Category Archives: Relationships

Transformative Power within British Politics #election15

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Never cut what you can untie

“No knot unties itself – every knot what once straight rope”

 

Today is the New Moon in Libra, so it seems like an auspicious moment to open new discussions (new moon) about the political relationships we have in Britain at the moment.  It helps, I’ve found, to review what lessons emerged during the last moon cycle beginning in Virgo. Virgo is the sign of service to others and it concluded with some fascinating lessons in contemporary British politics in this year of 2014.  And then there’s what Pluto in Capricorn / Uranus in Aries have been doing…. but this is not intended to be an astrology blog. What I am attempting to model in this blog is my own version of Polymathic learning; this means I bring all my funded wisdom to bear on the problem. Whether you ‘believe’ in astrology or not is of supreme indifference to me; as a student of the subject for 45 years plus, my own experience informs me. Let other astrologers with an interest in the outer planets’ impact on our human collective comment on what is going on for those who are interested. For my own part, this astrological information helps me understand where we are in untying the knots of British politics when we find ourselves in mid-transformation.

 

Cameron on IndyRef BBC

BBC reporting David Cameron

So what does this transformation look like in real terms? The biggest indicator, last month, was the Independence referendum in Scotland. That the result came about with an almost 90% turnout of registered voters from a highly-franchised electorate is extremely telling and when coupled with the fright a potential Yes vote evoked in our London ‘leaders’, clearly something is afoot within the political relationships of Britain. The rapidly rising membership of the Scottish National Party gives credence to my astrological suspicion that any British political transformation is far from over. As a member of the English precariat, this gives me hope because there is surely none for the likes of me in present British party politics.

 

For example: Once all the main political parties in Westminster recovered from the shock that the Scottish people might give them the finger, their notion of “service to others” resulted in Scotland being subject to some of the worst political threats  to the collective, using false promises laden with emotional/fiscal ‘gaslighting‘, probably courtesy of Cameron’s nudge unit, that the parallels with patterns of abuse in domestic violence were hard to ignore. This was concerted and remarkably united bullying aided and abetted by ALL the British mainstream media, with a single Scottish exception amongst the papers and a handful journalists with integrity on Channel 4, and still 45% of enfranchised Scots still gave Westminster the finger.

 

So how long has it taken for the real reason Westminster wanted a No vote from Scotland to fall out of the dark closet of British politics? Less than a week. If you want to understand Westminster’s idea of service to others, you only have to follow the money.

 

The remarkable success of democracy in Scotland has not occurred in a political vacuum. Astrologically speaking, these transformations have been in progress for some time now at a UK level also; in England, the changes have been harder to see because Westminster’s control of English political narrative is ‘supreme’ within the mainstream. They can, however, be seen in the social media via those active in confronting the terrible and murderous effects Coalition austerity is having on the poor, socially-exiled and excluded within our communities. I can’t even begin to name all of them because the attacks upon us are so widespread and diverse. These attacks of government upon the population they were elected to serve have been continuous over a 5-year period. As someone who has been subjected to these systemic attacks, where my very life was in the balance, I am looking for the political will to not only end this cruelty but to also try healing it. If there were ever a time ordinary English people needed lawful representation in politics, it is now. In the past, we could look to Labour to, at the very least, try. So how is the Labour Party doing in the electorate-relationship stakes?

 

Lab14 01In the last few days, the Labour Party parliamentary party has set out its stall for the general election next year, presumably in exchange for certain MSM support. Amongst the ‘special offers’ is the freezing of child benefit and the removal of Cold Weather payments to our pensioners. In exchange for MSM support, Labour clearly intends continuing the ‘tough on welfare’ policies so enthusiastically pursued by our present government.

 

Let me just turn and ask the lasses feeding their children by foodbank what they think of that ‘special offer’ then; and let me ask our elders how they feel about Labour helping them stay cold in winter. Since the majority of our impoverished elders are women too, it seems that women are to remain economic punching-bags for the red-rosetted version UK’s austerity merchants. It would appear that Westminster merely offers a different packaging; the actual product… and its horrific consequences… remains unchanged.

 

It’s interesting to consider the pressure being placed upon the English electorate to return to some feudalistic nightmare of our corporate / plutocratic elite, where profit comes before human life (seriously, check out what David Hencke is saying in that link!), and where PR is more important than substance. When I refer to the next general election as a ‘Life or Death’ vote – given the unanimity of Westminster policies being foisted upon us – it is with good reason and is supported by the facts. Which, interestingly, returns the subject to Pluto and the issue of transformation.

 

As with every transformation within the collective, the process involves a new and creative energy challenging an old and outmoded system as the new struggles to grow and evolve. With each struggle, those involved strengthen their abilities whilst the regressive energies become more rigid and totalitarian. The experience of social activists over the last five years of Coalition rule will have informed the Yes campaign and I imagine the experience of the Indy Ref continues to open the eyes of certainly more than the 45% in Scotland as I write. Here we are seeing ‘new’ ideas about service to others that involve alleviating the harm already inflicted, even if we don’t agree with everything being suggested.

 

BG7TxswCQAAAkMP_jpg_largeAs a general rule, to be on the side of ‘history’ during a transformational process is to choose Life. The old ways are in their death throes because no future is left in them or, at least, no future worth living for our children and grandchildren. For people like me, the old way of Westminster politics will kill us, in my own case the timetable measured in days or weeks; whether by systemic attrition or my own hand. The ‘Life or Death Election’ is quite real to us and we face it, in our living, every single day. This means the social structure has already collapsed at the very bottom of British society. In the last five years, this collapse has risen quickly; first, for the working classes but it has now started affecting the middle-classes too.

 

All these guys care about is money. They don’t care about society. They certainly don’t care about jobs and they don’t care about you.

OK, you might say, but this has always been going on. But it hasn’t. This sort of utterly amoral screw-everyone capitalism has become much more prevalent in the last 15 years. Our financial elite is now totally out of control. They learned nothing from the crisis, except that the rest of us were stupid enough to give them a second chance. And, now, having plucked all the “low hanging fruit,” they’re destroying the middle classes for profit.

Our current problems have their roots in the early 80s. While much of what Reagan and Thatcher did was necessary, the trouble is that they set a deregulatory train in motion which, over the last couple of decades has dismantled so much of the legal framework that protected us from greedy scuzzballs.

The middle classes went along with it. We were sick of the Left, tired of powerful unions and, besides, very few us could remember the inequality of the 1920s that gave rise to many of these regulations in the first place. Also, vain fools that we were, we identified upwards. We thought the elite had our interests at heart. The 0.1% must have found this pretty cute. They knew the truth. We weren’t their pals, we were just at the end of the line for the financial blood-letting.

“Why aren’t the British middle-classes staging a revolution?”: Daily Telegraph

Here, at a new moon interested in the British political collective relationship,

Alice Walker on power

we now know exactly what the present incumbents intend to deliver to an electorate they think they can control. When I look as the astrology of the situation, however, I see transformation regardless of how we might feel about it, and our only choice is whether we choose Life or not.

Speaking as someone who understands this choice only too well, there is one thing I would like to see when I come to vote in the election. I want to see a candidate on my ballot paper who stands for the belief that my life has a value beyond just money, their personal career path or the inhuman interests of corporate profit. In fact, I’d like there to be a such a candidate in every single constituency in the country, so that folk like me have a genuine choice.

I’m not bothered about previous party affiliations; I’m interested in a candidates who will actually serve the folk they represent and not their own personal narcissistic interests.  I’m interested in candidates with experience of real life and not just the privileged university-manipulated politics of millionaire wannabees. Nor am I willing to listen to those who counsel ‘waiting just a little longer whilst the elite ‘catch up’ with the people’; I’ve waited far too long already and still no change.

Media lessons

My responses find a similar resonance with the Electoral Reform Society and I can’t help believing that there is an English, Welsh and Northern Irish equivalent of the Scottish 45%. Astrology suggests you exist but there needs to be a change in how we relate to each other in order to access it.

As far as I am concerned, listening to those who have been systemically excluded from political debate might be a good place to start. The existing Westminster establishment and their corporate cronies can’t hear us; the mainstream media will only tell us what the Westminster  establishment want us to believe because… owners and other ‘private’ interests. If the people of Britain really want a genuine choice of Life at the next election, we’re going to have to put it there ourselves.

To put ourselves into alignment with the astrologically transformative energies currently at work in Britain, it’s time to start learning how to ask the right questions of what is really needed by those who face this Life-or-Death-by-Government, and then LISTEN to our answers!

And if we continue to do nothing? Westminster’s present party political system offers voters a choice of  various shades of the same old tune, on a scale starting at ‘utterly horrendous’ and ending in ‘catastrophic’ for anyone who isn’t a member of a rapidly shrinking elite, and not just for Britain either. This is a global phenomenon.

Seriously, do you really want to sit around doing nothing while the world goes to hell in a handbasket in order to satisfy the infinite greed of a dangerously selfish few? Is that really what you want for your children and grandchildren? Or do you belong to the Spirit of 45?

4 levels of questions

 

 

 

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#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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#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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Transformation: Entering the Void Point

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Yesterday I faced my fears with courage and entered my latest Void Point with awareness. Whilst walking up to the ‘hole-in-the-wall’, I felt much the same way as I used to as a therapy client walking to my next ‘session’ knowing I’ve done something ‘wrong’. Anxiety doesn’t quite describe this experience but there’s something there that allows for hope. It’s the Uncertainty Principle of Schroedinger’s Cat.

Fritz Perl’s, one of the creators of Gestalt Therapy, used to say that fear is thirty seconds deep. Once that thirty seconds is over, it’s too late to go back. We’ve said the ‘unsayable’, done the ‘impossible’, the energy has started to roll and all that is left to us is to roll with it. Sometimes our worst fears come true and sometimes we get a different response from the universe. Yesterday, the universe gave me a fortnight’s ‘reprieve’ which led, after I had dealt with practical matters, to ‘collapse’. In mental health terms, it’s equivalent to post-traumatic shock. In shamanic terms, I call it Soul Shattering – which is what happens when we go into shock.

On the other side of the Veil of the Void Point, we are similar to hermit crabs transitioning from a too-small shell into a too-big shell we can grow into. The passage between the two is one of excruitating vulnerability. I simply cannot bear ‘old’ behaviour anymore. This is what I have already chosen to leave behind me and the experience of shattering means that I have already moved on. We find ourselves saying or doing things we had previously thought but stopped ourselves from doing. In my case, it was erupting at the behaviour of a neighbour’s child who had just kicked a ball very close to my head whilst I was talking to his father. I couldn’t take anymore and so, today, both my doors and curtains are closed. The world outside has its ‘right’ to be there on its own terms, but I do too. For now, I need to be private – I need to find out more about this new dimension I find myself in.

BQRn0hcCAAI42_WWhenever we move dimensions, the ‘rules of manifestation’ change. This notion is not so strange – the ‘laws’ of physics change when we move into quantum realms too. What a shaman (a ‘transdimensional’ traveller with plenty of air-miles) comes to discover, if they take the trouble to explore the dimensions of experience they find themselves in, is that there are pathways through if you know what to look for.

The path through the experience of the Soul’s shattering is called the Good Red Road amongst the First Peoples of Turtle Island for it is this that creates our portal of opportunity. The portal of opportunity becomes our living path through this new ‘world’.

The other side of the ‘Veil’ is always bigger than the dimension we are leaving. C.S. Lewis described the Spirit of Narnia, at the very end of that series, as being like an onion in which every layer inwards was greater than its predecessor. This is a good metaphor. What also needs to be remembered is that each person’s experience of this process will be unique to them. No-one else can undertake your journey for you and we each get to define it for ourselves on our own terms. Crossing the Veil into the Void Point causes the Soul to shatter because we are growing and our Soul grows alongside us. The egg must be broken; the seed must crack; the babe must be birthed. However, when we enter – or are forced to enter – such a Void point without it ‘meaning’ something valuable to us, we run a far higher risk of mortal death. In my own case, it quite literally broke my heart. I hope to counter this lethal problem via this series of blogs.

Entering the Void is to be on unknown territory but if we believe in a beneficent Universe, then that will be what we create on the other side because our perception creates our reality. When our Soul – experienced as instinct and intuition – is in tune with our e-motions – experienced as feelings, these two aspects of self inform how we think which affects our behaviour. This is why “By their deeds shall ye know them” is a Law of the Spirit World, however you may perceive that to be. When our personal soul harmonises with our feelings, thoughts and actions, we attract others who harmonise at our vibration. The shamans I shared my first Void Point post with all commented on the resonance they experienced, so I’m trusting that my information is as accurate as one human can be on such matters.

Within the Void Point comes a shedding of the old. The egg no longer required the shell; the seed, the husk; or the babe, the safety of the womb. Nourishment comes from the environment and, in human dimensions, Soul nourishment comes from sharing ourselves with others. In my terms, I do this by making myself useful to my heart and trusting my instinct. Writing these blogs is a way of doing this – or initiating new conversations along pathways I can see that have a heartbeat of their own.

BP-8ouhCQAA2lSVWhat I’ve learned, from traversing many a Void Point in the past, is that if we are following the Good Red Road, as best as we are able under extremely testing circumstances, is that what we first allow ourselves to do on the other side marks our pathway back to manifestation. An Initiation such as this collective one so many of us are now finding ourselves in is both a journey into the unknown and a returning to the community with wisdom – it is the monomyth where we become heroic in our own realities. In the recent past, I crossed a Void Point and did this. In crossing this most recent Void Point, I see the potential of that work now being made manifest at a global level. More heroines and heroes are stepping into their destinies, it seems. There is an intuitive response occurring amongst many people that seems to match the deeps of my own experience of our Soul Mine.

If I’m at all correct about this, I believe that in-between the fragments of my shattered Soul – now reassembling into a great Gestalt of me than I was before – dwells the Resonance of the Great Spirit. This has been confirmed by synchronicities and serendipities too numerous to mention in my own reality. They also seem to be occurring in other peoples’ realities too. I have come to believe that all those who have crossed into Void Points in their own lives, and lived, can ‘hear’ this Resonance too in their own way and on their own terms. We are not ‘alone’ in this anymore – our numbers have now crossed a crucial tipping-point. What do we do now? Follow the Good Red Road; follow the Part with a Heart; follow your Passion. Trust that you are part of something far far greater than you could ever imagine and then trust that something with your Soul.

BQrxbuxCAAEMDNcOne thing I do when I cross into a new dimension is to try and make my perception of its dimensions a Mystery so I can grow as great as this Spirit Resonance needs me to be. My real life will continue to remain precarious simply because this is a collective transformation – if I want to make myself useful to this Spirit, I must accept where it sends me because this is what I need to learn.

Did you know the best way to learn is to teach whatever you want to know? These wisdoms and experiences I share with you belong in my reality but I am ‘connected’ to many others. I suspect that in our present social chaos, theorists might like to consider whether this Resonance I am experiencing qualifies as a Strange Attractor. If this is so, then it ought to satisfy the scientists and atheists amongst us. This attractor works through cooperation. This is about as great as I can get my imagination to stretch at the moment but, if shared and understood by many, we can grow this Wisdom and Awareness together.

As always, take what you need from this. What makes no sense to you belongs to someone else. I make no claim to be ‘right’ about any of this for anyone else – this is right for me, that’s all and I always make mistakes. Nevertheless, I am impressed with the evidence my reality is producing.

May the best woman win ;)

May the best woman win 😉

“Stuck between Silence and Shouting”

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Sometimes words flow from me like a bubbling stream. Other times, like now, it seems as though each word is like pulling an impacted wisdom tooth that will not budge. Feeling ‘stuck’ is called an ‘Impasse’ by Gestalt psychotherapists – a recognised developmental stage of awareness which can last from a few minutes to many years. No matter how hard we try to move on, every exit seems blocked or closed to us.

For someone who has always been an activist, the impasse is about the most frustrating place to be especially when everything else seems to be in flux around me. Within the last fortnight, I’ve witnessed women and people of colour (PoC) in the UK social media respond to events from the rape and death threats directed at 1044483_388555921248582_1300936510_nwomen successful at ensuring our visibility to the unspeakable targeting of PoC by officers from the UK Border Agency. Whilst I’ve been able to share what I’ve witnessed, my ability to contribute personally has been hogtied by my personal impasse of being unable to string a sentence together I feel happy with. Regardless of how much I rail or storm against it nothing seems to change, so I’m going to describe this place instead. Like it or not, it’s where I am and real change can only occur from our true reality rather than what we would like our reality to be.

In searching for a symbolic woman’s story to describe where I am, the one that seems to speak most eloquently is that of ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The modern versions of the tale have been sanitised to suit the Western system I dwell within – with all its privileges and shackles. More ancient versions tell the story slightly differently.

It begins with the birth of a royal baby – a girl. In Jungian terms, the issue of royalty points to potential – we all have the possibility of becoming ‘royal’ but, in psychological terms, we have to earn it. The story tells of the celebrations surrounding the birth and the gifts brought by magical folk to bless this baby girl. Nevertheless, the community – wanting only the best – fail to respect the shadow aspect of the psyche which, in the form of an ‘evil’ fairy, turns up uninvited to curse her for the communities rejection. She will only live until her majority where she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The curse is mitigated by a final gift of ‘light’ – the girl won’t die but fall asleep instead.

BQrVJ32CYAAsAFjChildren have no control over the environment we are born into. If we are born into the privilege of ‘safety’, it is a rare individual who actively chooses to face the shadow aspect of the self. Where healthy parents can, they make efforts to protect their children from the darker aspects of human nature – banning spindles, or pornography, or violence, or whatever else we deem to be threatening to their ‘innocence’. Much like the tale of Buddha’s youth (where he was ‘protected’ from knowing poverty), some children are protected from knowing the true reality that surrounds them (bearing in mind that other children encounter the dark from day one). These are both the benefits and costs of living a life of privilege. Nevertheless, the dark truths of life appear, no matter how hard parents or community try to prevent it. Spindles or the poor arrive at the ‘palace of privilege’ which, by their very novelty, sabotages the best efforts of those trying to prevent the prince or princess from awakening to the truth. The prince leaves in search of his own destiny whilst the princess pricks her finger and falls into the prophesied sleep.

In Sleeping Beauty, this ‘unconsciousness’ lasts for over a century. The sleeping palace becomes surrounded by an impenetrable thicket. Modern tales resolve the dilemma by producing a handsome prince who overcomes this problem and ‘wakes’ our dreamer with a kiss. Older tales, however, carry a darker resolution. In these stories, there is a prince but he is not quite so handsome.  He does make it through the thicket to find our sleeper but his kiss does not wake her. So he rapes her – a sleeping woman cannot give her consent to sex, remember. The rape also fails to wake our sleeper and the ‘handsome prince’ departs both scene and consequence. Nine months later, she gives birth to twins who, in seeking the comfort of the nipple, suck on the pricked finger thus removing the poison, finally awakening their mother.  Whilst the faery tale itself may end there, the story of human psychology has only just begun.

479820_342157262555115_1575246944_nNot everyone gets to live out this particular theme. There are many different paths to awakening which are reflected in legends and folk tales. Nevertheless, it is this tale that seems to hold the key to my own experience of this present impasse. The collective sense of long-term slumbering to our greater reality around us seems somehow apposite, especially when we consider what we are awakening to. If we draw on the older versions of the tale, our ‘princess’ is waking up to an environment that has remained unchanged for a long period of time. She awakens to being a raped woman now responsible for two children, surrounded by an impenetrable thorn thicket. Her ‘handsome prince’ has scarpered. Her ‘palace’ neglected and her existence forgotten. If the rest of the palace remains asleep, she is on her own – with two babies – and no education or experience in how to cope with her new situation. If the palace awakens with her, then they are all faced with trying to establish a place in the world that has long moved on to other things. She has been forgotten and remembering is going to upset all that has been established since her encounter with the spindle. If ever there was an example of my own impasse, this is as good as any so far.

‘Sleeping Beauty’ is a woman’s tale of initiation. It tells of the illusions that surround women. What can appear to be privileges are actually false realities because they focus only on the ‘good’. Life just isn’t that way. People are made up of both light and dark. We might try to construct a life that excludes our shadow but it cannot ever be humanly true because people are simply not made that way. If we fail to respect and accommodate our dark selves, these will – at some point – prick us into awareness. There will be that moment of pain before the curse of sleep overtakes us.

BQfXjw3CAAA-tuMUsing the current explosion of woman power in the UK as an example, we can see how each stage of the tale is playing out. Within the collective unconsciousness of UK women – particularly white women – we can see the ‘palace of privilege’ some of us continue to dwell within. Nevertheless, the Curse of the Dark Fairy is still active and, for many women, it has not been ameliorated by the promise of sleep. Women are dying as a result of encountering the dark spindle, especially those who are old, poor, sick or disabled, the wrong colour, or because they start making their own choices. Others – like those who simply sought to have non-royal women depicted on our banknotes – are experiencing a reality that has always been present but which has been slowly disguised with illusions since the last ‘outbreak’ of feminism in the 1970’s. The rape, death and bomb threats sent to those who had successfully campaigned over banknotes (albeit in a limited way – Jane Austen is surely a woman of white privilege) has torn through the veils of illusion that claim women occupy positions of equality in my society. We don’t. That is the reality. With each and every ‘movement’ of women the pattern is the same: illusion; encounters with true realit;, followed, for many, by falling into a ‘cursed’ sleep until the next cycle of awakening. I know because I, too, fell asleep. Now I seem to find myself in a profoundly neglected environment, having been violated and with ‘babies’ swallowing poison to stir me into wakefulness. I swear I thought I was awake all this time yet the evidence clearly points how unaware I have been. The thorn thicket that has grown around me seems so dense and deep that it becomes impossible to speak, let alone act. Here is my impasse. We can forget about handsome princes – they came, raped and departed whist I was dreaming. Now all that remains are consequences.

This is being written on the day when women have divided themselves. Some have chosen to take a ‘trolliday’ from Twitter; they choose silence. Others refuse to and continue to ‘shout back’ whilst I find myself caught in my impasse. I’ve chosen not to be silent but I’ve also not been certain of what it was I want to say. Having explored where I am, this becomes clearer.

From today’s Twitter timeline, there seems to be an explosion of views about women’s issues from all sides, both positive and negative. This worries me because it feeds divisions and invites the formation of ‘gangs’, all vying for being ‘right’. Perhaps my own impasse is the result of my deep unwillingness to go down this route again. To choose one side or the other would mean I must ‘put to sleep’ personal aspects of myself or experience being attacked by one side or the other for failing to choose them. Fuck that.

I am a WHOLE woman. This means I’m a mess trying to work my way through to clarity. For everything that might be ‘developed’ within my psyche, there is a great deal more that remains ‘potential’ only. In the past, when I’ve made the kind of choices being offered between #TwitterSilence and #ShoutingBack, I have had to sever aspects of self in order to ‘belong’. No more!!! I’m sick to the back teeth of re-membering myself.

BQqr0iKCAAA4_XQThis is the problem with splitting – what parts of ourselves do we dismember in order to ‘belong’ to whatever group attracts us the most? If we split ourselves, then it’s inevitable that this continues into the group itself which, for anyone who has studied the history of human relations, is the road to war and destruction. Again! Well, I refuse to walk it! If it means I stand alone, then so be it. I refuse to knowingly dismember myself again because I’ve worked too hard for what wholeness I have been able to attain.

No, I don’t have answers to our problems because no one person does. Anyone who makes such a claim is profoundly and dangerously deluded. We all dwell in a highly complex living organism of immense size which we are only just beginning to get a true glimpse of. What I do know is that each and every one of us – regardless of anything of human origin we might believe divides us – has the potential to contribute towards greater understanding and awareness of just how vast and 486106_343164372454404_1533168654_nintricate our living planet is. I believe each and every one of us – whoever we are and wherever we are – possesses a fragment of unique and precious wisdom that could enable humanity to live in harmony with the planet. If we are dismembering the truth of ourselves for the sake of a temporary human ‘belonging’, we are causing immense harm to that wisdom. Do we honestly believe that the planet judges skin colour, or sexuality, or gender, or any other individual difference the way we humans do? She created us as we are, not as we think we or anyone else ought to be!!!

So to those who are silent because the group leaders told you to be, how about you make up your own minds instead of passing on your personal responsibility to become who you really are? And to those who are shouting, how about you turn down the volume so we can actually hear what the softer voices are saying. When we celebrate our triumphs, let’s also remember our failings, inadequacies and terrible mistakes because no-one is perfect.

And to those of you who, in my perception, are clinging to the worn out old paths that have failed us all so many times, understand that I block because I’m doing my BPlbjnzCUAAg5webest to stay awake. I don’t want another ‘go’ on this Sleeping Beauty merry-go-round. I may not like the circumstances I find myself in but at least I’m attempting to take this faery tale beyond the illusory realms of ‘happy ever after’. I may be only one woman, but I want out of this thorn-encrusted history that does so much harm. As best I can, with all my failings and talents, I’m aiming my intent towards a living, sustainable and cooperative reality with our Future, who has just woken me, yet again, by sucking the poison of illusion from my finger.

 

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