There is a birds nest in our back garden. Built this autumn. Every morning when I wake up at 6 am I see the birds improving the design and adjusting small branches to make it even better. So honoured to see their new home so close to ours. Nature had a such a lovely spring this year that I still notice its benefits. I know some will hate me for saying this but is there any chance we could all slow down for a month each year or even season to give nature some time to breathe? Surely, we would benefit too?
Preparing for my first college assignment – book review – and I chose this one. This book means so much to me. I picked it up based on its cover the day I finished by bereavement counselling course and felt fully equipped to face death – my own, of course, because that’s what you need to help people carry their grief. I had no idea what this book is about. Read it on the train and bus and sobbed all the way back to Bristol, not carrying much about people watching me. It moved me deeply (in a good way) back then and today as I read it again and cried too. There is no way one can read it without crying and without leaning something critical about life. No better day to do this than today. The fact that her war hammer is named after a great Polish-American baseball player from Pennsylvania just added to the mix of serendipity today. If you can, read it. Everyone should read it to understand loss.
Someone mentioned during a diversity training today their experience of term “black” as evil, dark and scary as opposed to the pureness of white and I found it initially shocking and then, well, true.
I remember in high school my priest (last year of my connection with Church) asking us all to name the colour of love – I was the only weirdo who chose black – it’s rich, deep, endless and all-encompassing, of course, it’s love.
But I was raised to see things my way, not the way it was dictated by culture. I was raised to be a rebel. Sometimes I say wrong things to my BAME friends because I do not operate based on mainstream principles so I am finding the current diversity movement really helpful.
So many layers of systemic abuse of power and privileges… I cannot imagine living entire life thinking about belonging to the shadows of “civilised culture” whatever that means.
But I do know how it feels to be different, ostracised, abused and humiliated due to our identity and I cannot stand it. We need to be careful not to overuse the word “polarised” these days not to get used to it. We are all the same – humans, we must celebrate (not tolerate) diversity and we must see each other for fellow humans.
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”
Three years in Bristol, four years of counselling studies and so many changes around us. We’ve grown stronger and kinder. This weekend I was also in my new home, because that’s how my new course feels, so I consider myself very blessed. I worked hard for it, but so did many people supporting me along the way (you know who you are). So just sending quiet thanks for that ❤️
After the English-Ojibwe dictionary this is my second book read in both languages. What a story! You can find out more about the main character, a real figure fighting for the health of water, Mother Earth and people in general over at motherearthwaterwalk.com – I cannot believe just how much easier it is to research and connect with Ojibwe stories in 2020 comparing to the 90’s when I was a student and I came across one of them on IRC.
Such generous and honourable people – even then I was sent their dictionary by post and encouraged to study their stories. Back then I waited for the book for weeks, today I got it the next day….we are so well connected now…but are we making the most of it? I so wish in this divided world people would celebrate the diversity and acknowledge that regardless of our bloodlines, identities and passports we are all one kind. I’ve learned that from Ojibwe and all other tribes.
Today we see @gretathunberg doing the same as Nokomis Josephine-ba Mandamin did back then, I just wish she lived to sit down with Greta for a good chat. I am hopeful that we are all waking up. Thanks to those wise, courageous women who carry us and bring us water.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
So needed this! After few weeks of colds, tests, new routines and new school I feel I am starting to adjust to the new balance. It’s all fluid, much of it is responsive but that ok – that’s life. Mother Nature is here, we just need to reach out. So we did. Why travel far if we have all this beauty at our doorstep??
I never really agreed with summer holiday travels as such – I prefer to travel to meet people, learn about new lands or for meaningful events – but I studied climate change in early primary school so I guess that forms my travel habits. I am so glad we relive times of renewable energy finally entering the transport industry. I have loads to learn and do still, but for now, we keep it down as much as possible. Every little helps the planet.
Tonight I learned about the Seven Stages of Life – Ojibwe (or in the US Chipewyan) approach to life story. As I venture on my second winter journey with Julia Cameron’s books and journaling reflections I am now going a bit deeper into my self and my story (it’s important for trainee counsellors to get their own story right).
The tribal tonality of the Vein of Gold is perfectly aligned with my past interest in Ojibwe culture. (It also resonates with the emerging need for nations to go to their tribal cultures – something I’m noticing in many public conversations). So I am going to look at my seven stages of life: the good life, the fast life, the wandering life, truth, planning, doing and being an elder too, even though the last one is still ahead of me. What a brilliant framework for life, but how sad that we no longer nurture our elders.
I feel sad I have no access to a trusted group of those wise teachers. I am lucky enough to know a few elders in a more fragmented way so when I’m done with the current “doing” stage I might consider a ritual, a journey of some kind. Last night discovered the work of Stephen Jenkinson (Due Wise book), and it moved me deeply.
Anyway, this update was inspired by my evening but also this branch from @freddiesflowers – when I was a child we’d pop them under our shoes and giggle so there were hardly any left around. Receiving such a rich branch is quite astonishing and so abundant. I actually don’t want to ruin it! (Still tempted time sneak out at the back and pop a few, mind you).
Not sure if life happens in stages, possibly in circles, but the Ojibwe approach makes sense to me.
It’s worrying but not unexpected to watch the news. I am utterly sad that I won’t be able to meet a few people in person as planned but I much prefer to know each of them is safe. Learned a lot about Polyvagal Theory today and so I now understand even more the importance of social connection and psychological safety. Meeting online is not the same but it is safer and healthier than not meeting at all or risking meeting and harming someone. So take time off screens and online work when you need to but stay connected, people. This winter is going to be formative for us all, in so many ways.