When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman, African-American Author, Philosopher, Theologian, Educator and Civil Rights Leader.
I love this poem because it sums up everything I feel about the Indulgent and Consumeristic Festivities of Christmas. I have felt Intense Heart Ache , Total Confusion and a Tormented Conscience during these past few weeks. The work of Christmas will be Continuous as long as there is Unfairness and Inequality in this World.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Carl Jung, Swiss Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst
To Celebrate when there is so much Destruction and Cruelty happening to Our Fellow Beings seems so Wrong, to me, on Every Level, in Every Way. My Moral Compass does not allow me to feel any Joy or Magic knowing of the Destruction and Cruelty being Endured by Mother Earth and her Inhabitants. The only Emotion I have felt recently is Complete and Utter Devastation. The Images I have seen have Rendered me Breathless and Burnt my Eyes. I cannot Unsee them for the Convenience of Celebration. The Callous and Barbarous events in Syria and Yemen, the Cruelty we inflict on our Fellow Non-Human Neighbours (which, at this time of year are more obvious than at any other time) have tested my Faith in Humanity as so many other Terrible Tragedies have done in the past. However, I can generally Focus on the Positive and Find Hope in the Goodness of Humanity which enables me to push the Darkness away and find Enjoyment and Pleasure in Life’s little Offerings. That Challenge is always harder at Christmas and, despite my Daughter calling me Scrooge every year, as the 24th December approaches, I have always been able to summon up a version of Festive Cheer and Spirit to see me through to New Year when the Christmas Chains fall off and I can Breathe again!
The Price for being intelligent enough to be the first species to be fully aware of this cosmos might just be the capacity to feel a whole universe’s worth of darkness.
This Year, I have failed to find any Festive Cheer despite my Best Efforts and the Concerted and Desperate Efforts of Robbie, my Ever Patient and Understanding Husband. I have hidden it well from my Daughter, Friends and Family. The only people who have known about my internal Misery are the two Main Men in my Life, Robbie and My Wonderful Son whose actions this year are, unintentionally, probably partly responsible for the way I have been feeling!
It has been a Momentous and Memorable year in so Many ways. One of the More Positive things to happen this year has been Matthew achieving his goal of buying his own Place. To say I am Proud of him just doesn’t adequately Describe, in any way, shape or form, how I feel about Matthew. I have watched my Son develop into the Most Remarkable and Responsible Young man over the course of 2016 and My Heart is Bursting with Pride! However, “Letting Go” has been hard to come to terms with but perhaps that is a whole other Blog Post on the Mother and Son Bond! Through all the Sadness of this year, My Son has been there for me, Propping me up with Gentle Encouragement and Words of Wisdom. We have never been Closer. He is my Best “Son” Friend and I am loving going round to his place to Chill out in a way I never would in my own Home. (We don’t have a Massive Sofa and a Massive TV!)
There is an Endearing Tenderness in the Love of a Mother to a Son that Transcends all Other Affections of the Heart
Washington Irving, American Historian
With No Son at home and a Daughter on the Verge of turning 16, there is no longer any of the “Christmas Magic” created by Children who make it hard to ignore or be Cheerfully touched by. I missed that this year and it’s absence only served to contribute to my Gloom perpetuated by World Gloom and the Inconsolable Grief I have, at times, felt for those I have Loved and Lost in 2016.
I know so many Friends for whom Christmas is not a Joyous Occasion and, who like me, never more so than this year, look forward to the 1st January. For So many, to say Happy Christmas is a Complete Misnomer.
Reading between the lines, it seems that 2016 has not been a Good Year Cosmically. Everyone is looking Forward to a New Year. In the words of Harry Leslie Smith in The Guardian from Friday 30th December.
Hope is hard to find in the Grey Teatime light of this December, because despite all of the holiday cheer around us, darkness gathers. It has been the hardest, saddest and cruellest of years – a sour vintage which has brought to everyone’s doorstep heartache, financial worries and political unease
I am Excited and Energised with the Start of 2017. In both my Personal and Professional Life I will continue to Strive to Being Committed and Principled, finding Strength, Integrity and Purpose where I feel Powerless. Living in a way that my Daily Activities contribute to the Wellbeing of all other Beings – with Authenticity, Joy and Compassion.
Being an Empathetic Change maker, Able to Collaborate, Create and act Constructively in Ambiguous and Changing Environments is a Challenge I am giving myself this Year. I am going to throw myself into both my Work as a Community Involvement Advocate for Better Local Health and Social Care Provision and Positively Launch into my Animal Rights Advocacy.
In Every Area of my Life I will do more to Advocate for Change and Development; Working out how to help in the present as well as looking for solutions to long-term issues, preventing negative things from happening again; Projecting the Voice of the Public (Professional) and the Voiceless (Personal) on a Wider Platform to change Perceptions and lead to Systematic change; Finding Innovative ways to gather Powerful testimonials and making sure that People’s Experiences are heard; Influencing Policy and Decision makers; Encouraging a Moral Underpinning and a Deep Commitment to my Community to Change Direction; Cultivating Self Motivation and Responsibility for my Actions that comes from a place of Respect for my Community and the Individuals in it rather than Fear of Failure; Not just Believing in my Ideals, but doing something to advance them every day; Giving and Living my Truth as Wholeheartedly as I can. Speaking the Truth and Trusting the Reactions and Shifts it may Provoke; Being the Individual Revolution for Fundamental Change that will Pave the Way for a Collective Shift.
Each human life, together with its environment, is an expression of the fundamental life-force of the entire cosmos. It follows that any change in the inner life condition of a single human being can, at the deepest level of life itself, exert an influence on other human lives. And since nature and the cosmos are living entities, the waves emanating from one human life can shake the foundations of other living beings, and even affect inanimate forms of life.
Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist Philosopher
2017 will see me achieve so much more for my Non-Human Friends.I want to challenge people’s Perceptions of themselves when faced with the Suffering of Farmed and Caged Non-Human Animals and give them the Opportunity to make a Difference. I will Harness my Power of Protest, Hope and Determination to get the message through, Positively impacting on those around me to Create Ripple Effects and perhaps Empower others to Follow my Lead. (Watch this Space for numbers of Leaflets Door Dropped or Handed Out in 2017 and some Animal Rights Activism in Schools!)
I am in Favour of Animal Rights as well as Human Rights. That is the Way of a Whole Human Being.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Veganism offers up a Holistic, Effective and Peaceful way of Living, Negating Harmful Behavioural Patterns and Habits while Deepening our Connection to each other and all Beings. Every action has an Effect and through sustained Animal Rights Activism, I can Hope to become a point at which Everything Shifts in the most Beautiful and Empowering of Directions.
Love is Compassion in Action: Nurture means Loving, Kindness and Gratitude. Healing means Forgiveness.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master
Humanity has a Range and Depth of Capability; from Joy, Love and Compassion through to Anger, Hate and Despair. My Hope for Humanity in 2017 is to transform itself from Living by Killing to Living by Loving and for it to see the Interconnectedness of all Life.
As I turn the pages of my own Existence in 2017, I will Try even Harder to Notice the Beautiful, Feel the Good and Remember that Nothing’s Forever, Nothing is Permanent, Everything Passes. Joy follows Pain, indeed grows from it, Warmth melts the ice. There are Dormant things within us that are Ultimately Awakened by Circumstance, Experience, Knowledge, Insight, a Companion or any number of Variables and my hope for 2017 personally is that I will Continue to be Awakened to the Wonder and Fragility of this Transient Life.
We are travellers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of Infinity. Life is Eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism once said,
‘This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky, rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.’
We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.
Deepak Chopra, Alternative Medicine Advocate, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
In the Random Lottery of Life, I have a UK passport which I didn’t ask for or do anything to Deserve. In economic terms, I just happen to be Lucky and I have never Felt More Determined and Obliged to do Justice to the Good Fortune I have been Blessed with.
So, I with All my Dear Family and Friends, the Wider Community and Our Global Family enter a Braver 2017, Hopefully Leaning into the Struggle Together and Turning Toward each other, Not away. Demonstrating More Courage, Less Fear, even when it’s hard. Filling the World with Kindness, Empathy, Optimism and Happiness. That’s my Goal anyway! I believe that Compassion and Love breed so much better than Judgement and will build a better world for all Beings.
I finish this post with the words of Harry Leslie Smith in the Guardian on Friday 30th December 2016:
My hope has always come from the humanity, kindness and intelligence that inhabits the majority of people who reside on our shores. It may seem dormant now, but it will rise again because those sparks of decency that built the NHS, gave affordable housing to each and every one of us, and provided free education to all, are in each Briton alive today – because you are the children and the grandchildren of my generation. If we did it before, then we can do it again.
Peace & Love