A bit fed up…

Regardless of what you think of Trump, which ‘side’ you’re on, or are completely over the situation (i.e. anyone who has a modicum of common sense), I’m pretty sure the more the extreme left carry on the way they are, the more he is going to dig in his heels. Don’t tell them that though, they’re too busy burning limousines and executing ad hominem with great skill (in the words of Inigo Montoya “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”) to conduct themselves in the open-minded way they profess to believe in so fervently.

Whoa, that was a big ranty intoduction…

It is disturbing. It’s an infinite loop it seems. The extremes on both sides are as stubborn as the other and never think maybe listening is better than shouting or perhaps considerate thinking and carefully constructed, sensible and sound arguments are a better option. It’s horrible to watch. It is disheartening when I agree with some of the left side’s viewpoints (and right) but can’t condone the avenue of protest.

Now, please don’t think for a minute that I am trying to belittle the serious nature of both Trump’s approach and the response of the left, the importance of confronting injustice etc. It weighs heavily on me, wondering how I can be a help and how I can teach my children to navigate increasingly foggy weather of the political and global climate. I don’t even live in U.S of America and I can see how it is affecting the day-to-day function of some parts of my society. I also see how the pertinent issues of my country are being so hotly debated and fought over that I wonder if we are losing ourselves in the midst of trying to find ourselves in the frays.

I’m not saying I have any answers. In fact, I have way more questions than solid answers. It wold be marvelous for it to be clear cut in belief and action, but neither is true. I am, like so many who see themselves as somewhere in the middle, trying to find the balance in the solving the problems and enriching our communities without losing our compassion or respect or resorting to low tactics.

To finish though, If anyone is still in doubt about my a/political leanings here is the oft mis-ascribed Voltaire quote and a slight bastardisation thereof… “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it (maybe, depends on my mood, but hurting people is always bad), and I’ll still give you respect because life is too short to hold onto that kind of baggage.”

And let’s finish with something we can all agree on:

giphy

P.S. Should you decide to be mean-spirited in response to my honest and earnest attempt at being constructive, it will be necessary to use your comments as example of my first paragraph’s statement. However, I will give you the respect of keeping your tag/handle/name/whatever anonymous.

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Linguistics

Oh, so long since I last published anything here…

To spare anyone who cares the copious details, in short, 2016 has been part best friend, part life coach, part schoolyard bully. Between starting university, husband being made redundant 6 months ago, caring for ailing grandparents and still mothering and working, it’s been quite the year. I doubt I will miss much of 2016 other than to pay it respect for being the year I decided that nurturing my body, soul and spirit as a foundation to meeting the needs of those around me and limiting death bed regrets.

The next few years will be very busy with my little one beginning school and the continuation of the afore mentioned items, so I am considering posting some of my university content for constructive feedback. The hope is that it will develop some resilience in my ability to take criticism, improve my critical thinking and writing, as well as provide a place for discussing various subjects or encourage/inspire others to be brave and life the life they design, not designed by others.

I have enrolled in the summer trimester in an attempt to expedite the degree, Bachelor of Arts: Linguistics and Languages…

Now, without further procrastination, behold, my first forum posting for the trimester…

What is Language? 

The brief from our tutor is in italics below:

The forum for this first module involves some self-reflection. 

Take some time to think about the following questions, and then share your answers in the forum:

– Why are you taking the trouble to learn about language? 

– What do you expect to know by the end of the semester?

– How will you use this knowledge?

I am intrigued by humanity’s proclivity for creativity in every facet of life. Language is an elegant example of such freedom of expression and creativity  we as humans posses within the grammatical and semantic structures we innately learn as children. As Edward Sapir (1921) expressed, “Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations,” and as an avid reader, music enthusiast and writer/blogger I could not agree more fervently.

The most engaging aspect of Language to me is the symbiotic relationship between linguistics/language as art and also science. Throughout my life I have viewed art and science as opposites ends of a magnetic rod and as two separate magnets, both repelling and attracting dependent upon position of the poles proximity to each other. My hope is that by engaging with this unit I will begin to understand more fully how this interplay functions.

I expect several learning outcomes from this unit. My long term goal is to work in interpretation and translation (French and Japanese to begin with) of which this unit should provide a foundation for. At some point, I would also like to become a published author and so I find myself taking the advice of Irvine Welsh, “I think young writers should get other degrees first, social sciences, arts degrees or even business degrees. What you learn is research skills, a necessity because a lot of writing is about trying to find information.” Ultimately, I am simply curious to know more about one of the cornerstones of humanity.

Black, Adam, 2004, Literary Sparring: An Interview with Irvine Welsh, 3AM Magazine, viewed November 19 2016, <http://www.3ammagazine.com/litarchives/2004/feb/interview_irvine_welsh.html&gt;

Sapir, Edward, 1921, Language: an Introduction to the Study of Speech,  Harcourt, Brace, New York.

edited: 20/11/16 (as per feedback from a faithful friend).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Great…

IMG_3996As I draped the blanket over my child’s legs this cool morning I couldn’t help but feel my heart swell.  You see, it’s a hand crocheted blanket crafted by the hands of my Great Grandmother- Nanna Devine. She is my Nan’s mother and a significant woman in my life.

Before I was born, 12 other great grandchildren were graced upon her. All of them boys. I was the thirteenth great-grandchild and the first girl. Names were picked for me but as my parents held me those first hours, they decided differently. The name they bestowed, little known to them, was my Nanna Devine’s favourite. She passed when I was seven; her last days and funeral are still some of my strongest memories.

My Nanna Devine was an elegant and capable woman. She was an enchanting soprano highly sort for dinners and events when dignitaries and royalty came to our town. Her heart abounding, was always full of passionate prayers for her children and children’s children. Just being in her presence caused an ethereal peace to surround my little self as her lilting Scottish cadence tickled my ears.

Her daughter, my girl’s Nanabell, is selfsame. Nannabell is elegant, determined and talented with her own gift of embroidery and illustration. Always praying; bringing that same peace to those in her presence…

This is the first time we’ve used this blanket and it felt significant considering the timing. With the ‘suddenlies’ in my work and other, a sense of serendipity and destiny seemed to fall within our living room as I recalled all these memories and thoughts. My heart felt that whatever virtue and grace my Nannas’ have/had on their lives will be made present in hers. Whatever life she chooses, I felt that by laying that blanket on my girl- it was a symbol of hope after all the years of my barrenness.

Thinking

Dimension unexplored by science

Between my ears lay.

Tardis like brain.

Mouth daring to confess 

Reason and feeling

Awkwardly spoken.

Misunderstood.

Red flushed into face

Shame I can not escape.

Trying, 

Daring 

To remain real.

Maybe deducing

Always inducing

theosophy?

theology?

perspective?

Endless?

Sometimes

Calm.

Peace.

Express.

Repeat.

The Pin.

This week has been one of those tragically cliched weeks in the life of  a writer. Self doubt, the harsh inner critic and the hesitant lull of writer’s block have attempted to stymie my publishing streak for the year. In this week however, there has also been a kind of grace present unlike any other. And so, I’m determined to write and publish something…

Approximately two months ago I lost the gold and diamond nose pin, the only piece of nasal jewel I possessed. I adored this little nose pin as much as the piercing in my nasal cartilage. For years, the minute hole in my face has been a mainstay in propelling my identity.

I’ve lost nose pins before and replaced them swiftly after loss. This time was different. I wanted to see what it was like to live without something I had allowed to define me so. It was awkward for the proceeding weeks, but then became ‘just another purge,’ albeit accidental. The last two weeks I have felt I could live without the facial hardware and move on with my life, feeling no less whole. Yet, I had decided that when the spare cash should be, I would poke the whole again, re-adorning my chubby baby face once more.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, grace and serendipity have been constant companions this week. For that I am grateful. So, allow me to diverge for a moment to tell you of some other happenstances this week…

On Monday when I happened to be in a particular chain of supermarket that sells all sorts of unusual goods flanked by frozen foods, produce and pet food. I saw one of their sale items was a vintage style of bed frame I dearly wanted for my girl. There was one teal coloured frame left and at 30% off the original price. I rarely impulse buy these days, but as we had stashed cash aside for such a purpose, I allowed it this once.

Getting this glorious gem in my Honda Civic sedan was a whole other situation. I was attempting Tetris-like moves with my chatty, curious, questioning child in tow. Between pleas for her to stay beside the car, and grunts and struggles to get the large box into my vehicle, it became apparent that my attempts were pointless.

Unanticipatedly, I heard an older deep voice behind me. “I used to have one of these cars, can I help you?”

“Uh, yes, yes that would be lovely.” I said as I met gaze with the owner of this previously disembodied voice.

The gentleman, about my father’s age suggested and attempted several ways to get the frame loaded, and as I expected, came up short also.

“Um, I’ve just arrived to do my shop, but if you live close by I could drop the frame off after I have finished.” He said as he pointed to his white Honda CR-V.

I breathed in deep, took a look at the man, and said, “Yes, would you do that? That would be wonderful. Are you sure? Thank you.”

I immediately realised what a foolish thing it seemed to most people to accept, but I saw that here was another gift of serendipity and grace before me. I decided more a fool I would be if I rejected the help offered- I dared to believe that it was yet another grace afforded me.

So comes Tuesday, and I am greeted with an uncommon but utterly welcome phone conversation with one of my dearest friends. This conversation was filled with exciting news in fresh direction for her- an opportunity to pursue passion as well as employment. The conversation turned and resulted in affirmation- confirmation of thoughts I had for myself.  The call was a much needed nourishing I did not expect. The conversation closed with a peace that there is something stirring.

Now, back to this silly nose pin…

All week, I have been meditating on what on how to gain wisdom, appreciate life more and make decisions about how I will live. I’ve chosen to speak the future out and to reverse engineer that place we’ll one day occupy, trusting that our dreams and passions are honourable and good. I had decided to get comfortable in expressing myself without the desperation and fear of rejection that has wreaked from my pores.

This afternoon, after agonising over my abilities and insecurities I walked into the bathroom to put something away. I stood on something sharp. I looked down at the mottled camouflage-like vinyl. I squinted and ran my hand over the floor to find the offending object. I picked it up and saw that it was this long lost gold nose pin. I cleaned it off, and despite my perception that the whole had closed, the metal slid back into place.

I couldn’t help but grin and admire the joy of the moment. I felt like the moments leading up to this one was a message. A message that I have always known who I am, but that along the way I need to be reminded of this. I had in the words of Sherlock Holmes “seen but not observed.” I have been dabbling and not delving.

Antiques

Nannabell is eighty seven this year. Her hips are weak and her knees crunch as she potters around the kitchen. Her left arm, always held close to her ribs, rarely ventures to its full stretch. Nan’s once gloriously auburn locks are now thin and snowy. He once lyrical voice crackles like an old gramophone. Nan reminds me frequently of her wishes to peacefully pass like her mother- in her sleep.

Pa is eighty six this year. His mind is forgetful. He misread a name in the paper last week and thought he was reading his own obituary. He repeats stories copiously. It’s not uncommon to hear him yelling and slapping his limbs in frustration of their ineptitude. There are at least a dozen boxes of medication on his dresser to soothe his various ailments. Pa, in his vulnerable moments tells me how tired he is.

Together, they still live in the house they built fifty four years ago. The house abounds with antiques she has collected and hoards of junk he’s refused to chuck. Their bickering after sixty years seems to get a little worse each week we visit. The thought of entering care draws disgust across their wrinkled faces. They resolutely rattle about that cluttered dusty box.

They’ve finally acquiesced, slightly. Pa agreed to let his oldest son help him clear the four bay workshop. Nearly one hundred years of obsolete tools and wood cut offs are being sorted and thinned. It almost echoes now. We don’t let Pa know this, but his son has taken most of it to the tip.

Nan asked me to start sorting the house. We only get one cupboard a week done, but at least it’s progress. Stories accompany the shifting. The antiques she let go lay in my house now, ready to go to Auction at the end of the process. Every Monday we celebrate our accomplishments with a simple lunch, chatting and giggling,  mostly at Pa and his odd rituals.

Decluttering their house while they are alive is surreal. There are no daughters to help with this task. So here I am, the oldest granddaughter picking through her life, her memories, her things. It takes effort to keep tears back at times. Each drawer and cupboard I sort out with my Nan feels like a little less of her remains.

It’s like saying goodbye as you go.

Minimalism and the Din

I was one before I knew that there was a label for it and it has only been in the last two years that I knew that other people were doing the same and calling it a ‘movement.’ It’s still considered an alternate lifestyle by most accounts even though it’s been around since the dawn of time. The Spartans subscribed to it, making them the formidable society there were. Many religions hint or explicitly praise its benefits in the pursuit of actualisation and highest spiritual practice and being. Its modern title is minimalism though its form has sat within stoicism, simplicity and occasionally frugality.

Personally, in the last few years I’ve pared back a lot of items in my house as well as wants, attitudes, mindsets and relationships. I’ve learned to say “No” and now have finding the quiet within me to entertain the deeper thoughts that meander through my mind. I’ve retreated from a lot of groups and distractions to learn to hear not only my own voice, but also the Divine. I’m learning to discern between the value judgements that I thought were more noble than the passions and dreams I have. In its essence I feel like it is about becoming more human. There is room to nurture myself and therefore nurture the world around me.

Now, I know there are billions of people around the world who don’t get to choose to empty their homes, schedules etc. They simply have nothing at all and are physical minimalists because of where they were born and the situations they have been born into or had thrust upon them. I get that. For the rest of us however, who have something, who have allowed too much in because it’s readily available- we need an epiphany or two.

Many of us have debt we are not coping with financially or emotionally. We work so hard to keep homes and stuff that are bigger than we can enjoy. We think that we have to do and be and get certain things but let me tell you-it’s not true.

This. Is. Why…

We all have one life. It would be sad to waste time accumulating physical and mental clutter and missing out on some glorious experiences and a lot of fun. We are all individuals with talents, passions and a destiny. If we never push against the resistance then we never discover our capacity, creativity, intuition or the fun we could have. Most of us have friends and family that love us and should have that love reciprocated. If you don’t have family or friends, then you owe it to yourself and others to make time to be family or a friend to others. We are born into this world with nothing, yet born instilled with a unique combination of qualities that leave the world indelibly marked. A small mark we may be, but a mark worth optimising.

Which leads me to share a little about fear… but I’m going to share that thought for another time…

Tell me me though, if you’re brave, one thing that you feel is weighing you down and one thing you would like to do if that weight was lifted?

In the meantime,

Bless.