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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letter to Obama from Alice Walker

I had to share this with as many people as possible today. It is from Alice Walker, author of the Color Purple and a woman I would be proud to call a friend. As I am never likely to meet her, the nearest thing I can be is someone who sends her words of wisdom out into a world in need of them.
Nov. 5, 2008
Dear Brother Obama,
You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history.But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried,year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear.
And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed,because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large.
We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate.
One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want.They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.
I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain.Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise.
It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit.This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.
A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally,it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges,purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker
© 2008, Alice Walker

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Love You"

My mother had a stroke in June of this year. I was sitting in my office preparing for my next client when the phone range. It was my sister-in-law who had been out shopping with Mum.

Her voice was filled with panic as she told me that Mum had suddenly collapsed and was being attended to by the Paramedics who were stabilising her before taking her to Hairmyres Accident and Emergency Department.

We were lucky. Mum survived and made a full recovery. At the age of 80, we get to keep our mother with us. I look around at all my friends and realise that I am one of the fortunate few who has both parents alive as I move towards my own 57th year.

I am also blessed in that I am secure in the knowing that I am loved by my parents and that they know how much I love them. I look around at friends and clients and the contrast in their own parental relationships makes me even more appreciative.

We can take our loved ones for granted. We can blind ourselves to the fact that one day death will separate us because we simply find it too painful to face.

Face it. I have. They are mortal and with aging, ailing parents, the time is drawing in. Don't dwell on the pain, dwell on making each moment count, on making positive memories that will warm your soul when their physical presence is no longer there.

Make your peace with your parents if there is dissension; let go of the past and be fully present with them as they are right now. You will not get the chance later, for there may be no later, only a life time of regret for words unspoken. Our parents are human; they are imperfect. Just like you and I, they grow and evolve. Look at them now and look at them through the eyes of compassion. Look at them through the eyes of love.

Whether I am face to face with my parents or on the telephone, my last words to them are always, "I love you". When they part from this life, I want those words to be their last memory of me and I want them to be my last gift to them.

Think about it and maybe if you still have time with your parents, you could try it too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ask for what you need

I was clearing out my email folders when I came across this. It was the answer to a question asked in one of Julie Jordan Scott's online coaching classes in 2004.

"What I love about myself is my growing ability to ask for what I need. This was not always the case. I was always the helper and could never find the words to ask for help myself. I still hesitate sometimes and the words get stuck in my heart, but more and more often now, I just blurt them out, sometimes not very gracefully but increasingly clearly.
When you really love yourself, then you know how to ask and you know how to receive. That is something I needed and I love how that has changed my life. "

Learning to love and care for myself as much as I love and care for others was a long and sometimes challenging lesson for me. Now as a therapist, coach and Personal Growth Facilitator, it is a large part of my daily work to be a catalyst for this transformation in others.
One of the areas I love working in is the courses we run for carers under the auspices of the Princess Royal's Trust for Carers. We offer EFT, Be Your Own Life Coach and a Life Enhancement Course which is about raising self-awareness and self-esteem.
I see the same struggle in those carers as I found in myself. As we work together I can't begin to describe how good it feels when there is the momentary glimmer of liberation from duty and a glimpse of what it is to love and be your own carer. It is at moments like this that I count myself blessed to do this work.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My body's voice

When I enter the space between words,
Consciousness melts into the sea of becoming.
My voice enters those silent oceans
Sinks into its own primal life
Stripped bare of the overlay of intellect
Stripped down to the bones of who I am.

My body’s voice is the silence,
The absence of thought,
The awareness of energetic interplay
Igniting the cells of my being.

My body’s voice comes to life
When I am fully present
Flowing in motion,
In dance, stretching, spinning.
Digging deep in the fertile soil,
Sweat trickling down my face,
Salt and water flowing,
The sea of life itself.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On the 1st March, I was sitting quietly, chilling out, to one of my favourite television programmes when I suddenly felt I had to write. I had not a clue what I was going to write, just such a strong energy sweeping through me that would not go away. This has never happened before but here is what came. I have since spoken to a few friends who do the kind of energy work I do (Reiki and EFT) and they have shared similar feelings over the last few weeks.
Now just to be clear about this, I am not in to chanelling and have a strong healthy scepticism about things that go bump in the night. I do meditate daily and have a powerful sense of energy and its shifts. I think I am a very grounded person but I do acknowledge that I also have a certain streak of mysticism which bubbles to the surface every so often. Oh, what the heck, read and judge for yourself.
I am a receiver, resonating to the vibrations of something both within and beyond me.
It is a though I am tuning in to the distant strains of a powerful energy, as though I am hearing with the deep cellular structure of my body, elements of a vast cosmic orchestration, the individual notes of a powerful song of creation.
Sweeping waves of deep melancholy hit me like a long drawn out note on a violin reaching straight into the resonance of the heart centre. I want to cry. I want to mourn and scream and surrender to such sorrow. All in that note that comes from I know not where.Words are so difficult to form in a way that can even begin to convey this experience.
What comes to mind is the sound of a solitary whale crying in the deep ocean for its distant lost family, a soul filled with the longing to be born once more into the companionship of life.
It is a calling out and a calling together, a call that is redolent with loss and longing and yet still calls that which is separate home to the unity of one.
Soul deep I sense wave after wave of energetic longing - separate notes seeking their chords- chords seeking their companions -elemental - transcending - issuing forth from the source of all creation.
Sadness, deep dark mourning , yearning, calling out from the chasm of separateness, from the lonely voids outwith space and time, to be once more united.
Lost notes of a celestial melody seeking to sing their magic, the sounds of creation, the song of pure being.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Power of Simple Pleasures

In a world where there is so much striving and fretting to possess the material, I wonder how it would be if each of us were to take a little time every day to glance around and appreciate the simple pleasures. What difference might it make to observe and absorb the quiet beauty that is all around us if we care to open ourselves to its presence.

I am blessed with a garden. Now I could look at it as a curse. It is a very large garden. It is mostly set on a steep slope which makes grass cutting a difficult and demanding job. It is extraordinarily fertile which makes it a paradise for every chance weed seedling in the West of Scotland. It is also a very rich source of my daily simple pleasures.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that simple things do not have the potential for massive impact on your life and wellbeing. Have you observed the transformative effect of a day of sunshine after a long period of dismal clouds? People smile. They even say hello instead of tucking their head down so their eyes do not meet yours or even scowling in unconscious challenge to any positive vibration which might accidentally reach them in their self-imposed misery. The sun works its magic and even the sourest of dispositions is sweetened.

Right now as I type this, I can hear the birds singing in my garden. Now logically I know that they might be issuing territorial warnings to other birds but I chose to simply enjoy the beauty and think of them as calling out their pleasure at this little world, this green and tranquil place. I know that they have a whole stream to drink from at the bottom of our garden but chose to think that they come to drink from my bird bath because they like my company.

There is a huge black raven who visits in the evening and I watch him from my patio window, He usually brings large chunks of bread with him, collected from some generous soul. He had learned to dunk the bread in my bath until it disintegrates and becomes easy to eat. I am a simple soul and I cannot tell you how much amusement it affords me to watch him. I call him my raven but my husband says that he probably looks on us as his humans. I have no right of possession but he is a gentle companion, a simple pleasure to be treasured.

Another simple pleasure for me is the sight of a snowdrop pushing its way up through the frozen winter earth. It is such a small, delicate flower and yet it is the first to tell us that the long dark nights are beginning to come to an end. In that powerful little flower is the symbol of the reawakening of the world, of redemption after the dark night of the soul, of the light that always follows the deepest darkness. Simple, indeed.

So look around you today and consciously chose to become aware of such simple pleasures. In their simplicity lies a power that will transform you life.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It is almost three years since my friend of 30 years died very suddenly after the rapid onset of leukaemia. Her death hit me harder than I could ever have anticipated. I was thinking about her this morning after spotting her name on my friends' email folder. I have not been able to bring myself to delete our correspondence which includes her last message to me when she clearly had a presentiment of her death. In the manner in which coincidence works, later as I worked to delete some sent emails in one of my organisational burst of energy, I came across the following which was sent to another friend in April of 2006.

Funny old world and strangely wonderful the workings of the human heart. I had just finished writing a memorial for Deborah which was really quite hopeful and positive in my own uniquely Maria way. Then I started to write a poem for a class I am in and wham, there I was blind sided yet again, wallop, smack across the face. Grief is a bit like a worm wriggling its way to the surface. You are never sure when it will appear, if it it still there at all and where it might pop up.

Funny old world, indeed.

Has it been a year?
Time seems so sluggish
quagmired in deep sludge,
emotional debris of a life lost and mourned.

Strange thoughts come in unguarded moments.
Are our lives recycled as some great cosmic compost
Cast upon the earth again?

It really hurt.
You made your exit
I missed my chance to say goodbye
but truly we already had.

Words are superfluous
when you inhabit one another's heads
think the same thoughts
live the same fears.

I remember you at 18
crying in my arms
because you felt life slipping away,
afraid already.

Damn, it still hurts,
tight feeling in my chest,
across my heart,
as tears fight to escape my eyes.
I feel a scream building up inside
ready to explode
out into a world stripped bare of you.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The uncommon common cold

Now I am only too well aware that there is immense human suffering all around me in the world and I am incredibly blessed by my own personal circumstances. However, I am going to have a moan. My blog, my moan, so if you don't want to read, then you are excused. Tomorrow is another day and my positivity may be shining brighter than my nose which presently could be used as a light house beacon.
This malign, constantly mutating bug has been plaguing me since the end of November, when I attended an EFT course. One of my fellow students had a truly dreadful cold which she assured us was not going to infect us??? Signal for attendees to start dropping like flies.
I have coughed, spluttered and sneezed my way through the last six weeks with barely a 24 hours remission of symptoms. I kindly donated it to my husband which caused us to sleep in separate rooms for a week. No, he was not holding a grudge against me, but neither of us could sleep for the other's coughing, spluttering, sneezing and snoring through our barely open nasal cavities. Such civilised consideration is one of the reasons we are still married after almost twenty years. By some miracle our son has not been afflicted and I pray it stays that way.
Colds are a misery. Coughs are even worse. My voice sounds like a bad Darth Vader imitation which has put serious limitations on my recordings of my hypnotic sessions. I do not wish to terrify my clients out of their problems. Hypnosis is meant to be soothing, not traumatic.
So I've done my best to stay mentally active, planning business growth for this year, starting my NitroBlueprint System and working my way through a course from Jack Canfield, but it's like trudging through thick gloopy sludge. I am truly excited about my plans for this year but I just don't have the energy to really engage in the process right now.
So lots of Vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and loads of water. As much sleep as my bunged up nose and hacking cough will allow. I called in the cavalry today and asked for help from my Reiki Master Group. Let's see how the nasty little germs stand up to concerted onslought of a global group of healers.
Apart from all of that, I am managing to maintain a sense of humour, have not bitten the head off any passing relatives and it is being very effective in killing my appetite, making weight loss so much easier.
Ah well, every glowering, threatening stygian dark cloud has a shimmery thread of silver lining if you look hard enough, or is that just my eyes watering again???

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Taxi Driver Blog

Under my links you will find the above mentioned blog. It is not for the faint hearted who do not want to know about the unpleasanter reality of life for many people. It is also not for those who have an aversion to colourful language.
It is for those of you who enjoy powerful, engaging, down to earth writing. It is also for those of you who enjoy a pragmatic but passionately empathetic view of the world as seen through the eyes of a young Canadian taxi driver.
It's good writing and it's from a man with a good heart. Try it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Today was a good day.
I celebrated the coming of the New Year with my parents, my youngest brother, my husband and our son. We raised our glasses at midnight and shared a few hours of laughter and love together.
My Dad and Mum are 85 and 79 respectively and this year saw major health challenges for both of them. What a joy to share another New Year with them in the knowledge that no matter what may come, the love that flows in this moment on this day can never be taken away from us. Our fears reside in the future and can often taint the simple pleasure of this present moment if we allow them too. I chose to be in this moment and to let tomorrow be what it will be.
My husband showed yet again what a loving, caring soul he is. I had offered to take my 88 year old Aunt to the airport at 6.30am for her return flight back to the States. As I had a really bad cold for weeks and was feeling a bit worn with a day of heavy duty cooking ahead, Jim immediately said that I should stay in bed and he would take her. My hero!!!
Our son spent the day running to and from my house to my parents, carrying dishes full of food, wine and a cornucopia of good things. He did it all with the best of grace, constantly checking in to see if there was anything else he could do for me. In between, he kept his little cousin entertained as he always does with the small children in the family. He is so easy and relaxed with young ones and he is a 17 year old. I am so proud of the man he is becoming.
Then my little sister arrived, rolled up her sleeves and helped to complete the meal for 10 people, one last minute extra when a little niece visiting with her family, asked if she could stay. We served the meal on time and were rewarded with smiles of satisfaction and empty plates. What more could a cook ask for?
We sat together and reminisced about our childhoods, retelling tales that made us all shake with laughter. My son and my niece were hungry for more - our story is their family history. All the idiosyncracies, quirks, eccentricities of a family of ten make some fascinating listening. It was so good to feel that connection between the three generations.
So tonight as I prepare for bed, I rejoice. I have so much to be grateful for. My heart is full and my soul is at peace.
Today was a very good day indeed.