one day anyone died i guess

20 06 2017

e.e. cummings poem, anyone lived in a pretty how town, is glued onto the door that leads to our living room. i’ve kept it there since we built our house to serve as a reminder of aspects of world, of our humanness, that we are often up against.

i first read the poem at the age of 13 and it broke my heart to imagine all the people–the anonymous, nameless, “Anyones”–who make up our community but live their lives unnoticed. i was uncomfortable with the suggestion that seasons change but our consciousness stays much the same. the possibility that children (once wise) grow up none the wiser. and that the cycle repeats over and over. i didn’t want to live in a banal world filled with carless Someones and Everyones.

but there is more to this poem. while certainly a reflection of much our daily ongoings, it’s beauty lies in the stanzas that follow, in the individual love that No-one has for Any-one; when Anyone dies one day, it is Noone who stoops to kiss his face.

despite the disregard of the town (larger society, the state, the government) Anyone managed to thrive in life through the individual love and compassion shown by another nameless, anonymous member of society, her name: Noone.

days before the Glenfell Fire, Philomena came to me with her eyes filled with tears and said, “I don’t understand why everything is normal again, why life goes on as normal, how people die but after a short while, we aren’t meant to be sad about it anymore… the terrorist-thing that happened in Manchester well it’s as if it didn’t happen since we watched the Manchester LOVE concert. and then Borough Market happened and that now seems to be over too. but in reality it isn’t over, i’m not over it, any of it.”

in the days after the Glenfell Fire, however, Philomena said to me, “at least this isn’t like the terrorism thing or when someone gets cancer, when you can’t help death from happening. at least we can prevent a fire like this from ever happening again.”

let’s hope we can. and in the meantime, i send my blessings out to all the Noones who have opened their hearts and reached out their hands to comfort the Anyones–all those who are striving to make this place a pretty LOVED town.  

in memory of those who have lost their homes:





why is our brain DIVIDED?

22 05 2017
 
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Albert Einstein
 

Based on his best selling book ’The Master and his Emissary’ this is the question that leading neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist explores in a challenging and controversial new FILM.

What is the value of each hemisphere – how do they work together – and what happens when the relationship between the two becomes unbalanced? What is the correlation between brain function and the problems we currently observe in our modern political and economic systems? How is this imbalance leading to an increase in mental illness and autism?
Matter of Fact Media are seeking a limited amount additional funding to complete the last bits of editing for this documentary. Please visit their KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN and help make this film possible!
 
Thank you!
Niki
 
Rowan Williams
“The Master and His emissary was one of the most important books I’ve read in the first decade of this century – I can’t easily think of another one that had quite such an impact!”
 
John Cleese
“The most interesting and illuminating book that i’ve ever read!”
 
 
 
 https://www.facebook.com/TheDividedBrain/
 https://twitter.com/divided_brain




Breathe, then PUSH

4 02 2017

Valarie Kaur, On the labour of love:  

 





For The Fallen

11 11 2016

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Robert Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.





HOME

29 06 2016

I just returned home.

Flew into London on a Bolivian tailwind in time to witness the extraordinary turn of events that have forever changed the course of history.

For the past year, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the concept of HOME; the way in which we define our borders: our continents, our countries, our communities, our families. It’s hard not to be, given the fact that there are more displaced people living in the world today than ever before in recorded history. The most recent stats coming out of the UN suggest that the number of people forcibly displaced due to war or persecution exceeds 65 million (more that the entire population of Great Britain).

These facts behind the figures simply overwhelm and it can make it difficult to think creatively about how to truly instigate change.

To find an outlet, I do what I always do: I talk to children. For years I’ve been turning to children to help shed light on age-old philosophical questions because they seem to ask the questions we grown-ups have stopped asking ourselves. I believe children return us to Plato. The conversations took place with small groups, all under the age of ten. I gave each child pen and paper and asked them to write down the first word that came to mind after I said, “HOME”.

By and large, most wrote down the words: “family”, “mummy”, “daddy”, or “house”. But when I asked the children to continue writing anything else that came to mind, there were some wonderful surprises: “ice-cream”, “bed-time”, “breakfast”, “carrots”, “football”– lots of pets’ names were listed too.

These wise young people helped me to question what really goes into the creation of a home, particularly the non-physical components. What are the smells, tastes and sounds that provide us with a sense of home? Which memories of HOME do we treasure most, and why do they hold us so tightly? What does it mean to “feel” at home (or not feel at home), irrespective of geography? Is community participation a prerequisite for claiming a sense of home? Is it possible to find a way to truly be at home with oneself? We lose loved ones, we lose our shelter from the storm, and yet we often survive this pain by tapping into a sense of home lodged deep within our ancestral past, or to the earth or to God.

Human life itself is wholly involved in the issue of finding a home, not necessarily a structure made of sturdy permanence, a bed and a roof (as Maslow may have us believe) – but rather a constant search of an essence of home. If it is an essence we pursue, rather than a structure, maybe there is hope beyond the limits of infrastructure, ways in which we can feel at home, despite the distance from our place of origin.

In light of the recent referendum we have decided to embark on a collective journey, one that seeks to understand every facet of HOME. This project will be a series of essays launched with The Pigeonhole, a global book club that will bring together readers, writers and artists who want a shared experience around the following themes:

   (1) Roots, Ancestry & Tradition
One of the fastest growing hobbies in America today is the study of family ancestry. With the availability of DNA testing kits, and an ever-expanding number of genealogy websites, the average person can now trace family lines back hundreds of years. Why does the desire to know our ancestry exert such a strong hold on us? Perhaps it is a deep-seated need for differentiation or a desperate craving for a sense of belonging and wholeness? What can we learn from our ancestors, our roots and traditions?

   (2) Senses, Space & Orientation
It is said that one of the worst things that can happen to you is to lose your sense of smell. Why? Because among all our senses, one’s sense of smell provides our strongest orientation within the world we inhabit. As such we want to explore the power of our senses in providing us with a feeling of HOME.

   (3) Family as Home
Here we are looking to explore the complexities of HOME from the context of family life. What happens to our sense of home as a family expands, as we add members or when members leave? Family life involves an enormity of love, but also pride and judgement that can lend itself to feelings of confinement within the home. What makes us want to leave our families in our journey to find/create homes of our own? What is it about the journey away from home that sometimes leaves us homesick?

   (4) Migration
We are all migrants at some level. In this section we will challenge the concepts around identity, assimilation, citizenry, social inclusion/ exclusion. Migration isn’t just about geography; we all have friends who’ve migrated from one religion to another or have an auntie who married into another ethnic group. Each is a migration. What do these experiences help us to learn about ourselves?

   (5) Absence of Home
Shelter is one of our basic needs: it is a place that can protect us from the elements, keep us safe. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, shelter is one of the requirements for addressing our physiological needs, along with the need for food, water air, sleep, sex. It would be interesting to investigate the human drive to create a semblance of home even under the most challenging circumstances. What makes us want to share our home, leave our home and/or escape into someone else’s? This is not only the era of refugee camps; it is also the era of coach surfing and the sharing economy.

   (6) Community & Hospitality
What does it mean to be a part of a community? What responsibility does it imply? How do we contribute to the sense of belonging to new arrivals?  Why is hospitality such a core tenet of major religions?

   (7) Borders within the Mind, Body & Spirit
There are those who claim there is a disconnect between body and mind, that the spirit is something altogether celestial. But in this age of avatars and the heightened state of self, what does it take to feel at home with oneself? How do the societal rigours affect our every day lives? What role do patriarchy and politics play in the creation of ego?

   (8) Earth as Home
There is one undeniable fact of life, and that is despite your creed, colour, gender or age, your home is on this earth. How does one become a steward of this earth? How do we scale the sensation of home to encompass the whole of the earth and its precious natural resources?

There is a large community of people out there who are as equally passionate about the issue of HOME as we are and we’d like to invite them – invite you – to be a part of our project. We are a society that lives its life through online validation. But we believe that words can change the world. Together we will bring this discussion to the fore, through serious discourse, through laughter and tears. A journey home is ultimately a journey into our humanness. And we are very thoughtful, weird and funny creatures.

For more information just take a look at the Home page. Or if you are interested in getting involved in any way then please send an email to:  anna@thepigeonhole.com





FORWARD MARCH: for every 2 steps back, there is always the 1 step forward that makes all the difference

22 03 2016

Peace comes when we no longer view ideological differences as threats but conduits to growth through respectful and creative dialogue.

 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/17/us-cuba-pope-franicis-key-roles 

 





Drumpf

1 03 2016

(geo-blocked to the US.  If you’re outside, you’ll need to go through a US proxy.  Try Tunnelbear.)