Without the beat of any drum

Weaving and swirling, casting a hand of stealth healing. High they fly, low they crawl. Magical. Merciful. Gracious and humane, forever genuine.

They stride and glide, tip toe in the silent sprinkle of glittering dust, sometimes soaring in whispers as delicate as a flawless feather falling from the cosmos. They go unnoticed in humbling humility and in lashings of hushed becalm, serene in acts of sincerity across the Earth.

Considerate, caring, loving; ever watchful in a compassionate intensity of spirit. Without effort or expectation, they nurture. Unperturbed, they're always on call, always listening for the silent sob hiding in a dark corner.

No judgement, no conspiracy, no mock or disdaining taunt. They feel in the intricacy of fine lace and in that, can hold a thousand breaking aches.

Yet, they hurt like anyone, cry in tears of budding yellow tulips of the collective. And then somehow, they heal themselves to carry on, heal any knife wound piercing deep into a buried abyss.

And what defines them, is their ability to do and act and mend in a nurture that weaves and binds any cracking blare and unveiled glare.

They’re not mythical beings, or celestial, atmospheric entities derived in pagan or religious law, nor do they come from any far flung realm or universe.

They walk among us wearing hearts gilded in gold, hearts that emanate as the king of the universal jungle and with the courage to match. From there, they access an unyielding inner strength to help wherever help is needed.

And they do all this without the beat of any drum, in a flutter of butterfly wings. Nothing stops them, and nothing propels them other than their purest of gold gilded heart.

Angels on Earth, are Angels in Eternity.

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‘chicks bloody well can surf’

I watched the movie, Puberty Blues, the other night. I didn’t mean to, just found it as I was scrolling through for a movie to watch. It’s an Australian, coming-of-age movie made in 1981 about teenage life in the 70s on the coast — the beach, surf, sex and drugs. Not sure much has changed! It resonates with my teenage years and is one I watched many times over. That’s saying something for someone who doesn’t like to watch a movie for a second time, let alone a third or fourth.

The movie had already begun but a beach scene hooked me immediately, no doubt because of my love of the beach and water. However, what struck me about the movie was its ending. It finished on the ideal high that many storytellers strive for, that thought provoking scene that's interpreted through book, song, movie, music or any other creative means. It’s that hook that catches you inside, pulls you to kind of do a double take.

The movie’s ending shows the two girls, Debbie and Sue, buying their own surfboard and carrying it together down to the beach where their ‘friends’ tell them that girls don’t surf. The scene is brilliantly set up to evoke the idea that the surf board is too heavy for one girl to carry, and requires two. Defiant, Debbie takes to the surf to catcalls and scoffs. The scene unfold with the two girls soon laughing as they swim out and surf the waves laying on their bellies. Their friends watch on in deriding disdain.

Until Debbie stands on the board, that is. Suddenly, Sue’s boyfriend is smiling as Debbie rides the waves as a professional, which actor Nell Schofield does so well as a former teen surfing champion. The friends with Sue’s boyfriend, both boys and girls, are gobsmacked and watch in awe. You can almost see the penny drop in the girls that the impossible of girls not being able to surf, is possible. What’s more, the boys see it too. It’s such an empowering scene, for the female and the male, set up so beautifully by director Bruce Beresford and cinematographer Don McAlpine: Debbie in her skimpy yellow bikini showing the boys how it’s done, defying the unthinkable.

It encapsulates a spirited rebellion that rises and leads to freedom, a liberation of the stereotypical of men and women in the 1970s. Baby steps, of course.

Around the time I was watching the movie, I had just spoken to my cousin in Austria. The tremble in her voice was something I didn’t usually hear in her. She was exhausted and in bed early with a headache that night. The limitations and isolation imposed because of the corona virus were getting to her, symptomatic of what’s happening all over the world.

It highlighted to me, that we’re all in this together. The whole big, wide world.

We’ve become one. While vast lands may be separated by distance and water, we are one community facing a virus which threatens us. One united community. And together, we’re doing what we can to minimise its impact on us. We’re carrying our surfboard together, no matter how rich or poor or what colour our skin or religion we may follow. We’re sharing that load. Sure there are some that don’t. There are always going to be those that don’t, those that live on the fringes of any community, for numerous reasons. That seems to be human nature.

It’s so heartening to see and experience the world uniting though, the kindness that’s been extended by so many, and the genuine care and help for one another.

It’s humbling. It’s courteous and modest, sending us back to basics. While we’ve grown into a human race that is rich in materialism, we’ve been thrown back to basics where food, medicine and water are all that matter. And it’s happening to all of us.

We’ve been forced to return to our homes and families, our friends who are our families, whether in physicality, online or over the phone. We’re thinking about elderly people and looking after them. And for those that have them, we’re spending time with our children.

Sitting outside in the glorious sunshine with two of my sons last week, we wondered how some parents and children who don’t often spend time together may be coping with this new togetherness. The eternal optimist in me believes the intrinsic fibres between parent and child have no option but to reconnect, to strengthen relationships and homes. The problem will be, in the homes and relationships that are broken. 

It fills me with such warmth when I sit in my spring blossom and peacock chair in the sunroom at dawn and feel the quiet and peace outside, with the French doors open to my Chinese Elm and birds chirping good morning. Only an occasional car drives by compared with the many that normally stream past on their way to work. Dawn in peace is a grounding gift.

My sons had commented on the lack of traffic in our street too, as they tuned into the stillness outside. This calm that shrouds us, us as in the world where we humans have been forced to stop. Our busyness has subsided and work isn’t as important as it used to be. It’s as if the world is on pause for a chance to catch its breath. It’s been so wacky busy, it needed to catch its breath. Yet as each day passes, it pants more slowly and less so.  

Many are anxious about where we now find ourselves. I like to see it as being in another stage of life that’s in a constant state of flux. Life is full of those, cycles of change, of difficultly and ease, challenge and triumph, and joy and sadness. Change is one of the few reliable constants in life. The key with any flux, flow or ebb in life, is to ride it out for it will shift. Take the action necessary to make the change, to come through it and be patient to believe that things will improve. I see many who are patient and accepting of this.

Some panic in change and adversity. But that’s the polarity of life, of the spectrum of experience and people — positive and negative, pure and filth, disgust and captivating. Even that needs acceptance, of life’s adversity and polarity that is building now as a collective adversity, a world adversity.

In any polarity, change and adversity, life continues. It’s a short life that we have and making the most of it and any situation we’re faced with is all we can do. Love. Kiss. Confront. Forgive and move on. And laugh, don’t forget to laugh, even in times like we’re in now, and especially in times like we’re in now.

Babies are born, people die. Love blooms, relationships end. Some are still at work while many have lost their means to earn an income. People are stressed, some are panicked, others are unperturbed.

And yet in all that, has come one of the greatest revelations: that of kindness and compassion extended to those in need, and to those that aren’t earning an income. Such fortitude emblazons. They won’t be beaten.

It really sends my heart gooey when I think of the compassion around us right now. Yes, there are some desperate and hoarding and only thinking of themselves. But the giving out number them and in reality, compassion can only be extended to those in such panic for they’re in fear.

Fear can be so consuming and at the moment, it’s consuming millions. Eckhart Tolle describes fear as thoughts where people project themselves into some future moment.

If we try and pause with the world, sit in this quiet time to plant our feet on the ground and not get caught in the madness, we may become less fearful. Accept that this time now, is a pause in life. Plan for the future but it’s not possible to think too far ahead as these are new times unfolding in ways we’ve not experienced before. It's new for everyone. Deal with each day as it appears. Plan for the future but live in the day that exits. More easily said than done for some, I know. Compassion and patience is called for those struggling with fear and panic.

Compassion and patience is giving, as the driver coming out of his truck to share his toilet paper with the elderly lady weeping when she couldn’t buy toilet paper, and in the tray of mince and bread left on an elderly woman’s fence and toilet paper left on a door step. It’s in the man asking people that had congregated after playing soccer at the local sports oval to move on and disperse, and those people doing so. And in the phone calls and facetimes, messages on every app possible, of people checking in on friends, family and neighbours, on those alone and isolated. It’s in the support groups and services established to help people unable to go out and buy food or medicine or simply can’t move from their home for anything at all. Organisations are making extra funding available to help people who have lost their income. Even businesses and banks are showing compassion, providing extra services without cost and deferring mortgages for those who have lost work. Business partners are supporting one another, offering jobs to those working for partners who have lost theirs.

People are helping people. If you ever thought human kindness had left the planet, look around for it’s galloping in right now. Even my niece offered to help me. I giggled at first, then that gooey heart got going again. Such care. And love.

The fragility of life has been waved before us. But flapping madly in front of that is the human spirit. It’s strong, alive and kicking, just as it was when Debbie and Sue surfed those waves at Bondi. We are a singular community bound in belonging by a virus threatening us, bound by a humanity that comes with humility. It’s a humanity emerging within humanity.

I’ll finish my rambling in the spirit of humanity loving to laugh, with Lulu taking the piss out of Corona

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Beggar-woman

b2ap3_thumbnail_beggar.jpg

Red traffic light. I stop my car at the crossing under the bright hoarding praising the government’s work. A beggar-woman standing on the divider side rushes to the car window with hope. Little child may be partially dosed with drugs rests on her shoulder. Some flies are resting on his running nose like permanent habitants. Her eyes evaluate the passengers in the rear cabin. My daughter looks at that cute, but unhealthy child on her shoulder. She fumbles for some coins in her purse, rolls down the glass and gives her some. She leaves the window to reach the other car behind. Light is still red. Suddenly a big, Government sponsored hoarding of proposed flyover looks dull to me through the front glass. Finance minister on the radio is boasting for a double digit growth rate increase next year. I see through the rear-view mirror; a beggar’s child opens his sedated eyes for a while only to close it again. Light turns green. I slowly push on the accelerator, still watching them in the mirror. She runs towards the divider side iron-railing, holding coins in her hands. Child goes to sleep again, similarly to my countrymen, who are dosed with the vices of cast-ism, religious apathy and cultural racism. And the white-capped leader is still shouting on the radio about his government’s achievements.

 (Note-photo source internet)

 

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The Human Face Of A Conflict: Selim Selim

A couple of years ago in London, I saw the play  #aiww The Arrest of Ai Weiweiby, by Howard Brenton, at the Hampstead Theatre.

The play is about the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who was arrested by the Chinese authorities at Beijing airport on April 3rd, 2011 as he was about to board a flight to Taipei. Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in detention without trial. He was accused of being a subversive, a conman and a pervert, who “could damage state security.”

Edward Hall the artistic director of Hampstead Theatre explains his choice of this special topic in the program notes: ”We had been looking for a play about China since starting in Hampstead and knew that it was a subject that Howard Brenton was keen to explore. The rise of China is clearly one of the most important developments of modern times but it has hardly been discussed.”

The arrest and the disappearance, without trial, of the artist reveals a lot about  oppression in China today, and potentially could have brought about an exciting and critical play about its development. 

Please keep reading in the Times of Israel

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-human-face-of-a-conflict-selim-selim/

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