Category Archives: Challenging times

‘Distress has seized me’

Standard

I stand in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and reflect on how I can hold hope and courage to enact these heartfelt words at this time…

‘the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better’

https://charterforcompassion.org/component/acymailing/mailid-206/utm_source-newsletter_206/utm_medium-email/utm_campaign-hidden-message?key=FIf1eecJ&subid=120113-hnEAzMqNY5bRjv&tmpl=component

My love and blessings to all…

It’s been a while …

Standard

IMAG0184

As for everyone I know, 2015 has personally been a period of intense growth and challenge.

The year’s passage has seen me blessed with rich opportunities to develop and extend myself personally and professionally, surrounded by incredible people who have come into my life to facilitate and support this process.

I have had my ‘shoulder to the wheel’ for a great part of the year as I negotiated entry into teaching at Monash University; new projects at my beloved Sandybeach Centre; greater participation in my professional networks across the globe, and attending to my too often ignored PhD research and writing.

I can say with gratitude that I have survived, and am now blessed to be back at Tootgarook on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula for a time of regeneration.

In the company of my precious family and friends I get to breathe again … to inhale the beauty of this time and place, and to reflect on a way forward that honours and builds on all that has come before. I get to imagine and set into place the enactment of each day’s learning that urges me to live more authentically, to connect more deeply with my world … to live each moment in love.

At this sacred time of year across so many cultures, I have this morning became aware of Disturbed’s haunting cover version of Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Sounds of Silence’. It resonates deeply with the silent space of solitude in which I currently rest, as I await the collaborative, joyful celebration of the love of my family and friends.

I am reminded however, that our family have infinite choices about how and where we spend our time together, how we celebrate our love for and commitment to each other.

This is not the reality for too many of our global family. Too many live in unimaginable deprivation of freedom. Too many struggle to survive emotionally and financially each day. Through no fault of their own, too many are being unlawfully detained and are being denied their basic human rights.

So as I give thanks for the love, joy and abundance of my own life, I reflect on the words of Martin Luther King Jnr as they intersect with this haunting song. As I celebrate the gift of love and life with my family and friends, I consider the gift of people like Martin Luther who had the courage to speak up and speak out in the deafening silence … and consider how I might find that courage in myself.

My love to you and yours as you celebrate.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King Jnr.

 

Trying to understand …

Standard

peace1A friend of mine tagged me in her Facebook post today, a comment about a protest she had passed by in the city that relates to the current turmoil in the Middle East. It’s such a drawn out state of affairs, one that I’m only just beginning to consciously notice. My friend’s comment prompted me to fossick through Google to uncover information that might help me gain more insight into something that is for me a minimally understood happening.

My perspectives on the world, and my connection to all that goes on within it are only beginning to open, and I struggle with my ignorance. Related to the current conflict in the Middle-East and other regions that are such a common feature of today’s global climate, I find myself at various times devastated, angry, irritated, frustrated, judging, impatient, scared of what the future might hold … the list of my useless responses goes on as I attempt to fathom the seemingly interminable turmoil and absolute disregard for human rights and dignity that is present on a daily basis.

I am not a lover of conflict, most happy to find a way around discord … sometimes to great effect through a flexible approach that endeavors to honor the unique perspectives of all parties, but too often with an aim of keeping the peace. Keeping the peace in a way that sometimes fails to contest and unpack reigning assumptions, or renegotiate and promote new ways of seeing and feeling, thinking and acting.

There continues to be such injustice in the world related to people with power trying to take from others/oppress those with minimal power or influence, and it is too easy to be lulled into complacency and a closed heart and mind by the numbing voices that saturate our mainstream media, in a society that too easily perpetuates the status-quo.

The work I draw on in my education focused PhD inquiry speaks about the disorienting dilemmas we can face in our passage through learning about life, and our responses to newly perceived and understood phenomena. As I turn my attention to these conflicts across our globe I am being challenged to sit with something that is horrifying and inconceivable to my limited perspective and life-experience, and in spite of my naivety and discomfort with such confronting realities, to open to new ways of seeing what has existed all along.

Malcolm X is reputed to have said ‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing’, and while sometimes I find it hard to differentiate the oppressed from the oppressors, I am reminded today … through listening with my eyes and ears and heart … that hearts closed by fear and anger will not bring about sustainable change. True understanding and resolution can only be achieved through open hearts and the provision of safe spaces where compassionate insight, mutual respect and understanding can be seeded and cultivated.

So as I open my own heart to new perspectives and the possibilities for my role in this change, I’ll quote another Facebook gem from today (Facebook is the font of all wisdom you know) …

Building walls in fear of loss does nothing to protect you from future harm, it only robs you of present joy. Tear the walls down

Cynthia Occelli