Freedom of Body, Bondage

B: Freedom: Body and Bondage

‘But freedom, liberty, is an attribute of the soul and it may exist even when the body is in bondage‘. Ralph Adams1863-1942 American architect.

If I think of an individual I immediately think of Helen Keller and wonder about her ability to rise above her disability. Her own attribute of freedom of soul surely played the largest part –

‘We are bound to our bodies like an oyster to its shell’. Plato, Phaedrus

How many of us feel freedom in our bodies, that which we’ve been given, and grown into. Or do we feel betrayed?  Susan E. Schwartz writes (in our co-authored book) in a  chapter on Body, ‘Rather than mere denial or avoidance, our bodies are the palettes on which we express. Our bodies keep us in this world, defining who we are. Daily the body calls. How we choose to answer remains the question’. Which make me wonder how in bondage we are or slaves to the prevailing whims of fashion and beauty –

Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘Liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination’. 

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley: ‘Christ pitied because He loved, because He saw through all the wretchedness, and darkness, and bondage of evil; that there was in every human soul a possibility of repentance, of restoration; a germ of good, which, however stifled and overlaid, yet was capable of recovery, of health, of freedom, of perfection’.

The lotus is in bondage to the mud until such time as it flowers into its open beauty.

Margot L: Freedom is to have the lightness of feet and fullness of heart to go merrily into the world, dancing to your own rhythm

    Thank you for reading – do add your comments, I love to read them –

A for Art, Ambiguity, Autonomy, Actions

Freedom

A: Art, Ambiguity, Autonomy & Actions

Is Freedom fixed and true and absolute? Is it somewhat ambiguous?  We may talk and think about eg Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Pain, freedom in aging, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, fight for freedom, the freedom one may feel when e.g. free from an abusive partner and so on …

“The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is ‘ambiguity’, the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces – both individual and social“. Paul Tillich, Historian. (emphasis on ‘all’ is mine)

So, for the next 25 posts of this A-Z blog challenge, I’ll be putting up quotes from those known and unknown. The unknown are however known to me. I decided only on Wednesday to do this challenge after being quite certain that this time I wouldn’t. Freedom was on my mind if only because of the political strife happening in our country. Protests galore, roads being scorched, cars and trucks having stones and rocks thrown at them and thereby any travel was severely curtailed. Freedom to travel safely was taken from them by outside factors (pre-election posturing and protesting, in a sometimes violent fashion) –

Re the unknowns – On Wednesday afternoon I sent out a what’s app to personal friends saying I was going to do this challenge and I was requesting from them what Freedom means to them personally. The responses have been wonderful, real and varied.

Nikki C – Autonomy over our choices, actions and emotions.

Lindy G – To be free means for me the ability to accept ‘what is’ – it goes without saying that this is easier said than done.

Thank you for reading. Do you have any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear!

#WATWB Grandmother walking to deliver donation

#WATWB

The good deed you do today for a brother or sister in need will come back to you some day, for humanity is a circle indeed,

American screenplay writer, Robert Alan Aurthur.

It’s that time of month again, the last Friday of each month when bloggers from around the world post a good news story, showing humanity in action. It was difficult to choose just one but the one I’ve chosen touched me to the core. It shows a gogo (grandmother) carrying on her shoulders a bag of goods to deliver to those affected by Cyclone Idai, the one that has caused so much death, devastation and displacement to those living in Mocambique and bordering countries, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The visibly elderly woman identified as Gogo (grandmother) walked from Mbare to deliver her Cyclone Idai donations in Highlands, Harare.

She couldn’t afford the taxi fare so she walked –

This saying of the header to my post came to life after an elderly woman in Zimbabwe walked over 12 kilometres to deliver aid donations to victims of Cyclone Idai. She was recognised and offered a lifetime reward. “She gave more than us all. What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen” said the billionaire Strive Masiyiwa.

Read more: https://briefly.co.za/26730-billionaire-offers-house-gogo-carried-donation-idai-victims.html#26730
If you’d like to take part in this initiative, running for almost 2 years now, you can add your name to the linky list. https://www.damyantiwrites.com/we-are-the-world-blogfest/
Our thanks to our co-hosts this month. Do pop along to their posts to say hello.
https://professorowlsbookcorner.com/,
http://shilpaagarg.com/
http://www.damyantiwrites.com
nofacilities.com
https://belindawitzenhausen.com/
Some brief guidelines: posts to be under 500 words, say why it touched you, and provide the link to the story which shows humanity in action.
Thank you for reading! May the Force be with you and ‘in Darkness be Light’ –

#April AtoZ blog challenge 2019 theme reveal

Theme Reveal

This time round I wasn’t going to do the international April A-Z blog challenge, but I changed my mind yesterday!

My theme is Freedom. I’ll be putting up quotes with images of some of the well known sayings on Freedom as well as including words from friends who I asked today via what’s app and I’ve had some lovely responses!

I hope you’ll join me in popping by! The challenge requires us to post on each letter of the alphabet from A to Z starting on 1st April. So 26 posts every day except for Sunday when we take a rest –

Good luck to all taking part –

 

Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit

How these days fly by. Normally I would’ve blogged on The Equinox, acknowledging the turn of the planet and its relation to the sun and that still point when all is in balance for a moment, maybe posted a photograph of the full moon that shone so brightly the night before. The last few days have been strange indeed, in part because the 2nd year anniversary of my friend’s death was on the 19th, yet it was also my son and daughter-in-law’s 3rd wedding anniversary as well as his wife Jüte’s birthday. My very good friend Al had her hip op on Tuesday, and her recuperation is not going to be easy. How I wish I was in Johannesburg to help her post operatively.

What strikes me is how quickly time flies. Deborah Gregory posts on her blog The Liberated Sheep on the first of the month for each month. Her last 3 for the first 3 months are poetically depthful, as all her posts are. The #We are the World Blogfest rolls round with regularity, where bloggers post on the last Friday of each month spreading good news around the globe, stories of humanity and positive action that can pass by unnoticed among the ongoing negativity. The April A-Z international blogfest is about to get underway. I won’t be partaking this time round unless I change my mind at the last minute. It makes April fly by in a wink and then it’s May – 

So many markers of the months – today is Human Rights Day, a public holiday here in South Africa, acknowledging the Sharpeville massacre that took place in 1960. Next month is another public holiday, on 27th April, the day on which SA had it’s first democratic election. Mr. Nelson Mandela would be turning in his grave to see what is going on in our country. May 8th is election day …

The alarm bells have been ringing for some time. Especially when Mr. Ramaphosa announced his inner circle some days ago, thugs the lot of them. It’s ok according to him that they have not been convicted. It’s ok says Ramaphosa that this won’t tarnish the image of our country. Ramaphosa says that corruption will be rooted out and people will be jailed. Who’s he kidding? What have they got on Ramaphosa that he can’t get rid of them I have to ask, along with very many who cannot understand why these thugs have not been removed? Assassinations of those who speak out or who are whistle blowers is a not uncommon occurrence –

Also very alarming is Eskom our electricity provider. Its henchmen are facing commissions of enquiry and we are aghast at the deep rot. Well, we always knew. But we did NOT expect to have load shedding or blackouts such as we’ve been having for the last several days. Eskom, once an extremely well run and efficient State Owned Enterprise is completely dysfunctional and has been bailed out countless times. The interest on the debt is scary. The daily cost to the economy is absolutely enormous. In practical terms this means that we have no electricity for many hours of the day and night. For me, it’s an irritating inconvenience, I can work around it even if it means I have to keep on buying data for my cell phone to keep connected. It’s not cheap. We use solar lamps, torches and candles. But I’m thinking of the traffic chaos around the country, small businesses having to close down, the long nights with no lights, those who cannot cook for their families, those who cannot study, or they do by candle light. TV and radio is sometimes inaccessible to keep up with the news. So that we can’t follow the commissions of enquiry? I suspect so.

Other SEO’s are in deep doo doo. Railways continue to have breakdowns while commuters are on the way to work. Those on the highveld are facing water shortages – electricity is needed to get the dams to do their work to higher areas. Generators use diesel which is fast running out. Another petrol increase is due. Food prices are escalating. Winter is approaching. Electricity costs are going through the roof. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we actually get another downgrade, this time to the one below, which is junk status. And then?

And then? People are now removing as much cash as they can from banks and ATM’s. They are stockpiling.

I heard and saw Ramaphosa with my own eyes and ears saying in response to a question put to him in Parliament. ‘Oh I see you are white – that means you are one of those who supported the apartheid regime and were therefore involved in the slaughter of our people’. It was a 30 sec clip … dear heavens, if this isn’t racist I honestly don’t know what is. Thank you for nothing. You forget too quickly how many ordinary people, political parties, businesses, media, churches, organisations fought against apartheid. Stereotyping is the way of the weak, let alone deceitful –

Meanwhile, we hear of thousands of NGO’s helping those in need, people who give of their time and hard work to help those far worse off. Rescue SA has returned from Mocambique on our borders where cyclone Idai has wrecked havoc. Thousands were brought to safety, hundreds rescued from the jaws of death. Gift of the Givers (Imtiaz Sooliman is the founder) continues their extraordinary work wherever required around the world. Zimbabwe also on our borders has felt the effects of cyclone Idai, and are in dire need of help of food and water. Malawi, that poor beleaguered country also in disaster territory. News from Zimbabwe has virtually closed down. The current president is a clone of Zimbabwe’s past president, the mug, Mugabe.

I often fantasise about a tax revolt, withholding taxes to the government in power, putting money into a separate account that is used to pay for roads, housing, clinics, schools and other essential services. I remember looking into this some years ago whether this was legal, and in fact found out that one is not obliged to pay taxes. It may be a duty but it is perfectly legal not to. Do we collude in some way when we give our hard earned taxes to a corrupt system? I suspect that that information has been removed from everywhere.

I know that there are good people in politics. Good people in our justice system. People everywhere who really do want the best for all and who work tirelessly towards fulfilling that goal.

My rant is over – I watered a tired looking indoor plant just now and was amazed at how quickly it prettily perked up. I’m outside on the balcony overlooking the sea the colour of which keeps changing as the day draws to a close. The electrickery has been on for the last 4 hours – who knows how much longer –

Thank you for reading. The photo is one I took from our bedroom balcony early in February. I remember feeling the beauty of it. One part of it in darkness heavy with rain, the other side in light. And G.d’s covenant with Noah after the flood that He wouldn’t allow such disasters again. Where are you G.d? Nebraska? Venezuela?The Middle East, New Zealand?

Changing seasons

Changing seasons

I’m trying to be aware of this so the change of seasons doesn’t take me unawares. Just to be aware of the transition and then to acknowledge it more definitively. And then to engage in it some more – as one season ends, another begins, sliding slowly into it’s newer or older form. One fresh with the promise of fertile Spring and Light, the other fertile and dark, each with its’ own function –

I’ve been on my own these last few days here in Plettenberg Bay. We arrived 2 Sundays ago, driving down from Johannesburg. Is it only so soon ago? – it seems longer. This past Wednesday my husband went off with golf pals on a jaunt and will be back tomorrow evening, and my elder son went off on Wednesday to Cape Town to attend an international animation event.

The days have been hot and humid. I’ve had a couple of walks on the Robberg beach and swims in the sea in view of the lifesavers – just in case -. I would have liked to have strode further out getting through the manageable waves and float on my back awhile even over the swells. I didn’t take that step but enjoyed the splashing and shlossing in the sea getting thoroughly doused. I would have liked for there to be more people in the sea then maybe I would have gone further out and floated awhile, but since I was the only swimmer I played safe –

The weather changed dramatically on Thursday night. Wonderful rain and in the morning too. A thorough soak. And it turned chilly – and remained so for several days. The wind was epic not favourable even for walking around locally. Yesterday it was still blowing a lot but I think it’s lost a bit of huff and puff after the previous days.

I still sit astride two places I call home in the physical sense – Johannesburg and Plettenberg Bay. It would please my husband enormously if our townhouse in Johannesburg were sold. We gave the keys 2 Saturdays ago to a sole estate agent who is very confident it will be sold at the price we’re asking. If she rang and said ‘Sold!’ this would be a shock to me in one way or the other … it really would mean a severance. Not only that but it would be conclusive ‘evidence’ to me that Plettenberg Bay is now really my/our home. And I must claim it and live it, in this next phase of my life.

We have access to the townhouse for the next several months regardless if sold and this gives us time to move everything else from there to down here – or sell it, or donate it or whatever. Maybe Autumn is as good a time as any. I still want to make plans to bring Jane (Kgamotso is her African name) our housekeeper who’s been with the family for 35 years down to Plettenberg Bay to come and see and be a guest in our home. She’s never flown before so that will be a first! We will be saying goodbye to Jane at the end of May latest. It is possible though that whoever buys our home may also want Jane – but there’s no way of knowing. That would be best outcome for her as her church and community is close by and she wants to continue earning. She has a home in Pampierstad, far away in the Northern Cape where her family lives so it may mean for her going or returning home. I’ve encouraged her to grow vegetables and plants and to continue her sewing if that move is made –

I’ve been upstairs in my study, bringing things from the dining room table downstairs and organising and streamlining things, making it functional and as pleasing as possible. There’s still a bit to do but I’m pleased with progress so far.

I like time on my own – there’s been only Angie the cat to feed. And myself. She fulfils my mother complex I suppose always wanting more food  for which I am happy to oblige. But it’s getting out of hand. I’m sure she’s not as greedy-needy when others are about.

I know I’m going to have to put myself out there a bit when I claim Plett as my permanent residence. Already I’ve enquired about a walking/hiking group but the organiser wants to know more about me and question me as to my fitness. I’m still to make enquiries about art groups and maybe bridge groups. Join the library. I responded to a Plett group this morning. May well be meeting a few at Whale Rock Wednesday morning to pick up litter, if the municipality hasn’t cleared the weekend trash. Pole pole … (polay polay) which means slowly slowly in Swahili – the words used by Wilson our guide up Mt Kilimanjaro so many years ago. Maybe I’ll send the walking/hiking lady this and hope she doesn’t look at the date ..

*The photo of National Geographic doesn’t make for easy reading –

the white band across it says MT. KILIMANJARO CONQUERED – FAB FIVE SUMMITS: AUG 19th 1999 – 7.45 am.

At the TOP it says: JUNGIAN PSYCHOLOGY: “The Nigredo of Mud”.

At the BOTTOM it says: Africa’s Highest Mountain Yields

to Determined Mountaineers

BREATHING AT 20,000 FOOT ALTITUDE

Science studies the effects of altitude on elderly

An update on my enquiry re hiking/walking – she phoned me back and we chatted so on Thursday I’m embarking on a hike in unknown territory for me. Had I climbed Robberg all the way she wanted to know. Yes numerous times I said. I omitted to tell her that the last time I climbed it all the way was in April last year and I nearly came short – not quite, but almost. Meeting at 8.15 on a 10km hike on Thursday, so help me …

I’m glad I walked this morning – the day was lovely, sunny and warm. I wish I’d donned my costume and sarong and swam like I did last week … the waves looked gentle. A few bathers about. At this time of year, people come from abroad to escape their winters or simply just to enjoy this milder weather. Those who migrate here for a month or so are called ‘Swallows’ – 

Elections here in South Africa in less than 2 months. I wonder what’s going to happen.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you wherever you are –

*It’s a fake cover on National Geographic – the picture is real though!

 

 

a simple hello

A simple hello

On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world post a good news story as a way of lightening the news that assails us from every angle. I am late with my post – I found this one from googthingsguy dated today.

How to participate if you wish: ***Use the badge and #WATWB hashtag and share on social media.***Keep your post to below 500 words – say how and why the good news affected you and supply the link to your story. (I have not provided the link this, this time round; I have edited it slightly). ***If you’d like to take part in sharing a post for good things happening around the world with #WATWB, you can add your links HERE. This month’s hosts for the #WATWB are:  Inderpreet Uppal Shilpa Garg,  Sylvia McGrath , Peter NenaBelinda WitzenHausen. Please link to them in your WATWB posts and go say hi! And our thanks to them for hosting.

A simple hello

Sea Point, Cape Town – One evening, two weeks ago, Toni Venter stopped at her local shop on her way home to pick up a few things. On the way back to her car she noticed a homeless man, one she sees daily, sitting in his usual spot.

But this time instead of just walking by, she decided to stop and speak to him. This is how she met Thomas, and this is how both their lives changed that day.

 Thomas’ life fell apart when his entire family was murdered in an armed robbery He lost all hope and his way, and couldn’t pick up the pieces again which is how he ended up living on the streets.

“You can see the pain and sadness in his eyes, a broken man needing human kindness to uplift him again. That evening I promised Thomas that I would somehow help him.”

Toni immediately contacted her friend, Peter Greenwall, who arranged to get the homeless man a hair cut, a clean-shave and a shower. Thomas told the two that for the first time in many years, he “looked and felt human” again.

Living on the street has many detrimental effects on a person’s health and well-being. Toni and Peter knew that cleaning him up was just one aspect that Thomas needed and together they started the journey to helping him get back on his feet.

Thomas’ teeth had badly deteriorated so Peter approached the Dental Wellness Trust of whom his sister, Dr Linda Greenwall, is the founder, to ask for assistance. Dr Clifford Yudelman, who is affiliated with the Dental Wellness Trust, immediately agreed to assist in repairing the damage done to his teeth.

Thomas had also previously worked in the security sector and Toni took to her social media to try find him work in the same field. She knew that someone would know someone, who would be able to help him and within 24 hours Teresa Zive of Talon Security Services in Sea Point saw the post and offered to help.

“I contacted PSIRA and confirmed his security certification, gave him a cellphone so that he could be contacted and between Teresa and myself we coordinated an interview for Thomas at her office.”

 The interview could not have gone better and Thomas was offered a position immediately.

“Thomas starts work tomorrow! I cannot begin to thank Teresa Woods Zive and Neil Zive for helping Thomas with more than just a job. They have given him his life back and restored his dignity.

It’s amazing what taking a few minutes of your time to talk to a person can do to change their lives.

Thank you to Peter Greenwall, Dr Linda Greenwall and Dr Clifford Yudelman as well!

Without your kindness and compassion this would never have been possible.”

“It’s stories like these that remind that a simple hello can lead to a million things, and an act of kindness has the power to change someone’s entire world!”

How a simple 'Hello' changed this man's life forever! Thomas

Colours

Colours

 I stuck this decal on my back bumper of my car some time ago. It’s small – about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. It’s struck me before that using dots and circles (mandalas) is reminiscent of Australian aboriginal paintings. This one is stylised, yet primitive. I love the beauty of the serpent. I part sketched it yesterday in a note book and I think I will attempt a painting of it. Acrylic? Water colours? Maybe using different colours – green and yellow dots maybe with some red and white and definitely blue. I recently read Lucinda Riley’s ‘The Pearl Sister’ which is mostly set in Australia and the story brings in aboriginal art and CeCe’s search for her ancestry in Australia. So there’s some dovetailing for me – I’ve been wondering what to paint. This is a nudge for me.

And then yesterday – because I’ve been puzzled by a dream from several nights ago, I looked up ‘Cat’ in The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. Taschen. It is a precious book. What I’ve excerpted below is on page 300, titled Cat.

‘… In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at (the Swordsman’s) house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor. They made profound bows before her and said: “We all wish you to divulge your secrets for our benefit.” The grand old cat answered: “Teaching is not difficult, listening is not difficult, but what is truly difficult is to become conscious of what you have in yourself and be able to use it as your own….’ The Swordsman and the Cat, from a seventeenth-century master’s book on swordplay.

Now this doesn’t have any direct reference to my puzzling dream in which blue and white cats were rushing through I think my townhouse, but the words are rich. They also remind me of the words of Thomas in the Gospel of Thomas: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

I’ve sort of been stuck in this for a while – feeling uncreative, enervated, flat, inertia descending on me like a mushroom cloud – sadness and shock at deaths of people I know during the month of January –

We’ve been in Plettenberg Bay for several weeks already and will be heading to our Johannesburg home this coming week for the rest of the month of February. I won’t say that I’ve ‘failed’ at the several tasks I set myself while here but there is much that I had planned on doing and did not, like walking every day, yoga stretches every day, more swimming in the sea, more exploring, more writing, less eating like a demon possessed –

Am I beating myself up on it? No, not really – a bit – but not much. I’ve certainly done more housework than I’ve ever done in my life. Our Plett home is a large home. There’s no Jane from our townhouse in Johannesburg to do the washing and ironing and keeping things tidy. There’s me and Neil who says he’s never worked so hard and that he didn’t realise what a lot of work is entailed in the maintenance of a home. But, I’ve enjoyed this work, which feels like honest labour to me. (No ironing on my side – things just dry on the washing line.) I employ Fadzi a young Zimbabwean woman once a week who works her magic.  She creates and moves things round rather imaginatively from week to week.We’ve done much to make our home lovelier and more comfortable. I’m looking forward to the time when I’ll create a beautiful garden with its difficult soil. I hope to bring back my lovely potted orchids from Johannesburg to Plett. I’ll go indigenous as much as possible. I’ve already done some planting. We had wonderful much needed rains yesterday followed by this lovely rainbow captured from my bedroom balcony.

Elections are due to take place in South Africa in about April. Already the electioneering begins. Our robust justice system is in process of exposing many members of the the governing party the ANC and businesses involved in breath taking corruption. What’s been happening in Zimbabwe on our borders is beyond appalling. Mnangagwa, its president was recently in Russia begging for loans and did not get to Davos to beg for more but returned to Zimbabwe, for fear perhaps of a coup occurring in his absence. News coming out of Zimbabwe is scarce, as there is a shut down. There are calls for international sanctions against Zimbabwe.

World-wide things are pretty alarming – I won’t itemise it all. But people are rising and saying No, not in my name, individually and collectively. Something is in the air. But I think of the wind that can blow so fiercely here at times here in Plett for a day or so and then all of a sudden it stops, as if it’s run out of breath. 

In all of this I think of white privilege, my white privilege, there by the skin of my teeth or by the colour of my skin. I’ve written about this before and I believe that we’ve projected on to the ‘other’ our own unacknowledged darkness within our own selves. How much easier it is to put it on to others. We fear doing the hard work necessary to look within our own selves, and acknowledge the darkness that resides in the shadows, waiting patiently to be recognised so that healing can begin – There is gold in the shadows – when we own it and bring it out and withdraw our projection onto the other, we develop empathy for others and ourselves and thereby embark on beginning steps towards healing – for all of us.

I was up early this morning and took this photo of the sunrise. The gold bowl surrounding the white light arising from the darkness –

Thank you for reading! May the Force be with you –

 

 

 

#WATWB

#WATWB

It’s the first We Are The World Blogfest for 2019, the last Friday of the month and the day on which we post a snippet of good news that shows humanity in action, and restores our faith somewhat in the common good and decency that prevails. This, in spite of eg the Brexit drama, the US government shutdown, Australia’s crippling heat, the exposure of deep rooted corruption in high places here in South Africa, Zimbabwe on our border in crisis, immigrants worldwide fleeing their places of danger, the planet in crisis with its loss of animals and species, fires, droughts, flooding, trying to distinguish between fake and real news and the general malaise that seems pervasive

Good news always brightens my mood. It takes a little time in the search to select a particular story, but it’s always worthwhile.

I love this story below – it highlights what can be done by one individual initiating a goal while enjoying the natural beauty of Table Mountain in Cape Town. Others are also encouraged in this common purpose.

On New Year’s Eve, Andrew Patterson took his last step in a year long journey – climbing Table Mountain EVERY DAY – that totalled 2429km including 262km of vertical climbing (equivalent to 71 Mt Everests) that took over 964 hours to complete.

  Our thanks to our co-hosts for this month: Sylvia SteinInderpreet UppalShilpa GargDamyanti Biswas and Simon Falk.  Please do check out their posts and other bloggers who use the #WATWB.If you’d like to take part in this initiative of spreading goodwill here are the guidelines for #WATWB

1. Keep your post to Below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. Link to a human news story on your blogone that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Paste in an excerpt and tell us why it touched you. The Link is important, because it actually makes us look through news to find the positive ones to post.

3. No story is too big or small, as long as it Goes Beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD badge or banner on your Post and your Sidebar. 

5. Help us spread the word on social media. Feel free to tweet, share using the #WATWB hastag to help us trend!

Tweets, Facebook shares, Pins, Instagram, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. We’ll try and follow and share all those who post on the #WATWB hashtag, and we encourage you to do the same.Have your followers click here to enter their link and join us! Bigger the #WATWB group each month, more the joy!

 

CLIMBING TABLE MOUNTAIN EVERY DAY – ARE YOU MAD?

Thank you for reading! Have a great weekend!

Solstice, Christmas greetings and New Year wishes

Time marches, waiting for no one …

Today is the Solstice, Christmas Day next week Tuesday – and a week later it’s New Year’s Day!

  I’ve blogged about the Solstice and the Equinox in years past on those days. I like to acknowledge them – the the earth and the sun are in particular relation to each other. I feel that Earth: Eros and the Sun: Logos ‘meet’ and that there is balance and a stillness however momentary.

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, tonight will be the shortest and for those of you in northern climes your winter night will be the longest. Our nights will grow imperceptibly longer as daylight shortens, and in the north the daylight lingers longer as nightlight shortens.

Little turnings on the earth’s axis as night and day increase and decrease is, I believe, meaningful in that it indicates change, no matter how imperceptible the changes are. I guess it is the stillness worldwide as the changes of seasons are heralded that appeals to me as well as Eros and Logos meeting, the meeting of the divine Feminine and Masculine energies. Also, tonight will be a full moon worldwide, and I believe a meteoric shower will grace our skies. Celestial events indeed!

I took a photo the other evening from my study – it was still light but the growing full moon was in the sky –

Personally, change is very much upon me though being my usual self, I’m slow in processing and digesting. It suits my temperament to not come to any definite conclusions about anything – what the future may hold for example. Change happens both fast and slow. I know that as I’ve been traipsing up and down the stairs to attend to my new study and then down again with arms full of boxes to be discarded, that one false step and I could land at the bottom with twisted ankle, broken arms and legs or worse. Grim fantasy I know. But it is infinitely possible – so I am extra careful and enjoy the going up and the coming down. Traversing two worlds as it were – and grateful that as each day passes that I’ve been working hard physically, that so far, so good – 

My study is coming along. A few nights ago my son Mike and Neil my husband helped me re-arrange the furniture. The following day I unpacked many of my books and arranged cushions on the sofa, found a very pretty embroidered throw from our Johannesburg home that I’d unpacked and put that on the small and rather uncomfortable one. It’s almost done – my books are fully unpacked on the shelves as is my art stuff and plenty of files in a large enclosed yellowwood cupboard, none of which is visible in this photo. 

We’ve been down in Plettenberg Bay many times over Christmas and usually attend a service at an evangelical church whose pastor married my younger son and his wife in the converted barn at the Bramon Wine Estate nearly 3 years ago. Anton always brings such a special message to the Christmas service of Christ’s birth. Oh how those words of his messages ring so true. And the full throated singing by members of the congregation. I feel my heart swelling until fit to burst. Especially when we sing ‘How Great Thou Art’.

Yet another baby tortoise that my husband saw when coming up the outside steps after a morning game of golf on Wednesday, in a quite different part of the garden. This no larger than the palm of my hand. Even smaller than the baby I saw a day or so ago but was unable to photograph. Do you see the two hearts? One on the left, the other on the right – And all the other markings, thoroughly intriguing to me. Tortoises live on the land; turtles are sea creatures though they lay their eggs on the sea-sand. They’re very closely related though.  I’ll fashion one in the next little while – I was happy to see a block of clay I unpacked.

My younger son David and his wife Jüte arrived safely last night ex Cape Town. My elder son Mike is here too while his own home in Plett is currently being airbnb’d. The family occupying his home until early January arrived last week. The wife was especially hassled. But the news from the managing agent a few days ago is that they couldn’t be happier! So that is good news – they’re loving his space, the garden and pool and being in Plettenberg Bay.

So we have our two sons and daughter-in-law with us. All is very fine indeed! Jüte is a superb cook and baker – we’ve had a brief talk about Christmas lunch. She’s been accepted into Silwood in Cape Town, a 3 year diploma course in fine cooking and baking and learning about the source of foodstuffs – e.g. mushrooms and truffles – and how to find them. Probably sustainable cooking as well. Meeting with the finest chefs viewing demonstrations of their skills to the pupils, and the pupils showcasing to them, theirs. And more besides! How lovely to have a chef in the family! She’s talking about making a rooibos icecream for Christmas … (the rooibos plant is indigenous to South Africa – we are famous for our teas and the healthful qualities of rooibos) –

Thank you for reading and thank you for coming along to my every-now-and-then blog. I so appreciate it and love to receive your comments. I love the connection. It means a great deal to me!

Happy Solstice Day to you! A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Especially, as we head into 2019 I wish us all joie de vivre and joy, peace and prosperity, health and happiness, love and light. May the Force be with you and loved ones, everyone everywhere –

Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in the conspiracy of love: Hamilton Wright Mabie

departures and arrivals

departures and arrivals

I departed Johannesburg this past Thursday, waking at 4.00 a.m. leaving at 5.05 a.m. I stopped in at the local petrol station a short drive away from my home. My car just needed a top up before I set off. The skies were already lightening.

A long drive, 1273 kms to be precise. Nearly 800 miles. I arrived in Plettenberg Bay at 8.05 p.m. It was only the last half hour or so that I drove in darkness. My husband and son were there to let me in and welcome me with open arms and unload the bags. My car was pretty well packed to the hilt.

I am very grateful that I arrived without incident on the roads. There was a lot of traffic, huge trucks going in both directions plus other travellers off to somewhere. Our roads are very good. My little Honda Brio is a real champ. She holds only 30 litres of petrol which is really not much. On long distance travel she can easily clock 400 kms, that’s 250 miles on a full tank. I would check the reading every now and then and sometimes I was getting 16 km to the litre. That’s a real energy saver. I’ve stretched it to 430 or 440 kms on a full tank on occasion in times past and it’s taken me 14 hours to arrive in Plettenberg Bay. This time 15 hours.

Travelling tip for summer driving – I packed a wet face cloth into a zip lock bag and used it a few times to wipe across my face and neck. It was very refreshing. The heat outside was extreme – 38 degrees C. Plus my food for the road was light – sliced apple, cucumber and broccoli. I bought a small packet of salted chips the one time I stopped to fill up – I felt I needed the salt.

Sadly we have a terrible record for accidents and death on our roads much of it due to dangerous, sometimes drunk driving. Every year at this time there is a huge drive for awareness on the roads. I know that I have to be a responsible driver yet be aware that others may not be. Accidents, pile-ups – it takes a split second. Or even less, a nano second. The truck drivers were good. Other travellers drove very large cars, with roof racks and bicycles on a rack attached to the rear end bumper, 4, 5 bikes.  Or large cars with trailers. They were mostly good. Maybe the drive for awareness is catching on – though we think and hope this each year.

My husband who had arrived a few days before me, and I tackled some of the boxes the next day, yesterday, which had been delivered to the house some weeks before by a removal company. I totally organised my bedroom cupboards and wardrobe and bathroom. The sideboard in the dining room is mostly organised, though the dining room still needs to be sorted.

My study-to-be is on the upmost level. I went upstairs for the first time today to have a look and worked pretty hard on cleaning bookshelves, picking boxes off from the floor onto smooth surfaces, ripping tape off sealed boxes. Serious exercise. Tomorrow I will decide how the furniture is to be arranged to my satisfaction and start unpacking boxes of books and other things. Shall I place my desk facing the wide glass windows overlooking the sea, or position it differently taking into account where there are electrical outlets, while still having the view if I turn my head. The cover for a sofa looked grubby so I ripped that off and stuck it in the washing machine with bleach. It’s hanging out on the line – it may take ages to dry. The sofa will face the view ..

Below are some ‘before’ photos

I changed the sitting room that is the living area where we mostly gather re-arranging cushions and one or two other things. It’s looking calm, fresh, tidy.

My sister and I spoke on the phone this morning. She was setting off with her husband to Du Toit’s Kloof about an hours drive from Cape Town where she lives to attend the wedding of her brother-in-law’s son. She did say on the phone that she planned to go walking in the area. It was such a lovely surprise when I received this little video of her surrounds mid afternoon today … it’s only about 34 secs long and is truly lovely.

 As I went about my tasks today I wasn’t thinking about anything very much – I did think of connecting my music box in my study and listening to something while working, but somehow I didn’t get around to it. It’s satisfying sometimes to work in silence – and keep focused on the task at hand while imagining the later positioning of furniture –

Yesterday morning my husband called me down into the garden. I photographed this little tortoise nibbling at the wild strawberries. Neil offered it lettuce and water but it declined. 

I checked the photo I took on 31st December last year also in the garden – it was a larger tortoise – I wonder if the smaller above one is a baby of the older below but what is striking to me are the etchings on their shells. Similar but very different and so striking – something rather ancient about the designs –

I hope this finds you all in good cheer. I sense that amongst all the troubling things happening around the world, that we’re on the brink of something. Who knows what that something is … maybe we have to reach rock bottom before we can begin to ascend. That’s my thought and I’m holding onto it. There’s so much good in the world and I am ever hopeful that good will triumph ultimately. The boils are being lanced – readying themselves for healing –

Photo below is from my garden back home in Johannesburg – may the solar lamp remind you of the light in the darkness –

Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you –

Sunday: Photo below of baby tortoise not bigger than my hand and extended fingers this morning in a different part of the garden – again, please note the lovely and different markings!

 

#WATWB

#WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month and the day on which bloggers around the world put up good news stories as a way of mitigating the bad news that floods our TV, newspapers, social media and so on. This is the 20th month so far!

We invite you to share a story that uplifts and inspires you and to tell us why it does.
Any story that shows humanity in action towards another person or group, or towards the planet, gets my heart singing. I’ve chosen this particular one among many to show that people do care and take steps to clean up, knowing the consequences of no action.

Ignore, deplore, accuse, tackle. Those are four of the responses of the general public when confronted by the multiple problems of our country.

Willem Snyman of Hennops River tackles. 

Below is the link –

m/environment/hennas-river-cleanup/
I know that the community is working today at cleaning up the Hennops river which is about 40 mins away from me. If I could be there I would.

Thanks to our co-hosts this month. Please visit them, their stories are sure to be inspiring!

Eric Lahti,

Inderpreet Uppal,

Shilpa Garg,

Peter Nena

Damyanti Biswas

Your post to be be below 500 words if you’d like to take part.
Link to a human news story on your blog, one that shows love, humanity and  brotherhood, telling us why it touched you. 
It’s important to link as it helps the reader look beyond the news and find positives ones to post.
No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of  humanity.
Place the WE ARE THE WORLD badge or banner on your Post and your sidebar.
Help us spread the word on social media, tweet, share using the #WATWB hashtag to help us trend.

May this post all others nudge us to spread light in darkness!

Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for reading.

Heat Rainbow Blue

Heat Rainbow Blue

We’ve been experiencing an excruciating heat wave for the last several days – temperatures 5 degrees celsius above normal November temperatures. And no rain! October onwards is the usual rainy period for where I live up on the highveld. We’ve had some, let me not exaggerate. Once or twice. But barely any. Lots of rumbles and darkening skies and promises of rain. Sunday evening it was certain, the wind got up, the skies darkened, I heard thunder … but rain just simply did not happen. Well, not here at home but when I looked out of my study window around 6.00 p.m. there was this glorious rainbow so it must have rained somewhere? Not too far away? I’m not sure – the evening sky was blue – the rainbow seemed to come out of the blue

You can see the scorched grass in the middle. The jacarandas in the background have lost their beautiful blue blooms in the last few days. Yet, much remains green ..

Small beer I know when I think of the fires in California and the terrible destruction that raged through towns like Paradise. The tragic irony of its name is not lost on me. Paradise and Hell? Abundance and scarcity; crippling drought and gentle rain; light and dark –

I heard on Sunday of the death on Saturday of a woman called Hannah. I reckon she must have been about 95 or 96. The last year or so of her life was spent in a frail care home. She was mostly bed bound over the last several years. I visited her occasionally. She was a wise and beautiful woman with long black hair falling over her shoulder – she always wore red lipstick. I enjoyed the hour or so I would spend with her. Always there was tea and cookies on a pretty tray prepared by her housekeeper. This morning I continued my tidying up and sorting papers and files in preparation for our upcoming relocation and I found this piece of paper in a drawer. I can’t remember the why’s and wherefore’s or why it should have Hannah’s name at the top of it. I will probably never remember – it’s one of those things out of the blue

Hannah

Do not be overcome by evil,

but overcome evil with good

Romans 12. 21I’m taking it as a synchronistic sign – as a message from this lady who I’ve known for over 45 years or so – as a gift to me. The mother of one of my husband’s friends. It’s the sort of thing Hannah would remind me of when we discussed the ways of the world and when not talking about family or books. Her voice was always very faint with a still recognisable Israeli accent. I had to struggle to hear her. But this note speaks loudly –

All seems so uncertain and wobbly. Not only on the personal front but everywhere. We’ve been having the Zondo commission of enquiry into state capture over the last weeks. This week will be devoted to Pravin Gordhan’s testimony, a senior minister, one of the good guys. I like what he said: “State Capture and corruption are the result of unleashing the worst of human instincts“. Are these dark times forcing us to uncover our darkest instincts – so that they can be fully acknowledged and confronted, and the business of reparation can begin? And the criminals, holding high positions, can be tried and sent to jail. Or will we remain in denial, by far the easiest – and most damaging.

 I know that Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those in America and that this is a celebratory time of family, friends and food. It is ‘… an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November‘ (from wikipedia). I know that Canada had their annual Thanksgiving in October. We don’t have have such a holiday here in South Africa but this doesn’t lessen the interest I have in its significance (the food and its preparation is always of especial interest to me). I try to remember on a daily basis that I have much to be thankful for; that the circumstances I was born into gave me a headlong start in life. By that I mean the colour of my skin. The odds were stacked in my favour. 

So, may your table be well prepared and those at your table enjoy the produce of your efforts. I know there are many who are displaced in California and my heart goes out to them. Let’s hope that glorious, cleansing and refreshing rain halts those fires. May the fire fighters earn a well deserved rest. And may those in the deepest despair know that we are with them every step of the way. I note for the moment: Yemen, Mexico, Syria, Jamal Khashoggi’s family – the list is endless. And to those who continue to have racial bias perpetrated upon them, I’m reminded of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” 

 Good will prevail.

The lotus arises from the mud –

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

Prayer

PrayerIt’s a huge topic to write about but it’s one that’s been occupying my mind lately in one way or another.

Last Saturday night we had dinner with friends and their delightful friends. One of the women Jane* told me the most extraordinary story. She and her husband John* live down at the sea but were up here on the highveld to help their family.

Their son-in-law Peter*, was out running midmorning on a public holiday towards the end of September in a lovely suburb half way between Johannesburg and Pretoria. He suddenly crashed. A woman who had been with a group on a walk and talk tour on the topic of the meaning of this public holiday – Heritage Day – in this historic area, broke free from the  group and wandered off on her own. Some way off, she saw this very disoriented man on the ground surrounded by people who thought he was drunk and disorderly and they were about to call the police to remove him. She recognised him – she’s a Canadian I gather and was here in this country for business purposes and the man on the ground was one of her associates. She immediately dialled for an ambulance recognising the symptoms of a stroke and went with them. She was able to phone his wife Diana* to say what had happened and at what hospital they were in Pretoria.

It was a brain aneurism. 3 visiting Israeli neurosurgeons were at the hospital to perform a particular operation on a patient and provide teaching to other resident surgeons – that patient did not pitch up. So the operation was performed on Peter. A very tricky one in the Circle of Willis in the brain.

For the last several years he and his wife Diana have hosted a street party in their suburb on Heritage Day, 27th September, a public holiday. This time round, Diana messaged the group from the hospital to say what had happened and that they would not be there. But to continue with the street party regardless.

When she finally got home that evening she found all their neighbours in their garden with lighted candles, praying for her husband’s recovery. Which they continued to do over the weeks and sent out messages all over to pray for Peter. He’s been in recovery for the last month in hospital. He is still recovering in hospital and being rehabilitated. He’s been at home once or twice for short stretches and even doing a little photography further afield. He has clearly beaten the odds.

There is much more to this story I could tell – one miracle followed another. Friends, acquaintances and his business have been so kind. All have contributed in large measure in his ongoing recovery. His very good medical insurance ran out after a few days – his place of business told him they would cover all the very expensive costs. There has been and continues to be a huge rallying around … I am so struck by this story and have no doubt that prayer has played a huge role.

I saw this tiny praying mantis yesterday morning on my key ring on the dining room table. Barely visible, off centre on the top part of the blue of remote. Its tiny feelers were in prayer mode. Thank you Mantis I said to it.

Watering the garden last evening, I thought how the plants and flowers are so resilient in spite of the crushing heat we’ve been experiencing. I was reflecting also on the ‘faded’ state I’ve been feeling, fast fading into oblivion, in danger of becoming invisible to myself this last while. Enervated, listless. The world is just too much, here and elsewhere. I’ve been wondering whether we carry the wounds of past generations in our genes and how on earth can they be healed and knowing they must. Elsewise it seems to me that those wounds will keep on presenting themselves in the generations that follow. Why, when we’re better off in so many ways, so say the statistics, do we feel more stressed, more disconsolate, disillusioned?

I remind myself that disillusionment is of value. It is not easy to give up previously held attitudes or ways of being. Being disillusioned means a stripping away of illusions as a way of discerning reality. It’s a painful process – truth often is. This can happen when for example when we realise that a friend is not really a friend, or is just a fair weather friend. Or we realise the colleague who subtly stabs you in the back while smiling. Or our so-called leaders, those who work for us and whose salaries we pay by way of our hard earned taxes do not fulfil the function for which they were elected. Is it our human task, to become stressed because we care about for example the planet and the creatures in threat of becoming extinct? Are we numb to our country lifting the ban of exporting elephant tusks and rhino horn to China? These magnificent animals will be farmed for those precise appendages as they believe they have aphrodisiacal and medicinal qualities. We start to realise that much of the world operates on the principle ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’.

I read somewhere that ‘Nazi’ is the abbreviated form of ‘nationalism’ whose rise across the world is frightening. What vacuum is being fuelled and filled by this? What emptiness is there and yet a longing to belong which currently takes on a badly corrupted manifestation?

Adrienne Rich

My heart is moved by all I cannot save

So much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those, who, age after age,

Perversely, with no extraordinary

Power, reconstitute the world.

Prayer takes so many forms – prayers for help when in sorrow and grief for ourselves or those suffering; simple and complex prayers; prayers for travelling mercies; for rain; for sun; for food; for housing; for safe passage; for birth; for death. We pray for those caught in conflict and who very sadly are often the most vulnerable. We pray for those who try to end the conflict and those who bring vital resources. We pray for those who are in deep depression and most times cannot crawl out of that deep hole. We can pray when we’re walking, on waking, before sleeping, lighting a candle, any quiet time when we’re on our own or with family and friends; and when there is a need for communion with our souls and a universal power. We pray when we give thanks for moments of joy –

The grief we feel for those caught in that barbaric shooting in the synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday and for those who are victims of race shootings because of the colour of their skin, is also a form of prayer.

Is there any value in looking back to the home of the ancients? Maybe from them, our ancestors, by giving birth to the old, there can be a renewal. Maybe there can be an enchantment again with the world and its peoples. And to go back even further to an Old Testament proverb – We build bridges, not walls.

I’ve added this below – I found it interesting. It’s not long.

Edward F. Edinger: The psychological implications of Prayer

I know that next week’s mid-term election looms large in the U.S. and that this is a highly stressful time. Who knows how the chips may fall. We also are going through extraordinary times, mostly very alarming. 

Thank you for reading. May the light be ever present, along with the dark.

*pseudonyms

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