Tag Archive: peace


Manchester Suicide Bombing

I don’t say much about news items usually, because I feel so under siege in my own home I can go days without seeing any news. I saw someone post earlier about Manchester but I’ve only just listened to Premier Radio’s Inspirational Breakfast. I broke off half way through to get a cup of tea.

I had Om Shri Matre Namah playing on a loop in the lounge and I found it helped me to process some of what I was feeling. There have been many times when I have felt an appreciation of the depth and beauty of Krishna Das as a priest (he was a priest in Maharaj-ji’s temple), and of a lot of the material he draws on in his chants. This was one of those times. And this mantra, Om Shri Matre Namah, meaning ‘I bow to the divine Mother’ seemed completely appropriate as a prayer for the situation.

In my particular stream of Christianity it may be frowned upon, probably most definitely will be, that I could even be saying this. But Catholicism honours Mary.  Islam does, too.  Even in my own background I was taught that the Holy Spirit has mother-like qualities. In the creation story in Genesis it says that the Spirit brooded over the waters. I heard back in my teens that God is also called the ‘many breasted one’. The mother is the archetypal source of love and nurture.

There are many other kirtan leaders than Krishna Das, but he is the one I know best. He says that when these chants or mantras are sung they are an invocation to the love within us, who we truly are. Whatever we think of how it does or doesn’t work, it seems to me that God as Mother is a model we are badly in need of. Not God the Warrior, God the Judge. People say we become what we worship, so I think it would be good for all of us on this planet, men, women and children, to begin to discover, value, release and cultivate within ourselves and each other the Mother heart, mind and nature of God that exists in so many of the world’s religions, including both Christianity and Islam.

 

Om Shri Matre Namah
I bow to the divine Mother
Within and Without
 

God Is So Close He Is In Me

I just realised tonight that when I was trying to involve God in my need He was somewhere in a level above me hearing but not ‘with’ me as such.  I decided to experience Him closer and I began to feel stronger.  Eventually I got to my breath and not feeling quite able to breathe freely until I realised I can breathe because God is closer than my breath.  He is there supporting it.  Then I moved on to I can care as well as breathe.

I thought afterwards that some confident atheists might just experience it as their sole selves without any need to refer to God.  That isn’t me though.  For me it is about having God with me.  God with me.  Not someone else or my supreme self-confidence.  The question is how much are other people involved in my experience of this?  Does that experience have to go further than just the values and wishes of my mind?  It is largely out of past experience of practising the presence of God, but what I felt this time and understood went deeper than I think I have known it before.  And it started from realising that I was wrong to put God somewhere above me.

How Useful is Philosophy?

When I was in my 20s I was aware of a stereotyped response people came out with about the usefulness of philosophy, ie that it was probably no use at all when it came to the practicalities of life.  In that stereotype people who wanted to study philosophy were asked what use it would be for anything.

I was just thinking about that.  I haven’t given it much time before writing, maybe only about 10 minutes.

The conclusion I came to was that every life action comes out of an underlying philosophy, whether conscious or unconscious.  That people who say they have no time for philosophy are unconsciously adopting that of pragmatism, though they would deny they are moved by any philosophical position at all.

In Colossians 2:8 it says that they should not let anyone take them captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy because in Christ we have fullness.  In the context of the chapter it says that.  I have been wary of philosophy for many years on the strength of that, as have many others.  I have thought, with many others, that true Christianity and conversion was what was needed.

He does say ‘hollow and deceptive’ though, and one hopes that he is not putting all of philosophy into that bracket.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  It is true that no one comes to the Father but by Him.  Among His disciples He always preached non-violence, though He acknowledged that those who did not embrace His teaching would go to war but that the disciples were not to be afraid because wars were bound to happen.

There are many who would resent the Christian position, unadorned, being thrust into their faces as the solution to life.  I think that an awareness and understanding of philosophy is at least a bridge in cross-cultural communication between Christians and non-Christians and the arguments for the Christian position can be found in and through other philosophies which people who would consider themselves anti-Christian and anti-religion would engage with more readily.

It must be the ultimate in unaccountability to say that we recognise no philosophy or religion at all.  I think it is true to say that there can be no lasting peace without recognition on both sides of an immovable higher authority to which each side submits itself throughout.  So I find myself unable to reconcile Jesus’ statement that there would be wars with the Church of England prayer ‘give peace in our time, oh Lord’, because different people groups do not recognise the same authority, and each people group recognises its authority in ways that make them at odds with others in their communities.

So is God just an imposition of the strong on the weak?  Having experienced many things, including physical healing, I cannot say so.  To me it is not enough to say that everyone has the power to heal and not refer that power back to a giver, especially as the healing I received was in a Christian context.

But I do think that people who have no time for religion or philosophy are dangerous people to be in control.

I think I started thinking about this today after listening to a Noam Chomsky recording on Napster, about mafia and hegemony.

King David – Camera Snap From a War Zone

David said, ‘Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness’.  Is this the truth, or is it, like his affair with Bathsheba and ordering her husband to be killed in battle, a sign of emotional sickness?

Poor little guy, one of many sons, the youngest and despised, sent out every day to look after the sheep on his own.  With nothing but his target skills and his harp and singing and his idealised idea, in his loneliness, of his relationship with God, to keep him going.

When his father Jesse was asked by Samuel to get all of his sons together because he wanted to anoint one of them to be king after Saul, neither Jesse nor the rest of his sons gave David a thought.  He was out there with the sheep.  Samuel got to the end of everyone who was in front of him, the story says, and God said ‘no’ to all of them, and he had to ask if there was another son.  When Jesse said yes, he said yes but, not oh yes of course.  Samuel had to insist on him being brought in.

Later Saul kept trying to kill him, and he and Jonathan agreed a code that Jonathan would use to tell David that he needed to flee, if he thought so.  And David fled.  He got to a city and pretended madness, he lied to cover his tracks and people were killed in the wake of that.  Yet he said he would not fear.  He was very afraid and in denial, whatever his affirmations and confessions.  He said he was convinced of his own righteousness and that God was with him and knew him in his righteousness.  It seems to me his suffering and isolation had pushed him over the edge.  He felt he had to be perfect or something to be loved and approved of, and so he asserted that he was, exulted in it, and told God he was a perfect and righteous man.

And my teachers have believed his reported self-assessment.

It seems to me this is faulty interpretation and exegesis and shows no understanding of human psychology.

They are as much in denial about him as he was about himself, and as the prophet might have been who said God had said David was a man after God’s own heart, who would fulfil all of God’s desires.  And yet God had to tell David, when he wanted to build him a temple, that he was not the man to do it, because he was a man of blood.  He went around killing people and cutting off foreskins for trophies.

The Bible, reportedly, shows people as they were.  It doesn’t say that everything that came from his life and pen and lips were God’s truth.  The Bible, if it is true, is the truth about the people in it, and what they say is from God is not necessarily from God at all, and it is undiscerning and maybe a bit afraid to look at every word the people who are called God’s servants say and think they are all right and perfect and can all be synthesised into being truth in themselves, just because they are in the Bible and came from people who have been made, historically and by the will and judgment of men, both at the time and since then, into heroes.

When the Bible says God was with him, does it just mean that people loved and protected him?  The Bible was written by men, and men said that God was with him – because they had a warrior mentality?

David said I am for peace but they are for war.  So why did God say he couldn’t build his temple because he was a man of blood?  He was holding David responsible.  Or Nathan’s prophetic spirit and internal workings were.  Later David prayed ‘deliver me from blood guiltiness, Oh my God’.  So what was Nathan’s bag?  He put a real heavy on him, and made him live without formal punishment, which was obviously a psychological need and would have been appropriate.  (thought: unless man of blood is just referring to the thing with Uriah, then of course I am just being arrogant and proud again deciding it was about his killing sprees, which in the eyes of Israel were worth eulogising – Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.  That was why Saul wanted to kill him – he was jealous.  It says the hand of God was with David because he was killing so many people.  Whose judgment was that?  Was it REALLY God’s?)

When it says the glory of the Lord filled the place and the priest’s could not go about their work, does it mean there was a sudden emotional and psychological crisis felt by all that no one knew how to handle? So they fell on their faces and worshipped until – what – released them?

I’m sure this could be taken much further.  I love the fact that it can.  But then who is God?  Who are you?  Who am I?  And what is good?  And how can we free ourselves of this evil and hero protecting mentality to pursue what is right and good, and not what is safe and cosy and cronyistic and cliquey and maudlin?

 

Them Upstairs (Again) New Place

Their behaviour is making me really anxious.  I think they are hacking my computer.

Apart from anything else, the violence, the show of being nice and good and saying dobre and hallelujah all the time, day and night, and violence worse than my last neighbours, if possible, I keep hearing a man up there nervously clearing his throat, and every time I do something a bit different – like today I did a search on how to grow citrus fruit, they react vocally, and this search got quite a delighted reaction.

As I said, I think they are hacking my computer.  So they will know the properties I have looked at and where.  I only thought, about 30 minutes ago, that it might not be just a bit of distressing stupidity, but they might be hacking (he just said dobre as if answering that and they began to react as soon as I started writing this.  Door slamming now) for someone, or even just for themselves, to establish and stalk and harass my future movements and relationships.  Now I think I have cause for concern.

I’ve told my landlord several times and he said he would talk to them and that they said they would try not to disturb me (it’s like having a stormtrooper as a carer, or a wild animal as my keeper), but yesterday I Skyped him and told him again what they were doing, the violence and everything, and didn’t ask, but demanded that I should be protected, in the property I was paying him for, from the people directly above it, who come with the property and over whom I have no choice.  That was yesterday morning.  Last night I had still not heard anything, and I don’t expect to, the way they have handled things so far.  He might even be in on it himself.

I’m looking at properties I really like.  I’ve even won 2 on ebay.  But if stalkers and computer hackers (he cleared his throat.  Most of the time now I try not to lose it completely because they start being violent and placing quite expert psychological attacks on my voice) and mafia, are going to attack and sabotage me everywhere, especially as I’m thinking of dealing commercially in food, that would put everyone at risk, I’m not sure if I can go ahead.  But I want to and insist on my right to do so without fear.

Mockery, cruelty, deception, violence, authorities who stand back and let them, possible savage attacks on future land and property.  I’ve just had some aural interjections which felt so evil I can’t complete this, it has confused my mind.

Edit note: They parrot and ghost my own voice right into my mind.  Normally if I try to retrieve emotional and psychological control of my own voice they ignore me or get violent, but I just reversed the sound being used and a man upstairs yelled as if offended or affected, as it affects me from them. What I hear in their voices I’ve started ending up with severe pains in my chest almost every day, my fear and outrage is so great.  They threatened to come on again just now.  I said in Bulgarian ‘your violence back on yourself, all of you’, and the pain started to dissolve and left, then I heard a woman’s sharp heals stamping on the stairs and they started to come back.  I don’t know how much of this stuff actually belongs together to affect me as it does.  They bang every time I go to the toilet or shower so I’ve noticed I’ve started going all day without a visit, and I’m too scared to move or open my mouth.

They seem to be reacting to something they feel spiritually when I am silent, all the time, when I relax.  I took 2 paracetamol and lay on my bed yesterday afternoon, sweating and immobile from the pain, and as soon as it seemed it was going completely, they banged on my ceiling.  I am sure the fact that they have to put a noise onto every one of mine, even my coughing and speech, has something to do with it.  I read a few months ago that Stalin was a satanist.  People talk about these things but say (legally and with authority to put you in a mental hospital) that you are crazy if you talk and act and reason as if they are true.

I left a comment on Tommy Boyd’s blog on Friday, about how the way people treat me sometimes makes me feel, emotionally, that I want to hit back.

At the time I left it, I was aware, listening back, that it seemed as if my comments were being tracked by the radio hosts I was listening to.  When it got to the time that I left that comment, the host who was on at that time said something sarcastically and derisively about unfailing love.

Apart from the obvious fact that it is God who is perfect love, and not me, I wasn’t aware he had access to my unpublished comments in the middle of me writing them anyway.  Well, I was, and have been for ages.   Unless it is a psychic thing, and I don’t think it is.  Sometimes, but probably rarely.

So it is stalking and harassment.  Hostage-taking and keeping, maybe.  And they love bomb you like a cult.

That kind of sarcasm, if it factored in something in Biology, for example, would be called an inhibitor or a limiting factor.  It is something I came across when I got interested in vegetarian food and was given a couple of books which went into detail about it.  Talking about available protein.

If I remember it right, proteins are made up of amino acids, the composition of which can be pictured as a star shape with unequal protrusions, the shorter ones limiting the availability, release and utilisation of the rest, and therefore the amount of available protein.  It was presented as a part of the idea of complementary protein, where, for instance, rice and beans complement each other and make more protein available when eaten together than is available if you add them up separately.  Wheat and milk is another one (that was vegetarianism, not veganism).  And there are others.  Some people say that is an outdated theory now, but the diet and nutrition industry being what it is, who knows?  I suppose if it was scientifically proved it must still stand.  It isn’t something which depends on individual metabolism, it is the protein available in combined foods, and that is testable in a laboratory (I think!) before the food enters the body.  Although thinking about it I am wondering how the necessary blending of the foodstuffs would take place apart from digestive breakdown, but that probably shows the limitation of my own knowledge due to inadequate study and experience.

But in relationships, I don’t want people behaving as inhibitors towards me in that way and thinking it is good or clever.  He went on to say something about ‘don’t cry, woman’, or something like that.  But by that time I wasn’t open to anything else which came from him, and I stopped listening.

PS – the WordPress system has just informed me that this is my 275th post and called me a dope.  Honestly!  “Dope!” – just like that.

Read it here in Scottish or English.

I was watching yesterday’s news coverage of Osama Bin Laden’s death, and found myself thinking, ‘A man’s a man, for all that’, and I knew it was a quotation, but I wasn’t sure where from, so I looked it up.  I was thinking it not to belittle a man and say he is dispensable, but to exalt him as a creature of intrinsic worth and nobility.  I was thinking it for Osama Bin Laden.  I was disagreeing with David Cameron and other world leaders who have expressed satisfaction over his death.  By extension I was also thinking it for the rest of us, including those of us who have found justification in holding the bitterness and unforgiveness that can allow us to say of a fellow human being, ‘good, he is dead’, rather than expressing regret that his killing was a necessary part, so we are being told, of bringing justice.

I believe that kind of expression of that kind of feeling brutalises and degrades us and makes us less than the ‘man’ that our own nature demands we should be.  The Bible says, in one of the Psalms, that we are gods, and that the big God gave His Son to die for our sins, while we were still sinners.  Jesus quoted that Psalm and said the scripture cannot be broken.

I have heard it taught that Islam was formed as a religion in direct opposition to Christianity and Judaism.  I think I heard that from Colin Dye’s platform.  I think we have to ask why.  Christians used to hold killing crusades.  Christians sided with Hitler in the killing of Jews.  Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ was one of my set texts at school.  It was about a Jewish money lender who lent money to a Christian on the terms that he forfeit a pound of his own flesh if he defaulted.  All the Christian’s ships were lost at sea.  A woman called Portia argued the Christian’s case in court, and he was reprieved because the forfeit did not mention the shedding of blood, and Shylock, the money lender, was mockingly and derisively invited to take the pound of flesh, but if in so doing he shed one drop of blood he would have a forfeit of his own.  I think it was his life, but I can’t remember.

The first line of Portia’s famous speech, ‘the quality of mercy is not strained’, is often quoted and held to be a thing of great beauty.  But earlier the Jewish money lender had a great and truly painful speech of his own, basically saying ‘I am a man like you’, and the one part I can definitely remember and that registers with me deeply on an emotional level is where he talks about being in the street and having people ‘spit upon my Jewish gabardine’.  And although the quality of mercy is not strained, it seems that, from his humiliation at the end, it was meant to achieve mercy for Antonio, the Christian, but to be a lesson, yet another painful life lesson, to Shylock, the despised Jewish money lender.  I would like to draw more points from this play but I am not familiar with it any more and would need to read it again.  Points about if Shylock had gained his money legally and honourably, why was he so despised by the people who borrowed from him?  Did they need to borrow, would they have needed to borrow if they had not been so greedy themselves?  So why despise their provider?  Shylock’s requirement of Antonio was probably meant only to express his own distaste at lending to a man who spat upon his Jewish gabardine, or represented people who did.  He never expected, in all probability, that he would be in a position to call for the forfeit.  It was probably meant as a verbal expression of hate for hate.  The fact he called for it is obviously inexcusable, but would have been an expression of his own sick feelings of hate and revenge brought on by the abuse and constant humiliation.  Antonio was a rich merchant.  Shylock was a rich money lender.  What was Shylock’s sin?  Without reading again, it must have been that he was Jewish.  Shylock the Jew did not kill Jesus any more than Antonio the Christian (by affiliation and Christian country ‘birthright’ or by life changing choice and conviction?) did.  But Shylock was hated.

I’m not sure what the point of that is in this post.  Maybe it is just a way for me to say ‘this is hurting me’, because I identify emotionally with Shylock in his feelings over the abuse he received, regardless of any consideration of business ethics and morality.  I started crying when I found and read the Robert Burns poem and found it so perfect and beautiful, and that feeling hasn’t left me while considering Shylock.

My church used to say ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’.  We are justifying hating both the sin and the sinner, and that degrades both us and the sinner.  We are justifying such hatred towards a man that we rejoice in his death.  He couldn’t have achieved anything without his followers, and even though their figurehead has died, passed through death, if they choose revenge rather than deciding to change track and work themselves for brotherhood and world peace, I cannot see how the death of Osama Bin Laden can be seen as an ‘important step forward’, or the similar words used by my own beloved and respected prime minister, David Cameron.  So I would want to appeal to both sides, in the name of God and in the name of love and humanity, to please cool it and stop the revenge and attacks and the seeking of ‘justice’.  I would want to ask that, as Christians, we love our radical Islamic enemies, enough to uncover enough humility of our own to consider what it is that has so filled them with hatred and be willing to apologise and actively pursue reparation and healing of relationships with them, to stop the self-righteous demands and invective, and to approach them with the love and honour and humility we should employ, according to the Bible, towards all men.  I’m not saying that I myself am good at that, but I hope the character of our leaders is made of such stuff that they might be different, and be so openly, and not try to ‘confound the enemy’ by presenting a different face publicly than the one they present privately.   Our enemies need to know and see that we are honest and open not only about our rights, but about theirs, and about our own failings, even historical, and willingness to make reparation.  I don’t believe it is true, for any human being, that violence is all they understand.  The Bible says that the desire of a man is constant love, and I think that goes for everyone, and we need to be braver in showing that.  Vulnerable love, not tough love.  Active and proactive vulnerable love and openness to others.  ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I understand’ and ‘yes, you’re right’ and ‘thank you, I hadn’t thought of that’, and even ‘I love you, are you OK, can I help you?’ love and pursuit of justice.

Love and concern for each other should flow from the top down and the bottom up and spread out and come in, and maybe then the right policies will be obvious and not take up so much time in our relationships, governmental and otherwise.  I want to see the leaders of my world loving one another.  Having therapy sessions and love-ins, most of the time, instead of arguments and policy formation.  If they can pass on the benefits of that to us and across international boundaries, it might change everything about our living and thinking and being in the world and with each other.

I believe all of this is part of our intrinsic worth and nobility which we abandon at our peril and that we need to rediscover, and part of what it means to be ‘A Man, for A’ That’.

In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

I’m Sorry But . . .

Today I feel emotionally sick and out of step with everyone, even with my own sense of decency.

Is there a time I should just shut up and let people get on with it?  Just for a day maybe, or a week, or maybe I should cut my tongue out and never be able to speak for the rest of my life!  Now there’s a thought.

As much as I truly admire the people who work so hard for our security and am very touched by the happiness and satisfaction some of them I have heard speaking today are expressing, I still find it repulsive that anyone can be happy about and rejoice over someone else’s death.  No matter how much they or others close to them have suffered.

As I said, I feel emotionally sick.  I still can’t have a thought or emotion begin to materialise without the people upstairs start their stuff.  The uncanniness of it is doing a number on me, along with some of its deliberate and markedly repetitive illegality when they bang just after the boundary line every day.  I wondered after I typed those last paragraphs and thought maybe I’m being a bit too squeaky liberal to be real.  Perhaps I should join the celebration, for reasons of my own it feels like a bit of a weight off of my shoulders as well.  Maybe all decent people are glad, and I just don’t have that level of freedom to be able to enjoy it with everyone else who is also decent.

But I remember stories of days when missionaries went among cannibal tribes, eyes wide open, taking the risks.  And dying.  No political pull outs.  Died for their peaceful, loving, non-violent beliefs, killed by the enemies, in lifestyle, that they had gone to live among and convert/evangelise/win for Jesus.

Jesus said, so the Bible tells us, if we choose to believe it (or it might have been Paul), ‘render to no man evil for evil, but overcome evil with good’.  Armies and governments and terrorist groups are made of many people who, individually, would be identified as ‘a man’.  I’ve heard it preached and taught that war is a different kind of situation to which that does not apply.  That sometimes peace has to be fought for, and that that is the justification for war.  But how can you fight for peace with weapons of war?  If you do the same you become the same.  The act of war causes and deepens wounds in the psyche, personally and nationally, which make it more likely for physical warfare to continue to be embraced as an option.  People don’t repent, they go into denial and justification, and that isn’t something which makes for a future where this is less likely to happen.

We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12), and that means to establish new habits of acting and thinking. I’ve noticed that when I take a step to do what is right, I understand how wrong the former thing was and how wrong its support structures and rationalisations.  Especially if I thought before that the right thing was the wrong thing.  In my early days as a Christian I was taught that pragmatism and compromise over the truth were not acceptable approaches to living the Christian life.  That belief has not abandoned me, even though these days the church is more at ease with ideas of necessity and pragmatism.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe I just haven’t moved on as I should have done.

However, I believe that the spread of peace depends on abandoning war as an acceptable way of ‘maintaining’ ‘peace’.  If war is not an option, we have to go further in building international relationships.  Not ‘so far and no further’.  So far then ‘how very dare you, sir?’  Peace is not compromise.  Peace is Shalom, whole and vibrant.  Peace is love, not polite, formalised, ritualistic functionality.

If war is not an option, outraged people with hurt egos can’t issue a call to arms, pumping out buzz words ten to the dozen that make you feel ashamed and embarrassed to disagree with them.  People who do not embrace armed conflict as an option must surely be easier people to approach.

If we want to talk about the brave people who die in the pursuit of peace, and lay down their lives, I think there is more chance of healing for the world and of leading by example if those people lay down their lives in refusing to kill, rather than in trying to maintain peace and security for their own group by killing people and groups who are seen to threaten it or who strike at it.  If we lay down our lives for peace, sacrifice our lives in being actively peaceful and refusing to engage in war.  Let our own lives be taken rather than kill an aggressor.  Rather than a few being brave for many, I believe we all need to face it and trust for ourselves.  That way we relate with love for all, even for our enemies.  That is how peace is built.  We are governed by peace because we are founded on peace.  It isn’t the result, but the whole structure.  As long as we need to protect our lives, we live with fear.

This is what I should do, not what I do.  I am protecting too much, things and goals which wanting to achieve make me careful for my life.  Crazy things, like seeing the end of coercive medicine in the mental health system, a change in understanding and an end to labelling.  Even more, I don’t want to die on my own, maybe never to be discovered and with my life seen as worthless and full of failure, and something to be despised and not missed.  That is my craziness, wanting to hold on to my life until I feel it is worth something, not so guilt-ridden and not so isolated.  That is how I feel under the present abuse.  Too guilty to die, and guilty for hanging on.  Sorry for coming back to myself, but on the other hand, I think facing and coming to terms with yourself is a necessary part of being able to embrace this lifestyle choice anyway.  So no, I’m not sorry, really.  You have to come back to yourself to lay your life down by deliberately committing to non-violence.  I know so.  I’m only sorry I can’t express it better because of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I could possibly express it if I chose my own advocated actions, but under the abuse I can’t do it in words.  The option for me seems to be to surrender to and make myself vulnerable to my abusers (who might only be abusers in my mind anyway), or not to be able to express it in words.  But I do have a problem with my abusers if that is the point they are trying to make  by their abuse.  ‘Join us, we’ll teach you the way of peace and non-violence by making you pass through the fire of our violence’.  Jesus didn’t use violence.  The Bible says the devil can appear as an angel of light, and that means his presentation is appealing and persuasive.  But trust goes to the cross.  They present as Christians, and everything I try to say is aurally countered, either actively or with silence.  Or is it all a product of my own fear and darkness?  The Bible says in Christ there is no darkness, it also says the darkness becomes light.  To me that doesn’t just mean that a light shines removing the darkness but that, where Christ is, the darkness itself, even the darkness of violence, is light.  That is the conviction of my heart and soul.  Love, my love for those who do me violence, makes even the violence a source of light and something into which I should walk.  And these words are darlings I refuse to kill by putting them into action.  The violence and exclusion/silence, because of the ‘hallelujahs’, feel like a call, a ‘trial by fire’.  But also, post-communism, it feels somehow inappropriate.  So why am I arguing so much?  Have we talked our way out of needing to pay the price, by invalidating the price asked and demanded as torture?

Government Hanky-Panky

Maybe it’s time for me to stop being drawn on this, but this morning I heard (sorry, I get confused) William Hague or Iain Duncan-Smith (I think it was William Hague) say something about harassment of journalists in Libya.  He paused before saying ‘in Libya’, as if trying to emphasise the point that he was saying Libya, and nowhere else, maybe not the UK.

Being the self-centred person that I am, I thought he was saying that I am harassing journalists and I got a bit upset.  Then I thought, ‘wait a minute, he’s probably trying to draw a distinction between the journalists in Libya (about whom he doesn’t have a bad word to say), and some of the journalists here, in our minds’.  I thought of Julian Assange.

I know many people will have seen the video of him outside the court about a week or so ago (I haven’t seen anything more recent) with him so close to tears saying he hasn’t had the chance to put his side of the story and that there have been incitements to violence towards him and his staff.

I don’t know him, but tears are very powerful with me.  Some people say they are a form of manipulation.  Maybe those people have never known real desperation.  I was frightened of my tears for years, after reading in a counselling type book that they are a form of manipulation.  I realise that tears only express our feelings and not necessarily the truth about the beliefs we hold that make us cry, but they must be one of the most valid expressions of personal, heartfelt reality, and for that reason I for one cannot despise them or be dispassionate about them.  If we took more notice of tears we might be a less violent, bigoted, punitive, testosterone-and-spleen-driven and reactionary world.  I believe real tears always should be reconcilers or at least a gateway to reconciliation.  His tears touched me.  I don’t know if they were real or not.  But how desperate does a person have to show themselves to be in order to have the violation of their legal human rights redressed by those who should and who think they have the right to judge instead?

My own emotions are mangled.  I’m being shouted at and banged at every day, especially when I’m just lying on my bed trying to connect my life to its source and neither moving nor speaking, just enjoying the feeling of beginning to recover the connection between my mind and emotions, then it all starts.  And I do the same thing back sometimes, even if only eventually and not on the spot.  Early in the morning I am too shocked and don’t know how to handle myself.  I can not get dressed for days because the violence makes me feel I can’t cope with life.  And then I feel ashamed of my own reactions when I give it back.

All that to say, condoning computer-hacking from anyone, including the government, excluded, I wish I could help Julian Assange and I would if I could, and would do so in every way that I could if he or his representatives asked me to.  There is no way I would not be prepared to help, believing as I have that he tried to help me.  Isn’t it funny how the government always steps forward to try to get you to disconnect from ‘bad influences’ only after they themselves have been exposed?  If they had not been exposed, if the timing of the leaks had not made me feel supported, I wonder what they would now be saying and doing?

‘The Big Society’ manifesto and plan almost completely replicates some of the concerns I raised in a document on my computer, following years of official abuse and neglect, including from the police, which was addressed to the chief of police in Sussex but not sent.  Given everything else it is hard for me to believe that someone hasn’t lifted it straight from my computer.  I know some people will believe or try to make out this is lunatic, but others will not, they even comment and sometimes get uncomfortable if I log on to a parliamentary broadcast, which I watch from the beginning and delayed, at the time that I actually log on and start watching.  This happened one Friday at the reading of a Private Member’s Bill, and the discomfort was particularly pronounced.  I keep intending to find it and watch it again, because at the time I thought I understood the discomfort.

My browser has crashed a couple of times while typing this, always when I am getting into a release of full flow.  It must show in my typing.  I think that, among other things, my key strokes are being monitored by someone.  I obviously don’t know who or why. There are people I think of and think of course I’ll stop if it’s them and they want me to, but I go on in stubbornness and/or uncertainty.

I started the post to say that it seemed fairly clear to me that, whatever William Hague was trying to communicate with his statement this morning, what appeared to be the surface message didn’t appear to me to be his main concern, and I wish they wouldn’t go around making object lessons and drawing comparisons and contrasts from another country’s distress while trying to appear to have a single message and motive.

Julian Assange, I love you.  I am absolutely backing you up with my best intentions and my strongest hopes for your safety, if that is all I can do.  I can’t quite connect with your reality, as I said when I try to connect with my own people cry out and start banging, I don’t understand the dynamic, I usually go for the explanation that makes me feel guilty, and it’s happening now and it is so distressing, so excuse me if you find this inappropriate, but I feel as if my own entrails are being fed upon.  I believe I have heard you trying to communicate with me, and from you in your position I appreciate that so much.  But I don’t know, maybe you’re communicating with me and every rights aware individual, and I’m just bending it to myself.  I hope you will get someone to contact me if I can help or be of any use to you.  That’s how I feel, whether it is appropriate or not.  I feel as if my whole community is the idiot brigade, and they’ve all come out now.  I’ve got another person now who somehow thinks it helps and is cool to shout hallelujah at me.  Maybe I should respond with better grace and gratitude.  I don’t know why they are doing it or who has given them the idea.  They only did it after searching me out with 5 minutes of yelling and me yelling back in the end.  I feel really bad about this.  It’s obviously an affirmation and I’m being ungrateful.  I should be grateful.  It’s so good to hear.

Yes, we should.  It is the only way to understand each other and live in peace with each other.  David Cameron is right.

But he is wrong about which language it should be.

The language should be mutual respect and respect for human rights, not the spoken language of your adopted country.  The problem arises if we let people in who are against our values in the first place.  What could happen then is that people learn our language (English, in our case) and subvert it to use it against us.  People who don’t speak our language coming in to the country are not our problem, but people who don’t share our values.

What are our values?  I don’t know!  Get any group of White Anglo Saxons together and you can have just as many culture clashes as you can with anyone else, even though we have been here for generations as the dominant group.  The loud mouths.  “It’s all the fault of the immigrants, coming into our country and stealing our jobs”.  If people have to make an enemy out of someone and unite against them, I have been taught that is possibly all they agree about, and some of those do it because they wouldn’t feel safe to disagree.   Correction, some of us, because we all do it sometimes.

But not speaking the language of the country should not be a problem, because there are ways around that.

Respect is the thing.  If we provide translations (or anything) but resent doing so, that communicates and damages relationships.  Or the people working with the translations, the officials and what have you who, for some reason, don’t really value different cultures but are doing a job because if they don’t they are financially penalised, if they can’t stand the people they serve or work with, how is that going to help anyone?  I know the answer is obvious and so does my reader.  “It isn’t”.

Translators are people who love language.  They problably love the culture that goes with it as well, otherwise they might not have got that far (I managed to take French to first year degree level myself, starting at the age of 9 or 10.  My best exam mark for it was an A at ‘O’ level, as it was before GCSEs.  My worst might have been an E at ‘A’ level.  I put it down to the increased literature element and my inconsistent attendance).

What if translators of English into other languages translated our literature for the non-English speaking people that live among us, and we also got their literature in translation?  This must be distress at its worst, because I know I’m talkiing garbage because I know that obviously happens, now I say so.  That’s what snakebite does for you, it has you all over the place!

But . . .  national identity doesn’t depend on us all speaking English, and you can’t blame the foreigners for the fact that there are many clashing value systems in our country, because that is true without them.

If we maintain respect there is no reason why we should push for integration.  People want to maintain their own identities, that is natural, especially in a strange place.  And why should it be seen as unhealthy if some of them never want to do anything else?  Saying that kind of thing about what someone wants makes them angry and miserable and promotes discrimination and prejudice.

We can keep the separate communities.  We can celebrate difference.  We can enable learning about each other within our own communities.  We don’t have to mix it, we can keep it separate, if that is easier, and let different communities be taught what they need to know by their own people and anyone else able to communicate with them that they accept.

Why, these days, should a non-English speaking child be thrust into an English taught school and therefore be at a disadvantage?  We can’t all learn another language, it doesn’t come naturally to some people.  Some people have problems with their own language, let alone someone else’s.  And there was plenty of illiteracy in England before mass immigration, so it isn’t fair to say we are being slowed down.  And why should the focus be language skills anyway?  What about other necessary skills?  There are some jobs you can do quite happily without needing to yap at everyone.  Some jobs might be better done that way.  Artisan type jobs, for example.

Let’s celebrate everything!  Different cultures, different gifts and skills.  It doesn’t have to be onerous and pedestrian, it can be a constant, joyous flux and flow.

People keep up trade links with their own countries anyway.  Why force people to integrate who can’t or don’t want to?  As long as we can establish and maintain respect between the communities there is nothing wrong with separateness where people want to be separate and coming together where they want that.  I’m thinking that education, at least in the first years, should be within the child’s own ethnic community, because that is where they will be happiest.  And what’s wrong with having further and higher education that way as well, all within our own country?  Why should we invade or insist on dragging out into the open the private place of someone else’s cultural identity?

It’s about choice.  Choice creates industry and jobs.  This is something there is both a need and a demand for.

I say, back to basics.  Back to reality.  Stop blaming people and trying to create jobs selling things people don’t need like food, for instance, with all kinds of subliminal messages attached (why else do you think we are obese and lazy?  But those who sell it and know the methods they use to sell it still turn round and blame us and say we are a burden on the tax payer.  Well, some tax payers are a burden on everyone!).  Start providing instead the things we actually need to make society work – people skills, philosophy, values, the arts, beauty, (shh erm – religion?)

Quack quack, said the silly duck, it’s time for another industrial revolution.

Hey, this is the 21st century! (I never thought I’d say that!)  David, what kind of leader says, “you must learn our language, or you can’t come here”?  Different isn’t bad, it’s different.  It’s an opportunity.

This is so outrageous I can hardly believe you mean it.  I watch the most serious things these days and find myself laughing as if it is a comedy, sometimes.  Does everyone end up saying, as they get older, “the world has gone mad”?  Because I did last night.

If we are going to say to people, “you can’t come here unless you learn our language”, what about the people here who already don’t speak it? Are we going to end up having an ethnic purge?  Shall I being the mental health system into this?  Yes, I think I might, because in many ways it is the same kind of thing.  Ethnic purge.  That is a real danger.  There are elements, including among those in power, who after stopping entry by others who can’t speak the language/don’t share our values, will next turn on those already living among us, and that wouldn’t be pretty at all.  David Cameron, you seriously need to rethink this.  You can’t make people conform at will without damaging relationships. There would also be a backlash from some people already here from countries from which some people were not allowed access.

By the way, when I talked about snakebite earlier – I had just watched the Andrew Marr Show before I wrote this and I first thought of that phrase after hearing William Hague talking.

I think among our human rights should be the right to be inadequate and incapable, if that is what our lives have done to us, without it bearing any kind of stigma at all.  I wonder if that is possible while the great god the tax payer gets invoked against everyone that is or feels that way?

This society stinks, it is so abusive.  But it is probably not that much different from many others.  Jesus said you can’t serve God and mammon.

He also pointed out that the Bible says in one of the Psalms that we are gods, and the scriptures cannot be broken.  I used to think that was sarcasm, but would the Jesus I have been taught about have been sarcastic about scripture?  No, He wouldn’t.  Is the Jesus I have been taught about the real Jesus?  Unquestionably!  Jesus defended the scripture that says we are gods.  He would not have been sarcastic about scripture.  And we can’t serve each other (God/gods) and money as well.

I apologise for my style, but I watch and listen to so much rubbish.  It seems to be all there is available.

(Editorial Note:  Please read the updated and expanded version of this which is now on my front page.  I think it is more important than this one.  I wrote it because this one was not appearing in all the categories I assigned it to.)

And he and his lawyers fear extradition which may result in him being transferred to the US and possibly subjected to the death penalty or sent to Guantanamo.

I want him to be OK.  I don’t want any harm to come to him.  I don’t want him extradited.  Even if he has done something wrong, in Britain we don’t have the death penalty anymore, and our news agencies have publicly opposed and criticised Guantanamo for ages, though I haven’t taken much notice of the government’s position so I don’t know what it is. 

Maybe I am just a gullible, emotional woman who doesn’t understand what is involved in regaining/maintaining national and international security, but I think a lot of people would agree with me that, even if he has done something wrong, we would prefer for it to be dealt with differently.  I hope no one is thinking that if he is taken out of the picture that Wikileaks will fall apart, because I think that would be lazy and unjust.

If we have been told the truth, it wouldn’t be fair to extradite him on the basis of the charges which have been brought against him.  We have been told that he has co-operated in every way with the authorities over the sex accusations made against him, right from the beginning.  If that is true I can’t see how exradition over those charges could be justfified, and if extradition is a real threat and not just an exaggerated fear, I think the people thinking of resorting to this should stop the pretence that it is because of the sex allegations over which he has co-operated for months, from the beginning, and make their intentions and the reasons for them clear and open.  Then they would be challengeable, by everyone, including public opinion.  If they are not spoken no one can challenge them and that, in the darkest sense of the word, would be ghastly and say something really awful about us, I believe.

So without knowing anything that could justify it and not feeling able or being willing to turn and go with an inkling that I could be wrong at such short notice, I would like to say that if this is happening, it is not in my name.  And for that I feel I might burn in hell.

Behind the Veil

Are women wanting peace, privacy and protection.

Gosh, this is hurtful!

When I was in London and on the bus, I would sometimes look at Muslim women and think they were so lucky, being able to cover themselves like that.  I thought that, with some of the men they had to encounter on an every day basis, being able to cover themselves must be a blessing and feel like a protection.

I feel like that today after having been out on Bulgarian streets.  I was at the bus station in Sunny Beach yesterday afternoon, and this group of young lads appeared at the stop opposite mine and one of them said, or rather, put out into the atmosphere, ‘Christian!’, then the whole group started playing around with it.   Mimicking and stuff.  Maybe I need to start confronting this instead of sitting there in silence or just staring at them and hoping they will have enough shame and decency to stop or apologise or something.

I don’t know what they were saying, it felt awkward.  I don’t know what they were saying, but there was a lady near them about 4 people away, and she was almost in tears.

And I think the bus drivers are as bad.  That is my interpretation of the scene without the language.  On the bus to Plovdiv yesterday I lost it with a couple of women next to me who, every time they ran out of steam for whatever it was they wanted in their conversatiom, would laugh and say ‘Jesus’, and it always coincided with when I was beginning to be alone with my own thoughts.  In the end I vented, after which I felt stupid and embarrassed and wanted to apologise but didn’t.

I said something like ‘will you stop saying ‘Jesus’ every time your conversation begins to run dry?  He happens to matter to some of us.  You need him for a pretty conversation, and I need him to make sure someone doesn’t kill me’.  A few seconds later I  really let rip with scathing, painful, sardonic, mocking anger and mimicked their attitude saying, ‘let’s all play with the man we killed’.  Self-righteous bitch, I know.  Everyone reacted, sounding uncomfortable and upset as if they had understood.  A man near the front adopted a bitching tone, and I let fly back with it, sounding deeply emotionally disturbed, and said, ‘You know nothing.  You know nothing about me.  You don’t even know me, so shut up’.  At that point things settled and some of the people around me seemed to become more relaxed.  So did I.  I even fell asleep briefly a couple of times.

These women were also going on about diabolos and anglichanka.  so was the bus driver, but not in a tone which carried any significance.  I didn’t hear the bus driver say anything about diabolos.

But near the end of the journey it seemed as if people started to loosen up within themselves.  Looking back it was probably because it was the end of the journey.  People started to chat, there was emotion in their voices, they didn’t sound dead.  To me it sounded good and nice.

But at that point it sounded as if the bus driver and his mate got uncomfortable and started objecting.  They had said something at one point about anglichanka in loaded tones and put the radio on.  I’m not sure if they are trying to cater for me or what.  I try to interpret it kindly.  But they got uncomfortable and started booming.  And then they started yattering and I felt as if it was some sort of communist/socialist ‘this is how it is, we all know that, ignore anyone who says different, they are stupid – like her, no names no pack drill but she knows who she is.  We are the drivers and we are in control and this is what we say’.

The relaxation seemed to disappear and it went silent, and when someone did speak it was in the same dead voice as before.

OK, no further with this recollection.  But this is why I wish I could wear a veil.  I think a few decades ago it was acceptable in England for women to wear veils. Sometimes in some places when women are out on their own, they need the protection of anonymity and if wearing a veil was widely acceptable as an option they could hide from predators of every description easily.

I think in Islam it is not only a religious symbol but also a protection for women.  In that respect I think it is good and necessary.  The fact that some people abuse it should not lead to it being forbidden for those who do not.

Full face covering.  Yes.  Sometimes a woman feels it is a must.  Any woman.  Not just Muslim women.  Can we have it back please?

I’m a Christian, and I’d like to wear a veil.  At least sometimes.  To cover my own shame.  My own shame, brought on by my own actions and words and kept alive by lack of reconciliation and resolution, at the very least on a legal level.  And I personally say this to the shame of the people who are in hot pursuit of me and are, for some reason, afraid, ashamed and embarrassed to use the powers of the law at their disposal and have blocked me when I’ve tried to, not against them, but against myself.  As taught and instructed by the church.  And even by politicians and the media.  They sometimes talk about amnesties and turning yourself in.  Is that and the process that follows only available to people without a mental health diagnosis?  Or are the authorities in my borough, the borough of Lewisham, corrupt?

I Thought There Was No Such Thing

As HP spicy sauce in Bulgarian supermarkets.

I was wrong!!!!!      Yayaah!!!!!  Da-dah!!!!!!

Dumb gone found it today.  Now I have to make the burgers and rashers and sausages to go with it.  I could have it just with beans on toast, or mushrooms on toast.  Not sure what else.  Craving a boiled egg earlier.  Found loads of stuff I never knew existed when I first started by just putting the name of the food in a search engine together with the word ‘vegan’.  My 2 favourite finds vegan blue cheese (sheese) and others in the same range, and vegan honey (agave nectar).

I say that, but some of the burgers you can get are nice as well, but these were my first two serious wants.  Redwoods burgers are really nice.  Just like the old hamburger.  You can get others which are nice in their own right but nothing like a meat eater is used to.  Also wheat slices which are just like cold sliced smoked meat.  Yum yum.  Theres a place near Piccadilly Circus that does a great range.  Whole food market or something like that.  I’ve forgotten, it’s so long since I’ve been there (it WOULD be, I’ve been out of the country for over a year).  They’ve got a nice cafe there as well.  All organic, all diets, from meat and fish to vegetarian and vegan.  Great place to shop, I really love it.  You can make your own muesli or oat cluster type breakfasts if you aren’t as lazy as me, or you can get some nice vegan Belgian Chocolate cereal, and maple syrup and pecan, I think it is.  I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer now.  But it’s really delicious.  It is a good place to shop for something out of the ordinary, really different from the ubiquitous high street supermarket.

Even then, if enough people discover these things and ask for them, the supermarkets, so I am told (oh yeah?) will stock them.  Don’t know how that works.  It might work out more expensive for smaller orders.  When I first heard of agave nectar (agave is a plant and the nectar is just like runny honey and you can get it in a few different varieties, and there’s also something called Sweet Freedom which is plant based, slightly thicker and comes mild or rich) I never expected that I would be able to find it in Sainsbury’s, but they stock it.  The agave nectar, that is.

OK, change the subject, how stupid do I want to be?  I’m 50 years old, for goodness’ sake, but I might be about to sound like a teenager with a crush.  There is a really debonair photograph of Tommy Boyd on his blog, with a piercing stare and a smile, arms folded.  I’ve had a bad day today in many respects.  I’m exhausted.  I’m lying on my sofa, it’s now (this second) 2.25 am.

I just scrolled down and rediscovered it, and looked at his face, and smiled, and the next second I was gone.  Just like that.  Out like a light.  Not asleep, but ‘zapped’, as they would have said at St B’s.  Apart from the fact that it hurts because I don’t know where we are with each other, I feel a lot better already.  Ready for a good sleep.

I really hate it when I hear leaders moralising and laying down the law as though they themselves are paragons of virtue who have never done anything wrong.

Even if the violence on the student marches is purely politically motivated by a subversive minority and there is no real emotion of anger or frustration behind it, our leaders are laying blame with the protesters and denouncing it as if their own lives are and always have been pure.

Have you conveniently forgotten the violence and neglect of the state powers towards some of its people?  The lies and the smears and the cover ups and the subliminal abuses no one can get you for but that make them feel the most angry?

Also, I’m wondering if David Cameron has EVER, at ANY time in his life, acted out his own anger in a way which he believes should be condemned.

Identifying with people in their anger to the point of personal vulnerability often has a far more calming and reconciling effect than denouncing and blaming.  That’s what I think.  I might be wrong.  it’s an impression I got listening to Tommy Boyd’s Angry Hour, when he did it.  It worked for me.

THAT Was Ages Ago!

I was just thinking about something I read or heard that, after a couple of years being a vegetarian or vegan, your body loses the ability to process non-vegetarian/vegan food sources.  I felt slightly worried, just in case it really should turn out that you need animal nutrition to be healthy, and what would I do if my body couldn’t even cope with it?

Then I thought of the days when I was fascinated by the fact that Pete Murray was a vegetarian, and wondered how he could possibly do it, and thought it couldn’t be possible, and that it was very interesting, but scary territory, and very much ‘out there’.  It wasn’t something I could ever do. People like me can’t.

I went to Happy Grill the other day, for a cup of coffee.  I decided to look at the menu, and decided that, as a vegan, I was in trouble.  I wanted everything I shouldn’t want.  Not just eggs, but meat and fish.  It felt like the most normal, natural and easy thing to do, just tuck into a chicken, meat or fish meal.  I am wishing I was still a fish eater, and am trying to justify a thought that I could keep my own egg producing hen.  With me it would be free and well cared for.

I also keep deciding it can’t be right, as a vegan.  I keep coming back to the belief that, if I do that, I will be validating the system of exploitation that gives me access to the hen in the first place.

But is it different in the countryside, and in Bulgaria?  Is it OK to eat animals and their products if the animal has a free and natural life?  Is being a vegan a bit extreme?

I sometimes feel it is, and that I am being stupid and depriving myself just because I said that I would be a vegan for life, and I don’t want to be teased about giving it up.  Why not, I don’t know, really.  Vegans are no nicer than – I was going to say ‘the rest of us’, this is not a good place for a vegan to be – anyone else, and there are more of us than there are of them, that is more meat eaters than vegans, and this is my thought process which, as a vegan, I’m not entitled to, but it is where I’m at.

OK, muddle.  I have not felt embraced by vegans, any more than by anyone else.  As a human and a vegan, I have felt enraged and deeply wounded and betrayed by this, because part of my vegan expectation is that people will matter to vegans as much as any other living creature does.  As a vegan, especially in Bulgaria, I am really lonely.

I don’t know what is wrong with the vegetarian/vegan people here.  Their prejudice and misogynistic hatred and contempt seem to run just as deep, if not deeper – I mean, if you are a vegetarian or vegan out of conviction, that’s a love stance, isn’t it?  So how can you be cruel/rejecting/controlling towards a human being, especially if they share your convictions and believe in and practise the lifestyle?  And if you claim to embrace a peaceful and loving spirituality to boot?

I wonder if they read this.  I wonder if the people the media continually directs my attention back to are really wanting me to go back to them? Because if they do and if they read this, I’d like to say to them,

‘wake up and smell the coffee, guys.  I am gutted and devastated by the way you have treated me in this, the way you have turned away from me and turned in on yourselves, the way you have accepted a bad report about me from people who have no right even to have access to some of the things they say, let alone be spreading them’.

Maybe I made a mistake.  I believed in the vegan community, the kind, compassionate, caring, Christian, spiritual community.  I saw the sharing of values as a bond and covenant of friendship.  I still do.

I was going to liken it to believing in the disabled community, or a racial or ethnic community, but about those things you have no choice.  But is it still true that, even given who you say you are in the paragraph above, it is no more covenantal than being disabled or of a particular ethnic background?

There is one thing we all are, and that is human.  But even that is not a respected covenant.  So just as I am not going to find a friend in every human being just because I am human (we might be different in every other way), it probably follows that I am not going to find a friend in every vegan or spiritual person and shouldn’t believe in the idea of community anymore than I should believe in a disabled community.  The fact that we share a situation or cause or believe we share a conviction doesn’t mean we have what it takes to be friends and find friends.

This is garbage, isn’t it?  It is also a place of real pain and heartbreak for me.  And parading it on a page on the internet makes me feel less able to deal with it in a way that might heal relationships in real life.  It’s about motive.  Who am I writing for, and why?  They have as much right to feel betrayed as I do, maybe, if not more.

Non-vegans tease you all the time, pushing the boundaries of what you will or won’t embrace as acceptable and your reasons.  A question I keep coming back to is, if some animals are bred only for their usefulness or food value, if we were all vegan would they all become extinct?  These lovely, fluffy lambs we don’t want to kill and eat, the horses and the donkeys we don’t want to exploit.  If they only existed in the wild, would they soon become extinct, and our lives be perceptibly poorer for their absence?

Another question: is using an electronic sound deterrent on household pests and vermin a form of animal cruelty?  I’ve got a rat or 2, they are getting bolder.  They do my bedroom now.  I read they don’t like peppermint, so I put some peppermint teabags out all around the kitchen, and at the hole I know about.  They shifted them out of the way and carried on regardless.  I can’t afford rat catchers all the time, and I think they would be unsympathetic to a vegan approach anyway, the only other option seems to be to let dogs and cats eat them.  Or kill them and leave them for me. Lovely!  And inconsistent, to my mind.  So what do you do?

Marcus Aurelius on Anger & Empathy

Marcus Aurelius on Anger & Empathy.

I saw this, disagreed with some of it, liked a lot of it.

I liked the bit about strength is being able to remain calm and gentle, and agreed with the bit from Plato that expecting that bad men won’t do anything bad is stupid, and that thinking they will do bad things to other people but not to you is arrogant.

I don’t agree, fundamentally, with the ‘you will hurt yourself but not me’ stance in detaching yourself from someone else’s behaviour or outbursts.  My first instinct is that expressing and believing that attitude damages yourself and assumes superiority.  If you love someone, of course you will be hurt by what they say and do if you think it is wrong. You will be hurt that they are being that way, and if you say they are hurting themselves, you also will be hurt by that fact.  You can’t not be.  If you care in any way, you can’t not be hurt.  It’s a false separation, and an outrage against your own sensitivity.

For all that, and more, I find this article interesting.  I’m going to tell the truth, whether it has any foundation or not, but when I was reading about strength being being able to remain calm and gentle, I thought about – yeah, Tommy Boyd.  Bloody damn and stuff, how could I not?

Big Daddy Weave – David Shearman or his dad.

Trust and Obey – My baptismal hymn

Doreen – me old mam

Stuttering – my uncle Frank

Celebrate Your Beautiful News – Happy 50th birthday?

How was I supposed to realise that?  It feels like my failure, but they already know I see what they are doing as stalking and psychological pressure when a proper, direct approach would be more appropriate in every way.

He’s playing immovable tank, just like Fred/George Stubbs, the man who bullied his way into a pastorate over a divided diaconate, taking presidence before he was even chosen by the congregation.

They went by do as you’re told without thinking about the technicalities.  Cliff and Rachel got everyone except 4 of us who attended the meeting (a lot had already left the church) on their side.

49 Or 50?

49 or 50?

(Or, as I heard a politician say today, neither fish nor foul!)

50 IS a special age.  If they say it isn’t, they’re lying.

I just thought I’d get this in now to be awkward – here in Bulgaria I am 50 years and 1 and a 1/2 hours old.  In the UK I am still 49.  Which counts and why?

When I realised I was 50, I smiled.  It was automatic.

Then I looked at where I am and felt suicidal (I’m not exaggerating).

I don’t know why or if I’m right (I’m probably not), but I believe 50 is God’s age.  That is, a special age to God.  It’s God’s reaching of majority.  5 is, my tradition tells me, the number of grace.

Whatever anyone might pray for me or try to bless me with in the future, no one can ever give me back the attaining of my 50th birthday.  That has gone.  Reconcile that for me someone, please.

I feel embarrassed making a big thing of this, because now I’m actually writing it doesn’t seem that important.  I also feel as if it is an insult to God to be so faithless for the future.

But I still felt that way, and it still is a big thing.

Check out WordPress’s Freshly Pressed.  Awesome.

PS Premier likes playing a song which I believe they are at least in part directing at me, and it’s a big part.  I can’t remember all the words I want, but it goes something like:

“I have come . . . down the road of my own mistakes . . . wasted years” etc.

For balance, I have to recognise that I am not their only intended audience, or at least I shouldn’t be.  They also play songs rejoicing and triumphing over enemies.

They say it is always your choice, and the bottom line is, that is true.  Sometimes the choice can cost you your life, and the church won’t be on your side.

It seems to me though to be a rather polarised approach to the human condition, including our spiritual condition. Blaming yourself for everything is no less the blame game than blaming other people.

I don’t know any more of this girl’s songs, but I hope that isn’t her settled position towards herself.  The Bible doesn’t mind saying that sometimes other people are to blame.

And the ‘blame game’ (I got that from Anne Coles).  Is it REALLY a game?  Isn’t it a necessary part of owning responsibility.

Blame isn’t a game, it really exists and needs to be dealt with in all healthy and growing relationships.  It is, or at least can be, a heartbreaking experience.  But surely nothing is more deadening to the soul and spirit than to live in a fuzzy, wooey, vibrating mulch where no one is allowed to recognise that blame exists, and also that it might not belong to them?

You can’t just say, ‘let’s not talk about it, let’s not play that game, let’s go and watch a film/go to a restaurant/go out witnessing.

Fuck me, you bloody can’t! (trans. I feel strongly about this and want to cry).

Strictly Come Dancing – The Results

Dear Strictly

I am culturally disorientated, being taunted by UK media every month about losing my house, and traumatised by so many other things that are or have been a part of my life experience.

It would be lovely to watch the TV and veg out and relax, maybe self-correct over some of the things I think.  Instead I find you talking about something that has happened here just 3 or 4 hours before your show.

Right, first of all, I’m angry.  I don’t need minders.  You get me?  Especially not illegal ones, even if you mean well.  None of this rubbish would be happening to me if you were not doing this, and I assume that because, to me, you are so obvious about it, the police and other authorities must be backing you in it?

Although you seem lovely, the stuff you said was ambiguous and has caused me, yet again, crippling anxiety where I felt I was back at a place in myself that I could cope and begin to move forward positively.  You leave me so angry that, where I felt I could begin to relax and trust the place and myself, I feel dislodged again to such an extent that I wish I could get away.  You have hurt me deeply in every way, including in my mind and in my ability to cope.  The feeling of a need to hit ot in anger again at the slightest noise is back, where before watching your programme I was much calmer and more in control.  I would love to let these kids near me, but when you get me in this state, whatever progress I have made in the way I see the situation, I believe it wouldn’t be possible.  It would hurt all of us more than the way we are relating now.  It would certainly hurt me.

I AM traumatised, I AM stuck somewhere as a result of the use of hypnosis on me without my consent, I CAN think sensibly once the crisis has passed, but without what you are doing it wouldn’t BE a crisis, it would only be a drama, and that would be good.

You’re doing this, and then you try to hide it so the public don’t catch on, and to do so you switch.  My psyche is too open to be able to cope with that.  And it would be better for all of YOU not to be doing it as well.

I know the way you use statements like ‘they will be dealt with according to our laws’, consequently I don’t know who you are talking about and you have made me afraid.  But I and those I love should not be having to deal with this kind of commentary on the media anyway.  If you would leave us alone we would be OK.  First of all, I don’t know if I would have this kind of local attention without your – sorry for this – interference, but if I did I think we are all nice and sensible enough to ride the culture clash storm and come together in a better way.

I thought myself afterwards, maybe stupidly on reflection, I don’t know, that the ain culprit is just a really nice kid who is doing his best with his own language limitations to say that he likes me.  He crossed himself outside my window, and I just looked over him into the distance, desperately wanting them to stop and at the end of my tether.  When he saw my desperation he looked ashamed.  I felt ashamed myself afterwards.  Stop means stop but they do push, but maybe they just think they are being persistent and that that is a good thing.

All of you, please stop it.  I HAVE asked for normal contact on numerous occasions.  I cannot imagine why you would rather do this than give it to me.

I would love to know what is going on there.  I saw Jimmy Mistry in tears and I was upset myself.  While I accept I could have read too much into it, I think I probably didn’t.  Also I liked Peter Shilton’s penguin, and Ann is a scream and a great performer.

If these kids ever come into my house, I will never hurt them.  I’m more concerned that they might hurt me.  But really I’m not even that.  They might be pushy with questions I don’t want to answer and that wouldn’t be helpful.  That is more of a concern to me.

But as I said, after having felt I’d made a little progress today, I’m now back in a place where I’m not coping with things that may or may not be innocent.  And that . . . is torture.

The Moon

So, what is the moon to me? 

When I went to school we had a song about the moon, or a man who lived there.  His name was (not sure how to spell this) Achin’ Drum.  And he played upon a ladle.  And something to do with cream cheese.

It has always been an object of beauty to me, and valuable for that alone.  I am assured that it is probably going to be around for at least as long as I am.  So I can look up, and there it is, awesome, beautiful, especially in the mountains on a cloudless night.

Why can’t we just look at it from a distance and love it, and love its maker?  Why can’t we let it be separate and appreciate it for its light and beauty?  Why do we have to get close up and analyse it?  To find that it has enough water per tonne for a shallow bath, but it isn’t drinkable, as said in Fiona Bruce’s News at Ten last night, ‘there are problems’.

Someone said, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.  Someone else said, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.  Since we can analyse anything we want to, why should we be grateful for or awed by anything?

My first intellectual reaction to the report was, in this era of austerity, isn’t it a waste of money to be ‘conquering’ space in this way?  Isn’t it only scientific man’s way of flexing his muscles, and isn’t it an intellectual luxury we can’t afford?  I think so.  I don’t think anyone is ever going to live on the moon.  I might be wrong, but we don’t need that space, it will only be novelty and ‘because we can’ if we do.  But it’s showing off and we can’t afford it.  In all kinds of ways we can’t afford it.  I believe the fabric of who we are can’t afford it, and I think it is immoral.  Just because we CAN do something, it doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

I went to a political talk in Deptford on climate change last year, hosted by Joan Ruddock, my MP.  I didn’t feel informed enough to contribute, so I sat and listened and thought, and eventually she waved a hand in my direction saying, ‘some people, of course, don’t even care’.  I defended myself, saying it wasn’t that I didn’t care, just that I didn’t feel qualified to have an opinion, and that the experts were divided, at which point someone suggested quite forcefully that I could leave if I wanted to, but I held my ground and stayed.  Later I asked about the impact of space exploration on the climate and the environment, but she said it was minimal, and all the lights left on and CFCs etc were more harmful and these little changes made all the difference.  I’m not convinced of that, and I thought her answer was very defensive and evasive.  Having watched parliament for a while as well, it appears to me the issue of climate change is often used strategically and metaphorically anyway.  It’s a handy issue to have going.  I was invited to the talk at a very strategic point in my own life last year, having never been invited to anything before or since.  I think I had emailed her or we had had a brief correspondence or something.  But I had had contact with her ages before that as well.

I think space programmes are an intellectual luxury we can’t afford, which adds only to our material knowledge and satisfies some of our curiosity but does nothing really for the quality of our lives, unlike other areas of science, and unlike the arts, and religion.  I suppose a few drugs might have their origin on the moon, but at this point I don’t know.

In this age of climate consciousness I wonder if people still find it so ridiculous to say, ‘if God had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings’.  Hasn’t the number and intensity and geographical reach of wars increased with our mobility?  Could we have had world wars without aircraft?  Most of us can’t afford the ‘benefits’ of air travel (going on holiday is up there in the list of the most stressful things to do as well – we need a holiday.  We need the stress of going on holiday to get away from the stress of everyday life and recharge our batteries, they tell us.  Maybe that is why many of us don’t bother with our neighbours ‘too much’, we can walk away, put space between us if it becomes too intense, and come back and maintain the comfortable distance), but apparently we can’t afford it environmentally either.

We look out there for everything, if we can’t easily find the solution nearby, everything comes at us from out there, and we end up out there ourselves.  There is no centring anymore, no respect for the individuality and separateness of another, whether it be person, family, community or country.  We cross the boundaries whenever we think we will.  Modern day mass media gives us the impression of immediacy and responsibility, but the reality is, we do not have it in us to take on that kind and amount of responsibility (or to be busybodies), and we are suffering for it.  We need more independence.  Our economies need more independence.  There should be no such thing as a global economic crisis, and no possibility of there being.  That’s what I think, but I might be wrong, I’m not that educated or well informed.

But back to science and stuff.  I’m not sure if we have the moral and ethical compass to keep pushing the boundaries.  Every new discovery seems to add more reasons to our lives to be afraid than it does benefits, and we always seem to be being told that we can’t afford the benefits anyway, as in drug treatments.  Please sir, why can’t we afford the benefits if we can afford to keep funding the war and fear machines?  Please sir, why not?

Who are all these despots that keep terrorising their people, who have been put in place by the western world leaders?  Is the selection process itself responsible for the havoc they can create and maintain?  All these famines and things where we can’t or won’t deliver because of the countries’ leaders.  I don’t want to just bandy words about that I don’t understand, but this really IS still colonial Britain, isn’t it?  Imposing our ways and values on every people we get involved with.

IF multiculturalism doesn’t work, why don’t we adopt the same ‘no pain, no gain’ policy towards dealing with that in the face of all the PC protests and accusations of racism, the same as we do with economic issues, where the accusation is that of classism?  Or on that is everyone saying, ‘you turn if you want to, the lady’s not for turning’?  Why is it taboo in England even to consider that?  Protests don’t stop our politicians in any other area of national and public life.  I’m not saying we should, I’m just asking why we can’t even give respect to the people who think we need to regain the separateness of our national identity.

Here endeth this little foray.

Emerging From The Dark Night

Working through the Dark Night of the Soul to emerge as me.

The Elephant in the Room

Writing about my experiences with: depression, anxiety, OCD and Aspergers

The Sir Letters

A Tale of Love

The Seeker's Dungeon

Troubling the Surf with the Ocean

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my last nerve

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