The last Friday of the month has come around again. It’s the day on which bloggers around the world post a good news story as a foil to the dark and disturbing news that permeates our everyday world. Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen started this a few years back.
Here in South Africa, we have many positive groups who say no to racism. Move One Million (M1M) and #I’m staying are two examples. Both groups have had enormous success in highlighting unity vs division. M1M have held peaceful protests around the country and have been represented in many different parts of the world when, at a particular time, they held up their flags standing in unity for South Africa. It has gained much traction globally. The last one was on 5th September. Another one coming up in October.
I’ve chosen one from #I’m Staying. It’s a public group in which people of all shades and stripes proudly tell stories of why they’re staying in SA.
I like this story because this woman named a white Afrikaner who was of great assistance to her and in my view shows that race need not be a factor in thought, word and deed as many would have us believe.
Constance Gololo Montja #I’m staying.
‘I want to share a story of how the action of one man changed my life. I was a Candidate Attorney and could barely afford anything and I needed a flat to stay. He let me stay at his flat that he was letting for R1500 for the duration of my articles and beyond at that time rental for a place like that was around R3500 – 4000. He was Mr SP Van Zyl. He could not speak a single English word, saw him once on the day that I met with him to sign my lease agreement at Absa Bank at Queenswood.
What brought tears to my eyes and completely broke my heart and fill it with gratitude was that after his passing his kids came to the flat and told me that their father told them that whatever they did with his properties they must never kick me out and increase my rent. To think that someone who did not know me, was a white Afrikaner gave me so much than anyone had ever given me showed me that humanity triumphs above everything else .
I moved on and have a house of my own but he has taught me to lend a helping hand where I can to those less fortunate than I am.
God bless his soul and may he rest in eternal peace . He made such a difference in my life’.
For a brief moment the sun stands directly over the equator and each hemisphere receives the same amount of daylight (barring clouds), ie 12 hours, each equally illuminated. Then begins the earth’s tilt, ushering in a new season and transitions for both hemispheres. For us here in the southern hemisphere, spring although fickle, is on its way with summer on its heels. For the northern hemisphere, the nights are longer and much goes underground to rest.
I was shocked and saddened at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, may her memory be a blessing. I know that there are political implications in her successor, who and when. In South Africa we were saddened by the recent death of Mr. George Bizos, who was part of the defence team of Mr. Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial (1963-1964). They were the greatest of friends.
We’ve been lying very low over these times. But we did take a road trip earlier this month and did something that we’ve always wanted to do. It was my husband’s idea. With the help of son Mike we booked a few places to overnight and set off a few days later to visit the flowers up country.
Our first overnight stop was with very dear friends in Wellington, a good 8 hour drive from our home in Plettenberg Bay. I watched her make a vegan lasagne for dinner; o my goodness it was delicious! I’ve made a vegan lasagne a few times since being home and am impressed with my culinary skills (had never made any kind of lasagne in my life before).
This little buck stepped out from hiding into the sunshine as we were leaving the next morning –
The Namaqualand flower show and the West Coast National Park is so special. I gather there are about 4000 different species of plant seeds. Visitors come from all over the world to ooh and ahh at the display of wildflowers set against dramatic mountains (not now in these times obviously). And speaking of seeds, we can all plant seeds, whether plant or vegetable seeds, seeds of love and kindness.
some photos en route and during our adventure
My sister who lives in Cape Town has a holiday home in The Wilderness, an hour and a half drive from me. I visited her last Wednesday, and ooh’d and aah’d at her pretty garden.
Although you can’t see it in the photo, she had an airplant hanging on a branch. In fact a few dotted around. She gave me this one below now hanging on a tree in my garden.
There is much tension here in South Africa. Every day I acknowledge Dorothy Parker’s words ‘What Fresh Hell Is This?’ Not just here in SA but everywhere. The wheels of justice turn soooo slowly. There are times I feel hopeful, other times not.
But at the equinox, there is a moment when things stand still, as we can too, acknowledging the tilts and transitions, along with change – and embrace all that is good, strong and true –
On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world post an item on good news, an incident that raises our vibrations and which helps towards making the world a better place and restores our faith in humanity.
It can be an individual act; a collective act; an initiative that gets off the ground serving the greater whole; it can be a known act, or an unknown one.
Here in Plettenberg Bay where I live, there are so many people and organisations that help feed the needy, and do much else besides for many communities who live on the fringe of this town. This one took my fancy, this young lad who lives in the UK, and whose grandparents live in Plettenberg Bay
This young hero, 7 yr old Bradley Watson who lives in the UK, decided during lockdown he wanted to raise money for hungry children in Plett where his Grandparents live. He told his family he wanted to run a marathon over 7 days, but with their support completed the marathon in just 4 days. (5 hrs & 32 min). He raised R6000 and chose the Plett Meal Centre as the recipient, who feed 350 children & adults daily from Faris Rd in the Industrial area. Bradley, you are an absolute star. Thank you. #plett_volunteersKnysna-Plett HeraldCXpress Garden Route Newspaper
Our co-hosts this month are below. Do pop by them to say hello and get a shot of good news to set you sailing through the weekend.
Please share on social media. It’s nice to share good news.
September is around the corner – hard to believe. Here in the southern hemisphere, we’re turning towards Spring and you in the northern hemisphere, towards Fall, or as we call it here in South Africa, Autumn.
But wherever we are, whatever season approaches or recedes, things are changing. Day by day. There’s pretty much upheaval here, there and everywhere.
Keep safe, thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.
There is so much that is unpleasant around the world, it can really get to me. I sometimes feel I have compassion fatigue, empathy fatigue, donation fatigue and wish I could be like an ostrich and keep my head in the sand. I feel sometimes that I’ve forgotten how to pray or meditate and that I don’t know how anymore –
But there is so much that is lovely, and softening, and beautiful.
Please go to 2nd page of this post for reading – it’s truly lovely –
Closer to home on my walks, or up early in the morning to see the sunrise, to see a flower in bloom, the sky and strange cloud formations. The night sky and stars, the bird calls, butterflies, bees …
Dr Ian McCallum is a South African psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst, ecologist and poet. The link I’ve given is a wonderful and fierce read and I felt uplifted reading it. He notes ‘How ironic that 2020 is the symbol of perfect vision. If we had such vision, then we must have seen it coming’. What will we do with this ‘perfect vision’? He writes about the earth, society’s and the individual’s response to ‘I can’t breath’ and much else besides ….
Its that time of the month again – the last Friday of the month when bloggers from around the world post good news to alleviate the darkness of the current situation and the pandemic.
I’ve been keeping an eye open for some good news but I don’t really have any. Everything is not right and well. Yes, many are doing sterling work helping those in need. NGO’s, businesses, NPO’s, individuals, feeding the hungry, keeping them warm, animals too. All efforts are simply amazing and heart warming. All this while the taxpayers’ rands (SA currency) and large donations (eg for PPE) are being diverted to enrich politicians and the politically connected (pandemic of corruption).
I thought long and hard about what to post for this #WATWB post. What is good and helpful? What is good for each of us individually and for the other? What do we desire in this world? What can each of us do that allows healing light to emerge from the darkness. Does the light come from above towards the dark, or does darkness reach towards the light. Maybe both …
Much has been researched about the power of prayer and meditation and its beneficial effects not only on the individual but on the surrounds as well. I remember many years ago when conflict in the Middle East was at an all time high and meditators got together en masse for a lengthy period of time. Conflict was significantly decreased. There is I think an annual day of meditation when meditators around the world come together.
I think of monks and nuns and all those who devote time in prayer. Individuals who offer their prayers to their God, or Force or something that they know is greater than they. I feel sure that the effects and affects of that help in some way to offset the darkness for us all.
I mostly use my old TM mantra which I learned many years ago. When I wake in the morning I sit up and meditate in bed. The time flies by. I don’t concentrate on anything, just awareness of my breath to begin –
There are times when I bring the world to mind and imagine a golden light, sometimes, silver surrounding it.
I find the om mani padme hum chant very peace inducing … it’s a three hour chant which I put on in the background when at my desk. Tibetan singing bells in the background .. and chanting .. Raising the vibrations may be a drop in the ocean – I’m happy to be that drop –
The co-hosts for this month are below. Do pop by and say hello. Their stories are sure to lift your spirits.
It’s the last Friday of the month – again – and the day on which bloggers from around the world post a good news story as a way of mitigating the ongoing wave of negativity that can permeate into our lives. Good news stories remind us of all the good that is in the world and what individuals can achieve in helping alleviate the struggles that the disadvantaged face.
The story below is remarkable. I confess that I didn’t know of this benefactress and her work in Cape Town, South Africa.
Established in 2001 by Christel DeHaan, its efficacy is proven through a 99% Matric pass rate with 93% of alumni studying, working or both.
“Among mymemorable assignments was a visit five years ago to Christel House, Cape Town’s 750-pupil Grade R to Matric school which only enrols children from abject poverty (household income under R1,500pm). Established in 2001 by Christel DeHaan, its efficacy is proven through a 99% Matric pass rate with 93% of alumni studying, working or both.
News reached us yesterday that DeHaan, 77, co-founder of global timeshare giant RCI, passed away on Saturday at her home in Indianapolis. Born during World War Two, she was a toddler when her father was killed in a bombing raid. She made her fortune after emigrating to the US from Germany as a 20 year old.
After banking $850m when selling out of RCI in 1996, DeHaan applied her fortune to helping children from backgrounds similar to hers. Her vision was to reach into the poorest communities and grant 100% scholarships to excellent education for children, covering everything from uniforms to food and professionalhealthcare.
DeHaan’s Endless Success Foundation will ensure eight Christel Houses around the world continue to give their 6,000 students a hand up. Adri Marais, CEO of Christel House SA, says the benefactor was “an absolute force for change.” From the smiling kids I met on my visit to the Cape establishment, that’s quite an understatement”.
From me and I’m sure on behalf of all South Africans who read this, I extend my thanks to Christel DeHaan who, with her donation from the DeHaan’s Endless Success Foundation, founded this very successful school in Ottery, Cape Town. On her recent death I extend my condolences and may her dear soul rest in peace.
Longest night, shortest day here in the southern hemisphere and then from tomorrow the days begin incrementally to lengthen. The opposite happens in the northern hemisphere. But for both, there is a moment of balance before the tilt towards a new season either way begins – Solstice –
It’s amazing and affirming to me when synchronicities happen. I take it as a message that I must perk up, notice and take in its meaning. In the last three days I’ve been exposed by 3 other writers to Jonah being in the belly of the whale. Each speaks to the powerlessness and vulnerability we individually experience and now, also collectively.
below are the last two verses excerpted with her permission –
Below is the Facebook post from the other day.
And lastly Dr Deon van Zyl’s newly published book which I’m slowly reading on my Kindle –
Are we in the Belly of the Whale right now, those great Leviathans of the deep? How long do we have to sit in it and experience the Dark Night of the Soul? Is it a death-rebirth cycle? When we are finally spat out naked, will we face a newly ordered world, one we do not recognise? Will our experience in the Belly change us? Will there be a re-orientation of attitude, a willingness to re-engage in a more real way, one that recognises that some attitudes that we previously had no longer serve us, or anyone else for that matter. Will we take to heart a little more ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ and ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ …
A few mornings ago I stepped out onto my balcony – Venus.
followed by a few hours later –
Today, the 20th June, is the day seven years ago when I had a terrible car accident. It was the day before our final move to our new home at the time in Johannesburg. The 20th June is a day I always acknowledge and give thanks that it wasn’t worse. Both sons were up in Johannesburg to help with the move and the final move was done on the 21st June, 2013. That day then was the solstice and with a full moon to boot. Tomorrow will be a new moon.
All is well in Plettenberg Bay. Our son David and his lovely wife Jüte returned to Cape Town today after spending 2 weeks with us. We had such a lovely time with Mike our older son who lives in Plett in his own home. The brothers spent useful time making new videos, shooting the breeze, being creative. We’ve played Scrabble, discussed much about ongoing politics, eaten like kings and queens thanks to Jüte who’s training to be a chef. I’ve been walking a fair bit, upping my steps and looking for a sighting of whales in the bay. We’re STILL not allowed to walk on the beaches in Plett for exercise.
Covid-19 wise our number of deaths are rising daily; as of today we’re under 2000 deaths country wide. Deaths are expected to rise as the winter months continue and business, restaurants, salons and travel open up. Full release of lockdown is some way away. We practise wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands etc. when shopping or out walking in public. And while we’re living in historical times, we’re paying attention to the history that has gone before locally and internationally and being well and truly stretched out of our comfort zones. I think so often of white privilege – I want to do a blog post on this one day – but in the meantime, this is an audio clip from several years ago, of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words as voice over –
‘No one is born hating another person for the colour of their skin, religion or background. Never, never, never again, shall it be, that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another’ –
Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you all.
It’s the last Friday of the month – again – June is almost here. On the last Friday of each month bloggers from around the world post a good news story to help ameliorate the news that is often dark and confusing. Especially now when we are in the thick of covid-19, the effects of which are felt on thousands of levels including isolation, hunger, loss of income, restrictions, depression, despair …
It was not that easy this time round to find a single good news story. We certainly know of 1000’s of initiatives by NGO’s, businesses, individuals that are going all out to help communities and individuals in distress. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that only when faced with tragedies does the face of humanity present itself; but it does seem a time when an event of this nature pulls out all the stops to help those in need.
This story appealed to me. It’s of mothers and their babies in hospital, in the neonatal units of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. I love that mother and baby are together, and the mother who is in isolation with her infant, can use technology to connect with her larger family, so that they can see the new infant, this new arrival, into a new world. The mother no longer feels so isolated and can spend time with family virtually.
There is connection.
Take a look at the mothers chatting to their loved ones and showing off their little babies below. The Newborns Trust was sponsored by RSA Web giving free wifi for mothers for this purpose. The little video is just under 4 minutes long (with thanks for this post to Tyler Leigh Vivier of GoodThingsGuy).
These are the co-hosts this month. Do pop by and say hello and get a dose of good news:
On a walk a few days ago, my husband picked up this pod on the roadside and said it reminded him of a swan. Which reminded me of a post I’d written at the end of January 2017 on the ‘Black Swan’. It was apropos a birding walk we’d done one morning on the grounds of the Johannesburg Country Club. I photographed a black swan on the lake though with my phone it was barely visible. In my post at the end of January 2017 I wrote about the ‘Black Swan’ as a phenomenon – i.e. that all of a sudden an entirely unpredictable and improbable event occurs that upsets the apple cart hugely, and has enormous effects in many ways, geopolitically particularly.
So, above are photos of the pod, picked up on the path. The top one, looking a little swan like; the next two where the same one faces left and then right, one looking up one looking down (the same pod, just at different positions). I like too that it also looks boat-like, or leaf-like, with an indentation, or container –
Excerpt from my January 2017 post. “The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic”.
In that particular Wikipedia article, mention is also made of the necessity of being able to withstand the fall out.
I see these days as unlikely as a black swan.
I’m reminded of the words of Julian David, Jungian analyst from Devon UK who was visiting South Africa many years ago in which he gave a lecture. In that lecture, he stressed the importance of sitting in the fire when we are in it, and not leaping out of the flames to escape being burned even if that be our inclination. We have to sit in it, he said, and be burned. I think of today, when we want redemption and renewal/resurrection, now. But this is a long process, one that will be keeping us in limbo and uncertainty for who knows how long.
The first photo below is the one I took with my cell phone a few years back of the swan. It is in the middle. The one below was taken by someone who was on the bird walk with us and took the photo with a telephoto lens and forwarded it onto me. What is not visible is just as real though –
Can anything be birthed from this time we are now in? We’ve been experiencing birth pangs for a long time already. Is this going to be a long gestation period in which the process cannot be hurried much? Will we be able to be stretched and sit in the discomfort? Are we flexible towards the unknown? Are we adapting as we go along on this seemingly treacherous road, as we face upheaval, betrayal of all that we held dear? Will we honour the dark, like the embryo in the womb? Will we somehow remember the grace of the swan? Our confidence in our governments who gained our trust when we thought were acting in our best interests? In what way were we complicit in allowing matters to come to this sorry pass? Civil liberties slowly being eroded? Lives at risk? The grief we experience on all levels, deaths, illness, isolation, uncertainty. Fear. Betrayal. Will we emerge from the ruins? What will be acceptable or more noble to us as individuals and collectively some years ahead? Will the black swan effect help us towards a brother/sisterhood of humanity? Will be still be Waiting for Godot, waiting for tomorrow?
Can we look up and down, like the pod of the swan, left and right, and sail serenely like the swan from my friend’s photo? Do we need a telephoto lens to see what is not visible?
I don’t know what kind of lens I use to see while in this zeitgeist. All I know is, is that this time has to be endured and that patience in the waiting is needed, at the same time always questioning the information we’re fed. Much of the time I feel and am unproductive and slothful. Questioning the information we’re fed from various sources is exhausting, yet in my view necessary. Hard science vs contrary information which is sometimes compelling. The moments, few and far between, when I get my hands into the soil are good, or paint, or play with clay (after great resistance). Baking – I also believe that our old way of consciousness has to give way to a renewed one and that it will take time. What can kill can also cure. We’re in both an individual & collective ‘dark night of the soul’ –
My thoughts are with you all and with those on the front line who meet this virus head on to best assist us all. May the Force be with you. May we withstand the fall out. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend. Keep safe and well.
The last Friday of this month – how quickly ‘last Fridays of the month’ come by. Things race along as they do everyday while at the same time we’re in the midst of the biggest pause we’ve (or I’ve) ever been asked to experience. A huge pause in the last long while – and a long pause still to come – we’re caught in many complexes both individually and collectively.
#WATWB – We are the World is an initiative set up by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath Witzhuizen some years ago, as a way of broadcasting good news posts from bloggers around the world. It’s intention is to illustrate that in spite of the denseness of darkness that surrounds us and our communities and further beyond, there are those out there who are angels who see where a need is and take steps to fill that need for another, or for communities, or for planet earth and her inhabitants. Whether it is feeding programmes for the hungry, water for drought stricken areas, accommodation for the homeless, caring for abandoned pets, supporting businesses that have had to close – well, the list is long of those in need, sometimes dire. We’re all being stretched in many uncomfortable ways. We’re all facing the same storm that is covid-19, although our ships and sails are of different sizes and strengths and we sail them differently. Some storms are easier to sail, some very difficult …
‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.
Mr Fred Rogers
Here in South Africa there are so many initiatives, from government, NGO’s, NPO’s, individuals, communities, businesses, CEO’s, in fact just about everyone who can, are donating their time, money and efforts to keep our people and animals as safe as possible in this lockdown from covid-19. Our greatest strength is our people as someone said –
The diamonds in the detritus are there –
I can’t decide what story to highlight – I know of sooooo many and I follow many of these initiatives very closely. Communities, individuals, organisations, businesses, stores – the whole bang shoot – coming together, practising UBUNTU, helping, sharing, being in compassion and in humanity, emptying their pockets as much as they can to help, where needed. Feeding the hungry is one of the priorities. People are being creative, sharing their ideas, making things like masks at their homes by the thousands, to buy and donate, many so very pretty, soft and comfortable, washable, affordable, and effective in preventing the spread of germs – #Masks4AllPlettandbeyondTeams
Feeding schemes request ice-cream and yoghurt containers and the like to be delivered at designated points to be collected and used to fill with soup and delivered to the needy. Animals who have been abandoned are lovingly taken care of and fed daily by volunteers. There are many designated places outside the stores where coffee, tea, bread, oil, maize meal, jam, peanut butter, basic provisions, where one can place their donations. Places to drop off your unused curtains, or any material used to make masks … these are just a few of many initiatives in Plettenberg Bay where I live –
The air is clearer is many parts of the world, rivers are cleaner, animals are returning to their natural habitat and numbers, coral is being restored inter alia which makes me realise how majestic Mother Nature is in her ability to strive for healing and balance. It is truly heart inspiring to see UBUNTU in action in very small and very large ways, humanity in action, caring for our neighbours and beyond. I believe we’re all striving for healing and balance.
Our co-hosts this month are as below. Do pop by and say hello. Their stories are bound to be fabulous and inspiring and bring a sense of the goodness that prevails in spite of –
Should you wish to take part in this monthly event and share some good news, we’d love to have you along. This is the linky-list to add your name. Posts to be be 500 words, non-religious, non-political and to say why you liked this particular spot of good news, and attach the link to the story, which I have NOT done this month. Please use social media to spread the good news, using the #WATWB hashtag and badge.
Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you and yours.
A lovely song below – 1min 31 secs., for those who have not seen it. An Irish Blessing, now a South African cover Blessing, in honour of all those in the front line –
Two very significant events in our history, celebrated around the world.
I wish you all a Blessed Pesach and a happy and meaningful Easter.
Over the last several days, it has struck me how much we use the words ‘war’, ‘fight’, ‘battle’, ‘strike’; ‘overcome’, ‘kill’; ‘threat’; ‘destroy’; ‘annihilate’; bomb; defeat; attack etc. To me it’s a little disturbing – language used invariably by those in power –
We can Fight the Good Fight, as others have before in striving for a better world. We can send love bombs out into the world. Before we overcome, we must go through. We can empathise with our doctors and nurses, the cleaners, the carers, all those who are in the frontline of this attack. We pledge them our co-operation and hope for resilience for them and us all.
We know that our world is likely to be irrevocably turned upside down in the near future and in the long term and indeed is, already.
We are all exposed to covid-19, it’s somewhere out there, who knows where, floating in the atmosphere in its grand impartiality … so we’re urged to stay at home, and follow best procedure for minimising exposure.
In this process there is I feel, another kind of exposure. The word ‘expose’ has many meanings. ‘Reveal’ is one of them. Uncover, show, display, disclose, manifest are others. Make (something) visible by exposure.
We’re aware of the underbelly that has been simmering for a long time and is now being exposed for what it is. Steps taken to redress the imbalance, whether by government, NGO’s, communities, individuals to assist with e.g. the homeless, those who don’t have food or money and no access to medicine or shelter.
We’re re-thinking and re-feeling; re-membering and dis-membering; re-evaluating; re-assessing with a fair amount of resistance thrown into the mix.
And while I have ongoing concerns of having freedoms taken away as a form of control I know that I must work within the system as we do battle.
Yet in this constriction there is also expansion, an apparently unlikely outcome as they appear to be in contradiction to each other. We’re almost forced to expand. Necessity is the Mother of Invention after all.
We can expose and expand ourselves to our higher aspirations … those which are profound and soulful and those which assume more meaning to us in these particular times. We can open up to love and care, for ourselves and our neighbour. We can open up to those deep and hidden golden parts of ourselves that are there, waiting to be invited in as a welcome guest into your house.
I ask myself in various sorts of ways, how much is enough? Is a more beautiful world possible? Will there be love and peace? Will there be co-operation in our co-existence? Will we grieve? Will we strive or aspire to a more equitable share of resources for all? Will Mother Nature appreciate our efforts at re-storing Her Beauty and Bounty and accept our profound sorrow for her suffering? In our isolation can we find togetherness? Can we extend ourselves in ways we never imagined? What can I do?
Rilke : Let me not squander the hour of my pain –
My son David is a musician. He’s been making videos over this last while which he puts up his FB and twitter page – he is in touch with the times. Many times they are humourous parodies yet with a serious underlying message. He uses music and his skills to his best ability and is thoroughly entertaining. The one below (no parody) is from a week or so ago, and his beautiful wife Jüte sings with him. The languages are English, Afrikaans and Zulu. It’s a ‘cover’ of the Irish Blessing and was made to honour the health care workers. (Sponsored by Adcock Ingram) 1min 33 secs
Thank you for reading. May this time of Easter and Pesach bring renewal in every way. May The Force be with you.
‘In Darkness, Be Light’ has been the intention of this ‘We are the World Blogfest’ since its inception. In Darkness, Be Light.
We are entering the 4th year of this particular blogging platform. Small beginnings from 3 or 4 years ago. A handful of people, energetic, from different parts of the world, keen to shine some light on the world, by showing individual acts or collective acts that make a profound difference to another and/or to the/a community. Each month, on the last Friday of the month, a #WATWB blog is put up, of some act, by an individual or a collective, some initiative, that has hugely benefitted the receiver/s. Some person had an idea and wanted to do good in the world. These posts always make my blood vessels expand a little, I feel my my heart widen, and it always fills me with an abiding sense of the inherent goodness of men and women and children.
This is my offering this time, the song ‘We are the World’ Kenny Rogers – RIP – is in it. Willie, Tina, Michael, The Boss, Billy, Cyndy, Dionne, Stevie, Ray, Diana – many others. It’s about 6 mins long. And joyous. And a reminder of how we can make the world a better place for you and for me.
The co-hosts this time round are below and our thanks to them.
Do pop by them and check out their posts. You will be amazed and heartened at SO much good that is done in the world.
We really are going into the unknown at this time. We feel the ground beneath our feet is shaky. We are concerned for ourselves and loved ones, and concerned for all others too in the midst of this corona virus covid-19. (Corona is Latin for Crown – is the crown and all that is ‘at the top’ and overbearing, dissolving somewhat?) Whatever is happening, may we find meaning – and hope – that a new world may emerge that is for the better for us individually and collectively.
Thank you for reading. Take care, be safe, wash your hands. May you find togetherness in aloneness. May the Force and Grace be with you –
I half knew that the equinox was this last Thursday 19th March, but it passed me by and I didn’t put up a post as I always have at equinoxes and solstices. They’re timely points of the seasons and so symbolic of a going towards and a going back – light and dark – each fecund – Did we reach a still point of balance at the equinox I wonder?
We’re moving into high gear here in South Africa. Our covid-19 numbers of confirmed cases are doubling every few days. Today they stand at 276. No deaths reported as yet. Of concern is the majority who live in crowded conditions and many do not have access to fresh running water; and those who use taxis, buses and trains for transport. And those who refuse to see the reality of it …
Our Health Minister gives us updates and re-inforces the message of self-isolating as much as possible. Our president is finally being presidential. Groups may be only maximum 100 though there is talk of lowering to this to 50. Probably less. International travel is disallowed and internal travel discouraged. Schools, libraries, restaurants, gyms are closed (or most of them). Churches, synagogues and mosques are closing. People are being innovative at this time. The elderly and pensioners are given their own hour to shop at stores. Bulk buying is not allowed and putting up prices is not OK. Bulking up on bog roll is the butt of many jokes here..
Soap and water is the best for hygiene. It is not necessary to keep the water running while hand washing. Like brushing your teeth – turn tap off while brushing, turn tap on when rinsing. Water conservation. In fact I think today is ‘Water Conservation Day’ –
In our isolation we have the opportunity be more together in co-operation. You’ve all no doubt read of the lovely things that are occurring, blue skies in China, clean rivers in Italy, Italians singing from their rooftops, various organisations making live viewing or streaming available free of charge. It was Fake news about dolphins and flamingos suddenly appearing – National Geographic has put paid to that rumour. But there are wonderful stories of people helping each out, beautiful poetry posted on eg FB that speaks to the soul. Meditation is also available on various media. As are opera, art houses and much more –
I am aware that I could be more slothful as the days go by and I need to guard against that. I can see myself on the sofa watching endless series or movies, avidly watching the news, reading till my eyes get tired, not moving very much and so on. As advised, one can still get up from slouching and do a few stretches. I have listed some tasks, like finally planting the various waterwise cactus that I have dotted around the garden into one place in among some white stones. I plan turning a room downstairs into an art room, get my easel and a table set up for all the art paraphernalia. I’m pretty much self isolating, staying at home. Shopping done, things in the freezer.
I tidied my study the other day, re-arranged books etc. I have so many lovely books, a veritable treasure house. I foresee re-reading some of them. Maybe show my husband Jung’s The Red Book. If only for the amazing art work.
Some paintings to be put up – still more to be re-arranged until they are just as I want them to be!
I’ve resurrected Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell ‘The Power of Myth’ CD’s to watch and listen to. Rich material. A long time back since I last viewed it –
Parabola (based in New York) very generously offered a free PDF of their 2012 quarterly journal entitled ‘Alone & Together’ which I downloaded after DM’ing them and have yet to read. I know it will speak to my soul – hopefully yours too – It’s a wonderful organisation to follow on FB. They often publish excerpted essays from their various editions.
I’ll tidy up my computer and delete a lot that’s been sitting there forever. I’ll need to gird my loins for that ..
I can walk on the beach so that’s a blessing. The weather is mild. The last two times I walked with son Mike (actually not on the beach but the lovely surrounds of his home) he kept a distance from me, of 2 meters.
My husband & I walked down to the lagoon this morning, a glorious day. I put up the photo of the small boat on a Plett what’s app page, thinking that the owner may like to ‘know’ or identify it. One or two of the comments were amusing; one said the boat was self-isolating, another that no oxygen required –
It was lovely to watch the antics of two dogs trying to get onto a paddle ski; this one was successful. I asked permission to take the photo –
May you all keep safe – these troubling times present an opportunity to go both inwards and outwards and to find new and creative ways to stay connected while isolated. We’re way out of our comfort zones … it’s a challenge for sure. May we meet it …
To end, my younger son David the musician, The Kiffness, has produced a spoof on Sweet Caroline/Carona and is in my view very funny and the funniest part of it is left to the last. Do watch, I’m sure you’ll laugh!
May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.
The threads, holding it all together is strange – a thread as fine as a spider’s web and fiercely strong. The silk from the spider’s web is used in the manufacture of pilots’ parachutes. Delicate and strong. Two apparently opposite words in meaning.
It seems as if we, collectively and individually, hang suspended, in mid-air, wondering when the thread is going to break – and hoping that that very strong parachute will stay aloft and not come crashing down when tested to the limits and finally giving way and breaking. Slowly at first, each break weakening the next thread … and then the next and so on – on a trajectory towards the tipping and then the breaking point. The limit is reached, the centre cannot hold ..
the stuff of writers and poets, artists and those who see perhaps with a different eye, and the stuff of those of us who wish to see further trying to discern what’s going on.
We know what a virus means, we have viruses entering our computers and the hard drive being wiped out. We have cold and flu viruses. HIV, hepatitis B and so on. An antibiotic does not help as this is a virus and not a bacteria. But viruses can be treated medically and the patient is advised to be patient. Rest is often prescribed and to stay at home so as not to spread it.
The word is late Middle English (denoting the venom of a snake): from Latin, literally ‘slimy liquid, poison’. The earlier medical sense, superseded by the current use as a result of improved scientific understanding, was ‘a substance produced in the body as the result of disease, especially one capable of infecting others’.
Corona: mid 16th century (in corona1 (sense 5): from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’.
So, the corona/crown virus that is capable of wiping out peoples’ hard drives.
Is it the crown that is wiped out? Does this have some sort of symbolic meaning? I suspect it does – the head being chopped off. History comes to mind as does the practice in this current day in different fundamentalist parts of the world.
Well, I’m not going to wax lyrical ad nauseam as to the symbology of it all. Although I can’t help wondering if ‘coronary’ has its etymology in ‘corona’ . Even as I write, I want to say the symbol is always in state of change or meaning, but this symbol of the chopping the head off, does seem rather fixed – I mean, once the head is off its off right? No more breathing, no more pulse, no more nothing. Just bleeding until the body is all bled out ….
Who knows if this speaks to the dismantling of patriarchy thread by thread; the dismantling of much hitherto known and familiar; the dismantling of that which no longer serves us; the dismantling of illusion; the dismantling of excessive reason and logic which, when extreme, is quite fixed, as if in stone. I can’t help but wonder …
But, can spirit or soul emerge from the stone? Especially when forced to? Even if a hammer has to be used to crack it open?
There is no huge panic as yet in South Africa – a mild form of it is evident, which is in itself a form of virus in that it spreads, along with fear. Panic and Fear, two well known – and used – psychological weapons of war. I know that our National Defence Force has flown to Wuhan to fetch the 122 South Africans who’ve been working there and their location on return is known and will be in lockdown.
Many thoughts come to mind: a concern for those who are frail and elderly, those who have compromised immune systems or underlying health concerns, the rural areas where fresh water is not always available or polluted, the poor and malnourished, the readiness of our health institutions to meet it should it become a crisis.
So much is falling apart, and of all this we are a part. I definitely live in a bubble here in Plettenberg Bay. One more prick and the bubble will burst. Hundreds of pricks have been happening here in this beleaguered country – rioting, burning of academic institutions, burning tyres on national roads, our stock exchange crashing, murders and assassinations galore, appalling road deaths most times due to overloading of taxis and buses and aggro drivers who do not know what a speed limit means, ongoing commissions of enquiry into corrupt politicians, and wondering whether the ratings agency is going to downgrade us even further …
And yet – what is the limit? And if that limit is reached and the threads break irrevocably, then what? What is our limit? Can a limit be limiting? Can we look at all that is happening in some other way and endure our discomfort in the process? Can we rethink our attitude to all that is happening and see our own role in the larger world view? Could the breaking down of the world as we know it be some sort of break through, where we use our hearts instead of our heads?
Can all that is being put on hold such as concerts, gatherings, sports events, travel and much else besides, be an opportunity to pause, be still and find the meaning in all of this – because that is what we have to do, find meaning, even if it means asking difficult questions. What does it feel like to have my freedoms taken away at least temporarily, in service to the greater good? Can I isolate myself to some extent so as not to be an agent of spreading the virus? Can I turn inwards, towards the heart, and listen to its messages –
This little spider appeared on my computer today. It crawls up onto the screen and then falls back into the crack between screen and keyboard, disappears for a moment, re-appears, is still, then starts its journey again, upwards.
There’s something about this little spider that speaks to me even if I am a bit scared of them. And the snake as mentioned above is something I hope to not come across in my house. But I do know that what can kill can also cure. And I’m hoping that this virus and all that it means in our lives, brings about transcendence in one way or the other and that we see our way through it. And that Grace and Unity helps us along. We’re aware of medical teams and staff working under extreme pressure and our gratitude goes to them too.