Dialogue

Two words that struck me in a lot of what I saw and heard at Greenbelt were “dialogue” and “boundaries” and the importance of both, not for one side or the other but for both. The this morning I read an article in The Week taken from The Guardian in which Natalie Nougayrede disagrees with Jeremy Corbyn’s “fondness for holding talks with such unsavoury groups as Hamas and Hezbollah” and says that it is a waste of time to talk with these groups “unless you have some sort of leverage” and that “talking means little unless it’s in pursuance of strategic goals …. or for one side to force a deal on the other.” Surely this is not dialogue at all but about coming from a position of power and only really letting someone else speak to make sure that they do as the person in power wants.

Now I do not know why Jeremy Corbyn has been on stage with known terrorists and what his strategy is for it. I have not been able to dialogue with him. Nor would I say that I understand the deeds of Hamas and Hezbollah or agree with their methods, but then I have not had a dialogue with them to ask them why they do what they do. Life is complicated. It is not black and white. If I say that I will only listen to people to force them to do what I want then really I am not listening to what they have to say at all as I have already decided the outcome.

We had an incident in the family recently where I had decided I knew best and so did what I thought was the right thing. A certain member of the family was not happy with it and expressed her feelings very clearly. Ok so that wasn’t right either. Once the emotions had died down we both sat down and dialogued about why we had said what we had said and reacted as we had. There was no winning or losing but a change of direction for both of us. As parent I could have come from my position of power, with my strategic goals and forced my daughter to do what I wanted and even manipulated the situation, but I would never have heard where she was coming from and why she felt so strongly.

In the media we seem to forget the atrocities committed by the West on the Middle East and other countries. Western Europe and America seem to forget the things they did and only look forward and only want to keep working toward the future in the way we think is best. Maybe if there was dialogue there would be a change to see why others think and feel the way they do and why they react as they do; to see that life is not as black and white as we would like it to be. I do not condone terrorism but then I also do not condone many of the things the West has done in the name of Empire or meddling that have gone on which do get forgotten.

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Homosexual Issues

Couldn’t find one with two women

I have been noticing something regarding issues that people have where it goes to court regarding homosexual issues; it is more often than not involving two men. At times there are issues with two lesbian women but that is often to do with the patriarchy of the child that one of them gave birth to. I wonder if as a society there are more issues with two men having a relationship together than two women. There are many pornographic films which involve two women having sex together targeted at a heterosexual audience, but if there are ones with two men then they are not targeted at a heterosexual audience.

A woman is waiting for a man to lead her

Queen Victoria was asked to sign a bill making homosexuality illegal she was more than happy to do this for male/male relationships but not for female/female relationships and has been cited as informing her minsters that they were being silly to even suggest that a woman would not want a man in her life. I wonder if society, deep down, still feels that way – seeing male/male relationships as wrong and unnatural but seeing female/female relationships as just a phase that they will grow out of. Homosexual men need to be sorted out, dealt with, kept away from society, but women are to be loved till they “get over it.” Mind you I know a lot of Christian thought that sees homosexuality as “unnatural” and have places where men can go to be “healed” of their unnatural tendencies. – NB I do not think like that and I cannot believe God thinks that way either.

Not so long ago in certain part sof US it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry

I am not saying that to even things up we need to see as many headlines about female/female relationships that rock the status quo but I do wonder if society is still in the place of thinking male/male relationships are abhorrent and female/female ones are just a phase. Mind you I do wonder if even in our so-called liberal society we still have ideas of what is normal and what isn’t – even down to the age difference between couples, the age they should marry, what is too much, too little, who should be older/younger, what sex they should be, how many partners they should have, etc. It is crazy.

Our society is lying to itself that it is liberal. Only when it can look at all loving relationships equally, I think, can we truly say we are liberal, but also only then can we say we truly know and love God. See I don’t think God is bothered what one’s sexual orientation is but is concerned about how loving and kind and supportive we are to each other – whether we agree with their way of life or not!

Everything Needs Two Sides

On Wednesday we watch Inside Out, the new Pixar movie. I will try not to give too much away, though my movie blogs should always come with a spoiler-alert. Anyway suffice to say that one cannot be happy all the time, and all the memories we have come with a healthy mix of happiness and sadness, and this in fact leads us to become much rounder people. If we all tried to be happy all the time then we would miss out on so much. Interestingly this revelation was followed by a family relationship meltdown; lots of shouting, misunderstanding, mistakes made, and a need for some space. I look back on many days, many memories and it is very rare that they are just happy. There is generally a mix of sadness, anxiety, misunderstanding, as well as happiness.

This isn’t my field because I don’t take my phone dog walking as I don’t want to be contacted but it looks a bit that colour, though no mountains in the background 🙂

Out walking the dog the other day I was amazed that one of our favourite fields was glowing golden; an amazing mix of oranges, reds and golds with the highlighting it. It turned out that the farmer had covered it in some form of weed killer and was going to plough it in and change the whole look of the field. A mix of wonder but also trauma and change.

There are so many incidents when we really think about them that are a mishmash of things, and yet we spend good money trying to be happy as much as possible. And what happens? Well people are disappointed, feel let down and actually are sadder for it. If one could be content in all circumstances then that would be so much better. I could use my anxiety to try to change things, my misunderstandings into working out where I go wrong and to make me a deeper rounder person. Again that is an interesting one because so often we think we should get better, but actually as I grow I want to become deeper not better. I am ok as I am but I can become more of what I am. Yes I want to be able to understand my family to a deeper extent, but as someone said to me today I need to learn what my boundaries are too to be willing to let them have theirs. That means I am deeper and rounder but not better.

As a Christian I know God loves me as I am but that doesn’t mean I want to stay as I am, or even that God wants me to stay as I am. I love my children as they are, but I also want to support and help them mature, and want to see other people in their lives supporting and helping them. I not sure if God is like this but I know as a parent what I really would love is for my children to have other people in their lives supporting and helping them to grow because then they would become deeper and rounder. If they only have me then they will actually be very much like me. Though I suppose with God He is much rounder and deeper than I’ll ever be, which makes you wonder why we want to try to make Him able to be understood. Wouldn’t faith be so much more if we let people connect with the unfathomable God rather than the God that a church leader can give the explanation of???? 🙂

Poem Published

It’s funny but I never think of myself as a “published writer” and yet once again I’ve had a poem published. This time it was inspired from a Mindfulness course I went on. A part of the course which really struck me was about not judging things as right and wrong but accepting life as it is, which I’m sure I’ve posted on here before but can’t find.

You can find my poem on Michael Townsend William’s site under Listening Mindfully. I won’t republish it here because I’d love if you’d go to Michael’s site, Stillworks,  and see some of the other interesting things that are there. I think too often we don’t network enough to show what other people are doing out there. So here you can find me a “published writer”. And in fact it’s not the first time I’ve been published. I am in Bradford on Avon book about climate change where my poem is found. I do have other places that I’ve been published but I do forget. I wonder why that is? Is it because I just plain don’t remember? Would I remember if I got paid for it? Or is it something deeper? To be honest I really don’t know. And that is the thing, we could all spend ages psychoanalysing ourselves but sometimes we just have to accept where we are. There is nothing wrong with looking at who we are, trying to figure out what makes us tick, but if we use it to put ourselves into boxes of one sort or another we’ve missed the point. To look at myself and how I work, think, behave, and to do that with others, is only helpful if I can be Mindful about it – and accept it as it is without judgement, without having to put what I find into a like/dislike box.

Writing – why doesn’t it get included in “being creative” all the time?

I thought I wasn’t creative. Why? Because I really am not great at painting – not the picture kind, though can do a wall very well, and in fact am good at choosing colour for interior designs – but anyway I’m not great at painting, really can’t draw, don’t see any fun in sewing, knitting, colouring in, felting, working with wood, etc, etc. All those things that go into “being creative.” And I was reminded of it again at an event we were at where the organiser talked about how they were into creative expression so they had some prophetic painters on stage and had wanted a dancer. Ok so I can’t dance or play an instrument either 🙂 At one point I felt a great urge to splurge all my thoughts on paper, write a bit of poem and prose, so I went to look for some paper. I was told by the most lovely man that any comments I had could go in the book they had for people to write in. That wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to create with my words. They wouldn’t have liked my poem or random words scrawled across their lovely book, and it wouldn’t have been fair either. What I had to do was a bit like the artists were doing, putting random bits and pieces out on to a page until they became a coherent whole, a something that was coming from deep within.

I remember once, a large church meeting about 15-20 years ago, there were some prophetic painters there encouraging the creative arts. We’d brought along some of our youth group and some musician and painter friends to help them get some encouragement. Well the guy comes up to me and goes “you’re creative.” and i look at him like he’s spoken in a foreign language. “You’re an artist” he tries again. Again I stare. I can see he’s trying to get through to me so I mumble “well I write a bit” and suddenly he’s talking to me, wanting to know what I write, how I write, what it does for me. Well there am I crying because no one has ever been interested in my writing before. It was an awesome moment. Though I have still struggled on and off over the years because I’m not a writer as I think writers should be. Oh my that comparing thing!!! Need to kill that one some time! Anyway I often see writers as those who are clever with words, those who publish books, or even those who are working towards publishing. But in fact that is stupid. I write all sorts of things, from lists to journal to these blog posts, to emails to friends, to the start of a story, and in fact many short stories and poems.

I am a writer and I am creative. Ok so we can all write and in fact I think we should all be writing more. Maybe that’s the thing – not many people can paint well or dance well or play an instrument well or sing well – but in fact most people can write and can write well, so it doesn’t get deemed as “being creative”, maybe? I have been reading and doing the exercises in Julia Cameron’s “Right to Write” and in that she says, and I agree with her, that too often we see writing as something that schools have taught and conditioned us to – how to write clearly and tidily so that teacher and mark our work and so we get scared by writing. I think its time to realise the word in all of us – mind you I also wonder if its time to release the painter in all of us too?

More than just OK

All day every day we run around exhausted trying to work out what’s good, what’s bad, what we like, what we don’t like, instead of just experiencing this world. I’ve been doing a Mindfulness course and I must admit till then I thought that Mindfulness was just about stopping to look at things, even then to put them in the good/bad, like/don’t like category, but I don’t think that’s the case. It is about judging. I talked about this in my post on Keeping Sunday Special in regard to how we judge people’s faithfulness but I think I’m taking it further.

Over the past few days I’ve been walking the dog and trying to look and listen to nature without judging, without deciding whether I like it or not, and then have been trying to take that on into my life. At the moment my daughter is home from university, which means for a lot of the time she’s in the living room – in my space – which actually I then find it hard to write, to even think creatively. So I can decide if I want to decide if I like her being there or not or just accept that’s where she is. To a point I do like the fact that, when she isn’t working or out with friends, that she likes to be in with me. Though in honesty it is because the internet connection is better on the couch. I also don’t like her being there because I find the continuous computer gaming annoying to listen to. Now I can either get upset and put it in

make sure you put things in the “right” box

“don’t like” box or even try to work myself up to liking it and so putting it in the “like” box, which it can fall out of, or I can decide that this is the way life is and if I’m not able to be creative for 3 months then that’s what it is. See actually I almost wrote “it won’t be the end of the world” as though that made things ok, and it needed to be in the “ok” box”. That’s the other place we use if we actually don’t like something but aren’t sure what to do with it we say its “ok” which like “nice” or “interesting” has a myriad of meanings. Often “OK” can mean that actually we don’t like it but we want others to think we are good people so we tell everyone that it’s ok. So with my daughter I have to say “that’s how it is” and then work my life around it. I can also tell her how I would like to have some space. Or as happened yesterday I said, calmly, that I would like her to help more in the kitchen and we made supper together. It was helpful. Yes it did go in the “like” box but actually things to. We will always have things we like and don’t like, and that’s ok but we still need to accept that those are our tastes and not right or wrong.

So I like some help in the kitchen and I do have my own way of doing things. This isn’t right or wrong but how I like things. I like the house to myself and everything quiet, but that’s me. it isn’t right or wrong, good or bad, but just me. And when it comes to being out in nature there isn’t a right and wrong, good or bad. There are just flowers, grasses, birds, trees, cars, people, colours and sounds. All just being there.

Now that I am accepting not just what I see in the countryside as “more than just ok” then I am bringing it into my home life, my friendship life, my working life, my creative life, my Christian life. In fact I would say this article says how we should live life more than anything I could write. Integration of the Negative. Jesus didn’t put things in good or bad, right or wrong, but he did suggest ways that made life work more fully for all. And this is where I like this practise, if I’ve got the Mindfulness thing right, is that even though it benefits us we are doing it for others. If I am accepting of everything then I am a calmer, less critical person to live with, probably less anxious too. Though even if I’m anxious or depressed I can just accept that that’s the way I am and it’s ok. Not to judge me either!

Oh I seem to be back to the “love your neighbour as yourself” 🙂 which was a reoccuring theme in my other Diane’s Daily Thoughts.