Category Archives: Desistance

#LetsTalk Conversations with new activists #women2gether

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Colorado river reaches sea for first time in decades

Colorado river reaches sea for first time in decades (Image: Sonoran Institute and LightHawk)

 

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

 

Women2gether are attracting supporters. I’ve had wonderful twitter conversations with some of you – you have been a delight to encounter; thank you for your generosity of both self and spirit. Yet, to some extent, we might look as though we were failing at the first hurdle:  it takes some extraordinary event, like no-one at all turning up to our Sunday ‘meeting’, to illustrate it. There’s also the issue of why so few responded to Jane & Debbie’s petition – start putting the ‘gestalt’ together in that way and we might all just as well pack up our efforts and head sadly away. That’s, of course, dependent upon what kind of ‘thinking’ you are using.

 

I wonder if the version that leads you to this kind of mind-set bears any comparison with this?

from Halifax Herald

from Halifax Herald

 

Notice how self-centred and ego-ridden this viewpoint is.  In fact, it’s the same kind of thinking that led me to do this.  If we are going to challenge and confront this thinking then, in order to get a much broader perspective and arrive at more accurate assessment on the reality of where we are, we have to entertain more diverse opinions and viewpoints. “I, for one, am certainly NOT the Queen”, for example, can do wonders in moving outside this lethal box of rich white male cloudcuckooland and into our own reality.

 

One of the things Jayne, Debbie and I were very clear about, from the outset of women2gether, was our own physical and psychological frailty. We knew there would be times like this so, intuitively, we planned ahead with our honesty. When I get ‘news’ that our Sunday meeting was in spirit only, I don’t see this as disaster – I see it as a conversation we’ve not had yet about what we three witches mean when we talk about being ‘activists’.

 

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A number of folk have commented on the absence of ego in the way we work together. This kind of behaviour – both practical and psychological – is a sign of an experienced activist because, at some point, we all get the ego knocked out of us. It’s based upon a set of assumptions and consequences imposed by our real-life circumstances (my version).

 

The first ‘rule’ of activism is that we leave other folk alone to make their own decisions. This is based on the following assumptions, whoever you are; however you are ‘packaged’; whatever internal psychic structures you use; and everything that defines you as a human being, means;

  • You know how to make up your own free mind
  • The only time you don’t is when your free mind has been tampered with by others.
  • If you want to kill the activist spirit, you tell other folk what to do and try to control their actions.
  • You know an activist by their behaviour – we don’t wait for permission if we see an opportunity to help ‘the people’.
  • Every single one of us started our activist career as absolute beginners!

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And we rode on the wings of the tales of older – and more realistic – activists; not because they led us (although sometimes they did if we got lost) but to help us over the pitfalls involved.

 

It took us a week to organise a spontaneous walk-out

Nalgo Conference c 1980’s

 

Even then, speaking from experience, it can take much longer. The difference between followers and activists is followers assume failure and give up very early on in any ‘game’ that is not specifically about them  – activists keep an eye on the ball of ‘all of us’ instead. Also, notice who benefits if the ‘failure assumption’ is held to be real?

 

Can you begin to see how your attitudes may have been tampered with? So, how do we fix this problem? Quite simple really – do a reality check!

 

For example:

As a newbie activist, ask yourself these questions: who is your membership? Be specific. There are activists in all areas – what’s your specialty; who do you prioritize? Mine are women first and then all those impacted by the WCA.

This doesn’t mean I sacrifice my concern for everyone – it simply means I know where my roots are.  Once we know that, we represent the views of that group in our own activist work to ensure our voices are included when we rewrite a  Harperworld Mindset to include us as human under Human Rights law.  The consequences of adversity are as complex as the causative action is simple – we need as many voices as need to speak. There are four million people negatively affected by these undemocratic and forced economic crimes against humanity. It shouldn’t be that hard to prove now, surely?! Where are their voices?

 

When we know our roots – and these change with time, as do we – it’s easy to gauge the mood, especially when your ‘membership’ are restive and nothing seems to be being done about it. This trigger motivates our actions, so whenever inspiration or opportunity arrives, we say Yes to the experience of giving it a try to see if it works. That’s all it is. That’s all we do. Because we’ve said yes on so many occasions we’ve got practical experience but that doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing now, other than catching the mood of our ‘membership’ and acting on it. For example:

It was my own wider WCA membership who triggered my letter to the ICC (still no reply but I found the answers I was looking for: there is a way in). Then came Jayne and Debbie’s new petition – this is their activist spirit at work. They created and I threw my weight behind it because it represented the views of my membership. The surprising lack of numbers is as informative as our Spirit Sunday meeting 😉

 

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The only problem I can see in the situation is a missing conversation with all of you. So that’s what this blog is about. Folk don’t seem to be talking about it much. When they do, the conversation always seems to fall flat, so – fellow activists – we either read our membership wrong or there’s a ‘blockage’ somewhere. So, let’s talk about it what we think it might be – share your experience; blog about it as part of Women2gether, especially the lads. How are you finding it so far? Writing it down actually helps your learning process and helps us understand which areas of our expertise are most useful to you. This isn’t about us; this is about all of us!

 

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Testing current theories, at this stage, can be also useful. Given the situation is serious enough to create activists out of us…

 

I was thinking about this governments schadenfreude – motivation for the vindictive policies we’ve seen this past 4 years that target the most vulnerable citizens most of all. Some people believe that the policies are a consequence of a redistribution of wealth from the poorest to the wealthy rather than being malicious acts. But the tories laughed on hearing the accounts of suffering of the poor because of the bedroom tax and the food banks in parliament,for all to see.

But entertaining the idea for a moment that the inflicted suffering isn’t a motivation but a consequence, well that would make the bastards indifferent, callous and unremorseful, since they show a supreme lack of concern for the plight of those least able to defend themselves against injustice and inflicted poverty, Either way, I know evil when I see it, and this government ARE evil. The shock and anger at recognising that again just hit me afresh.

We must each be responsible and work to get rid of this evil presence, and taint on our collective history. If we remain silent and indifferent, that makes us complicit in their evil

Sue Jones

 

A balanced judgement weighs all the options first before coming to a decision based upon the evidence. As an activist, I ask myself, if this isn’t enough, how much more to I need? Then I ask:  ‘How serious is it?’ What do others think? Everywhere on the planet, I see women breaking the spell of the various HarperWorlds and finding genocide underneath. I see my own WCA membership heading in the ICC’s direction. Every socially-responsible free-thinking individual on my twitter-feed  seems to be treading similar paths, whatever their political hue. And some of us have tried already – such evidence supports our contention of crimes against humanity occurring in Britain have a grounding in fact.

 

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When a bunch of us activists agree the evidence is in that we are, indeed, living in very dangerous times, we can’t afford to wait on others to decide what needs to be done. We act on our own initiative because the likelihood of HarperWorld trying to control us is extremely high. We can loosen this control on a personal level by self-determining what needs to be done and what contribution we can realistically make.

 

Women2gether – and then men who love us – here are our problems: Jayne, Debbie & me. We can’t tell you what to do because a volunteer is worth fifty conscripts, or so I’ve been told by a man who knew. A volunteer looks around for the places they feel happiest in and offers those – what do you think needs doing? Do you need help doing it? Is  there a particular kind of help you offer ? Do you need to set clear boundaries on what (and how) we pass on in our information and sharing? For example: None of us will tolerate bigotry in any form and particularly any type of xenophobia or misogyny. We are all unique expressions of what it is to be human. Whilst the mindset we are trying to deal with says some have more value than others, the one we are aiming for says quite the opposite and always has done – remember the river at the beginning? Has your river been ‘redirected’? You don’t need to be told what to do because you already know.

 

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The difference between Harperworld (or what ever other fantasy the ego has power to inflict upon others) and human reality is this: Harperworld has to enforce its dictates and has no problem with the consequences so long as they do well out of it. Seek evidence of compassion and mercy in this mindset; I find none. It’s absence points to the presence of evil, a form of dualistic thinking being applied to the planet itself, let alone all the Peoples dwelling within Her. The presence of dualistic thinking – them and us – points to the existence of the opposite. It has to – that’s the Law in a dualistic world – there is always a balance.

 

Harperworld claims to hold the unbalanced monopoly of thought on our collective reality and, to a greater or lesser extent, we have fallen for it  because it has become the means of survival in the West. To transform and bring balance to the issue suggests we need to ‘become’ everything this polarity is not. That mindset issues orders; we don’t. Neither are we perfect; every one of us is the human expression of a living-artwork-in-progress, created by our histories, intuitions, thoughts, feelings and evidenced in the actions we take; the words we write; and our desire to protect those that we love, on every single level it seems.

 

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We are going to make mistakes with each other. Mistakes, especially at the beginning, are learning experiences for all of us because they help us shake off the mindset we’ve been slowly shackled to by the like of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan (another ‘buffoon’ like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and, in his early days, Adolf Hitler).  That kind of mindset is Harperworld and it only ever heads in one direction. This is not the direction we go in. Nevertheless, we also need to be sensitive to the abuses we have all experienced as a result of the social exclusions we have been subjected to. These are unhealed wounds especially among women who have borne the brunt of them. This is why bigotry is forbidden among us – it’s classified as harmful to the complexity of our community. It is permitted to exclude those who disagree with our existence because they exclude themselves by their exclusivity. Simple. This ‘Law’ was established in evidence at the very outset. It also accords with human law.

 

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There are those who, for whatever reason, choose to remain asleep. These are the people being led. The power to act therefore resides with activists – especially when voting. Getting up to vote is what the likes of UKIP thinkers and provoked sheeple will be doing. Let’s at least ask any activist (voting means you’re active) to register their opinion too, particularly for the disenfranchised amongst us, like the homeless. Let’s encourage hungry women with hungry children to vote too – give their opinion of politicians who think austerity is an excellent thing and we ought to have more of it.

 

 

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Meanwhile, I’m still not well enough to go through the ICC procedures. If our women2gether activists want to go through them, that might be a good idea because they set the standards we have to work to. All the procedures are there. My thoughts, on why our last petition might have ‘failed’ is that it needed to explicitly include everyone – all ‘genders’, all issues. To get through the Prosecutor’s door, we need to do it without exclusivity. Nevertheless, our framework needs to keep everyone happy, like: we’re test-driving this new Gender policy to make sure the ICC listens to women on our terms because, if they can’t hear us, there’s a problem with the ICC.

 

ProTip:

Activists always read procedures at least once because we need to see what we’re going to be measured by. The more we know about the ‘how’, the more we understand about route, standards and evidence gathering.  Their aim is to elicit as much about what fails to achieve this as it does aiming to achieve a criminal standard of evidence from women. As we become more aware of how women’s voices have been silenced at all levels, as well as the depth of the very real consequences, we become more competent as activists. After I learned the ‘sacred’ principles underpinning ‘legal’ written procedures, the ground I stood upon as an activist became much more solid. This is could excellent learning for ‘newbies’ and anyone else interested in this stuff.

 

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Finally, thank you for reading this far. Any ‘confusion’ in this is entirely my responsibility. As new activists, take only what is useful to you – we build our own toolbox because we’re each unique. We also know when to stop – which is why I have to have ‘stopped’. I need to do pay attention to ‘group process’ before I go any further because, as an individual, I’m already stumbling.

 

So I ask of you: where do you think we should go next? Think we should stop now or do we want to carry on? Perhaps this is the conversation we needed that’s been  missing. If it isn’t, what do you think might need to happen now? The harmful are included on any planning because they form the problem, solution and evidence. In fact, like our own, their existence must be included if we are to be at all balanced. We are not like them, remember – our behaviour is different. What we do have is a not-so-successful-it-seems history of ‘managing’ it and we left a few Laws behind the last time we did.

In solidarity

 

Dee

xxx

 

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Further Reflections on Suicide #WSPD

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Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. As some of you already know, I experience suicidal ideation (under very specific circumstances), so encountering the sister of someone who had successfully acted on their own reasoned ideation was a sobering event.  Apart from myself, I had never met someone caught up in this same dynamic before and their feelings are undoubtedly as complex as my own. The common ground between us was the experience of helplessness. His sister described listening to a similar kind of ideation to mine. Her brother was as rational as I – the only difference was that he succeeded whereas I had ‘failed’.

There are not words enough to express my gratitude to this sister. Despite her own profound grief, she was able to sit alongside me without any judgment or censure… and she validated me. She understood that it was possible to arrive at this ‘death choice’ in a rational way and then follow through. She knew I wasn’t ‘joking’ or ‘attention-seeking’ because she had direct experience of the devastating consequences. For someone in my position, this is the greatest gift one human being can give another. It’s not so much the listening that counts, it’s the validation – the shared recognition that something can be so seriously and rationally wrong that it causes someone to choose death over life and act on that choice. This is about as deep as it gets on the ‘life’ side of suicide.

As WSPDay progressed, many and various suggestions were posted for addressing the problem. Some work with the thought-processes of what is being expressed. Whilst such interventions can be helpful if our reasoning is irrational, they fall at the very first post when it is not. Those who approach me from this angle frequently get stunned into silence when I sharply explain the route I took to the edge of this abyss. I get angry because the proffered solutions are the equivalent of treating the outcome of open heart surgery with a box of Elastoplasts. I already know my own worth. To those in the suicide-prevention ‘biz’, these interventions may form part of your tool-box but they are the equivalent of using a hammer when a drill is required and are more likely to contribute to the problem than resolve it. You are going to need to go much deeper to get at the stuff I am dealing with.

For those who understand this need for depth but have never actually lived it, quoting Viktor Frankel, who said – from his own experience of the Holocaust – that the key to survival was to have found meaning, also works to a point but not with me. As a shaman, I can give chapter and verse of the meanings I have applied to my suicidal ideations and whilst you are right, you also miss an important issue. I may still here to write this but this wasn’t achieved by turning away – my achievement came from walking straight into my ideation with my eyes wide open. Perhaps you might like to consider another Holocaust wisdom instead. It was Bruno Bettelheim observed that those who survived were those who were able to express their feelings; it was those who didn’t who died.

The feelings and emotions involved with a rational suicidal ideation are deep, broad and long. Most ‘normals’ cannot hear them which, for those of us down here on the edge of the Abyss, adds to the problem in spades. Such ‘normals’ exhibit tendencies to label folk like me as ‘attention-seeking’, ‘manipulative’ or claim that we’re ‘making it up’ or ‘don’t really mean it’.  My personal response to such attitudes is to walk fast and hard into my suicidal abyss without a backward glance because it’s the only way to prove them wrong. I intend to present them with evidence of the real-life consequences of their own ideation. These are going to be much harder to deal with than simply acknowledging we were wrong and, consequently, can actually change the situation we all find ourselves in.

To address my kind of suicidal ideation, we all have to understand the very specific emotional ground we are standing upon. The common ground both Frankel and Bettelheim share with me is that they drew their conclusions when facing their own deaths. Much of the advice from those who have not lived the experiences is going to be untested theory which is useless at best and lethal at worst. If folk genuinely want to help those of us on the suicide abyss, it helps to understand the following.

Most of us with suicidal ideations normally, at the very bottom, actually don’t want to die – what we want is for something harmful within our life experience to die instead but find ourselves helpless because try as we might, we can’t change it. Over an often extended period of time, we come to believe that killing ourselves is the only way to effect the desired change, which is to stop what is occurring to us. During that time we will have tried various options and failed. Sometimes it is true that we need to understand our internal psychic structures to make the necessary changes – this is the area of expertise suicide prevention excels in, so despite their failures with me, lets all be deeply grateful for the work they do for others who can respond. These strategies only fail with me because I know how to effect change in myself – my problem is that the changes don’t impact upon my environment. When I am walking into my suicide abyss, it’s because the world refuses to change, not me. I walk in full awareness of my feelings (Bettelheim) and chock full of meaning (Frankel) because I want to change my environment so badly I believe its worth dying for.

The trigger is always the same: abuse.

I refuse to consent to abuse. I believe there is nothing wrong in my refusal – I like and admire the woman-who-is-me for her courage and obstinacy in the face of such behaviour. I refuse to be ordered about or governed by those who behave abusively and if they refuse to change, then I reserve the right to refuse to live. Anyone capable of sitting alongside me when I am in this frame of mind will hear, if they’re willing to listen, example after example of abuses I have challenged or confronted and how the abusers refused to change. In these circumstances, what the listener needs to attend to most – especially if they carry social responsibilities – is where the ‘system’ has failed. Somewhere in the reporting will be personal actions the listener can take but there will be no comforting tickbox list for this. Each conversation is unique, each potential action will be personal to the individuals within the dynamic and, remember, the chances of the listener failing to effect the necessary abuse-reduction are likely to be equally high as well. Nevertheless, it is this – deep listening followed by action – that makes the difference for me personally. It is this that marks the turning point – where I step away from the edge and begin the return journey to life because someone changed their actions as a result of mine. Someone did something they would otherwise not have done because of me. The change maybe minute but it is no less valuable for that. Sometimes what is done fails and I turn again to face the abyss but this time I know there is one more person trying to change the situation with me. I am no longer alone because another is facing down the problem and I want to help them as much, if not more, than I want to help me. If I do die, then my companion at the edge of the abyss will have more evidence to show they were right and the perpetrators of the abuse were wrong. As far as I am concerned, this is a win-win situation for all of us because, with each additional person ‘getting it’, at least we build the hope that the problem of abuse can be changed.

The road back from the suicidal abyss is very long, slow and painful for everyone involved. It has to be taken step by step. The kind of change I demand, as I confront and challenge my abusers, needs to be effected by as many people as possible for it to work. The long-term abuse of ‘helpless’ people by those with power to behave otherwise is not just wrong, it’s a crime against humanity. It’s a crime whether it’s perpetrated by those at the top or those who follow their orders and if that’s the world society wants me to dwell within, it can fuck off. I refuse. It will be over my dead body before I consent to such an arrangement because it breaks the law and I am a desister.

Is my strategy effective? Well, considering that I have been using it for nearly twelve years and I’m not dead yet, it would seem that it might. All I would say is that I’m sick of having to live on the edge of this abyss whilst so many of my peers are tumbling in through a lack of understanding how this dynamic works.  Perhaps, for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, my contribution might make enough of a difference that it saves the lives of some of my peers because, in a world ruled by increasing and unrelenting criminal abuse, it is quite evident that the wrong somethings and someones are dying.

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#DearCJSprofessionals We seem to have a very serious problem

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A few weeks ago, I had this idea about tweeting #DearDVPolice as a social media exercise in communication between police and public on the difficult subject of domestic violence. As you can see, from this blogpost (only just now un-password protected), I took the matter further because I have an interest in improving understanding between problem-solvers and those experiencing problems. The idea took off but soon belly-flopped when it got to @CollegeOfPolice, who leaped from huge enthusiasm to complete silence within a single afternoon. This was probably attributable to one of the many negative social labels I carry. Still, I gave them a couple of weeks to see if they’d get their act together and then said I was thinking of unprotecting the blog. “Go ahead” came the response “we welcome all kinds of ideas” as if they had never heard from me before. I felt as though I was dealing with “Dumb and dumber” because this behaviour lacked any real insight into the way women use the social media. It’s worth exploring this possibility again simply because results elsewhere have shown them to be effective.

From my CJS perspective, as a desister, there seem to be two schools of thought within the system at the moment. The first one – the school to which I belong – seeks to improve CJS ‘community relations’ from all sides. This includes identifying the problems, which leads to problem-solving whatever (or whoever) is getting in the way of effective lawful social solutions. For the purposes of this blog, I would confirm the existence of highly competent professionals across the entire CJS who adopt a similar approach. I’ve met them. They rarely have a problem with my desistance perspective because my intention is for the community to benefit. They are the most refreshing people you could wish to meet even though most say there is little they can do personally but tend to forget how powerful just listening can be.

The second learning mindset – this “School for Dumb and Dumber” – is the catalyst for this blog because it’s short-sighted approach is raising some very serious moral and ethical issues for the whole CJS, particularly in its attitudes to women. Bringing these out into the open where everyone can see them does, at the very least, define the problem because victims have the experience of how this system either failed or succeeded for them.

With regard to the issue of on-line abuse of women, the ‘second school’ is now making its attitudes very plain. What ‘Dumb and Dumber’ forget is that their ‘public policy’ now sets a social ‘standard’ of what is acceptable in the eyes of their ‘law’. The consequence produces a ‘virtual’ social sanction which permits the social-media abuse of women, both individually and collectively, and which completely ignores any evidence of the harm this ‘policy’ is actually causing the victims. In the matter of on-line bullying and stalking, the School of Dumb and Dumber transform the UK social media into a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to graphically abuse women until they are ‘dead’ or in hiding and to collude with blaming victims who object to it. Please bear in mind that the distinctions between on-line and real death are now extremely blurred – we already have a death count for this stuff. Whilst the prohibition of psychological torture is recognised as absolute in human rights law, its standard is not being applied by those responsible for UK law enforcement within the social media. With each failure to contain the problem, the danger of lethal violence towards women grows in real life with the end result of this ‘public policy’ can be measured by the death toll.

There are people in the CJS who understand this but I’m not sure you quite ‘get’ just how serious it has become – not yet, anyway. This ‘blockage’ seeks to systematically silence the abused whilst letting the abusers off the hook. The way around the problem is to remove it for the victims by enabling them to talk to you directly. Some stuff will be uncomfortable to hear; some may leave professionals feeling defensive but if we’re willing to give it a try I think we all might learn a very great deal in the process, particularly as to whether some CJS policy decisions can be reasonably regarded at lawful.

I’d like us to start having a conversation about what we can do to put a stop to what is going on here because I suspect this School of Dumb and Dumber are now way over a legal line they were never supposed to cross.

#Desistance belongs to us, not ‘professionals’!

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This post was first published on ex-offender.co.uk

If there’s one thing that really gets my goat about the Criminal Justice System as a whole, it’s the constant theft of goodness from those who provide them with their living. To listen to some of the ‘dedicated professionals’ sell their idea of what they ‘do’ for us criminals, you’d think a lot of them had been awarded sainthoods. Funny how the saintliest often looked very different close up. As any prisoner will confirm – and so do the courts – there are criminals on both sides of the door. Just because someone has keys or the social authority to incarcerate others, it does not automatically follow that their behaviour is anything a dedicated professional desister would choose to do.

Let’s get one thing clear. There exist truly dedicated and professional Criminal Justice professionals. I know because I have met them and, at some point in our contact, I was put under serious and unprofessional pressure by one or more of their colleagues and we dealt with the problem together. These were people with whom I forged rehabilitative alliances during my sentence and the mark of their professionalism was that they allowed me to teach them. I don’t believe I ever abused the privilege because it would have sabotaged years of dedicated work that began about 10 seconds after my wounding-with-intent offence. When my sentence was complete, I began my own professional desistance programme.

My desistance has everything and nothing to do with the CJS. It has nothing to do with it because my choice is my own – it is my choice as a free woman. I do it to a professional standard because my free choice has everything to do with the CJS. When I was banged up on the woman’s wing of HMP Durham at the height of the suicides, the Wing Governor told me my disciplinary standards were too high for the wing. Not, he hastened to add, that he disagreed with me. From what I could see, he did his best in one of the most corrupt places I have ever had the misfortune to dwell in. I arrived with the label ‘trouble-maker’ and retained it whilst resident there because the conditions were so bad. The way the women were treated was nothing short of criminal in some instances and it didn’t surprise me so many were dying. That the conditions that closed F Wing down continue to exist elsewhere in the Women’s Estate, even after Corston, says a very great deal about the ‘rehabilitation’ standards of the CJS as a whole.

Even though ‘you’ have been informed, we see no change in either your attitude or behaviour towards women prisoners. These are women who have already experienced systematic abuse; you’ve been told you’re abusing them; you’ve been told to stop. Nothing has changed, has it? It’s not so much a case of recidivism – you didn’t even try to ‘go straight’! The present CJS cannot deliver rehabilitation because it doesn’t know how. It’s a part of the problem and I’m sick of it’s evasions, avoidances and lack of responsibility.

When I see Probation, and its hatchlings, colonizing the word ‘Desistance’ it affects me in the same way as the sound of nails across a blackboard. There are individual Probation staff – usually working at the coal-face – who appreciate some of the points I make but, for the most part, “dedicated professional Probation Officers” cannot hear a word I say. They have appropriated the ‘good’ and dumped all their shadowy behaviour onto me. Calling me ‘vexatious’, after I complained about their attitude problem towards me. It’s why I sacked them when I was an offender.. No-one is as bad as I was painted on my first recall and it helps to have their bigotry in writing when I explain why I can’t work with Probation.

Looking through the ex-offender website blogs, what struck me was the level of contained anger in the posts. Here I add mine. The effect this anger has on me means that I become a ‘law-nazi’ – similar to a grammar-nazi. My anger is focused on those who break the rules. All those public officials who think its OK to lie – especially those employed within the CJS. That HMP Durham’s Suicide Prevention Officer always prefaced his information with “I do not believe in lying to prisoners” says a great deal about that officer’s professionalism and even more about his colleagues. The CJS can turn a mirror on its own behaviour before it can make any claim about its ability to rehabilitate anyone else. When it comes to desistance, the CJS is not playing in the premier league anymore.

Desistance belongs to those the CJS presently look down on – folk like me. It’s our way of proving you wrong about a whole lot of things. For me, desistance means that I can outdo each and any professional within the CJS because I know the whole system and your knowledge comes only in bits and pieces. Desistance is showing you – in word, deed and intention – just how little you know and how small-minded you have become. Desistance is me saying to ‘you’ that you can judge me when you’ve lived what I lived through; learned what I’ve learned; know what I know; and can do what I do. Desistance will be on MY terms; to MY agenda: with MY level of personal discipline; and if you want to learn, you can pay me to teach you. Desistance belongs to desisters. If you want to know about it, you talk to us and you treat us as equals with professional levels of respect. Anything less renders a CJS professional unfit for desistance work.

Desistance isn’t just a challenge for the criminal – desistance challenges society. Desisters choose not to break the law – how many of society can claim the same thing as they fiddle their expenses or lie on their tax return? Desistance is the ethical and moral challenge – from those you choose to call ‘unforgiven criminals’ – because our attitude, behaviour and outlook is demonstrably better than your own for the most part, especially given the challenges that beset us. Our failings are proof of humanity and there are only a few of you who manage to be as honest about yourselves as we are about us.

Ultimately, desistance is about forgiveness. There are all kinds of forgiveness and many different ways to forgive but it has to be earned. To make a bid for forgiveness, there first has to be a ‘sin’ to forgive – no sin, no forgiveness, and no learning discernment. In terms of desistance, it seems to me that parts of the CJS have yet to acknowledge that they have even sinned. At some point they’re going to have to acknowledge their behaviour… or change careers. Not my problem anymore – I left that kind of irresponsible behaviour behind me a long time ago. The CJS has some considerable catching up to do.

Personally, I think desistance could catch on. You know, a bit like the legend of the Danes who all wore Stars of David in solidarity with their Jews when the Nazis invaded Denmark. Anyone can be a desister from crime, especially today. We could all desist from disrespecting or devaluing other people for starters. Desisters are honest – we’re upfront about who we are and we’ve come up the hard way. If you find us angry and cynical, we’ve got good reason. We’re tired of dealing with thieves, liars and incompetents and, if I have anything to do with it, we’re about ready to show you the parts of us you have been refusing to see.

For all those who are tempted to perceive my previous sentence as threatening, on the bigotted grounds of my past criminality, I would ask this: what is it about applying the law equally and fairly to everyone that frightens you? Have you got something to hide?

Desistance and the Path of Blame

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A Female Whirling Dervish In Capadocia by RicardMN Photography

A Female Whirling Dervish In Capadocia
by RicardMN Photography

 

Hazrat Alim Azimi made me irritated, which caused me to examine my irritation, to trace its source. Alim Azimi made me angry, so that I could feel and transform my anger. Alim Azimi allowed himself to be attacked, so that people could see the bestiality of his attackers and not join with them. He showed us the strange, so that the strange became commonplace and we could realise what it really is.

Idries Shah: “The Dermis Probe”

Some forty years ago, when I was learning how to use my intellect, a woman friend told me I thought backwards. It’s a very strange thing to hear when we’re only nineteen and I’m grateful she elaborated on her opinion. She said that when a question is asked, I appeared to know the answer in an instant but I had to think backwards to the question to find out how I got there. In the intervening years, her insight has served me well because it is quite true and describes my intuitive experience of being Sagittarian.

Some years later, when I was learning to become a psychotherapist, I discovered there was another way to gain knowledge and understanding. Mostly, in contemporary society, learning is thought to come from without, to be ‘taken-in’ by the mind – our ‘upside-down’ education system is a very good example of this model. However, I was learning the language of the emotions. In this model, it is the feeling that arrives first, thought comes afterwards. It is only once we have explored these feelings that the knowledge and wisdom contained within them makes itself understood to the mind. In ordinary life, more often than not, emerging feelings are judged as mad, bad and dangerous by minds afraid of learning from the unknown, yet the lessons gained are worth every discomfort. I can attest to the truth of this wisdom because it well describes my Water-ruled birthchart.

The last lesson I learned, when starting out on my shamanic path, was to trust the promptings of my heart in any given situation and act on them, no matter how mad, bad or dangerous those actions might appear to be to either myself or others. What I discovered, when I did this, was that the spiritual wisdom suffusing my actions came later. It’s a very slow way of learning – this experiential path – but once the lesson is learned it becomes a part of me that I can trust deeply in any future situation. This methodology is described by my Moon in Taurus on 11th/12th house cusp.

In a world where many do not understand these processes, these lessons helped me realise that I have always educated myself this way. My thoughts, feelings and deeds have nearly always got me into trouble in one way or another. I suspect that it was only as a result of being with people who, in their own way, understood me that I didn’t wind up in prison sooner. With my backwards, downside-up, experiential, feminine personal reality dwelling within a forwards, upside-down masculine world insisting that I fit into its ideas of me, becoming ‘criminal’ seems almost inevitable. I am reminded of Faith Whittlesea’s remark: “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.”

It was whilst in prison that I discovered there was a ‘school’ of spiritual wisdom that used a similar technique which could also explain my actions. It comes from the Sufi and is called “The Malamati Technique“. This is how Idries Shah describes it in his book, “The Dermis Probe”:

  • to allow oneself to be attacked to dramatise the situation.
  • to incur reproach to illustrate its absurdity, or the shallowness of the attacker, or the superficiality of the assumptions of the audience
  • to incur blame for a higher purpose.

I am not Sufi and this blog is not a Sufi teaching. I am a contemporary, white-western-cultured shaman who is walking my own path and, needs must, am dependent upon existing spiritual world knowledge to correct my mistakes. This shaman deeply grateful to Sufism for sharing their wisdom because the understanding I have drawn from their lessons has proven to be a reliable anchor during storms at sea. My deep gratitude, too, to the Sufis who thought to share this wisdom freely with prisoners by placing it in prison libraries.The following is an example of how I put my understanding into practice:-

 

Recently, I was asked to help in a difficult situation and engaged the Malamati Technique in order to deal with the behaviour of this man. I was seeking to elicit the upside-down ideas pertaining to a deeply emotional situation and I gather the twitter results were as informative as I had hoped for. Having been supported to work through some the feelings I was expressing in order to understand them (downside-up learning), I am better able to return to this lesson in desistance and perhaps take it to its next stage. But first, it is important for me to reflect upon my actions so far.

 

If I view my blogpost “Attitudes towards Women in the Criminal Justice System” from the upside-down view, I probably look like a crazy, emotionally-manipulative female whining about something only real men understand. The judgment will be made about the ‘sorry-for-myself’ complaints and it is likely the suicidal ideation will be seen as a made-up story that does not hold any truth to it. “People who don’t know you may get the wrong impression” said some feedback, which was filed under ‘extremely useful’, alongside the implied threat of libel. I can live with this because the conclusions are based on a false premise. It’s false because there were some things I chose to leave out of the blog at the time. These were excluded because I was concerned that my actual confrontation might be harmful to innocent others and I wanted to make sure that those responsible for public protection were aware of the problem. As a desister, I have a social responsibility to ensure that my actions are not harmful to witnesses and we were already in a harmful situation. In addition, those who believe my suicidal ideations are manipulative need to take a look at my deeper reasons because these are not as they first appear either.

 

 

This blog is a lesson in desistance. True desistance is transparent. We don’t hide anything we do unless there is good reason, yet there comes a time when we must come clean. So here is the unedited exchange of tweets between @Prison_Screw and myself.

 

FireShot Screen Capture #074 - 'Twitter _ Prison_Screw_ @wildwalkerwoman hello my twitter ___' - twitter_com_Prison_Screw_status_372487098898857984

There is always a very grave danger in thinking our personal beliefs about ourselves or others is accurate. Unless we test our beliefs for veracity, they can sometimes come back to bite us.

To make us invisible for, to the man of the world, ‘visibility’ means that you are looking like something or someone he expects you to resemble. If you look different, your true nature becomes invisible to him.”

                                                               Idries Shah: “The Dermis Probe”

To understand desistance is to understand that there are some behaviours a true desister simply does not do – it’s an essence that belongs to the decision to desist, no matter how imperfect that individual might be. To be a desister is to trust that ours is always going to be backwards, downside-up and experiental world because it’s the only way we learn about compassion, mercy, kindness, humility and the need, on occasions, to put ourselves in danger for the sake and safety of endangered others.

If my reading of this man is correct, the information in this blog-post will be new to him, so his reaction will be fresh. What he does is of no interest to me whatsoever – this is about teaching the essence of desistance. For those who wish to observe, it is important to remember that this particular confrontation occurred several days ago in my reality. Although I’m not certain how my heart might react (my physical body seems fully aware of the danger given the number of times I’m having to use the Glyceril Trinitrate spray for my heart pains), my emotional responses are well worked through and my intuition says that if the Spirit I Serve wants me to stay alive, I will. Issues of life and death belong to ‘God’ – my issue is how I live the life I have and this seems to be as good a reason to die as any I’ve come across so far. Desisters learn from their knowledge and experience and I’m clearly still on my own path to learning, as well as taking up my responsibilities as a teacher of desistance. Let the avenues of learning unfold as they may.

For those wishing to observer, consider the following question: how well is this man practicing his knowledge of peace and reconciliation.

The transformation of Gunn – nicknamed Ben many years ago when he had a long beard – to a balding, middle-aged man has been captured in a portrait recently drawn by a fellow prisoner and sent out in the mail. The scholarly air is heightened by a short beard and Gandhi-style glasses. No surprise, then, to hear that he has used his time in prison to gain a BSc (Hons) and a master’s degree in peace and reconciliation. Gunn’s dedication to the cause of peace stems, he says, from the need to explore “why I had done the terrible thing that brought me to prison, and to repair the parts of my personality that had clearly broken down”. His soft vocal tones still carry a hint of his Welsh upbringing.

                                                                Eric Allison – 2009

“We may think we are wise, but nothing can be put into a full pot”: Saadi

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The Loveliest Compliment I’ve Ever Received

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Thank you again for your honesty. I drove to work this morning not thinking about all the ‘stuff’ I had to do today but instead thinking about what you have written and what I can change about how I work to make it a positive and useful experience for those I work with. Your insight is of immense value and I hope you know that.

 

Can you imagine knowing someone who could evoke such words from you or, more, being the someone they are written to. It takes my breath away because it’s everything I hope for. I am deeply honoured to have been a part this creation.

 

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Attitudes towards Women within the Criminal Justice System

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Warning: Suicide and other PTSD triggers

 

When I was a prisoner, there were times when the atmosphere on the wing – or sometimes even throughout the entire prison itself – would become so toxic that I’d bang myself in my pad. There were times when I actually asked wing staff to bang me in so I could get away from it. I may be a battler but there are times when all I want to do is get away because my own mental health can’t take anymore. This worked but only to a certain extent.

 

A toxic atmosphere in prison as always very loud and nearly always violent. These are the times when the riot bell keeps going off until I no longer have to ask to be banged in – we all end up on lock-down because it’s the only way the staff can cope. Whilst there are always ‘screws’ in prisons, I was always grateful to the authentic professionals because they dealt with the worst kind of behaviour human beings can display. It may have taken time but it got sorted and those of us who simply wanted to get on with doing our time were able to with some degree of civilisation.

 

Mind you, there were times when even lock-down was a nightmare. Prisoners can still be loud and violent, even if they’re alone in their own pad. Flooding the cell, smashing up the fixtures and fittings, smashing TV’s, playing loud music, shouting at other prisoners, shouting at the staff and simply just shouting. The violence in the atmosphere would trigger self-harming and suicidal ideation amongst those of us with mental health problems, which meant that the pressure doubled on the staff. It could take days to sort out, which meant that if I was feeling suicidal or in need of support, I often had to wait as long for assistance to arrive. I often found myself caught between my own needs and the needs of those who were resolving the problem, simply because I was grateful that they were. My crimes had occurred because no-one stepped in to stop what was happening. I learned, in prison, the behaviour that would set the riot bell off. I learned that, in a healthy community, there were some attitudes that were simply not tolerated and which would incur sanctions if the individual persisted. Through the complaints procedures, I made certain this was applied to both prisoner or staff which was not difficult – staff are lawfully obliged, under Prison Rules, to set a good example too. All I wanted, when the prisoners went FUBAR, was for the Prison Rules to be applied fairly and equally to everyone. That’s not because I want to be particularly authoritarian because I believe some rules need to be broken; I wanted the Rules applied because, when they were, peace broke out. It meant we could get on with making life bearable. I lived on long-term sentence wings for the most part and, in peace-time, we could get our chores done – cleaning, washing, cooking and hanging out together. In peace-time, the staff were able to have conversations with their ‘no-bother’ prisoners that weren’t just about the emotional fall-out living with ‘prisoners-at-war’. We could remember we were human beings together instead of ‘just-doings’.

 

The reason I tell this story is because I’ve just come through a prisoner-inspired shitstorm. This one I wasn’t able to step away from, so I ended up doing exactly what I did in prison. I reported what I was seeing to those who hold positions of ‘authority’, both prisoners and ‘staff’. Because this kicked off outside prison, ‘staff’ in this instance were people who know what it is to hold authority within the criminal justice system that happen to be part of my twitter community, and particularly who have responsibility for enforcing either rules or law in person. I ‘spoke’ to both prison and police officers, together with one leader outside enforcement – none of them had any personal authority to act but they do know how to listen and I needed someone to hear me. In prison parlance, my counsellor put me on an ACTT last Friday. I hadn’t realised that this benefits torture stuff I’m experiencing had gone so deep but I’m way inside my Red Zone and the meter is still rising. I know about the ACTT because she did something afterwards that showed her concern for me and I’m very grateful to her for that. It validates how I’m feeling. The only other time I’ve experienced this has been in prison. An ACTT, for those who don’t know what I mean, is a suicide watch, which can range from four times a day to constant observation – I’ve been on every scale. What the procedure did, in my experience – (I think I’d probably be on around 15 min obs if this was an ACTT) – was to ‘concern’ the professional officers and, again, it showed in what they did.

 

I am so grateful that in this latter-day woman’s jail I find myself in, on an ACTT, the ‘procedure’ still seems work.

 

FireShot Screen Capture #074 - 'Twitter _ Prison_Screw_ @wildwalkerwoman hello my twitter ___' - twitter_com_Prison_Screw_status_372487098898857984

 

That kind of brief check brings a visit afterwards because I’m not only feeling suicidal, I’m expressing fear too. Fear usually comes after I’ve done something that challenges the thinking process of so-called ‘authority’ and attracted some inappropriate or unprofessional comment from a ‘screw’. The screws learned, the hard way, to treat me with respect but there are always those who don’t want to learn. Someone has to stop them but it comes at a very hard price for those who try – ask a prison officer. It means they can hear me when I say I just can’t take anymore and unless this energy stops, women are going to start dying. We’re already cutting up.

 

My friends are expressing concern for me but I appear to have fallen out with quite a few people who didn’t quite appreciate that I really do make up our my mind and reserve my right to strongly disagree with them. They are disagreeing with my conscience and, if their behaviour is being socially condoned, being behind my door seems like a wise place to be. I need to talk because this is how women work through their problems and I am a woman. I refuse to be silenced when, as a desister, I see a very serious problem concerning public protection that isn’t being dealt with.

 

If trigger behaviour like that of Ben Gunn (which involved these women – here, here and was complicated by this ) had occurred in prison, we’d all be heading into deep shit because, in the words of my bestest prison officer friend IRL, ‘the lunatics are running the asylum’. I’ve been told to leave this bloke alone by a number of people but, you know what, they can fuck off now. I’m not going to play this game even if it kills me!

 

As a desister, I want to register a formal complaint with the entire Criminal Justice system about this! Why isn’t his behaviour being reined in? It wouldn’t be permitted on the wings! This is deliberately provocative behaviour and I’m appalled that anyone is colluding with it! Could we please remember what often happens to these so-called ‘predatory’ 13 year olds after a middle-aged man has finished with his statutory-rape fantasies about her! Let’s have some fucking reality in here!!!

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/30/prisonsandprobation.mentalhealth

http://www.newstatesman.com/alan-white/2012/11/women-are-suffering-prison

http://www.howardleague.org/francescrookblog/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system

 

What is this? I hear a great deal about his ‘rights’ but whatever they consist of, they are inhuman to women like me. The Criminal Justice system has been told about this time and time again, and you are still not listening! Let’s have a discussion about who actually HAS any Human Rights in this situation. I haven’t ‘spoken’ to a single woman who agrees with his views about us. When we step out to object to his deeply disrespectful and offensive behaviour, we are subjected to the most appalling responses. Any woman who approves of what he’s been doing is in an absolute minority – we’ve all told him and I bet he’s still not listening (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know – I’m just dealing with the impact this is having on me – I’m on an ACTT, remember).

 

Do you know the thing that worries me the most? It’s this: I’m being told that there are political reasons why this “*removed under threat of libel*” ** seems to be untouchable – I question the standards of anyone involved in such an arrangement and I question them as a desister. I have no doubt that the man has buried himself deeply into the CJS changes going on at the moment and, as a woman, I have the strongest objections possible to that continuing. Not after this. Given his publicly proclaimed ideas about my ENTIRE GENDER his contribution could only worsen conditions for women prisoners. This is why I object so strongly and will not be silenced. Aren’t the women already in the CJS, or caught the aftermath in this concentration camp of a society, suffering enough for you already? How dare any of you point to this criminal as some kind of model of rehabilitation! I don’t give a fuck if he ‘doesn’t know any better ‘cos its environmental damage’. That’s absolute bollocks! I know ex-cons from far more hardened criminal backgrounds who do desistance – they wouldn’t dream of treating me this way. Neither would any of the other authentic CJS professionals! We treat each other with respect even if we can’t stand each other to begin with. I much prefer respect because it continues working in the worst kind of places.

 

In a place like this, the very best staff listened and made up their own minds – we were allowed to tell it like it is, not have to spout some misogynist fantasy. Ben makes out this is the old sex war stuff and what a hero he is. Bollocks! What kind of hero sides with a convicted rapist? Every hero or heroine I’ve ever met is looking out for the victim but is willing, with conditions, to allow sinners to repent – which is desistance in a nutshell. And every quality prison officer knows the procedure for dealing with bigots and bullies – which does not include staying on normal location. Not unless the lunatics are running the asylum.

 

I know I’m going to be hated for this but you know what? Each time I’ve done something like this in the past, the people I wanted to help often told me how grateful they were that I did. I know exactly what kind of prisoner I’m dealing with in this man – he likes hurting people – they come in all genders and they are the ‘few’ women that need to remain in prison as a matter of public protection. I’m not involved in a sex war – I go after women who do this too. He won’t change because he doesn’t want to – he’ll always hold these opinions – and this is the man ‘politics’ is making untouchable? Whoever is involved with this has no business in the Criminal Justice system unless they can wake up and see whats going on here. How dare this man have any traction or influence within the CJS? And exactly what else is being condoned because, one thing is for certain, its got nothing to do with public protection! Not if half the population have to tolerate this level of disrespect and no behavioural sanctions are being imposed!

 

Perhaps it might be worth remembering that the UK is being told – by EVERYONE – that it’s treatment of women is already breaking Human Rights law. This is how it is done – by giving abusers the power to abuse and not stopping them. I think what is occurring here is hate crime.

 

If you could see a way out of this – my fucking ‘reality’ – do let me know because I’m damned if I choose to live with this. And that’s my own moral and ethical judgment as a desister. And I choose to be ‘banged-in’ about it because that’s what desistance is all about.

 

And the biggest thank you to every prison officer who ever caught me in this frame of mind and managed to get me laughing after I’d ranted and so I could remember to cry. This stuff is so hard on every single dimension. It hits me physically, emotionally and instinctively. It makes me hyper-sensitive, touchy, with very sharp claws that I have to use very wisely – in the face of abuse and abusers, we have to be so fucking perfect because they’re so fucking not.

 

Oh, and if anyone wants to check if Ben Gunn’s knowledge about women is reality-based or merely carved out of a bar of prison soap, get him to write about me. He knows exactly who I am. Get him to tell you about this woman and then you can really get to choose which reality you want to live in.

 

Oh, and I’ve already bagsed the Lawful one in the name of desisters everywhere!

 

 

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**

I notice how quickly the world comes in to edit me. As a woman, I believe I can justify the phrase I used in fact, which then makes it fair comment. As a desister, I will take the advice as a way of demonstrating my ability to learn and correct my behaviour. I’m sure I am as regretful, in this instance, as the man is himself – I would suggest he be very careful with his thoughts though. They can kill.

 

Reflections on living with #FootInMouth Disorder

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It’s a feeling I’ve known all my life – it’s called ‘Me and my Big Mouth’. It’s an all too familiar experience: I say something back and suddenly the ‘group hum’ around me falls into silence, whilst I get a ‘well-meaning’ shhhh or “you’re not supposed to say/do/think that” from someone who thinks they’re only in the audience. Well, what’s done is done and I need to honour the woman who did it.

 

It was an interesting experience – going back to re-read it the first time. All I could see was my own racism but then I would be surprised if it wasn’t there – it was a part of the becoming-conscious zeitgeist of the generation I was born into. Rosa Parkes refused to move to the back of the bus a week before my first birthday. It means I was raised as both a part of the problem but with the Spirit of Refusal still powerful in my country. We said No to fascism in the same way we said no to racism in our minds but failed to see that it forms a part of who we – my generation BRar4ZWCQAISl7Y– are. Every generation is time-limited in what we can deal with. I see it very clearly in my own mother as her intolerance levels increase and, now, as I see my own increase too. It is a painful experience but it is not insurmountable.

 

The group process I sought to interrupt by my intervention contains no possibility of redemption or forgiveness. NO human being has the ‘right’ to create an energy devoid of these qualities because to do so is to usurp and corrupt the Law of the Sacred. It does not matter what colours are in play here – this Law holds True in every authentic expression of the Divine I have ever had the privilege to meet, atheism included. I don’t have a problem with withholding or putting provisos on how we – as humans – earn that forgiveness. I do have a problem with unforgiving behaviour – regardless of who is indulging in it. I will not tolerate it with silence – this is why I speak. All I speak is my own personal truth – let others speak for themselves.

 

I am more than happy to ‘check my white privileges‘ – as more than one commenter has already suggested. So tell me: now that I’ve confessed my sins, which way does pathway to redemption lie? What do I have to do to redeem myself? And what does it say about your ‘demands’ if all I can do to achieve this is to cease my existence? There is always a path to redemption in a mentally healthy world – even atheists know that. Those who disagree with me are free to do so in my reality but they also have to leave me alone with my own opinions. I am willing to agree to disagree. I’m more than willing to learn but I find that ability is becoming more difficult as I grow into becoming the past – I’m sure I can ‘book’ myself another lifetime where I get to learn this stuff properly. At the moment, I’m stuck with what

Margaret Beckett - the invisible woman

Margaret Beckett – the invisible woman

I’ve been able to achieve so far. I know I’m only at the beginning but placing me in a projection that allows no path to redemption – a Catch-22 – is not on in my reality. If that is exercising ‘white privilege’ then it’s about time the other Colours of the Medicine Shield caught up with the privileges of their own colours. There are honourable women in all colours – I know because I’ve met you – and there seems to be a consensus amongst the wisest that adding more racism to an already bubbling pot will not cure the problem.

 

No I’m not the way you think I ‘ought’ to be. I’m the way I am when I’m doing my best to make room for new ideas in an aging mind. I judge myself fairly close to death at the present time – whether that ‘death’ be physical or circumstantial – so I place few fetters on what I ‘permit’ myself to say. I might as well go to my death speaking my truth – however ‘wrong’ other people think I might be. The comments arriving on my blog cannot reflect the whole of me – a part of the projection will be accurate. There is a lot I have left to evolve. But the rest? These are reflections of the speaker – these people don’t know me. We are a mixed bag of ‘truths’ – it is what we extrapolate from those ‘truths’ that I question.

 

BQqr0iKCAAA4_XQI’m not talking to those who don’t want to hear me. The world is a big enough place for us to co-exist together, or it ought to be. It isn’t. I’m all for growing the relationship between us but I don’t have to listen to abuse. Abuse is where there is no forgiveness. Whilst there maybe some truth in the need to express how we feel about the experiences we have been subject to, that does not earn us the privilege of abusing others unless it’s for learning purposes only. To abuse for it’s own sake is a hate crime – I have to oppose hate crime, even if I’m the one you are hating. Somewhere in the mob you assemble around me are people capable of waking up. Those are the sisters I’m talking to – and it’s their free choice whether they choose to listen, just as it is their free choice whether they choose to forgive me. This is what haters try to control. They tell us there is only one way to think and we must all agree with them or cease to exist. This is an envious attack. The only answer to envy is gratitude.

 

So, I am grateful to this group process for being such familiar ground as I reflect on BQYSD-wCAAAfdU6the outcome of my foot-in-mouth experience. I have been attacked in this way all my life and I’ve learned that the way to survive it is to be true to myself and what wisdom I can fund for myself in the moment. All I have left is myself. If I am being informed that the only contribution I can make to life is by ceasing to exist – something I have been ‘told’ many times – then this belief needs to be tested. I apologise for your inconvenience but the Great Spirit doesn’t seem to be willing to oblige you. This means I have as much ‘right’ to exist as you. It doesn’t make me ‘better’ but it certainly doesn’t make me worse. If you expect me to collude with yet another power game, you’ve chosen the wrong woman. I don’t agree with you. Now lets see if you can leave me alone. I’ll continue reflecting on my experience and you do whatever it is that is right for you. We met – we taught – we parted. I am very grateful for the lesson because it has enabled me to discover whether some of my old emotional pathways still worked.

 

Often women – all women – are forced into positions where we must carry the consequences of the ‘shadow’ of others. That is what I think this eruption of woman power is about. Responsibility must return to those who are responsible and mutual responsibility begins with mutual respect – regardless of the human being we are dealing with. Nevertheless, we are all emerging from a highly abusive human system and the vast majority of us have been damaged by it in some way or another. It is said, among suicides, that it is not the psyche that wishes to die, it is that the Soul wishes some aspect of Life to die. To perform an act of suicide is to 486106_343164372454404_1533168654_nturn our killer instinct upon ourselves, so I am familiar with this aspect of myself. For those who can sense my killer instinct at work now, please understand this. When it comes to racism – or any kind of bigotry – it’s the system that causes it I want dead; not people. Turning our killer instinct on others only exacerbates our collective problems. If you want my dead body to crow your success over, go ahead! Have it! But you’ll have to join the end of the queue. I’ll die when I’m supposed to die but, whilst I’m still here, I’ve had it with people trying to hurry that process along. It’s a murderous intention and I will have no part of it.

 

The walk across the fields of my emotions back to the light, after an envious attack, always begins with me feeling like a lone survivor in a nuked city. There is nothing left standing or alive, apart from myself. All my emotional nerve-endings are laid bare and, as a child, I could find myself abandoned in this emotional wilderness for long periods of time. The world I learned to inhabit was as monochrome as the TV’s I grew up with. Apart from a very brief experience of ‘life in colour’, I didn’t learn how to leave this world until I was thirty and went into therapy. Over the seventeen years that followed – in both individual and group therapy – I learned that the way back to life is through balance. My internal or psychic devastation is caused by the impact of an idea that I have no worth or that I have committed some heinous and unforgivable sin. The very fact that the idea has impacted upon me actually proves this ‘idea’ false – it is a paradox. Only those capable of walking in balance – no matter how out of balance we may be when this idea-projectile hits – have this experience. Those who launch such ideas are apparently unaffected by them, so utterly convinced are they of their own ‘rightness’. This is what is known as self-righteousness – the inability to BPkBnxwCYAAiAvHperceive and/or repression of another’s viewpoint. True righteousness is only understood through behaviour – self-righteousness is an idea that we know better than other people. Those who are able to experience the devastation caused by ‘cease-to-exist’ ideas are not the problem. What gets shattered is the onset of growth – the shattering represents the ‘death’ experience – we can emerge changed. The real problem, however, is that many don’t because they believe the lie. People who are forced to live in such ideas or ‘memes’ die early, in my experience, because they can’t find their way back to the light. This is what concerns me.

 

In a world that consists of true Love, the shattering caused by ideas that we have no worth must be challenged because they are lies. This is not true. It is not even true in Hell. Our path back to our new wholeness is paved by everything we have said or done on the way into the experience. It doesn’t matter who we are. As far as tumblr_m7f5b0Rgak1qz4d4bo1_500I know, this applies to everyone but for any of us genuinely affected by idea that we have no worth, the way back is through evidence. What evidence can we produce that the heart of this missile in ourselves is a lie? We’re not trying to reach perfect – that’s not possible in my reality – we’re trying to reach ‘good enough’ – the point of balance. This is my way of doing it and it works.

 

Demand, from the ‘voices’ that attack you, that they tell you something good about yourself. If they can’t – they are bigotted and it is reasonable for you to ignore them. Until they can produce evidence of your worth, then they are attacking your existence. Look for evidence in the behaviour of your existence for the truth. Whilst our beliefs don’t have to be true for anyone else but ourselves, the measure of our true worth lies in our behaviour. We’re looking for evidence that we know how to learn from our mistakes. If the evidence is there, then watch for signs of growth to lead you out of the devastation to where your heart needs to take you. Don’t be afraid to own your mistakes – they are our greatest teachers – they are both our way in and our way out because we live them. Our mistakes balance our ‘good’ with our humanity.

 

These pathways may not work for everyone – these are the ones that work for me. They remind me that no matter what other people may think, what’s important is my relationship with what is Sacred. Other people don’t get to define that for me. If we are at all personally responsible – we have to define it for ourselves and then live by that decision. It’s a matter of Free Will. In my reality, that means I reserve the right to disagree with hatred in whatever form it takes. Nevertheless, I strive to agree to disagree because that is a matter of mutual respect.

 

Unless more lessons come from this process, I’ll probably leave the matter here. There are more interesting opportunities for grow appearing on my horizon that could bring practical benefit to sisters in genuine need. Hopefully. they won’t mind if the offer of practical help comes from a white woman’s hand.

 

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How Bigotry Works: Stealing “Goodness”

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Every once in a while, I encounter bare-faced personal bigotry aimed at me.  In many ways, I am deeply privileged and fortunate – as a member of the White tribes  – to not experience this on a daily basis; a point made regularly by those who experience bigotry they cannot ‘hide’ from, with racism being a prime example. There’s an aspect of me that believes my complaints are anaemic by comparison. They probably are if we’re playing comparison ‘games‘ where we point-score to see who has the greatest claim to being the ‘victim’. This ‘victim-competition’ between groups often seems to me to contribute to the overall problem because it continues to frame us within the bigotry dynamic and it is this that I am trying to get a handle on. I want to understand, on my terms, exactly what is going on.

 

The advantage of my example is that, because there are clearly disturbing facts involved, it forces people to think about their attitudes and identifies those who refuse to. My example concerns bigotry towards criminals, particularly prisoners. When it turned up on my twitter timeline this morning, it looked like this:

 

FireShot Screen Capture #053 - 'Twitter _ dylanandmolly_ @Prison_Diaries @wildwalkerwoman ___' - twitter_com_dylanandmolly_status_358773050009219072

 

For those interested in the full exchange this tweet was contributing to, it can be found here. This ‘contributor’ brought with them a whole barrel-load of bigotry to a twitter conversation between a serving prisoner (with an illicit cellphone) and a former prisoner. The conversation focused mainly on our own experience, so this ‘new’ contribution was unsought yet shines a very clear light on how bigotry works within the UK prison system. For example: there is the contributor’s assumption of the reasons we were banged-up at ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure’. Despite the fact that I have no criminal convictions for murder, rape or paedophilia, here are the same old ‘charges’ because… well, you know, all prisoners are ‘bad’ so who cares about the details? In addition, the ‘contributor’ was also under the impression that s/he had been very clever in ‘outing’ us two criminals because, well, we were busy hiding our true status from our followers. S/he really ought to have checked out facts first before leaping to such conclusions, as I pointed out in my response:-

 

FireShot Screen Capture #059 - 'Twitter _ wildwalkerwoman_ _@dylanandmolly My _revelations_ ___' - twitter_com_wildwalkerwoman_status_358818656513298434

 

Whilst I may not always agree with @Prison_Diaries, one thing is for certain; neither of us disguise our status. We are upfront about our situation, so we can already begin to see the signs of bigotry from our contributor. S/he obviously thinks that s/he’s got one ‘over’ the pair of us when, in fact, the so-called ‘revelation’ is nothing new to any of our followers. In my own case, I discuss my offences and their consequences regularly because I believe these are conversations that need to occur.

 

@Prison_diaries had a longer twitter conversation with this contributor and came to the conclusion that he was probably talking to a prison screw.  ‘Screws’ are the prisoner’s pejorative term for Prison Officers who believe it is their personal mission to make our lives as miserable as possible. I’ve met quite a few on my journey through prison but I have also met those staff who are genuinely professional and have earned their title of ‘officer’. Those are the Officers who comply with Prison Rules, which clearly state the standards expected of both prisoner and officer alike:

 

Purpose of prison training and treatment

3.  The purpose of the training and treatment of convicted prisoners shall be to encourage and assist them to lead a good and useful life.

Maintenance of order and discipline

6.—(1) Order and discipline shall be maintained with firmness, but with no more restriction than is required for safe custody and well ordered community life.
(2) In the control of prisoners, officers shall seek to influence them through their own example and leadership, and to enlist their willing co-operation.
(3) At all times the treatment of prisoners shall be such as to encourage their self-respect and a sense of personal responsibility, but a prisoner shall not be employed in any disciplinary capacity.

Use of force

47.—(1) An officer in dealing with a prisoner shall not use force unnecessarily and, when the application of force to a prisoner is necessary, no more force than is necessary shall be used.
(2) No officer shall act deliberately in a manner calculated to provoke a prisoner.(my emphasis)

 

As a prisoner, I met and came to deeply respect all those Prison Officers who understood the spirit contained within these rules. With this standard of staff on duty, it was possible to meet the requirements laid upon me under Rule 6(3). With ‘screws’, however, it was not because they failed in their own responsibilities. After a while, prisoners learn to tell these staff apart because it shows up in their attitude. For example:

 

 

FireShot Screen Capture #061 - 'Twitter _ dylanandmolly_ I dislike murdering bastards_ (A lot)' - twitter_com_dylanandmolly_status_358778210794082305

This does not bode well for any lifer or IPP-sentenced prisoner, even though professional Prison staff are perfectly capable of treating prisoners with human understanding – as has been my own experience by the very best officers. If this contributor is actually working in the Prison estate, I wonder how s/he complies with Prison Rule 3.

 

Then came this:

 

FireShot Screen Capture #060 - 'Twitter _ dylanandmolly_ I dislike whining whinging ___' - twitter_com_dylanandmolly_status_358778697874014208

 

So if this were a Prison Officer on duty and I, as a prisoner, had a genuine problem, what kind of ‘extraordinary’ job would s/he do. Even an ‘ordinary’ job might be better than anything done by someone with this attitude. But I saved the best for last:-

 

 

FireShot Screen Capture #062 - 'Twitter _ dylanandmolly_ @MuslimPrisoners fuck off and ___' - twitter_com_dylanandmolly_status_358771544211718144

I wonder, from this tweet, exactly how this ‘ordinary’ person is doing an ‘extraordinary’ job. Precisely how does this comply with Prison Rules 6 or 42(b)? In fact, as far as I am aware, the Prison Service screens-out such people from their recruitment process because these screws cause far more problems than they ever solve. It is a build-up of such attitudes within prisons that eventually result in riots.

 

If the Prison Service wants me to report the good work done by Prison Officers – often in the teeth of opposition from those who regard prisoners as worthless – I would be happy to provide chapter and verse because I met many staff who truly were extraordinary but this contributor is not one of them. S/he may well have ‘reported’ @Prison_Diaries for breaking prison discipline but let’s make sure the reporting is evenly balanced because I’m not sure it is at present. Perhaps it might be worth noting that my own prison disciplinary record in prison was spotless and I never lost my enhanced IEP status over a total period of almost five years. Somehow I doubt this ‘contributor’ could manage that themselves based upon their present behavioural standards. Indeed, from my perspective, there is little difference between the attitudes expressed above and the worst of the worst prisoners I ever came across.

 

So I can take these exchanges apart to see where the problems are occurring – if  prison staff cannot model the behaviour they are demanding, they are really not in any position to complain when prisoners break rules too. Personally, I regard this contributors behaviour as provocative, which was why I blocked them. But that is not what this blog is about. This is about ‘stealing goodness’ and I wonder if it applies to all forms of bigotry but I won’t know until I ask.

 

BPsDzGGCIAAuRIcIf we accept that human beings – regardless of individuality – are a mixture of good and bad, then what seems to occur is that bigots steal ‘goodness’  by colonizing it for themselves whilst irresponsibly dumping all their own undesirable personal aspects upon the ‘object’ of their hatred.

 

Those who are hated in this way are reduced to having ‘no good in them at all’ whilst the bigots claim all the best parts for themselves. This contributor ‘dislikes murdering bastards a lot’ – clearly this is considered ‘good’ in his/her eyes because there is no hesitation in tweeting it. S/he claims to be an ‘ordinary’ person doing an ‘extraordinary’ job – I wonder if the Muslim prisoners would agree… ah, but they are “fuck-off and die ‘retards'”. Notice how even their prayers are hijacked to bolster the self-claimed ‘goodness’ of this screw.

 

To “turn away” from the “self and/or other” destructive evil impulse within ourselves and to “turn towards” and reorient ourselves towards the good is to genuinely “repent.” Repentance is the highest expression of humanity’s capacity to choose freely – it is a manifestation of the divine in humanity. Repentance is a living manifestation of the power within us to extricate ourselves from the binding power of…  the chains of endless causality that otherwise compel us to follow a path of “no return.” As Jung points out, “The sin to be repented, of course, is unconsciousness.” From the Kabbalah’s point of view, a “sinner” who “repents” is on a higher level than the saint who has never sinned.  (link)

 

tumblr_m7f5b0Rgak1qz4d4bo1_500In a civilised society, prison is a corrective measure but in an uncivilised one, it is a tool of repression. This ‘contributor’ assumes that his/her views are acceptable – why else make such remarks or comment so negatively on a conversation between two people who were sharing personal experiences of prison? The contributor is quick to implement procedures to silence @Prison_Diaries but I do wonder where they think they got the power to silence me. My sentence was spent in 2010, I haven’t reoffended and I continue to work to desistance standards even now. Yet this possibility seems to be beyond the imagination of this contributor. Indeed, I’d put my chances of rehabilitation at zero if I were ‘managed’ in this way and from this perspective. The contributor feeds his angry, jealous, greedy, resentful and inferior ego with lies and denies those s/he despises of any joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth – despite the fact that the Prison Rules themselves point in that general direction.

 

This is bigotry and, as far as I can see, it crosses all the intersections that link universal bigotry of all descriptions. Perhaps it is rooted in inferiority – it must surely be a painful place to live if the only goodness we can ascribe to ourselves has to be stolen from those who we attack, despise and look down upon. Are these people not capable of funding their own goodness by feeding their personal Good Wolf?

 

And if they can’t, then they have no business working in the criminal justice system because, until they start locking-in their own bigotry and learning what it means to rehabilitate their own attitudes, they are unfit to do the job and consequently bring the Prison Service into disrepute. Prison staff are not exempt from discipline, no matter how much our contributor may like to think otherwise:

 

Code of discipline

68.  The Secretary of State may approve a code of discipline to have effect in relation to officers, or such classes of officers as it may specify, setting out the offences against discipline, the awards which may be made in respect of them and the procedure for dealing with charges. (Prison Rules 1999)

 

Stealing goodness from others is a lazy and incompetent way of failing to live your own life. Because this goodness is stolen from those who are willing to learn – in any number of different ways – it cannot last. Our own shadow will find us out – as it appears to have done to the contributor today. It isn’t the prisoners/former prisoners who emerge from this situation looking dishonest, but a self-proclaimed ‘extraordinary’ employee of the Prison Service.

 

And we wonder why we fail at rehabilitation in this country!

 

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‘The Disability Extremist’: Choices and Consequences

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Today I find myself back in the realm of making life or death decisions regarding myself. Last Saturday, on the return journey to our coach, I think I may have overdone it. Most of the villagers who attended the Durham Miners Gala suffered aches and stiffness the following day – including me – but the exhaustion has not worn off in my case. The sensations I am presently experiencing remind me of when my heart failed last November and, at the moment, I am undecided as to what action to take.

So, No; I haven’t been to see my GP; I haven’t reported it to anyone until now (by posting this blog); and, No, I have no immediate plans to anything about how I am feeling at the moment. Of all the ‘intellectual positions’ I am capable of taking, I suspect that this is the one that frightens people the most – particularly those who care for me. Nevertheless, I will not relinquish it because, for me, it is the position of greatest ‘power’ I can hold. It is a shaman’s position and I claim to be shamanic in my spiritual practices, so the issue ought to pop up sooner or later.

This blog focuses on this ‘power spot’ and the energies I believe flow in, around and through this ‘point of choice’ – do I choose to live or die? And why? How does anyone come to this point in their lives? This is my version – perhaps it might illuminate the path that so many others find themselves upon.

The Road to the Choice between Life and Death has been a very long one for me – it’s taken a good twelve years to dig itself into my psyche with the result that, now, I’ve become very familiar with the place. The roads leading to this choice spot can be many and varied, but they all have one thing in common: the choice they offer me is, as far as I am concerned, no choice at all and I prefer death than the ‘offer’ of ‘life’ being made to me.

BOesCKQCAAEJ888The Road to this current choice began here, continued here and is culminating now as I come round to completing the ESA50 that leads to my next Work Capability Assessment. I hope each post explains the detail of my situation, together with the facts that support it. The consequence of this is that either I accept the bigotted and proven lies of this coalition government about me – and if I refuse, then I will be subject to the kind of sanctions I regard as closely akin to psychological torture.

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As far as I am concerned, these are moral and ethical matters pertaining to law. As a desister, I have to obey the law. This becomes far more difficult when the government of my country has embarked upon a wholesale undermining of Law in Britain and I find myself on the receiving end of its declared ideology.

 

 

On the Today programme (BBC Radio4) on July 15, this exchange occurred (JH is John Humphrys; IDS is Ian Duncan Smith; Secretary of State for Work & Pensions):

JH: “The problem is that you made claims about how things were changing on the basis of the trials that were being carried out and all the rest of it, and they turned out not to be well-founded. You said we’ve seen already, already you said, this is a statement you made in May, already we’ve seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the cap move into jobs. But when the National Statistics Authority looked at that, they said ‘not true’.”

IDS: “No, what they said was that you can’t absolutely prove that those two things are connected.”

JH: “Your statement is unsupported by the official statistics published by your own department.”

IDS: “Yes but by the way, you can’t disprove what I said either. The reality is [interruption] no, no, no, let me finish. There’s an answer.”

JH: “You can make any claim on that basis.”

IDS: “I am, I believe that this to be right. I believe that we are already seeing people go back to work, who were not going to go back to work until they were assured of the cap. Look we just published some polling today, John, on this very group.”

JH: “Polling isn’t statistics.”

IDS: “Hold on let me just give you this. We polled and we found that something like 72% of those who report have been very infrequently in work in the past since being notified by the cap have gone back to work. I believe that this will show, as we go forward, that people who were not seeking work are now seeking work because that’s the way to avoid the cap.”

(link)

For anyone still in any doubt that these coalition-espoused policies are ideological rather than evidence-based, try this from Chris Grayling, The Lord Chancellor:

 

The minister also insisted that his proposals to cut legal aid for much of prison law were ‘ideologically’. In a striking exchange, the minister was pushed by Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North about the place of prison law in the legal aid scheme.

‘I suspect Mr Corbyn is very aware that there is an ideological difference between us on this,’ Grayling began. ‘I’m absolutely of the view that somebody in prison should have the right to legal aid when it is a matter relating to their sentence and the length of time they spend in prison. When it is any matter relating to the conditions in prison or the choice of prison in which they are detained, we have a prison complaints system and an ombudsman.’

Corbyn quoted the HM Inspectorate of Prisons stating the internal prisoner complaints system could not be ‘relied upon to consistently resolve prisoners’ complaints in a fair way’ and that there were ‘many examples’ where prisoners had been able to take the case to court through legal aid and achieve resolutions where the internal prison system failed.

Corbyn continued: ‘There might be an ideological difference, but you have a duty of care to ensure that prisoners are able to exercise their rights. You are trying to save £4 million on prison law. Is this ideological or practical?’

‘It is ideological,’ Grayling insisted. ‘I do not think prisoners should be able to go to court to debate which prison they sent to.’ Corbyn asked him about cases where prisoners claimed ill-treatment or suffered neglect to medical conditions. ‘I think these are matters for an ombudsman. What we are seeing is the area of prison law expanding dramatically. It has more than doubled in the last few years and, in my view, it now covers areas that it should not.’

(link)

 

I’m very grateful to all those interviewers who managed to coax these admissions from our government because at least everyone knows where they stand now. We are not dealing with people who based policy on evidence or facts, but upon ideology alone and I am already clear, in my own mind and after considering facts/evidence, exactly where this ideology intends to take us.

 

Returning to my own situation, these newly obtained comments are particularly informative. and contribute to my decision-making processes, which now goes something like this:-

 

I am clear in my own mind that my personal ethics, morals, faith and principles of desistance cannot allow me to collude with government ideology about me. I am also clear that my country’s government intends people to kill those who refuse to comply with their plans by resisting them. This presents me with a dilemma. Do I choose to preserve my own life in order that I might ‘live to fight another day’ or do I die in battle? The Honourable Warrior aspect in me says the latter is necessary at this point in time because the issue is still not being acknowledged by the wider British public. Until the public collectively decide that we prefer the rule of Law rather than the imposition of a psychotic (as in ‘unconnected with factual reality’) ideology, many more thousands of people are going to find themselves in my position but lacking the intelligence and resources I have been blessed with. If I have been so blessed, then I have a duty to speak my truth where others, for simply lack of authentic learning, cannot – it becomes my social responsibility to those more vulnerable than me. So who is it that deeply attracts and calls to my compassion – who needs my ‘blessing’ most? Those who are still half-asleep, or those who have already been marked for death?

 

"I know that people who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always choose the cheapest and easiest way?" Etty Hillesum (B: 1914 D: 1943 in Auschwitz

“I know that people who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always choose the cheapest and easiest way?”
Etty Hillesum
(B:15.01.1914 D: 30.11.1943 in Auschwitz)

 

When the peoples of Europe experienced the imposition of this kind of ideology, individuals responded in different ways. Some escaped in the ‘nick of time’;  some survived the concentration camps; some were sent to safety (<< this is my ‘uncle’); and some, even though they had the option to leave still chose to stay – and die – for their own reasons.

 

There is no doubting the value each and every survivor (above) contributed to the wisdom and culture of humanity following the demise of ideology and the rise of Human Rights. I could use their example as a template for my own behaviour now except they are all men and I am a woman. Etty Hillesum’s tale of personal and spiritual development in Amsterdam, during the Nazi-occupation of Holland, is the one that resonates with me most deeply at present.

 

I was a prisoner when I read her story for the first time as preparation for an ‘art’ display commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. She led me to question many of my deeply held opinions as well as hone my ability to shine a light into the surrounding darkness.

 

 

I see no alternative: each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others, and remember that every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable”.

…you must be able to bear your sorrow; even if it seems to crush you, you will stand again, for human beings are strong and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself… you mustn’t run away from it, but bear it like an adult. Do not relieve your feelings through hatred, do not seek to be avenged on all German mothers, for they too sorrow for their slain and murdered sons. Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears his grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do not clear a decent shelter for your sorrow, and instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge – from which new sorrows will be born for others – then sorrow will never cease in this world and will multiply.”

What is at stake is our impending destruction and annihilation; we can have no more illusions about that. They are out to destroy us completely, we must accept that and go on from there.”

Etty Hillesum

 

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This is exactly the kind of woman I admire – soul-searching the Light of Love in the darkest of places. Etty is a model of everything I value in a human being as well as a woman. Courageous to the last, she chose to remain with her people right to the bitter end, knowing exactly what she was facing and looking it straight in the eye. She doesn’t turn away and she doesn’t flinch from death but walks towards it in full awareness.

 

On witnessing the trains:

“There was a moment when I felt in all seriousness that after this night, it would be a sin to ever laugh again.”

About the guards:

” I study their faces. I try to look at them without prejudice… Now I am transfixed with terror. Oafish leering faces, in which one seeks in vain for even the slightest trace of human warmth”

Etty Hillesum

I saw those same kind of faces on the government benches during the recent Commons debate regarding the need for cumulative impact assessment on disablity welfare cuts. The result included the same absence of human warmth.

BNtdtxWCAAIsj1CLike Etty Hillesum before me,  I hope I have looked clearly at my situation. To the shelter of pain and grief, I would add the need to honour our rage. Rage is not hatred when it erupts in the face of hate-filled circumstances – what is dangerous is to let it loose. To act from our rage is what they do – if I am the polarity of this particular expression of human behaviour, I must apply the same controls to myself as I would apply to them. This is why we have Laws – to enable such healthy boundaries to be established by fair minds. But there is no law being applied to Britain to halt the vicious and cruel treatment of citizens like me. No-one is launching a D-Day to deal with this as far as I can see. From here on in, I’m going to be on my own. Yet I am not alone – millions of British citizens are facing this ‘purge’ and, more alarmingly, a large section of society doesn’t appear to even know, so completely have they swallowed Coalition propaganda.

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I will die from repressed rage at what is being done to my home; to my country and Her people. I will defy these lies by shining a bright light on every unwilling single step I have been forced down that brings me to the point where my body starts telling me my heart is failing. All true matters of Life and Death are the property of my God, except in issues of murder, as far as I am concerned.  If, at this point, I better serve my God’s Will by dying then so be it – these are issues of Soul and I don’t argue. Death looks attractive because I will be free of my government’s insanity. Whilst I am alive, however, it is important for me to share this part of the journey with others in my position.

 

I believe that for as long as the sick, disabled, poor, jobless, homeless – all our social exiles regardless of physical form – are subject to the ideological whims of this government, each and every death in our community is now a result of serious breaches of our Human Rights. Each one of us who records our journey and whose name and memory is recalled by groups like Calum’s List (who, as far as I am concerned, follow in the footsteps of Simon Wiesenthal) provides evidence that will nail these bastards to the Law. If I have an ambition, for all of us, it is to make every Soul being destroyed in this way known. I want us to stop being statistical footballs and step out of those inhumanly-applied figures into our full humanity. I am not a statistic to be discarded for the convenience of liars. Perhaps my death – and the manner of my death – will change things; perhaps it won’t, but God and I won’t know unless I try.

 

BOOSe_lCMAEaMwONo – I am not going to do anything about my instinct that my heart is failing. I realise this is going to upset a lot of people – many of whom I share ties and links of the deepest affection. They always vote Life each time I ask them; just like I’m asking them again to, once more, trust the Spirit I Serve.

 

The problems we face are going to take – at the very minimum – seven generations to correct; for human beings to relearn how to live gently ‘in the Womb’ of Mother Earth. My one life is supremely unimportant in this grander scheme of Life. What is important is what I do with that life. Etty Hillesum agreed.

 

And whether or not I am a valuable human being will become clear only from my behaviour in more arduous circumstances. And if I should not survive, how I die will show me who I really am.”

“What I fear most is numbness… And yet there must be someone to live through it all and bear witness to the fact that God lived, even in these times”

Etty Hillesum

“In such extremes, when everything is stripped away, people can only survive if they have discovered meaning.”

Viktor Frankl

 

If I lose my life – which must be lost one day anyway – then inevitably the parts of you heart you allow me to occupy will break. This hurts. It’s supposed to because this is the Greatest Teaching of Love human beings can experience. It’s a precursor to transformation. I don’t know how it would work in anyone else – I only know that it does. It’s why those who mourn are called Blessed.

 

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When we have a ‘brush’ with Death, we learn the difference between what is truly valuable and that which is mere illusion.

 

If I die a warrior’s death, your grief will also contain gratitude. Gratitude, such as I feel, for every small kindness and every gesture of greatness shown to me along my path through life – I only got this far because of you. Be grateful for grief because it measures the depths of our capacity to Love and teaches us to beware those still unable to feel it because they have lost their compass to life. Love – which embraces and shelters grief and pain gently – is our guide to the Light. Both Love and Light own the Law of Life where pain informs judgement whilst Truth is revealed by evidence.

 

In my Law, I have to demonstrate a callous disregard for Life on four separate dimensions: spirit; intellect; instinct; and manifest. The Spirit Aspect is my own – no-one else has to believe any of it; it is enough that I believe. I believe I loosed an ancient instinct amongst the people last month and I am satisfied that it has taken root. The Spirit aspect has been honoured under the Law as far as I know. The Intellectual aspects of the case are summed up in one word – ideology – from which many unexplored consequences have already emerged. The personally-related Instinctive response shows up in the responses to this blog of mine. Which leaves the Manifest dimension.

 

The evidence is there – no doubt about it – but still nothing is being done to bring this insanity to an end. For as long as I see ‘No Change’, I see no point in living. My personal circumstances go FUBAR in about six weeks time – with a Work Capability Assessment inbetween that will fail me and a system which will deprive me of any income whatsoever whilst they ‘make up their minds about me’ again! It’s not going to be much different from four months ago, except this time I have symptoms.

 

If I’m right and my heart does fail, and my body dies, I want it known that I named my murderers before I died – every single politician or senior officer – public and private – who issued, followed or profited from orders that drove me, personally, through this psy-ops nightmare into total social exile in my own country, and in so doing deprived me of my Life. I am fully aware I am simply one amongst many but this blog is where I get to share with the world how I feel about it.

 

The Talmud asks why the human race was created as a single human being, as opposed to creating many people at once (like the animals which were created en masse1 )?

This teaches us that just as Adam was created in the beginning, and he was the entire human population of the world, likewise we need to look at each individual as if he/she were the entire population of the world. Therefore, when you save one life it is as if you saved the entire world.

Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a states:

“FOR THIS REASON WAS MAN CREATED ALONE, TO TEACH THEE THAT WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL… SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL…, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD.”

(link)

 

A butterfly may only ‘live for the day’, but if she figures out how to start a tropical storm where it is most needed, she will be ‘Some Butterfly’!!! That sounds like a great kind of Life to live – one with no regrets other than having to say goodbye to those I Love.

 

Unattributed through ignorance - would be delighted to correct.

Unattributed through ignorance – would be delighted to correct.