloved sister Margot, broke Anne’s spirit and she died in early March, 1945.

I finished reading her diary on Sunday. It has my maiden name inscribed in my hand, so I’ve had it a long time. I picked it up off my bookshelf a week or so ago. She was given a diary, her best present, on her 13th birthday in June, 1942, not yet incarcerated. In the foreword by Storm Jameson, he writes that her writing ‘…came as naturally as song to a young bird’. Her diary is an extraordinary piece of writing in which she reveals her self. Her first entry in her diary is dated Sunday, 14th June, 1942, two days after her birthday when they had not yet had to escape – She dates all entries with the day of the week, and dates and addresses her diary “Dear Kitty”.

Somehow, I felt a need to put up her words above – perhaps they’ll give cause for pause in some way –

*The Diary of Anne Frank pages 186-187: Pan Books Ltd; 1973.

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