What Lies Below

Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing for the known way is an impasse.

Heraclitus

Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, with no Afrikaans friends and only one experience of being mocked for being an ‘engelsman’, in this case by a group of Afrikaans children as I stood alone in my school uniform on Newlands station, 13 years old, I didn’t know how to deal with my experience as a simple and free-natured child. I know myself so much better as I approach my seventieth year.

Back then there was much to make me feel angry and isolated as I grew older and watched unpleasant things happen amongst the various racial groups of my homeland and as the two white and privileged nations squabbled, plotted and mocked each other. I count myself amongst the lucky ones who are seldom plagued by anger. Depression was more my bag in those youthful days. As things turned out, I chose to attend Stellenbosch University, an Afrikaans language university, because it was the nearest place to home where I could study the degree that seemed like the right fit for me. Although Cape Town University seemed like a more fashionable ‘uni’ I was not unhappy about going to Stellenbosch. It was going to be an experience and it meant that I had to leave home as daily travel was not an option. What I was always sure of, just as I had never been attracted to boarding school was that I had no intention of staying in a residence, especially because of the strict rules they placed on female students, so I found a room not far from the campus. I was already becoming more aware of my own nature which simply held no more than a few light prejudices that would take me a decade or two more to be able to identify what they were. I do remember though wondering whether it was just because I couldn’t be bothered – that old sloth rearing its ugly head – but as I have grown older I am more confident that this is just what is more natural to me. While in Stellenbosch I learnt more of how much I had in common with some English people and not others, and also of what I had in common with some Afrikaaners and not others. I was meeting and mixing with Afrikaans people of as many political persuasions as their English-speaking counterparts. I also learnt a different side of the European history of South Africa that broadened my outlook again. 

I left South Africa as a twenty-four-year-old in 1977 not for the same reason as most people around those times, ie for political reasons, but rather because of the toxic atmosphere of hatred festering and ulcerating through all of its people. I did not want to live as part of this soup of pain, anger, resentment and destruction. Once I had arrived in Europe a part of me felt released and relieved. I was living in a country that was not my responsibility. Well, naive you could say, but allowed me to observe life and grow up without anyone inhibiting, knowing or even experiencing much of my existence. I came to learn that while bigotry and passive aggression was just diluted in the UK and Europe, it was still there, and always bubbling away under the surface.

I still feel cold towards bigots, although working hard to hold onto compassion. Unfortunately I find most, not all, activists to be myopic when it comes to viewing the bigger picture, especially one in which their particular ‘beef’ would be more constructively viewed. Sadly, I find that the majority of humanity has trouble recognising the path following consequences if more than one degree away. While many prefer war to peace, this still has little to do with how self-perpetuating and destructive war is to our souls-that killing people is always going to work out badly for us whether legal or not. 

When I meet a person, no matter how intellectual or simple their souls are, that has an open, questioning and seeking mind, that is when I can let go because I am home. I let out a relaxing and deeply satisfying out-breath, and my heart sings like the bird’s.

We may be able to hide from what lies below but best to know that while not the prettiest part of who we are, it certainly is the most vital. Surely good to make friends.

Where have all the Lamplighters and Rainmakers Gone?

“Idris: Are all people like this?

The Doctor: Like what?

Idris: So much bigger on the inside.”

Neil Gaiman

Creation said:
“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.
It is the realisation that they create their own reality.”
The eagle said,
“Give it to me. I will take it to the moon.”
The Creator said, “No. One day they will go there and find it.”
The salmon said,
“I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.”
The Creator said, “No. They will go there, too.”
The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.”
The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”
Grandmother who lives in the breast of Mother Earth,
and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said
“Put it inside of them.”
And the Creator said, “It is done.”

Creation story from the Hopi Nation, Arizona

Instead we have got clowns, oafs, goons and zombies running the show and calling the shots, and that is not counting the demons and narcissists who manage to flourish in the political garden too. There is no standing back anymore to get the bigger picture, perhaps there never was and that is a big part of the problems we face today. Rather we leave it to ‘the experts’ to make the decisions needed to care for our planet and our survival who then instruct us on what we may and may not do.

I think the big lesson of the last few years is that this must change. We need to take responsibility for ourselves beyond our personal daily lives. What I believe Jesus came to show us. He needed to tear us away from our reliance on despotic leaders as representative of a God who lives above us, who may be malign or benign, and his/their laws. We need to turn inward to find the ‘father’ within us. Two thousand years later perhaps we are beginning to hear the message. Our technology may change by the day but we do not. It is reasonable to suspect that we have hardly ‘progressed’ at all through the last two millennia. All that I can see are subtle changes in our morality leading to some changes in our ethics. But how quick are these to fall away when we suspect someone else of wanting to have what we consider ours. Are we less selfish, more loving and considerate, do we refrain from behaviours that when others partake we don’t feel good about, is war still our default mode when big disagreements take place from families to nations? Do we still take the loves of others? Will we still turn away from what we don’t want to see or know?

The time is now to lift up, look under, peer around the back and over the top of, and once we have completed a close-up interrogation, to then move further and further back to gain the greatest overview—the big picture—and then turn our gaze inwards to our own souls. No stone should be left unturned. I must be crazy in my wish to turn over a rather large and dangerously positioned rock to see what else might be tucked in with it. But going by the horror, fear, indignation, and joy from some groups, that Roe v Wade has brought up, I decided it was important to see if, on further reflection, I could learn something more from this difficult and contentious moment. I have no doubt, in this era of wokism, it is somewhat of a foolish idea, but why else might I be here witnessing these decidedly weird times if not to learn as much as I can about myself and the world.

Our default position more often than not is to simply react—a behaviour we are well-known for, hence the popular ‘knee-jerk-reaction’ saying. A saying that surely only makes sense to those because they are old enough to recall the doctors giving us children a quick tap with a little rubber hammer to the area just below our kneecaps as we sit with our feet dangling. If our foot jumps forward involuntarily then all is good in the skeletal department I believe. I can’t remember exactly what it told the doctor but it was as important as tapping our chest and back to hear and feel something that experience allowed them to decipher. I suppose a little like some of us tapping a watermelon to see if ripe. But unfortunately it is that old predictable knee-jerk-reaction that seems to have permeated our lives in more ways than one. And it is exactly what has made our behaviour predictable to the powers-that-be, as edible as a piece of cake, you could say, leaving only the crumbs for us peons to quibble over.

If I were asked more than three years back whether Roe v Wade could or would be reversed I would have said—highly unlikely. But if I were to have been asked in the last couple of years, I would have answered—I ‘dunno’ because frankly nothing is sacred and everything today is on the table.

Erroneously or correctly, synchronicity guides my thinking and has for many years now. Either I have got sharper at picking them up or they really have speeded up as something of a bigger carrot to guide humanity towards the possibility of seeing more of the bigger picture. A bigger picture that I believe the Great Spirit offered to us young souls when he wrote his great logorithm, Creation, which we then set in motion when Eve drew the short straw and ate the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

My day started with having read the above mentioned news and observing the unfolding drama, and a short while later a couple of a-causal events collided revealing to me what I have come to call affirmations that I am thinking in the right direction. Of course I have no way of being sure of this except that I am happy doing it.

A short while later, I was drawn to a clip, called The Eternal Principle, on YouTube of one of my favoured guides, Joseph Campbell. In it and referencing Arthur Schopenhauer, he says, “When you get older and look back on your life, it seems to have had an order; it seems to have been composed by someone, and those events when they occurred that seemed to be accidental and occasional and just something that happens, seem to be the main elements in a consistent plot.” It is not that it is a new idea for me but rather it is the timing of it popping up. A little later, there was a further reminder when an article with the following heading came up: An Astonishing New Theory Claims that Past, Present and Future Exist Simultaneously. Well, for that to be the case, it all has to have ‘been written’ before hand, surely, otherwise how could it be running simultaneously. But perhaps that is again down to only being able to see time as a linear progression—a Catch 22 situation. My mind is a muddle! But never the less, again not altogether a new idea to me. I have been enjoying toying with time for many years now. One of my cocktail of theories is that it is the setting down (into the ether or even the background field perhaps) of our accumulative memories that give time its energy and we know that energy makes things move. It is nigh impossible for us to see time as moving forward and backward from the now.

So if nothing happens by accident, or as I am inclined to believe, ‘all is written’, then there is always a relevance to everything that happens, and we ought to pay more attention than our usual emotional response. So what might that relevance be?

It is hard not to have an off-the-cuff reaction to the big events going on around us, and I think it is fair to say that too often our reaction is followed rapidly by the apportioning of blame, and often that is an end to it. We may attack silently, sometimes verbally or worse, those we blame, or we box the experience and no real lessons are gleaned. But what if it was always beyond the control of the person or persons we hold responsible because ‘it is written’ anyway, no matter who carried it through? What if everything that happens is always a lesson waiting to be learnt—never a command—just an opportunity? I am not saying that we don’t have choices. It is just that the choices we do make determine the next stretch of the path we find ourselves walking, sometimes running, down. And that they were always anticipated. It works as clearly on a collective level as it does individually. I do not see myself as a fatalist but rather that all destinations having been written, we will always end up fulfilling our individual and collective destinies, via one route or another so to speak. This would only have consequences in the afterlife for our next sojourn into an earthly body. Karma is what I am referring to. So having decided one way regarding the initial Roe v Wade case, 1973, the possibility was pre-determined that one day we would arrive at a junction where a choice was back on the table. But why might this be?

Could it be during the times leading up to 1973 that we needed to break away from withholding a woman’s right to speak up for herself in what happens around her fertility, as in who manages her affairs especially concerning her body. Having achieved this consideration, and having determined the limit of 12 weeks in which a decision to abort could be made, did we then go too far such that little consideration is given to the consequences of the fact that copulation leads to the probability of a pregnancy. Today a woman will make love with no precautions, and all she needs to remember is to take the morning-after pill within 24 hours. There have also been some dreadful changes proposed to the abortion laws in some US states, and even some murmurings along this line in the UK. An example of one is to allow abortions until full term, including after a ‘live birth’. We have not exactly measured our behaviour very well when it comes to the gravity of the responsibility we have to respect our bodies and the sanctity of life, and perhaps a modification is required to bring the pendulum back somewhat to a more ethical stance.

The recent Roe v Wade reversal, you could therefore say, came about on the basis that the judges were ‘driven’ to revisit the decision. They decided that it is not a constitutional right, but rather a federal decision, whether to allow abortions or not. It could be a choice that initiates a new path for us all. Residing at the state level to decide what to do going forward, one could say that it is for the community to decide what reflects their views, and the rules can be reviewed at any time. I find it interesting that now there are definite new choices to be made again, and in any case whether communally or individually, both will lead to a new set of consequences. Perhaps we may find the courage to follow through on our personal ethical decisions no matter what life throws up for us.

When it first came into being (1973), if what we needed was a loosening up of old ways of thinking, of not being bound by old laws and judgements, perhaps what we need now is to look back and see if there were babies we threw out with the bathwater. (Yes, I know, but I don’t think unreasonably cruel.) I am reminded of how I have come to view Jesus’s coming to Earth. He needed us to look inwards and find where all truth was hidden, and not to believe that we establish ourselves as ‘good’ people by how well we follow God’s laws. St Paul had a lot to say on this in his various ‘letters’ to the emerging Christian communities. Personally, I see now that Jesus, deeply misunderstood by the people of his time, even his own Apostles, and probably not yet fully understood, may well have come to set something in motion for these times we live in now. I know this won’t be a popular view, but it sure helps me to understand so much more of our history, the religion that is Christianity, its doctrinal requirements, and why so many of its ‘Volk’ have dropped away. Christ Consciousness feels to me like everything we need to find and feel. What is today asked of us by having our attention once more drawn back to Roe v Wade is something of a new lesson. By seeing into Consciousness more deeply, have the opportunity to choose for ourselves that life is sacred—to know we now can choose for ourselves whether to live by this or not. Through my own life experiences, I came to a decision that I would never again abort a foetus, no matter what the circumstances—a lesson I learnt a very long time ago. For me there is no confusion, and certainly no knee-jerk reaction to this issue, because I have left no stone unturned about the subject. It has also taught me not to judge another because it is an extremely complex decision with no easy answers. But then, who said life was meant to be easy?

A little aside, and something that could illuminate further what I am trying to grapple with. It was not Frodo who did the right thing by throwing the Ring into the furnace of Mordor. His desires made him hold onto the ring, and with slipping it onto his finger, all resolve left him. This gave Gollum the chance to take it off him in a rather gruesome way. Once freed from the direct power of the Darkness, Frodo rediscovered his courage, and the will to fight to the death if necessary and was finally triumphant, perhaps with a little heavenly support, when Gollum lost his footing and the Light was able to win this epic battle. The fact remains though—it was the Darkness (as represented by Gollum) that enabled the Light to prevail. So are they really two different things? A subject for another story I think. JRR Tolkien certainly knew how to tell the stories that matter the most to living a meaningful life, and it is up to the rest of us to decipher what it is that could be most beneficial to our lives.

We must never stop seeking the lamp-lighters and rainmakers here, there and everywhere. They can light our way in times of darkness, and make sure we don’t go without what we need to sustain us. They have not forsaken us. It is just that our eyes and ears stopped seeing and hearing their messages, or perhaps we simply stopped wanting them in our lives.

Keep Moving Forward

Forgiveness is fickle when trust is a chore.

Sacred Vision, Iron & Wine is Samuel Ervin Beam

I suspect my tinfoil hat is about to grow even taller, but oh hell, I am The Cat Who Walked by Himself. I was born to be this way, and I have long surrendered to this lonely position. It turns out I would not be bribed into the cave, even for a bowl of cream and a safe warm fire to get you through the cold nights.

There are nefarious ways afoot. I have looked in many directions and it appears to me that this fire was lit by the West/US and the people, already in heightened fear, are fanning the flames for them. That is not to say that invading another independent country is ever the way forward. But there might well be a case that supports the behaviour of a leader of a major nation whose back has been pushed up against an ‘unscaleable’ wall with no-where else to go. And no-one can deny that Ukrainians, where one in three still have Russian language as their first language, are Putin’s people, and therefore the heart is involved for him, either for better or for worse. Of course, we all believe we live in the good half of the globe. But the cracks are appearing in even this view of ourselves. There is no situation that doesn’t require two to tango. I have never seen flames jump so high so quickly!

Ukraine! Only interesting to the West because it sits up against Russia’s border. Reactions have been lightening fast—you have to know surely that no-one has taken time to consider what might be the repercussions of this. We never make good decisions when we listen to our shaking knees. Regime changes, coups supported by the West/US, arming ‘freedom fighters‘ that become Al Queda, and ISIS, and perhaps now, neo-nazis in the Ukraine, invading Afghanistan and Iraq, being involved in wars all over like in Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Libya – how did that work out for us and the world?

I can’t help wondering where the bleeding hearts all around are for those of our own who have taken a bullet to protect Granny. Those who survived the injurious shot are not even permitted to speak, never mind get medical help and restitution from the companies who caused it. Everyone turned the other way from families where the shot was fatal because it is not comfortable to think about it. Where is the outcry? And why would we stand idly by and allow shots to be fired at children? I can only believe the majority truly are now in an even heightened psychological state of mass psychosis. Anybody who sat glued to the TV news over the last number of years never had a chance of emerging unscathed.

I am grateful to be the cat that stays outside of the cave – much more of a free and peaceful place from which to watch what is happening from the outside rather than the inside. There are dangers to be had from finding oneself distanced from the picture, and lack of compassion is one of them, but with experience one learns to keep an eye on them. Stepping back always helps one to see more clearly. The loneliness is tempered by being out in the sunshine by day and under the stars and moon by night. Come and join me. Or alternatively, you could pray for a knight in shining armour on a white horse with a long flowing mane. Not sure though that there is room for him to fit though the cave entrance. And really, we all know that they don’t exist. At the end of the day we only have ourselves to rely upon.

I had no idea when I read the story to my first daughter (about 35 years ago, The Cat Who Walked by Himself by Rudyard Kipling, The Just So Stories), why it hit me square in the solar plexus. I also wondered why it was never one of the stories chosen by our teacher to read to us kids—probably the one story that carried the most meaning. Although I have always remembered the story, yesterday I experienced the memory with deeper understanding. How the world helps to reveal who, why and what we are, if we pay conscious attention to living. I am never bored of life and I am grateful for every minute and all the opportunities it gives me to learn more about its reasons for why things are just so. I also know that there are two ways of travel – just as there is two of everything, whether opposites like love and fear or suffering and grace, or even what we see as one—our line of progress towards our future. We can and do go forwards and backwards—the cycles that only a blind reader of history would miss. Standing still is never an option—too much energy in our closed system this side of the veil.  That is all there is to Free Will. No body is interested in whether we choose a strawberry ice cream or a coke, only when it comes to making money from us.

In this life, I was born a simple cat of a soul and never destined for high ground. Once I embraced this fully, I also learned that no matter who we are, we are loved and already forgiven when we trust. And really, we are each one of us a butterfly whose flapping wings are felt on the other side of this world.

My blogs for a while are going to be short and quick to prepare so that I have time to be in the world of my new book—a more beautiful world where we have finally arrived at the moment in time of wanting to keep moving forward, and what this requires from us. Well, at least the children recognise this. Am I a fool to have faith?

The Signs of Our Times

The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.

Pythagoras, a Greek Philosopher who died around the 5th century BC.

I have had a wild morning of thoughts emerging out of memories during my morning shower, and all correlating with the other stories and more that I have been listening to or reading, of late. Synchronicities I like to call them. I need a recording device in my shower as thoughts crowds through my mind at a pace, making it impossible to hold onto them all. Many a time I have kicked myself as I managed to lose a few good ones! But, hey ho, if they were that good, they will find a way back to me.

There were two main streams of thought vying for my attention, both of which opened up a blog that I decided to get going on straight away. The first was a deeper understanding of my father, and the second being my increasing interest in the value of our feelings. I think I can bring them together in this piece.

My father had three heart attacks as a fifty-two year-old man. He was lucky to have the most famous cardiology hospital in the world a few miles down the road. The head of the team was Christiaan Barnard and his brother, Marius, was also a member of the team. They performed the first person-to-person heart transplant operation. It was around this time that my father ended up in the cardiac ICU at the same hospital, Groote Schuur in Cape Town.

My father was a strong man and although he smoked until the age of thirty-eight years I never knew him to be ill. It was my father who was the repository of ‘old wives’ tales’ in our family, and I find more and more of his sayings and care of our healthy coming back to me over these last few years. He was always cheerful, although I learnt later that he had experienced depression and did sometimes have dark moments. As a boy and young man he was attracted to live life at the edge which sometimes got him into minor scrapes. Leaving the UK to live in Africa was always going to suit him best. He was a kind man by nature, had big ideas for a man with limited education and from a small village in Kent. He was not gifted with business acumen, was a man of an open mind, and a person who felt things deeply. He had a natural and infectious love of life and everyone who knew him couldn’t help but prosper in it. He followed a routine of keeping himself healthy, and deep breathing is something I remember as being important to him. He was constantly physically active. His skin and overall colour was magnificent up until his death at the age of seventy-two. I used to say he was like Picasso; at the age of seventy he looked more like a fifty-year-old. So why the heart attacks was what went through my mind this morning. And immediately some thoughts came to mind. 

I am not going into all the details of his story but will stick to a few relevant facts, both because of time restraints and because the story involves more than just my father and me. He had married during the war years, and although he and his wife parted ways for most of the war, they got back together for reasons I will not go into now. It is so hard to refrain from explanations but just to say that my father left his British wife when she was pregnant and encouraged her to return to Britain. When I was in my early twenties he told me, in a comprehensive discussion around this part of his personal history, that if he saw his baby he would never be able to walk away, and he was not in love with his wife. He also told me that he could not face a marriage that was not based in mutual love for one another. Weirdly I understood what he was telling me because of the honesty with which he spoke to me, and because I have always been able to see different sides of any situation. But that is not to say that I didn’t also understand the terrible pain that his need to reach this decision would have caused to the others concerned.

The reason for supplying some background to this situation is so that I can explain how disease of the heart possibly came to figure in my father’s life when he was generally in good health. There have always been healers and mystics who point out that there is always a reason for why a body suffers disease. It could be trauma or it could be because of toxins either within the environment of our bodies or coming from our external environment, and in some cases because of earlier physical damage to the body. Some will also say, look and know your karma. Most people still believe that illness has a random quality. Sometimes the reason for disease is hard to identify but that is because of our own medical limitations or caused by doctors and their medications themselves (Iatrogenic Disease), but sometimes, or even always, they have a spiritual scientific basis. With attentive study of one’s life and its experiences we can begin to engage with this idea. I know that many will disagree with me, but I don’t think that humankind, plants, trees or other creatures would have survived millions upon millions of years of adaptation if disease was systemic to life. It really is time to take a different view of disease. But as long as we believe that current allopathic medical science is the sole repository of all answers and solutions, and that we are random and freak accidents at the mercy of an adversarial planet, it is going to be difficult to get that conversation started.

I can imagine how hard it was for a loving and caring father, who nursed us when we were ill and seldom withheld something we said we needed, to look on us, his three children born of his current wife. He would never have been able to keep his first born child out of his mind’s eye. I think that I in particular, being my mother’s eldest, would have reminded him of his true eldest child elsewhere all the time. Many years later, into my middle life, I met up with a cousin that I had spent much of my childhood with. He confirmed this for me. This is what I mean by correlating our life’s experiences to learn more about the why’s and wherefore’s. His parents had shown more interest in me than any other grownups other than my parents. For some strange (maybe not) reason he told me that around the age of six I had told him that my father didn’t love me. He had told his father (my mother’s cousin) and apparently my uncle had told my father. I don’t even remember ever feeling that way, and certainly have only the memory of my father and I being very closely bonded. After I grew up I never saw my cousin again because we lived in different countries, and the only time I saw him again was when he walked up our driveway outside Winchester, looking for us while on a visit from Holland. It has always been a random moment in my mind, and I have never seen him since. 

In the first years of our family life there was seldom enough money to put food on our table and pay rent for home, so he did not even have the option of being able to send money overseas to help with his daughter’s support. Later when there was more money to go around I don’t know what happened, but the only way I knew my father was to never turn down an opportunity to help out others whether they were family or not. Around the time that he and I had this important conversation, for some reason, I looked through his desk drawers for something, and I saw a small square sepia photograph of a little girl, about two or three, and could see it was none of us. Many years later when I came to know my older sister, I knew that it must have been a photo of her. All of this trauma would have put a great strain on his heart that was always a little broken.

Something else that would have added to the strain was his difficulty in contributing sufficient income to support his family. He had lots of ideas but most of them were ahead of his time or he didn’t have the capital to follow through on them. There had been times when he went into partnerships that didn’t work. My parents had no money to go out to the cinema or to a restaurant so a trip out for them was to go for a drive on a Sunday afternoon. On one particular Sunday, my mother, a trained nurse, with two young children, me about three years old and my brother, Greg, who would have been about six months old, did just that. Tired of the financial strain on their lives she must have been thinking about possible options. She couldn’t go back to work because they couldn’t find childcare that she was happy with, and she had a momentous thought – why don’t I open a nursery for working mothers? She asked her husband to take them for a drive to see if they could find a property. And they found one—a deserted and dilapidated large Victorian villa with a wrap around verandah on Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth. It was on a large plot and set well back from the road. There was another building in beautiful condition next door, and they called in and found out the name of the owner of the wreck next door. A beautiful Jewish man owned it, and showed them around the property that in its last incarnation had been an old age home. My mom told me that fleas bombarded them as they entered this period property, still with much beauty albeit now desperately faded. He told them they could have it for six months rent free, and amazingly gave them also a three-year option to purchase at a fixed price. And my mom and dad got to work, and within a couple of months they were ready to open their doors. They started with two or three families, and my mom even took children in to sleep overnight to give parents a break or for other emergencies. Within a couple of months they had tripled in size and soon the numbers were up to forty children. Eventually my mom and her staff were responsible for the welfare of one hundred and twenty children, and her school’s reputation shone throughout Cape Town. But my dad still felt that he was not fulfilling his role of being a provider. He tried taking on employment but he was not built to be an employee. Eventually he found someone to work with at a successful scrapyard who appreciated his unique talents. He stayed there a number of years but it was tough work and did nothing for my father’s soul. And eventually he suffered three massive cardiac thromboses. I was fourteen years old. We, his children, were all taken into the ICU so he could say good bye to us.

What I know is that my mother could never have made a success of her school without my father’s help. He made all the equipment she needed both for the playground and for all the classrooms. Besides the jungle gyms, the slides and the swings, he made a merry-go-round and found an old fishing boat which he restored. He even built up a mini zoo for the children. Each child had their own mini stretcher to sleep on for rest time. The tables and chairs he made were the perfect size. The maintenance of the old building was never ending, and he also converted the coach house at the back of the property for us to live in once the whole building was needed as a school. So you can see why, besides the fact that my mother chose not to learn to drive, that running the business was really a two-man job. The strain again on his heart was obvious as he fought with his desire to provide for his family and to do all that needed to be done back home.

As healthy as he was he was not able to prevent himself from creating disease in his body. Where fortune and mitigation came into it, being a sensible man and with the right doctor, he survived for another amazing ‘full-health’ twenty years. During this time he was able to make some amends with his lost daughter and her family, and also able to see the rest of his children grow to adulthood. 

That is where karma and healing comes into his story and mine. Many understand how karma works while the rest of society now prefers to think in terms of comeuppance and bad or good luck, and are more inclined to spend time in judgment of others. I don’t know exactly what familiar relationships existed between my father and I in earlier lives but I do know there have been more than just this one time. We got to acknowledge our special feeling for each other six weeks before he died. I have never stopped being grateful for this. But what I do know is that from very early on, I had a sense of needing to deal with the ‘sins of the father’. Without thinking on this I embarked on a life long journey with my older sister, not always comfortable and understandably so, to incorporate her into our extended family. I can honestly say that it felt the right thing to do. We were relative strangers when I met her at the age of twenty, and my understanding of the need for a healing only came many years later. Together we have been through monumental moments together, not least when my younger daughter died and our brother committed suicide. My younger sister, and her son and his girlfriend, now live close to her, and I delight in their relationship. Between us there will always be a slight frisson. Perhaps something to do with the impossibility of there being two eldest siblings in any one family. But we both hold each other in a space I call respect and love.

I have come to rely heavily on feelings for informing me as to whether I am on a path or in a moment that sits well with me. I noticed a rise in my awareness of their importance and right to stand in a place of honour in our lives a few years back. It happened one day as I was editing my first book. I wanted to find a better word to express what I was trying to say and I found myself following a similar route of interrogation. I would take myself back into time to the approximate moment, and immerse myself in the feelings of that experience, and each time the perfect word would pop into my mind. After the pattern revealed itself to me I began paying more attention to feelings. I separated them from emotion completely and saw them as even superior to emotions which were often loaded in one way or another. I began to see emotion as more closely aligned with the ego, and also being capable of manipulating situations. Feelings, on the other hand, seemed to be much more honest, and could be seen as in a partnership with intuition although not exactly the same. Lately, over the last couple of years, I have noticed people talking about memories popping up in their mind, and also many more speaking of the importance of feelings. Last night at bed time, instead of listening to another lecture from the Rudolf Steiner lectures which I have been doing for months, something popped up on what I now call my own YouTube algorithm – Feeling is the Secret, a book written in 1944 by Neville Goddard. This book explains how feelings work as a bridge between consciousness and the subconscious, and how we can work with this opportunity to improve our lives. You can see how conscience slips into the story too. I have this wonderful feeling that all we ever want to have answered, the knowledge of everything, is housed in our subconscious. And I believe that Goddard who has written many books around the subjects of God and consciousness, did not invest his faith in an external God but believed that we are all god-like creators of our own lives, and by extension, of universal reality. I was interested to see that he also studied Kabbalah under a rabbi. I am not alone in thinking each and everyone of us can have access to all knowledge. Many mystics talk about a vessel inside us all that is waiting to have its lid prised open. Not too quickly, mind, because therein lies both the light as well as the darkness. People who knew Steiner personally believed that his knowledge came from his subconscious rather than he his being a channeller or a medium. Carl Jung is believed to have ventured dangerously all the way down into his subconscious as he wrote about in his Red Book. It was known that he kept a gun in his bedside table just in case the journey became unbearable. It is also thought that Dante wrote of his adventures by accessing his own subconscious. Goddard had a great interest in William Blake as well. Yes, the list is long and interesting and all adds to whether authenticity can be relied upon or not.

So I think the best thing for us in the changing world of today is to make sure that we are putting the right information back into the ether—no more negative thinking. And that we continue to spend real time with our memories and check in regularly with our feelings, having learnt to recognise when our emotions are trying to highjack our mind. Feelings don’t come in a range of good and bad. All they tell us is when something feels uncomfortable, makes us feels sad or depressed, or if we are lucky, they tell us we are in a good flow in the river that is life, both individual and universal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Lancelot_Goddard

The Tightrope Walker

Thank you for letting me use your image, Claire Beynon

Staggering, tripping, stumbling down the tightrope,
hastening to be set free.
Yearning to be protected by the Superhero,
before the Villain’s revulsion ingests me.

Misplacing my footing on the tightrope,
hands sweltering as the rope is pulled away.
Glancing down at the fire below me,
the chuckling Villain has won today.

Little did I know, it was He setting me free.
Little did I know, the tightrope was me.” 

― Omrane Khuder

The universal coherence of fear is the true cause of most deaths in the last few years in the book of our times that I am reading. Couple that to the natural passing of those who have achieved their maximum number of years of life with those who have been truly and seriously unwell for some time, and we have the total number of deaths of what looks like a devastating disease. But I do think that for many people there is a stirring taking place; an irksome scratch in their souls that there has to be something else going on. How else does one get almost complete coherence happening across the whole globe? As the pandemic and its solution is presented to us, things no longer stack up neatly. The belligerence and foot stamping behaviour of our leaders is becoming less and less statesmen like. Why, when the target of over 70% of the first world’s population is vaccinated is this no longer good enough for them?  

In fact, the growing stacks of confusion and misbehaviour are getting so high, so prolific and so unstable that I think it is about to come crashing down around our ears in this year of 2022. Certainly predicted in the stars as any good astrologer will tell you. 

This could be a dangerous time on so many levels for us all. From feeling that one has been deceived in the most treacherous of ways, to a rising sense of hopelessness, while for a few others, a cathartic relief that the truth is at last coming out, we will be entering new territory. 

Whether we are consumed by chaos (of the unknown) or rise above it may be dependent on the work that has already begun; to shore up communities, to creating new bonds and solutions, to leading the way out of a technocratic hell that we have been busy making for ourselves for over a hundred years, and towards a new way of being—the collaborative human who values through honour, nature and our planet; who knows that every man, woman and child is sacred just as our environment is too. A people who no longer support borders and papers, and no longer give themselves as fuel to those who try to maintain those borders and papers. A people who no longer believe that achievements and possessions define their status and worth. A true one for all and all for one, not this hollow version that only leads us into slavery. 

It has been a slow drip from our ‘democratic’ leaders and their governments, that they only have our backs in mind in all they do for us, that only they can make life worthwhile for us, and that those who trust in them, and follow their leadership, are the good citizens who care about what happens to others. I can now see that this is becoming for some not as comfortable space as they thought it would be, as they watch family and friends being demonised. They can also feel that governments are coming for the last few of our freedoms; the ones we have managed to hold onto because they represent what makes us human—freedom of speech, freedom to move around, and the biggee, to have bodily autonomy. They never thought for one moment that this could ever happen; that our basic freedoms at least were safely sacrosanct. Once these are gone, that is it. We will not have the means to get them back, and more and more we will become as lifeless as automatons. 

I remember wondering many years back, hearing about how fish in the sea have been found to have micro beads of plastic in their living cells, and how plastic was breaking down into these indestructible micro beads that are littering our seas, rivers and soil. Probably only a matter of time before we are breathing them in too. I wondered whether one day we would wake up and find we are more plastic than not. I now see where that vision links with our future. Once people accept being chipped (the QR codes and ‘vaccine passports’ being the first step), and maybe for now these chips will be limited to just being repositories of easily-accessible medical information. But does anything stay the same and does not everything fall into the wrong hands eventually? They will be uploaded to and downloaded from within an alarmingly short period of time. These are already designed and available and just waiting for the right moment.

Because what is happening is global, and because I see the foot-stamping from ‘frustrated’ politicians (who are not seen to be hitting their target number of vaccinees?) about the small and, most would agree, rather insignificant number of people who don’t want to be vaccinated, I know it has been possible for anyone, if willing, to see that the digitalisation of mankind is what this so-called health scare has always been about. 

Because of who I am, I also view things I see both in my right hand and in my left hand—the Materialist world and the Spiritual world. There is a synchronicity apparent for anyone who wants to see the big picture. This is creating its own new issues for those who find that they are nursing a terrible itch in their souls. It is what nurtures that baby that is anger. This anger manifests on every level of understanding that is available to humans including to those who feel trapped by what is playing out. They may feel trapped because their pride won’t let them step away. They may feel trapped because to believe what I say is just too awful to contemplate. They may feel trapped because to jump across to the minority is frightening. They may feel trapped because perhaps there is more to life than just matter. How do we change the habits of a lifetime. There is only one way to move through and out of anger—to find what makes us feel joyfully alive within. To find our authentic voice—the one that when we hear others speak, or when we hear ourselves being our true selves can’t help but find a deeply beautiful smile expanding across our faces. Entering the unknown, one sure foot at a time on the tightrope across the abyss, is not as scary as we may perceive it to be. In the end, it has little to do with ‘getting back to normal’. I have found it interesting and encouraging to observe how little that world appeals to more and more people these days.

Another year may have passed, and I don’t know about you but so many more lessons have been learnt. Almost everyone I know has been changed, for the good mostly, in one way or another. We must surely be in an accelerating time of change.

On a personal level, I am happy and keep busy. I find a lot in life to chuckle and laugh about, and this amused me today. A few weeks ago I had a cataract operation. The next morning, as I looked out my window and across the shire, I immediately noticed that every colour had a lot more shades to it. I had chosen a good quality distance lens for my left and dominant eye and therefore my favourite. I had not appreciated though that while it was letting me down on distance viewing, it was actually my dominant eye for close up work like reading and painting. It is now useless and blurry for close up, and I have needed to use my right eye only for reading purposes. The irony of having to consciously use my left or my right eye for optimising my viewing pleasure is not lost on me. The way we see the world and its doings is just from one viewpoint or another. Soon, though, I will have a new pair of glasses that will tame my left eye for close up work, and get them back to working harmoniously together.

Here is to all the changes that 2022 is determined to bring, and I am reminded of my early years spent with the iChing texts, the Book of Changes. We need to recognise, and pay a lot more attention to, and how to understand the meanings revealed by the ever-changing world that we live in. What better way is there to live out our lives than by promoting the coherence of our hearts and our heads, to give us the best chance at reading the meaning to us and our planet of these changes? What role do we play in our own destiny?

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389421028302

The Acorn Stays Close to Mother

If you are the dealer I’m out of the game. If you are the healer it means I am broken and lame. If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame. You want it darker, we kill the flame. Hineni Hineni (I am with you, my Lord.)
Leonard Cohen, from the album, You Want it Darker.

It has been a long while since my last blog. I started writing at 5.30am in my bed with one canine friend on either side of me. I can just see the pink fingers of dawn reach out through the sky to herald a new day, and I am so grateful to be alive. Small flocks of tiny aerial ‘gleefuls’, also happy for a new day, are darting hither and thither, constantly checking in with one another as they decide on a plan for the day. The sheep in the field on two sides of us have been brought closer to the farmer’s home for the winter, while on the other side there is a flock of seventeen black and dainty sheep that greet us as we come and go from home.

I have in fact written but not completed six blogs since my last one in June, the most recent only a few days ago. But every time I return to them I am conscious of there being something of the past about them. It is not that they have become irrelevant but rather that they no longer feel urgent. In the last couple of days something has felt more pressing, and when it comes to feelings I listen closely. I recognise that I have been on a low simmer for most of my life, but still always slowly turning things over in my mind; observations of my fellow humans, disappointments, regrets, aha moments, and times of drought, but always going deeper into things that confound me and making exciting self-discoveries. But the last five years, and particularly the last three years, has seen the flame of life deep in my soul, my beating heart, being fuelled higher and higher as I yearn to discover more. My husband, Peter, and I have been learning and exploring new and old ideas, discussing what is meaningful to us, and both of us have an awareness of how we have, and are still being, changed from within. It feels like the right time to express my truth, and more importantly, succinctly. Pete has often said that if you cannot write down your idea on a cigarette box it is not likely to be understood, helpful or lead to change.

I truly believe that we are living through times unlike any other that our civilisation has ever experienced before. My reason for saying this is that there has never been one matter that has taken over globally as if every country is speaking from the same hymn book. Another way of putting this – we are living through dystopian and existential times. For my part, this is the end of something and there will eventually be a new birth. The death may go on for days, years, decades or centuries, but eventually there will be a rebirth of something completely new and probably unimaginable. 

What we are experiencing now is in some ways nothing new. We, the masses, have been forever kept in the dark on pretty much everything that would help us question events historical and present, science, attitudes and laws, and now, with the huge surge in censorship and the ever-present fact-checkers, more so even than in the past. We are not to know anything that could jeopardise our trust in those who have successfully kept themselves in power, socially, politically, spiritually and financially. I know I am skirting quickly over this subject but I am assuming that you know as much as I do about the deceptions that have always been perpetrated upon the masses to make sure we stay in our realm and leave the realm of power to others. But not anymore is this even kept particularly hidden from us. Now it seems as though they are so brazenly confident that they are content to be seen for who they are, and they show us just how far they are prepared to go to disregard our human rights. They are not even concerned with being called out for breaking any and whichever laws they like. Constitution/First Amendment, what constitution/first amendment! I have to assume that they believe they have actually and finally won the war.  Let’s hope this will lead to their downfall.

I also believe that most of the world’s population, excluding those living as the last few indigenous tribes, have been wittingly or unwittingly exchanging their souls for science. Rudolf Steiner says ‘the materialist epoch began in the 1400’s’. We are seeing the results of this gradual movement onwards into the materialist future that has sped up at an exponential rate over the last hundred years. It was roughly a century ago when Nietzsche did his best to warn us against ‘killing God’ which is obvious if you are familiar with The Parable of the Mad Man. I think he knew that we would, and that he would be blamed for it. So, to summarise, I believe that we are living in a time where some of us are battling to understand those who are living in a hypnotised state, hypnotised by those who no longer have a soul, and have finally mastered how to control us through fear, deception and propaganda. As just as we battle to understand them so they struggle to understand us and our curious spiritual ways.

We are now living in a time when technologically it has become possible to envisage a way to seize a total and controlling grip on humanity, especially as we seem no longer to have any allegiance to a Higher Being, and what little of religiosity is left has its adherents dulled by its ‘irrelevant’ message or so high on evangelism that they have become separated from God’s main emissary, Nature. It should not be a surprise to us that world dominance is the natural next step of a desire to be lord, king or emperor that has always existed since the beginning of modern times. It should also be clear by now that people of faith are understood to be the main threat to world domination. Their allegiance is with a higher power. People who believe that Mankind is One and of The Oneness, whose goal is to live with and by Nature, that science is an ongoing and philosophical process, and that there can be no question that we exist here by virtue of a Great Designer. Reality is becoming more and more whimsical, mysterious and elusive as we gain deeper knowledge in the field of quantum physics. We may not know the why’s and wherefore’s  of the full picture but we feel, and are constantly reminded, that there is life beyond death, that karma exists and extends across multiple lifetimes, and that there is no escaping the consequences of all the big decisions we make in this one lifetime full of sweet sorrow. The meaning of life begins to feel tangible.

That said, and while we seekers chase truth, we learn not to fall prey to the fear that one can almost smell from those who surely must have fallen into a mass psychosis. If this is not so, then how else can one explain the massive chasm that has opened up between those who stand fully with their governments’ narrative and those who see a completely different picture. They see us as ‘others’ and as being responsible for withholding ‘a return to normal’. But it is a time for us of the alternative variety to acknowledge that no-one or any alliance of ‘good guys’ is going to save us. Each and every one of us needs to learn of our complicity in all that has gone wrong, and how the answers we need lie within us and not without. It will only be by each of us finding out how we can help move things in the right direction and peacefully. It helps to see ourselves as ‘one with all’, and with heaven and earth, and every other being as a brother or sister. It helps to start up conversations/prayers with the universe, to know that we can communicate with all creatures large and small, to constantly seek out the beauty in Nature, and once we do, we discover that doing the inner work alleviates fear and elevates joyfulness and gratitude.

This is probably when I go a little strange, but there again, maybe not. I don’t think that we are alone here on Earth in our battle between good and evil, although I can quite understand why people feel deserted for so many reasons. There is a battle going on in the spiritual plane too, and perhaps ours pales into insignificance against theirs. It is probably more accurate to say that both the earthly and the spiritual battle are equally important, vital perhaps even. And perhaps we could say that ours is the harder one because it is us who battle blindly and alone because we only have a belief structure to guide and comfort us. Those battling on the other side of the veil have the benefit of total self-knowledge through enlightened consciousness and a unity of purpose, and clearly know their enemies. Through my hours spent with the writings of Rudolf Steiner, and now the audios of his lectures and books on YouTube, I have began to see things differently. It no longer feels delusional to imagine the spiritual realms and my inner life feels richer, more imaginative and definitely more hopeful. It does feel like the eternal battle between good and evil has got a whole lot hotter more recently, and existentially more urgent. Perhaps we are considered to be ready to take it on, or perhaps God is losing his patience with us. Perhaps this is the Apocalypse. I see a mega-battle happening in the heavens, tridents flying, and they urgently need us to produce a raised energy/vibration, through insight, discernment and deep courage, to help them push on through ultimately for us, and the more we send, the more of an energetic return for us. An interesting synchronicity, and you know how much I like them, is that the war that is being fought in both planes involves an invisible cloak. As we may have no proof of their existence so is the war down here happening behind the curtains – no bombs or missiles, just threats to our very existence, of being allowed to live freely a wholesome and meaningful life on a healthy planet. As always in life, everything ends up being a two-way stream. Perhaps it is, as many say, all about us; that we are the most precious of all God’s creations. And in success we become truly One, living a thousand years of peace in our beautiful garden – awesome Earth. Our dual nature of light and dark, our inner yin and yang, now no longer a burden as belief turns to knowing, and a knowing that all is love, and is all love. The more my soul draws in on this way of looking at things, the less interested I am in the drama of the battle, and the more at peace I feel. But we must not forget that we cannot sit back and wait to be ‘saved’. Here I think it has something to do with not being afraid to stand firmly but always kindly, inclusively not exclusively, without being opinionated or judgmental of others, in our truth, and never wavering from it no matter who we are talking to or what we may prefer to avoid. That is definitely always going to be the big challenge for us all as our enemy starts to squeeze us ever harder.

My words may well not fit onto a cigarette box, sorry Peter. I tried but who could write the problems of the world on such a tiny box? The only photo that I wanted to join up with my words is a photo of an albino oak sapling. The exception that bravely probes the rule. Because it has no chlorophyll in its leaves, it is unable to extract and provide itself with the vital sugars it needs to grow and thrive. The only reason it survives is through the support of the tree community around it, and especially its mother tree. She and they ensure it receives all it needs to continue to grow. Through all of our obsession with Darwinism ‘proving’ that we live in a competitive world of the survival of the fittest, and at the mercy of attempting to keep death at bay, Nature shows us that we thrive much better when we collaborate.

Pandora’s Box

No longer do I care to fret about current affairs. Reality has shifted into an alternative universe, one that I do not find particularly attractive these days. Instead I am going to give my attention to my memories, why they are surfacing and connecting in the way that they are, and how they connect to me now and in the place I find myself, back in the UK.

I am slowly uncovering the barriers and unguarded weaknesses that have kept me from making the inner progress I seek to bring increased meaning and substantiation to my presence in the here and now. I am sure that greater meaning to all things little and large lies just beyond a fine veil hiding in amongst the duties of daily living. All we need is the will and the right tools to help us find that illusive door that opens to an inward journey and to a temple that is better lit than the most beautiful cathedral man has ever built. But first we do need to equip ourselves to see into the darkness. There we may find the font of all knowledge that is housed in a vessel in our hearts, patiently waiting for us to prise open the lid. You will also find a trunk, perhaps in the crypt, full of little boxes, some beautifully wrapped while others contain pixies, goblins or even little monsters that we have packed away, often times because they are too scary or too painful to pry into – something of a Pandora’s Box, you could say. 

For this purpose I am choosing to look back in an investigative manner on memories that seem to have a mind of their own as to when they leap into and out of my mind. Now feels like as good a time as any to deconstruct them and hopefully find out whether they can reveal more than just remembered crumbs of time that can lead me home. Ah yes, another Fairy Tale comes to mind, one that rocked my world as a child, Hansel and Gretel. Perhaps when we don’t pay attention to the past the birds appear and eat all the crumbs, making it so much harder to forge a good path between birth and death.

In one of the few moments when my mother bared her soul to me, and during a dark time in her relationship with Greg, my brother, a time when he was using heroin to self-medicate, she told me that from the moment he was put in her arms her heart was his. When these moments happen in life they cannot simply be cognitive decisions or wholly emotional ones emanating from our ego alone. I believe they come from somewhere much deeper, knowledge that is lodged or even logged in our souls.  I suspect there was something of a golden light that emanated from him, and certainly the response from his aunts and others to the boy that was Greg supports this hypothesis. When Elle’s older sister Kate arrived, Peter and I both registered Kate’s intelligent and challenging brown eyes. She made not a sound but stared from Peter’s to my face and back again for the longest of times. Life continued the same way for her as she enthusiastically explored every person that was willing to spend some time with a toddler, and she rushed forward into language to make sure it could happen. I don’t remember anything other than clearly enunciated language flowing out of her and from a very young age. Elle seemed to come into the world with a different focus, very much testing her boundaries, physical, emotional and mental, and as she grew into herself it emerged that she instilled in friends, and anyone she interacted with, the ability to feel better about themselves. She also seemed to be very sensitive to all the energies that surround us, both physically and socially. When we are united with our children, and from that moment on, the next phase in the story of our soul’s life begins to unfold as our hearts are permanently linked to those of our children.

My mom, Peggy, was the elder of two sisters by eight years. I didn’t know her parents except that their names were Lyla (or Lylia) and Wesley Benn. Even in old age my mom never spoke of them without a few tears welling up. I am different to my mom in that way. Once I reached the age of thirty I rarely cried, and when a tear did make itself felt I was almost always alone with my thoughts or losses. Because we lived mostly in countries away from my parental home my mother would visit us over the last independent years of her life. As we moved towards the airport gates, heading home, she would be crying and I would be dry-eyed until that moment she turned to walk through the gate, and then my eyes would well up. It made me even sadder because she never knew this happened, and must have wondered if I cared. But I didn’t linger on this too much and gave a lot of thought as to why my mother cried so much and so easily. 

Becoming a mother usually helps one to understand all mothers better and especially one’s own. My mother told me often how beautiful, kind and loving her parents were, and always through her tears. She told me how much everyone loved them, and yes, other family members have confirmed this. And after hearing this many times I started to look deeper at what she was telling me. She told me that she would not leave her parents’ bedroom and move into her own until a baby sister joined the family unit. She said that her mother regularly redecorated her bedroom to try to entice her into accepting it as her space, but within days she had moved back in with her folks. It’s no wonder it took her parents eight years to make another baby! They must have been especially kind and/or indulgent of little Peggy to have put up with this for so long, and I am sure my mother’s reticence to sleep alone was not because she felt physically unsafe when alone. As she grew older her stories all indicated that she had wanted for nothing, and was perhaps even a little spoilt, although the family was not rich. Her father was a teacher who had become a school inspector for quite a large district, and as she got older she loved to ride out to nearby towns in the sidecar of his Harley Davidson. My mother truly had an idyllic childhood and upbringing in the beautiful lagoon-side town, Knysna, in the Western Cape of South Africa. She had a cousin as her best friend from babyhood, and lots more cousins, first, second, and no doubt, third too. Knysna abounded with family all with the surname Benn.

My mother and father moved to Cape Town not long after they got married, for reasons I know more of now but not pertinent to this blog. When I was about six months old, and my grandmother being a widow struggling to get over the death of her beloved husband, my parents invited her to move in with them. At this time my grandmother would have been around fifty-five years old. She told her daughter that while she loved her very much she did not want to live without ‘Daddy’ (what she called her husband to her children). She died a year later and the doctor told my mother she died of a broken heart. Having been through the loss of a child, I can imagine very clearly how this felt to my mother – she wasn’t loved enough for her mother to want to continue to be present in her life. Having spent time thinking about my mother, her tears, her vulnerability and her wariness of loving too much (she found it hard to hug and cuddle us, except perhaps for my brother who remembered his early childhood differently), my love for her grew immensely. I understood that she never felt worthy in the presence of the great love between her parents, and felt always that she lived on the outside of their circle of two; in some ways she felt that her love for them was unrequited. I don’t presume that they didn’t love her and her sister with all their hearts, but perhaps they didn’t realise that sometimes they needed to turn away from one another, face their children straight on, and show them how loved they were.

Even before Elle died I had taken note and processed this knowledge into my life experience, and I truly believe it helped me through my grief as I understood so well just how much Kate, our elder daughter, needed Peter, my husband, and me to recover, even if she could not see how she would ever come to terms with her grief. But even more importantly, I understand today that life is always waiting for us to engage with the knowledge that is available in the ether or, better described, the collective consciousness (all that there is to know), to help us avoid taking wrong turnings, or weak branches of our Tree of Life. I believe today that nothing bad that happens to us is ever a punishment. Life is about consequences. We may be born with a blue print, which looks something like that tree, of all the possible ways in which our life will run eventually to its end, but how we get there is the Free Will part that leads to the consequences of any and all choices we make. Good deaths tend to go hand in hand with experiencing the happier consequences that come to us, and, well, the opposite is probably true too, and here I am talking about a full life lived. Shortened lives can have very different values and interpretations. Another blog, maybe.

An aside. Pandora’s Box has fascinated me since a child. In my innocence I thought it was just another good story, but as I got older I gradually became aware that there is a lot more to stories than just simple imaginative story telling. As I have grown older still, I find that there are endless nuggets of lessons, warnings, truth and revelations hidden throughout all the Fairy Tales, Fables and Myths from tribes and cultures all over the world. The Greek Myths and the Hebrew Old Testament more or less came into being around the same time, approximately eight centuries BC. But when you read the Bible’s version of Creation, the Garden of Eden, and the results of Eve eating from the forbidden tree, The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then read Pandora’s Box, they are pretty much identical stories. Creation myths around the world all have much in common. It leads one to think that they must have come into being through collective consciousness as they all developed around a similar time and in remote parts of the world, and if it was collective consciousness then most likely we live in a holographic universe. If a holographic universe then there must be infinite more. I don’t see how anyone cannot believe that there is so much more to life than meets the eye or, in other words, that all we are is co-incidental matter.

The name Pan is a boy’s name, of Greek and Hindi tradition, meaning ‘all’ or ‘to shepherd’. Dora is a girl’s name, being the shortened version of the Greek name, Dorothea or Theodora, meaning ‘Gift or in its full form, ‘God’s Gift’. You could say that we were gifted with a shepherd and a shepherdess who would guide us through our dual world to know all that concerns the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ – all that is dark and the light to show us the way home.

A Plea for Humanity

This is not my usual blog. This is an attempt to speak to people all over the world. Please watch this interview with the man who is probably the top vaccinologist on the planet. Someone who couldn’t believe more strongly in the career of developing vaccines he chose for himself. He is someone from deep within the medical system who knows that his career is now probably over.

This is the link to the paper he wrote as a plea for humanity:

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6776936514971553792/

From a Jackdaw to a Prince

“I’m a believer in meditation that isn’t thought of as traditional meditation. It can be in the form of music or painting or walking or anything else that carries you into the flow state. Getting lost isn’t actually getting lost. That’s the paradox: getting lost is going inward. Getting lost is finding ourselves in a deeper capacity. Getting lost is sometimes essential to growth and ultimately a greater understanding.”

Victoria Erickson, writer

The last two months in yet another temporary home, a state we have been in for four and a half years, have highlighted the pleasure I feel wherever I find myself homed. I would describe the process as joining forces with birds. And having ‘joined forces’ or connected, it feels like time and I have merged too – I do not feel a sense of ‘separation’ from nature or reality. The endgame is that reality feels much dynamic and fluid, an open system. Bird watching is new to me and I don’t have my binoculars yet, so I struggle to identify the birds that visit our small courtyard vicinity. There is a black pair of birds that I talk to regularly who live in one of the many chimney pots that stand out on our manmade horizon line, and at first I thought they were crows. Then I realised they were too small. Were they blackbirds? No, too big. Finally I reached for my new Urban Birder book, and I am quite sure they are jackdaws

There was something comforting and timely about this discovery because of all the memories of my dad that have been floating in and around my mind for some months now. I wish I had thought to ask him more of his childhood – but he told me just enough to know something of the boy that was he. He would probably have been twelve are thereabouts, living near Barham, Kent, of an average family edging towards the middle classes as his father tried desperately hard to keep a business afloat. The year would therefore have been 1926. His three floors plus a cellar brick-built home would certainly not have had electricity. It was in 1926 that Stanley (my dad’s name) Baldwin, the then Prime Minister, promised the country that there would be a cheap supply of energy to every home in the country very soon. Only 6% of homes were joined up to any kind of a grid in those days and you can imagine who owned those homes. His mother gave birth to six children, one died as an infant, and she raised five as best she could until she died around 1925/26. Life was simpler but harder. I cannot help but wonder how much more canny you needed to be to survive in those days. Us softies, used to everything arriving on a plate or in a box, who are sure we must have got smarter because time has ‘progressed’ us, wouldn’t last a day in their world. Anyway, back to my dad. He was his mother’s favourite, and would eventually grow into something of the black sheep of the family. I imagine he saw things differently to her other children and I suspect he also had a natural charm. The ladies later certainly thought so. A little village in the English countryside wasn’t enough to fill all that he imagined, and that is how he eventually left for a new life in Africa, encouraged by his brothers who feared that if he stayed he was sure to end up in trouble of some sort of another.

Many years ago he told me the story of how one day he had to have a jackdaw egg for his collection. He knew there was a nest near the top of a tree on the neighbouring estate. It happened to be the estate of Lord Kitchener of WW1 and with ties to Africa. The young Stan climbed to the top of the tree, reached into the nest, and carefully climbed down so as not to break it, only to find the gamekeeper waiting for him at ground level. It was considered poaching in those days to take a rabbit or an apple from the land of another, and taken a lot more seriously if it was from the landed gentry. I believe that there was also a spanking waiting for him before marching him back to complain to his dad. I have a feeling his father was a bit of softie, knowing my dad, so probably one was enough for the occasion. The eggs of the jackdaw are white to pale blue with grey and brown specks. They sound beautiful. I have always had a soft spot for the colour known as duck egg blue. The jackdaws’ are more sky blue.

That got me thinking – the third fairy tale. And yes, it may be stretching things a bit far, but for my dad to stay in a small village with a limited horizon was probably no better than being stuck in a tower with only his imagination to keep him company. So one day, when his princess, Africa, came riding by it was time for Rapunzel to let down his ladder, board a ship, and sail out to the expansive plains of Africa. Yes, I know, the story was turned on its head somewhat. And I also can’t help but see the relevance in a comparison with life today in lockdown Britain. Who will be our prince or princess? I have a feeling that the answer is that it will be us, the people, who will one day become the princes and princesses needed to free ourselves from this tyranny working hard to get itself together and operational. It wasn’t long before Stanley had a safari outfit, a bush hat, a lorry and a dog, and he would drive many hundreds of mile through the bush and through rivers, sleeping out in a tent with the wild animals, all the way from Rhodesia to the coast of Mozambique. His job was to collect and return migrant workers to the tobacco farms. My father did not know the meaning of the words, to discriminate, whether between nations, religion, gender, colour or tribe; one of the attributes he passed on to his offspring, and for this I regularly give thanks. He loved his life in the bush and on the road, and the people he spent most of his time with, a love he never lost, and once the interruption of WW2 was over, and he was able to return to his beloved Africa. He was more than ready to fall back into the arms of she who is the heartbeat of the world, one that cradles us all through the dark nights whether we know it of not – the enigmatic, athletic, extraordinary, sensuous Africa.

Merkaba and Roses

They sail on the wind

Time slipped us a reminder

Dragon ships fly by

I have been holding onto a special bird story for a while now because I knew I wanted to tell it well. It’s good I waited because now the story has grown a few extra wings so to speak, and that makes it even more joyous to share with you. About four years ago I started to feel a more meaningful relationship with nature growing within my heart. Why it took so long I don’t know. I have always looked with longing on nature, and I certainly knew that she could speak back following a couple of ‘unitary experiences’ in my twenty-first year. But Father Time likes to have his own way with us.

I am not going into all of the bird experiences I have had since then except to say that birds began to communicate with me early in 2020 when I witnessed an extraordinary pigeon jamboree, a gathering of hundreds of them, on trees and telephone wires in a field near where we lived outside of San Joan de Labritja, Ibiza. There are many of us who know that we have witnessed events over the last year seeing hundreds of posts social media of animals and nature behaving in unusual ways, and something would have appeared to have changed irreversibly, and in my view it is not just us humans receiving this unique viral update to our consciousness. About four months ago it dawned on me not so slowly that we could have a two-way conversation with nature, and I mean more than imagined, and that key turned out to be birds. Aha, I thought, this is how Francis of Assisi might have got started.

Around six weeks ago, in our temporary accommodation, not far from Cheltenham, UK, with a limited view of the sky I saw something that nearly caused me to fly up into the sky to join them. We all know that birds are capable of athletic manoeuvres but these have always been associated with either the need to eat or the desire to procreate. I was watching a group of some white and some the usual grey pigeons, considered the least cerebrally endowed of the wild birds, and they were having such fun flying in circles close to home I imagine. I knew it had to be a batch of homing pigeons circling above our small back courtyard, and yes, I was paying the right attention when I saw something that initially I thought, oh no, that can’t be so. One grey pigeon stood out from the others. He dropped some ways through the air and the reason was because he was doing somersaults! And to make sure I noticed he broke away from the flock and did it two more times. I told Peter what I had seen and saw a glimmer of a smile break across his face. 

Two days later, the same grey pigeon, it had to be, came out on his own, and with Peter standing next to me, he repeatedly gave us a display of aerobatics including somersaults, and now at least I had a witness. I have called him Stanley Livingstone Pigeon. It was only a few months earlier that Heather, my sister, had inspired me to read the updated version of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. My dad was called Stanley, and there was a natural flow to my pigeon’s name that I couldn’t resist. On the third occasion, four whites and Stanley were circling right above me, and two of the four white pigeons were also doing somersaults. I know it is stretching things, and you may call me batty, yes, I am still friends with them, but I had wondered whether any of the others were impressed with his antics. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull was sadly exiled from his family for his extravagant behaviour and refusal to be like other seagulls, not concentrating on food to keep himself alive but rather choosing to follow his bliss. Being right above me, it was like white roses tumbling from the sky as their feathers transformed into petals. What nudged me into writing today was that yesterday, and again with Peter, the batch was back in the sky, and they all seemed to be engaged in what I can only describe as an aerial display of aerobatics, including multiple somersaults. This time, and again right above me, there was something of a spinning top about them, and I told Peter that it was like a merkaba – a word I had only heard used by Matias de Stefano in his series on Gaia when describing a multisided geometric structure, and another time by my weather man describing spinning shapes, UFOs, that many people were reporting in the night sky near them wherever they were living in the world.

In my usual fashion, when I come across a word that I am not sure of, I looked it up on Wikipedia—not a respected site these days, but usually okay on subjects that are not likely to be politicised. I am often surprised by these moments. For starters, it was the second time on the same morning for a very tender and personal reason, that I saw the words, Throne of God. That alone would be enough of an affirmation for me. Then there was the explanation around Merkabah, as it is written in its Hebrew form. And a synchronicity occurred when I read the description of the Chariot that supported God’s lapis lazuli throne. When I was a young woman it was my favourite stone. The accompanying image, a nineteenth century fresco named Ezekial’s Wheel in St John the Baptist Church in Macedonia had many wings attached to spinning wheels connected to four other spinning wheels. They are golden in colour, and right there is the connection to Rumpelstiltskin, mentioned in my last blog, the spinning of straw by a princess, something of nature turned into gold until the answer of a riddle came to her, allowing her to be able to keep her family together. I wrote that the connection as to why it was an important fairy tale to me was bound to come up in its own time. Little did I know it would be so soon! Affirmations have abounded in my life and even more so since my daughter died. I think of them as little miracles, not nearly as scary as a big one would be. My faith can never be rocked but is forever evolving. I am happy for it not to become a fixed view or doctrine on what exists when our consciousness leaves our body. And this is constantly affirmed for me—I know this because I live ever more peacefully and lovingly. And I feel safe in my place in the world because Peter is my rock, and he will always make sure that my feet are firmly anchored in the ground.

A postscript: I have been informed that there are Tumbler pigeons. What strangeness. This morning the batch gave me a front row seat to their display. Every now and then Stanley would break away from the others, and the complete performance ended with a solo performance as he tumbled more times than I could count, and almost above my head. Peter and I watched as they swooped and glided, rising high in the sky and diving into tumbles. Their glides, especially when performed by the white pigeons touches on the sublime. Most birds glide with wings in the horizontal position, or folded back when looking for greater speed, but their wings in this case are raised high, forming a V, for as long as they can hold themselves in a forward propulsion. It makes me hold my breath in excitement. I have absolutely no doubt that these birds of paradise are experiencing the bliss that only comes when we reach for those greater heights of life experience.