Seaside St Helena Island

“Many live hoping the future will be their liberator, our only liberation is in this very moment and how present we are to it”. Addie Thomas

What a great time I had dancing my socks off New Year’s Eve at Donny’s Club. Great music DJ….I love to dance emphatically. Post alcohol, I can have a good time. I danced like no one was there. I danced like I was straight out of Flashdance (slight exaggeration). It was sumptuous to see so many people out and dancing, especially those who don’t get the opportunity often.

2022 – I am constantly reminded that time is illusory, to be used for the physical chronology of life, as opposed to the emotional and psychological challenges that we often face. I use time only in this instance to say, “let it go…..don’t waste time suffering”. With this in mind, each step is a joy when we don’t have the tick tock of minutes captivating us from the real moments that matter. That moment, no watch, no clock, no hour glass……just that moment and it’s potency.

My mum was sent a book from a friend called Untamed. Perhaps you have read it? It’s by a lady called Glennon Doyle. I read it some time ago and it did make me giggle because it is about a woman with 3 children and a husband who met a woman and fell madly in love, questioning so much of the fabric of her life previously. So I’d love my mum to read the book, but I somehow think she’s not going to be too interested in this one. That’s ok Mum. It’s lovely to share books with Mum, we won’t always agree but live and let live. Respect. Anyway, the book has found it’s way to another friend who I am sure will be grateful for the sentiments with a post-it note saying, “not trying to convert you”. She shouted out the window as I handed it to her via Billy the taxi driver, “I have nothing against lesbians!” LOL

Diary from 1998 – A lot of truths about untruths

She makes some ‘home runs’ in this book. Previously, I had talked about escapism and how we sometimes don’t fancy coming back to reality. In context, escape through substance abuse isn’t a good idea. But what Doyle reminds me is, sometimes that escapism has truth to it. Coming back to ‘reality’ isn’t actually the reality we feel in our hearts and spirits. It is the reality in our head which has been nurtured by convention, pressure, dogma, ideology etc. I remember as a teenager having dreams about being in a same-sex relationship. I would pretend, alot. This wasn’t pretend though, it was my truth. Mum gave me back my diary from 1998 and it was such fun to read…..I was cracking up. Oh my my my. I’ve written a chapter on it in the book.

A friend said to me recently, “people ask me if I am ok and expect me to say, I am fine”. Doyle takes a stab at this too. Why do we say we are fine when we are not feeling great? We get embarrassed by sadness, anger, shame etc and what do we do? Lock the feelings away and not deal with them. To feel is to deal and heal. Not feeling bottles it up inside. Don’t ask thoughts to do what the spirit is meant to do. Feeling is the only way that we can begin to understand why. Feeling, talking……why are humans so afraid of hearing the uncomfortable? It’s not like we have to be the other person. It’s important not to be that love song, TV or radio program, other person……

Gratitude!

I borrowed a book from the public library called African Women by Mark Mathabane. The same guy who wrote Kaffir Boy. What a confounding book. We talk about how cultures have long since made women subservient. To read about the trials of three generations of women who were taught to be subservient, obedient etc and the guys conversely were taught to be dominant, aggressive, controlling, abusive. There were moments when I felt so much sadness and anger, replaced by understanding of the conditioning which has brought the world to this place. Women have been suffering (and continue to) for thousands of years. That is why I get very frustrated when people take the cruelty to women and children so lightly. So much archaic doctrine has lent itself to misinterpretation and cruelty.

I will not shut up on this subject. Whether you are a guy being abused by a woman, a woman being abused by a woman, a woman being abused by a colleague or friend, standing together, we can grasp the reigns of equality and ride that mare into the light! And if you are a woman who is enjoying the fruits of your labour, good. Why is it ok for men to enjoy and swagger their successes and women to be pulled down for wanting better? Why is it ok for a man to sleep around and be a cansanova and a woman a sl*t? No, I’m sorry, we have to keep pushing for equality in a world that has reduced women at times to nothing more than possessions. Go girls and guys! Walk tall…..whatever gender! In order for us to live freely, others must also be free.

I received a wonderful gift from a friend who is leaving the island shortly. A book that is so timely with the death of Desmond Tutu. I am so grateful for these awesome gifts and it also tells me that people are starting to understand where I am at. Someone’s listening and feeling.

It was truly wonderful to take a few moments, sit by the waters edge and feel the ocean. All that is ocean life lay before me, in the falling rays of the sun as the clouds parted like someone had taken a pair of scissors and cut a tiny piece out of them. Quietude is where my best growth and reflection is done. The ripples of the water, the salty aroma, the birds flying overhead, a speed boat gliding along the bay on the outer rim of the moorings.

I’ve experienced reflection in eight different cities/towns over the past two years. Each place brings a different vibe. The day could have been a lockdown in Liverpool as Jamestown slept peacefully post New Year celebrations. The ‘hangover’ was in full swing. Which is why I took the opportunity to take some photos of sleepy Jamestown.

Life has been so good to me this past year, people have been so kind. When I felt the rumbles of discontent, I was reminded that whilst we are enjoying life (swimming, walking, dancing, socialising etc) there are many who are still being challenged. I am so grateful for the simple things like the fishcakes I made last week, thank you to people who gave me the fish, parsley, chillies……I know what this means as compared to urban life. I’m not saying people aren’t kind in big cities, I’m just suggesting that the quality of kindness on St Helena is awesome!

We get to choose folks. I know that many will look at their existences as unfair and look to blame others but life is really about what we make it. Nelson Mandela knew this when he spent 27 years in prison. We can use all the reasons in the book for not healing or we can go deep, feel, understand and start the practice of awareness. It has taken me two years of maximum commitment, every moment of every day (even as I have fallen foul at times of unawareness). This is only the realisation. The work will continue till the day I die as life never stops flowing, it never lets up, so if it does not let up, can we? Hard work but worth it.

Our outcomes are often the choices we make. We can choose that chest of gold, but it is only a chest of gold. The real gold is inside of us, we choose how much of it radiates out of us by the level of awareness we live with and the stuff that we get involved in that blurs.

There is beauty all around us, but can we see it? Our pot of gold internally can connect with it if we are willing.

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