G Grace in Freedom Guilt and the Gilded Cage

G Grace in Freedom and the Gilded cage

“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
― Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do (Goodreads) –

A gilded cage below – there is no doubt that this has been my environment just about ever since I was born. I deliberately chose an image of an empty cage. Living life while in a gilded cage with many freedoms – but at the expense of others; which puts those who have ‘freedom’ at the expense of others, in another sort of cage, a crampedness of spirit, a lack of grace, ‘set patterns’ as Bruce Lee says above – We choose our chains I suppose; will we acknowledge our guilt?

Di R sent me Wendell Berry’s poem as her contribution to my request. I know I’ve used it before in a previous post maybe last year or the year before, or one of you sent it as a comment to one of my posts. It’s perfectly apt, and gives for me the sense of being in the grace of freedom at least for a while in the beauty of Nature –

Jan T says: As an South African it means to me that all people are equal, all races are equal as compared to the race issues before 1994.

But it also means as a white man my freedom economically is less than ..

Jüte S: Freedom to me means the joy of being able to act freely without any sense of self-inflicted obligation or guilt.

Thanks for reading! I’d love you to comment –


F Freedom

F Freedom

Toko M is an old school friend of my elder son Mike. They were at prep school together and overlapped again at university. We’ve maintained contact over all the years. This is his response to my what’s app request –

Toko M: Well, my name means Freedom so that’s a good start. Tokoloho is freedom in Sotho –

My friend Nicki S sent me this – including this photo of Freedom D who works in the guest house in Johannesburg that she does too (permission to use photo). He does some transfers (airport) and tours for a few guests that stay.

Freedom D: So in the period during apartheid all native children had to have Christian names (English names basically). One of the reasons behind this was for a native person to have a name that would be easy to pronounce. As a way of protesting against apartheid some of our parents gave us names such as mine Freedom. There are also some children who are named Justice, Peace and so on. Also I was born in the year 1976. If you would recall that is when we had the Soweto uprisings. Freedom was a buzzword at the time. It is common in different and in most African communities to name children after a memorable event.

I could write more about eg Freedom from fear, the fear of freedom, the fight and flight for and from freedom but I’m keeping this short. I am now in Johannesburg; drove up from Plettenberg Bay on Thursday, overnighting en-route. I’ll be here for a few days. On Tuesday 9th April I’ll be flying with Kgakgamatso (Jane) my housekeeper for the last 36 years from Johannesburg down to George airport, and from there we’ll drive to Plettenberg Bay. She’ll stay in our home for about 4 days, then we’ll fly back! Tuesday will be her first flight! I’ve booked window seats for the aircraft …

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments –

E Freedom of Expression

E Freedom: Expression

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions (I prefer the word ‘views’) without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. 

Freedom can also be seen as the enemy by those who want to keep us subdued and complacent.

Art and freedom of expression are vital elements of any functioning democracy. Art, however defined, can take matters to the extreme in many instances and the viewer may well feel uncomfortable, shocked, horrified at such expression. Brett Bailey, a local artist here in South Africa, internationally known, has had many of his works denounced and installations pulled down and destroyed. Not surprisingly, it upsets a great many when a truth has been expressed, graphically. A local cartoonist, known by the name of Zapiro, has had the governing party threaten to sue and/or jail him for his cartoons that express uncomfortable truths.

As Brett Bailey puts it: “Do any of us really want to live in a society in which expression is suppressed, banned, silenced, denied a platform? My work has been shut down today, whose will be closed down tomorrow?”

“Freedom is the soul of art.”  Abhijit Naskar

There are so many ways in which we can express ourselves freely. The written word, the sketch, the painting, creating music (even if it is heavy metal), cooking, crocheting, the clothes we wear, or not. We can express ourselves in the way we love, with whom we love. There is a supportive energy in this. Call it Eros, the life force. It also true too that many of us deny ourselves this freedom of expression, for various reasons – or, as noted above, it is denied to us.

Kayla A: My definition of freedom is having the ability to live/think without needing the permission of others. Freedom is in the mind, and Freedom is free –

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this –

D Death, Denial of Freedom

D Death, Denial of Freedom

Are our freedoms being taken away from us? I’ll explore this in further posts – eg freedom of expression/speech; political freedom inter alia.

The more I prepare my posts in readiness for the day, the more I realise what a huge task I’ve set for myself. I want to keep my posts short, sharp and punchy and avoid preaching at any costs. At the same time, with the encroaching threat of the death of freedom in its MANY and prolific forms, it gives me an opportunity to question this concept, which is more than just a concept. It is surely the life blood of an individual, a culture, a country, a nation – and for those who wish to retain political power the danger of the individual recognising his or her right to freedom, voicing it, demanding it, is a real one –

Is globalism a threat to our freedom? Does it lead to the erosion of national sovereignty?

“What sort of political freedom will be left to the ordinary man on the street when all government and all power are centralized in global bodies? What voice will he have? Who will hear it?” (excerpted from theimaginativeconservative.org).

“I am not ready to die,
But I am learning to trust death
As I have trusted life.
I am moving
Toward a new freedom”.

May Sarton

Christopher F: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose –

Lesley C: what immediately came to mind for me was sleepovers with my kids (as extreme as that sounds, it was the best thing after being denied that right) –

Thank you for reading! I value your comments –

C Freedom of Choice Change Conundrum


C Freedom of Choice, Change and Conundrum

“In place of the clear and rigid ancient law, You [oh Lord] made man decide about good and evil for himself, with no other guidance than Your example. But did it never occur to You that man would disregard Your example, even question it, as well as Your truth, when he was subjected to so fearful a burden as freedom of choice?” 

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Grand Inquisitor (this states the conundrum).

When I started drafting posts for this A-Z blog challenge, I would in other moments not at my desk doing other tasks, wonder if I was writing about Peace or Power and would have to remind myself that I was writing about Freedom. They are so linked – at least in my eyes.

I’m reading, very slowly, (as opposed to my usual speed reading) ‘The Choice‘ by Edith Eger. I am finding it very hard going in spite of the apparent ease and grace with which she writes. She shares her personal stories of the Holocaust. At all times she embraces the choice of the possible even in the face of evil. It is a tour de force, which I can read only in small doses.

Do we have the freedom to change? I know that I can never, nor would I want to or even if I wanted to, change another person by forcing them to change. I can change only myself, or my attitude towards others and myself. I know that I have that sort of freedom within; whether or not I exercise it is another matter. 

Mother Theresa: I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples’. Which makes me think of climate change and consumerism and that we each can do our bit in small or big ways.

An important conundrum of Freedom is expressed by Freud –

Kate R sent me her poem:

I see myself through your
Eyes, liberation.
Yet only through
The peaks and valleys
The waxing and waning
Of the journey
Do I know you
In each moment.

Thank you for reading. Please comment – I love to read them.

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


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


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.
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


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



 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 –






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!



Thank you for reading! Have a great weekend!

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