Interesting – and what the hell is liz talking about?
I’ve been watching the Chelsea Flower Show on BBC for the last week. An amazingly beautiful production that fills the heart and soul with its beauty and difference and humour and … passion.
The stories of what inspired people drew me in. The different designs that gave people so much pleasure. I was captivated by the sustainable garden from the USA that showed how farmers were resowing meadows of flowers on their land – and still raising their cattle. The rare orchids foundation from the UK where the gardener spoke with such passion about beauty. A garden that had peace and sculpture and colour and was the UK Cancer Foundations entry. And the three presenters were engaging and passionate.
So what? What’s that got to do with making a difference and grief ?
Well, my very perceptive reader (and I’m growing very fond of you all) – it is a small example of making a difference in the world. It’s about being passionate, enthusiastic, and focusing on what moves you. Doing what moves you despite challenges and struggle and disappointment – and deep loss.
I was writing to another blogger tonight about grief and without in any way breaking her confidence I will place some of my writing to her here (and I want to say how respectful I am of her courage in really acknowledging her grief and living with all the confusion that goes with it):
I’ve meant to say how I not only empathise with you having lost your Ma – I also dread the time mine will go wandering away from this world. I think grief is a space that can fill and overfill your life. And, I really understand how people try and get away from the deep deep pain and loss through so many means – drink, food, drugs, socialising, solitude …
It’s a space that fills the body, mind, spirit and heart – and you just want to ask it to go away for a while. But it doesn’t – because it’s a real and gaping loss that will never be filled again. And it doesn’t matter what the nature of your relationship with your Ma was. If it was great then you miss all the moments that won’t ever be great again. And if it wasn’t so great – then you miss and rail against the maybe opportunities to find some connection.
What I am constantly amazed by is the strength of the human spirit in times of indescribable grief. We’re never the same again and what we become is unknown. And how our bodies hold all the heart, mind and spirit feeling is truly astonishing.
Yeh, I try and live my life as authentically as possible. I tend not to spend very much time thinking about what people feel about me – sooo beyond my control. I focus on what’s in my control – knowing and speaking my own truth and listening and encouraging people to connect to their own truth and power.
The best gift from all that is that people are drawn to authenticity and I have attracted people on all sorts of journeys into my life – that’s my wealth and abundance. I never pretend to have the answers – only really cool questions. And basically, I get how complex and difficult and energising and amazing life can be – and we can construct so many different realities that are our own form of success and fun and abundance.
My life (as with everyones) has had it’s own trauma that has (and always will) leave it’s psychic scars and patterns. And I don’t beat myself up – I love the notion of being perfectly imperfect – right here and right now.
And I learn from so many people every day – people who I could easily not accept because they live their lives differently from me. I’m deeply curious about the paths people choose to take so I have friends who are christians, witches, atheists, hare krishna’s, santorini priestesses, buddhists, etc etc – and one of my oldest and dearest friends of over 30 years asks me not to talk about ‘all that spiritual stuff’!!
So, if we all hold to the core of who we are – then we can dance out and enjoy all the differences that surround us.
Having said that – there are things I’ll stand up and speak about – homelessness, the real place of art and creativity in our society, feminism and humanism, sustainable development and living your values. If people don’t want to listen – no worries mate (as we’d say in Oz). I’m not in this life to be a missionary. But, if I don’t speak and live my deeply held values – then what’s the damn point?
It’s about knowing what’s important for you – and making a difference by living and speaking it.
You don’t have to be high profile or international to make a difference.
If peace is important to you then live it within the circle of your friends, family and coworkers. If creativity is your passion then find ways to live it – and encourage others.
One of my passions is how we can live sustainably and since moving to Ballinamore I have at last found ways to not just talk about it but to live it – and have met other kindred spirits in the process. Pucheen and other people in this town are really making a difference. There’s a group of people who are taking so much time and fighting the inertia of the Dept. of Education and Science to get a new school – they WILL NOT GIVE UP.
I find that staying awake and conscious – keeping your eyes and ears open – helps. Capturing and attracting people and opportunities to live your values and passions – no matter how big or small (and anyway – we all know that size doesn’t matter!).
Here’s an example that happened to me today. I run my own ethical consultancy and have a drawer full of empty print catridges and a few old mobile phones. In the Irish Times mag there was a mention of a group called Recycling Appeal. They help organisations and individuals recycle things like print catridges and mobile phones and give them money that they can use for their charities or community organisations. I went online and registered and hope they’ll take me on board. I’ll contact local businesses and offer to be a contact point for their stuff and the money will go to Pucheen and a fledgling environment education space.
There you go – making a small difference in my own community. No biggy and we can all do it. A friend of mine volunteers time to a youth group and she’s fantastic (Hi Trina) – and she’ll yell at me for mentioning her name because for her it’s no biggy. No biggy – but she’s a fantastic woman who inspires me and so many other people by just being who she is. Another dear friend (Hi Pat) who will be visiting me from Boston in the summer has made a huge difference to thousands of people through her work in a major social justice foundation and another organisation that worked in Northern Ireland during the troubles. She is also a true inspiration to me as she redesigns the ways she will earn a living through a whole new way of living her passions and values.
Folks – it ain’t easy and it takes a certain courage – but who wants to live a passionless life?
And – we can all make a difference when we live our lives authentically – to our own truths and values and passions. Regardless of what people say and think – and often the people who love us the most are puzzled by us the greatest.
I’m lucky because I have a Ma and Pa and Stepma that may not have always understood why we do what we do – and are the people we are – but – they have always respected our right to be ourselves. Perfectly imperfect.
It’s when difference separates us that breaks my heart. When we use our passions to become obsessions and dogma – then we have lost the very essence of our existence. When my gay friends feel uncomfortable in certain public situations – I feel such a sadness and anger. Basically, I feel that if 2 human beings find each other and somehow make a relationship work – then I don’t care what the male/female combination is … ’cause we all know that sustaining loving relationships is really challenging.
So, for me, making a difference and the chelsea flower show are totally connected. Love and live your passion. Be awake and aware to all the chances to connect and make a difference in ways that work for you. Go beyond yourself. Don’t let the begrudgers get you down.