22 September 2013
07 September 2013
I'm coming back to see how it's been...
It's been a while. A long while.
I took a break, not because of the time spent writing this blog, but because keeping up with visiting everyone else's blog who visited became a day-long pastime, time which I couldn't afford to spend, with so many other responsibilities.
Like so many other bloggers, I found blogging is not just about writing a daily post and then logging off. One gets to know, and becomes friends with, those who visit, and then a return visit is a must...we all want to know what's going on in our friends' lives...that's the nature of friendship. And we like to give our friends the time they deserve...they're real people, with real lives, real problems, real happiness. Even though we might never meet them, ever, they are still our friends.
Those who've never blogged may never know this kind of friendship. I've heard someone ask if it's like being a penfriend?
No, it's not like being a pen-friend because, with such a distance relationship, it implies space between the replies; space between receiving a letter and sending one; interest in each others lives, but a seperation of them. One might await the reply to a letter/email you've written but, when it comes, it comes in a package of 'everything that's happened since last time I wrote', all at once, a done thing.
The thing about blogging is that it's immediate. When a person blogs, the feelings and events are those that are happening now, not yesterday or a week or month ago. It's all raw and 'on the pulse'. They are things the blogger is living through, caring about.
It's not like a writing an article, which might get published several weeks or months after they're written. It's there in your head, there on the page, then there on the blog. And anyone who happens to stop by soon after it's posted might reply straight away too. Then you don't have a comment on some distant blog, you have a conversation. And you don't have conversations with a computer or a blog page; you have conversations with people...sometimes seperated by a little time, sometimes immediate, but conversations nevertheless.
Though I didn't miss the lack of time I had whilst I blog-hopped from post to marvellous post, I've kinda missed being here, meeting folks from all over the world. I've missed the daily banters, knowing what's been going on with my friends, posting what's going on with me.
I thought about starting up another blog, and simply posting without telling anyone where I was; simply posting without answering anyone's comments; simply one-sidedly pouring out whatever was inside of me, without any acknowledgement of any affect on anyone else, without allowing anyone to answer me back.
But, though I set up a blog where I could do this, I had no interest in writing on it. Anonymity is fine, if what you have to say is controversial, or would get you into trouble if someone found out what you've been writing. It's wonderful for that. But what meaning does it have, when it's just everyday stuff? What's the point of writing it, and staying seperate from it? Why not own it? And respond to it? Surely that's why we blog in the first place, to have a place in the world where we can go and express ourselves, allow our thoughts to be read, judged, commented on?
The thing about other bloggers, is they're mostly just like you. Most are kind and positive, and surprisingly non-judgemental. From the years I've blogged on here, I know there are those who comment on posts purely to advertise their own site or wares (some not very pleasant, some even very unpleasant and the reason for having comment moderation), but the majority are decent, honest people, reaching out into the world from their homes or work, to all the other decent, honest folk out there...and, whenever anyone comments on something you've thought and written, it's like you've found a comrade, another like-minded person who's not afraid to reach back to you and extend their own world into yours.
I don't know that I have more time now than I did when I gave up blogging or, rather, took a blogging break. I don't know that I have time to return to other peoples' blogs and read all about their lives (there are just so many in the world!!), but what I do know is that some of my best blogging friends are now also Facebook friends...they have come futher into my life, and become part of it. And I wouldn't have it any other way!!
To all my friends from here and elsewhere - without you, life would be a pointless existence!
04 November 2012
Dona Nobis Pacem
Peace is coming...I hope.
Most folk who blog for peace today already have the right idea. Most know they want a better world with less hurt and pain and hunger, with more love and friendship and laughter...it is the natural condition humans aspire to.
We all hope for peace. Not only for war to stop, but for the poor of the world not to suffer; for those who disagree with each other to accept that we can't all agree; for those who agree with each other, and those that don't, to join together to make a better world...and for prejudices to be re-evaluated and demolished....
If you look at a poor household, a poor family, one might think everyone within it might fight for the last scrap of food, but one sees over and over how in the poorest homes of the world, the last scrap is divided and shared, and occassionally given to another more needy to help them survive.
Laughter can be seen the world over, even in some of the poorest and/or war torn areas...except where hope has gone.
Friendship is not exclusive to the 'First World', the 'well-off' or 'the lucky'. Friendships permeate some of the worst conditions. We can all probably think of a story of friendship that might have surprised us. Sometimes a friendship crosses social boundaries, or between folk that 'shouldn't be friends' (perhaps because they are the 'wrong' culture, religion, sex or 'social class'). I like these stories. They hold up hope that, even if we can't all be friends, we might all get along...
You see a TV program about a reporter visiting a remote Amazonian/African/Indian/Chinese/[any poor area you can think of] village, and being welcomed with smiles and open hearts, shared meals and shared homes. Some of these folk can barely keep themselves alive, yet they share everything they have with a person who has had three full meals most every day of his life, who has never truly suffered the knowledge he could die of starvation, as some folks he stayed with might.
The idea we have is that the poor are to be pitied, to feel sorry for. They are charity cases, who need clean water, mosquito nets and basic food. We feel bad for them, because they haven't got what we've got. They haven't the security of a permenent income, three good meals a day plus snacks when we want, a warm, comfortable home, an education, free cash for such things as mobile phones, the internet, social activities. We have these things, even some of the poorest people in our own cultures have these things, and so we feel raised above those who might never have them in other countries.
They are poor, and we are sorry enough, guilty enough, we give to charities to make their lives better and to make ourselves feel better.
Now, let's turn the whole picture round. Let's imagine ourselves as a poor person in a poor family, barely scraping enough to keep alive.
We know there are people richer than ourselves, who wear clothes without holes and loose threads, who have an education, jobs, decent food every meal, windows without drafts... Sometimes one of these comes round to our home with medicine or food, sometimes someone comes to the area and takes pictures, or puts in a tap with clean water, or preaches religion to us.
These people come for a while, and then they go again. We see them eat good food, and occassionally give some to us. They have magic pockets with a never ending supply of money in. They can buy whatever they want to. In the market, they barter a price down, then pull out a wad of money that could have paid the full price of the item they wanted several times over. They sometimes give us gifts too, like tools for the land or blankets. We like these things. They make life a little easier, sometimes a lot easier. Then the rich folk go again, and we are left wondering why they have all these things, and we don't. Sometimes that makes me angry, sometimes it makes me sad, but most of the time I think, 'that's the way it is'.
When we go back to our homes, sometimes we have so little food on the table. We make sure the men of the house and the little ones have most of it, and sometimes I've seen mum pretend she doesn't want any when there isn't enough. The men and older ones need the strength to work in the fields or work for the rich people, and the little ones need to stay alive so they can grow up and bring home some food. If we are lucky enough to reach old age, we'll need our children to look after us.
But where we can, we help each other. We look after each other. When it comes to the end of the day, we are all we have. We sit at the table together and talk about what happened that day. Sometimes something funny happens, and we laugh about it. Some days aren't so good and we share that too. And then, after the meal, the adults might talk a bit longer, and the children go and play for a while. Later, we all sleep in the same room, the children cuddled into each other for warmth and comfort. The adults too.
There are three generations in the house. The old people, the grandparents, often look after the little ones during the day. They have much to teach them, a whole lifetime of experiences, and they are gentle and kind. They are the centre of the household, and everybody listens to them, because they know so much. They provide wisdom and guidance and are an invaluable part of the family.
Then there are the parents, and sometimes uncles and aunts, who have so much work to do all the time. They do what they can to help each other, and often talk together about how to make things better. They hear stories from their work places or the market and share these with the rest of us. They tell us what's going on in nearby villages too. We often hear them laughing about a silly thing that's happened to someone. Sometimes they cry too, and one of the others puts their arms around the sad one and comforts them. We are all there and share this too. There are few secrets between us. We are close, because we live as we do.
Sometimes one of the ones who work for the rich people tell how they all live in seperate rooms in a big house, and they don't do anything together. They sometimes don't see each other all day, and when they do they don't talk together. Sometimes they don't even eat together. The children play in their own room on computers and the parents don't see them hardly at all. It is very sad for them they don't even have the grandparents living with them. Where are the old people? Have they died? They must feel so lonely, all of them.
Then there are the children. Often the parents and grandparents talk about how good it would be to have a proper education and get better jobs, but we all know there's no point really. What good is learning to read and write if you have to work in the field anyway? or if you have to work for the rich people. They don't care if you can read or write. They only want you to do menial things anyway. Maybe they don't think we can do anything else. It would be nice if having an education meant having good jobs and more money, but not many are able to do that anyway, because as soon as a child is old enough to work they have to go to work and bring some money home. For many, there isn't time to go to school.
In the next village, there's a school, but it's too far away for our little children, and nobody has time to take them anyway. One of the grown-ups went to see it once, and said it looked good. The children there seemed to be happy. The teacher said, if the children have an education, then they can get better jobs when they grow up. But we know they won't. They will have to take whatever jobs they can get close to home. Maybe if there were more work places close by they could, but not as it is. Still, we seem to get by. At least we are together.
This might be a bit of one person's view of the world.
Yes, this could also be a stereotype. We live with images of the world, and people of the world that we have put into mental 'boxes'. This is actually a natural way of processing the world. As we might lump all fruit together, or trees, or colours, so we do with people. We can't deal well with too many different images/ideas of people (or anything, for that matter) so we create generalised images and ideas. We put whole races, religions, sexes and people with similar sexual preferences, politicians and their beliefs into neat little mental boxes, but then forget the differences within those boxes are as big as the ones between them.
In order to attempt to stop war, poverty, prejudices, we have to look at the generalisations we make of people and races, and break down the stereotypes, to see each and every individual as their own person; to recognise within cultures, races and religions the differences and similarities are as broad as in any other culture, race and religion. There are good and bad people, happy and sad, rich and poor, educated and uneducated in every place in the world. We should not assume anything. And by realising every place in the world has it's heroes and heroines, as well as bad characters who benefit from others' fighting and death or poverty, we realise we aren't so very different.
Closer to home, when we look at our neighbours, so often we see them just as they are, as people they seem to have become. And very often we put them into a mental box: the mum struggling with young children, the old guy sitting alone in the pub, the smart-suited man on his way to work, the shopkeeper or school teacher...each one has a place in our head, and we generalise about them, if we think of them at all (As you read that last sentence, a generalised image probably popped into your head.) But each of these people was once a child. Each has grown up, gone to school, taken a job or several jobs. Each has had happiness and sadness and personal disasters, and each has had to deal with these in their own way. This makes each person very different.
So, that mother with her bundle of children? She might've once been a top class executive, until she changed course in life, or she might still be. The old guy in the pub might have travelled the world, or might have helped dozens of people make their way in life, or might have always been on his own wishing not to be. The smart-suited man might dress up every day in a suit, and go to a job he hates, and home to an empty house at night. We just don't know. But we think we know.
My point is, we so cleverly put everyone we know and don't know into these mental boxes, and forget that it is only our own perception of them that puts them there. They have no such box round themselves. They have memories and a lifetime of experiences.
How war happens is when we think of a whole race, or religion, as in the same box. Each race has broader thinking people as well as zealots. Every religion or political party has the same. What I think many forget is that there are good and bad everywhere (yes, in those poor communities mentioned above, too, I'm sure there will be those who would quite happily take the last scrap of food and make someone else do without). But, if we can imagine a whole race of zealots with different beliefs from ourselves, it is easier to fight them, to not care about them as people.
Somebody I used to know used to say he thought everyone was bad unless they proved themselves good. Perhaps that was more a reflection of himself than of people generally. I prefer to think most people are good, unless they show themselves otherwise. Everybody was born an innocent child. If they have grown up unacceptable to society, it is probably because society hasn't been good to them. So, I like to give people a chance; I like to not look at what a person appears, but get to know them and find out for myself. It would be lovely if everybody could do this. I think, perhaps, there would be more understanding, and less seperation of people into apparent groups. And perhaps people would give someone they don't know a chance, when they wouldn't otherwise.
My hope is that, one day, we might all see each other simply as another human being. Today, on this Blogblast4Peace, I would ask each and everyone to think of a neighbour, and look at them in a new light, as a person who has lived a life we don't know about, and maybe consider getting to know that neighbour, finding out who they are, what makes them happy or sad or angry, what their dreams are...who knows, that person might one day be your friend.
Find other folk who believe in peace, who have ideas they want to share at:
BlogBlast for Peace ("Mimi Writes", blog of Mimi Lenox, founder)
Write a peace post, or put up a peaceglobe to unite with others today, then go sign the "Mr Linky" at the bottom of Mimi's peace post, so others can find you.
What BlogBlast4Peace is all about (the history and philosophy)
How to Get your Peace Globe
BlogBlast4Peace facebook page
BlogBlast4Peace facebook event
|A picture I came across that is so apt! :-)|
05 November 2011
Dona Nobis Pacem 2011
I'm late. (I'm always late.)
I see there's still no peace all over the world.
There's folk protesting peacefully.
There's folk who have overthrown tyranical governments peacefully (and then what happened?!)
There's folk who have tried the peaceful route, and ended fighting for months in order to obtain the peace they searched for...(I heartily hope for them to succeed).
There's folk who still don't believe it can happen (who knows, maybe it can't, but isn't it worth a try?)
Another year, and peace isn't here yet.
Thing is, though, my feeling is folk are feeling less peaceful.
So much anger and hurt in the world.
So many losing jobs, losing their homes, not having enough to eat... so many beginning to get angry about the world situation.
Can peace come through anger?
Maybe it can.
Sometimes folk need to get angry to fight for what they believe in.
To get angry they have to care.
To care they have to be involved.
I think folk are reconnecting again, after a long period of disconnection to the community. The community is back. It's strong.
Folk in England care about other folk in Egypt or Libya or the United States. Folk in Spain care about those in Japan. In Australia folk care about other folk on the other side of the world.
Everywhere there are connections across religious and geographical boundaries that were never there before.
This gives me hope.
So long as folk care, and are willing to do something about, not just their own situation, but other folks' situations, there is hope.
Although I see so much sadness in the world, so much strife and hardship, I also see folk reaching out to others and moving together.
This is more reason for hope than anything I've seen before.
May this coming year bring us closer still...
May folk continue to care enough to feel angry how others are treated.
Through anger, may the world change and become peaceful.
So, my wish this year is a strange one for me.
I hope for anger.
I hope for that will to do something.
I hope that the anger is channelled peacefully, but will give folk the willingness to do something, anything, about any situation that isn't right.
If everyone did just one thing, that would make the world nearly 7 billion times better!!
- Mimi Lenox’s dream, the idea for Dona Nobis Pacem (also known as ‘Blogblast for Peace’) Wednesday, October 11th 2006
- Peace Bloggers Unite
- Mimi Writes
- Where to find your Peaceglobe templates
- Previous countries participating in blogblast for Peace
- The Peaceglobe Gallery
- Facebook page
- Facebook Peaceglobe albums
- Facebook Causes
12 December 2010
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
This is one of my favourite quotes, along with one by Anita Roddick (Founder of the Body Shop)
and this one on a stone outside Oxfam Headquarters:
people will change the face of the World"
Where peace is concerned, I have read many a post being cynical about change. Of course it's not going to happen just because someone puts up a post asking for peace. Of course it's not going to happen if 200 or 2000 put up a post asking for peace at the same time. But how about 20 thousand? or 2 million? Would that begin to make a difference? It might. Especially if some of those involved have a louder voice than others. It depends who's asking.
And so long as there are those in the world willing to ask for it, no matter how futile that might seem, then there's a chance the people who can alter laws and who can make things happen will hear their voices. Though those people might alter the laws and make things happen, they are the hands and the arms of the voices. Without people speaking out, there will be no change. Ever.
I read another quote today. Freedom will never be freely given by opressors. Freedom always has to be taken by the oppressed.
As a worldwide population, we are oppressed by the very people we chose to represent us. We put them in power because it is a democracy, and we believe they will do as the majority want, but they don't. If they did, we would have had peace a long time ago.
So. I am one voice. I ask for peace. I join others who ask for peace. I am cynical about whether it will come in my lifetime, but I have to try...for myself, my children, and their children. If our generation don't try, then we leave it to our children, and they would be starting from the beginning. If we start now, then if we don't achieve the goal, our children can continue where we leave off...and generation by generation we will get closer [though I hope it won't take that long!]
It's always worth a try. Always.
So, a waste of time? No. Never!
03 December 2010
02 December 2010
Peace #5 and #6
Ok, so I missed a day! :-(
But it wasn't because I wasn't thinking peaceful thoughts. Oh no. It was precisely because I was!
Yesterday, I was lost in the creation of a new blog, Peace Bloggers Unite, which is simply a long, long list of all the Dona Nobis Pacem posts I've visited this November! I've been to Mimi's site before, and delved into posts there, but as I was listing the one's I've been to, ready to send the links to Mimi, I had this thought that it would be really cool to simply list all the peace posts in one place, on one page, so you can click anywhere within that page and meet a fellow peace blogger and read their post...
And then the school closed, and I got sent home from work because of the snow. Seriously, I had loads of things I could be doing, and loads of things I should be doing, but there's something a little naughty about not being at work on a work day, like skiving when a teenager, and I sat at my computer and played....
First I made a tapestry of all the Peaceglobes Mimi had in her November 2010 gallery...that was so cool seeing all those Peaceglobes together in one place I just couldn't stop. I figured that all the folks who've participated in the past also deserved to have their Peaceglobe made into a tapestry. I know there was a blogger in the past who did an amazing Peaceglobe a while back (really, it was amazing...all the Peaceglobes in the shape of one big Peaceglobe!), but I simply wanted to try and get all the Peaceglobes in Mimi's gallery in one place, along with all the links...so... what started off with just a little time-wasting ended up taking a good many hours!! But I think they look grand in the sidebar of the new blog :-D
Here they are all put together (click on the picture, and when you hover over you'll see a magnifying glass...click again to actually see the Peaceglobes...but the you can see the ones in the sidebar better. This one's really reduced to fit them all in. :-) )
I also found some new peace posts to read I hadn't read before (and I've read more than 250!) and added them to the list.... check it out!
I think that that counts as 'thinking' peace and 'doing' peace :-D (hence the #5 and #6 hee hee)
And then I enjoyed the snow in the evening, as it was getting dark (sledging didn't happen until 9pm!! in the dark! lol)
29 November 2010
it kinda looked like it had been painted :-) )
27 November 2010
Dona Nobis Pacem
Years ago, back in 2006, for the first Blogblast for Peace, my ten year old daughter made her first peaceglobe. Though she no longer has her own blog, and though she missed November 4th, she was determined she wanted her Peaceglobe up, so she put it up in Deviant Art
I love it, don't you?! :-D
Money buys so much...
But it doesn't buy...
Love, friendship, a smile, politeness, respect, a little happiness, consideration, a helping hand, support, kindness, a welcome, an apology, a friendly hello...
...None of this costs us anything. They are all things anyone can give....