The politics of water

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“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?”

And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

This well-known Buddhist story told by Alan Watts at the 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College have always resonated with me, in many contexts.

I had said, “I don’t like politics”, “I don’t do politics”, “I am not political”… and while the first remains true, I have come to re-consider my place in my mind, in my world about the latter.

I AM in water, rife with politics and I am impacted by it, like it or not. Perhaps I am at the lower end of the spectrum for the level of participation, yet there is no avoiding it. In fact, for every post, every tweet of gender equality, human rights, I am being political. I am glad to name it. Another self-awakening of a 40-something woman. 🙂

This realisation comes from recent events, namely the lead up to the now Trump Presidency and the Women’s March around the world. It is easy to say, as I have heard from others, that ‘they’ are about America thus none of our (Australians) business or the marches are anti-Trump rather than about women’s rights or they are exercises in futility. Hey, I even attempted to embrace these notions to arrest the listlessness and unease.

Yet it does not bring me peace.

There is a shift in global consciousness, signalled by the uneasiness and anger that I (and many others judging by the response to the Women’s March) feel despite being so far away from the source of the triggering events. The notions of ‘them’ and ‘us’, of ‘not this but that’ no longer hold water, we the people are connected, more so now than ever, and we in all we say and do influence and impact on each other, we are humanity as one.

So my response and the lessons from the recent events are these, expressed through those who came before:

Life is a circle. The end of one journey is the beginning of the next. ~ Joseph M Marshall III

We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity. ~ Dalai Lama

Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Careful the things you say,
Children will listen.
Careful the things you do,
Children will see and learn.

Children will look to you
For which way to turn,
To learn what to be.

Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.                           ~ Barbra Streisand, “Children Will Listen”

 

Oh, and I have no answer, and I suspect there is no ‘Answer’.  We have done things in fear no matter what it is called, what not try love? What have we to lose?

Life is for living; it is movement, constant and every-changing. Let it be a movement inspired by love.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Do not despair if the answers don’t come immediately. Some answers are only revealed with the passage of time.

Try to love the questions themselves. Do not look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

All along my denial of the political self, I now realise, is not about politics per se, but rather the politics of division, of hate, of exclusion… and even as I am reconciling to the fact “politics” is being played on me and vice –versa, this remains true – love and compassion, understanding and collaboration shall be my beacon. Though I may at times fail, these I strive to be.

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.

~ Joseph Campbell

I am in water.

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Words on fear and doubt

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Some of you may know this of me, that I find comfort and inspiration in words.

So here are some words I have gathered around me this past weeks on my little trip of introspection and reflection.

I hope these words take you on a little side-trip to new territory, or re-visit familiar places of comfort and joy.

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.  ~ Henri Poincare

How often have we been told to not doubt? This I believe, that to be open to possibilities, to be adaptable and responsive to our world require a healthy dose of doubt. It is the tiny cracks appearing on the polished facade of certainty and perfection – it adds character and invites closer attention. Don’t you think?

There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.  ~ Alfred Tennyson

And to moving on in spite of doubt, or maybe because of it, suggests to me greater belief and faith in our selves, our relationships, our humanity. We don’t need guarantees of safety to venture out into the world. There is no absolute solution, no certainty –  only faith and perspectives.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.  ~ Helen Keller

Our fear of what could go wrong, our doubt of what could go right… feel somewhat dangerous; they threaten our sense of self, our identity in the world. Yet it is only dangerous and threatening if we strive to hold onto what is, or to the ‘greater what could be’. Life is fluid; and if we approach with a ‘come what may’ attitude and a little confidence that we are enough to meet the future, all is well. Perspective again.

To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.  ~ David Whyte

There is strength in our fear and doubt, to be with our vulnerabilities requires more than avoiding or confronting. At times, avoiding or confronting is what’s needed to cope and to survive. The calling remains, that we acknowledge and be with our vulnerabilities, our imperfections… in them, we become strength, courage, love, grace and gratitude.

And in the end, to fully know ourselves is impossible. We fear and doubt, and if we have courage to seek, we encounter the truth of each moment. And as we know, that which we know changes; our very knowing shifts us into constant becoming.

What I have learnt and continue to practice is, to stand in the midst of the ever-changing landscape on the firm ground of this moment, being present here and doing what is ‘right’ now. Whatever or whoever visits, I will open the door with curiosity. Whatever happens, happens.

Namaste!

~ FlorenceT

Who you truly are…

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“How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out…

The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is…

Ultimately, we’re not the avatars we create. We’re not the pictures or the film stars. We are the light that shines through.  All else is smokes and mirrors, distracting but not truly compelling…

To find real peace, we have to let the armour go…

Risk being seen in all your glory… You’ll come up with your own style, that’s part of the fun…

The decision to be made in this moment can either be based on Love or Fear.”

~ Jim Carrey, ‘The Meaning’

 

To live another day

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Light flickering…the candle burns to its demise. Like me, it has no choice. I welcome the end though, I wonder if the candle does, if it could think. Never mind, it’s done. What comes next is inevitable like the cliché, night will come after day.

But oh what a day I’ve had. I doubt anyone has had such bright sparkling days filled with all things beautiful. The days of freedom to roam the wild countryside, weaving my way through the trees as my feet felt the tremor of the earth, the tresses of my hair flying in the wind. I was not a beautiful child but attractive, so I was told. Women adored my gentle features, my gracious movements. Children, well they enjoyed my exuberant company. And men were fascinated by my witty intelligence. That was fine until I became a young lady, as my mother reminded me often. I could not recall being a young lady, more like an extroverted tomboy. Alas, who was I to disagree…

So it was that my attractive self, on its 15th birthday, lost my virginity in the cabin in the woods. Another cliché? My life seems to be filled with them. Perhaps it was the era I was born and raised… where conformity was a virtue. Oh I bet you want to know, who? A handsome devoted friend who pursued me till I relented. I was curious that’s all and it was glorious at the time. Till I knew better. He was 18 and not exactly the consummate lover. I would tell him so now, to his face if only he was here.

Lovers, yes I’ve had my share. Made my days brighter… and whyever not. I could not think of a life limited by social proprieties so I ventured forth. The criticisms never amounted to much in my mind. I would have paid the price if I had to live my life again. Yves, Paolo, Johan, Mick,… they were kind, generous in their own ways. I was never left wanting.

Regrets, I may have one though children would have impeded my style. Oh boy was I stylish. Haute couture, designer homes, fast cars… see, I told you…so many clichés. Glorious!

Hush, let me finish before the night comes. The places I’ve been, men and women of the silver screen whom I’ve met… well, I could have written a memoir. But confidentiality is my middle name. I am not one to kiss and tell, never have been. But the money I could have made… ah, well I’ve had my days in the sun, so why spoil it for others…

Silver has only just specked my hair. How can it be that I am about to close my eyes … to this world … forever. They never told me it would end like this, alone in a cabin once again, only this time clothed in shreds, my feet blistered and their skin cracked. To live another day… no. I am scared, you know… will he be back? Is it this time that he finally kills me… for good?

– FlorenceT

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Flash fiction using prompts provided by Ronovan’s Friday Fiction – and I used all 6 word prompts provided. These words are in bold in the story.

 

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

#Haiku Challenge 71 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 71 with prompt word – color, cover

girl with umbrella

Like soft rainbow hues
  Her smile transforms the grey skies
  A shelter from love.

– FlorenceT

Image © 2015 SianTD Copyright reserved.

 © 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Open wide

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“When we open ourselves wide to love, we open ourselves to every imaginable heartache as well as every conceivable joy… That has to be better than flatlining ourselves through fear… don’t you think?”

Be open to the human experience.

The Silent Eye

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To love and be loved… something that sits at the heart of every child. It is only as we grow that the accumulated disappointments, the rejections large and small, teach us to shield our hearts against being hurt again. We all get hurt as we grow… even the happiest childhood will carry the shadows of events, unnoticed and unintended perhaps, that have squeezed the little heart tightly. It may be no more than a ‘Not now’ from a busy parent engaged in something that is not safe for the child… with the best of intentions… but to the small person wanting to show that parent a caterpillar they found, it is a rejection. We all suffer them and learn, brick by brick, how to build a defensive barrier around our emotions.

We are taught that emotions have a time and place too. Some are socially acceptable. We can be calm…

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Haiku Challenge 55 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 55 with prompt words – Five, Thrive

Allegory_of_the_Five_Senses_-_Walters

Five senses compel
A life lived well, no regret
Will thrive tho’ in pain.

– FlorenceT

The painting above is by Peitro Paolini, titled “Allegory of the Five Senses’.

 © 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Haiku Challenge 54 Seek your freedom @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 54 with prompt words – Free, Think

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Think my dear, you must
The future is yours to grasp
Free your mind to dream,
Soar above the human plight
Where fear doesn’t taint, love must be.

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Haiku Challenge 53 & Waiting for Love @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 53 with prompt words – Guide, Mad

Haiku 1:

For what is anger 
  Wasted energy, a fear 
  Leading not to love.

Haiku 2:

 May the stars shine bright
  Leading your crazed heart homeward 
  Lost soul no longer.

On a similar theme, here’s a song from Swedish producer Avicii with Martin Garrix and John Legend.

Enjoy!

– FlorenceT

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

I can… it is done #BeWow

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be-wow-bloggerWell, I kept the promise to myself to meditate for 30 minutes every day for the month of May. Mid-way through this Mindful in May challenge, I decided to extend myself to meditating morning and night.

For a long time now, I have dabbled with meditation, knowing full well its positive impact on my day, to my sense of well-being.  But life is too busy to commit 30 minutes in quiet and stillness. So in effect, I opted to travel my day potentially with a frazzled mind, a listless spirit and a weary body.  30 mins or 24 hours? No brainer, right?

So beyond the wonders of mindfulness meditation, what have I learnt? That if I am given a challenge and should I accept, I stick to it. I keep promises.

accept changeThe issue is one of accepting the challenge.  Perhaps it is the same for most of us, it is rarely ‘I can’t’, in terms of ability or skills or talents; it is usually ‘I won’t’ whether we are aware of this or whether the unwillingness resides in our subconscious.  We ‘see’ obstacles as a way of resisting the change that is already happening, we refuse to accept that we are capable, powerful – that we have authority over our lives. We can if we are willing. Take heart. You are courage.

To what will you say ‘yes, I accept’?  And when?

Namaste
– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.