There is everything and nothing to say today. It’s been a grim week for me, not only because of “everything that’s been happening in the news” but because of things that happen every second of every day since forever: the horrible, horrible things humans do to each other. War, domestic violence against women, gang rape of children used as a weapon of terror in conflict zones, power and greed chased at the direct expense of others, the suffering that follows, this notion of “evil” that I try and try and try to get my head around…it overwhelms. And all I usually do is cry and cry and cry and give all our money away to aid organisations. Which, you know, Joel is appreciative of but also a little worried about because we’ve got a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed.
Joel and I stayed up until 10:30 last night talking about it all, basically because this happens from time to time: it is all such a complex issue and I become so despaired and I need to understand how other people process and cope with all the things which go on in our greater world. Why do people do bad things? How can we stop them? What can I do? What is this all for? How do you go about hanging clothes on a line and meeting friends for coffee – indulging in this privileged life – when this horror is happening? How do you find balance? And ultimately, what do you believe in? How do you spiritualize life to make sense of it all?
We talked about weapons being big business and how and why wars begin and who actually is dealing these cards. We talked about the nature of this universe: about it being split into two forces – one for good and one for bad, and how each human at any given moment chooses to follow one or the other. Each human has the same amount of good and bad inside of her and she chooses, in every moment, to either lift the vibration of this world or lower it. Which then led us to the notion of “what is a good choice?”, who says what is good or bad, right or wrong? This is where religion comes in – the Bible says what’s right and wrong. Allah says what’s right and wrong. My belief: deep, deep down people KNOW what is right and wrong, people KNOW what is good and bad. Joel’s belief: People don’t know, people have different standards and it’s all a matter of perspective. And additionally, people can be suffering so much that they want to make the bad choice because it makes them feel good.
We talked about the media and sensationalised mainstream news, pulling on your heartstrings, using news as entertainment, and about how this breeds ignorance and xenophobia. We talked about governments and world leaders and the wars we face on everything – our food, our water, our health, about how much of a rabbit hole you can get lost in despairing over pretty much everything.
In the end, we came to the obvious conclusions anyone with a beating heart would make:
Solution One: Be a force for good. Love your neighbours. Do kind things.
Solution Two: Educate yourself. Use your dollar – your greatest power – to benefit this world.
Solution Three: Work on yourself. All religions and world views come back to it. Master your own greed and pride and selfishness and need for power. Create peace in your own minds and your own homes. Find a way to get along and love people even when you disagree with them. Drop the actions of selfishness and entitlement, change your mindset of “what’s in it for me?”, to “what can I sacrifice to help somebody?”. It all begins with mastery of the self.
Solution Four: Find ways to make yourself feel like part of the solution. Set up a monthly donation to UNHCR. Find local refugee organisations and volunteer your time. Sign petitions. Share information through social media and build awareness of issues needing attention.
Solution Five: (And this, I always come back to) Find balance with processing how good your life is in comparison with others: guilt for your lack-of-suffering existence helps no one. Instead, use it to grab hold of perspective. You GET to take your daughter to ballet lessons. You GET to stand in a kitchen and mince garlic. You GET to sleep in a clean bed, in a warm house, in a safe street, in a peaceful country. Because I can tell you, this past week I have stopped noticing all the things that annoy me about my old, broken house — about all the things we ‘should have’ but don’t yet. I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve felt for free schooling and clean playgrounds and my beautiful house and the fact that we have enough money to buy absolutely everything we need. How grateful I’ve been for the swimming lessons, these happy smiling children I love, the simple act of just being able to take a shower. I know how lucky am I to have been born where I was – a different card dealt and I could be in Syria now, my daughter having just been gang raped by the ISIS and my husband dead. It is my duty as a privileged human to appreciate how good I’ve got it; to enjoy all the things I see and do and, ultimately, with every choice I make, be a force for good.
Which transitions nicely to these little moments snapped in time – small things I feel the weight of, small things I’m completely grateful for. Some small happies as my gratitude offering today…
Ella informs me all the time that she and Billy are best friends and I’m just so damn glad they have each other.
There’s something so satisfying to me about freshly bathed babies tucked into fresh jammies, about the coziness of the outside world settling down, about people in their homes winding down and being together after all the things which happen in a day. And matching jammies, too. Like the cherry on top.
Also known as Season Of No Clothes.
Or Time To Make Flower Crowns.
Our last visit of the season.
Taken by Ella who this past week has become quite the budding photographer. Ella: “Mummy, can I take a photo?” Billy: “Cheeeeeese” which sounds like chiiiizzzz and is really cute.
Afternoons on the jetty.
And exploring afterwards
And some more photos from Ella who asks all the time if she can take a photo and is making me rethink my choice of wearing pyjamas everywhere.
(How good is the composition! Sky’s a bit blown out, but focus on the good, people.)
And Billy took one too. So arty.