Keep moving

Photo Santiago Stankovic

Photo Santiago Stankovic

One of the guarantees in this crazy world is that changes are coming faster than ever before and nothing will stay the same!  For me, living in my paradise bubble that is Mallorca, this has meant embracing the new and dealing with the unexpected feelings that come with that.  Feelings that veer from ecstasy and excitement, to oh dear – what I have got myself into this time!!

One new venture is that I am back at Mallorca Sunshine Radio with a slightly tweeked weekly show, Just Glynis, where I’ve had some awesome, interesting guests so far.  One thing they’ve had in common is their quest for making this world a better place, be it through artistic endeavour, human rights activism, holistic therapies or using compassion as their day to day tool.

I had the pleasure to meet with a dozen Syrian artists who brought me to my knees in awe with their determination to be remembered as dancers and artists first and not as refugees or migrants as the defining label in their new setting, having fled from their beloved Syria in search of peace.

Now in exile in Europe, they were in Mallorca as part of the Voices of Damascus project, bringing together different artistic forms and cultures.  Mohammed Diban, founder of the Harake Dance Company, worked with Andrea Cruz, a Chilean dancer and choreographer based in Mallorca, on the piece which was then shown for the first time at IncArt festival.  Alongside Harake Dance Company were the boys from War & Peace, three young male hip hop dancers with an energy that brought people so much joy when they performed on the streets of Inca during the festival.

With them was the artist Fadi Yazigi who chose to stay on in Damascus when war broke out and pursue his art, not the easiest thing to do.  He explained about the collective memory loss amongst the people who are still there, along with the difficulties in getting materials for his work and the fact that his art is what he needs to be able to keep in balance and to keep going.  The work he was able to bring with him to exhibit here in Mallorca was the work of eleven Syrian artists who have not been able to show their art since the war started in 2011.  Amongst these artists were those established before the war started and newer, emerging artists, all needing an audience.

This week I shall be interviewing representatives from ProActiva Open Arms, an NGO working tirelessly to save migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.  They’ll be on the show talking about their work in sea rescue and all that they’ve learned since September 2015 when it took one professional lifeguard from Badalona Catalunya to go to Lesbos to see what he could do.  Since then, they have rescued just under 60,000 people fleeing war and persecution to cross into Europe where I hope they can find the peace they so desperately seek.  Also with ProActiva Open Arms on the show, local theatre company Migrants will be talking about their new show, Frontera (borders) which will be performed on 21st June in the Bellver Castle in Palma and which will raise funds for the NGO.  I was lucky to sit in on a rehearsal of the play this week which uses physical theatre and imagery to portray what happens to memory on this journey called life.  Please support Migrants by going to see their performance and in turn you’ll be supporting ProActiva Open Arms be able to continue with their work.

If you’re in Berlin, check out both Harake Dance Company and War & Peace and enjoy the energy of these young dancers.  Above all, be grateful for all that you have if you hold a European passport and enjoy employment, a home and food on your table.  We have so much we take for granted, so please, in honour of our brothers and sisters who have nothing, let’s make the most of our lives and appreciate family, be generous by sharing what we have and love everyone, ourselves included, in acceptance and peace.  It’ll be over before you know it!

Check out these links – like them if you can & follow and SHARE!

Harake Dance Company        https://www.harakedancecompany.com

War & Peace                             https://www.facebook.com/War-Peace-647896672220196/

Fadi Yazigi Art                          http://www.fadiyazigi.com

Voices of Damascus                 http://www.teatreblau.eu/www.teatreblau.eu/start.html

ProActiva Open Arms              https://www.proactivaopenarms.org/en

Migrants Theatre Company    https://www.facebook.com/ciamigrants/

Just Glynis podcasts                 https://www.mallorcasunshineradio.com

 

 

Advertisements

Thoughts of the unknown

20180419_163623.jpg

Will you open the door?

The sudden death of a loved one can bring up many feelings, from bewilderment, shock, a certain anger at the world, an immense sadness and perhaps confusion.  A whole range of feelings – some comfortable and some not so.  Death is a mystery, no-one knows what’s next, but life is the greatest gift we have.

With the passing of a loved one, we have their legacy, their gift to us.  From that we can work through the array of feelings that come up and open ourselves to them to be able to heal what needs to be healed.  Perhaps we hadn’t spoken with the deceased recently as we may have intended to, putting it off with more than one excuse for our busy lives; or perhaps we’d said something that came out wrong or maybe they even said something in a grumpy tone that we may have taken to heart.

Whatever ifs and maybes, we should all remember that we are human after all and the perfection of life is to be found in its imperfections.  Death will come to us all and life is where we get to practise all the things we want to say before it’s too late.  Our loved ones will want us to smile as much as we can, today and every day.  Our feelings don’t kill us so perhaps we can choose to remember our loved ones pottering about in their daily lives as they used to.

Hopefully this quote by Indian poet and writer Sanober Khan can help us understand: “whatever you do, be gentle with yourself.  You don’t just live in this world or your home or your skin. You also live in someone’s eyes.”

Be gentle with yourselves at this time.

Reality – ugly truth or sad fact?

8455606074_ee75a60d2e_b

If you read my blog last week and if you believed I had dinner with Robert de Niro then I apologise if my attempt at wit got misdirected!  I wrote my blog after a bout of flu and I can only blame delirium for that post!

However, I do believe in the power of thought and attraction so I am not giving up on having a tête-à-tête with Mr Dinero as I do believe it’s worth me giving it a shot to try and get through to him on a sore point!

Because of my blog post, I discovered that Mr D and other gazillionaires of his ilk are wanting to provide a luxurious getaway for other rich buddies on the beautiful island of Barbuda.  I also discovered that land in Barbuda has always been held in common by the people and has never been up for grabs, till now!  What a disappointment this news was to me.  Once again, I was confused and devastated to see how the rich want it all!  They want it now and with no concern of the right thing, seeming to poop on others less fortunate than themselves!  With arguments dressing it up as jobs for the locals , doing the local economy good yawn, the rich get everywhere and just want to take take take!  And to what end?  In my opinion, albeit just an opinion, God forbid their final moments on earth,  Those moments when the DVD of our lives is thrust in front of our eyes and when we have to look at all the messy things that we did with our lives.  This goes for all of us, no exceptions!

I try hard, sometimes harder, sometimes not, but I try hard every day to be a better person.  I have warts and all and that better person inside does daily battle with the voices in her head telling her she’s too this and not enough of that.  But I do daily battle and most often I tell the voices that Glynny is not a bad ‘un after all and I do admire the little bit she does for her part on the planet!  It’s not a lot but it’s my lot and I try not to do damage on others although each day, more realisation of my consumerism habits does bother me – where has it come from and who suffered to get it to me!!  Oh, and I can try a lot harder believe you me!

So Mr De Niro and to all other wealthy people of your kind, you know the ones I mean – wanting luxury at the expense of others – please call and let’s meet.  From a spiritual perspective I have a message or two.  One, you cannot take it with you!  There is no way you’ll get to say at the very end, hang on, let me pack my wealth please!  And two, you will have to answer for everything you did with your life especially how it affected the lives of others.  There are 1,800 Barbudians facing not only a loss of land but a loss of tradition and community and all because you and your buddies want a new playground.  You are not bad people, none of us are, but we cannot live in more than one home; we cannot drive more than one car; we cannot dress ourselves in more than one outfit and we should not do all this at the expense of those with nowt.  In short, please KISS –  keep it simple stupid!

 

Interesting articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/antigua-barbuda-election-communal-land-ownership?CMP=share_btn_fb

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/27/barbuda-fears-possible-loss-of-land-rights-is-bid-to-spread-tourism-from-antigua

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbudasilentnomore/

 

Living the dream

20180226_132640

So there I was, down at the plaza, and some local comes running up to me to tell me that Robert de Niro is sitting having a coffee in our square!  I say “nah, it’s gotta be one of those impersonators, but leave it with me”!  Over I stroll to Roberto, or march up to him rather, with one of those full on Glynny wattage smiles:  “Mr Tarantino, how nice to see you in our village” and of course as I see his face grow into that menacing look, I add “only joking with you Mr de Niro, if it had been Quentin, we would have battened down the hatches already!”

Well, I sat and chatted with Bob for about and hour and a half, making sure that our village was treating him fine – the way we like to do that for our Hollywood superstar visitors.  He was here on a recce with one of his producers and I entertained him in my splendid and professional manner, even telling him of my plans to change the name of the village when I become mayoress!  I managed to get first born and side kick Facu, aka the Burn, to show up with their guitars and they serenaded him for a while too.  I’ll say this for the man, generous too, they got a lovely tip!  Even the ex got a call and was delighted to be dragged away from selling houses to meet the legend and then all the various on-lookers, hangers on and other interested (for that read nosy) people got called in for a selfie with one of cinema’s greats – sorry can’t share, had to sign a confidentially kind of thing!  Sadly second born was at school but not a problem, a little video recorded message was made for him, a keepsake for all time!

I went on my way but not without first giving him my card and explaining that, yes I would be delighted to have the film rewritten to include a part in it for me, especially as he now knew what calibre and talent there was in Mallorca!  And damn, what a good hour and a half that was!

Bad news is of course I got the script today along with the shooting schedule and I am trying not to scream but “why is there so much hanging about on a film set ffs!!”

Mind you, he’s invited us out to dinner tonight and told me to bring the family so that’s me, the ex and his girlfriend plus her two kids, first born and his girlfriend (shall I tell her parents?), second born and a friend, my mum, my sister and the Burn and his lovely wife.  We’re going to Caimari, you know, the very good Ca Na Toneta restaurant where Michelle got taken by some ex US ambassador and his wife last year – if it was good enough for her, it will be fine for our guest!

Delirious or deluded!  I don’t care, that was the best night’s lack of sleep for a long time!  I’m still giggling at my audacity for marching up to him like I did!

Updated blog post reads:

Sadly, most of us have forgotten who we are and forgotten, above all, that we can’t “take it” with us when we die!  Obviously there will be a bit of tension at dinner tonight, after all there will be 3 Caribbean women in attendance!  Mr Roberto Dinero, remember this:

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; 

Whilst you might play many parts in your lifetime, don’t fall under the spell of the miser and play that as your best role yet!  You were made for better stuff señor – give up the exploitation and rich man’s playthings, they are unbecoming of a true master!

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/23/robert-de-niro-barbuda-hotel-hurricane-irma/

And finally, please LIKE & SHARE this!  https://www.facebook.com/barbudasilentnomore

Well would ya believe it!

Santiago Stankovic Fotografia

One World Music Festival

What an exciting time I’m having!  Since being withdrawn from the teaching programme, I am enjoying being where I am and the gifts of abundance are dropping in my lap which makes it so much more exciting!  No sooner than I decided that the blessing in losing one job was to give me time, space and energy on keeping my own house in order, ie my own business, the rewards began to show.

Ceremonies, enquiries, bookings started to come my way and being open to my purpose shows me that the path I am on is the right one for me.  The last two formal ceremonies, one a wedding and one a funeral,  have seen me receive tips from the ones who booked me.  Last Sunday’s ceremony to open the second edition of the One World Music Festival, showed me that there is a place for me and my work in the not so usual settings.

I facilitated the most incredible meeting of a Death Café too and 25 interested, curious and open people showed up to share thoughts, reflections and moments in an enriching setting.  I came away humbled and excited that finally we are talking in an open manner, prepared to listen to others and sharing ourselves in such a positive way.  I am preparing meetings in Palma soon to carry on this very important work of talking about death in a natural manner, after all, it comes to us all eventually.

All in all, I am excited to see the day to day unfold as losing one income has opened me up to gaining so much more.  Watch this space!

Photo credit: Santiago Stankovic Photography

To change or not to change….

determination, dedication, celebrant, mallorca, spain, binissalem, education, values, ceremonies

This week has been a week of looking within, going within and above all being happy with what I have found there!  It was a week of decision making, not easy and the doubts loomed large but faded gradually into the distance as I made up my mind.

I felt my father’s presence and whilst I am not sure if I got his blessing, I certainly got my mother’s stamp of approval and her good wishes for whatever I was going to decide.  It was a silly thing but also huge.  It was a moment of stubbornness which transformed into determination, although those it impacted on might not see it that way… yet.

I am no longer English language assistant at my local high school.  Why?  Because I refused to get one form and that was the deal breaker if I was to continue.  The one form was not necessary last year when I was employed on the same job.  I had the equivalent form through the Spanish authorities last year and that was deemed more than sufficient for them.  Had I been looking at doing a different job this year, this form might have made sense although it was a form required by the British authorities to whom I had mistakenly applied to continue in the same job.  Confused?  So was I until the end!!

You see, bureaucrats do things differently to sensible people.  They follow orders, don’t seem to question a lack of logic and they certainly aren’t going to look upon people as individuals, oh Lordy no!  If you are a bureaucrat reading this, please tell me how you treat people as individuals because your colleagues referred to me as Dear assistant when they wrote me – and no, I wasn’t their dear!

I could have forked out sixty quid and applied for the ICPC (International Child Protection Certificate) and I could have spent hours working out the addresses of where I had lived 25 years ago in the UK along with the jobs I had back in the late 80s and early 90s.  I could have then spent more on translating the document into Spanish and getting an official stamp.  I chose not to.  Not because of the cost although what I would be earning is not a fortune!  I chose not to because last year I was not required to.  Last year I worked with the same young people amongst the same colleagues in the same institution and I was deemed okay to work with children by a certificate that the Spanish authorities required.  I was stubborn and refused to take instructions and apply for the form when asked to by the British authorities.

Mind you, I thought I was home free when, after months of reminding me, telling me, cajoling me about the form – to which I always informed them that I would not be applying for it – they finally wrote me in September and told me where I would be working come October 1st!  Home free I thought!!  I returned to my local high school on October 2nd, having prepared a digital presentation for the new 1st year students and another digital summary of how I spent my summer for the returning students I had taught last year.

Whilst the first two weeks nearly killed my soul and spirit, I rallied round after hearing César Bona speak at an educational conference.  He was voted Spain’s best teacher and one of 50 best teachers in the world.  I was inspired by his message – make it different for the students.  I went back on the Monday morning fired up and I was off.  It was a great week, hard work but rewarding in a weird sort of way too.

However, by the end of the week I was told I had been withdrawn from the programme for not complying with requirements of the ICPC.  Fair enough.  The Spanish local education authority were going to give me a second chance and if I applied for this form, they would keep me on.  I have not applied for the form.

Have I let the kids down?  Yes.  Have I let my colleagues down?  Yes.  Have I let myself down?  No.  It may appear to be a act of stubbornness or even pigheadedness – it certainly looked that way to me during the decision making process – but I am determined that I will do something worthwhile and not get side tracked by bureaucracy.

I am not a teacher is one thing I have learned.  The teachers who are great teachers actually impart their knowledge.  I entertain, I think I inspire a little bit and I generously share what I know.  I hope I get kids thinking when I’m with them, but I really don’t think I have anything to teach them.  I’ve been told the kids loved me and one colleague told me that “people like me are badly needed in the schools” whilst another told me “they won’t have your creativity and spontaneity and everything you transmit“.  Two students told their mother “I like her classes, tell her that she won’t be able to come to your yoga classes anymore if she leaves” and “tell her she can’t go, it’s thanks to her that English is so much fun“.  Those were moments when I doubted if what I was doing was the right thing and being swayed by my ego took all my strength not to back down.

On the day where I had to make my final decision, I had my last wedding of the season.  It was just the couple who had eloped from Canada.  I was more daring with these two than what I have normally been for a wedding and I chose not to give them the ceremony to approve prior to their big day – they agreed to this.  After the ceremony, they were so delighted and the groom was so amazed with my work that when I went to leave, he placed a tip in my hand.  To say I took this as a sign that I am doing the right thing is exactly what happened.  To say how much I appreciate his gesture means that words are not enough.  His generosity exceeded his showing me my worth with his act of kindness and for that I am truly grateful.

I made a decision at 16 years of age that I was not going to choose money over happiness and I am so glad I did so.  Whilst money is our right in order to live within the constraints put out by our society, it certainly is not going to have power over my choices for the trying to be the best I can be.  I am not at the school anymore but it doesn’t mean that I am not planning my next move.

Youngsters, you haven’t seen the last of me, but the classroom is not where I want it to happen – watch this space.

Down to Earth – a journey to inspire

gallery_001

I was delighted to attend my favourite cinema in Palma recently, Cine Ciutat, for the pre screening of Down to Earth, a film described as a mirror to humanity.  The film was made by Rolf Winters and Renata Heinen and their three children and is about their journey around the world meeting indigenous peoples charged with keeping humanity’s wisdom alive.

The film was inspiring in its simple message – live in the now, take only what you need from Mother Earth and stay connected to her in nature.  Perhaps the message of “slowing down” could be the starting point for those of us fortunate to enjoy the film yesterday.

This beautifully made film, shot on location around the world from the Amazon, Ecuador to the Northern Territory in Australia, covered the family’s journey across six continents and the young family learned from the elders, those wise ones, about the importance of connecting to nature.

Afterwards we were treated to having the family – bar Zoeli, the eldest child – answer questions and give us their thoughts and reflections on their journey.  The two younger children, Skye, some 15 years and Levy, 11 years now, impressed everyone with their maturity and natural wisdom and it was a delight to see them comfortably growing up.  As the questions could have gone on all night, it was suggested we take our message from the film home with us and I did so, with great consequences!

For me the film was a reminder of the importance of staying connected with nature and I am blessed to not only live on a beautiful island, but also in a small town surrounded by nature where it is easy to get out into her on a regular basis.  I feel I am blessed as quite frankly the idea of living in a city or having a regular 9 to 5 scares me witless.  The best thing I ever did was to give up my job two and a half years ago and start my own journey, albeit here in Mallorca!

I will take the message of staying in the now, not dwelling on the past or focussing on a future of what if’s and maybe’s, something I have been trying to do these past couple of years.  I shall also persevere with letting go and what better result of having done that this week than having four more weddings confirmed as soon as I did so!  I had decided that I was willing to let what needs to come into my life and bam, the magic happened.

Down to Earth is a beautiful journey with an important message.  There is nothing we need except what is our human right on earth – safe shelter, food and water.  The Earth Guardians are simple in their living and wise beyond their years.  Why?  Because they are connected to God, to Mother Nature, to their source and to themselves, something so many of us find hard to do.

Thanks to Christer Soderberg, another Earth Guardian here in Mallorca, responsible for being inspired by Renata and Rolf and for filling the cinema to bursting!

Down to Earth – http://www.downtoearthfilm.com

Mallorca’s Avalanche of Love

Santiago Stankovic Photography;

Generosity at its best

I have been blessed to meet some incredible people in my life and none other than this past week.  The powerhouse and inspiration behind Mallorca’s recent avalanche of love is none other than local councillor for Inca, Antonia Triguero.

At a recent gathering of Mallorca based group, Kreakolektiva, Antonia was asked by the hosts to speak about her visit to the island of Kos and why she had decided to collect for the refugees upon her return to Mallorca.  That she did shows the big heart she has and that evening, she inspired the hundred or so people gathered to get involved and none other than photographer, Santiago Stankovic, who immediately set about creating a Facebook event which spiralled out of wonderful control.

With these two souls putting their hearts out there for people to follow, the incredible result was almost overwhelming at times, with people coming from all over the island, donating thousands upon thousands of items to be sent to the refugees in Lesvos.

At first Antonia had secured one 40ft container, but a week of Santi driving all over the island inspiring people out of their houses with donations meant that not just another, but up to six more containers were needed and with people power, they have nearly all been secured with the original plan to leave for Lesvos in the next week or so.  There is a bank account into which anyone can donate to help with the transport, see below, as each container cost 4,500€ to send.

Unfortunately the European Union have just signed a sad and sour deal with Turkey and in the last 24 hours the situation in Greece is unclear, with refugees being turned away from Lesvos as well as being being turfed out of the inhumane camps they have been held in.  What faces Antonia now is  where to send these next containers and as soon as NGOs and colleagues on the ground in Greece can tell her, we shall spread the news as to what is happening with everyone’s kind donations.

All this got me thinking about many things.  One is that this could easily be me or you.  From one day to the next, our brothers and sisters, who now find themselves as refugees, were living in their homes, with their jobs and daily tasks, with their loved ones and their pets.  In a heartbeat, they were on their way with just enough to fill a backpack on a journey where they had no map and who knows if they will get to where they don’t know they are going.  Especially now, with the new ruling, no-one knows what will happen to them.

What Mallorca’s good people have shown this week is that we, the ordinary and the extraordinary people everywhere, know what is good and what is right and that is where our energies have been spent this past week.  It is NOT right that we have a situation whereby thousands and thousands of our human family are fighting for their lives on a daily journey with no clear destination in sight.  It is NOT right that our elected officials sit in their fine offices and wine and dine on the misery of our human families affected by greed, violence and outrageous ego.  It is NOT right that we continue to elect these self-same officious men and women who deserve to come down from their ivory towers and ask themselves “what if that were me”?  It is NOT right that the refugees have no safe passage to escape war and misery.  It is especially NOT right the recent and atrocious deal made on our behalf to turn back the refugees that even dare to think of setting foot in Europe.

Antonia Triguero, Santiago Stankovic, people of Inca, women, men, young people and children of Mallorca you are a force to be reckoned with.  You are people with heart, with a conscience, with abundant love and compassion.  You are a people I take my hat off to and thank you for being who you are.

Visca Mallorca!

To donate to Proem-Aid to send the containers onwards, please use “Contenedor Mallorca” as reference and donate to this account: ES49 1491 0001 2021 7549 1022

 

Justice, at a price

What a week it was!  Great for me, not so great perhaps for Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Partido Popular Madrid branch, who resigned amidst yet another corruption scandal in the party!  Oh well, good news for some it definitely was!

I also had my first ever visit to the inside of a Spanish courtroom and I went through many emotions whilst there – disbelief and disappointment amongst them.  I was there to support my friend whose son was up on charges for resisting arrest (I really don’t blame him) and I was impressed by his maturity, honesty and handling of the matter in the courtroom.

However, I was more than a little surprised and occasionally stunned by the other participants in this drama!  At one point, one of the lawyers for the prosecution told my friend’s son to kindly address her and use the formal you, the same as she was using to address him.  I’m sorry – what did she just say?!

As a speaker of Spanish and having grown up without a formal you in English, I have long had my own issue with the usted, the formal you.  I waiver between feeling insulted when it is used to address me, especially with those who are younger than me, as well as feeling quite uncomfortable.

It’s one of those situations that has me constantly on my guard – do I use it, dare I not use it?  As a consequence, I have made many mistakes in my 24 years of living in Mallorca, sometimes not using it and receiving very clear messages that that is not acceptable and occasionally being given the freedom to throw it to one side.

The moment the youngish lawyer said that to my younger friend, I realised just how great the gulf is between people.  At no point had the young man lost his respect to this individual; at no point was he rude to this person or any of the others – six more esteemed colleagues including the judge were in the courtroom.  I felt it was entirely unnecessary for her to stop him mid-flow and point this out to him especially as he had not really addressed her with the informal you.  It seemed a clear case of “mind your place” and “I am so much more than you” and it was a shame, especially as the qualities demonstrated by this young man on this particular day were those that make the world a much better place – honesty, respect, humility, repentance, a willingness to move on and above all, a better wisdom and understanding about himself and life in general.

The soap opera continued with the testimonies of the other three young men implicated in the case, and again they were consistent with the story, as well as honest, open and respectful.  I could not say the same for two of the five police officers I managed to hear.  What a situation!  Their stories differed and at times made no sense, indeed the lawyers for the defence were as puzzled as the rest of us.  At one point, when the same lawyer for the prosecution, read out – once again – the list of insults my young friend had apparently hurled at the police office, the policeman actually said he was used to such insults but couldn’t explain therefore why such a physical altercation ensued.

Obviously I don’t work in law enforcement and can’t comment on the training received, but I can comment that what I saw that day were two officers disillusioned with their jobs, burnt out with the absurdity of it all, but more worryingly, buying into stereotypes as to the type of people who surround them.  I can more than imagine that on a regular basis they have to put up with aggression, bad manners, physical threats, rudeness, insults and more, but I can also see that they “see” certain people in ways that are not real.

It is time we looked beyond the make-up, beyond the stereotype and that goes for both sides in this case.  The policeman could look beyond the young, male skater and my friend could look beyond the uniform.  Perhaps if two years ago they could have been given the opportunity to truly hear the other’s story, we could have avoided this sorry spectacle of waste: energy, time, money and spirit.  Perhaps the police officer could have heard a young man’s passion for his sport, needing to practise it every day, living a life that is creative, disciplined, supportive and adventurous.  Perhaps my young friend could have heard of a man’s dreams that led him into the force and perhaps how those dreams were not all he imagined.

We have to go back to court in one month to hear what the sentence will be.  The prosecution changed her mind and now wants three years instead of two.  I hope it gets thrown out where it belongs and I hope my young friend does not have his life ruined from one mistake.  Sadly, that’s all it takes nowadays, one mistake.  However, if you’re a politician or a member of the royal family in Spain, you can be let off for planning a longterm systematic theft of public funds!  There’s still time though, watch out people, justice might just catch up with you.

Living and dying

I recently went to an event at the people’s cinema in Palma, Cine Ciutat, organised by Dona Sana Feminista.  Various clips of films showing different dying scenes were shown.  The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro), based on the true story of a man who spent 28 years fighting for the right to end his life was shown as well as The English Patient, One True Thing and Whose Life is it Anyway.

The event, “La muerte forma parte de la vida” (death forms part of life), also heard the views on death and dying from two eminent and respected doctors.  Dr Carlos Barra, member of the Spanish association Derecho a Morir Dignamente (the right to die with dignity), and Dr Enric Benito, senior consultant in palliative care and in charge of the Balearic palliative care units.

What struck me about the clips and the debate afterwards was firstly that the topic of death is everywhere.  From Death Cafés taking place all over the world in which the subject discussed is death – my own participation in this has monthly meetings well attended here on the island – to end of life care, soul midwifery, green burials – it’s become a 21st century concern and a one that is changing perceptions everywhere.

Dr Barra talked about freedom of choice, democracy and dignity whilst Dr Benito talked about spirituality and transcendence almost promoting healthy dying.  They agreed on dignity and that things need to change in terms of care and support as well as choices.  I felt that whilst it is important that dignity and choice are paramount for people in moments of pain, what wasn’t discussed is how we live life.  Dr Benito did touch upon this by suggesting that people die like they have lived.  The room seemed to take an in breath at such a suggestion but I liked what he said.

What does that mean, to me?  Choose a life of happiness is a start.  Choosing relationships that allow me to grow, choosing to learn from challenging moments in my life, choosing good health over medication – the list goes on.  I chose home births for my two boys.  Why?  Because I could.  I had healthy pregnancies and I wanted them to be born to people they knew, in a setting that was calm, quiet and above all, stress free.  I could have chosen a hospital birth with strangers, maybe the same doctor who would have seen me throughout my pregnancy might have been there.  Along with bright lights, forms to fill out, questions to answer – but that wasn’t for me.  My list of choices affects the education of my children preferring small and alternative to big and standard; my working habits at this age of my life have also been chosen with me in mind.  In fact I have never been poorer financially as I am now, having chosen to give up a well paid job some years ago to forge ahead in a new direction – one that is satisfying, one that is helping others and one that fulfils me.  When I die, I shall chose to die in a healthy way, whether I am ill or not.

I remember my good friend Rufus who died of cancer some years ago.  He was well supported by his partner, my good friend Jo, and lots of friends besides.  The weekend before his death, we friends gathered at his home to support him and Jo.  We knew that Rufus wanted to die there and we wanted to respect his wishes as much as possible, but at the same time, this was a decision that affected Jo too.  It was decided that he would go to Hospital Joan March, up near Bunyola, where they have a specialised, palliative care unit.  He was admitted on the Saturday.  The care there was excellent.  It was attentive, it was peaceful, it was accommodating and it was filled with love and light.  Over the next days, Rufus received many visits and Jo was supported at all times.  Between the friends and the hospital staff, the end soon came.  When I arrived there in the middle of the night a few minutes after Rufus had left his body, I entered a room with Jo at his side and a nurse in the background.  I shall always remember her name – Consuelo (comfort) – and I shall always remember her, not for anything she said but for all that she did by being there, close to Jo to support her in that moment and allowing Rufus to go to sleep, forever.

I want to die like Rufus should ever I become ill.  He was dignified whilst ill, conscious to the last whilst ill, medicated for the pain whilst ill and above all, alive and happy whilst ill.  He never complained and I think his acceptance of what was going on in his life helped him.  He died like he lived – as himself and with a greater wisdom and a dignity which was all his.