Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Community Rising - Step one

Community Rising - Step one
                                                        
  
  It’s been a while since my last blog and for those of you who have enjoyed my thoughts over the last few years, I apologise. I am hoping to now make amends and start blogging more regularly. The issue was that I have been formulating a plan and it has taken rather a while to come to fruition. Even now it is only in an embryonic state.
As I have been quiet for so long I feel my thoughts will come rather like a dam breaking, so I will split them into a few separate blogs and hope then to pull them altogether when the timing is right. I would like to start by filling you in with the whole story to giving you an understanding of where this all came from. 
I have been in Frome for five years and have enjoyed every minute, its vibrancy and sense of community is powerful and invigorating. I arrived in 2013 around the time that Russell Brand was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and I was hugely inspired by his words. He spoke of building a new political way of working and this excited me as I have dreamed of this since I was 15. I never believed it possible but hearing his words and his confidence in the idea that he had no idea how it would happen or what the new landscape would look like, I knew he was on to something. He was working with evolution and not revolution - which always end in tears. This beautifully mirrored what was happening in Frome. Here, a group of individuals, who wished to drop party politics, came together and reformed the archaic system we have in our towns and replaced it with something progressive and effective. This was given a vote of confidence by the people of Frome as in the first elections, 11 out of 17 new independents gained seats and in the second they were voted in across all the wards.
I began to get the feeling that anything was possible. Inspired and energised I put out a call to gather together all like minded people to see what we could do. I wanted to create a Unity Party, a political movement for change. However, I was too premature in every way and particularly in myself. I had much to learn. So I immersed myself in Frome life, the community and the various groups that were working within it and gained a degree of understanding and had a great deal of fun at the same time.
I also had a lot of ‘life’ to contend with, losing my father and my partner losing both parents, was only a part of the list of what’s being going on. I learned to understand that everything has its time and that nothing can be rushed.
By the beginning of 2018 I had connected with TreeSisters, (about ten years later than everyone else I know!) and that hit me like a brick. ‘TreeSisters is a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care.’ I find their work incredibly inspiring and the wealth of knowledge I have gained about myself and about our history as women in this country still amazes and horrifies me.
I feel like the whole year has been nurturing me. I attended a course at Hawkwood College, in Stroud, with Andrew Harvey, the founder/director of the institute of sacred activism, and a talk at the same college by Miki Kashtan, an International teacher, who guides people into leadership through discovering their ‘fearless heart’. At this point I realised I had shirked any kind of leadership roles in life all my life. It is time to step up.
I also have learned that we can do nothing by ourselves. The TreeSisters taught me many things but one important thing is that we must gather our community together and can only operate being supported at all times.
So if you have any interest in my work, which I will explain over the coming months, I am going to be asking for some support. I sincerely hope I can entice you in even if it is just for the smallest thing. 
I would like to thank you for reading this far and in anticipation of what may be yet to come.


Friday, 17 November 2017

Putting down the Stone


Putting down the Stone



I have been exploring a few ideas this year and they have all grown out of one main need; to heal limiting and dysfunctional beliefs handed down to me through my ancestral line. This has not come from a place of judgement or anger, just a desire to move on and put down the cross that we are all bearing in some way.
For me, judgement is the key issue here and I feel the need to point out that most of our reasons for trying to make this world a better place are still coming from a place of judgement. This needs to stop if we are really going to move forward into a new, open and compassionate way of working. Mostly we need to begin to be honest with ourselves. If we are constantly pointing the finger at other people and saying, ‘It’s because of you that this world is a bad place,’ then we are clearly misguided. That is step one.
This blog has taken its time to come to fruition and this has not been helped by the fasting turning of events throughout the year. Every time I think I have come to a place of knowing what I want to say, the world moves on. The last month has particularly highlighted this as the battle of the classes has turned into a battle of the sexes. This has brought me to place of wanting to retreat completely. As I see the hunger for judgement and retribution reach great heights I began to feel that what ever I wish to add would simply be fuelling the fire. 
With this in mind I will try to be brief, the detail to be found in my books and plays.
My sense is that we are being dragged into a small version of the story and forgetting to see the bigger picture. If we are to truly heal as a race or at least as a community then we need to recognise that the story we are playing out in our lives is just a mirror of what we are within. We must look to ourselves to see what conflict lies there before we cast any stones. 
I believe this is something we have forgotten and the fear and anger that we feel inside creates a blindness for both men and woman alike. Although it is impossible to understand the whole story, as it is far too complex, what is far more important is to know that we are all part of it, we are all part of the problem and the solution all at once. To step aside and take the stone out of our hand takes courage but I believe is crucial for a way out of this growing crisis in our society today. To continue throwing stones, however wrong those that have done wrong seem, will not solve the problem. I am not saying we should stand back and do nothing, i just feel it is important to act prudently rather than over react.
Those who commit anti-social acts do not behave that way in a vacuum. Everyone has a story and this is where compassion is needed and an ability to see the whole of society’s story not just the parts. The last hundred years has been such a whirlwind of change, two world wars that created extreme repression of emotions and other events, such as women’s right to vote and the pill, that offered great emancipation. No wonder the road has been filled with pitfalls. When people behave badly it is important to recognise that they are just showing us the effect of what our whole society has created when it doesn’t consider its actions fully. When we see its effect, rather than raising our fists in anger and desire for revenge, we should be looking at the causes and what we can do to change from the root up. When we choose to judge we put ourselves in a very vulnerable position making the conflict within cut even deeper, as judging becomes part of the problem. 
Now, times have become so hard for so many, fear and anger is understandably never far from the surface and this often creates a desire to justify our own story and a need to blame others. If we are aware that these feelings really all stem from the conflict we carry within, often handed down by our lineage, then we must recognise how this plays out in any relationship. If we believe that  one person is to blame and the other blameless this becomes part of the misconception we constantly are living in. This can be seen across warring nations, communities and families. If you want change in your life, as Gandhi said, ‘be the change’. It is the only way forward and if you feel you are not part of the issue then think again.
We all bring emotional baggage into our life, it is part of our inheritance on a personal, national and international level. The moment we except this, is the moment that change will start for real, not in our courts but on the streets, across our towns, cities and countries. 
It is time, surely to find a new approach. Force, judgement and legislation are all methods that have fallen short of the mark. It is time to listen, understand and communicate in a new way where everyone has a voice and we all understand that we have played a part in making the story what it is today. We need to be compassionate without exception for we all need bringing in from the dark.
There is a place,
Beyond right and wrong
I’ll meet you there (Rumi)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

War and Peace


War and Peace




So I recently got back from a trip to the South of France and was hoping to view the visit with an objective eye. My main reason was initially, simply a break. After all the work I put into creating and launching my book and CD it was sorely needed. Second, I wanted to visit an old very close friend who had recently moved to the deepest part of Southern France. 
There is much to say about this area but I know a lot of people feel drawn to visit for many reasons. Whether you believe Mary Magdelene arrived there 2,000 years ago or not, the fact is, a group of people lived there in the time after Jesus’ death till 1209. At this time the Catholic church, terrified by their pure and non politicised beliefs, decided they were heretics and too dangerous to allowed to remain living there. And they did a pretty good job. My friend lives near Beziers and I felt a strong desire to visit the town where 20,000 people were massacred and go and sit in the church where 7.000 of those who sought refuge were slaughtered. 
This you might know from my last blog. What I find so hard is the fact that people today are so limited by the teachings we are handed down that very few can see the story for what, I believe, it is truly telling us.
The town today is burdened by this deed and did not feel blessed with the vibrant atmosphere one might expect in this sunny part of the world. I wonder why?! How can we shake off these political strangling belief systems that so shape our lives and prevent us from seeing what and who we are. We might think that those who were left, who won the battle of the Cathars would be victors. But actually we are now, collectively, slaves to those who forced us to commit atrocities on our fellow people and believe that they were less than ourselves. 
We are the walking wounded, cut off from our sense of empathy and told we should feel we are better than others. However, we just end up putting walls all around our hearts to protect ourselves from the feelings of pain and horror the act of committing these atrocities create inside us. This is not a taste of victory. This is oppression.
It is time to understand that the world is moving on. Scientists today are beginning to see how the new physics, the quantum world, is teaching us that we are all connected as one, bound in a field of energy, a force held by love. Grasping this new sense of reality could revolutionise the way we see ourselves in relation to each other and the whole world we inhabit, in an instant.
Last week, I was devastated to hear Question Time end without an answer to the comment put by a young man who basically said the only way Britain can remain a great world power is to keep our nuclear weapons. I, personally, cannot relate to any word of that sentence. It sounds like it is filled with fear, separation and a huge lack of self worth. 
It reveals to me the pain we are carrying as a nation. A truly great nation is one that sits in its own place of power, without fear or hatred to its neighbours. It interacts with the world from a place of benevolence and generosity, looking after its own and caring for its neighbours. A truly great nation would be the first to put the weapons down. Abolishing Trident would be the finest thing we could do as a nation. Our wealth would know no bounds; in our NHS, our schools and in the workplace and of course in our hearts. I know that there are a huge amount of people who do not agree with anything this young man said either. However, the programme ended with a huge round of applause which was ringing in my ears as I went to sleep. 

Just how far from any sense of love and connectedness do we have to get before people realise how we are being manipulated, sadly, quite a way yet. Please off set the balance and stay strong in your heart in peace and love for all.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Seeing Things for What they Truly Are

The Church of Mary Magdalene, site of a Cathar massacre in 1209

Seeing Things for What they Truly Are


Everytime there is a gathering of friends or family nowadays the main conversation point is ‘no politics here’. It seems like the subject has become so weighted and filled with poison that people are too frightened or tired to get involved in more arguing or moaning. 
On one hand I totally agree, but on the other I really feel the only way out is through. We have to come to terms with where we are right now and why this is happening. 
As always for me the story is so much bigger than we think. I am off on holiday to the South of France to see my very wonderful school friend who has recently moved to the Beziers area, the Cathar area of France.  
I know a little about the history there and would very much like to visit the church of Mary Magdelene. In 1209 the massacre of Beziers against the Cathars, killed 20.000 people, 7,000 of those were taking refuge in this church. An Abbott, one of the commanders of the crusade, was asked by a crusader, how they should tell a Catholic from a Cathar. He replied, 
"Kill them all, for the Lord knoweth them that are His.” No one was spared in that town from the priests to the babies. 
Where have we come since then. Times, I do not believe, have really changed they have just become more sophisticated. Though we do openly massacre anyone we think disagrees with our way of being, mainly we just ride waves in and out of social conscience that give the impression that things are improving then slide back into the anger and fear again.
I feel the last century was an amazing time of social shift, with the first half full of revolution and war. We came out of the two wars with great hope and this country began to develop an amazing social structure which seemed like it was for the good of all. Having done it first, Europe then followed suit and as always some did it so much better. 
As Capitalism took hold in the 80s we slipped into the quagmire we find ourselves in today with the individual more important than the community and finances up the creek, all built on thin air. 
The governments seems extremely adept at saying one thing to the people, which en masse the majority seem to wholly believe, and doing the opposite in reality. Part of the skill is shifting the blame and today it is obviously being pointed away from the real truth. 
Now the scape goat, that is Europe, is being well and truly cast out we are going to be left face the music. 
When I visit this church, where I feel much of the pain we have created in our society began, where we started killing our own in the name of religion, for what we were told was some greater good, I feel the cycle is hopefully nearly able to be completed and ready for breaking open. 
However, while we are still massacring people abroad, allowing people to be malnourished here and elsewhere, creating poverty and mental illness through the stress of just everyday living, we are still miles from home. We also know the darkest part of the night is just before the dawn.
It is time to wake up to what we are being told and realise that the truth is not on some billboard or spoken by our politicians. They have no one’s interests but their own at heart. We need to realise that what is best for us is only what is also best for everyone. When we choose to create a world where we can say we truly have that in our society then we know we have made a change. Otherwise we are just circling around variations of different types of oppression. 
Starting with ourselves is the only way, and love and forgiveness is the way forward. I know I keep saying this but until we really hold it in our hearts we cannot expect anyone else to change.
Owning and taking responsibility for everything that we have created, recognising when we are being part of the problem, and knowing that everything we continue to do will make a difference whether it is positive or negative is the way for change.
Let’s keep the conversation open and start creating a new world filled with love.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Long Shadow


The Long Shadow


Well Spring is officially here, the clocks have sprung forward and the evenings are suddenly brighter. There is so much excitement in the air and I know we should be leaping forward into the embrace that Mother Nature offers. With all I have learned about this archetype I know there should be no thinking, just jumping in. However, I have moved to Frome, a highly exciting and fast moving, spirited town and its political nature is pulling me back into my head. As we are constantly being dragged out of our hearts into our heads it so easy to fall into fear and events in the news have been certainly doing that.
I am constantly trying to come to terms with what Brexit will mean for us and it does take me quite some time to find an answer that fits. As I work at putting my new book out in the big wide world I know that my thoughts are always being pulled towards the bigger picture (if you’re interested in the astrology I have 5 planets in Pisces, the last of the signs and the container of all) and I know it is the bigger picture that will give us the bigger, more meaningful answers.
I am hoping to keep this blog short, for once, as I sense that my second book is going to be the complete exploration of this story and interestingly I wrote the bulk of it two years ago before Brexit was in my consciousness but as synchronicity always has it, it is all there. I just want to touch on my ideas here. As usual, nothing I say is new but I hope to present them in my book in a way that gives meaning and way forward from our place of pain.
In simple terms Brexit (as no one really knows what it will bring) represents, to me, putting up walls and splitting apart. As I constantly am working towards a world where we recognise that we are all one and nothing is separate from anything else, I know this is not the direction that makes sense. I have to understand that we are still going deeper into the darkness before we are ready to turn around to the light. 
As I listened to many of the speeches at the funeral of Martin McGuinness and was already aware of how my friend Jo Berry (daughter of Anthony Berry, the Tory MP killed in the Brighton Bombing, who now works for peace with the bomber) was speaking out her truth for peace and reconciliation, I know the story of Britain is a rich terrain from which we can learn much. 
I touch upon a story in my book ‘Journey to the Golden City’ which is based on ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and I know this reveals so much. The idea that we have to journey away from our home, our hearts, to be able to see more clearly that everything we need was always there for us if we have the eyes to see it, helps us return to discover our whole truth. I know this is the lesson we are travelling on, but sadly too many of us are still on the outward journey.
In 2014 I wrote a play about reconciliation in Israel between an Israeli and a Palestinian couple sensing that the Israeli Government are simply playing out the pain the Jews are carrying on the Palestinians; the victim becoming the perpetrator - again, nothing new there. So it was necessary for me to view the story of Britain and I feel there is the same journey here. 
In brief, we can see our small island being constantly invaded throughout the first Millenia, after Christ. In revenge, we started flexing our muscles in the 12th Century with the Crusades over the Holy Land, then turned on the rest of the world in anger. The victim has become the greatest perpetrator but today we have no memory or understanding of why and we are just left with the anger. We do not see the wrong we are doing as we conquer lands and force them to live as we tell them and then wonder why they retaliate. As a Jew living in England for three generations I feel the burden of carrying all these truths within my ancestral lines. 
When Tebbit called for the IRA to stand up and be counted for their sins, I ask when are the British going to stand up for theirs, all 800 years of them. Having birthed a new nation with the same mindset in America, we are now creating a reality that is seen as the new civilised way to be, yet has no idea of what it is actually doing. Rulers who are crowned and lead out of fear and anger but refuse to look at themselves fully in the mirror.
If Brexit means we have to become a tiny country, from Great Britain to little England before we will be able to return home from our Alchemist’s Journey and fully awaken to our truth, then so be it. The hard journey always delivers the gifts in the end and hopefully enough positive and determined people will stay to keep the light of peace and love shining. 

ps I would like to add if that last phrase brings out the cynic in you, may be we need to question why these simple important words have been deemed ‘a cliche’ rather than an imperative.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Keys to our Hearts


The Keys to our Hearts



I have been away from my blogging site for far too long and am feeling the struggle to get back to the page. Having spent most of the last six months bringing my book and CD into reality I am only just releasing myself from this huge task as it reaches a state of completion. Not only that I’ve put my band back together again and had a new website built. Busy, busy.
I am so pleased with the end result and am now just looking forward to getting my energy into promoting it all. I say looking forward with a slight reticence as this isn’t my world but one I’m aiming to move seamlessly into.
All this seems very positive but behind all this I can feel the weight of the year that has passed. My partner and I suffered so much loss last year and if there was a time when we didn’t have personal loss it seems that it was all around us. There was no time to draw breath between grieving one passing before the next hit us like a stone. It’s incredible how much this takes out of you when there seems like there is no reprieve, but working through the pain honestly aways brings a silver lining. 
If it felt there was too much to deal with personally then nationally and globally the political and social changes have also been breathtaking, and not at all in a good way. However, I know that this is a personal and judgemental view and so needs deeper investigation.
There is so much to be grateful for and the joy of living in such an exciting town as Frome in such an exciting country keeps me buoyed. The shadow and light that seem to be emerging in all areas of life is incredible and keeping the faith through it is so important. To me this is the crux of the matter. While so much around us seems to be crumbling this, I feel, is our opportunity. If we are going to create a new way of living based on love and trust then we have to be loving and trusting even in the face of adversity. Well, actually the face of adversity is exactly where our love and trust works best. It is easy to love and trust when we are surrounded by the good things in life. The challenge is to honour all that we encounter, however scary they might seem. That does not mean we have to like it but if we feed it with our fear, (like the dark planet in the film 5th Element) it amplifies its shadow side. The best way to remove what we no longer need in our world is to send it love, to shine the light on it so it transforms itself. 
Now the first book in my trilogy has been published I am looking, after a little rest, to begin my next book. As the first “Journey to the Golden City” gives us the tools to work towards understanding our world with a broader sense of the wisdom available to us, the second will look into facing our shadow. This is an imperative and unless we embrace the necessary work we will be bringing our shadows with us as we replace the old crumbling edifices with our new, or rather we will not be able to pass into a new way of being whilst we are still clinging to our shadow.
As my friend Seb reminded me, the Hubble telescope needs to be spotless to reflect the perfect images we want from deep space and this reflects the spotlessness we have to create in all corners of the deep space within us all, to move forward.
It is my intention to continue through this year without judgement as we attempt to extract ourselves from Europe and watch the USA descend into chaos. I am a Piscean so a little chaos is never bad if we are going to find order from it. Getting angry is ok as long as you transform the energy and do something positive with it.
I am very excited to have begun working with the Restorative Justice community. To me this feels like such a positive way to deal with our judgement, our pain and the way we meter out justice. It is such a huge issue in our society. 
Finding a way to bridge the divide between the differences in the way we perceive our culture should be is vital. Creating the communication and trust so we don’t view people with different opinions as enemies or lesser than ourselves is a necessary step on our journey towards living in peace and harmony. Who doesn’t wish for that?
This beautiful painting was a birthday card from my sister. Terry, who also created the artwork for my book and it fills me with confidence that we all have the right keys to open our own personal doors to freedom from pain and conflict. If you’re feeling we’ve lost them I would like to say that maybe many have just temporarily mislaid them. I am trusting that they soon will be found as I am ever the optimist.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Split Decision


A Split Decision


On the 23rd of June 2016 the UK was asked to make a decision on its future. I wrote a blog about it just a few days before in my usual optimistic frame of mind. I voted remain because I believe a united world is where we should be headed. I do, however, understand that although I sense that is where we shall end up, humanity has to go through many teething issues before we choose the simple road. The answer is always simple but when humanity has gone through thousands of years oppression and pain, clarity is not an attribute we would be expected to have gained as a whole. I remain, as I said, optimistic.
When I was able to clear my mind, a few days after the disbelief of what happened had passed, I realised that far more than a simple yes/no vote had occurred. I soon recognised that a huge amount of anger had been unveiled. Having been given the chance to make their feelings known, those that voted as a protest, made it obvious that their anger had always been there. The country was no different to how it was before the referendum but now everyone was aware of it. Bringing this anger out in the open is important as I have been feeling too long that repressed emotions lie at the heart of our country’s issues. 
For the last few decades we have, as a nation, been working to remove sexism and racism from our way of being. However, if this only done by passing a few laws and changing the way people speak and behave in public, although many people will choose to change the way they feel towards others, many will just be changing their actions only. If we do not change the way we feel, these negative emotions that are kept repressed and not dealt with or voiced will eventually rise up like the ugly monster we are seeing today. Now it is open season to voice racist remarks. I feel the result of the referendum has now given those who feel they have ‘won’ but who have always felt oppressed - and so naturally transfer that feeling to the other - a sense of righteousness in oppressing those who they feel are outside their sense of 'family'. How long is it going to take before we all realise that we all brothers and sisters and that this understanding is our only way forward to peace?
My first reaction was that this has undone all the years of trying to make this country a more tolerant and open-hearted country. Then I realised that we obviously had never succeeded as this feeling of intolerance has never gone away it has just been covered with a veneer of improved behaviour. So where can we go from here. The small majority of people are speaking out but, however painful it is hear to these remarks, I do not for a moment believe that all those who voted to leave are racist, just as not all those who voted to remain are completely tolerant. No one is immune from feelings of arrogance, intolerance or lack of self-worth to name a few of the emotions that are at play here. There is much work to be done and much to learn. Sadly I feel our country is now going to have to learn the hard way. I find it hard to believe that there is not an option of simply not pressing the Brexit button, as many other countries have done. (Pulling out the ‘but that would be undemocratic’ phrase at this point I find laughable with our Government’s history). But as banks and businesses are already preparing to move out the country and our politicians are still more concerned about their own face than the country’s needs we are all going to have take the brunt in some way or another.
I see every crossroads as an opportunity and although I feel the referendum was perhaps one of the most divisive political moments in our history (other than being taken to war countless times) I also believe we can see this as a real chance to look at our country in a whole new light. Building walls, I believe is the easy way out. There are much better choices to be made, however hard they may seem. This is something for 'the people' to work towards as I can’t see the politicians making any changes. While they still work within their own laws of self-interest and bandy around words such as democracy and transparency we know there is no hope there. We live in a country where democracy has been twisted so that it is meaningless and where lies are a way of life. The combined efforts of the Government, media and the city have left the people so much in the dark as to the real truth I don’t think anyone knows what is true anymore
Sadly, I wonder that perhaps the only way that we can lift our country up to a new way of living is to sink so far into the obscurity a post Brexit world will put us in - a world where all the ‘Great’-ness will be shaken out of the mindset of the British - that the only way forward will be to throw away all the lies and fears, hatred and choose to come together in a way that serves us all, However, contrived that might sound, that is the only right way forward and I am doing everything I can to make that a reality in my world right now. 

Got to start somewhere, one step at a time.