This month has shown that humans can forget atrocities that our grandparents and parents thought were so evil that humanity could not envisage them occurring again in settled western democracies. War has come to land on innocent people, through no fault of their own. Death, destruction, grief and chaos are now the bed fellows of our European neighbours. How is it that the power crazed hunger of one individual can wreck so much havoc, terror and destruction? No- one should have that leverage or power to do such a thing.
I think politicians across the world should be screened for mental health conditions before they embark on a career that is meant to serve a people, a land, the future generations who are still children. Perhaps it is time to do away with presidents and priministers and instead have governing bodies and departments that care for specific areas of concern.
Life is a precious sacred commodity, our world is beautiful and struggling because we have failed to revere her eco systems. We have failed to honour one another, see beauty in diversity, respect and care for each other and the vulnerable. We need to take a long hard look at ourselves. We think we are clever because we can fly to the moon, create clever I.T gadgets and gizmo’s, power stations and no end of other clever inventions . But, really we have the nounce of a toddler. We are a clever, dangerous parasitical ape unless we develop our human-ness , we are doomed to create even more mess. Our human-ness, our ability to reflect and then act is what sets us apart from the animal realm.
These last few years have been a massive wake up call; we have had a pandemic, we are entering climate change scenarios so massive that it is hard for us to comprehend the macro scale of it all.Now, we have a war to contend with. Nobody wins really in a war; there is just pain, grief, horror, trauma and chaos on all sides.
So, what can we do, as ordinary people in the face of all this? Getting depressed, feeling helpless, being angry and nihilistic only adds to the energetic miasma of negativity. That is not solution based thinking or feeling into evolved reflective human thinking.
For some reason, when I was thinking about all this after watching the news and talking to my sister who works in the environmental sector an image came to mind, that I found both creative and comforting. It is a bit of an unusual metaphor for positive dynamic change but so simple and practical that it helps me at any rate, rise anew and face each day with my best .
I want you to imagine a homemade basket! My father was a touring musician and after touring Australia in the 80’s , he brought back with him some aboriginal paintings and artefacts. One was a basket- carefully woven, and into it were woven pieces of grass with seeds on, a feather, a piece of straw, a leaf. This basket was a thing of natural magic, a curio that told a tale of a distant land, of honouring the earth and environment from which it was fashioned. The skill that brought it into being told of care, patience, appreciation of beauty, humour and concentration. All the elements in the basket created a natural balance, one with another, each strand given care and attention.
Each of our lives are like baskets. Our lives are made up of many strands that together hold our lives, both individually and collectively. In a way we are like a stack of baskets that fit one inside another- connecting to each other. Our baskets are woven from the world we live in and our strands are both similar and different. We have strands called families, lovers, work, health, nutrition, behaviour, beliefs, culture, religion . All sorts of elements are woven into our basket of life that holds and shapes our little and large lives.
We can go through our lives unconscious, unreflective, just living by the status quo, keeping up with the Jones, out to get what only serves our small selves. I don’t think this would make a very beautiful basket or artefact. It would be a grey brittle thing that one would not treasure.
Or, we can see that we are responsible for a unique creation. Our own basket of life. How will we weave those strands? Will it be done consciously weaving in care, growth, beauty, adventure, cherishing, peace, health? Each strand we weave can be chosen with care , love, consciousness and fortitude. We can use our weaving to step into our macro human selves that reflect and then act, that develop wisdom and remember history, so we do not make the same mistakes our ancestors did.
Sometimes one particular strand may need more weaving and attention than others- that is a natural part of the weaving process. Some of our strands are more delicate than others; for instance as we age we have to pay more attention to our nutrition and fitness strand ! Or, we realise we have some self development to do and then we must tend lovingly to that.
Creating a thing of fashioned balanced beauty is an ongoing process. Our well fashioned baskets contain our lives and they can be safe, nurturing, loving peaceful places to be or they can be a shoddy thing disrespecting itself and the environment it came from.
The image of this basket we are making also works on a macro scale: singularly we can not solve the world ills or remedy the climate crisis. But, together we can. Together we can each bring our strand of skill and awareness to work together consciously and with grace, humbleness and appreciation . This macro basket will then contain all of us, allowing us all to live lives that are balanced, happy, creative and loving.
I leave you with this link to a song I wrote about war: inspired by the war in Srebencia . The last verse celebrates the best of our human strands- our loving human heart. That is the strongest and most powerful strand in our basket weaving that we all share. This brings me hope, for love is the most powerful weapon we have in our armoury against darkness, evil ,sloth and delusion.
I am off, to attend to creating with love and care my own basket of life…..