Kaleidoscopic human being

I do believe… you and I are deserving of kindness… I am in a process of learning what it is that I really desire… your presence, is an allowance of that desire, to exist. Be bold, be brave, hold it firmly within you and shine it like a torch. You never know… what stories, a person is carrying… whether that boy… you see… riding his bike, with his earphones in, has been bullied at school? 

Judgment: another kind thought – sometimes judgement comes from someones attachment to their sense of identity and what they believe about that.  

If they cannot allow the quality they see in you, in themselves, then judgment is a self-defence mechanism. If it bothers them, to what extent is that quality yearning for expression, in some form or other, in them?

You never know… whether the woman who sits down next to you… has attempted suicide. You never know, until you take a chance to welcome someone to share their story. You just never know, what’s going on in their life. You never know, who will resonate with your story… but you can be sure, someone will… and someone will find it empowering to hear. And believe me, the telling of stories can be deeply healing.

I don’t know if that boy was bullied, but I am sure, he has a story to tell.

Here’s what I appreciate about him… that his presence invited me to ask more questions. That I hope, whatever music he was listening to… soothes him. 

Why do we sit down here and gaze at the ocean? There’s the vaguest film of salt in the air, carried by the cool breeze… and the heat of Summer, is swirling through the air. It reminds me of those strawberry cream candies with the swirl of red/pink and white. It’s about a year since I was last here. Beaches draw up images of boisterous crowds out here for the sun and the sea. 

Isn’t that why I am here? 

You watch briefly, someone else gazing at the sea and this vague sense of discomfort steals over you. Their solitude feels sacred. It’s the realisation that they are fully here and present with their thoughts. It’s the sense that they’re not, at this moment, distracted by the world behind us, rushing sounds of vehicles, in a seeming hurry to be somewhere. It’s the sense that solitude here… is quietly shared. Is that why I am here? 

There is a pigeon looking at me, wondering if I will offer food, or perhaps, if I will leave crumbs of food behind. I don’t know. Is it a clever assumption or an assumption based on routine? Or both, that the clever is in the routine? That, for this pigeon, this routine works. This routine soothes its sense of survival. I don’t think it cares to know that the breeze is ruffling feathers on its back. But the thought makes me chuckle. 

Earlier this year, seeking solitude so I could write, distill and sift my thoughts onto the page, I found myself surrounded by mountains and a stream, a little way off… and a packet of hazelnuts. I demolished them and then I noticed… this ant, making away with the skin of a hazelnut! 

How hard and tirelessly it worked… to carry that skin across the earth. What I had carelessly dropped… was its treasure. This ant… had a work ethic and I admired it. I know, it doesn’t entertain these trains of thought. It doesn’t sit at a bench and ponder its work ethic, its nature. I don’t want to say it doesn’t think… that would be insulting to the intelligence inherent about ants and their colonies.

But I sit here and think… and someone would definitely ask… if they knew the nature of my thoughts… do you think about useful things? 

As I might’ve grudgingly realised, in their parameters of that question, the answer would be no. Yet because this thought has arisen… anyway… I’m inclined to believe that I valued their thoughts… and their parameters of seeing and thinking about the world… over my own. I valued them, their thoughts, their opinions and what they had to offer… but did they value mine? 

Did they decide… yes, I value you, but only if you are this, this and this. 

Were they cognisant of this? 

Of saying… I value you… but only if you are not you. 

The two parts of that sentence… form the two parts of an equation… and they cancel each other out. There is no value here. 

But I am here… suddenly wondering about the ghosts of the past. The part of me, thinking these thoughts arising from past conditions… and the part of me… naturally and instinctively seeing and feeling and offering the impulses that arise out of being in this moment. Are they one? Am I attempting to rectify cognitive dissonance? 

The more kindly, I think about judgment and what it offers… the more I’m able to embody what it is that I do want and desire, from myself and from others. People aren’t easily categorised by adjectives… people are a kaleidoscopic array of everything that is possible. 

That is a thought that excites me. 

Believe the best of others and the best will reveal itself. Believe the best of yourself and the best of you will show itself. There’s flexibility to those statements that I enjoy immensely… because they would be equally valid if I substituted best for worst. And since… no person is one or the other… life is a hodgepodge with everything. 

The clarity of that tickles me.

It seems ironic… and because, it lends itself to the next question: Out of this hodgepodge of everything that is life, what experiences do you want to pick and choose to live? 

~*~

Sand

What are you proud of, Ikigai and 2020. <3

There exists in me a desperate yearning sometimes that I wonder if it exists for others. It is not that this thought soothes me… but that I find the threads of grace in the knowing that… I’m not alone in this. There’s a kind of grace in the shared stories and histories that can exist and intertwine between our worlds. There’s a kind of grace, in seeing you as you are. 

She said… what are you proud of? 

And the word pride seemed too yellow, too much, too uncomfortable… to frame my words through this lens. I did try… and when it came to the page in front of me and I, I discovered this was my relationship to pride. 

Nothing ever dies. Although, I speak of death candidly. In this context, I think, death simply re-animates, meaning. Takes something apart, disintegrates it… and soon enough, it will be something else. It will coagulate again… be part of something else, be different in its new expression… be more. Renewed.

Nothing ever ceases to exist… nothing… what does this word mean? No thing? It seems ironic, that here I am really referring to everything. 

Repressed pride in my shadow still exerted its influence over my life. The obvious… felt like a moment of realisation, long in coming… and with it, memories of childhood, now infused with sadness and acceptance. 

The way you see someone may not be the way they see themselves. Is it the years that are bringing on this sense of expansion? Or that I’ve arrived at a point where the pain of not expanding this exceeds the growth pains? 

I’m not averse to the pragmatism of life… or the practicalities of reality… when in rhythm, I enjoy them greatly… like the making of a meal and the maintenance of a sense of structure… for the purpose of joy and clarity. I love structure when it serves me, when it works for me. It has been a joy to re-learn what structure means to me.  

Some ideas haven’t blossomed and come to full fruition yet. Give it time. And in the meantime… find joy and daydream away. Because when the ideas do ripen… the action and the manifestation of them flows effortlessly. 

I am feeling this decade come to a close. It was an intense decade for me and I wonder if I will experience this level of intensity again in my life, or if, it will always be the darkest decade of my life… with its lessons and beautiful moments but also its pain and darkness. I’d rather like to hope so.

I don’t feel like I have given up anything that matters… but I have given up a great deal of what does not. I really don’t know what the future holds and I don’t really… care to know… yet… like growing fruit… it hasn’t ripened yet… but I can feel the seeds have been planted, and what do you do… but tend lovingly to the watering and growth of what you have planted? ❤  

2019, I am proud of:

– Quiting my role/job/work at the end of 2018

– Putting uni on hold at the end of 2018

– Spending 4 months in Spain 

– Spending 6 weeks alone in Peru 

– Getting a tattoo over my scars (nearly a decade long decision I finally commited to)

– Showing up on the yoga mat every day 

– Commiting to meditation 

– Dancing my traumas free 

– Having the courage to show up to be seen

– Letting go of shame 

– Letting myself cry – often

– Letting myself feel the pain fully 

– Finishing uni / final portfolio 

– A new role/job and work bringing and encouraging growth and expansion 

2020 themes/desires:

– Confidence, Integrity, Alignment, Empowerment 

– Acknowledging needs and boundaries 

– Exploration of the esoteric 

– Deepening yoga practice 

– Continued commitment to meditation 

– Courage, showing up, embodied dance

– To love my work and all that I do

– Flow and creativity 

– Deepening roots, classical music, L.mus.A 

– Seeking new ways of working with music and its connection to the emotional body 

– Abundance 

– Travel fund  

Books I read in 2019 for which I am grateful to, in shaping my thoughts, inspiring me and inviting growth:

The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck

Awakening the Heroes Within – Carol S. Pearson 

Blue Truth – David Deida 

The Magic of Thinking Big – David J Schwartz

The 4 hour work week – Tim Ferris 

The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason 

The Law of Attraction – Ester, Jerry and Abraham Hicks

The Instruction – Ainslie Macleod

The Holy Wild – Danielle Dulsky

2020 Goal: Ikigai 

To wake up fulfilled and to enjoy a sense of warmth for the day ahead. To fill the day with beautiful moments and reasons for being. 

What are you proud of? What is your ikigai?

🙏🏼💛

An Evening of Delights

It is the sound of a warm evening that is dying softly, 

notes that whisper across your skin, 

satin soft and silky. 

It is the evening of the smoothest whisky 

and a dance that kisses the skin alive

along the column of your neck,

it is the dance of half drunken kisses 

and more than real delight,

love, 

be naked for me tonight,

leave your woes

by the door,

for dawn,

she will come…

Sand

Chaos

Life is messy and imperfect. We will always find what we are looking for if we sift through the sand. We will always find the treasures in the broken shells and the bruised edges. 

In improvisation, I found this edge:

The chaos captures my imagination. The chaos captures my heart and I painstakingly follow it for more, for something I’m not even sure I know I’m pursuing, in the lines and the details and the intricacies, I marvel at the big picture that comes out of the chaos… and on close inspection, realise I’ve been mistaken all along, the chaos weaved webs and lines and curves and threads to follow home. Chaos cried from the way I choked it. It yearned for blue skies and freedom. Chaos cried, for the wings of grace.

How could I kill you? My rawness. My scrapes, cuts, bruises, mistakes? The imperfections of life… is where we will feel the most.  

Piano improvisation – Chaos: Winter is Thunderous

Moments where we look up and see the moon glowing, hanging in the night, a dark blue sea swept starless. Moments where we look up in awe… there… floating back into the trees on an invisible thread, is a spider on its way home.

Beauty exists in the unfolding and the dying… in the cycles of the seasons and our bodies, in the shattering pain of being heartbroken. In the light falling through the leaves, in persisting… in learning… the act of surrender is sometimes an art. Letting go can be bittersweet and poignant.

30th of May, 2018

~*~

Sand

Seeing the dance

Maybe my religion is beauty. If I define religion as the beliefs and views we accept on faith, that may or may not be true for others but is true for us. For me, for you, for others – whatever is true for them. 

Some artists reveal beauty through everything and everyone. Every moment of grace. An invitation into seeing the beauty of a flock of birds gathering in flight, soaring across the park. I didn’t see it until an artist painted all the shapes and ways that a bird could be seen in flight – and from that point forward, it marked my ordinary mundane moments, of walking through Belmore park and seeing the huge flock of pigeons with the occasional scattering of ibis’ and seagulls, take flight, no doubt, something or someone had intrigued them on the other side of the park – food, undoubtedly involved.

Most of the time art doesn’t land with me that way. There is always going to be art that resonates with you and art that doesn’t. The artist’s job, isn’t necessarily to reveal what is beautiful. If they draw forth an emotional response from me, or an intellectual one, I would say they succeeded. Though… it takes two, to see and be seen and I am not always going to be every artists ideal audience. There are emotional responses I enjoy having evoked… and emotional response I’d be happy to not seek out… and sometimes, responses that require maturity… where the art, not only didn’t land, but drew forth an immature reaction. But here’s where it gets interesting, several years later, present time, I am remembering that piece and my reaction… and I’ve realised, I missed the point, entirely. The purpose of that piece was an invitation to question the nature and the purpose of art itself, and the impulses that draw us into the context of galleries. 

Context… being the operative word here. That particular piece of art, a rusted something leaning against a wall, was post-modernistic. For me that evokes, “That’s a chair, but is it really a chair?” and If a tree fell in a forest and no one heard it, did the tree still fall? 

Those aren’t really questions expecting answers, and whoever that artist was/is, I am humbled and they have my deepest respect. 

Now I see, the nature of that piece of post-modernistic art, was to question. Often, uncomfortably. Because what is up for review, is the previously held belief about something. In this case, the previously held belief I had, about art. But it doesn’t make it smaller… the only reason I would fight to keep that old belief about art, is because it threatens the status quo, it threatens what art means to me by asking me to question it… how I relate to art… and what I measure art as, by, with. For instance – talent, skill, finesse, detail, abstraction, process, communication. And not necessarily, all in the same piece/work. But if those measurements are no longer operative… how do I know who I am in terms of my understanding and approach to seeing art? Suddenly, I no longer know, what art is, only that the very medium, has been used, to question itself.

That’s a very… uncomfortable thing… to do. To witness an artist and their art, invite you to do. There is an impulse to guard against the chaos that I sense, will ensue. And that’s exactly what I did, insisted it wasn’t art, and went on my merry way.

But now I also have to question… what is that insistence keeping apart, at a distance? And what does it really serve? I confess, art is my subject here because I don’t have my hands in the clay – in the mediums that are art. There is an objectivity that feels safe to me… and a subjectivity that isn’t intimately tied into my sense of identity. If it were, these questions would be much more difficult.

Letting go of a previous belief… is like that. Letting go of my previous belief about art… didn’t make my understanding of art shrink. Letting go of a previous belief… doesn’t make the subject of that belief… smaller. It makes it wider. It makes more room. It makes more space. It invites, more acceptance. 

No one ever passes from the beginning to the ending… by skipping the middle… the process… for me that included anger, justification, riling for, riling against. I can take that to mean that something is shifting, there is a desire for that shift, and there exists an equally powerful impulse… for it not to shift. 

And… seeing that dance, is presently… the beauty of it. 

Sand

Apricity

You are such a solid enigma. Filled with frightful colours, bold and daring and tender and hurt. It’s in your lips and your touch. You touch me with softness, like I am something precious, like I am a darling. Tender and worth loving. 

Listening to Apricity makes me feel like crying now. I knew how it was and where we would leave each other. I stayed present for you, I felt your lips on mine, I felt the intensity of your lips on mine, your body, your weight. The feeling of you, how solid you were. That was amazing. I would have stayed if I hadn’t been learning how to love and respect myself. That’s what it was, but actually it really was a lot of things. I’ve made sense of them. We’re on a path heading towards different patches of blue sky. But I have known your depth, your warmth, your kindness, and in your darkness I see, you’re human. 

I see, I’m human, that we’re all just in this life thing together, even when we’re lonely and coming apart on the floor, in a bottle, in the high, or the pain, or the scars, in the destructive things we do to run, to hide, to feel, to scream in silence, how much are we struggling beneath the weight of our world?

I can feel that, I can feel where mine ends and yours begin, where yours end and mine starts. I’ve met you in all the people I’ve met before you, and I’ll meet you again in the people I haven’t met yet. 

Isn’t that a story? 

When I started writing Apricity, I wrote these words down to anchor what the piece was about; 

The present is past is here is gone. You build stories and worlds out of your identities. Make them beautiful. Make them truthful. Believe in yourself, but give your past a place of acknowledgement. It made you who you are.

I think things always get worse before they get better. Sometimes we do things to show other people that we’re decent human beings. I think all that reveals, is exactly how human we are. Apricity is the warmth of the sun on our skin in Winter. 

You inspired this piece… because in the time we spent together, I felt so much warmth. When I looked for a word to describe the feeling, this was it. You sprinkled sunlight onto my winter soul, you met me in my vulnerability, and said, but I see you, and you are beautiful. In all those moments, you left me a little softer. I’m in a world of my own making. Deeply blue. Softly healed… and not ready to be broken again. I’m going to leave the rawness behind in this piece, for the reason that life… like love, is also messy. And when you’re alone… feeling all the depth of your pain, I hope you take a moment to feel the apricity in this world too.

Apricity

July, 2017

From Merriam-Webster online:

Definition

: the warmth of the sun in winter

About the Word

This word provides us with evidence that even if you come up with a really great word, and tell all of your friends that they should start using it, there is a very small chance that it will catch on. Apricity appears to have entered our language in 1623, when Henry Cockeram recorded (or possibly invented) it for his dictionary The English Dictionary; or, An Interpreter of Hard English Words. Despite the fact that it is a delightful word for a delightful thing it never quite caught on, and will not be found in any modern dictionary aside from the Oxford English Dictionary.

~*~

Sand

We Remain

I remember back in 2016, I was listening to this song sometime after dinner. The house was deserted. It was the year that I found myself cracked open and this song buoyed me. 

All the ways that you think you know me,

All the limits that you figured out,

limits that you figured out,

mmm,

had to learn to keep it all below me,

just to keep from being thrown around,

just to keep from being thrown around,

yeah,

every single time the wind blows,

every single time the wind blows,

i see it in your face,

mmm,

in the cold night

there will be no fair fight,

there will be no good night,

to turn and walk away,

so burn me with fire,

drown me with rain,

i’m going weightless

screaming your name,

yes i’m a sinner

yes i’m a saint

whatever happens here,

whatever happens here,

we remain.

I was drawn to shadow work, not out of mere curiosity but because I had this sinking feeling that if I didn’t confront my demons, I would live out the same stories again and play the same scripts in my life with others.

Winston Churchill once famously said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” It was my refrain.

My naivety died that year, opening me to what I saw as weakness for landing myself in that relationship to begin with. Were I to speak to that younger self now, I would say, no sweetheart, you are not weak, you are human, experiencing a bottoming out of life for the first time. Grow.

I found expressions for rage, for anger, vulnerability, for love and tenderness, sensuality, for courage and strength, to fight and to surrender. Movement and dance became an invitation to drop in… judgement ceased to exist when one flows. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains this concept as a state of consciousness we experience when engaged in creative work where our skill set is equal to the challenge… or simply, whatever it is that lights us up.

In the healing, I realised I was the one that had no boundaries. That bottoming out could be seen as an invitation to develop strength and courage… that we don’t have to be psychic to deepen into our intuition. To experience our emotions more fully, to experience my dysfunction more entirely, to experience the barren landscape of despair, so that I learned, the extent to which we experience despair is also the extent to which we can feel joy.

In the healing, I realised that whatever was dysfunct in my life and yours, did not begin in our dance but was rooted further back in our lives. Does anyone come through childhood unscathed? How crazy, to settle for believing that’s just the way the world is. Would we still be here if women said that to themselves 200 years ago? 

I realised how sad… how sad… how sad I was. How sad I was becoming, that there was a reality looming on the horizon that made me uncontrollably sad… that this life could disappear beneath the waves and I would have failed in all that I came to do. In that moment, crouched by the side of the road with the darkness and the streetlights around me, that possibility scared me more than the unknown… the kind of death with no rebirth.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes put its, you fight to save your instinctual life. Her essays in Women Who Run with the Wolves, brought the archetype of the Wild Woman back into our consciousness… a reminder that domestication kills the wild spirit in us. It kills the part of us that is regenerative, full of creative life and power. In the culture of patriarchy, we lost this. In the political interest of patriarchy’s dominant religion, we lost our wisdom keepers. And in that loss, it is not merely women who can feel this emptiness but men too. 

Choices that feel like life or death – the slow kind, where one goes through the motions of life and work… drowning the truth of what has happened or is happening, is a death choice, no matter the reasoning. When I see you, I see your story and how it could’ve also been mine… perhaps with different characters and changes in the plotline… but you did not arrive at this point in your life without making all the choices you did… and I forgive myself. When made, life choices draw beautiful energy to them, doors open and you go through them and what you need arrives like a gift.

Fear is not a dragon to be slayed but a curious ally sometimes.

Halfway around the world… all things from childhood began surfacing. Understanding began to dawn in places that held shame and blame. Events that once held a shape larger than they merited… began to shrink in perspective. I learned that I could draw boundaries, that I could offer forgiveness and kindness and still express where my boundaries are. That I am enough, that I am worthy and my needs are real and they matter. I could offer that nothing we do… is unforgivable… and still choose not to re-experience the past. 

What does it mean… that a woman can judge another for being too free in her expression? Too playful, too flirtatious? What does it mean… when the offhand remarks she makes, places blame on her own sex? Is she aware of her own patriarchal conditioning… or has it faded into the background of life? How far would she have to go, to uncover her own pain?

How much it would hurt, to have everything heaved open, to upheave the life that has been built over decades… how much hurt is repressed?

How many years of patriarchal conditioning have we experienced in our histories? How did patriarchy take root? Sometimes there are no answers that suffice.

Out here, climbing mountains, stone walls, trudging across abandoned farms because I’d forgotten which path I’d taken… I learned to trust myself. Witnessing the chaos of life, I love it. I love the blue skies, the surrounding mountains, the traditional garb, the stray dogs… the bareness… of what is real. Of this life. Of my own privilege… I’ve learned, what that truly means.

I choose to experience my creativity fully. And that ones sexuality, is never, an invitation. That erotic energy is also creative energy and that the dance of life comes out of this spiral. 

Here, I learned to love. A different kind of love. A forgiving kind of love. A love that says… bloom… bloom… bloom.

Out here, away from everything else that is there, I understand the only person we can begin to heal is ourselves and that is enough. That we came together to witness each other, and that perhaps, we can carry the truth of each others innocence, deep within.

When you express the love you feel, when you express a desire to see me more fully, when you invite others to expand, when you see beauty… without needing to possess it… when you bear witness and offer strength and solidarity, you bring the healing. 

I am deeply grateful for your presence… for your guidance… for your truth… and for your faith in me. I am moved by the love you extend to me, the compassion you extend for me… not out of sympathy or pity but out of a deep inner knowing. In the way you witnessed me, you empowered me. 

I learned, to ask… what is here? What am I learning? And in my frustration, near to tears, the answer that came was merely, patience.

I know that stories will evolve and shift and wear new costumes as times change, but ultimately these stories belong to the collective and where there is resonance, there is universality. I have compassion for where we are in the process of becoming. I have compassion for the parts of me that have been afraid. For the parts of me that I disowned. For the parts of me now yearning for expression. To have boundaries and to honour them. To taste the mysteries of life. Eve’s story needs a re-write. To live is to experience life’s joys and life’s sorrows. Knowledge is not a sin and women are not responsible for men’s repressed lust. Before the snake was re-appropriated to represent ‘evil’ it was a symbol of regeneration.

To hear the judgements… and say… I know… and I am sorry. I know… and I forgive you. I know… and I am choosing a new story. I know… and I honour my truth, my boundaries and the life I am creating. That really, endings are merely beginnings… all beginnings come out of endings… so death, can be a doorway to life… to all that renews itself. To the rebirth, come Spring… and to the re-awakening of what is true for you.

July, 2019

Sand

Deep appreciation

What does it feel like to let go? 

What does surrender feel like? 

What myth… am I over-riding right now? What strength am I calling upon? What winds… move through my hair, where have they been and what do they see? When the mountains rise from the ashes… and cities fall… and the cycle begins anew. 

What does being seen feel like? 

What does fear feel like? 

Do you know what latent fear feels like? Do you know what overt fear feels like? When is fear… intrusive… and when does fear feel normal? Letting go of so much. Letting go of everything. 

And yet… a part of me is still here… refusing to die. And… I would like death to be sweet. For the part that is afraid, that judges… to appreciate itself. 

Do you know what feeling too much feels like? 

When are you in another reality? 

Where are you? 

Would the world understand? Why should they? 

What parameters are you measuring? Are you still? Do they serve you? IF not… perhaps it’s time to re-orient yourself. To forgive yourself, realising… failure is nothing more than an experiment.

And so… half a year later, you realise, how funny, everything is. How constructed, how real, how sad, how hopeful, how optimistic and how beautiful. Duality is simply the understanding that everything is changeable, movable, shifting and all realities… are within you. 

This part of me is dying. It’s as though she is taking another breath… willing herself to live on… but I am in deep appreciation of her. I love her.

I am in deep appreciation of the places you’ve been, 

the depths you’ve seen and the tears you’ve shed. 

I am in deep appreciation of who you were, 

all that you held dear,

that which hurt the most 

once near to your heart, 

I am in deep appreciation… 

of the scars you cut across your skin, 

of the pills you swallowed at sixteen,

shame fit itself snugly then

 into the pockets of your jeans,

til the story wove itself a new beginning, 

I am in deep appreciation… 

for the relationships carving canyons…

for the ones taking the scent of Spring

echoing across the years,

blooming into barren places,

where was your voice?

lost? in the compass of the past?

be free

you kept trying to say,

and choked on the lump

that formed in your throat,

why do you unravel the threads

and discover the meaning of home?

laughter blooming from your heart,

you are,

the stars… wind… trees and birds, 

here,

I am in deep appreciation of the identities you wore,

the hats you cautiously put on,

from beneath

you looked up at the poems in the night sky,

You know?

I am in deep appreciation of your resilience, 

the way you mined rocks out of your sadness

eons deep in the earth,

I am in deep appreciation of the histories you keep

etched into your skin, 

eyes,

fathomless with the universe

twinkling back at me.

I am in deep appreciation of the women

riding on the backs of constellations,

Mothers and sisters,

Brothers and kindred souls,

I am in deep appreciation

of the love you showed me,

In your kindness 

your belief in me

shone the gift of gratitude,

the strength to be gentle

from your torch to mine 

this is a poem

in this world…

for the feminine 

rising.

Sand

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

A re-imagining of one of fairytales most iconic villains. (Spoiler alert by the way.) That’s right up my alley and the larger than life and fantastically unreal, layered on rich, Maleficent on screen was just superbly performed. She’s the archetypal nemesis rolling out the devil may care card – complex and multi-faceted and single minded in her seemingly black and white approach to life, with few exceptions dotted on the lines of life – for example – her love for her human god-daughter yet delightfully wicked and sardonic disdain for the rest of humankind, and not unwarranted. I say single minded – and love this aspect of her because it sets the stage for her journey. It’s what makes her so endearing in her villainy and her love.

One of my favourite lines was her response to her god-daughter being human, “… and I don’t hold it against you”. Jolie delivers this with just the right amount of tone that it’s perceived as Maleficent having the right of it and how could it possibly be any other way? Once something is categorised, it’s difficult to re-categorise it. But re-categorisation is the process that breathes new life out of old and stilted paradigms. Maleficent herself is a re-categorisation – a re-weaving and a re-perceiving of an old story and paradigm – that of the ‘wicked witch’ and the ‘innocent maiden’. She’s a shadow archetype coming into the light – in the process of rage and fury and the acceptance of otherness, in the metaphorical sense here, without speaking to the most obvious aspect of race.

Though I do feel that the film touches on race, that all anger has its source – not unwarranted, even if the re-perpetuation of war and violence is only an answer to a wounded ego, stemming from the fracturing of a deeper sense of identity – in this case – that is linked to the land. In the context of this film, land is symbolic of heritage and power, literally. The advantage that the human queen gains over the fae, comes from the sourcing of the flowers that grow on the graves where the fae bury their dead and Maleficent implies, it is a place to respect the dead. The act of disenfranchising one group – in the context of this film – the dark fae – is and was the seed that sows repercussions, though you could also surmise that the human queen was inviting war – in her own personal quest for revenge.

I also feel that the film speaks to this; no one is responsible for the wrongdoings of their ancestors but the power to shift and heal the dynamic does lie in the present – Prince Charming throws down arms and declares no more fae blood will be spilled on his watch. That’s a powerful moment for the leader that rallied the dark fae to battle – does he continue down his present path? At what point does justice morph into personal revenge? Which he would have every right to… but he would also lose far more. Given the way his character was presented in the earlier sections of the film, this moment was his climax point.

There were also moments, during the death scenes in the Church, where I absolutely admired the way the writers didn’t shy away from death but brought its ‘naturalness’ into the fore in a way that made this scene beautiful and of course, very dramatic, despite the gruesome and cruel aspect of the storyline portrayed here. In essence… death, in this scene, was less about ‘death’ in the sense of returning to the earth via decay… and more so, a ‘death’ of magic and the voices and characters that populate the imaginations of a magical world. It occurred to me, that making this scene without fake blood was necessary given that a large percentage of the audience would’ve been children. But the way this sequence was approached, was absolutely to its merit. The blue fairy’s moment was moving, emotionally powerful and sadly beautiful. Tastefully, very tastefully done.

Before I finish with another round of praise for this film… I’m going to kick up a tiny tirade about the original fairytale from Brothers Grimm that this modern day version is spun off, and I would bet, the ‘original’, was probably spun off even older folktales that became distorted.

Snow White is presented as the epitome of virtue – kind, innocent, pure, to a fault – because she falls victim to a sorceress, who’s presented as vain and jealous – to a fault because sadly the whole unfolding of this fairy tale depends on this aspect, but, in the characterisation and plot development, the Grimm brothers simultaneously lumped powerful and evil together in the sorceress, and good and hapless together in Snow White. Unwittingly or not, without justifying that it’s a product of its time, the message this fairytale gives to young girls is an uninspiring and polarised either/or. None of the characters in this story empower any kind of growth – not even for the hero who comes rushing in, assuming his role is to save the day. De-throning the two most important female characters of their sovereignty and what should’ve been a connection between women, so that the hero can look like a hero… is poor plot development. Enough said.

This re-telling of Maleficent absolutely grabbed it and teared it to shreds – refreshingly. Re-invention is splattered all over this film. Maleficent literally rises from the ashes as a phoenix. She saves the day, because she is the most powerful character in the story, she’s evil because she has no qualms about who she is, no need to justify her horns and her magic and her fury, there’s no nice-complex going on. She owns her badass. She’s sardonic and possesses integrity made of steel and love for her god-daughter Aurora. And that, was the best part of the first film. Interchangeably she’s been both the villainess and the heroine. You could even argue, if she hadn’t played the villainess or experienced the betrayal that created the Maleficent whose journey we followed in the first film, she wouldn’t have been deepened enough, to present not only as an enigmatic character, but a strong one given the challenges put in the way of her character arc. This film sequel does its prequel justice and the premise, plot and characterisation has everything the original Brothers Grimm fairytale was missing and far more.

Sand

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 new blogs.
  • Ask nominees 11 new questions.

A warm thank you to John from Jar of Poetry for this nomination. His poems feel like a meditation on an inner life – reflective, thoughtful and sinking tendrils into the deep.

Answers

Any snack recommendations?

Hummus and crackers.

What would be your theme song if you had one?

It might be this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dl0KnyAAG8

If someone offered you an all-expense paid trip, where would you go?

Back to South America. Costa Rica is on my mind.

Which creature of myth best describes who you are as a person?

The first creature of myth that came to mind was Medusa. I think I relate to her story. To me she represents the shadow feminine – the parts of us that have been outcasted and misunderstood.

Do you have any book recommendations? (Getting tired of reading textbooks)

On an existential/spiritual theme?

Man’s Search for Meaning – Victor Frankyl

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

The Taboo Against Knowing Yourself – Alan Watts

Freedom – Osho

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My youngest and first aspiration was to be an author who wrote stories of the fictional variety. Fantasy was my favourite genre for a long time before I became a teen.

If you can live in one, which would it be? A tree house, an igloo, or a hut by the ocean?

A treehouse.

Do you have a lucky charm?

I wear a rose quartz pendant with a tree of life… it reminds me that I’ve committed to self love… that might be my version of a lucky charm.

If I had no choice than to give you an honest answer, what would your question be?

Well… I would ask… why did you leave Guam?

Would you stop writing if you knew you only had one dedicated reader?

But… I am the writer and also the first reader of my writing.

Do you prefer hardback books or paperbacks?

Paperback, though I appreciate the aesthetic of hardback.

Nominees

The New Renaissance Mindset

Simultaneous thoughtful posts on life and ruminations on art created by the blogger himself. I love the reflection and insights offered by this blog. There’s a quiet invitation to think a little deeply about your own life and how you live it.

David Berry

I love his pithy posts. He has an elegant style of writing, that gets to the heart of the matter in one of the gentlest and most succinct ways I’ve read. His posts revolve around leadership and organisation but there is a soft and spiritual undertone to his writings and poetry shares.

Chesca Lopez

Poetry blog with a candid style that as a reader, kind of feels like lightning – being struck by surprise and good humour. Almost like peeking under the hood of a truth told with the lightest touch of candour.

Roxi St. Clair

Every time I read her poems… by the time I’ve gotten to the end, I feel like I’ve been softened. Roxi’s poems leave you with a piece of her wisdom, eloquently and beautifully crafted.

Valen

The poetry on this blog is raw, unfiltered and extremely and incredibly creative in the way it all comes together, with a touch of the confrontational.

Orion Bright Star

This is a blog I came across recently. There is timeless wisdom here. What I loved was the spiritual depth and open minded approach to reflecting and resonating with life.

Chris Rose

I also recently found this blog. This blog shares some really wonderful, curious and thoughtful insights into the human condition, via psychology and her particular frame: psychogeography.

Rugby Lion

There is something… sad… gentle… and going… about the poetry on this blog… in the sense that there is motion in the words but no feeling of resistance, only a sadness and reflective quality to the nostalgia. The poems almost feel zen like. I find the aesthetic way the poems are sometimes structured, curious of itself – as though the poet is letting you decide, which line you’re going to read first or how you’re going to read the poem. The poetry on this blog has a quiet cadence to it.

The Used Life

The writer/poet of this blog explores the art of creativity as a way of being. I love the way her posts are thoughtful and pondered. Her writing always feels carefully distilled, measured and pondered over. You definitely feel an appreciation for her word craft and aesthetic.

Nunesabel

A poetry blog here. What I love about the poets style is the feeling of structure and the way vernacular is used – it feels like every line is packed, everything is precise without adhering strictly to a particular form. The poems are engaging to read and thematically powerful.

Seolin Jung

A brilliant creative writer. She writes short fiction that gets to its destination – landing with a feeling of shock or surprise or happiness. She does the short form narrative, beautiful justice.

Jar of Poetry

I know this is the 12th… and, I am going to add it. The poetry here is inspiring, beautiful… the melancholy is felt and his words always speak to the humanness of our experiences.

Questions

  1. What is your favourite time of the day and why?
  2. Do you have a particular habit/routine/ritual you like to engage in?
  3. If you could give your younger self advice, say, of 10 years back, what would it be?
  4. Who or what inspires you?
  5. Favourite animal?
  6. If you could recommend a book to read, what would it be?
  7. The best thing that happened to you today was…
  8. The last act of kindness you remember is…
  9. Favourite place in the world and why?
  10. You can change one thing about yourself, right now, instantaneously, what do you change?
  11. You can change one thing about the world, right now, instantaneously, what do you change?

Thanks again, John, for the nomination and the exploration into some of these other blogs here. This was fun and I enjoyed everything about this. 🙂

Sand