forest for the trees

3 04 2017





here’s to my old friends – i miss you everyday

18 11 2016

“You cannot isolate yourself from the crowd – even if you want to.”

– Ivor Novello





FOSTERing LOVE in LONDON

26 10 2016

dear friends,

what a beautiful morning it was to walk across the Millenium Bridge alongside such a warm and welcoming group of people, hearts held high and arms open wide to the children of the Calais Jungle. there is quite a lot of love in london indeed.

some have criticised the support being shown towards refugee children given the fact that there are currently 10s of thousands of British children in need of foster care too. but if we open our hearts to some, it means we are quite capable of opening our hearts to others.

who knows, maybe this is just the beginning of a new wave of foster caring across the UK.

over the last 13 months more than 10,000 members of the UK public expressed an interest in being foster carers for unaccompanied asylum seeking children. HOME for GOOD is a charity working in partnership with 12 local authorities around the country assessing and training foster carers to meet this need.

but the first step is to become a registered foster carer through your local council. here you can read about the variety of foster care schemes:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/sharedservices/fostering/aboutfostering/fosteringschemes.aspx  or call: 0208-753-1057

thank you love-makers Remi Olajoyegbe & Jimena Paratcha for your inspiration. we feel blessed to have been a part of Love in Action’s first campaign Have a Heart ❤️ #HaveaHeartLondon 

BIG LOVE from Philomena, Luna & Niki

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the bond of love & death

17 12 2015

Below is an excerpt from Alexievich’s Nobel Prize speech from 7th December 2015:

Second voice:

“We lived near the Chernobyl nuclear plant. I was working at a bakery, making pasties. My husband was a fireman. We had just gotten married, and we held hands even when we went to the store. The day the reactor exploded, my husband was on duty at the firе station. They responded to the call in their shirtsleeves, in regular clothes – there was an explosion at the nuclear power station, but they weren’t given any special clothing. That’s just the way we lived … You know … They worked all night putting out the fire, and received doses of radiation incompatible with life. The next morning they were flown straight to Moscow. Severe radiation sickness … you don’t live for more than a few weeks … My husband was strong, an athlete, and he was the last to die. When I got to Moscow, they told me that he was in a special isolation chamber and no one was allowed in. “But I love him,” I begged. “Soldiers are taking care of them. Where do you think you’re going?” “I love him.” They argued with me: “This isn’t the man you love anymore, he’s an object requiring decontamination. You get it?” I kept telling myself the same thing over and over: I love, I love … At night, I would climb up the fire escape to see him … Or I’d ask the night janitors … I paid them money so they’d let me in … I didn’t abandon him, I was with him until the end … A few months after his death, I gave birth to a little girl, but she lived only a few days. She … We were so excited about her, and I killed her … She saved me, she absorbed all the radiation herself. She was so little … teeny-tiny … But I loved them both. Can you really kill with love? Why are love and death so close? They always come together. Who can explain it? At the grave I go down on my knees …”

Third voice:

“I lived in a country where dying was taught to us from childhood. We were taught death. We were told that human beings exist in order to give everything they have, to burn out, to sacrifice themselves. We were taught to love people with weapons. Had I grown up in a different country, I couldn’t have traveled this path.

I have written five books, but I feel that they are all one book. A book about the history of a utopia …”

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2015/alexievich-lecture_en.html





i want this kind of love

9 12 2015

 


Michaela Coul

 

http://www.itv.com/hub/the-jonathan-ross-show/2a1166a0105





growing wiser within the whole of LOVE

24 04 2015

The World and The Child

Letting his wisdom be the whole of love,
The father tiptoes out, backwards. A gleam
Falls on the child awake and wearied of,

Then, as the door clicks shut, is snuffed. The glove-
Gray afterglow appalls him. It would seem
That letting wisdom be the whole of love

Were pastime even for the bitter grove
Outside, whose owl’s white hoot of disesteem
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

He lies awake in pain, he does not move,
He will not scream. Any who heard him scream
Would let their wisdom be the whole of love.

People have filled the room he lies above.
Their talk, mild variation, chilling theme,
Falls on the child. Awake and wearied of

Mere pain, mere wisdom also, he would have
All the world waking from its winter dream,
Letting its wisdom be. The whole of love
Falls on the child awake and wearied of.

James Merrill (1926 – 1995)

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photo by newyorkromantics

https://instagram.com/newyorkromantics/





ONLY together with the help of SMALL VOICES

10 04 2015

 

Small Voices Louder is a platform for children’s voices: the innocent, humorous, insightful, honest, confused and critical. It occurs in two parts, an empowering and thought-provoking experience for children, and an insightful and revealing sound experience for adults.

learn more here: http://maybetogether.com.au/small-voices-louder/

and read artist, Alex Desebrock’s beautiful manifesto here:

http://maybetogether.com.au/manifesto/

if you want to be a part of this project go here:  https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/small-voices-louder/





Spirit of Peace: mustering strength on this Good Friday

27 03 2015

Holding you close, dear Kenya

“Mami, I don’t understand why they call it GOOD Friday when it was a sad Friday.” – LUNA (age 6)

“There are misconceptions and misperceptions about the real Islam. Religion is guarded by its spirit, by its core, not by human beings. Human beings only take the core and deviate it to the right or left.” – Abdel Fattah Al Sisi





LOVE (crazy love) for Philomena

16 03 2015

my dearest Philomena–thank you for this beautiful card and for spoiling me yesterday. (and today and tomorrow). i love you so much. this song i dedicate to you, it’s how i feel about you all the time. And yes, maybe one day I will become a hairdresser. philomena&mami

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LOVE in Portland

17 02 2015

“Society must be organised in such a way that a man’s social, loving nature is not separated from his social existence, but becomes one with it… To have faith in the possibility of love as a social and not only individual phenomenon, is a rational faith based on the insight into the very nature of man. ” Erich Fromm

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http://www.themoonshinemusic.com
http://foghornstringband.com
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LOVE in Missoula

15 02 2015

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LOVE is a heart unlocked @ philosophyhub

28 01 2015

– Tell me, what do you know about LOVE, Matilda?
– All I know for sure is that you can’t deny it. I knew some other things too but forgot. Oh, yes, I know… that it happens when two beings meet and their hearts are unlocked.” – Matilda, age 7

 

Some would say that the nature of love isn’t worthy of philosophical inquiry because LOVE simply doesn’t have a nature. That it’s conceptually irrational, emotionally imprecise. Perhaps there is some truth in this proposition but it is certainly an exhilarating topic to deconstruct. To collectively consider what love feels like, what purpose love serves, what types of love we experience, how love expands within us and transcends the world around us. LOVE weaves itself through nearly every philosophical discipline (religion, metaphysics, human nature, politics, ethics) and I must say it’s quite fun to create contemporary spaces that honour the playful style of Plato’s Symposium, to indulge in inspiring conversation over wine and cheese and lots of chocolate.

300 hundred years ago philosophy belonged to everyone–it was in the public domain–but over the years, philosophical discourse slowly evolved into something reserved for a small academic elite. There are many of us out there who want to bring philosophy back to the public realm but I am on a particular crusade to empower women to unlock the natural philosopher within. Not only because there is a happiness that comes from experiencing shared meaning, but because we desperately need a maternal philosophical vision for society, for change.

So this is the crusade I’ve embarked upon in partnership with a global social enterprise called Hubdot. Hopefully, we will be able to run PhilosophyHubs in every city where Hubdot has launched. There is nothing better than to collaborate with a team of such warm, wildly energetic and authentic women. Just to be clear: Hubdot is not about networking. It’s not about the exchange of business cards. The dot alchemy is about building trust through the art of story-telling and inspiring creativity through the exchange of ideas.

I’d like to thank all the women who have already participated in our PhilosophyHubs this year in London and last night in Luxembourg. You have inspired me more than I have inspired you, of this I am certain. And a special thanks to Carlotta and the rest of the Luxembourg team and our hosts at Kaale Kaffi, the most fabulous vintage shop, where I walked off with far too many vinyl records.

This yellow dot I will treasure forever.

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Hearts of fire creates love desire
Take you high and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire creates love desire
High and higher to your place on the throne

We’ve come together on this special day
To sing our message loud and clear
Looking back weve touched on sorrowful days
Future pass, they disappear

You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Dont hesitate cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart cause youre never, never old at heart

That’s the way of the world
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
A child is born with a heart of gold
The way of the world makes his heart grow cold

Hearts of fire creates love desire
Take you high and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire, love desire
High and higher, you, you, you

Hearts of fire, love desire
High and higher

We’ve came together on this special day
To sing our message loud and clear
Looking back weve touched on sorrowful days
Well, future disappear

You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Dont hesitate cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart cause youre never, never, never old at heart

That’s the way of the world
Plant your flowers and you grow a pearl
A child is born with a heart of gold
The way of the world makes his heart grow cold

And love, and love, and love, and love
And love, and love, and love
Well the love, the love, the love
Darlin’ lovely, don’t you hear me now?
Don’t you hear me now?
Darlin’, won’t you hear me now, won’t you hear me now?

Hearts of fire, love desire
High and higher, you, you, you
Hearts of fire, love desire

 http://freemp3.se/earth-wind-and-fire-thats-the-way-of-th-mp3.html

 

 





FREEDOM is: carving unknown own paths

20 01 2015

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FREEDOM is walking with AGAPE: “Yes, it is love that will save our world…” – Dr King

19 01 2015

– Who was Dr King, Mummy?

– He was one of the greatest teachers of LOVE in the whole of history.

So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves….I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life…

So somehow the “isness” of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him… And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.”

– Martin Luther King Jr., “Loving Your Enemies” (speech, Montgomery, AL, November 1957)





Agape and the habitation of symbols

20 12 2014

One who has control over the mind
is tranquil in heat and cold,
in pleasure and pain,
and in honor and dishonour.
– Bhagavad Gita

 The world is a parable — the habitation of symbols — the phantoms of spiritual things immortal shown in material shape. May the blessed second-sight be mine — to recognize under these beautiful forms of earth the ANGELS who wear them; for I am sure we may walk with them if we will, and hear them speak.
– Maud Ruthyn in Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas, Conclusion

Dear Anarchist,

My name is Philomena and I am 8 years old. I am writing to you because I think there has been some misunderstanding. A couple of months ago I was walking past this wall and noticed what you wrote: “Fuck Israel, No Controla.” I didn’t know what it meant so I asked my mother. She explained that Israel ιs a country and that the word fuck was possibly being used because you were angry at Israel.

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– – How can a person be angry with a country? I asked.
– Yes, it is a strange thing to be angry with a country. I suspect that this anarchist, like many anarchists, is actually angry with the people governing the country—the people making decisions on behalf of the people living in the country. Because they feel there is nothing they can do about their frustrations, because they feel they don’t have a way to influence what’s going on in the world around them, they make their feelings known any way they can.
– What do we here in Nea Makri have to do with Israel?
– Well nothing directly, but perhaps the artist who wrote on the wall wants to let us know that there are things going on in the world that we should be more conscious about.
– Like what?
– Well leaders often forget that the people of the world all come from one family. When leaders make the mistake of thinking about the world as a game of us vs. them—of winners and losers. When leaders think about the world in terms of absolutes—where there is only one right answer. When leaders stop listening to voices of the people.
– Isn’t it the job of leaders to listen to the people?
– Yes, but they don’t always. Sometimes they become too powerful and lose their capacity for empathy. They’ve stopped feeling what the people feel. They’ve sort of detached from the people. Anarchists, like the one who wrote on this wall, probably don’t trust in their leaders—they don’t trust in their government anymore.
– Can we erase these words? It just doesn’t seem very nice to look at.

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So you see, dear Anarchist, it was my idea to cover up what you wrote on the wall.

My mom and I had an idea for something we would put up on the wall as a message to you to make you feel that your neighbours understood how you were feeling. We wanted to make an art work to symbolise peace. But we didn’t get to it in time and so then you came back to the wall thinking that the police erased your message to Israel… and you were even angrier at the police, angrier at leaders in control. But it was me. Me and my mom who erased your words, not the police. My mom explained to me some of what is going on in the world today. How leaders mix religion with politics and in so doing lose the spirit of God within them.

I’m sorry you were so angry and thought it was the police.

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In response to this, we began experimenting with a number of ideas for a painting for you:

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photo 2photo 3
photo 5And then we finally came up with the painting below. It is meant as a symbol of hope that together we can embrace the spirit of God and find universal harmony somehow by listening to the sound of the earth’s vibrations. We are all children of the earth. We are all brothers and sisters. Please accept this as our gift to you and do not be angry. I pray that together as artists we can help the world to place greater faith in our extraordinary creative capacity for imagination and imagine for ourselves a world of peace.

With love,
Philomena (my mom says my name means daughter of light and love)

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THE BRAIN is drawn as a maze encasing a number of religious symbols. We humans often make the mistake of interpreting God with our minds, which only leads to a fragmentation of the spirit. Perhaps we can strive to find unity through the vibrations of a shared spirit that rests in our hearts instead of our head.

The PACHAMAMA: who sits at the entrance to the maze is the goddess of the Andes region of South America. She is seen as mother earth and mother time.

THE BOAT or OSRAM NE NSOROMMA: “The Moon and the Star” is a symbol from West Africa that is meant to reflect the love and harmony that exists in the bonding between a man an a woman.

THE ANCHOR: The Anchor is a Symbol of both hope and steadfastness. Each time we raise our anchor we leave the stagnant portion of our life behind to begin a new journey, a new era of our life filled with a cleansed spirit of dreams and new aspirations. We are steadfast in our vision of the pursuit of our new dreams.

The moment we decide to drop our mental Anchor once more is the moment we finally say to ourselves “here is where I now stand” and “these are the rules I will govern myself by. We are them able to ground ourselves and feel stable despite the might the waves, tides, and currents. When we are properly anchored we are able to trust confidently in the skills and knowledge that lie in the subconscious realm of our inner-self; our God-within; our Atman. (you can read more about symbolism of anchor here: http://www.aseekersthoughts.com/2012/02/anchor-as-symbol.html)

——————————thank you sweet Σοφία Μ for translation.

Αγαπητοί Αναρχικοί,

Ονομάζομαι Φιλομένη και είμαι 8 χρονών. Γράφω σε εσας επειδή θεωρώ πως έχει συμβεί κάποια παρεξήγηση. Μερικούς μήνες πριν, περπατούσα μπροστά από έναν τοίχο και παρατήρησα πώς είχατε γράψει “Fuck Israel, No Controla.” Δεν ήξερα τι σημαίνει οπότε ρώτησα την μητέρα μου. Εκείνη μου εξήγησε πως το Ισραήλ είναι μια χώρα και πως χρησιμοποιήσατε την λέξη “fuck” eπειδή πιθανόν είστε νευριασμένοι με το Ισραήλ.

  • Πώς μπορεί ένα άτομο να είναι νευριασμένο με μια χώρα? Ρώτησα
  • Ναι, είναι περίεργο πράγμα να είσαι νευριασμένος με μια χώρα. Η αλήθεια είναι πως αυτοί οι αναρχικοί, όπως όλοι οι αναρχικοί , είναι στην πραγματικότητα θυμωμένοι με αυτούς οι οποίοι κυβερνούν αυτη την χώρα – με τους ανθρώπους οι οποίοι πέρνουν αποφάσεις εκ μέρους των ανθρώπων που κατοικούν σε αυτή την χώρα – και επειδή νιώθουν πως δεν υπάρχει τίποτα που μπορούν να κάνουν , επειδή νιώθουν πως δεν υπάρχει κατι που μπορουν να κάνουν ώστε να επηρεάσουν τον κόσμο γύρω τους , εκφράζουν τα συναισθήματα τους με όποιο τρόπο μπορούν.
  • Τι σχέση έχει το Ισραήλ με την Νέα Μάκρη?
  • Λοιπόν όχι άμεσα, ο καλλιτεχνης που το έγραψε ήθελε να μας ενημερώσει για τα γεγονότα που συμβαίνουν στον κόσμο για τα οποία πρέπει να προβληματιστούμε …
  • Όπως ?
  • Λοιπόν οι αρχηγοί των κρατών συχνά ξεχνάνε πως οι άνθρωποι του κόσμου προέρχονται από την ίδια οικογενεια. Κάνουν το λάθος να πιστεύουν πως ο κόσμος είναι ένα παιχνιδι για χαμένουν και νικητές. Όταν οι ηγέτες βλέπουν τον κόσμο με όρους και προυποθέσεις – τότε υπάρχει μόνο μία σωστή απάντηση. Όταν οι αρχηγοί σταματάνε να ακούνε τις φωνές των ανθρώπων …
  • Δεν είναι η δουλειά τους να μας ακούνε?
  • Ναι αλλά δεν το κάνουν πάντα. Καμιά φορά γίνονται τόσο ισχυροί και χάνουν την δυνατότητα να αντιλαμβάνονται τις ανάγκες μας. Σταματάνε να νιώθουν ότι νιώθουν οι άλλοι άνθρωποι. Οι αναρχικοί όπως αυτοί που γράψαν αυτό στον τοίχο πιθανότατα δεν εμπιστεύονται τους ηγέτες .
  • Μπορούμε να σβήσουμε αυτές τις λέξεις? Δεν φαίνεται πολύ ωραίο να το κοιτάς.

Οπότε όπως βλέπετε, αγαπητοί αναρχικοί, ήταν ιδέα μου να καλύψω αυτό που γράψατε στον τοίχο. Η μητέρα μου και εγώ είχαμε μια ιδέα για το τι θα μπορούσαμε να βάλουμε στον τοίχο για να καλύψουμε αυτό το μύνημα για να κάνουμε τους γείτονες να καταλάβουν πως νιώθετε. Θέλαμε να κάνουμε ένα έργο τέχνης με μυνήματα ειρήνης. Αλλά δεν το ετοιμάσαμε στην ώρα μας και μετά ήρθατε εσείς στον τοίχο και νομίζατε πως το μύνημα το έσβησαν αστυνομικοί, επειδή ήταν θυμωμένοι με τους αναρχικούς. Αλλά ήμουν εγώ. Εγώ και η μαμά μου σβήσαμε αυτές τις λέξεις. Η μαμά μου, μου εξήγησε τι συμβαίνει στον κόσμο αυτές τις μέρες και πως οι ηγέτες συγχέουν την θρησκεία με την πολιτική και πως με αυτό τον τρόπο χάνουμε την πίστη μας.

Συγνώμη που θυμώσατε και νομίζατε πως ήταν η αστυνομία.

Σαν απάντησε σε αυτό , ξεκινήσαμε να πειραματιζόμαστε με διάφορες ιδέες για να ζωγραφίσουμε για εσάς

Και μετά επιτέλους καταλήξαμε σε αυτή την ζωγραφια. Η οποία είναι το σύμβολο της ελπίδας όπου μαζί με το πνεύμα του θεού θα βρούμε κάπως την αρμονία ακούγοντας τα μυνηματα της γης. Όλοι είμαστε παιδιά αυτού του κόσμου. Όλοι είμαστε αδέλφια. Σας παρακαλώ αποδεχτείτε αυτό σαν δώρο για εσάς και μην είστε άλλο θυμωμένοι. Προσεύχομαι πως όλοι μαζι σαν καλλιτέχνες μπορούμε να βοηθήσουμε αυτό τον κόσμο να βάλουμε πίστη στην δημιουργικότητα μας και να φανταστούμε τον κόσμο με ειρήνη.

Με αγάπη,

Φιλομένη( η μητέρα μου λέει πως το όνομα μου σημαίνει κόρη του φωτός και της αγάπης)

Ο ΕΓΚΕΦΑΛΟΣ: είναι μια μάζα η οποία ανακαλεί έναν αριθμό από σύμβολα. Εμείς οι άνθρωποι συχνά κάνουμε το λάθος να ερμηνεύουν το Θεό στο μυαλό μας, το οποίο οδηγεί σε καταστροφή του πνεύματος. Πιθανότατα χρειάζεται να προσπαθήσουμε να βρουμε αρμονία μέσα από τα μυνήματα για ομαδικό πνεύμα τα οποία θα ξεκουράζονται στην καρδιά μας και όχι στο μυαλό μας.

Η ΒΑΡΚΑ : « Το φεγγάρι και τα αστέρια» είναι ένα σύμβολο από την δυτική Αφρική το οποίο αντιπροσωπέυει την αγάπη και την αρμονία τα οποία υπάρχουν ανάμεσα σε μια γυναίκα και έναν άντρα.

Η ΑΓΚΥΡΑ : η Άγκυρα είναι ένα σύμβολο για την ελπίδα και την σταθερότητα. Κάθε φορά που υψώνουμε την άγκυρα αφήνουμε πίσω ένα κομμάτι της ζωής μας για να ξεκινήσουμε ένα καινούργιο ταξίδι, μια καινούργια εποχή της ζωής μας ξεκινάει με καθαρό το πνεύμα των ονείρων και καινούργιων φιλοδοξιών. Είμαστε απτόητοι στον τρόπο που βλέπουμε τα επιτεύγματα των ονείρων μας.





Economics: gente común

5 12 2014




LOVE: “The game of life is love.”

18 10 2014

“let’s be love.” – Υ.Π. Σ.Κ.Τ.

(Graffiti in Nea Makri)

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Escape to FREEDOM

14 10 2014

On Saturday my girls and I decided that we needed a bit more life in our home. A dog was not an option, nor a cat or a rabbit. But we went to the pet store anyway in search of just about any other creature with whom to share—expand—our love. The first thing we saw upon entering the pet store was a wall filled with singing yellow canaries, finches and parakeets. I thought of the recent philosophy dinner I organised on the topic of FREEDOM and the tables I had decorated with open birdcages that my girls had painted, each sprinkled in gold glitter. My girls must have been reflecting on the same ambivalent emotion. All of a sudden Philomena says:

– Mummy if we were to get birds, could we let them out of their cages during the day? Let them fly around the garden? Would they come back if we let them go?

– No, I explain, These birds have their wings clipped.

What do you mean?!

Well they clip birds so that they can’t fly away. It doesn’t hurt them though.

– OF COURSE IT HURTS THEM! Luna shouts up at me. If a bird can’t fly it hurts!

Relax Luna. Listen, I don’t want to buy a bird either, I say.

Thankfully, a moment later, we came across a small pool filled with tiny fresh water turtles. It was love at first sight. We agreed we would take 3 of them home with us. Once at the check out counter, however, I looked over at Philomena, she seemed upset.

– What’s wrong, I asked.

– Mummy, do you think these turtles will be sad to leave the other ones? They were hugging and climbing all over each other and then we just pulled them away from the rest of their family.

In my makeshift Greek I asked the man at the store: are the turtles all from one family? what does one family even look like anyway? how long has the family been living together?

– All one family, yes, all family, ne, ne. At least that was all I was able to understand.

Philomena looked up at me again with her big, round, weepy eyes.

Stop, we have to stop! I really want the turtles but I can’t separate them. I’m sorry but I’d rather not get any.

– HEY I KNOW!!!! WHY DON’T WE JUST GET ALL OF THEM?! Shouted Luna. THAT’S AN IDEA!

And well, that was an idea. Five minutes later and we were all in the car, driving home with 10 little water turtles in a small tank adorned with a plastic palm tree.

Good mother, good mother, the man at the store said to me as he placed a plastic palm tree in my hand, patting my shoulder with his other hand and smiling from ear to ear. Nerocheló̱na love tree.

The girls took our turtles into the house and immediately began giving them names.

We should name them after rock-stars, they say.

By the following day, however, Philomena was not pleased with the living quarters of this big family.

– This tank is too small. We need to build something with rocks and mud, make them feel like they are in a real pond. I think they are sad in there.

Fortunately, it’s still summer here in Greece so we filled up a paddling pool and turned it into our pond. For hours the turtles frolicked in their new pond, climbed rocks and basked in the glorious sunshine. The girls meanwhile transformed into scientists, recording how long some of the turtles were able to hold their breath under water. They then got out sketchpads to draw beautiful turtle shell patterns. After a while, I went inside the house to make lunch.

A short moment later, Luna came running into the house screaming.

One is missing, Mummy, one is missing!!!! It escaped and we can’t find it!!!!

I ran outside and began counting the turtles to see if a mistake had been made. It seemed impossible to me that they would be able to climb out of the pool. But then the girls confessed, tears streaming down their faces, that they had taken all of the turtles out at the same time to let them walk on the grass.

So we began the search. We combed through the long grass for hours. – We’re so sorry mummy, we’re so sorry.

Body slumped over in the grass, Philomena asks,

– Can we go to church and light a candle? I want to go to church Mummy and say a prayer to God for the turtle. Of course, I say.

I was at a loss as to how to make them feel better so off we went to light a candle in the little shrine outside of our local Greek Orthodox Church, St Constantinos.

– Mummy, which God should I pray to? Is there a God for turtles—for animals? Pacha-mama, right? Before I could answer, Philomena answered for herself,

I will pray to Jesus and Pacha-mama to keep him safe and also to St. Phanourios so that she might find her way back.

Phanourios is known here as “the saint of lost and found”—there was a celebration in his honour when we first arrived in Greece. The girls also mysteriously found some lost items just after the celebration, so they are strong believers now.

photo (1)

 

Later that night before tucking the girls into bed, we walked the grass once more with flashlights.

– Maybe she’s lost and when she sees the light of the flashlight, she’ll come running back to us? suggests Luna.

But no luck. The turtle was nowhere to be seen.

Or maybe, I suggested—as I wiped their tears once more—maybe we can be happy for the turtle. After all, the turtle is free now. We were only meant to look after the turtle for a while but the turtle really belongs to the earth, not to us. Now she is free to go where she pleases and to live among nature as turtles are meant to do. And who knows, maybe the turtle will find another turtle and keep expanding her family. Think of her as an explorer, a pioneer. The turtle that broke free.

– We don’t live anywhere near a pond, Mummy, says Luna confidently. There are no other turtles around to MATE!

And anyway, adds Philomena, why would she want to break free? She was happy with her family. She had this family. We made her her own pond and it was bigger than the one at the store. She didn’t even have to find spiders on her own, we fed her.

– Well Philomena, maybe she started wandering, not realising how far away she had gone, and then she couldn’t find her way back? Or maybe she realised how lovely it was to walk through the tall grass on her own. Maybe she needed to keep wandering.

I stayed in the room with my girls until they fell asleep.

But later that night, while I was reading outside, hoping that turtle no.10 might miraculously appear before me, the garden sprinklers turned on; they do this automatically at 2am every night. That’s it, I thought to myself. The turtle escaped, yes. She has left the little pool but she didn’t leave her family. She is still quite close by. She is hiding in the grass somewhere safe but in an environment where she feels truly free. And she will survive because the garden sprinklers will create puddles for her to swim in every night under the moonlight. She will find rocks to climb and continue to soak up the sun every day. She will find a perfect space to burrow herself in a small mound of mud, never too far away from the rest of her brood.





Philia is: Family Unity

12 10 2014

 

 

 

 

Meet Pina (note the arabesque):

Pina

 

 

 

 

 





FREEDOM in Vienna

7 10 2014

photo 1 photo 2 Freedom in Vienna

 

 

Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich denke was ich will und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still’, und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch und Begehren kann niemand verwehren,
es bleibet dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Und sperrt man mich ein im finsteren Kerker,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Gedanken zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Drum will ich auf immer den Sorgen entsagen
und will mich auch nimmer mit Grillen mehr plagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
und denken dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

Ich liebe den Wein, mein Mädchen vor allen,
sie tut mir allein am besten gefallen.
Ich sitz nicht alleine bei meinem Glas Weine,
mein Mädchen dabei: Die Gedanken sind frei!