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May, 2014:

“Part of your world”

None of us knows the hour we may pass. Within an instant, a second, or a prolonged illness, or just age marching it’s long and arduous path, until we end up old, discarded, irrelevant, burdensome. None of us know our path out.

But what I do know is that if I were to have to leave within an instant, if I were to have to leave before my children should rightfully be ready for me to leave, if I were to have to grow old & senile, endured simply because euthanasia was not available. And irrelevant to the generations that march past the elderly, and indeed march in their own wars, their own paths, their own forested mazes. If I were to have to leave via a long and arduous process, then I would want for my children to know how I feel about them, my perspective, my insights, my aches, my fears, my views.

Yes. I love you. But WHAT on God’s earth does that mean? That I enjoy your company because I’ve moulded you to suit my way of living therefore it is more pleasant for me to spend time with you than with someone else’s child? Or that I have just gotten used to having you around, and in habit – as with any habit – it is hard to imagine life without that particular scenario?

Yes, I love my child because I have seen him learn, grown, struggle, develop …. Become.

But I would want my sons to know specifics, that are pertinent to them and them alone. I would want them to know, why, from my view – the universe ordained for them to be mine, and for them to be born to me, through me, and thus spend time with me. Me, with all my habits, all my strange perspectives, me, with my often times distorted angels of interpreting life. Distorted, I believe, for the better, but oftentimes misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented. Me, with my fragmented, torn and patchwork quilted Be-ing. They got all of that.

Sometimes, I wish they had gotten someone a little duller. Someone so mundane and dull that there were no questions. That routine, truth, order, predictability, rules, structure, homely norms were so solidified, that they got a homecooked meal every night. That they had parents who lived in the same house. That they had SURE answers to all of life’s moral conundrums.

But I have no such thing. I would not presume to dare to have all the answers to life’s conundrums. So, they have me. Me, who sees a situation from every single conceivable view point. Me, who understands the hobo. Me, who sympathises with the down trodden, broken, fault riddled of the world. Me, who cries and sobs at every turn. Me, in whom anger RAGES when I perceive an injustice. Me, who WRESTLES and STRUGGLES with WHAT IS true. Me, who likes that I am sufficiently chameleon to know that there are a myriad different truths in every tale, and that no truth is more accurate, real or less true than another, yet horribly chameleon to be perceived as indecisive, wishy-washy, blown by the wind, standing for nothing, falling for everything. I am a dichotomy. I am a personification of contradictions. And I have berated myself for this over the last 20 years harshly and critically. Yet I despise the alternative. I despise people who are arrogant enough to presume that they have the answers, that they know the correct format that life requires. That they know a ‘right’ way of living and that outside of those parameters, it is ‘wrong’.

Yes, there are the principles that are good and solid, such as ‘first do no harm’ Such as do not speak poorly of others, such as honour your own soul’s integrity by earning a wage that is the result of committed work, of contributing to society, of the expression of your talents for the greater good, and getting a wage, an income, a sustainable living off that is what is good and right and proper.

There are many of these principles which I know to be fundamentally correct. And if applied, one’s life should be an honour to all – God and mankind alike. However, the situations in which men (and by men, a generic term for humankind) find themselves, sometimes by choice and other times by life design, these situations call oftentimes for an interpretation of the foundational principles.

For instance, in warfare, the principle of ‘first do no harm’ , barring a stance as a conscientious objector, needs to be suspended in certain aspects, for a greater cause, provided that the greater cause is indeed for the ability to apply the principle of ‘first do no harm’. (if that made sense at all – it did to me)

Nonetheless, I am what my boys get.

But with that they get a mother who will honestly and authentically celebrate whatever they choose to become, I have no expectations in terms of career choice, choice of partner. I would celebrate and accept with arms wide open my son’s vocation, be it in the service industry, professional industry, whatever their hearts urge them to pursue, if they pursue it with conviction and passion, I am 100% behind them, cheering – their no 1 fan.

Their choice of relationship, irrespective of nationality, colour, creed, religion, gender. They get a mama who doesn’t give a damn, as long as within that relationship they find satisfaction, stimulation, inspiration, validation, celebration. Then I will be the first to embrace and celebrate with them.

They get a mama who will understand to the depths of her core, when and why they go wrong, each twist in their path that is painful, nothing but a learning curve, a difficult, traumatic, harsh, hurtful one, if that is what their souls must endure, they get a mama who will not waste time on the guilt trips, nor the torture of asking ‘why’, but they get a mama who will take the shoes off their feet and walk in their shoes, through their eyes, comprehending all that has sent them there, not because I can put the puzzle pieces together of every cause and effect… hardly so… but because that is how I understand EVERY human being.

They get a mama, who sees their souls. And this is not always a good thing, in daily operational terms. In daily operational terms, it’s much easier??? to lay down the law as you, as the adult, as the parent, see it, and simply expect compliance. Then there is structure. There is discipline. There is success. (apparently) They don’t get that because mama can not say with full certainty what the law really is, and how therefore another soul should comply.

“ Life for Rent” (Dido) or Diana Ross’ “Theme from Mahogany” capture aspects of this constant, persistent, daily mental anguish in many ways, or pursuit of truth, by which token, I would have it no other way.

So, to my sons – I SEE you.

I acknowledge your BE-INGS.

The best way that I can be all that you need for me to be – is by simply being – me, because the choices are and always were yours, and I – I am the vessel you have, I am part of your story, I am the story you will tell, till it needs no more telling, then it will be your story, and yours alone. And I will meet you up in the heavens, in the stars, in the great cosmos, and I will be then, as always, your number one fan.

“find your strength in love” (from Whitney Houston)

In response to a post which read:

“Be strong they said, keep pushing through, Don’t let it break you; hold your head up high, I’ll pray for you, I’ll pray for….  But what happens when I start dropping the balls? ”

Underneath he had posted a picture of a lion, with a caption “The problem with being strong is that no one asks you if you are ok”

And a comment on that had read: ” I would rather be strong than weak”

I couldn’t help by think, from my world view:

“ohhhhhh Nooooo!!!!” DROP them ALL around you! FROM weakness comes a deeper strength, one that requires no support, no validation, no effort. But to have the courage to drop it all, and let it all shatter, and to trust that you won’t stay that way forever – THAT is true strength, and is the source of the Dali Llama’s quote “True strength is gentleness and true gentleness comes from deep strength”

So I too will pray. But I will pray a very different prayer: That you relinquish all strength, that you turn the shadow on all the glib comforts, and that you break and shatter. And the BEAUTY of that moment is so incredible… IF you have the strength to go there!

And when you drop the balls, you become free. Free to pick up and select the balls that are worth anything – and your definition of what IS worth anything alters so profoundly, that in itself is reward enough for losing “strength”. And when your hands are empty and open, and not clutching shut, and in the openness, you can receive a-new!!!!! Things you could never hold before. Things that require the gentlest touch, and the softest touch, not things that require  “strength, endurance…”

And in breaking and in “losing”  you are free to refine and to see humanity at it’s core, at it’s most base. And it will fascinate and enthrall, excite, disappoint, and disgust you. But of strength, and of the prayer you know- you will never have need again. Yes, there is prayer in this state, deep deep prayer, that speaks directly to the heartbeat of THE ALMIGHTY.  Not the prayer that in blindness seeks what IT THINKS it needs and wonders why the prayer hasn’t been answered: Oh perhaps I should pray more earnestly, you think, more sincerely, more piously, more, more, more and the desperation has its twisted way of whispering to you that you are genuinely pious and genuinely seeking God, for look how I seek and pray in my troubles….

And … It’s just SO much simpler and LESS. Less stressful, less desperate than that. It’s allowing yourself – giving yourself permission – to see yourself at your “weakest.”

What AWFUL INSULTING terminology!!!!

WHO is WEAK?????

Someone who admits its all too difficult? Is that weakness??

Someone who says “screw this system of working till I drop to pay bills for my ‘needs’, I can’t go on like this anymore! Is that weakness???? HA!!! It’s the BEGINNING of wisdom my friend….. If only, IF ONLY… you would want to risk it all to find out!!!

Who is weak? The person who has a break down? YES!!! BREAK DOWN!!! It’s about time!!! Break down stereotypes, break down preconceived notions of strength, break DOWN the fortress you have built around yourself, break DOWN your idiotic expectations of self and of others. Break down the stories you tell yourself about your life – your expectations and hopes, which are clearly not being met from any source in any event, so, really not much to lose in taking the risk to break them down now is there???

So, Break Down! Its the beginning of a celebration of LIFE – that you can not possibly wish or begin to enjoy while you are so busy being strong! Holding it all together! For what??? For whom??  For image? For appearances? For fear of the alternative? Oh… wait… the most manipulative tool of all…. For your children!!

Oh MY G-D!!!

I CRY OUT to God in desperation and in an impassioned plea, PLEASE LET our men be weak, show vulnerability, show fear, for in this, a place is made in their hearts for love, for peace, for true connections. We are so busy role modelling for them “how to be strong and successful” that we entirely forget to model “how to be true and authentic in all you feel and do, how to follow your heart, your passion that God gave you, your dreams that may not be defined in monetary success, your emotions that will range from joy, ecstasy, bliss, to anger heartache and gut wrenching pain. NO my son, no, to do this is weak!!!

I have nothing but CONTEMPT for the connotations of that terminology “weak and strong”!!! For WHO is weak and what is strong???

And who is arrogant enough to define these terms on THEIR terms????

A Roman soldier, with a position, a title, a rank, and a whip. He would have been considered strong.

A man accused of blasphemy and treason, who (supposedly) didn’t even have the guts or intelligence to answer to his accusers would have been considered weak.

Oh NO, my friend! Oh NO!!! Redefine your vocabulary, and you redefine your life!

Redefine your perceptions and you redefine your future!

Redefine your thoughts, which is only a self talk of words anyway, and you redefine the World!!!!

For the BETTER!

 

 

“Find your strenth in love” Lyrics from Whitney Houston’s Greatest love of al.

In response to a post which read:

“Be strong they said, keep pushing through, Don’t let it break you; hold your head up high, I’ll pray for you, I’ll pray for….  But what happens when I start dropping the balls? ”

Underneath he had posted a picture of a lion, with a caption “The problem with being strong is that no one asks you if you are ok”

And a comment on that had read: ” I would rather be strong than weak”

I couldn’t help by think, from my world view:

“ohhhhhh Nooooo!!!!” DROP them ALL around you! FROM weakness comes a deeper strength, one that requires no support, no validation, no effort. But to have the courage to drop it all, and let it all shatter, and to trust that you won’t stay that way forever – THAT is true strength, and is the source of the Dali Llama’s quote “True strength is gentleness and true gentleness comes from deep strength”

So I too will pray. But I will pray a very different prayer: That you relinquish all strength, that you turn the shadow on all the glib comforts, and that you break and shatter. And the BEAUTY of that moment is so incredible… IF you have the strength to go there!

And when you drop the balls, you become free. Free to pick up and select the balls that are worth anything – and your definition of what IS worth anything alters so profoundly, that in itself is reward enough for losing “strength”. And when your hands are empty and open, and not clutching shut, and in the openness, you can receive a-new!!!!! Things you could never hold before. Things that require the gentlest touch, and the softest touch, not things that require  “strength, endurance…”

And in breaking and in “losing”  you are free to refine and to see humanity at it’s core, at it’s most base. And it will fascinate and enthrall, excite, disappoint, and disgust you. But of strength, and of the prayer you know- you will never have need again. Yes, there is prayer in this state, deep deep prayer, that speaks directly to the heartbeat of THE ALMIGHTY.  Not the prayer that in blindness seeks what IT THINKS it needs and wonders why the prayer hasn’t been answered: Oh perhaps I should pray more earnestly, you think, more sincerely, more piously, more, more, more and the desperation has its twisted way of whispering to you that you are genuinely pious and genuinely seeking God, for look how I seek and pray in my troubles….

And … It’s just SO much simpler and LESS. Less stressful, less desperate than that. It’s allowing yourself – giving yourself permission – to see yourself at your “weakest.”

What AWFUL INSULTING terminology!!!!

WHO is WEAK?????

Someone who admits its all too difficult? Is that weakness??

Someone who says “screw this system of working till I drop to pay bills for my ‘needs’, I can’t go on like this anymore! Is that weakness???? HA!!! It’s the BEGINNING of wisdom my friend….. If only, IF ONLY… you would want to risk it all to find out!!!

Who is weak? The person who has a break down? YES!!! BREAK DOWN!!! It’s about time!!! Break down stereotypes, break down preconceived notions of strength, break DOWN the fortress you have built around yourself, break DOWN your idiotic expectations of self and of others. Break down the stories you tell yourself about your life – your expectations and hopes, which are clearly not being met from any source in any event, so, really not much to lose in taking the risk to break them down now is there???

So, Break Down! Its the beginning of a celebration of LIFE – that you can not possibly wish or begin to enjoy while you are so busy being strong! Holding it all together! For what??? For whom??  For image? For appearances? For fear of the alternative? Oh… wait… the most manipulative tool of all…. For your children!!

Oh MY G-D!!!

I CRY OUT to God in desperation and in an impassioned plea, PLEASE LET our men be weak, show vulnerability, show fear, for in this, a place is made in their hearts for love, for peace, for true connections. We are so busy role modelling for them “how to be strong and successful” that we entirely forget to model “how to be true and authentic in all you feel and do, how to follow your heart, your passion that God gave you, your dreams that may not be defined in monetary success, your emotions that will range from joy, ecstasy, bliss, to anger heartache and gut wrenching pain. NO my son, no, to do this is weak!!!

I have nothing but CONTEMPT for the connotations of that terminology “weak and strong”!!! For WHO is weak and what is strong???

And who is arrogant enough to define these terms on THEIR terms????

A Roman soldier, with a position, a title, a rank, and a whip. He would have been considered strong.

A man accused of blasphemy and treason, who (supposedly) didn’t even have the guts or intelligence to answer to his accusers would have been considered weak.

Oh NO, my friend! Oh NO!!! Redefine your vocabulary, and you redefine your life!

Redefine your perceptions and you redefine your future!

Redefine your thoughts, which is only a self talk of words anyway, and you redefine the World!!!!

For the BETTER!

 

“We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control (Pink Floyd)

“We don’t need no education…. We don’t need no thought control”  (Pink Floyd)

We are a nation in crisis. Our schooling system, our children are in crisis, the moral fiber of our society is unraveling at a frighteningly rapid pace and as teachers we are at the forefront of the ‘battlefield’. And it is so easy (and entirely justified) to become despondent, disgruntled, discouraged. To become critical, negative and unhappy. To focus on our often meager salaries, and the seemingly overwhelming challenges.

However, I am humbled and inspired to have had the opportunity to realign my work with my life purpose. It’s a paradigm shift in perspective that reminded me of why the attitude of :the futility of it all, the meaningless of being in a rut, the resentments, the sense of loss, why that attitude is not only sad but also entirely incorrect.

As teachers, specifically, we have a power that can influence the course of history. While that may sound very grandiose and somewhat exaggerated, I challenge you today to consider that it is neither. But rather that it may well be the truth. And if it is the truth, then with that truth comes a profound responsibility

We as teachers have a ‘captive audience’ and a very malleable,  impressionable one at that. Propaganda specialists would love to have access to the minds and hearts of children who are still sensitive enough, dare I say gullible enough to believe what is said to them; who not only believe it, but  often times take it on board as a foundational building block, a life principle if you will, upon which they build an entire personal belief system, and thus the way in which they respond to the world,  the way in which they interact with the world, the way in which they operate their relationships, may all be influenced by what is said to them in the classroom.

Yes, as teachers, we are here to teach content, subject matter, facts, figures, but with the accessibility of knowledge and information on the internet today, surely we are not still of the opinion that our main function is to dispense of this information. Please do not interpret that I am in any way negating or being disrespectful to the formidable task of conveying information – no – it is indeed the ‘nuts and bolts’ – if you like, of the job description, and of course the primary function of a school. However, as a nation in crisis, as a nation with a rapidly unraveling moral foundation – scientific and mathematical knowledge and the ability to read and write could be applied to the building of a bomb, or it could be applied to participation in developing a cure for cancer, it could be applied to humanitarian altruism, or to despotic self gain.

A Chinese proverb reads:  Learning without thought, is labour lost,  but thought, without learning is perilous.

Thus, to take a step back from the nitty gritty of the daily tasks of teaching and to view it from the perspective of Life Purpose – both your own as the teacher, and that of the child’s; for myself, it both humbles and inspires me. ‘

Irrespective of religious persuasion, irrespective of how you define ‘higher power’ and higher authority, YOU as a teacher, are a TOOL in the Hand of the Almighty. As a teacher, you are but a tool – yet a tool of such value that nothing in the nation can be built without your contribution (of varying degrees of value)

You are the needle that weaves the threads which collectively result in the ultimate picture. And the thread you use to sew this pattern, the pen you use to write this story, the hammer you use to build this house – is your WORDS.

Words echo into eternity and there is no telling their end. Words have power, they have a strength and a vibration and an effect.

Words have a frequency, and an energy and energy never dies.

Our  WORDS IMPACT  a child’s life: that choice of words within that very sentence hold a significance.

An Impact. The terminology we use to describe a car collision. Impact. Dent. Crush. Destroy. Damage. Write off.

Or they Imprint on a child’s life. Like the imprint of a duiker, a wild cat, a leopard on the soft soil. The imprint is there, the beginning of a trail, the start of a journey,  a path that is to be pursued.

We will often times never know the power our words had on others, but the child will never forget.

A teacher changed a name that forever resounds into eternity – that of Rohlihlahla to Nelson.

A teacher  flippantly insults a child’s singing ability and for the rest of their lives they do not sing! To restrict another beings soul from singing – let that never be accounted to me. A teacher compliments a child’s effort and his heart swells with self respect and pride. And his willingness to keep trying flourishes. A teacher feeds a child and she is able to alter the course of her own history by returning to school for a meal, and in so doing, become one less statistic in our still patriarchal society.

Teacher; pause. Look up. Breath. See. Not with the eyes of a logical, rational scientist. For hearts, souls and children’s minds are neither logical  nor rational. They are motivated and inspired by how you make them feel. And you make them feel through the channel of your words. So Look up. Breath. See. You are where you are because there is a higher purpose. A greater picture. A bigger world. And on that, you can put no price.