All posts by InsightfulAngel

Well, what can I say? I love old movies, vintage clothes, reading, writing. I think that food is THE BEST THING EVER! and enjoy good food cooked with love and vibrant full-bodied flavours. My greatest desire is to use my experience to help others and have a home in the sun, by the sea or a large lake...Ahhh Bliss! I'm a mother of three beautiful human beings who bless me every day by calling me 'Mum.' They're young adults themselves now and I guess it's as they embark on their life's journey, that I begin to reflect more on mine. I currently Teach. A profession I love and excel at, but have, for many years know that 'There's more to life and to ME than this!' The time is ripe for change and so I am exited as I begin to visualise a new future for myself in my 'middle years.' Join me on this journey of exploration of my higher self and my search to contribute positively in this world. My hope is that through my trials, research, musings and revelations, you discover the nature of your purpose and courageously step into the light of your own magnificence. I was born the eldest of three sisters and as such was a terribly serious child who was accustomed to 'doing the right thing.' As I grow older, I become more child-like. I love myself more, appreciate my innate gifts and understand the contribution they can make to friends, family and the world at large. I have a greater appreciation of my skills and talents and am in the best shape of my life, physically, emotionally and spiritually. My passions are my children, family, to make people laugh, cry and ensure that every encounter I have leaves the other person realise how amazing they are. I love passionately, live a life that is fun and endeavour to make a difference. I'm loving my Journey and want to share this passion, so you too can Love yours in Bliss, Insightful Angel <3x

5 additional ways to practise self-care

Last week I promised I’d follow up with and additional list of ways we can look to practise self-care as we enter into this new year as well as a new decade.

  • Embracing new challenges and not waiting until something goes wrong before you make a shift or try something new: Too often we suffer form imposter syndrome and feel we’ll somehow be exposed as a fraud or ‘not up to snuff. This is just the negative self-talk we’re used to receiving either from our childhood programmers or from ourselves due to our insecurities.

Once you decide to take on a new challenge (and I mean start with something small) you’re-programme yourself, bit by bit for success because

  1. Even if it didn’t work out, you’ll realise the thinking about it was worse than the actual doing it and so making you less likely to hold yourself back the next time you’re faced with a new challenge and
  2. It may just work out, you achieve what you thought would be such a challenge and surprise yourself. This of course creates greater confidence, a ‘can do’ attitude for anything else that comes along in the future and so, my friends… WIN-WIN, you’ll be unstoppable!
  • Setting goals and planning how you’ll get from step A to step B: I’m not great at this. I can be a bit of a lone wolf and tend to just want to get on with things. I move fast too as does my mind, so no I can be impatient to see things materialise. It’s something I need to work on.

However, one of the best ways to ensure you keep your promise to yourself is to find an accountability partner. Once you speak it out loud to someone and set a deadline with someone who is a person you trust and you know they want the best for you, you feel duty bound to match the integrity of your actions to your words.

You get the thing done because letting them and yourself down harder that doing the thing on the first place!

  • Allow yourself to get enough sleep and relaxation: Another one being and educator means I’m so not good at, but I recognise is imperative if I am to be my best self.

All too often we seriously deprive ourselves of the opportunity to recover from life’s stresses by not getting enough sleep or relaxing sufficiently to get good quality sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m often so tense I need sufficient time to relax before I can sleep.

There’s a critical time that I should take myself off to bed, somewhere between 10.30pm and 11pm, otherwise I find myself drifting and drooling (not relay) and sleeping like a pretzel on the sofa, waking at ABSOLUTELY the wrong time (usually an hour before my alarm), so not enough time to catch up on the sleep I need before the alarm goes off and feeling groggy and dissatisfied with the quality of the sleep I did get. Hardly a good start to the day now is it?

The best sleep is gained if you go to sleep before midnight, however as we age we often sleep less. The key is to have a consistent routine. Here are some tips if you find yourself still groggy or unsatisfied after sleeping:

  1. Follow a regular sleep schedule. Poor bedtime habits, such as going to bed too early (before you’re tired) or too late (when you’re overly tired) can make it more difficult to get to sleep and to sleep soundly when you do.  
  2. Avoid caffeinated beverages within four to six hours of bedtime, and alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
  • Become more self aware through writing things down and getting them out of your mind. This is a kind of mental de-cluttering. We have close to 70,000 thoughts whizzing in and out of our minds all day every day. By practising automatic writing or journaling we dump them leaving our minds clearer and sharper.

Most of what we write it will need binning, but occasionally there’s a real nugget that you discover and this could lead you directly to the next stage of you’re life’s development, you uncover your next great idea and develop a clearer focus with which to create it too!

  • Create time for yourself. I honestly think this is a very important one. In the rush and multitasking society we live in (and it’s getting worse) we are literally ‘on call’ 25/7. Many of us suffer from FOMO* so badly we are never without our phones and can barely have conversation without them.

This leads to an incredible amount of stress and not to mention a depressive state if god forbid we don’t get a message or phone call in a day, or we miss out on the latest trending Insta or Facebook story…

Time along allows you to re-charge and re-connect with YOU

It is vital, that you allow your senses time to shut themselves off and simply be quiet. I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where some robot or other is forced to over work and starts steaming and its circuits implode, well I wouldn’t ant that happening to you now would I.

Put your phone down at least and hour and preferably two before sleeping. Perhaps try implement a time in your schedule when you mute your phone and just allow your mind to wander or not do much of anything at all, you’ll be surprised at just how refreshed you feel and how much better you function as time goes on.

Even better if you can combine putting your phone down with my bonus for you:

  • Getting out into the fresh air for at least 20minutes a day. In the Northern hemisphere especially at this time of year, it’s and enough trying to get light in the outdoors, how much harder if all day every day you are indoors in artificial lighting.

Try taking a walk around the block at lunchtime (please don’t eat whilst you work, guzzling down a sandwich and chugging a cuppa), you are, surely worth and deserve 20 minutes of time to yourself?

If the call is important they’ll call back and as you begin to educate let clients/customers etc. into the fact that you take a break at a particular time of the day, they’ll stop calling at that time.

In addition, not only will you feel refreshed and sleep better, but some of your greatest insights and ideas, may well just pop into your head during this precious ‘ME’ time.

Remember, no-one EVER said: ”I wish I’d worked more” on their deathbed now did they?

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

Pauline Tomlin

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Self Care 2020

Happy New Year Everyone,

I know it may have been a disappointment that I didn’t post last week, especially as it was the first Sunday of the New year and Decade, but I decided to walk the walk and execute some self care and as most of us do at this time of year some reflection.

So…

I pottered around my home, meditated, concocted a delicious smoothie and immersed myself in a loooong bath, you know the ones where you detox and shave and trim and emerge feeling band new? I then cooked some delicious vegan food and took to my bed at 5pm!

My Deeeelicious Smoothie

Please understand I wasn’t sick, I just realised I hadn’t exercised self care for a while and I just wanted to be with ME.

The responsibility of writing… the thoughts of “they’ll be ‘expecting’ a post,’ lay heavily until I reminded myself

  • I do this for pleasure.
  • I do this in order that one or two others may benefit from my experiences…

And the last thing I want to draw in as we enter a new decade and New Year, is the energy of ‘SHOULD’

Before we get into the ‘rhythm’ of the year 2020, I would urge any of you with whom this resonates, to take a look at one of the ‘shoulds’ or ‘must do’s’ in your life. Is there one of them that you can dispense with, break the cycle of obligation and instead replace it with something you ‘WANT’ to do?

It’s surprising how much more energised you feel and satisfied. Because you’re signalling to your subconscious mind your belief in your worthiness in what you deserve and what life should bring to you.

It doesn’t have to be big…

Perhaps it’s just a bath and a detox, or a healthy smoothie day once a week, a walk or run once or twice a week…something to break the cycle of must dos and should dos and to invigorate you.

Deeeetox! Ahhh…

If, for example, your car stalls and you tried one method in order to get it started, there’s not point continuing with the same method is there? So you gotta change your methodology.

I’m naturally creative; a writer, singer, jewellery maker, a knitter & I can crochet…I was a dancer. Everything I do to relieve the tension and add zest to my life is invariably creative and I do so because I enjoy these pursuits. So, I told myself, ” let go any feelings of responsibility” (I know I’ll get back on the horse again when the time is right) and put myself first.

This is the energy I would like to start the new decade of 2020 with.

After a day I realised that putting myself first and for nearly 24 hours forgetting about the house and the income and the work and the cleaning and all the other ‘shoulds,’ had created the following benefits:

  • I was alive with inspiration as to my next step in life as my subconscious mind had been given time to explore and imagine and desire
  • My vision was becoming clearer

-Who I wanted to be

-What I wanted to do

-What I wanted to have in my life

  • My purpose was being revealed to me
  • It was becoming clear what support and training I needed to achieve the next step
  • The divine whispers were getting stronger…I could hear them and became more determined to follow their guidance

Just over a week later and those ideas are beginning to take shape and universal support has begun showing up to help me step closer to my purpose and vision. For you too answering these questions will bring you closer, regardless of who you are, what you did before or how old you are, or to the life you want to live if you’re looking for a change.

Now I’ve mentioned that some of the consequences of exercising self care are that you :

  • Give yourself space to acquire a clearer vision,:
  • You become more inspired about your life and where you want to take it as well as signalling to your subconscious mind that you appreciate yourself and deserve the best.

Our minds can’t actually tell the difference between the real world and the imaginative one, so if your focus is on what you want to create in your life, your subconscious mind will create scenarios and situations in order for that situation/opportunity to be realised.

So what other ways can you put yourself first?

Setting Boundaries

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Another way to practise putting yourself first is in the setting of boundaries and speaking up for yourself. In order to stay with the new vision for your life there will be times when you have to say ‘No,’ which for many of us is the most challenging thing to do, especially with family and friends.

Saying no is simply being assertive, communicating in an assertive way and creating boundaries; which shows others, whether family friends, colleagues etc. the expectations and values you have with regards to how you should be treated or what you expect. This isn’t often thought of as self-care, but it’s the strongest signal you can send yourself of your value and what you deserve.

When you set boundaries or find the courage to say ‘I’m afraid I don’t think it’s possible for me to do that at this time,’ (It may not mean for ever); You’re defending your time and your right to be the one who discerns where your time, attention and energy should be directed.

 Exercise & Diet

Our increasingly sedentary lives or indeed if you’re like me and on your feet all day, can mean our bodies are static for far too long. We all know when we need to exercise, yet all too often we lament that we do not have enough time. The time exists it’s just a matter of making this a priority and it’s the same with our diet.

These are vital self-care practices.

It’s well documented the physical and psychological effects of regular exercise, but don’t panic, start slowly and just do whatever it is once or twice a week, then build up. Just the freedom (especially if you simply go for a walk outdoors) provides a clarity and opening of the lungs that creates a sense of well-being and you feel better able to tackle the day.

Similarly with diet, we’re aware of the changes e need to make, but again here, start slowly…eliminate sugar from every other tea or coffee you have, drink some water before each meal if that’s where you need to improve…eat a plant based diet once or twice a week of you need to reduce meat consumption.

Poor diet leads to poor health and this in turn leads to an impairment of your physical and mental functioning. No realising your vision if you have a foggy brain eh?

There are of course other ways one can exercise self-care and I’ll outline these and their benefits next week. Between these posts, you’ll have a manual for improving how your year takes shape and improving how you think about yourself too.

The upshot is, that self-care is critical in every aspect of our lives if we want our lives to function well. It’s especially crucial if you’re a person wanting to make a change in your life.

Why not let 2020, the start of new decade as well as a new year be the year you focus on YOU.

Make Self-Care your ‘buzz phrase’ and just see what wonderful new and more aligned opportunities show up for you.

Blissings and much love

Pauline Tomlin

(InsightfulAngel)

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‘You are your ancestors wildest dreams’ & 5 reasons to be grateful

I read a slogan on a T-shirt yesterday. It said:

“I am my ancestors wildest dreams!”

It was a slogan that seemed to get itself pinned, literally ramming itself in to a crack in the crazy-paving of my mind. I couldn’t shake it; it stayed with me.

Why? and what would it mean if I allowed myself to truly imbibe the meaning of this phrase?

As I navigate my way through this journey we have each embarked upon called ‘Life on Earth’ I am increasingly aware of the presence of spirit. More recently people and events that have manifest in my life, confirmed that though I thought I was in charge… many of the things I took charge of didn’t quite turn out the way I thought and I ended up learning lessons or getting a spiritual slap to wake me to whatever dysfunctional nonsense was playing itself out at the time.

So who really was in charge?

The end of the year is always a time for reflection and as I do the same, I thought I’d share with you my learning, my truths. You see they may help someone else gain perspective and that’s all good.

This year I learnt a few things to be sure:

  1. People can be malicious and mean, but I’m not
  2. I can’t just be ‘a good person and cry’ when they are I gotta’ ask for help or support.
  3. I won’t die of I DO ask for help or support.
  4. I am loveable and worthy of love in all its forms…

No I know you may all say ‘what? She didn’t know that?’ but what I mean is I finally realised in the core of my being, (through some hurt and being treated as though I am unlovable) that I, and yes YOU, my beautiful sisters and brothers are worthy of love.

Image courtesy of Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/

Of self-love, of the love of your ancestors and the love of that guiding force that supports our lives whether you believe in it or not and of the love of our children and ancestors alike. Ancestral love is where I’m going to place my focus for now.

Many of us forget that our mothers & fathers are our ancestors.

They came before us and despite whatever relationship you had or have with them they are the blueprint you either followed or discarded. Either way they are deserving of gratitude because they helped shape your life.

Now, if your life isn’t where or what you want it to be then from today, you have another 365 days to step into your magnificence and just ‘go for what you want!’ if our life IS what you want at this moment… then ‘whoop di doo’ you either learned great lessons from your ancestors and added to them creating a wonderful life for yourself or you eschewed their examples and now have a blank template from on which you can re-design to your hearts content.

5. I realised too that I have SO much to be grateful for:

  • I am fit (ish) for my age and pretty healthy too.
  • I have (still) maintained a roof over my head and when I look at the increasing number of people sleeping on the streets in our cities I have to say, I am incredibly thankful.
  • I eat, well most, if not all of the time. Yeah the cupboards get a bit bare from time to time, but I still eat.
  • I have talents and skills that are transferable and that I can trade for an income.
  • I have met some wonderful new people this year that I can call ‘friend’ and I also have wonderful old ones whom I cherish beyond measure

It was in this realisation that the slogan on the tee shirt; ‘I am my ancestors wildest dreams’ started to make sense. I realised that many, of them and those who came before THEM had no choice about where they lived, were oftentimes without food, were kept dumbed down, ignorant and illiterate on the pain of death, let alone able to develop skills, transferable or not!

Even as late as the 40s and 50s many were working for little money and their hours and the nature of their work, for some of us what we experience pales into insignificance and I realise we gotta ‘shut up the wailing’ about how hard life is for us.

Many of our ancestors died untimely deaths because of the hardship endured and many, many I am certain slept outdoors on many an inclement night.

Mulling this over it occurred to me that if my ancestors stood before me now, that in comparison to what they had to endure and sacrifice, that my life, my opportunities and the experiences I have had so far would be waaaay BEYOND the wildest dreams of their imagining, when we examine the limits of their experience.

When they look down at who we are and what we are achieving so many of us are surpassing any vision they could possibly have conceived of and for this we need to be grateful, for this we really should take a moment to nod in their direction and acknowledge the huge debt they paid in order for us to be here as we are; struggle and complaints and joys and frustrations and all.

Whether you believe or whether you don’t believe. My life is showing me that spirit is always with us. They just need us to call on them. Your ancestors, whether you acknowledge them or not, are waiting in the ‘wings’– so to speak (and pardon the pun).

It’s immensely comforting to realise, that there Is a guiding force beyond yourself that is ready, waiting and wanting to guide and support you as you grow into your life, it’s ebbing and flow, its joys and trials. If you want their support it’s easy:

  1. Connect to spirit (in whatever way feels right for you)
  2. Ask
  3. Listen to the answer (usually whispers, nuances, intuitions) and
  4. Act
  5. Be grateful

And if this has just been a whole load of woowoo tosh to you at the very least we can at least start the year in the energy of gratitude…Imagine the fantastic year ahead you will create!

Simples…

Make them proud and remember:

YOU are your ancestor’s wildest dreams!

Happy New Year to you all!

Fireworks! my favourite aspect of bringing in a New Year. Image courtesy of Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/

And may the magic of 2020 a new decade, bring peace, all the joy your arms and heart can hold, laughter and prosperity. Love and best wishes from me…

Pauline Tomlin

(Insightful Angel)

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What I love about being a black woman

So…

Yesterday a man I am acquainted with sent me video. I have to say it was one I was somewhat surprised by as it was a vitriolic critique of the ‘Black Woman’.

The man who created the video, didn’t for one minute mince his words and proceeded to slate us for ‘bitchin,’ bringing up ‘thugs,’ being emotionally immature and demanding and for being the cause of the degeneration of the black family. He claimed we were always bragging about being ‘Queens’ and that everyone want us; but the reality is the black man is turning to the white woman, ANY woman but us because we’re driving them off with our ‘pissedosity’ and pouting.

He then went on to say that we’re all single because we are ‘egotistical children’ who do not take responsibility accept ‘thugs’ as partners and then have a slew of unwanted babies, choosing deliberate ‘single-motherhood’ in an attempt to get these men to stay with us. ..

As a result we abuse and neglect our children as they were not wanted in the first place and who are now a persistent reminder of the error we made in laying down, trying to get attention from the ‘good for nuthin’ thug’ in the first place!

Ay ay aaaaay!

‘Aaaaay caramba!’ and whole lotta words and phrases I tried to replace expletives for ran through my mind.

You can imagine my…well, all I can say is incredulity at the bile that spewed forth from this man, who’s ‘bass’ told me he was a black American male.

I came to the conclusion that…

‘Some sista, mussa do him Baaaad!’

It got me to thinking though it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives because yes it’s true… the Black experience is often one of struggle and persecution; of pain and racial discrimination and slurs even in 2019 (see: http://bit.ly/2Z0WPvX).

  • Yes, more often than not, our stories are made up of events, which serve to humiliate and denigrate us.
  • Yes, our narratives often articulate the challenge of rising despite massive social and institutionalised racism and injustice.
  • Yes, there are social and emotional challenges that we need to address.
  • Yes, our pain is acute and real. None of it is fabricated and it’s hard to live with and through.
  • And yes, in our attempts to get some relief from the pressure of our lives, from the ‘Just over broke,’ or downright ‘indebted and broke’ scenarios and the relationship drama, we (me included), can focus, disproportionately on the negatives of the black experience.

However, there are just as many wonderful things about my experience of being a black woman and it is these that keep me going despite it all… rising… forever finding ingenious ways around, up, over and around the pressures I encounter every day.

What I love about being a black woman

I love my (our) resilience: Despite times when I honestly feel I will simply break apart or break open. Somehow me and my sisters and mothers and aunts, and sistren and cousins and friends just keep bouncing back. Many of us without vitriol and somehow manage to find hope.

We will fall asleep broken and rise to the light of the sun and know that because it’s shining there must be a God and that there’s the possibility that things will change.

  • I love our spirituality: Even though many of us have rejected formal religious practices, there’s somehow a spiritual, gossamer thread, albeit in some of us, vague and barely discernable that reminds us that our ancestors DNA courses through us. Reminds us that we are connected. To the pouring of libation for the ‘homies in the big house’ to letting the ‘elders’ feed first at christenings and parties.
  • I love that we recognise our connection to one another – the irresistible magnetic pull to proffer a ‘nod’ of acknowledgement; the ‘I recognise the spirit in you and we are the same’ nod whenever you catch the eye of another black person for longer than a nanosecond.
Me: in all my Melanin-Cocoa Glory!
  • I love that my skin is coffee-choco-smooth. It’s ‘why haven’t you got any wrinkles?’ taut and when nourished by the sun and replenished by oils it shines bronze-reflecting, hailing the glory of the melanin that gives it it’s hue.
  • I love that I can flip my language from Standard English to broad Yorkshire and Jamaican Patois and now some Nigerian pidgin as easily as butter slides off a hot knife and that the myriad of phonetic and linguistic mélanges create a uniqueness of expression that cannot be matched or mimicked and all this despite having our languages taken from us.
  • I love that my people are linguistic governors! Non can compete with the numerous words and phrases our varying cultures ‘drop’ like social diamonds into the fabric of popular and musical culture. We’re constantly inventing… ‘fo’shizzle’ we are!
  • I love the richness of our history. That despite it being stolen, hidden and reconstituted in a blanket of lies we are reclaiming it; Pharonic brick by brick, Songhaian stone, by stone.
  • I love that when I come together with my ‘sistren’ there is a stripping away of the miasma of oppression and instead, (if there’s true sisterhood and not the ‘Jealousy’ I previously talked about); what you’ll find is us releasing the ‘bass’ in our voices, (as well as sometimes the bra straps!) and liberating the guttural, deep, raucous laughter that emanates from our bellies… as we ‘talk fi we talk’ and let go the tension of tip-toeing through a world which insists we hide parts of ourselves; in case we be deemed too ‘loud,’ or ‘aggressive,’ ‘too threatening!’

What I love about being a black woman is that I have an infinite number of options when it comes to what to do with my hair, which is both liberating and confining at the same time.

  • What I Love about being a black woman is that when I sashay out of a room I KNOW you can’t help but recognise that the place is a little duller because of it.
  • What I love about being a black woman is that I KNOW and recognise that the power and strength of my ancestors, the wisdom from their trials and suffering live within me and that I proudly carry their genetic code!

And I could go on…

The man who created the video denounced us as ‘Queens’ and said all the black woman has is ‘attitude’

What I told the man who shared the video with me was:

“If a man cannot tell the difference between a woman with standards and boundaries and one with ‘attitude,’ then he certainly ‘AINT’ no KING!

Blissings and much love

Pauline Tomlin

(Insightful Angel)

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Monkeys & Mules

Well, I had a peach of a day today!

Luscious and tasty! – Definitely NOT the kind of day I had

I gotta type fast, as I’m exhausted. It’s 10pm in a blisteringly cold ‘Blighty’ and I’ve challenged myself to get this written and posted in half an hour (unlikely). So, you’ll be getting a rehashed picture and probably typo-city!

Those of you that know me well, know I’m an educator. I know I’m a damned fine educator (I’m just beginning to OWN that) and so do the 1000s of children I have taught, not just about the subject of English, but about how to be authentically themselves, to love themselves and to honour who they are.

I was called a ‘MONKEY’ today…

Yup… a delightful young charge, a boy of about 14 years old decided that although I am

  • An elder
  • His teacher
  • A stranger
  • That it’s perfectly Okay to lob racial slurs in my direction.
  • That its okay to define me according to the features afforded me at birth that identify me as belonging to a specific cultural group and possessing a heritage different to his own.
  • To be ignorant of the fact that I have no control over (though I love) those features and they in no way indicate my generosity, how kind I may be, my intellect, size of my wallet any other quality I may possess.

In fifteen years as an educator I am aware that many a pupil, when faced with my firm behaviour management have had a few choice word to say. I can’t pretend to be a blushing wallflower and swear (pardon the pun) that I haven’t heard the odd expletive levelled at me, but I can categorically say, that NEVER has a child been brazen enough to directly and with venom, throw a racially charged insult my way.

Walking home in the bitter and I mean bitter cold It struck me and I have to say incensed me that I am 54years born, raised and seasoned in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK. Contributed some 35 of those years to paying taxes and positively contributing to society. my family alone are 5 generations into our contribution to this society and this little pipsqueak has been, in 2019 socialised into thinking racism is okay.

I was raised in the agitation and dread of racist 1970s Britain and the ‘There ‘aint no black in the union Jack’ sentiments

I felt the same horror, the same lurch in my stomach; the same acetic retch today as I did when called a ‘Nigger bitch’ and told to go home, by a car-full of young men, whilst I walked close to my home as a young girl.

Regardless of our 5 generations of slog and contribution by my family, he is taught nothing of legacy nor is he guided to understand the respect due to an elder. Ironically, his own ancestors probably arrived here two generations ago.

Our current political and social fabric condones his sentiments; legitimises them and creates and environment for them to survive. He feels that by denigrating me it makes him ‘cock of the walk…’ insulting an elder, a woman, a queen, a guide.

It’s a climate that has seen our leaders insidiously allow the creeping poison of racism to seep back into the veins of our society: *Windrush, Brexit… and after all what America does do we not follow? So, we now have the dastardly, despicable and jingoistic duo that is Trump and Johnson legitimising inflammatory and racist sentiment.

In the US there was a post Civil War promise made to allot family units, including newly freed slaves, a plot of land no larger than ‘40 acres and a mule.‘ It was a promise made by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865 after the war ended.

Trump wants to build a wall, Anti-immigrant and racist sentiment has been on the increase for the last few years (see above*) and I for one am ready to claim my Forty Acres.’

Why on this earth would I, after all this time want to stay where microaggressions and downright overt rejection are still the norm?

After 30+ years of travel I still KNOW that that seat next to me will not be taken by anyone unless they reeeeeeally are forced to, that the department store guard will at some point follow me around the store, that my change will be dropped into my hand as though I’m a leper and most establishments will shove my fellow melanated workers into the non-public facing roles wherever possible.

Well people…

I had my doubts about re-entering the ‘system’ that is Education on my return to the UK. I need to eat & I need to live. Education is what I know…

This… galvanises my resolve

Mi dun!

If anyone knows Nana Akufo-Addo, tell him 2020 should be the UK’s year of return!

I am only too willing to go search of the sweet, smell of a warm nubian breeze and when reparations are forthcoming I will be first in line to claim my ’40 acres’ and I definitely won’t be forgetting my goddamned mule either!

Happy Wednesday all!

Insightful Angel

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‘Black sheep’ and ‘crabs,’

Examining the ugly truth about Jealousy in the black family.

I went out last night…Whilst I was ‘shacking out’ and truly loving myself and the feeling of freedom I get from dancing, a woman came past me, invading my personal space (like literally inches away!) and shoved her miserable face into mine; threateningly. She then looked me up and down as if she’d stood in a dog turd and passed by looking over her shoulder as she went.

No words were exchanged, I didn’t even know her… the threat was obvious but why?

JEALOUSY!

She is an insidious and malicious mistress…

Two night’s before I was in the delightful company of four other black women. We chatted and discussed and all noted how wonderful it was to be amongst sisters and not have the tension and pique of resentment or petty insecurities peppering our commentary and tainting the energy.

Sad, though it is to admit, this is not often the case when ‘black folks’ get together and ‘two or more are gathered.’ The reality is, that oftentimes there is a thinly veiled covetousness and resentment amongst us. It’s a highly destructive and pervasive social malady.

Why does this happen? For if we are to change how we operate as a community on an equal footing with other groups in society creating opportunities for those that follow us, we need to undo the limitations and shackles we are still placing on ourselves.

Our great Leader and ancestor Marcus Garvey once said:

‘Do not remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain.’

In my view one of the greatest and most insidious kinks prevalent within Black Culture, society and families is this Jealousy. Jealousy causes a huge wound ensuring we never come together as a collective to stem the tide of our collective destruction.

One reason jealousy manifests is the ‘Black Sheep’ scenario. This is when one member of the family is singled out for different (usually negative) treatment from the family’s caregivers. how they then treat the ‘Black Sheep,’ is noted subconsciously and can be replicated amongst the other siblings.

The emotional damage of this for the ‘odd one out,’ is incredibly painful to bear, but also, in my view, crippling too for the ‘jealous’ sibling, who spends their life focused on either the resenting their ‘black sheep’ siblings qualities, achievements or lifestyle or else trying to destroy their possessions, or reputation or both, when they should be focused on developing their own unique gifts to their fullest.

A Black Sheep is often created for the following reasons:

The Black Sheep

  • The have a particular gift or talent and without training ‘comes naturally and is executed to a high standard. This gift may bring external attention and validation to them.
  • Their personality is unusual and obviously different to that of the mother or father and they find it a challenge to relate to and parent them. Sometimes this is because the nature of the child triggers their insecurities. e.g. a particularly gifted child academically whose parent(s) struggled with school and harbour resentment or fear of the system; a child who is personable and friendly, yet has been born to parents or a parent who is insecure and nervous in social situations
  • The child could be very like the mother or father and the other parent resents them and the characteristics that remind them of the ex-partner.
  • Perhaps there is some secret or shame surrounding the child’s conception and the are a reminder to the parent of that poor decision or traumatic event.

Whatever the reason the persecuted child, the ‘Black sheep’ struggles for years with their decision-making & self worth and may reject the very ‘gifts’ they were born with.

  • They spend a lifetime wondering what is so horrid about who they are and insecurity a lack of self-trust and self-loathing follow them into adulthood.
  • If not that, then they make life decisions based on either pleasing others or in some cases in direct opposition to the advice of friends now around them in adulthood, as they find it impossible to believe these people have their best interests at heart .
  • An inability to trust follows and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy*

Invariably they blame themselves or become a people pleaser; wearing themselves out to make everything alright for everyone else, swallowing their own voices and shrinking in a vain attempt to gain approval.

The reality is that approval is never coming…

The worst of situations like this is that nothing is stated or discussed yet it permeates every interaction and every family decision.

It’s tough for an adult to recognise their parents are not perfect and are perhaps not as learned, emotional literate or experienced as they are, let alone a child who is dependent on these people for their view of the world and their care.

Crabs in a Barrel’

When one of us starts to ‘rise’ out of the constraining situation and circumstances of our birth or community, others members, become resentful.

They do several things to try and bring you down:

  • Other siblings, cousins or even the parents or caregivers take (usually without permission) use and destroy your property then negate your feelings of hurt, your protestations or upset, blaming you for overreacting or being ’emotional,’ disrespectful or miserable
  • Your physical attributes are often criticised
  • Family members cannot be pleased for you when you achieve triumphs and successes.
  • Family don’t pay attention to what you’re doing and show no interest
  • You’re not congratulated you on our achievements, or it is done with restraint and tension…the obligation being evident
  • Your school, college, work events & ceremonies are not attended, or they have excuses.
  • They separate others from you with whisper campaigns (or downright lies) or try and get them on their ‘side’ in situations. btw – their ‘side’ is always in opposition to whatever you think or feel.
  • They may go as far as trying to ‘live’ your life and cheat with your partner OR
  • Try stealing you own children’s affections and the affections of the wider family network in an attempt to isolate you. This isolation somehow ‘justifies’ their behaviour in their eyes. After all everyone else thinks you’re (insert your own negative label here)…’bossy,’ ‘too loud,’ ‘a know-it-all,’ ‘sneaky’ (if you’re shy) whatever it is they can find a way to persecute you for it
  • The wider community fail to support your attempts at entrepreneurship or comment on how you think you’re above them if your life decisions are different to theirs or you appear to be prospering materially.

Solutions

to move forward as individuals and communities we need to stem the ‘miseducation’ and warped socialisation that goes on within our lives.

Its imperative that we understand that the family is the fertiliser in which the ‘seed’ of the child is planted. For the seed to be properly nourished and grow into full potential that soil has to have the correct nutrients.

One of the most vital minerals in that soil is ‘support.’

I have taught many children for different cultural backgrounds and one thing they always tell me that we as a people do not do well, is support one another. They can be in the midst of a family feud, but if it comes to business or moving forward in society they will always support their own first…fraternise the shop within their own community and owned by a community member before running off to give their money, services to other social groups. Regardless!

Once we begin to support one another’s achievements we will see an exponential rise in our communities social, cultural and financial gains.

Family is the the foundation of society that community, if our communities are to move forward, but with proper understanding, we can come together and move and speak as one, create unity.

The family is the first place we learn to socialise and so it is here that that unity, the appreciation of and support for others and their gifts will first be taught.

It was through unity that our our ancestors fought tirelessly and secured their freedoms. It’s through unity that our countries gained independence and it was through unity that civil rights were won.

It’s not too late…

Come together within our communities and teach our children who they are and where they come from, teach them, their history and that they are unique; teach them that their gifts and those of the people around them are valuable. Teach them to respect themselves, their property and the community’s property as well as others.

Ensure they have collective and individual pride.

There’s no longer a place in the farmyard for a barrel full of crabs or black sheep!

Start the process of ‘de-kinking’ our minds!

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

*self-fulfiling prophesy: https://positivepsychology.com/self-fulfilling-prophecy/

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Sick of the Hurt! – Sayeth the man

Sick of the Hurt!

You may remember last week’s blog? The one in which I dared to tell the world that black women have feelings too! You know, the post which exposed the fact that we’re not made of stone (shocker!) And the limited narratives society (and indeed our own communities) offer us as a means to articulate our experiences are not about anger or a martyred single-dom, but are about our collective and individual PAIN?

Well…

That very same theme has carried into this week for me. I was intrigued by a comment made whilst in discussion with a friend. She recalled a conversation with her partner as she attempted to have a heartfelt discussion with him.

For some time she had noticed that she was not getting the best of him and was feeling ignored and dismayed by this. His attention was perpetually divided and when he seemingly was ‘listening’ it was with an ear towards the next message; skipping between ‘other’ (in her heart and eyes) more important contact’s messages; business calls that needed responding to (even at night) and other ‘stuff’ that meant she was perpetually side-lined, ignored, dismissed and her feelings needs and desires negated.

Expressing self

He’d been unaware of her week’s movements, challenges and triumphs, due to either not hearing her… truly being present and listening or because they hadn’t properly conversed in quite some time. Yet she, was acutely aware of his successes and challenges, had been there to support him in a particularly challenging issue he needed advice on and his response ad been, shall we say, less than grateful.

She felt it reasonable to express her disappointment to him, he is after all her life partner and she was acutely aware that if the situation continued they would be in big trouble in their relationship. She confessed to me it was only after her abandonment was so acute that she summoned up the daring to broach the subject with him. Fearing the often-felt dismissal when the black woman’s ‘feelings’ are brought up and the immense wounding she may swallow yet again, if she couldn’t get through to him.

The expectation would be for her to stifle the aching, yet again, find some emotional balm from deep within and place the salve on the knawing gape of her woman’s desires herself and just ‘get on with it!’

‘Getting on with it’ is what has been the lot of the Black woman since we were kidnapped from the Motherland.

Superwoman
  1. The dark hued woman was designated the back-breaking field work, bred like donkeys, raped and tortured, saw their children sold of at intervals or die: The first trauma – *Vilomahed (see below)
  2. Or else the children they produced who were ‘closer to massa’ in looks were brought into the house and discouraged from fraternising with the woman who bore them; the first heart-breaking rejection: The second trauma – Rejection
  3. If their men loved them, protected them, admired and appreciated them or their family unit was becoming just ‘too tight’ He was sold off: The third trauma – Unprotected
  4. If their son’s were protective and loving towards their mothers, if they dared defend them they lived in the fear of them being tortured or killed and so she had to teach her darling boy to ‘bow his head’ just a ‘likkle’ so massa wasn’t too offended by his emerging manhood and she felt shame. Shame that in trying to save him she was forced to become complicit in the emasculation of her own men: The fourth trauma – Psychosis inducing Guilt

And all of this, she had to stuff down. Even though it was vomit-inducing and choking she went back into the fields day after day, pregnant and in mortal fear instead of able to embrace the joy of bringing new life,

Into the ‘big house,’ and wet-nursed the massa’s baby, her life-giving, rich, original-mother-of-the-Earth-mineral-rich-mother’s milk suckled by another woman’s children, whilst hers went hungry…

Imagine…

Where did all that pain go?

And so… the narrative of the black woman being able to bear anything and get up and get on with it is ‘hot-metal branded’ into our collective psyches. No other woman in any other cultural grouping be-it a Racial, Social or even Professional context is or has been exposed to such isolation, rejection abandonment and emotional molestation.

Where did all the pain go?

Another friend and I have sat up night after night examining the shared experiences in our lives and the uncanny synchronicities within them.

Even we, seemingly intelligent, well-educated, sophisticated, modern Black women have had to recognise, painful as it is, that the trauma has been passed on. Passed on in utero. Passed on as our fragile lives take shape, as we exit the birth canal; the trauma has already been tattooed into our psyches!**

And it is so that we enter the world to then layer the traumas experienced in our own lives on top of the of the ones we’ve been bequeathed at birth.

Traumas and hurts from abuse, abandonment by lovers, husbands, children; for some of us, emotionally flat, unfeeling, sometimes cruel mothers, mothers unhappy at their own life choices and without the emotional maturity to deal with their feelings or ‘babies’ as mothers who like deer in headlights, were nursing their own traumas with no damned idea how to soothe and support themselves let anyone anyone else!

The trauma is perpetuated and so the narrative embeds deeper and deeper within our psyche, our experiences and our society. We can deal with ANYTHING, we have no need of comfort or protection or consideration or care; we are fearless and strong.

We are impenetrable.

Impenetrable like rock

In order to survive, that is exactly what many of us have had to become…

impenetrable, stone: pushing it all down, calcifying our pain for fear that if we acknowledge it, shine the light of realisation on it and dare to heal, that we might, instead lacerate and annihilate our very souls!

My brave friend persevered. She KNOWs she deserves like any other woman a chance to experience the love and protection and companionship of a life partner. She longs to be an example to her children and especially her girl children of what they can and should expect from themselves and their partners.

His response was to negate her hurt, it was to outline how fed up he was of hearing of her needs and that if this is what being  ‘strong black woman’ meant then he was ‘tired’ of hearing it.

Strong?

What is the strong black woman?

Her response was that ‘being a strong black woman’ means:

Recovering from another instance of someone:

  • Happily sharing your gifts, being uplifted and promising equanimity, yet in reality being incapable of admitting that they do not want to fulfil that promise or equanimity when it comes to you.
  • That it’s giving and loving and caring and supporting and getting little or nothing like the same in return…
  • It’s having your needs and feelings dismissed and instead being blamed
  • It’s somehow after being crushed, abandoned or neglected (after all you’re a strong woman and so can do EVERYTHING alone, so get on with it and shut up!) finding the courage and the hope and the compassion for self and others and swallowing the massive FEAR that you might get it wrong again…

It’s after society and your own men shove you to the bottom of the pile every day…

  • It’s after THAT… you dare to try again, to believe things can be different and not become cynical, cruel, ugly, vicious, mean or hurtful.

It’s getting up though you’re bruised and terrified and giving it another go, believing in the spirit of humanity, believing in romance, believing in true partnership and love and believing, despite exhaustion that you too deserve all life has to offer and you’ll give it one last go; just ‘ONE MORE TIME”

That…

She said is what being a strong black woman is!

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

*Vilomah means “against a natural order.” As in, the grey-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in our children should not precede us in death. If they do, we are vilomahed. … A parent whose child has died is a vilomah:https://today.duke.edu/2009/05/holloway_oped.html

**The Telegraph, Sunday 27th October 21019The Genetic Scientists are now beginning to confirm that phobias can be inherited: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10486479/Phobias-may-be-memories-passed-down-in-genes-from-ancestors.html

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Potential

I have been told many times that I have ‘Potential.’

The Stars… Potential

You can imagine how frustrating it is then to feel that I’ve never quite achieved that so often noted potential. Life seems so have been one, never-ending merry-go-round ride of resistance, under achievement and frustration. Despite working consistently hard, diligently and at times as if I was the great god Hercules himself, I somehow find myself back scrabbling around in life and patently aware that…

  • I am not living my best life,
  • I’m not realising my potential,
  • I’m not living and working ‘on purpose’ and definitely
  • I’m not seeing that purpose translate itself into Abundance: material, financial, spiritual or emotional.
  • I’m not serving in as great a way as I know I am able  

So, what the hell is going on? From what I read in blogs and various news feeds it would appear I’m not alone in experiencing these feelings. BUT…

How do we break the cycle?

How do we show up and step into the version of ourselves we know we can be?

Because girl, I sure as hell ’aint got it down yet!

It’s in this space that I find myself. I’m sure some of you can relate?

As a black woman in a white world you’re not expected to have potential. In fact, your potential is more often than not a threat or a problem. At times, even others within your own cultural context see your ambition and striving as you getting ‘above yourself,’ your ambition appears too persistent, too lofty.

On the other hand, when you are consistently speaking your vision into being and yet somehow you’re still incapable of getting within touching distance of your vision, even you can be forgiven for dismissing that oft quoted ‘Potential’.

It’s excruciatingly painful not being able to fully feel your power, to inhale the fullest expression and your truth.

Black Woman, Potential, confident.
Black Woman… confident, Expressing truth

Much of the black woman’s experience is one of containment. Well, in my experience and those of my friends, this is what I observe. I’m talking mostly of those black women of my generation ( those of us who are somewhere between mid 40s and our late 50s) who were almost exclusively fertilised in the soil of a White Western Cultural Context. It’s been a socialisation that mostly denies who we are and what we’re capable of achieving.

  • Denies the inherent Goddess nature of our spirit
  • Denies the wisdom and power of our ancestry
  • Denies our connectedness to Mother Earth.
  • Denies that we are Original Woman, from whence All huemankind originated.

As such, those of us who have reached the lofty heights of a fulfilled life often do so against insurmountable odds and doesn’t society just love that narrative? It’s one of the limited roles we’re allowed to wholly inhabit.

The strong black woman rising against adversity, beating the odds is one of those tropes that make for great tearjerker movies and reinforces the stereotype that we do not need emotional support. Instead we inhabit a world where we are stoic and resolute, we have no need of sisterly support, we have no need of our men and their protection, we have no need for fair and equal consideration because we can get there anyway, despite the challenges, despite the trials… all on our own!

This and other nefarious tropes we are allowed. I’m talking about ones such as; the single black woman or the angry black woman. These are the limited templates we are allocated and they’re socially ingrained. As a result, society and its systems deliberately limit our opportunities and access on all fronts so that we have no option but to fit one or other of them.

If we don’t then we’re simply dismissed.

Quite frankly “Mi tyad a dem!”

They say to write well, you should write what you know and what I know is being black, female, a mother, a grandmother teacher and proud descendant of my ancestral lineage, yet at the same time displaced, not fitting and not even in possession of my original name.

I am a humanitarian and proudly descendent of the continent called Afrika; a seeker a peacemaker, a teacher and idealist. As such @Notes on a Lazy Sunday will lean in a slightly different direction.

At times it may be controversial and provocative, at others cuddly and warm either way you are at liberty to comment, discuss, argue or agree and at the very least share with someone who may be similarly illuminated or enraged by the content. Isn’t that the great thing about social media, anyone can comment?

Well, back to the limiting templates I mentioned earlier: Let’s examine them shall we?

Now there’s nothing wrong with being single you understand, but when I notice it seems disproportionate to other groups in society, It gets me a-thinking and a-musing.

The Black woman and her features are coveted, but only deemed acceptable or beautiful when attributed to women of other races. The full lips and hips, the almond eyes, the small waist and high, tight, full bosom, the copper, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla-choco-latte complexions (god forbid not the cocoa or ebony hues though…lawd Jesus NO!) are all deliciously coveted.

The wrinkleless, smooth skin, muscular definition lustily sougth after and acquired via artificial enhancements by many are rarely (if ever) deemed to be ‘acceptable’ if your skintone veers towards the cocoa/ebony/onyx end of the pantone chart.

And so, society slowly and consistently, with a drip, drip, drip programmes men, women, girls and boys into the notion that beauty is defined by a white/creamy/Latte colour chart. Result: Black men and boys disproportionately (at least in my experience of the UK) and increasingly marrying white/creamy/latte coloured women.

White men marry white/creamy and Latte coloured women. There is always the ODD exception who will step over into the territory inhabited by the duskier hued beauty and the men of other races and cultures invariably marry within their own cultural and religious groupings.

Another result of this programming is that some of our white/creamy/latte coloured girls and women subconsciously see themselves as superior. (I know…that old chestnut! – well, guess what it’s still happening) – It’s not overt, but subtle; in ways that they communicate, or assume they go first or that they should be the one’s approached if men are around.   

And so, you have the creation, on masse of the ‘Single Black Woman:’

  • The strong independent black woman – Single
  • The single parent black woman – Single
  • The ambitious, educated black woman (Corporate) – Single
  • The adventurous entrepreneur black female – Single

Some of us lament the situation. Others of us are saddened by it. There are those of us who have given up and become sexually and emotionally anorexic. With no meaningful relationships in which to test or sharpen our emotional selves and not being taught by our mothers and grandmothers that it’s okay to feel, we deny our sisterhood, suffer in silence and alone. We ignore each other’s plight, choosing instead to perpetuate the dysfunctional cycle.

The Angry Black woman

What our men and society fail to realise is most of us have had so many hurtful experiences in both life and love that: we’re not angry…

We’re F*@%ing hurt!

Beyond imagining. And it’s not just our hurt we carry. But the epigenetic traumas passed through our DNA from the kidnap, rape and torture of slavery to the humiliation and denial of our being today.

We’re not allowed to be vulnerable, needy or sensitive. Instead we’re expected to be strong, disregard or refuse to admit we have needs, and are encouraged instead to be the eternal, stoic mother caring for the needs of everyone but ourselves. I mean we’re all so familiar with the powerful, strong ‘she who is to be obeyed,’ wise old matriarch aren’t we? After all Tyler Perry has made multimillions from his depictions of her.

From girlhood we are taught to be strong, to negate our feelings and just ‘get on with things.’ Invariably because there is no-one to lean on we have no alternative. If we do not comply, we are considered soft or weak and god forbid we decide to impose our own boundaries, then we are considered ‘bougie,’ ‘stuck up,’ or ‘cold’ and so the nefarious pattern continues its destructive cycle.

Where do we go from here?

Black Woman, Goddess
Black Woman, mysterious, wise, the original Goddess

I’m sure we have all noticed that the earth is seriously in trouble. We have entered the Age of Aquarius and most New Age philosophers are advocating for greater balance on the planet, namely embracing the feminine essence as a counter to the predominantly masculine energies we have been living with for a millenia, in the hope the earth may begin to rebalance and heal.

In my view, Society’s first consideration should be to remember to honour the primary feminine essence that is the ‘Black Mother’…

The Black woman as Ancestor/Daughter/Granddaughter/Sister… and bring her energies, her nurturing spirit and the wisdom she possesses back into the fabric of our lives. 

If we are to fulfil our potential as ‘huemans,’ and have any hope of reversing the damage we’ve created or of saving the planet for future generations then the ‘Mother,’ the Black Woman, the original life giver & energyforce needs be restored to her rightful place as the SOURCE, the wise one from whence we all came.

Just Sayin!

Please show some love and share

Blissings & Love

Insightful Angel

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Panning – Sifting Sand & Salt

Panning

There are times in life when, despite not wanting to and despite having done this several times before we are forced to go ‘panning.’ What I mean by ‘panning’ is that we are forced to do some separating, some sifting of sand and salt to find the gold.

When there is a need to go ‘panning ‘it’s because there’s some form of irritation in your life, something gritty, rubs incessantly; just like that bit of sand between your flip-flop or in your food that you know is there due to its persistent chafing, but you just cant seem to get it out. It’s persists, causing minuscule scratches and eventually we find we have a raw and painful sore.

Or else ‘salt’ is present. That flavour, that taste in your relationship or friendship that gets a bit too much at times (there’s a reason we only use ‘a pinch’ of salt) and when it does it makes you wince. You jolt at the bitter piquancy and your mouth and eyes pucker at the brackish, acrid tang that is left.

Prospecting

Prospecting, or the process of panning – shifting sand and salt from your life takes time. It’s an age-old technique that doesn’t need any fancy equipment, but it does require focus and patience.

To pan, to sift the sand and salt successfully so they’re discarded and instead discover nuggets of gold, is a task requiring concentration. You have to sit, and sift and sift and sift again. You may not discover a gold nugget each time you sift, but each time you sift you DO eliminated more sand and more salt. What’s in your pan becomes finer, less rugged and against this finer, softer, less abrasive background it is far easier to see the gleaming gold when it finally lands in your pan as you sift just ‘one last time.’ And it WILL land.

In the right place…just the right dose…at just the right time

You see just the right amount of salt the ‘pinch’ I mentioned earlier, enhances the flavour of your food, just as a bit of ‘salt’ from that well-meaning, but perhaps rather terse or abrasive friend can provide just the right amount of pique, to spur you into taking action on your Sh*%t. The stuff you know you need to deal with but are avoiding. Similarly, that grain of sand; the minor irritation that gets under your skin, is a sign you have an issue you perhaps need to look at.

BUT…

When that friend or relative is persistently and excessively ‘salty’ you’ll get sick, if that grain of sand, that irritation rubs and chafes for too long, you’ll end up nursing an open wound.

But…I have aching arms

Oftentimes, we feel we have done all the sifting we need to do. We mistakenly believe that we have ‘finished’ with the need to discern and eliminate in our lives. Though these instances become less so, over time, my life experiences have made caused me to realise that sifting sand and salt doesn’t really end.

When it becomes clear that, yet again we need to do yet another round of filtering we are surprised and disappointed in ourselves.

‘But what to do when your arms are tired?

When your arms are tired, simply lay the pan down. But NOT you understand in the flowing river otherwise you’ll lose your pan altogether.

Lay it to rest on the bank…

Those salty tongues will still be wagging, those sandy irritants will still be chafing, but from the vantage point of ‘distance’ from your pan, you can often sort the more subtly, deeply hidden granules that you didn’t realise were an irritation in the first place!

When your energy is replenished, pick up your pan and continue the task of refining the content of your life so it is smooth and uniform and soft. Free of salty critiques and sandy irritants.

Hitting pay dirt

To hit pay dirt means:

  1. to discover something of value. (Alludes to discovering valuable ore.)
  2. Fig.to get great riches

ref: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hit+pay+dirt

It seems I have been panning – sifting sand and salt for some months. Many times my arms got tired and I had to lay my pan down. Each time I picked it up again I had a better perspective and could see more clearly the nuggets rising to the surface. But the true ‘gold’ came the moment I ‘hit pay dirt.’

All that sifting and filtering, laying down of my pan and picking it up again meant I had moments to see beyond the pan, moments when in my mind’s eye I would just catch something gleaming, I could see beyond the proverbial ‘trees’ and could see the wood.                     Continue reading Panning – Sifting Sand & Salt

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A lesson in Soul Vision and the surprising result

Happy Easter and a Happy Sunday all,

I’ve coined the phrase ‘Soul Vision’ after an event which happened recently. All to often we get all bent out of shape, feel insulted and upset by the actions or words of others, when if we simply looked ‘below’ the surface water and practised ‘soul vision,’ we might see the ‘truth’ to the clear waters below.

It feels good being back here

It’s been far too long since I put fingers to keyboard and I have to admit to many moments self admonition as I found myself unable, week in, week out to write. It’s not that I didn’t have thoughts and ideas to communicate you understand, but for some inexplicable reason I had no idea that I would find adjusting to a new life, in a new continent, to a new culture and way of being so all-consuming, that I would have little of me left to do anything but work, eat (sometimes) and sleep (not long enough!)

So,Today I’m determined

Despite doubt & nervousness, despite insecurity and apprehension, Its my intention to publish today and regain my previous habit. I hope you’ll bear with me as I find my bearings once more.

The Eyes are the window to the soul

Most of us take our vision for granted. As vital as the organs we call our ‘eyes’ are, we seldom think about their health or care until we have a need to; meaning something has usually gone awry before we consider what our eyes do for us. Practically they enable us to navigate through our physical world, metaphorically, they symbolise insight and wisdom.

without vision, we are blind…

Seven months ago I moved to Nigeria, to live and work. It’s been a challenging transition at times as I found myself bullied at work and within the culture of the country there is a spirit of avarice which is not only prevalent in the corrupt politicians the country is famous for. It’s a ‘gravaliciousness’ (the Jamaicans among you will know what I mean) that is so alien to who I am that I have had a challenging time negotiating who I am in response to it!

but one of the things I noticed almost immediately was that…

Lagos is peppered with blind people!

It’s a prevalent phenomenon which seems quite alarming! Something I couldn’t help but notice on my arrival. Yet… I’ve just come to a realisation whilst writing this. I have just ‘clicked!’

They are metaphorically the physical manifestation of Nigerian society & its relationships.

There is a focus on the ‘surface’ in Nigerian interactions.

How much money you have, who you know, what you do, the family or area, your were born into are what is important in Nigerian society. There is very little looking to the ‘soul’. Instead the focus on what a person has etc. Many people interact with you based on assumptions and stereotypes, ‘blind’ to who you truly are, they…

pay attention to the surface water-how things ‘appear’ and not to what lies beneath.

Seeing is Seeing…isn’t it? Or is it?

When I visited Oshun State last week I went to sit by the banks of the Ogun River. This river water looks brown and murky when viewed as a body of water, yet if you collect it into a clear vessel, surprisingly, the water itself becomes clear, you can see right through it.

No mud… no murkiness

So it would seem that seeing may no be ‘seeing’ after all! Metaphorically speaking, it’s the same scenario when one talks about our interactions with one another.

An example

We would do better if we practised ‘soul seeing’ and endeavoured to look beneath the surface when we interact with each other. My example goes like this:

Seeing a live show was a thrill… a young cameraman decided to interview me for a local TV station, perhaps as a Visitor/migrant/’Ex-Pat,’ he felt I would offer a viewpoint that was somewhat different. He agreed to get a copy of the interview to me. There was, at this point, no mention of payment. We exchanged numbers and agreed how he could get it to me. He dropped the disc in reception. Of course I was working (plus I never take money into work).

After returning his disc to him (via reception) he later called, and because he couldn’t be reimbursed straight away, became enraged and rather abusive! He refused to accept the disc back and left it there. His choice.

Now the point is this!

Over a week later I receive yet another message less abusive yet still complaining. My first response, the surface one was to react to the ‘surface’ of the words he was saying. I felt insulted and defensive and I fought back. I failed initially to practise ‘soul vision’ and like the Ogun river all I saw was the muddy brown top layer of his insults, the outer that he was showing me.

Mightily confused, I couldn’t understand his attitude nor his insistence on being so aggrieved. Then I asked myself…

What is this about really?

I stopped.

Soul vision seeing beyond the murky surface

There was another way to look at this to see through the ‘surface,’ the murky brown of aggression and insult and attempt to see through to the clear water beneath.

What my intuition told me was to consider that perhaps he was seriously struggling, that the reasonably paltry sum he was quibbling about with me, might, at this very moment mean the world to him? The difference between eating and not? And that perhaps he had taken a risk having the disc produced, in a desperate attempt to make a living that week. Nigeria is a POOR country, Life is very, very hard!

‘Perhaps he really is in need of the money?’

So based on my deeper looking, on my practising soul vision, I reached out and asked him if he was in need and re-assured him that it was OK to ask. His first reaction was still one of defiance and ridicule, sarcasm even, but then after some hours I awoke to another message from him. Asking this time for some humble support.

  • I complied and offered more than he’d asked for
  • Result: a conversation ensued of a wholly different nature and tone
  • Conversation based on mutual respect…
  • One which allowed us to lower our ‘surface’ guard and allow each other to see the clear water beneath.
  • A discourse of understanding
  • He then confessed I had confounded his usual view of human nature and our interaction had changed how he viewed the world. he would now be less cynical and had a renewed hope.

It takes a village…

They say it takes a village to raise a child, A child becomes an adult and adults create the physical world we live in.

So what does it take to change the world?

Change the adults within that world!

Perhaps, just perhaps, by practising ‘Soul Vision,’ one instance at a time, one day at a time, one month and one year at a time, we can indeed Create a more compassionate world. A world in which our ‘eyes’ are open and truly ‘SEE?’

Blissings and much love

Insightful Angel

 

 

 

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