1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, SoCS

Denial Vs Self Preservation, #SoCS

I am writing, for a little stream of consciousness therapy today, but what to write about?

I could speak about the recent passing of Nobel Peace Prize writer, teacher, and Holocaust educator Elie Wiesel.

He wrote about the loss of his family and horrifying imprisonment in a concentration camp in the memoir

“Night”.

I saw an old interview with him on Charlie Rose.

I could, but I can’t. I won’t.

I read news about his death. I reflected back on the reading of his memorable memoir, which I read over ten years ago most likely. I thought about his story and I vowed to carry on being a witness, (indirectly) of the horrors, which humans are capable of, but I just can’t dwell on all that too hard.

I would again have to hear things I don’t want to hear, things about concentration camps during World War II. I know about all that, more than I’d like to, being obsessed on this period in history, many times in my own life.

But now, with all that’s happening in the current climate of killings, anger, ignorance, and inability or unwillingness to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, I just can’t.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I am having issues with concentration lately.

I can’t seem to focus on one thing. My writing. My blog. My violin. My thoughts.

I feel all over the place. I want to do so many things, but don’t last long on any one of them.

I’ve lost it, whatever “it” is.

I want to know what is going on in the world around me, but every time I listen in, I hear something worse than the time before.

It’s on my Facebook and on the news on TV. I take breaks from both, but this just leaves me feeling disconnected. Is what I’m doing, in my own life, is that worth drowning the rest of the world out entirely?

Don’t I need to be aware, as a grown woman in today’s society, of what’s going on?

But it’s all race debates, class debates, political debates in the US.

It’s government disarray in the UK.

It’s a growing migrant crisis in Europe.

It’s ISIS central in the Middle East.

I want to get out there, to experience more of the world, instead of just reading about it, though I love reading in its place. I can’t not read, yet my Safari App on my phone keeps bursting with the many articles I open up and vow to read. I don’t make it back, yet I keep on adding to the cue.

That is how I feel about my life, yet I know the chaos going on in my brain is only a sample of what’s happening everywhere.

I have a problem with concentration, but I expect I’m not the only one.

Today, to speak about

CONCENTRATION

has been no problem for me.

I can’t stop myself for very long, but during those breaks from the outside world, I am not in denial. I am practicing self preservation in the midst of so much I cannot control.

So, I write. I blog. I make “music” (of sorts) on my violin. I work on creative projects with my brother, (both song lyrics and our new podcast).

I create because I must. I spread a little genuine kindness and compassion through all these things. I hope I can make the world a better place. Lets all try a little more of that.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes

In The News and On My Mind: Supermegafragilisticexpialidocious

It’s a funny thing, but the prime minister of my country of Canada was featured on the US news magazine program 60 Minutes, before being honoured with a state dinner at the White House last week. This week he’s in New York at the UN (trying to secure Canada a seat on the Security Counsel), speaking at an event about why he is proud to call himself a feminist, and he hasn’t once mentioned anything about the size of his genitals.

GO FIGURE!

***

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast.
–JEG

***

Super Tuesday…Mega Tuesday…what?

Comparisons are being made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump: Louis C.K. said it. Now I’m saying it.

But so many aren’t about to go there. Oh no! Perish the thought!

I am saying it and I am not going to back down from it. I am afraid.

America is full of beautiful places and kind and compassionate people. I know many citizens, writers and bloggers and friends, who don’t want the US to feed off of violence and divisiveness.

At the same time, North American culture thrives on celebrity. Media matters, has influence, seeks headlines and hype.

Is it any surprise then, (not to me), that a reality star, part of the reality TV craze, is so close to securing the GOP nomination?

With celebrities fighting over Twitter about naked Instagram shots, roses and marriage proposals that hardly ever last, and a show about a religious family with 19 kids…dismissed when sexual abuse comes to light and still a network brings such a mess back for ratings.

Is it any wonder? Yes, I wonder.

Donald Trump is a white, privileged male, who has likely had to fight for very little in life, mostly unaware of the struggles many minorities face. He has been a reality star for years, now the ultimate challenge, nomination of the highest office in the land, modern North American king, royalty, this is just much too much of a challenge to pass up, to see if he can take that title for himself.

Of course he can’t back down from this. He’s already practically hijacked the whole entire world into watching him/listening to him talk. It’s the ultimate reality show, on a world stage.

But what happens if he actually gets there?

Hitler. Trump. Of course I don’t think they are the same men, with the exact same plans or intentions. I don’t know what Trump has in mind for the kingdom he wants to rule. I do know that Trump is only the symptom of a larger problem in the world.

I’ve studied pre-World War II history, the great depression, and the uprising of anti-semitism somewhat. Now I watch the news and often I wonder if I am witnessing the sorts of things that those in the 20s and 30s witnessed. I have this yucky feeling inside that I might just be.

Demagog. Xenophobic. These are terms I didn’t even know five years ago.

People see things, with their own eyes, hear things with their own two years, but choose to dismiss them. They are in denial, don’t want to believe it, if it is not happening to them in that moment.

“That couldn’t possibly happen again, oh no. Not on my watch, on ours. Not with what we know, in the world today. That would never happen in 2016, in America.”

But they forget the past, or never fully acknowledged it, and are then on the way to repeating the mistakes of history, at break-neck speed.

Horrible things do happen again, are happening right now, and they are just as cruel and unfair as ever before. My father taught me, as difficult as it is and as negative, to love and appreciate history and the hard lessons it can teach us, if we pay attention.

I wish I could have all the positivity of my mother, but I sometimes think she is counting on the rest of the world being as logical, rational, and genuinely good as she is.

I wish I had all that faith in humanity that my prime minister who, amidst endless questions from reporters about his thoughts on Trump, repeatedly takes the high road over.

He says very little, only that he has faith in the better judgment of the American people to make the right choice when the time comes. He doesn’t resort to insults and petty name calling, like Trump is caught doing in so many sound bites, some I will never be able to un-hear.

Trudeau stays dignified, as us Canadians are famous for, but what does he truly think? Is he worried, like me? Perhaps I can’t figure out how to remain quite so tactful any longer.

Jokes are made all the time now, as a Trump win for the presidency starts to look more and more possible – Americans saying they want to move to Canada if Trump is elected:

Cape Breton: The Canadian island for Americans who want to escape Donald Trump

The fighting spirit going on during these tense times has those in favour of Trump, his own family included saying they will help them pack. I hate to hear all the ugliness, all a bunch of bickering children on the school’s playground.

Some Canadians would say no to this escape plan anyway, turning away our neighbours, immigrants (refugees is a stretch, but who knows). Some Canadians go on to say that Americans must clean up their own messes, but where do we draw that line? For those Americans who don’t vote for Trump, depending on what were to happen after he took office, wouldn’t they have a right, a reason to get away?

In the media, Canadian islands like Cape Breton talk of inviting Americans. If Trump becomes president, not even a US/Canadian border feels like enough space and separation to me. Our world may have borders and oceans between continents, but we can’t remain separate from our fellow countries. Our globe has become much too global in the nearly 100 years now since the World Wars.

I know Hitler used the dissatisfaction that a lot of Germans felt at that time. Then it was the Jews, Communists, us against them. There had to be someone to place the focus, to lay blame, to be afraid of, as fear has always evolved into a lot worse things.

Now Trump is using the dissatisfied state of America to win, something he loves to do, and he’s doing it at the expense of Muslims or Mexicans. I don’t know his true intentions, but he is egotistical and narcissistic.

He has slogans like, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. Of course, politicians use slogans, but his sounds ominously like something Hitler shouted to crowds at his rallies in the thirties.

The world has always been ruled by white men. We know the history, but some places, the US and Canada, we don’t like to think about the bloody, greedy details so often white washed over in the history books.

Canada and the world at large aren’t perfect either. The North American continent was inhabited by Natives and it was the white Europeans who came over and took all that we have today. Most of us, since then, our ancestors were immigrants at one time or another, but we choose to forget that fact. We must not forget that part.

George and Amal Clooney on 5 years of conflict in Syria

People who know me know I tend to get easily upset, and so I am told not to read Facebook comments, but I sometimes do. I can’t always help myself and I sometimes think it helps me remain compassionate.

I hear from Canadians all the time that they don’t want refugees over here, taking our resources away from us. It can be a chilling reality to hear what some people are really thinking.

It’s the individual stories that frighten: One Florida woman spoke of her family being of a different kind of immigrant. They weren’t like the lazy, bottom feeder immigrants of today. This was her rationale for her feelings. This is a scary position to take, if she really does believe what she says. No empathy, no compassion, not even from most of us who’ve had our ancestors come from other countries in the past. This baffles me most of all.

Hitler believed his success couldn’t be attributed to anything other than divine providence.

Trump said his success, even after the riots and violence at rallies in recent weeks, not even he can explain that one.

All the conflict in Chicago for example only serves Trump’s purpose. No violence is acceptable, but things shouldn’t have gotten out of hand. I wish it hadn’t. Will this continue? Will it escalate?

I am not American and won’t be able to vote against Donald Trump for President. I am Canadian and glad of it, but I have a stake in what happens in the world. I may be in a separate country, but no “wall” (real or metaphorical) could ever possibly keep me secluded and unaware of the scary rhetoric that many are spouting.

Where does it end? I am not fleeing my home right now. I live in Canada, a peaceful place, but I can empathize. Where is the empathy? It’s clouded by fear, misinformation, and stereotypes.

It helps my own ability for empathy to listen to the personal stories: like the young Syrian refugee who now lives in Montreal and studies psychology, all the while keeping an eye on what’s going on back in her home country, all the while remembering the painful and cruel interrogations she underwent when she was arrested for protesting, five years ago back when the conflict in Syria began.

All of Europe are dealing with the fleeing people up close, on the front lines. This can’t be easy. Countries who were accepting at first now experiencing push-back from some citizens, bigotry increasing, stereotypes free flowing.

Hillary and Bernie both made their mistakes, said the wrong thing at the wrong moment and offended someone, but Hillary apologized. Trump has never done this. Anyone who has never apologized or recognized the mistakes they’ve made, because we’ve all made them, is nobody I want running anything. This equates him with someone as dangerous as Hitler was proven to be and I am saying it without hesitation.

More and more are beginning to call him out, but is he a joke (like so many late night comedians would like to think), a harmless nuisance, a guy who will do anything necessary to win, or something worse? I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I have never met him in person. How can we really judge another person if we’ve never met them? I don’t want to believe I am living in another 1930s, but we don’t tend to learn all that much from our past mistakes. I hate to say it.

I am scared. If refugees, immigrants, Muslims can be targeted, where does it stop? Women are still suffering in many places around the world. People with disabilities and LGBT face prejudice in both big and small ways. We can’t continue to support white supremacy. If you can’t bring yourself to mention Donald Trump in the same breath as Adolf Hitler, at least call his talk what it is. He may not be in the KKK, but his statements, the things he’s said to get where he’s gotten, they can only be said by someone living in his extremely privileged position. As chaotic as things are in his country these days, such a situation is something so much of the world would kill for. Terms like that are worded that way for a reason.

I know what’s happening around the world is awful – in the five years since the war in Syria began, when I hear word coming out of the atrocities happening in South Sudan for example, and the problems feel far too huge for any solutions to be found.

But there are those looking for compassionate solutions.

I feel optimism when I listen to this expert from Oxford or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I am uplifted when I realize there are still those using common sense, compassion, and intelligence to figure out this complicated world we live in.

I keep up on what’s happening in the US, not only from the news, but from one writer/blogger in particular who writes thoughtfully about politics and in a way I can begin to understand about a system that I often find highly confusing and complex:

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

We all have an opinion, but so much of it is backed by anger. A lot of what can be found underneath that anger is fear. What are we teaching our children? What is being modelled for them?

What Our Children Are Learning

It’s really hard to let kindness, understanding, and empathy show through all that, but we need to make the effort for the hope of the future generations.

Like I so often think: I wonder what the state of things in my country of Canada, in the US, in North America, and all around the world will look like, one year from now?

One year from now? Fifty? One hundred?

I wish I could turn off the news for good, as I can’t really stand to hear Trump’s smug, ranting voice much longer, but I may not have much of a choice by this time next year, no matter what anyone says, what my prime minister says or does not say out loud.

Does Trudeau have a duty, as the person running Canada, to speak up and stand up to Trump, especially if he’s saying such inflammatory things about all manner of types of people? Or is he showing tact by keeping quiet?

When is it important to speak up? I think none of us, even Trudeau, would hate to think Trump could be compared to Hitler in any way whatsoever.

Trust me, I don’t want to think it (don’t even like using these two men’s names if I can help it), but am following a gut feeling.

Or perhaps I am just using the comparison to prove something through my writing.

Who knows which one it truly is. Not even I’m certain at this point. Some of both I’d say.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes

And Then There’s Books, #1000Speak #Grateful #GivingThanks

November’s 1000 Speak For Compassion topic is

Gratitude

and today is Thanksgiving in the US, but I am in Canada.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving a month ago. My family and I spent that beautiful weekend at a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I will always be thankful for days like that with my family.

I have had all week to write about gratitude. I did not write a post for this on the 20th, but I thought, since I am not celebrating feeling thankful and grateful by eating turkey and pie, I’d write about feeling thankful and grateful instead.

I like to associate this holiday with pumpkins and harvest, rather than Natives and Pilgrims. I don’t associate feeling thankful with any sort of history and I don’t even really like pie.

🙂

I also don’t like that tomorrow is Black Friday. It feels bad to me. I like things, material objects, as much as anybody. I just wouldn’t be willing to get trampled to death for the pleasure of obtaining more of them.

I know what the holidays, starting with tomorrow are about, a lot of the time, but I am not even sure how I’m going to feel about the holidays this year.

I don’t know about miracles, but I have seen a lot of things that come close. why, just last week my brother became very ill very fast. I am thankful he’s doing better. It could have been something so much more serious.

I can list many things for which I am grateful, because I like to say my glass isn’t ever half empty or half full. I just spill a little sometimes.

I guess I feel weary with all the materialism of these celebrations, when I hear about all the bad stuff going on, but I don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for in my own life.

I do it on a weekly basis now, thanks to the blog hop I discovered six months ago:

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this weekly exercise in silver linings, thanks to Lizzi at Silver Linings.

I know Americans like to say what they are thankful for on this day. In addition to Ten Things of Thankful, here are some more things I am thankful for. Instead of speaking about them around a dinner table I will talk about them here.

I am determined to focus on feeling thankful, even as I feel the bad stuff in the wider world growing. If it’s true that terrorists want to divide and conquer, I won’t stop thinking positive. I won’t let them have everything, not if I can help it.

I have enough trouble thinking of the pain and misery humans keep causing for other humans, but I keep many thoughts buried deep in my own head. Sometimes it feels like I might explode with all that bothers me, but as long as I have writing and my blog to help make things a little easier, I will use both for taking the edge off of that hurt.

I am thankful for the direction Canada appears to be heading. I was numb and hiding from national and political stuff for several years. I felt like I had no control and I did not like the things that were going on, like someone was trying to pull wool over my eyes and the eyes of Canada, so I checked out as my way of dealing with that feeling.

Justin Trudeau could turn out to be just as bad, but I have a good feeling about him and I hope I’m right. The change, either way, has made me grateful for several weeks now. I hope Trudeau’s government and the decisions they make on terrorism and environmental issues, for example, are going to make us all proud to be Canadian.

I am thankful for Christmas. Even as hard as last year was, I still am a Christmas girl at heart, which gives me hope that this year I will be able to find all the happiness and joy in the season that I’ve always found.

I am thankful for my father, who turns sixty in a few days. I am trying to figure out just what to say about that. I want to say more than a few words of gratitude, as the best present I can think to give him are my words, but it’s hard to put that kind of thing into words of any kind.

It’s strange to write so much about gratitude and thankfulness, focusing on it at least once a week. So many times I want to let other things win: envy, fear, hopelessness. I remind myself, several times a day sometimes, that being grateful is worth the extra energy it often takes. The reminder is necessary. It keeps me going.

My envy for other people and the things they have sometimes threatens to swallow me whole. If it weren’t for how lucky I logically know I am, it would be impossible to go on.

I am grateful for the kindness of people, those who take the time to get to know me, to speak to me like a human being. I don’t want pity and never have. I am grateful for so much, but that wouldn’t be so true and meaningful if it weren’t for all the things that remain hard and painful and lost to me.

When I am having a bad day, wishing I could see colours still, remembering the loss of a family member, relationship, or time in my life I loved I want to throw my hands up and scream. Then the clouds that were so grey one minute part and the sun shines in. I don’t have to work too hard to make this happen.

I am thankful I have no serious mental illness. A girl shouldn’t have to shoulder both physical and mental illness at once. I know there are people who do, but I got the one, not the other. I am thankful for a clear mind, albeit foggy at times. I look at the world in crisis, so much of the time, and I focus on the stability I am so lucky to have in my own life.

So I am not sure how long I should wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s how I often think. All the thankful posts in the world can’t truly drown that thought out, but I’ll keep trying anyway.

So there you have it. This post did not include lots of statistics or scientific articles about gratitude. Others wrote about that. I could only tackle the subject from my personal perspective. I am thankful for personal perspective, in all its forms.

P.S. And then there’s books. How could I forget books?

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights

Lucky Number One Hundred

It’s Monday and this is usually the day of the week where I post an answer for the Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, but I must admit that I am not feeling up to much today.

A lot can happen in one week’s time,

But Trust Me On The Sunscreen.

I have come down with another sore throat. I’d originally hoped I would get through with the colds I had over the winter, but here is my first one of spring. Hope this one is only a minor nuisance.

😦

Instead of my usual Memoir Monday post, I will simply announce my place in this past Friday’s March 20th 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion edition:

Bystander

I included a link to my post and below I include one to the spot where you can find all the Building From Bullying posts, if you want to read any others.

#1000Speak Link-Up: Building From Bullying

I hope this movement isn’t losing steam already, but even if it is I believe even a little bit of kindness and compassion can go along way.

It seems the next big thing in the blogging world is the A to Z Challenge in April.

WHAT IS BLOGGING FROM A TO Z?

I recently heard about this one and I thought about taking part, only for a second, before common sense returned: perhaps next year.

I already have enough on my plate, so much that I am letting this blogging thing take over my entire life practically.

Okay, that’s a tad over-dramatic perhaps, because I really do enjoy it.

🙂

I have a place where I can go to write about all the things that are important to me. I feel, even for a few moments, that I am doing something worthwhile, even if I can’t do all I would like.

I just need to keep things in perspective, if I can, and try to maintain a balance in my life.

This blogging universe, I am learning, is really quite a small one. It’s a bit, I’ve noticed, like school.

It’s like the playground, I suppose you could say. It would make a good metaphor, especially for the topic of bullying I’ve just mentioned.

It’s not a bad thing. There seems to be a lot of support, from what I’ve seen and experienced so far. I haven’t witnessed a lot of bullying or judgment, but then again I didn’t see that constantly when in school either, but it did exist.

I just see a lot of the same bloggers, on any particular blog I might click on. I end up feeling a bit like I always did in school, a part of it, yet not really. It was like I was on the outskirts, looking in. I just keep doing it for my own reasons, doing what feels right for me, and that’s all I can ask for.

I continue to write about what matters to me, what my heart tells me to write.

I should be back again for my usual Monday post next week, with hopefully a few more in between, if I don’t let all this technology trouble get me down in the meantime.

Great week to all of you.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Spotlight Saturday

Spotlight On Kindness

Last week I was published on a lovely website, devoted to acts of kindness, which are always welcome in my mind. I appreciate that they have let me share my own story with their readers.

🙂

This website came to my attention and then to the blogging project I’ve been involved in for the past few months now:

About 1000 Speak

The two seemed to be the perfect fit and they kind of came together at that moment, soon after #1000Speak on February 20th took place.

So the original post that inspired the 1000 Voices Speak For compassion movement was first reposted on this website devoted to kindness,

We All Need The Village,

and then it was my turn.

I wanted to share a story I’d written about a kindness I’ve had in my life since I was ten years old:

A Friend In B

Kindness.

Compassion.

Both these things have always been at the heart of my blog and I am glad they have come together in just such a way as this.

I think we need more websites like

http://kindnessblog.com

Don’t you?

Update on Compassion:

The movement I mentioned my participation in from above, #1000Speak, will go on.

The organizers have been working hard at making it into more than just a solo occasion. I think this is an excellent idea.

They have decided to keep the 20th as the official day to post each month, from now on, but with each new month will come a new topic under the umbrella of compassion.

For the month of March the theme is bullying and the following blog is where a lot of this topic is being addressed.

The below blogger is hosting other bloggers and sharing on the universal issue of bullying.

Building From Bullying: Village Heroes – Hastywords

I will be making this, at least, a once-a-month thing on my own blog. If a particular month’s theme is especially close to my heart I may use it as the theme for the entire month here or simply write about my own personal take, in a blog post here or there, throughout. I want to keep the awareness going because the alternative is already dominating the news.

I will be posting on bullying on March 20th.

Okay, until next time…

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