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.

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Mallorca Death Café

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Since last December, I have been hosting regular Death Cafés in the village of Binissalem where I live.  This summer I also hosted one in our capital Palma and last weekend another up in the beautiful mountains in the village of Deia.  To say I am happy I discovered the Death Café movement is an understatement – I am ecstatic!

As a bit of background first and taken from the Death Café website to make it clear:  “at a Death Café people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’ and is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes”.

Every meeting I have ever hosted has been unique but perhaps one regular occurrence is that whilst I may try to suggest topics of discussion, my wonderful DC members prefer to do it their way!  If I were to give our encounters a quality, I would say that respect pours out of everyone at every encounter.  Some people’s opinions on death can be very different but the atmosphere of respect makes every opinion count.  I have learned a lot about myself too and see that my opinions are constantly challenged in the setting of my head whilst I hear what other people have to say about subjects about which I may have previously been quite closed.

Everything about the Death Café movement has me excited!  From the name itself – after all saying the word death generates so many reactions,  from horrified facial expressions to curious bemusement!  In all cases it does get people talking!  The guidelines suggested for hosting a death café are also entrancing!  Setting a death café in a tea room or eco café, enjoying tea and cake, how could I not enjoy conversation about death in this type of setting.  For my village to boast an eco café serving the best in tea and cake makes every encounter that much sweeter (plus the kilos have been piling on)!

Whilst the guidelines do advise that a death cafe is not a bereavement support group, even that has been questioned in one of my events simply because Mallorca is not yet set up to offer the recently bereaved a setting for support as I recently discovered.  Seeing the compassion and love so freely shared in a recent event towards a grieving widow made me proud of my fellow sisters and brothers residing on planet earth and I saw how the death café can help.

We meet to talk about death and through that we talk about life, about hope, about different cultures and we break down the taboo around death.  We challenge ourselves and our opinions and beliefs always in an atmosphere of respect and interest.  Our conversations are our inner most thoughts and reflections, shared perhaps for the very first time.  In short, these encounters free us up to get on with life and living and I am so glad to have discovered the Death Café movement.

Find a Death Café near you          www.deathcafe.com

Enjoy tea & cake near me              L’Exquisit, C/Rectoria 2, Binissalem, 07350 Mallorca

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.

 

Politic…. or is it?!

David & Goliath

As I took Maggie out for a walk this morning, I bumped into one of the football mums who was also a buddy in the little political party I was involved in for the May local elections.  Since the disaster of the results and the ensuing lack of cooperation on the part of the opposing parties, I have taken myself away from them.  The experience was interesting and I don’t even begin to understand politics but I certainly do wish and hope for less ego and more humility for those who get involved, myself included.

So here’s the thing: catching up with said mum about the latest in the village, we chatted about the recent resignation of the president of the local football team.  Yes, I had seen the news in the local press just a couple of days ago – no reasons were given for his resignation.  However, it transpires that he’d had his fingers in the pot, hence was asked to stand down. Now that did grab my attention as the facilities at our local football ground have not been the best for sometime.  Of course, if there’s no money then it’s understandable that facilities are going to be lacking – anyone can understand that can’t they?

I queried whether the ex president was facing prosecution or at least a guarantee that he would never be able to run for any public office ever again.  Ha, how stupid am I?!  No, of course not, not even a slap on the wrist, just a quick and convenient resignation with a whole village colluding with him, myself included!

That brings me on to what’s happening in Greece and them standing up to the Troika with a resounding “no” this past Sunday.  Now I cannot even begin to fathom how we are going to come out of that mess or any mess in the world today come to think of it!  I would have voted “no” too.  But what is the answer?  All I know is that we cannot continue in a world that gives corporations so much power over us and I believe we are going to have to learn to stand up for ourselves by saying no.  However, it is always convenient isn’t it to have a big bad Goliath to blame for our woes.

So when are we going to stand up and say something about our parents’, our partners’ and our children’s behaviour?  You know, those people who make up our community, our society, our world – us!  We are colluding, together, all of us – Troika, left, right, centre, apathetic, racist, sexist, classist, age-ist – we are all in it together.  From our ways of consuming, never questioning where it’s coming from; to the ways of turning a blind eye on corruption or bad behaviour, every day we fail to stop and say, “hang on, that’s not right is it” or even demand a change.  No, it’s more a case of – it’s nothing to do with me, my son doesn’t play football or I shouldn’t say anything, I might get beaten up or worse.  Or even, Greece, let them sort it out themselves after all they’ve only got themselves to blame!

Guess what!  We are all in this together, we are all turning the blind eye on ourselves and our behaviour.  The beauty of life is that we are here to manifest the most brilliant part of ourselves – the part that stands up for what’s good and what’s right, the part that embraces peace, love and happiness as a universal right.  The part that acknowledges that each and every one of us here on earth has the basic human right to food, water and shelter, that it is not a luxury or something that we should work hard for!  What happens instead?  We fight against each other, we blame others for our misfortunes, we don’t stand up to the bullies, we allow feelings of negativity to over-ride every bit of common sense and we refuse to believe in the good of everyone.

No, I haven’t got the answers but I will be damned if I am going to give up.  I shall continue to do my little bit, even if I just influence my sons to be and do their very best, I will have done something to be proud of.  Now, if I can just get hold of that ex president and influence him…. that would be the icing on my cake of life!

8 years on…

Father and sons

Father and sons

Can you believe it?  Eight years ago I was about to embark on a most terrifying journey – divorce!  It was the most crushing summer of my life, nothing compared to the pain I went through and my immature way of handling things.  I hurt, wow did I hurt.  I was angry and that’s not a nice state of being to either experience or to witness.  During this journey my parents were my rock.  Although I never talked in depth to my dad about things, he was the one who initiated all the telephone calls, handing me over to my mother to go deeper into things.  I got through through all of it thanks to their unwavering support – to me, the boys and to the boys’ father too, they never stopped respecting him as their father.

My best friend Lana, godmother to second born, was also my rock.  She was between living here and back home in Croatia that year but she was there at the end of the phone or right by my side when she would visit.  She was the voice of reason, the voice of calm, the voice of practical common sense and thanks to her I was able to make sure that on a practical, financial level, everything was taken care of for the boys.

It is now eight years since and I rejoice at having received the gift of final separation of a relationship which had fallen dead on its feet without either of us realising at the time.  The journey has been intense and so worthwhile.  I have learned that I do eat more when stressed and I envy all those women who lose tons of weight when they separate, alas it was not meant to be for me!!

I also discovered some really good girlfriends who have been there for me during those hard times and since.  Interestingly enough most of them have left Mallorca since and whilst I miss them very much, I recognise that they were here at a very important time of my life and I thank them from the bottom of my heart – they helped rebuild me.  I am learning to reconnect with people again, slowly but I am getting there and I am starting to see a way forward.

I have done a lot of great things since that summer of 2007.  I went back to work and enjoyed five and a half years in the best job I ever had, working for Planet Space.  I still enjoy connecting with my old bosses and colleagues from time to time, taking along a cake for them to enjoy or just popping in.  I started a Peace Centre which was an ambitious project, stalled but not forgotten.  I have my own weekly radio show, “The Happiness Café” every Monday morning at 10am on Mallorca Sunshine Radio – there’s a plug you can’t ignore!  I am proud of that show and what it stands for and invite you to follow.

The best of all is now, 8 years on, as my ex, our sons’ father has come to live next-door-but-one!  Yes he has taken number 2 in our street and there is only number 4 between our houses.  I am so happy, my hand on my heart, this is the best thing to have happened to our family and no words can describe the joy I feel at having Rob living nearby.  To see how happy the boys are is to feel that Rob and I have come a long way since June 2007.  He still annoys the hell out of me but I am doing his washing until he gets his own washing machine.  The laugh I had with first born when he realised I was hanging out his dad’s washing is priceless – you should have seen the two of us in the garden with me begging him not to tell his friends!  Second born is just a happy bunny, he doesn’t like us arguing but hey, we’re still learning, his father and I!

 

5 Rhythms revisited

 

Jessica Howie; 5 rhythms; Mallorca; Wild Honey Oxford; workshops

Jess

You may remember that I translated a 5 Rhythms workshop last autumn with the very fabulous Jessica Howie.  Well this past weekend, she was back in Mallorca and I once again was her translator of choice for the weekend 5 Rhythms workshop so beautifully organised by Tracy Courtney-Wills.

Twenty people, mainly women, gathered together to dance and move their way through the 5 rhythms and I was able to witness and partake at times in this most liberating of experiences.  My arrival on Saturday was a little bit hairy as I had had to bake two cakes first thing and I was a bit stressed getting to the venue.  No problem as it seemed that most of us there were bringing “stuff” to the session and Jessica quietly suggested that we just let it be and let it go.  I found the first hour or so challenging, in that the little voices in my head were telling me what a rubbish translator I was.  It’s not easy for me knowing that over half the room of English speakers have an excellent level of Spanish.  I felt invisible eyes on the back of me for a long while but then remembered comments from the last workshop from the Spanish participants who complimented me on my translating as they got exactly what they needed!  So from then on I enjoyed myself catering to their needs.

Jess and I have an amazing connection and this was proved at the last workshop and confirmed again this weekend.  She and I work well together and I really enjoy being by her side and being part of this incredible journey.  She manages to create a space for everyone to just be themselves and she allows absolutely everything to be what it is, just right.  As this is only my second 5 rhythms experience and along with the fact that I have not really participated due to having to translate, there was a moment when I truly got lost in movement.  Luckily Jessica noticed and catered for that by being aware that no words were needed just then.  As I came back to earth I noticed my hands as if for the very first time and wow, they were amazing!  Opening my eyes and looking through the window was like seeing the world for the first time.  The freedom to be myself in the 5 rhythms was truly liberating and I can’t wait to participate properly next time.

Jessica’s music is also excellent and the choices for us to move and dance to are truly an exciting mix.  The five rhythms are flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness so you can imagine what a mixture of music is presented.

Sadly on Monday I had the opposite of what I had experienced throughout the weekend and that was a massive downer!  I moped around most of the day, unable to get a handle on myself.  I had to force myself to go to improvisation in the evening and how glad I am that I went as that brought my spirit back to life!  A funny thing happened to me on Tuesday though and that was when I popped into the gas station.  Whilst waiting my turn in the queue, the radio was on and without prompting I began to move and sway to the music.  I realised that on Monday I hadn’t listened to any music and my body automatically went into rhythm whilst standing behind a gentleman who tried not to look at me as I began to move my arms and body in time to the beat.

5 rhythms is a must, for everybody and anybody!  I am going back for more so hurry back Jessica Howie, this woman needs you!

 

Visit Jessica’s web page                                                                        http://www.jessica5rhythms.com/

Energetic Wisdom – Yes Please!

energetic wisdom; Tony Mills; healing; Mallorca

The Soul Whisperer

That is the face of an incredible man!  I had the pleasure to go see him yesterday for an appointment in Energetic Wisdom work and arrived promptly for my appointment at his beautiful cottage in the countryside of Lloseta.  The backdrop to the house when I arrived was stunning, the Serra de Tramuntana which never fails to uplift me.

What did I expect?  Well first of all good friend Marsha had been going on about him any chance she could, so I knew he must have something.  I was looking forward to having someone sort out my ankle and shoulder and knowing that he trained originally as an osteopath, I thought, if nothing else he could have a quick tweak for me.

As it turned out, I just had to get comfortable in my chair and take in this lovely, kind Welsh man’s wisdom.  He told me about geopathic, underground water and electro-magnetic stresses and the negative effects they can have on us.  As a way to handle this, Tony has developed some beautiful jewellery to help combat such stress and is available for house harmonising work too.  I remembered that the electricity company changed all the meters last year and I don’t like having it in my house so I think I shall need to purchase something soon.

He began with a quick look over my body and with his tools of the trade he rebalanced what he could.  It was then onto what I thought I needed to deal with.  As my appointment earlier in the week had to be cancelled due to a migraine, we decided that this was as good a place to start as any.

My earliest memory of my migraines was the day I started my drama course at Middlesex Poly, back in 1986.  I had trekked across London to Golders Green and what with the excitement, nerves and basic stagefright, I ended up crashing in the basement and missing out on most of the day.

With Tony yesterday I made a decision.  I no longer need to hide from myself and take to my bed which is the physical requirement for my migraines – pills don’t work for me.  It’s time to let them go and so we talked in depth about their meaning and then did some work.  This is where my mind has gone blank.  I can’t clearly remember what we did and what I can remember I cannot explain.  I do know that there were words spoken and energy work done.  The words provoked something in me which was positive and uplifting.

The session was over too soon although it seemed like hours that I was there when infact it was just over an hour.  I was told to drink lots of water and that I might have some reactions such as tiredness or even some emotions might come up.  Well I was immediately shattered.  My mind was blank.  I picked up second born and a friend from school and they had to get their own lunch as I went for a siesta.  I was out like a light.

I took the dog later for a walk and remembered something from the session.  I had had an idea for a theatre play and as I walked the dog, ideas started forming.  Today I meet with two women from my improv group to discuss the way forward, perfect timing!

The most amazing thing of yesterday’s session is that whilst I mentioned my ankle and shoulder to Tony, we left it aside.  This pain in my shoulder and the one in my ankle have been there since last autumn which has also been the poorest economic time in my entire life, giving me many a sleepless night and panic attack in the day.  Guess what?  No pain since yesterday afternoon!

Tony Mills – Soul Whisperer and Energetic Wisdom worker talks a lot of sense.  He’s also meant to do what he does.  I look forward to this next phase of my life – thank you Tony.  See you on stage!

 

Tony Mills                                                                                        www.energetic-wisdom.co.uk

Hasta la vista Juan

Juan Correa

Gone but not forgotten

Today we said goodbye to Juan Correa Maturana, 40 years young, a son, a colleague and a friend to many.  I had the pleasure of working with Juan during my time at Planet Space.  He was a hard worker, meticulous in all that he did and a collector of anything about to be thrown in the bin!  His desk was a collection of interesting bits and pieces and Juan was always the one to save useful rubbish from being thrown away by our customers.

He drove the van the way he approached work – hard and fast!  He listened to the radio, tuning into rock, heavy metal, anything loud that went with driving a van fast.  Many a sleepy morning when I would have to take the van out of the warehouse, starting the engine and having the radio kick in would jolt me into the day with the blare of Juan’s music choice from the day before.

No job was too hard for Juan.  He had no time for fools either so many a time Juan would step in and finish a job with the forklift that I was capable of botching up, luckily before I would.  He liked my cakes, always saving his slice for when he would really take the time to appreciate and savour every last morsel.

I bumped into him in Binissalem one day last November when he had come for the day to check on his beloved dogs.  It was raining, the day was pretty grim and Juan was below energy, par for the course with his illness.  I took him back to my place as it was lunch time and Pau and I were going to eat.  Juan stayed for a while, eating taking as long as Pau normally takes – another virgo.  But this time eating was not the same as it had always been for Juan.  He asked me why I had not been to visit him in hospital in the preceeding months.  I can’t remember what I said but I did say sorry and I did say I had no excuse, it was what I do best, bury my head.  I am glad he asked me though.

I last saw Juan this past Saturday at the Hospital General in Palma, in the palliative care unit.  His mother was there and his dear friend Jan, former girlfriend and an incredible woman.  These two women were with him to the end.  Friends and colleagues came daily to see him although by now he was not able to acknowledge them but he was aware of us all.  One such visitor was like a father figure to him – owner of Complete Marine Freight and Planet Space, Peter Sell.  Peter told me how he had said goodbye to Juan some days before his passing.  Juan managed to squeeze his hand even though by this time Juan was out for the count.

I know Juan would have been happy with the gathering today.  He would have loved seeing STP maintenance department being represented as well as longtime, faithful customer Noel Dyne.  Old colleagues were there and Manu, our faithful every Wednesday sales rep too.  We were all there, his CMF compis led by his work bff Lucy as well as his PS buddies.  His mum, bless her, kept her dignity and welcomed everyone of us and along with Jan and a primo-hermano, the family was complete.  The only one unable to be there of course was Juan!

Juan, I’m sure you’ve got a brand new van to drive where you are now, music blaring!  Along with a motorbike, boat, the open air and your hair flying in the wind, you must be rocking!  We will miss your collection of bits and pieces around your desk.  Packing crates and pallets won’t be the same without you.  Seeing you show up looking snazzy for a night out will truly be missed.

Juan, que sepas, todos te queremos y todos te echaremos de menos.  Descansa en Paz brother – we love you!

Harmony

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy family!

We’re getting there, the ex and I!  It’s coming up to 8 years this summer that we split up in a manner befitting a Mexican soap opera but that’s all in the past now.  I behaved badly in the beginning – and how – but gradually I learned things about myself and started to grow up and take responsibility for me first.  It was my mid-life crisis – if I live to 90 that is – and now I am happy to know that I don’t need another mid-life crisis, one was enough!

This week I have appreciated my ex’s kindness as out of the blue yesterday he showed up at the door with wood he had cut for the fire.  It’s little things like this that really create a good atmosphere.  Without thinking therefore, I offered dinner that evening and we sat with second-born and enjoyed a meal together.  First-born, as often happens, was out!!

This week I have also appreciated first born´s efforts to make up for leaving the cake out on Sunday.  Resident diva-cat Miss Mypenny Mishau very delicately ate one half of the carrot cake I had made for a customer!  I think it was worth losing the business because my older son has been making smoothies for the family before he rushes off to work at 7am.  How lovely it is to get up to that every morning this week.  I even forgive the dishes in the sink although I wasn’t amused at the fruit in the general bin instead of bringing in the organic bin from outside!  Oh well, I am getting there, slowly.

The topic for the show this week is on harmony so I have been thinking a lot about what that means to me.  It’s all very well that I ask our listeners to comment but I too have to have some thoughts.  So I have been remembering when I used to go and visit my brother and his wife when I was in my 20s and their house was always so harmonious.  They never watched tv, infact they went without tv for over a year once because they believed it to be broken, or was that what they told the kids!  We would visit and the children would be busy playing or doing arty things if the weather was bad and always the atmosphere was a peaceful one.

I think harmony has to accompany silence, quiet, it’s the peaceful moments that create harmony.  The vibrations we pass onto each other can be harmonious or not, just like a music that has harmony can create a stillness in our heart but if the music grates away, that too can grate upon our soul and disturb us.

I enjoy my life very much.  I am happy that I am growing up and learning more and more as each year goes by.  As my beloved father used to say to me on my birthdays – it’s not another year older, it’s another one wiser.  It’s true.  Opening my heart, my eyes and my ears to all around and listening for the music, the harmony, life is so much easier.  For sure, I have moments in which I cannot hear anything except the noise of my mind and my heart beats faster and my eyes blink and doesn’t see much.  But the soap opera way of living in my 20s and 30s is slowly leaving me.

Being the better side of 50 is a wonderful experience so far.  Sure my body flops in yoga when teacher Eva effortlessly shows us another posture but the fact that I do yoga now is a plus.  I am learning to relax a bit more each time I get up and get creative, the dry throat and racing heart are still there but the mind is a little better.  Maybe by 80 years I shall get up and do improvisation with no hang ups at all!  By the way, first show with my improv class is on Sunday 8th March, International Women’s Day and in Spanish so I hope to see you there!

So harmony, welcome into my heart and my home – I enjoy having you as part of my life and I look forward to having you more and more.  Where does harmony come from?  I believe the first step is love, in loving myself I can experience more and more harmony in my life.  If I love me, I can love others more easily.  It’s not been easy at times in the last 8 years to love my ex but I wasn’t loving me enough.  Don’t get me wrong, he still drives me insane and I can make up a list as long as both my arms with complaints and criticisms when I get going.  That’s why harmony is so important in relationships and with love as the foundation, anything is possible.

Listen out to my show The Happiness Café next Monday at 10am.  Download the app and take me with you.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on harmony too!

The Happiness Café Radio Show – http://www.mallorcasunshineradio.com

“Improv Show” with Estudio Gori Artieda Sunday, 8 March 2015 6pm in Teatre Lloseta, Mallorca

Us & Them

prostitution; brothels; European laws on prostitution

Anyone for shopping?

I caught an interesting documentary on television the other night, “Sex – Made in Germany”.  It seems that prostitution and all things related are legal in Germany and and the programme featured some very successful entrepreneurs and their businesses.  Apparently the state is bringing in some big bucks because of making the industry legal and along with them, private businesses are also raking it in.  However, as usual women don’t make as much money and some of the ways of earning a euro or two as a prostitute in Germany (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) are quite sad and shocking.

Prostitution is a big subject for me, much bigger than politics or religion about which you can hear me happily giving an opinion whenever you want!  For the record, I have voted and I have been to church so I have my opinion based on my experience.  I’ve not sold my sex for money and I’ve never been inside a brothel nor spoken to a prostitute so where does my in-built distrust and disgust come from regarding this age old industry?

I think this is where my matriarchal influenced life comes in, a place where women were their own bosses and no man told her what to do or how to do it.  My maternal grandmother stood her own ground against a patriarchal system and rose to the top of her profession in Jamaica back in the 30s and 40s, unheard of at the time.  My paternal grandmother was a busy mother of six, living on the breadline, but boss of her house and keeping everyone in check.  Has that influenced me?  For sure it has!  Men didn’t expect so little of women where I was growing up, they expected an awful lot.

I have had a blessed life in which education and values were bestowed upon me in all their glory.  As a girl growing up in the 60s and 70s, expectations were there, albeit it did seem limited at the time.  At 18yrs and leaving school the choices were university, teacher training, nursing or secretarial school – we were expected to do something with our lives.  I chose secretarial school as my cunning plan was to be CEO of a multi-national!  Unfortunately I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French and things didn’t work out that way, but that’s another story!

The part of the documentary that really affected me was when the programme was interviewing the successful owner of one of the biggest chains of mega brothels in Germany.  Filmed at home with his four children who are privately educated in Waldorf and international schools, he is asked about them taking on the family business when they’re older.  His answer shows his pride of his children and he would be delighted if they took over the family business.  The interviewer then asks if he’d be happy with his daughters working as prostitutes and to see his face, appalled at the idea and then hear his answer jerked me back to reality!  Of course not was his answer!  What a brutal thought he shuddered!  Here is a man who would not want his own daughters to work as prostitutes yet his business celebrates prostitution!

Further disturbing facts about the documentary show how this type of establishment is considered the norm amongst men from all walks of life and they start going there when they legally can.  Here in Mallorca we have a lot of young Brits coming on holiday to Magalluf as a wierd rite of passage and in Germany, that rite of passage for boys is going to one of these mega brothels instead!  I can’t imagine my sons as clients in that sort of place.  First born never did a Magalluf rite of passage either!

How sad it is that the one of the most wonderful expressions of human love namely sexual expression can be turned into something so sordid.  Physical love, an opportunity to sexually connect and explore on another dimension but instead used as a service in which the man has the power and connecting to someone’s feelings don’t come into it.  I have nothing against prostitutes, facts show that many of them are there because of sexual abuse, poverty, violence or trafficking.  I simply do not understand how men can pay for sex.  There is nothing glamorous or sexy about it, there is nothing sweet or cute about it, there is nothing that I can see that makes it acceptable – nothing about exploiting women is right to me!

For the prostitute, things did get a little better with these new laws in Germany which allowed prostitution to become legal but it wasn’t enough.  As usual, elsewhere in the world, prostitution is alive and kicking and still benefitting men.

And for the father who expects so much from his daughters, how sad that underneath it all it’s about us and them at the end of the day.

 

Interesting reading:

http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/welcome-to-paradise/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26261221

http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/jun/12/germany-now-europes-biggest-brothel

http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000772