Thursday 14th May
I’m aware that I’m going to London tomorrow and won’t have a chance to write over the weekend which means if I’m going to blog at all this week it’s got to be now. I’m sluggish and slow. My right eyelid has developed a twitch – which when I googled it turned out to be a common problem but it’s not one I’ve ever had before. Honestly! What it is to have a body that communicates as clearly as mine does. I sometimes feel that my body dictates my path. I imagine I only have to work out what is ‘right for me to do’ and I’ll move out of this cloud of discomfort and be fit, well, happy, functional again. ‘Let vision come and insight. Let the future stand revealed.’
This is a quotation from ‘The Mantra of Unification’
The sons of men are one & I am one with them.
I seek to love not hate. I seek to serve, not exact due service.
I seek to heal, not hurt.
Let pain bring just reward of light & love.
Let the soul control the outer form & life & all events
& bring to light the love which underlies the happenings of the time.
Let vision come and insight, let the future stand revealed.
Let inner union demonstrate & outer cleavages be gone.
Let love prevail. Let all men love.
This is the version that Maya introduced me to in 1982. Sometimes when I look at the prayers I’ve prayed over and over I can’t imagine who I’d be without them. I really struggled with some of the words in this this as a feminist and in the modification I’ve used for years it becomes
‘The Children of Humanity are One and I am one with them’ at the beginning and
‘Let love prevail. Let all people love.’ to finish.
I knew I was blessed to know Maya Shah. All my life since I met her in Wales in the 80s, I have worked with ideas that she introduced me to so that the blessing of having this beautiful gentle compassionate woman in my life will be with me all my days. I miss her but I’d rather have the loss than never had the gain. She gave me tools that have proved their worth over and again as I’ve faced life’s challenges. As those of you who knew her can confirm, she was an exceptional soul, a true bodhisattva.
I am more upset by the election results this time around than I ever remember being before. It was Jon Cousins who said ‘The turkeys have voted for Christmas’. Another friend said that people who voted Conservative were voting for ‘stability and security’. Well that sure as hell ain’t going to be what we’ll get. It is, I suppose, inevitable that the first action of the newly formed government is the erosion of civil liberties. Cry ‘Terrorist’ and you can get away with just about anything.
Chris Johnstone talked about moving from ‘they should’ to ‘I will’. I want to make that shift. There are so many major issues that need to be addressed how do I know which threads to pick up? Right now I’ve a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the impact of sanctioning on those with mental health problems. Through PCSR (Psychologists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility) I was signposted to a brilliant article that explains clearly how those whom we once recognised as victims of misfortune are now being treated as if to mix up your dates was a crime rather than a symptom of illness. I put it out on facebook but even though a few people have picked up on it, the response has disappointed me. I’ve yet to work out what my next step is. Let vision come and insight, let the
future stand revealed.
Sunday 17th May
My dear lovely friends I come back from London, from a challenging weekend on many fronts and a most uncomfortable coach journey home to a shower of responses to the last blog I posted. It is changing the experience of writing to have readers, to know I am speaking to people who encourage and appreciate me. When I came back from Ireland an old friend had left a voice message saying ‘I have just read your blog and decided to phone you.’ I’ve not heard his voice in a long time. I still haven’t had time to phone back but I’ve listened to that message a number of times for the pleasure of hearing the voice of someone I love.
That night, when I first got the message, I was flooded with memory, flooded with love. This is a man who’s been kind to me times past counting, who’s been in my world for more than half my life. I don’t know why such a rich tapestry of memory was evoked by his voice but I cried. I cried for three days. Not all the time because every so often I’d ‘put on a face’ and go out into the world and do whatever I was called on to do.
(Tuesday 19th May)
But this is about the inner healing that goes on in the times of weeping. I alternate between ‘competent self’ and ‘crying self’ and both are fine, truth to tell. What I want to avoid is these two becoming split off from each other as severely as they have in the past. This blog is healing me because I am letting you know the person I have hidden so successfully from the world.
Let the soul control the outer form, and life, and all events, and bring to light the love that underlies the happenings of the time.
This is the line in the Mantra of Unification that leaps out at me now and brings tears to my eyes. I can’t see the love that underlies what’s happening now. I don’t see it at all. I find what’s happening on a global and national scale frightening and overwhelming. I feel puny and pathetic and powerless. That brings me back to considering unhelpful thinking habits. These are not feelings, they are judgements. They are beliefs, not reality.
When I was working as a voluntary employment advisor with the Opp Shop (in Glastonbury) someone I knew came in, clearly distressed, in despair about being unemployed. I said ‘You are still the same amazingly talented, energetic, capable person ever you were.’ and reminded them of some of the things I knew they’d achieved in the past. All that’s happening here is that I lack confidence in myself. I am as powerful as ever I was, however I am feeling in this moment. I can act and I will act and if the people of goodwill are in a majority in this country, in this world, we will win out. We are Shambhala warriors and it is time to train again in the weapons of the Shambhala warrior, in insight and compassion.
I’ve now completed my third AVP workshop and have been accepted to go forward to the next stage to train as a facilitator with them. I’m itching to get to the stage where I have a say in the work they offer. It kills me some days that I have so much to offer as a facilitator but lack other skills I need to turn those skills into a reliable and adequate income. Yes this is a voluntary project and will cost rather than earn me an income but I believe communication, authentic skilful communication when we are in conflict, communication that leads to resolution is key to tackling the violence inherent in a capitalist, materialistic culture. My currency is time not money. I want to be an effective agent of change using my skills and experience to address the issues I feel passionate about. I know I need to make a living but only under pressure to provide for my daughter was I able to make that a priority.
It took me a very long time to understand that in being punitive towards myself, I was perpetuating violence in the world. Weirdly not even that insight is enough to transform the gremlin’s voice into anything other than attacking. However it does support me in my efforts to be kinder and more accepting of myself as I am.
I have now one thread that I trust will continue into my future. I will train as a facilitator with AVP. I will help people work out how they can handle the conflicts in their lives more skilfully. And in the shorter term, I’m working at Buddhafield again this year. Actually I’m doing a workshop at the Green Earth Awakening with Debbie Warrener and giving a talk. For the talk I’m reflecting on a phrase in a meditation I was introduced to by Joanna Macy back in the 90s. ‘If we block out the pain, we block joy out too.’ I reckon I’ve plenty to say.
And thank you. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your reflections on what I’ve said. Thank you for your encouragement and support. I do end up in tears I am so moved by your comments. I’m letting the love in.