We Are The World Blogfestposts on the last Friday of every month. This is our 6th month. It is our aim that spreading stories of kindness in action can lessen the impact of dark and depressing news that assails us daily. As it says on its website: “There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.” We thank the following team members for co-hosting this month. Do pop by their posts – Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti,andMary J Giese,
Even though this story is from May 2017, it bears a re-viewing. We in South Africa are still in winter. I like this initiative; it shows how I and/or we can each do something for those in need. It could be anything really, a packet of food, a small bag of toiletries, a cool drink on a hot day for eg parking attendants.
The stories you share could be personal stories or of organisations and initiatives that are community oriented, whether the elderly, disabled, schools in need of books – the list is endless. All that is asked is that the stories are non-political, non-religious, why you like it and that the posts are 500 words or less showing the link –
It’s been a busy few weeks, with little time for reflection. Dr. Susan E. Schwartz, co-author of our book‘Aging & Becoming ~ A ReflectiveEnquiry’and her husband were here in South Africa for two weeks from the end of July. Susan presented a paper in Cape Town before flying up to Johannesburg which was our base for the next several days.
We took off for the Pilanesberg up in the northwest where we spent 3 nights and 4 days. Our accommodation was extremely comfortable, a mere few minutes away from the entrance to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Our drives were wonderful. There was game viewing a-plenty. I managed to video this rhino – 20 secs.
I love the reflection of the rhino in the crystal clear water –
We returned home on Friday afternoon and Susan & I gave a talk on our book the next afternoon at Bookdealers, a bookshop in Greenside, one of our suburbs. It was well attended & well received, many friends and others, books sold. Chris Reinders read an excerpt (the man in the hat), I’m next to him and Susan Schwartz next to me … my friend Linda took this photo and sent to me …
We left the next morning for Clarens, a lovely artsy town some few hundred kilometres away and close to the Golden Gate National Park. The view from the balcony where we were staying was magnificent overlooking the mountains – the first evening I photographed the full moon rising and later that night noticed a partial eclipse of it!
We spent precious time driving through the Golden Gate National Park – everything seemed golden – the light, the time, the mountains, animals at ease and ourselves at ease. Clarens is a very pretty town with all sorts of shops and cafe’s, lovely places for coffee and croissants – and shopping! Our two retreats into the wilderness were very valuable on many levels –
We were back home on Tuesday last week; my husband left early on Wednesday morning for several days to attend something that had long been in the works, returning only on Sunday evening. Susan, her husband & I – and another Susan, a dear friend – we were 3 Susan’s in my car – motored through to Pretoria on Wednesday for a lunch party held in honour of a visiting Swiss Analyst, an 85 year old man of such grace and wisdom, so present. It was such a special day, rich in conversations and people.
Thursday was busy, meeting with a few friends here and there who were keen to see Susan & Frederic. Thursday night dinner was with Vonn who first met them 18 years ago at the airport when we set off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro …
Last Friday afternoon, Susan and I were interviewed off-air in the studios of Classic FM by the gracious Tamara LePine-Williams who hosts the morning radio show. She will let me know when it will be aired, and says that we will get a podcast of it. I’ll make a link to it, in a future blog post (if possible).
Susan gave a seminar to psychologists on ‘The Shadow’ on Saturday morning and they flew back to America on Saturday night –
In between all of this, there were lengthy phone calls and what’s app messages about my brother Christopher who lives in Natal and is in hospital following a partial shoulder replacement. The calls and what’s app messages were between my brother’s son who lives in Cape Town but who was with his father for several days, myself and my sister who is also in the Cape. He, and the situation he is in, is dire, beyond words … it is altogether troubling and anxious making for the 3 of us, the two sisters and his son. There is no-one else. And we all live elsewhere. He is currently in the ‘stepdown’ rehabilitation section of the hospital – his ongoing depression is much heightened –
And in among all this, the sun is shining, it is very cold, there is a slight wind. The weather turned overnight, from 24 degrees yesterday to 10 degrees today – we were warned. Parts of the country are blanketed in snow. The last few weeks have been sunny and warm, almost summer like after a spell of winter weather. Now, again, winter is here in full force or so it seems. -1 degrees tonight.
The photos below were taken today. In the first you can see a newly-popped poppy. I’ve been waiting for ages to see what was coming out of this planted tray – and will photograph them no doubt when the tray is is full bloom. On the orchid was a bee, always good to see –
The second is of pots on my patio – it’s a partly cloudy day and ideally I should have waited for full sunlight. There are many orchids still to bud –
I sometimes feel suspended, between what and what I do not know. We’re all of us going through some sort of transition period, the events of the world are testament to that. Is the macrocosm a reflection of the microcosm I wonder. Each is a reality, and not independent of each other and each exerts its influence on the other …
More than ever, I feel the tension of those apparent opposites, within myself and without. More than ever, I feel the need to steer my ship in these rough seas, and hope to keep my balance as much as possible, to not retreat from anything, much as I would like to. I remind myself and remember the connection we have to each other and to our earth, and view that with as much loving kindness that I can.
I wish the same for you too …
Thank you for reading. May The Force be with you …
#WATWB posts on the last Friday of each month, as an invitation to inspiration and good news, bringing some cheer into our beleaguered world and the negative press. * see details below if you’d like to take part –
I met a friend for a quick coffee yesterday in the coffee shop at the medical clinic after her visit to a specialist. The medical centre is just up the road from me.
She’s hiring a car at the moment while hers is being fixed from a recent bashing by another car. Spare parts to be ordered from abroad. She was saying over coffee about being anxious and fearful on the road this last while in her hired car and whether being fearful attracts the very thing one fears.
She said: Once upon a time a long while ago she was away on holiday with strict instructions from her boss about the very important meeting on Monday the following week at 7.00 a.m. He also said to her, no breakdowns and inability to attend the meeting. At the time she thought that a very odd comment.
Driving over the Outeniqua Pass on her return to Johannesburg, her car suddenly stopped. Just like that. No warning. Dead. Kaput. I know that Pass – tricky at the best of times. Windy narrow roads, often in mist (one of my own photos) –
A man came by – he arranged for a tow truck and came with her to the next town, a long way away. All distances from one town to the next in the Karoo are long. That town’s car mechanics could not help, and there were no cars for hire in that small town. He drove her in his car to Bloemfontein while her car was towed. By my reckoning, he’d been with her for 700 kms.
In Bloemfontein she was able to hire a car. She was home safe and sound at 5.00 a.m. and in time for the Monday 7.00 a.m. meeting.
She said that man was so kind, concerned only for her welfare. It was so unexpected she said – in talking with her, we agreed that people are kind, and it is beholden unto us to be kind at all times …
When my sons started driving many years ago I was always concerned about them being on the road. When I told a friend about not wanting to have ‘worrying energy’ about this, she said ‘just put them in the light’ – which is what I do, not only for them then, but for all, now and whenever …
photo is from solar lamp in my garden
Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or other enlightening event that dilutes and dissolves negativity around the world. We are about 52 people so far around the world taking part on the last Friday of each month.
A quick checklist of guidelines:
Keep your post short, 500 words or less to your own story or a link to a story that shows humanity in action.
This photograph always affects me in one way or the other. Today would have been his 99th birthday. This date is now known as Mandela International Day and we’re prompted to give up 67 mins of our time in doing something useful for the community as a way of remembering that he spent 67 years fighting for freedom and 27 of those years in gaol, on Robben Island, off Cape Town. The link belowis an interesting read. Thousands will be walking in Cape Town in solidarity led by ‘elders’ including Graça Machel his widow as representatives of Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. The international dignitaries are note-worthy – the link will say –
Memories – they’re hard sometimes to recall – it seems so long ago that South Africa and its peoples were filled with hope. We knew that there was a long road ahead. The wounds of apartheid had to be addressed fore-mostly. Severe wounds, not just skin deep but wounds at the very core of the majority of South Africans.
Would our Madiba be proud of where South Africa is today? Not likely. None of us is proud. We make one step forward, and 3 back, slipping and sliding. Racism keeps on rearing its ugly head, fomented by the spreading of false news by Bell Pottinger, the PR firm in the UK, initiated, it is believed, by the family (resident here but come from elsewhere) who have S.A.’s president and his henchmen in their back pocket. It’s called the Gupta Capture – and our government is mired in the corruption of the capture.
This is not to say that all is gloom and doom. We are proud of innumerable constructive steps taken. On the upside, the Bell Pottinger debacle is being exposed for what it is and the Gupta family and the president will not be able to hide. Government ministers are calling for the president’s resignation as are people on the street. There is very much a determination amongst all our people to keep on walking this long road to freedom and to be free of the shackles, mostly political, that try to keep us back.
Here’s another capture – of the good kind. It’s an iconic photograph of that day in 1995 when Francois Pienaar the captain of the Springboks, led our team to victory against the New Zealanders at the Ellis Park Stadium. South Africa was host to this worldwide event. Mr. Mandela’s visit to Ellis Park was a surprise, known only to few. The predominantly white crowd erupted as he walked onto the field wearing the Springbok cap and jersey to wish the team good luck and erupted even more when he presented the trophy to Pienaar … Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! they screamed and shouted – The gardeners in the complex where I live take great care in the maintenance of them. They were pruning the roses last week in preparation for winter which is already underway. Nelson, one of the gardeners, brought me these roses … so, to another Nelson … thank you.
Thank you for reading. Happy Mandela International Day! May he continue to inspire ..
This is a monthly post occurring on the last Friday of every month. This is the 4th month in which people all over the world write a heart warming or inspirational story bringing light into this dark & shadowy world we live in.
I witnessed first hand the magnanimity of humans answering the call for help –
We were down in Plettenberg Bay recently (Garden Route of the South-western Cape) where raging fires had spread from Knysna and surrounding areas to Plettenberg Bay and its’ surrounding areas over several days. Lives were lost. The devastation was huge – homes, farms, vegetation, trees, fynbos, small animals were engulfed in the fires. Estimation of damage in terms of money runs into billions of rands.
In the shopping centre near to our Plett holiday home, a huge store was vacant – until the outpouring of people filled it to the brim – clothing for all ages, food, blankets, toys, cots, water. I volunteered a few times in sorting clothing for children into their appropriate ages and bagging them, to be then collected to get to their distribution points. It was a massive, very well-organised operation over several days, ongoing by the time we left, with hundreds of people offering their time in the sorting of food, clothing and various at different times.
Homes were opened to those displaced, hotels and BnB’s a place to stay free of charge. Banks and business donated millions.
My heart softens when I realise the huge-heartedness of people. Not just South Africans, but people all over the world are ready and willing to help when and where they can. We can extend this kindness in our ordinary everyday lives as well …
‘In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality’.Martin Luther King.
.I excerpted the below from Jenni Baxter’s Facebook post – dated June 9, 2017.
South African artist Beezy Bailey posted a beautifully moving and poignant response to the loss of his home, and incredible works of art, in the devastating fires which ravaged the southern Cape this week.
Posting the photo above on Friday morning (3 Friday’s back), Beezy wrote:
“I believe that Armageddon is the end of the beginning and not the beginning of the end. I’m more interested in how beautiful this photo is of my Plet house on fire than sad. I’ll do a painting of it .
“I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m lucky enough to have a Plet house and we were thankfully insured, the loss of many art works of mine dating back to the 80s that my son Jasper thought were my finest is sad.
“And I’m sad about the lovingly grown garden, which will slowly grow back.
“But Bird House will be rebuilt even better than before. The birds will come back.
“But please your support, sympathy and sorrow must be focused on the hundreds of poor people with no insurance, and no nothing… who have lost everything.
“Let us unite in times like these, something we South Africans are so good at, and pick our selfs up by our boot straps and re build broken hearts, homes and lives together.”
As SAPeople contributor Megan Carr said: “What an inspiration this man is, to all South Africans, to the world in fact? I am saddened by the loss of his art. Please paint for us Beezy we need more of you everywhere. XX❤️XX”
Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or other enlightening event. Let’s set about diluting/dissolving
the negativity around the world and bringing in the light. We are about 70 people so far around the world taking part on the last Friday of each month.
A quick checklist of guidelines:
Keep your post short, 500 words or less to your own story or a link to a story
that shows love, humanity and brotherhood in action.
(I apologise, I have not adhered to the word count)
We returned home from being away in Plettenberg Bay this last Sunday. I took this photo on 12th June from the balcony of the bedroom in Plett. It was taken at 8.06 a.m. the morning of my birthday. We’d arrived the previous day. It was a lovely sight to begin the day in spite of the lingering haze from the smoke of the fires in Knysna, Plett and surrounding areas in the recent week.
I wanted to put up a post on the Winter Solstice, acknowledging this particular time – for us in the southern hemisphere it means a time of going inward, germinating, lying low, the soil resting, cold, frost – for you in the northern hemisphere, a time of warmth and bursts of colour as Nature reveals herself in all her glory.
But I didn’t put up a post. The 20th June was the anniversary of my severe car accident 4 years ago; yesterday was the anniversary of our moving into our townhouse 4 years ago, the day I was released from hospital.
Two days ago on the 20th June I was in my car, very aware of the anniversary. A taxi nearly took me out at the traffic lights as I was about to make a right turn. It went through the red lights – a bright blue van. Later on, when I was returning home, there was a terrible car accident at a different set of traffic lights near where I live. Two vehicles were involved. One car was upturned. The officials were doing a good job of directing traffic. Ambulances and a fire engine were on the scene. Later on that day, I was alerted to an earlier shooting of someone dead in a Bentley in the road much further down – also close to where I live. A ‘hit’ is currently assumed –
The name of the main road which is close to me is South Rd. A car accident at the top of South Rd, and a shooting at the bottom end of it. Top and bottom … it gave me cause for pause …
Not that this is the only matter that gives me cause for pause. I feel a pausing on many levels. I wonder if I’m a pessimist, or an optimist; or a mixture of the two. A pessimistic optimist – or an optimistic pessimist. Or just simply caught in the opposites. Never a comfortable place to be.
Maybe this is the time to pause – as I did today, going through my photographs of the week spent in Plett. Both sons were with us, our elder son Mike in his lovely new home, and younger son David with Jüte his wife visiting from Cape Town. Hence my decision in putting up the sunrise photo and writing a blog while feeling ‘happy’ looking at the pics remembering that special time.
I messaged both of them on Tuesday to thank them for their assistance 4 years ago when they were both in Johannesburg to help with the packing and the move and when I had the car accident.
David responded: “Was a very hectic day – still don’t like thinking about it. But it’s also good to be reminded of it & to ponder the fragility of life. That incident taught me to savour each moment I get to spend with family, and not to take you, dad, Mike or Jüte for granted”. Mike said much the same thing in response. I was also reminded of my dear friend Lyndy, now just 3 months gone, of saying so often to me as she lay dying, don’t postpone doing what you want to do, just do it …
The sunset photo is from a long while ago, in the bush. Though it makes me think of Lyndy and therefore feel sad, I see the beauty in it.
Sunrise-sunset, pessimistic-optimistic, energised-enervated, happy-sad, top-bottom, above-below, life-death, north-south, east-west, new moon-full moon and all the phases and pauses in between. May the new moon in the next night or so bring you renewal and joy.
We’re flying down this Sunday to Plettenberg Bay where we’ll be for a week. I’m having a few girlfriends this Saturday morning for breakfast. Although plans for the ‘menu’ are in place, I decided this morning to stew some fruit, something I’ve never done before. It tastes quite nice, both bitter and sweet. I thought I’d warm it slightly on Saturday when every one is here; they can add it to the full cream greek yoghurt I’ll put out. That will be the starter.
I peeled naartjies (clementines), removing as much of the pith that I could, cutting in half, ensuring no pips and adding to the hard pears that were already softening in the pot. I also added a little muscavado, a little balsamic, shake of cinnamon and ginger and some dried out prunes.
I thought how the times we are in, are times in which we are all metaphorically stewing.
There’ve been dreadful storms in Cape Town since Tuesday night, lives lost, a huge amount of damage, thousands displaced. Poor communities frightfully affected. The western Cape has been in severe drought for the last long while … water rationing is in full force. The storms and very high winds are expected to quieten down today. Cape Town has been battered and ravaged.
Then, as of yesterday, huge fires cut through Knysna. Knysna is 30 km away from Plettenberg Bay, approx 550 kms from Cape Town. Very high gale force winds caused immediate spreading to surrounding areas. Evacuations again of thousands were effected, brought to safe places like schools, yacht clubs and churches. Infernos cut their flaming swathes through the land. Elephants and horses needed to be evacuated. That fire raced to Plettenberg Bay’s surrounds where my son lives. It’s been a nightmare for all – many homes, farms, wild life and vegetation lost. Mike has been racing around just about all the time helping where he could. Arson in some cases is suspected. Earlier this morning he was washing his car because of all the dust, muck and grime and it started to rain – slightly –
Extreme and troubling times indeed. Labour vs Tory vote in the UK today. James Comey testifies before Congress in the US today. The political situation in South Africa is totally haywire and unbelievably corrupt. The DA (Democratic Alliance, main opposition party) Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, has been suspended as of yesterday for a tweet she made in March and hung out to dry after the knives have been plunged into her.
So much else world wide – hence my circle of light photo. Fire storms, rain storms, political storms, snow and ice; internal and external conflicts everywhere. I was going to blog from Plettenberg Bay next week but today I feel a sense of urgency. The photo helps me stand still in the centre of the storm and I hope it helps in some way for you too ..
May we bathe in the healing energies of the full moon tomorrow night – even as we know that the full moon can result in extreme weather and affect us in other ways –
It’s the last Friday of the month; the 2nd time theWe Are the World Blogfestis spreading a little light to alleviate the darkness in which we find ourselves.
Ongoing and recent events leave me constantly troubled not only for what’s going on in our neck of the woods but all over our precious planet. There is no need to itemise them. Here in South Africa we are rebelling against all that is corrupt and we’re pulling together on all levels not seen in a long time.
There are so many stories of people and communities coming together in the face of tragedy. And if not in tragedy, then in all sorts of small, kind, gracious and meaningful ways which, like a pebble tossed into a stream, continues making ripples, spreading ever outwards..
Here’s a map of the world from a very ancient atlas. I occasionally put my hands over this map and ask for healing of our world –
The photo below is one I took a while back of the garden at night where the little solar lamp in the centre throws off shards of light.
I’m imagining that the lamp is each one of us, casting light into the darkness.
May these circles of light encompass each and every one of us, Mother Nature and all her creatures, our planet.
Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or some other enlightening event. Let’s set about diluting/dissolving
the negativity around the world and bringing in the light. We are about 73 people so far around the world taking part on the last Friday of each month.
A quick checklist of guidelines:
Keep your post short, 500 words or less. Your own story or a link to a story
that shows love, humanity and brotherhood in action.
A for Autumn … my husband wanted me to see this tree and the autumn colours on the golf course … and Z for Zero …
Thank you for coming along on the ride on this A to Z Blog Challenge through the month of April which has gone like a flash as Aprils always do … I’ve so appreciated your support and comments which always broadens my view and thinking and feeling.
The last page of Dr. Susan E. Schwartz’s and my book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ ends with Susan’s words: Aging presents challenges that we do not escape at life endings. pg. 140
and with a Zen koan: The ten thousand things return to the one. Where does the one return?
Let us be patient with one another and even patient with ourselves.
We have a long way to go, so let us hasten along the road,
The road of human tenderness and generosity.
Groping, we may find one another’s hands in the dark.
These are very brief extracts from Dr. Susan E. Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES, and Susan Scott (me) as SS and italicised. This is from the chapter Yes & Yoga.
SS: …. It’s a universal truth that when we say yes to the psyche, the universe responds. I know that there is a price and exacted from me is the hard work required, paying attention to my dreams, my projections, my shadow, my inner figures. I’d rather err on the side of consciousness with its attendant shadow and live life with the unconscious as an underground river running through it. pg 136
SES: We age into age. … This requires a listening and honoring the being of an older woman with all her changes and advances, the limits and the expansions to body, mind and soul. With each limit comes the challenge to find other ways. What would the world look like if we said yes to age? pg.137
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?
(quote repeated, purposefully).
Below, if you have the time and/or inclination is the blog post I pout up this time last year. Took me back –
These are very brief excerpts from Dr. Susan E. Schwartz and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming~A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and Susan Scott as SS and italicised.This is from chapter X-Ray.
SS: … It also reminded me of the necessity of putting the x-ray onto my psyche, looking into it more seriously and deeply, paying more attention to my dreams which surely provide an x-ray of one’s inner life.pg 132
SES: Age makes us finally confront from within. pg 133 … Now, finally un-hounded by the anxiety or inner tensions, we are honoring the ground under the surface, the unconscious listened to, an x-ray into the soul. Again, aging puts on our doorstep the responsibility to round out what yet wants and needs to be heard and expressed with a wider and more inclusive perspective. This means hearing the soul, not merely the ego. pg 133-134
It’sthe last Friday of the monthand it’s the aim of ‘We are The World Blogfest’ to shine a little light on any darkness in the world or in ourselves by sharing uplifting stories. This is a once a month happening.
The story I’ve chosen to tell is one that happens often here in South Africa. While our country remains mired in corruption, very shady deals enacted by certain members in our government, thievery and thuggery, there are always people from all walks of life who make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop
Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or some other enlightening event. Let’s set about diluting/dissolving the negativity around the world and bringing in the light. This is the link.
These are very brief extracts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and I’m not adding anything this time round. This is from the chapter Waiting.
It’s a public holiday here in South Africa – Freedom Day, the day on which 23 years ago, Mr. Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president. We waited so long for this – and we’re still waiting for democracy in its best form to manifest.
SES: Waiting as part of life brings to mind an entire day spent in the African bush… waiting for the wild dog pups to appear. …Did we ever see those pups even though we were there for hours? No. But the point seemed to be that we were there. We felt the rawness of existence; how the animal lives in the bush, waiting, lurking, looking. We might have missed all that unless we slowed down, been observant, patient, expectant. Gradually, just waiting subsumed the goal. The present moment was entirely full. How often do we take the time to wait? pg. 130
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
These are very short excerpts from Susan E. Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and Susan Scott (me) as SS and italicised. This is from the chapterVision & Value.
SES: It is possible to have a vision that regards each day as a small but significant unfolding, like the various plants growing in the garden. We plant them when small and now they are older and have taken another shape, maybe gnarly, maybe vibrant with bloom, sometimes needing pruning. We tend to them on a regular basis. Our system, like a garden, needs care to remain vibrant and full rather than sickly or unkempt. pg 123
SS: What has been my version of life up until now? What will help me come into a fuller expression of myself? Will I have to go into the void, or the cave or dungeon, or enter a dense forest? Is this the way to find the treasure? Do I need armor? What awaits? Do I have the capacity for being vulnerable towards myself and others? Can I permit the breaking down of my previous attitudes and attachments? Is it time to show up if I haven’t already? pg 124
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.