Friday, June 1, 2012

The ties that bind

Dear hearts, I would like to share with you a little something I cooked up for school. HD by the way...I'm just saying...

Here is a kaleidoscope of the things in life that are important to me. I attempted to narrow my focus to one issue or cause but upon reflection, I found that there are a number of fundamental principles that have meaning to me and I hope, find resonance with you too. My children. Three in three years. We have all grown up together. A little huddle moving through babyhood, toddlerhood, the middle years and now adulthood. The lines blur sometimes and we all parent each other. We cajole, admonish and support each other. We take turns to tuck each other in, both literally and metaphorically. But most of all we just love each other.

There can be no society without community. Community is based on the premise of working for the common good, respect for different beliefs and tolerance for all members. Community requires proximity. A continual, direct contact and interaction between the people, the place and the things of which that community is composed. Sustainability. A Square metre of garden can produce enough greens and vegetables to feed a family of four. Community gardens provide an opportunity for those in any community to come together, grow food and grow a sense of place alongside their neighbours. Both state and local governments assist by providing land whilst the people provide the sense of belonging.

Your body is your temple. Treat it that way. It is very simple. The better you look after yourself, the better you will feel. WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is a big job to deliver health to yourself. But you deserve it. Without health, you have nothing.

I love my brain. I wish it were bigger. I am trying to cram as many words into it as possible. My favourite book is the dictionary. I urge you to read just one page. You will be transported from the sublime to the ridiculous. And you will understand every word. Speak your truth. Words as freedom of expression give us the opportunity to be heard.

In 2008 the people of Ecuador were heard and voted to adopt a constitution that recognizes that Nature has legally enforceable rights to exist and maintain its structures, functions and processes. Ecuador has demonstrated it is possible to place wild law at the very heart of the human legal system. Earth Jurisprudence refers to legal philosophies consistent with the Great Jurisprudence of the universe.

You can see a theme emerging here of interconnectedness. It is important that we are all of us, aware, of our connections. To each other and the earth. We have a responsibility firstly to ourselves and from there our family and then the wider family of the local community. And beyond. Think global act local.

With all of these connections comes the opportunity for laughter. The average pre-schooler laughs 400 times a day. By the time we reach 35 the average drops to 15. Laughter releases endorphins, increases your oxygen intake and makes you feel young. Laughing increases one’s pain threshold, boosts immunity and of course makes you feel good.

We most often laugh with people. Sometimes we cry with people. And that’s good too. Support for our family and friends, our class mates and our work mates makes our connections meaningful and our lives rich. When my husband left me for a 19 yr old pregnant English girl my friends and I did a lot of both. That was 9 yrs ago. Now we mostly laugh.

The aforementioned gave me the opportunity to reflect. It was the best thing he ever gave me as it turned out because ultimately it has led me to where I am today. I continue to engage in reflection. Reflection helps us make sense of the world and our place in it. It is a place where we can pause and find direction.

You’ve got to have a plan. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. And I am 50 this year. I googled goal setting and it smelt like Amway, so I’m not going to talk about SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time – targeted. If I do that I should be standing on a pyramid shouting at you.

Sometimes direction comes from religion. And I’m not just talking Catho’s v Prodo’s…Religion is so much more than that. It is the most personal reflection one can undertake. Even if it is the religion of Star Wars. Or Facebook. It doesn’t matter where you find divine inspiration, what does matter is that it makes a difference to you.

Direction sets one on the path of realizing your potential. Decide what you believe in and apply that every day. I have always said to my children, find something that you are happy to do and then you will be happy to do that every day. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it is ridiculously true.

Having found that thing, most everything else will fall into place. And then you can pay it forward. You may think the concept came from the 2000 American film with Kevin Spacey and that kid who sees dead people. But no. It’s from an ancient Greek play from 317BC – “The Grouch” which interestingly, was presented as a comedy.

In sociology this concept is called generalized reciprocity. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay “Compensation” wrote – “In the order of nature we cannot render benefit to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. The benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody”.

It’s a bit like sharing the love. It’s a lot like kindness. Kindness sounds like such an old fashioned word. I think it is underused. We need to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other. It is that interconnectedness thing again. If you are kind to yourself, you are likely to be kind to others.

I believe there is a string that binds us. You can’t see it. It is metaphorical and metaphysical. It relates to and reconciles the questions that Aristotle pondered from Plato’s observations that the nature of things is eternal and unchangeable, whilst the world as we know is constantly and perpetually changing. If we become aware of this string that binds us. Humans, animals and the earth, then we are more likely to use this string to support, to guide, to protect and to release ourselves and our fellow compadres, both human and otherwise. This string is both liberating and cosseting, uplifting and humbling.

I hope that my truth as I see it in some way resonates with you.

With love
Miss Mich

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