On 4 November (today, on NZ time) bloggers from around the world come together with one purpose. That is to call for peace.
Usually, I would write a post along the lines of where I am at in terms of my desire for peace, both in my own life and worldwide. Unfortunately, at the moment I am struggling with my eyesight, thanks to Thyroid Eye Disease, and this makes writing and screen-time difficult and uncomfortable.
So I leave you with the words above. Who can beat the wise words of the Dalai Lama? They are certainly something to think about as we hope for peace and compassion in our world.
Thanks so much to my friend Michelle Frost, of the blog Crow’s Nest who generously put together the image in this post. She really did save me in spite of her own busy-ness preparing for today. I hope you take the time to pop over to her blog to read her post for today.
On 4 November (today, on NZ time) bloggers from around the world come together with one purpose. That is peace. I’ve missed the past couple of years, but as peace is something I feel strongly about, this year I’m back blogging for peace.
But before you think I’m not writing about topics you usually find on this blog, please keep reading. Peace affects us all. We all have a voice, and we can all choose to use it to call for peace in all types of situations.
Peace. What is it? What do you think of when you think of peace? It’s one of those words for which we know what it means but we can’t always put words to it. I went searching for a definition that fits what I am talking about. How’s this?
Peace is a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there’s no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom.
I think we tend to think of fighting and war as the opposites of peace. Others suggest hate. Today I want to suggest another opposite of peace.
If we do nothing, we will not achieve peace whether it applies to world politics or peace with a neighbour or even a partner or child. If we leave it to others, or we just don’t care enough, then we will never have peace. To achieve peace, we have to do something.
When I was twelve I learnt this song at school.
I know you know it, but listen to it again anyway. Allow yourself those few minutes to hear it again.
It was the late 1970’s and to a twelve-year-old, it was a kind of cool song. I loved singing all the verses (including those added later) but I really had no understanding of what it was all about. I’m sure our teacher told us it was something to do with war, but I loved singing and would probably have sung anything. It was up there with singing ‘Hotel California‘ and the songs from the musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘.
But now, Pete Seeger’s song leaves me feeling sad, and a little bit empty. I can stay like that and think it was sad what happened with World War 2 and the Vietnam War. But the song still applies to our world today. Rather than simply being about those two wars, the song is more about the futility of all war. How history is a cycle that we can’t break. That’s what is sad, and what remains if we do nothing.
Right now there is so much going on in our world that is about fighting and war, indifference and what I will call a lack of security. Who knows what is ahead? I read just yesterday that World War 3 is coming. I didn’t need to read it because I know. I know that unless we do something then we can have no security for the future. We have no certainty of peace.
Above, are those great words of Martin Luther King Jr. that I repeat here because they are exactly what I want to shout out to anyone who will listen, when such turmoil, hatred and uncertainty are a part of our world:
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I don’t have to accept what right now seems almost inevitable. Actually, I don’t think World War 3, as one example of the hatred and fighting has to be inevitable.
If I want peace, I need to speak up and say so. I need to do something. Indifference will only achieve fighting and war and I am completely opposed to those.
It is not just for my future that I have to do something, but for the futures of the so many people in our world who aren’t in a position to speak up. When I speak up for peace, I am speaking up for the people of Syria, for the refugees, for those who have no voice for a thousand different reasons.
It’s easy to do something. Sign a petition or join a protest rally. Give a simple bunch of flowers to the neighbour you have been arguing with. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and often the smaller offerings are more meaningful. Just do something… towards achieving peace.
There are some simple words that all the bloggers posting for peace today know:
if words are powerful…. then this matters
Words are powerful and so this does matter. Do something. Don’t be guilty of indifference. Speak up for peace.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evilis for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Regular readers will remember that peace is something I feel strongly about, although I admit that it has been a while since I wrote on this subject.
I feel so strongly that today I am posting twice. Unheard of! But I want to be a part of this movement (Bloggers Unite for Peace), and I encourage you to be a part of it too (details below on how you can do this).
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“We are normal, everyday hard-working people with a common hobby, blogging. We hail from far and wide. We reside in different lands, on different continents. We speak different languages, eat different foods, and are of varying ages, professions, and religious and cultural backgrounds.
We do have one thing in common…
We believe that terrorist attacks, wherever they may be perpetrated; whether in France, Tunisia, Canada, Iraq, or in Denmark, Turkey, UK, Algeria, Yemen, USA, Lebanon, or in the skies over Egypt, or in India, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kuwait, Libya, Bangladesh, Syria, or Mali are nothing less than attacks on humanity itself. The list is long, and probably many more besides. In every place, in every country, we, as a community of human beings, are always the innocent victims.
However, we, as members of this humanity, have found we have much more, not less, in common than those who seek to polarise our global community through indiscriminate murder of our fellow brothers and sisters.
These attacks are carried out in the name of, or in support of, a cause few of us, irrespective of religious conviction, can even start to comprehend. Murder is murder, irrespective of whatever motive or cause. As a community of bloggers, standing together for peace, we say simply this…
We will not be separated or forced to cease our friendships.
We will not change our ways – we are happy as we are.
We are all different, and proudly so, and stand together as one.
We respect each other’s right to life.
We want to live in peace”.
If you want to be a part of this movement check out the original post (below in green) on the blog, Uncle Spike’s Adventures. It gives you a number of ways in which you can be involved:
There is a Ukrainian orphanage not far from the site of the debris from Malaysian Airlines MH 17. This week the staff have had to send away 200 plus children from the orphanage to somewhere the children “could heal”. Last Thursday as the children were playing in the fields next to the orphanage, bodies started to rain down around them. Not just bodies but body parts. Can you imagine that? For the life of me I can’t imagine bodies falling from the sky around me. I am thankful that I can’t imagine it. But these children will always know.
In all the horrific news this past week, this story really struck me. Firstly the innocence of children being caught up in the wars happening on our planet. But more so because these children live in an orphanage and by that sheer fact it is reasonable to assume that they have already suffered more trauma than any person should. And now to have to be sent away from their ‘home’ so that they can heal from more trauma just seems so wrong to me. These children deserve the protection of adults, yet it is adults who are making these wars.
Another news story and children were playing hide and seek on the beachfront of Gaza when missiles launched in hatred rained down on the children, both killing some and injuring others. Again, children who should be safe.
There has been so much tragedy, affecting thousands of innocent people. And it continues. What scares me perhaps most is that this becomes common place. That we somehow become comfortable with the bloodshed. Of course those affected personally, those who have lost loved ones, they will never become comfortable with it. But what about the rest of us? Do we just become used to this? Please god, no!
If my counting is correct, there have been three planes down this past week. Three planes too many. A quick search on the net today tells me that something like 15 planes have been shot down since the 1980s. I admit I don’t remember any of them. When the tragedy of MH17 is foremost in our minds this week, it is hard to imagine that we could forget. But we will. We will move on and there will be some other tragedy in the news.
I believe that we owe it to the children to remember. To say this is wrong, and to keep saying it until it is heard. It is one thing to say that Ukraine and Gaza are so far away. “What can we do?” “It was not our playing fields where bodies rained down on innocence.” That is so true, but it could easily have been our children, our people.
I do not believe that war is the answer in any of these situations. Bloodshed of innocent people is just wrong. And if we don’t start saying it more, then no one is going to hear.
I feel heartbroken by what is happening in our world. I can’t bear to watch news reports. Like reports of lines of hearses in The Netherlands yesterday waiting to take bodies away for identification. Recently I haven’t been able to cry, even though there have been plenty of things to cry about. Simply there have been no tears. But now I cry.
It would be easier to not watch the footage. It would be easier to say “it’s too hard to watch” but I think I owe it to the victims to watch. More so, I think I owe it to the victims to speak out and say that this is wrong. There has to be another way. I believe that way is peace. And if we, the relatively unaffected, don’t say so then who will?
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
Here’s a bit of free advice. Well, anything here is free but this is worth taking if you’re not too strong in the ‘wise‘ department. Don’t under any circumstances say “that’s nice, dear” to anyone unless you’re absolutely sure that ‘that‘ is actually ‘nice‘. If you say it just to be ‘nice‘ but haven’t checked whether it is actually nice, haven’t even heard what was actually said, or just making conversation… you’re getting yourself into hot water. Being told “that’s nice, dear” is not at all nice when ‘that‘ is anything but nice.
What does ‘that’s nice, dear‘ mean anyway? Nothing. It’s simply something to say when you can be bothered saying something real. In other words, it’s not worth saying, so don’t say it.
And just while we’re at it, forget about ever saying “I told you so“. That might seem obvious but I heard that one this week.
End of rant.
It’s been a trying week in Cate’s world. A little too much of ‘Cate versus Cate’s mind’. A few ‘that’s nice,dear‘s didn’t go down too well, especially followed up by “I told you so“. They never do, but this week I just wasn’t in the mood for meaningless words. I would rather have had silence. Actually I always prefer silence. Silence in a wonderful thing… until you start thinking too much.
I know that it is often said that we should let go of the things we have no control over. But that is so hard. I have so much in my life right now over which I have no control, and actually letting some of them go is not an option. I’m the first to admit that I could let go of some of those things, the problem is that I don’t want to. Yes, mindfulness would work… if I wanted it to. That might sound crazy but I’m one of those people who likes to have worked everything out in my mind before I let it go. I want to understand the puzzle, understand what I could or couldn’t have done differently. I want to know that others in the situation are okay, and even if I have no control over that, I still want to work it all out in my mind so I can get some peace. If I simply let it all go, my mind might be easier in some respects but I feel like I don’t have closure.
For a moment, let’s go back to my last post, Claiming My Voice Back. It wasn’t the easiest to write, let alone press ‘publish‘. Once I had though, I began to feel pretty good. I had done it! It had taken me a year (minimum), but I had finally done it. That felt good. But then I started thinking, because in that situation of my atrociously awful internet relationship there are a whole heap of unanswered questions, which ultimately I have to simply let go. I’m never going to be able to know for sure. I know that, yet my mind that wants to ‘work everything out‘ wants the answers anyway. So by the next day my mind was spinning wildly. And frankly, it was making me emotionally sick.
It’s a bit like when you know you want some more ice cream, but you know you’ll explode if you eat anymore. You give in to one side of your brain, and end up later feeling sorry. I did this to myself. I made myself emotionally sick , yet I couldn’t stop trying to piece together the puzzle.
The other issue in ‘the things Cate can’t control‘ discussion, is those things that I might not be able to control, yet backing away isn’t an option. Just sometimes we have to stay in the situation anyway. Those times are hard. I’m not sure if I’m sitting waiting for the train wreck in front of my eyes or just watching the sun go down. The one thing I know is that I can’t back away or for that matter, turn my back. It’s really hard to handle those situations. Much as I like having control in my life, I realise that I can’t have control over everything (damn it!) and I have no control over the lives of those I love. I simply have to watch.
With all these things going on this week, I’m starting to think I need some help. The atrociously awful internet relationship has had a huge impact on my life in so many ways, and while I have dealt with so much of that in the past year, I am still find it incredibly hard to trust people. Anyone. Fairly intense paranoia would be a good description and I can feel myself pulling away from humankind. I realised this week I might just need some help with this. Maybe I can’t do it on my own. So I’m thinking about whether to go back to therapy for a while.
I’ve done a lot of therapy in the past and I don’t think I need anything long-term, but I am starting to realise that I can’t do this alone. It is too big. Too much went terribly wrong and it’s finally dawned on me that it is too much for this one woman.
I’m not sure how I’m going to make therapy happen, but I realised one thing this week…
When something bad happens in my life, I can use it as an excuse to destroy me… or I can get back up, tend the wounds and keep going.
If more therapy is what I need to be able to keep going, then I will find a way to make that happen.
And if anyone says “that’s nice, dear“…
“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.
I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world… I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness… Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.
I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.
I really started to learn about compassion when I made a decision to love someone deemed by others to be unworthy of that love. I started to understand the cost of compassion when I was judged on that decision. When I was going to be loved on the basis of that decision. Then I knew that compassion is easy when people are nice, animals are cute and cuddly, and when no one’s done anything that might harm us.
When others stand and literally spit at you and call you names, then you start to realise that sometimes compassion has a cost. Yet I still want to be a human being who has compassion for my fellow beings. It’s simply a harder battle. It simply makes me be sure of what (and who) I believe in.
We talk of compassion as something that rolls off the tongue, but I’m starting to realise that those who practise it most pay a price when they choose to exercise it to those who the rest of the world deem unworthy.
“Anyone can slay a dragon …but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”
― Brian Andreas
I thought I started to learn about compassion as a teen. I don’t remember it being raised earlier, although I am sure it was implied. When people hurt me, I was told to have compassion for them. Usually that compassion came with the word ‘Christian‘ in front of it, although I have never understood why. My experience is that when compassion is prefaced by religion then it sadly comes with conditions. Some people are deemed unworthy of compassion simply because they choose to be different. That just screams ‘wrong’ to me. It did then, and it does even more so now.
But still, that’s what I was taught. Put aside my own hurts and be compassionate towards the ones who had hurt me. As a teen that was really hard, especially when I had been hurt badly. It seemed to me that no one was being compassionate toward me. My hurt didn’t matter and I learned from that, rightly or wrongly, that I didn’t matter. I couldn’t understand people who loved me telling me in this way that I didn’t matter. Although they claimed that’s not what they were doing.
As I’ve grown I have distanced myself from the prefaced type of compassion. It seemed false to me, although I hasten to add that there are some very loving and caring people in any community. It just seemed inconsistent and uninterested in my needs or my beliefs.
Now I see compassion as something that all human beings should have for all other beings. But as I’ve already suggested, it’s perhaps hard to be compassionate when you’ve been hurt. That said, I don’t believe it’s impossible.
Last year I was hurt very badly by someone. While I was still picking up the pieces, that person accused me of hypocrisy. I was accused of writing in my blog about compassion, yet not showing it to the person who hurt me. Did I laugh or did I cry? I admit that accusation stopped me in my tracks, because I knew it was something I had blogged about and I needed to question my actions since. For a while there, it was difficult to write at all. I also knew that the person accusing me had hurt me bad yet I had done nothing to deserve it.
I eventually came to the conclusion, that I hadn’t been hypocritical. The person who had hurt me was entitled as anyone to my compassion, but I was also entitled to theirs. Is that confusing? Hopefully not. It came back to that issue of how to be compassionate when you’ve been hurt.
Actually it led to a realisation that I needed to be able to forgive their actions/words in order to have compassion. It didn’t come immediately, because I still hurt like hell, but it has come since. It didn’t fix the relationship (that won’t happen) but it gave me some peace, and actually, that was enough.
As human beings I think that we make judgements about who does, and doesn’t deserve compassion. I’m not convinced that the judgement is mine to make. Who am I to determine who deserves compassion?
The reason for this post comes from things I’ve seen, heard and read lately, on a number of different subjects. Watching people determine that they have the right to destroy another person’s life rather than have compassion. I’m not referring to anything specific because it’s there every day, anywhere we look. Often that destruction occurs of people who are unknown to the destroyer. They don’t even understand the effects of their actions. They simply don’t know who they choose to destroy.
I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, and maybe at times I don’t have as much compassion as I should for someone. We’re all human. And when we’ve been hurt, compassion seems next to impossible. It makes me so sad how easily, we as humans, can set out to destroy others, and then we congratulate ourselves on a job well done without stopping to think of the price, without stopping to think of the alternative… compassion.
So you think I’m crazy? No. Just thinking about another way of being.
It’s not my right to destroy another, but I believe it is my job to offer compassion where I can. I was told recently that if I had compassion for a person who had hurt me, then I hadn’t suffered enough at their hands. The person who said it hardly knew me and certainly didn’t know of what I had, or hadn’t suffered. I disagreed strongly with that view for so many reasons. But mostly I just don’t see it as my role to destroy others.
I know all too well how hard it is to be compassionate towards a person who has hurt me. Being hurt doesn’t give me the right to hurt back, although I know that’s what comes naturally. I think if someone has hurt me and I find it hard to give compassion to them, I need to back off (and probably shut my mouth) rather than seek to destroy. Eventually I will work to a point of peace again, and maybe then I can find that compassion.
In case you’re wondering, this is all me just wondering out loud. I’m working out something for myself. I’m not saying that it’s how it has to be for anyone else. Although I think for me, it has to be.
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
Twas the night two days (in NZ) before Christmas… and all through the house world, not a creature was stirring (well, that’s just wrong!) and every Kiwi (and probably Australian too) was hard at work baking a pavlova (staple Christmas food Downunder). Me? I have no pav to bake, and my contribution to Christmas dinner can’t be made until the day. So I’ve been writing and here’s my Christmas post…
You maybe thinking that I’m a week early on setting New Year Resolutions, as is the usual practise for many people. I’m not though. I don’t do New Year Resolutions because they never seem to last, and I never seem to be enthusiastic enough. But as Christmas has approached I’ve realised that I’ve quietly been setting Christmas Resolutions instead. The great thing about Christmas Resolutions, in case you didn’t know, is that they come bearing a little Christmas magic with them. A perfect way to make sure they come true.
So here they are. Completely unrelated, but of importance to me…
Christmas Resolution #1 I believe (again) in the magic of Christmas!
I admit that I gave up on the magic of Christmas a while back. Actually, I had almost given up on any Christmas. I didn’t enjoy it, couldn’t really see the point, and just hoped it would be over sooner rather than later… with as little pain as possible. But actually, Christmas is kind of cool. There’s the Christian Christmas Nativity story, which I’ll get to in a minute, but there is also Santa Claus and reindeers…
I’ve been watching a few Christmas movies lately, my favourite being the one my friend Kathy very kindly sent to me. That is ‘Miracle on 34th Street‘. It makes me sad when children, through the ideals of their parents usually, are taught to believe that Santa Claus is not real. I think those children miss out, on a lot. I think it’s good for children to use their imagination and experience such tales.
I can remember when local television stations used to track the progress of Santa around the globe. What amazed me was just how Santa made it around the whole globe in just one night. Well I understand that better now and it helps that some places don’t celebrate Christmas, so he can zip past those places. But again, it is sad that those children (and adults) miss out on the magic of Christmas.
So what is this magic of Christmas. I think we need to get away from it being about gifts and start to see it as being about spreading peace, joy and love around our whole globe. If each person, adult and child, could have a piece of that this Christmas, then I think we’d be going a long way. And if it could apply to the whole world, and not just those of certain religions, then that too would be a great move to seeing the world be kinder to each other. Now I believe that is something Santa Claus would support. Throw in a few reindeers, and a bit of mistletoe, and we’d be getting somewhere.
One more point on the magic of Christmas. For a few years now I have been aware of a debate within the Christian church of whether the virgin birth (at Christmas) was really a virgin birth. I was raised in a Christian home and spent a good chunk of my life as a practising Christian (although I’m not now). The Christian story of Jesus’ birth was what I was raised with. Santa Claus took a very definite second place, and I know that many people reading may also see it this way.
So what of this virgin birth? Was Jesus’ mother really a virgin? This is far from a theological stance(my argument would probably not hold up anywhere) but I’ve come to my own conclusion that if I can believe in the magic of Christmas, then I can believe in the virgin birth. Maybe it takes a little imagination, but imagination is a very good thing. And why should we confine it to children believing in Santa? In my mind, it is sad when we limit our experiences to what we see as literal.
So yes, I believe in the magic of Christmas, including the virgin birth.
Christmas Resolution #2 I support the survival of the rhinoceros(and I did tell you these were unrelated!!)
It broke my heart a few weeks ago when I read that the black rhino as a species is now extinct. Rhinos are wonderful animals. In my mind they are part hippo, part dinosaur and part unicorn (yes, I did say unicorn). That spells a wonderful mix. The thought that we as human beings have killed off a species because ‘we’ wanted the ivory from their tusks, is a tragedy. It’s happening to elephants too, another animal I like, but I won’t get side tracked. Why can’t we salute the rhino? Why can’t we put an end to the hunting, and celebrate the unicorn in the rhino. That little bit of magic. If you look closely you’ll probably see a rainbow too.
One species are extinct but we can’t afford to lose more. As for me, I will do what I can to support their survival. What about you?
Christmas Resolution #3 I must stop crossing oceans!
This third resolution comes on the basis of the quote I read some months back and knew instantly that it was ‘my‘ quote for 2013. Anyone else might read this quote and think “oh, that’s nice advice” but after this year, it is imperative that I get on board with it… and not on board a plane either. I did something like 75 hours (there and back) of that before I learnt my lesson).
The quote is:
“There comes a point when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t even jump puddles for you.”
I have no idea who uttered these wise words, but I’m sure they were speaking metaphorically, and not literally. Only I could do this literally, crossing many, many oceans (and lands) before I read this quote. Sure, you can say I was in love and had my head in the clouds. It’s true. But from now on I check first on the ability of the person in question to ‘jump puddles‘. I checked many things, but alas, I forgot to check whether he would jump a puddle for me. Even if he’d lay down his coat in a puddle so I could walk over it (as I remember my Dad telling me that a gentleman would).
If they won’t jump puddles for me, my feet are staying firmly on kiwi ground. And I expect them to jump big puddles too.
That’s the end of my resolutions. There’s no point making so many that you can’t keep up. New Year Resolutions are made to be broken, but these Christmas ones are firmly embedded in my mental ‘it’s happening‘ list.
So sit back, look out for Santa Claus and his reindeers flying past. Oh, and keep a very big eye out for any flying rhinoceros. I think that would be a sight to see, but also one to perhaps avoid if you can. Have a lovely Christmas. Forget the stress of families and money and food (especially for those of us who battle eating disorders and know this time of the year is the absolute worst). Have a little magic instead. Have a little peace.
Today I am participating, for the second time, in Blog4Peace… because peace is something that I strongly believe is desperately needed in our world. Bloggers from over 200 countries are participating today, and that just says to me how important our quest for peace is.
Sometimes I’m not too good at sticking to ‘the rules’, especially with blogging challenges and the like. Hopefully Mimi will forgive my errant ways. Usually bloggers create a template of their statement of peace, and post it on their site on 4 November. I have borrowed a template (above) for this post, but came to the conclusion that firstly, I’m a better writer than an artist, and secondly, I had something to say that I couldn’t contain in a template. As well as that my brain isn’t quite functioning straight right now and to achieve both tasks is simply beyond me.
I was watching a movie the other day. A favourite from years ago, of which I have just managed to get my hands on a copy. It is The Mission (1986) starring Jeremy Irons and Robert de Niro.
The brief summary of what this is about is that some Jesuit priests are living and working with locals above the Iguazu Falls in the South American jungle in the 1750s. There is some outstanding music in this movie, probably one of the reasons I love it, but there are difficult moments too when Portuguese rulers take back the land, destroy the mission built with the Jesuits ,and try to enslave the locals. The priest, played by Jeremy Irons, believes that God is love, and violence is a direct crime against that love. He argues that they should trust God rather than fight back. He chooses to stay with the villagers in peace while other Jesuits decide to renounce their vows and fight with many of the male villagers.
It’s hard to fit a movie into a paragraph, but the reason I raise it is the two choices that are made, effectively between peace and war. I sat watching the movie, and there were villagers, priests and soldiers representing the Portuguese rulers dying everywhere. Most of it was played out beside the river and I was struck how easily dead bodies were cast aside, out-of-the-way, so that the fight could continue. It seemed to me those bodies meant nothing, and I was struck with a knowing that I could never kill another being (human or animal), in such a situation because I simply couldn’t allow myself to let them mean so little. It was difficult enough to stand and watch my cat being euthanised last year. I knew it was taking away her pain, but it was so difficult to let a life be taken.
That said, that’s an easy statement for me to make. I’m not back there in the 1750s with the threat of my village being destroyed, and I’m not even in a position where I have to consider that I might be sent to war here in the 21st century. I live in a country (New Zealand) where military involvement is not mandatory. It was for young men (including my grandfather) in the first and second world wars, but as a woman, that was never something I would have had to face doing. Yes, it’s easy for me to say. My choice not to bear arms would not have any affect on my family and/or loved ones. Saying no is definitely an option for me. But I get that for so many, it’s not that easy.
Peace is one of those things that I think we all have our own views of what it is about. For me it is about respecting the value of each human being to a point where that person deserves to be saved. This post isn’t directly about war, although obviously it is not ignored because without peace we often have war. My personal belief is that war is never necessary. There is always another way of solving a dispute, and every effort should be taken to preserve life. Maybe it’s more difficult, maybe it takes longer. Jeremy Irons, in his role, chose to take what he viewed as God’s way. That’s not why I like it but rather what I do I like is the respect a peaceful solution offers to each individual.
We are all worth saving. None of us deserve to be left dead or injured on the side of the road, or permanently traumatised by the horror that soldiers, and the indigenous and local people have witnessed in the name of war. My belief is that peace values each of us. It says we are all too important to be cast aside as I saw in the movie.
That’s why I have taken time out from my usual blogging to take part in today’s Blog4Peace. All of the bloggers taking part in this event believe that if words are powerful….this matters. The wider we spread this message, each in our own way, the more people will see that the right thing to do is to lay down arms and live at peace.
What does all this have to do with blogging for mental health? If we had peace world over then we could all let it be. I am convinced that our overall mental health would be significantly better.
Today I turned back to music, because I was losing my grip and I know (when I remember) that when that’s happening the best thing for me is to turn back to music, my favourite kind of therapy.
In many years past, back in what must have been another life, music was my world and playing in an orchestra or singing in a choir was a way to guarantee that feel good factor. It was a long time ago, but music still works if I give it a chance. And so today I pulled out a movie soundtrack from the 1980’s. It’s one that others have told me they find depressing, but for me it’s the opposite. It lifts my spirits every time… and gives me some peace. I don’t imagine that you’ll click on it, and that’s ok. The music is for me, and if anyone else gets something from it, then that is a bonus.
It has been a really hard week, and while many times, I have sat down to write, the part of me that withdraws when I’m struggling pulled me back from writing. I realise at the other end of the week that while friends tell me to reach out and ask for help, I simply don’t know how. Does that sound crazy?
Logically I know it’s three words “I need help” but actually those words are so hard to say, especially when you’re used to being independent. I’ve attempted it in different places a number of times but have come away silenced by my fears and insecurities. I need to be very clear that I silenced myself, rather than anyone doing or saying anything to silence me.
For a number of reasons, right now I am struggling to know who to trust, even to know who is real. I’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly lately, and while the good still outweighs the rest, the worst of it colours my picture of the world and leaves me scared, even paranoid of who is really there for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I have some wonderful friends who have done their best to be here for me, but it’s me that keeps pushing them away because I simply don’t know who, if anyone, is trustworthy now.
I want to trust people again. I want to know that people are good. I want to believe that I’m not alone. I need to know that the world is a good place, and that the good and pure-hearted will win out against the bad and the ugly.
This week I have been rapidly running out of hope. That’s right, I’ve been running out of hope. It’s been hard to see the point anymore. Yesterday a dear friend offered to hold onto my hope for me, and that is exactly what I needed. We agreed to hold onto hope for each other, and somehow that seems so much easier than doing it alone. I am very lucky to have her gift.
So I keep going. The overwhelming urge is to run to under the covers of my bed. There it feels safe. There it feels that the bad and the ugly can’t get to me there. There I have no need for the paranoia and the anxiety. There is peace. I know I can’t stay there 24/7 but just sometimes it’s the best place to be.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
I am joining the project to Blog for Mental Health 2013, a project speared-headed by the wonderful A Canvas Of The Minds, where some good friends of mine hang out and come up with brilliant material on mental health issues. I realise this is the second campaign I’ve joined in a week (the other one you can check out on Still Standing Up To Stigma), but I see them as both being important and want to be part of both. Also when my good friend Ruby pledged me, I just knew I wanted to get involved.
Blog for Mental Health 2013 is catching on like wildfire. Everyone wants to be part of it and that’s fantastic to see so many bloggers committed to talking about mental health. So here’s what you need to know: This is not an award, but rather an exciting project to get a community of mental health bloggers to show that they are proud of their lives, that they are writing for themselves as well as for those who have not yet found their voices, that they are ensuring no one ever has to feel alone when dealing with mental illness. For me, those are some excellent reasons to be a part of this.
The badge that goes with this project, is designed by Lulu and you’ll see that repeated over on the right of this screen.
The next task is to take the pledge, and therefore:
I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
Step three is a short biography about my mental health and what it means to me.
My mental health tends to revolve around labels such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Depression with frequent visits of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. That said, labels don’t actually mean much to me apart from a way for me to identify reasons for some of my behaviours, thoughts and feelings. I am me, I have a mental illness, and to me, that’s what matters.
Mental illness makes achieving mental health harder than usual. There are extra bridges to cross, there is stigma to face, and there are battles to win. But it is possible.
The mental illnesses that I have are with me for life (BPD is part of my personality) but I view myself as having mental health when I can manage the symptoms and live the life that is important to me. Right now, I’m doing that and it makes me happy. It doesn’t mean that there are no struggles, but it does mean I can enjoy mental health just as much as the next person down the street.
Am I crazy? Probably. Is it ‘all in my head’? Absolutely, that’s where my brain resides. Is it easy? No, it’s damn hard but living this way is so much more fulfilling than the life I barely existed in over years past.
Being part of this project is important to me, because I know how hard it is to live in this society where mental illness is not seen as okay. I want to do my bit to spread the word that it is totally okay. I not only want to make life easier for other people who have mental illness, but I also want to contribute a message that prepares our world to be more accepting of mental illness in the future. May the next generation not have to fight with stigma. May they be able to find the acceptance and peace they deserve.
Was that short? Probably not. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. The final step is to pledge five bloggers who have “proven their mettle in my eyes as mental health bloggers”. Hmm. Actually this is a bit that I find hard. I know that it is a way to get other bloggers involved, but personally I don’t want bloggers I could pledge to feel somewhat obligated. I know obligation is not the intention, but I also know how easy it is for some of us to feel obligated.
So I’m not going to pledge any, except to say that if you write about mental health, even just some of the time (like me) then please consider getting on board with this project. I honestly believe the more we all speak out about mental health, then the better place we create for ourselves and others to live with mental illness. So check out the initial post – Blog for Mental Health 2013 and get involved.
One final note from A Canvas of the Minds, if you are getting on board…