This incredible young freestyle poet happened upon our radar a few weeks ago, and the moment I read these poignant lines I put in my request. Australia I would like to introduce you to the words of our Young Wordsmith of the Month Lilli O’Driscoll.
Only 14 years of age, the young Sydneysider is profoundly authentic and we are really excited to see where her writing journey takes her.
The grip of human sensibilities hold me back,
Etiquette, manners, silence.
They claw at my hair and beg me to cave,
As the exhilarating sights of a new experience are beheld,
In my wide eyes.
I take a step.
And dive into
It’s cold and careless,
But warm and envigorating.
The voices still buzz,
Little gnats that gnaw,
At the path in my vision.
I see the icy disapproval of those who live above,
The open arms of the ones who live below.
And the tourists,
They frolic in puddles,
Afraid to dive,
Afraid to swim,
Polite and unnerving,
Silent in their ignorance,
Taking pictures of things that shimmer with the indents of passive eyes,
A few blogs back I spoke about Nellie Florence, otherwise known as Our Nan. Our Nan was apparently supposed to die, we were told to spend time with her and prepare. Some said words like can’t and won’t. Her response? “They don’t know me.” And they didn’t. Now they do.
My lovely mother has been by her side for 7 plus weeks with us all coming and going, and the stories Mum has told us leaves us smiling. Nan is nearly 90 years of age and has gone from only a few days to live to trying to walk, trying to speak, eating again, smiling again, talking again. She hasn’t given up, even though at times I am very sure she has wanted to. I love her so much, her fierce bravery in the face of fear and vulnerability just takes our breathe away. One of the OT’s mentioned to my mum that Nellie Florence had inspired so many staff, and in amongst the caring and beautiful nursing staff had proven quite a few people wrong and had taught some a lesson that regardless of age, we don’t give up.
If someone was 15 years old and things weren’t looking too good and we knew that person could have another 10 years of life, we would smash mountains down to achieve it wouldn’t we? There is something in our psyche that says the young are valued over the elderly. Over 75 and there is this unspoken theme that a person is past their use by date or had their time. But I ask the question, if they are human beings with a full life of wisdom and living behind them, aren’t they the perfect vehicle for inspiration? Imagine what could be achieved in that extra 10 years, if given the OPPORTUNITY to do it. Not every elderly person has an advocate, they should. I think they deserve it. I think they have earned it. Perhaps our elderly would enjoy being old if they were shown more value. If you take a look at some cultures the elderly are revered. I’m not kidding, its true. They go by the name of Elder.
On another note, if I am blessed enough to again defy the odds and I actually do live to see an old age and if a single younger person speaks to me in a sing song voice like I am a toddler I will do my bun. I am not kidding. I will be cranky about it, good and proper cranky. It drives me mad when I hear this happen. The person might be super wrinkley, their teeth might be missing, but note to person: this doesn’t reduce them to babies. Under the wrinkles is an epic story of some description, a 22 year old, a 30 year old and a fabulous 40 year old. Not broken, just experienced. Some are meaner than others, like punch drunk boxers that have seen it all and don’t like the flavor, but regardless, speak with equality in the tone of your voice pretty please with a cherry on top and not like a baby. I would love you more for it.
Nellie’s heart has shown us to be full of good intentions and love, I haven’t ever seen her harm anyone or be conniving or unkind. (I hold her on a bit of a pedestal if you hadn’t already guessed). I think she’s an example of when you love with a heart filled with good intentions and you share that love it is good. She has seen so much in her lifetime, wars, conflicts, technology, horse to cart, birth to old age. The most she has taught us is about forgiveness and love, but how to love with good intent. How to be kind with good intent. Its all about Your Intent, what you start with is what you should finish with and your word is your Bond.
Her lessons echo truth to me all the time, as do many Elders if we would only stop to listen.
I keep thinking about themes of Good Intent, Sharing and the Opposite of these themes, what is the antithesis of Sharing. There are examples everywhere. Walk into a playground or kinder: someone’s little poppet will walk up and offer you a half munched biscuit with the enthusiasm of a Kardashian in a shoe shop, half of it smeared across their little cheeks in loving goo. That biscuit was SO good they just have to share it with you. It’s good and I would like to offer you some too if you would like. Good intent right there, even if mushy bikkies aren’t your délicatesse préférée.
We all think of sharing as a good thing, a great thing. Is it really? If you scrape away the top layer of social expectation its interesting…lets ponder…The opposite to this is: you witness a child (we will call him Bobby) walk up to another child (Lets call her Daisy) who is happily playing with her blessed Frozen character -an Elsa Doll, Bobby insists that they share and attempts to take the toy or even snatch it without asking, Daisy AKA Child #2 is not willing to give it up. That’s when the shit really goes down. Before you know it Daisy is attempting the Triangle Choke and Guard Variation Grappling Manouvre and Bobby is missing some newly grown teeth or the Doll is taken and Daisy is left heartbroken wondering what on earth just happened.
When my daughter was little I remember that 2-3 year old stage where teaching your child to share was soooo important, it was the mega influence of the time, everyone share, if you aren’t going to share put it away…you may have heard it. We live on this philosophy don’t we?
I look back at this time and with what I hope is a teency bit more wisdom or madness (whatever rocks your boat) I would probably do things a bit differently.
Perhaps I would concentrate more on her heart and speaking to it. Find out her reasons…find the lesson in each situation, or as a wise lady I know says- what is her why? Was it very special and breakable or sacred to her? Then yes she was well within her rights to say No. Then I would focus on the other kid. Why do they want it? Couldn’t they see it was special to her and it hurt her to give it to them? What if it took a very long time to make or grow? Why don’t they try being really happy for her to have a special thing and go find their own? One that is made just for them, meant for them. If it had no meaning to her and it was a Veruca Salt Tantrum for the sake of it, then the lesson is hers to be learned. Because I think there is more to learn from the other kid’s intentions here. Maybe they like the look of it, want to play and hand it back. But how many times have you heard the yelling because they don’t want to give it back? Is the lesson Don’t take someone else’s specials? Appreciate from a distance then go find your own? Are you feeling the metaphors start to bubble up in your mind? Now picture this entire situation in Grown Ups Land.
Such is the breeding ground of envy, disharmony and the ‘I want it now Daddy’ syndrome, delayed Gratification is gone and these grown ups that may have even found other playmates to make fun with- Corporations or Groups. They can make up wonderful justifications that generally revolve around Money to get what they want against people’s Will. The “Wanters” manipulate those around them to get the toy, to believe that the measure they are Taking is for the good of all or is fair/unavoidable in some way. This is when the Grown Up Shit goes down. Those that are powerless start to lose their freedom, things get taken against their will.
Nellie Florence taught me to put others before myself wherever possible, if it is for Good. I’m not sure if I have that lesson down pat but I do my best. She has taught me that it is when you love because you need to have, demand or take that leads to negativity and hurt. If you are forced to share something when you don’t want to it hurts, anything against one’s Will hurts the Inner. The Inner sanctum is a complex place, it is truly Sacred. Whether you live in India or Essendon, your Sacred is to be protected. (She is starting to sound like Yoda)
So what happens when it isn’t? What happens when power is pushed onto another? Power over others is slavery of a kind. A robbery of the heart occurs that can damage and grow like an infection. A state of being dominated upon against one’s will is slavery. So who makes the slaves?
Today I googled Slavery, ( i have an addiction to finding out the source of a word- geek alert), and my search led me to a TED talk about the atrocity that shouldnt be. I was compelled to watch it. It left me gobsmacked and reeling with shock. It made me ponder, what was the Slave Trader like as a kid? Was he or she the Taker, The Wanter or the Sharer? Was he Bobby or Daisy? They were children once weren’t they? At what point did the Want turn into Take against a person’s freewill? At what point did the inner child throw a spanner in the works and decide they wanted it, so they would take it? When you take away all the facts and figures and politics it had to start with someone. Why did that someone make that choice? Was it greed? Did Greed start on the playground? In the crib? Was it nature? Was it nurture?
Although I am not completely ignorant of its existence in the world – what I didn’t know was that an estimated 20 PLUS MILLION men, women and children are in slavery as you read this Blog. Working in places without pay against their will and some in atrocious conditions. Shocking isn’t it? Freedom Vs Slavery still existing in 2015. There are more slaves now apparently than there was evident in the African to America transatlantic slave trade in the mid 18th Century. According the TED talk back in the days of Slave Trade America a slave was bought for around $50,000 in today’s value, in 2015 it is an average of $18. The Masters still exist and they value slaves less. If you have a spare 20 minutes and want to be informed, grab a cuppa, take a deep breath and click this link to watch this draw dropping TED, it is shocking But I PROMISE it is also inspiring : http://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_kristine_glimpses_of_modern_day_slavery?language=en
Such is the stuff of slavery. All slavery bubbles back down to consumer needs, want and supply. All slavery comes back to supplying the consumer; diamonds, textiles, sex, bricks….the list goes on. If you boil it all down, distill it for a bit and take a peek you will find a muddy substance that keeps bubbling up, there is a constant warfare going on in the world of Wanting and Taking and Protecting .
We teach our kids to stand up to Bullies. But that is very black and white isn’t it? That fits neatly into an ideal. What if the Bully wants confrontation? What if he wants you to fight back for the toy? What if by fighting back you are enabling that very same power struggle, feeding it like a nasty fungus? In society the way we are told to deal with a bully is to stand up to or fight, in the land of Grown Up to stand up to or Find Justice is through the legal system, and this platform/ vehicle isn’t always appropriate for some people. Some countries don’t even have a legal system. How are we supposed to stand up when we are vulnerable to begin with? How do we step up to the Wanters and the Takers without war? How do we step up and shout out NO for those whose Will and Freedoms are being defied in the playground and in the pits of slavery? Because I don’t know about you, but I see and hear this and know that it exists in the world and it makes me angry. Really angry. I want to be Daisy; going that corporation or Slave Trader with a Grapple like no other.
Why cant everyone be like Nellie or like the little kid wanting to share the biscuit? It would be so nice. Really gooey nice. I think wars would be a word you looked up because you aren’t sure what it means anymore.
I wonder if the Wanters and the Takers will grow old enough one day to have a sing song voice serve them their dinner? Will they be so wizened by the world and their actions they will want to teach us the valuable lesson of mercy and they shout out “Don’t do it!!!! “ but it falls on deaf ears because they are too old.
Trust me when I say when you aren’t too sure how long you have to live, and when this thought drifts into your everyday reality you don’t care about the Toys. Many of you reading this hear me and feel me here, I am speaking your truth too. You don’t care about who has what, money, possession, business, a princess cut or finely dyed silks, or even who’s turn it is to clean the bathroom. You will yearn for friendship, love, understanding and forgiveness, your heart beating and your body working long enough to share a bit more love with the people on this planet, you may even yearn for colours and creativity (as I did). It really is all that matters. And if you get the chance of a lifetime to get more time, to have it extended profoundly -it makes you start to epically ponder. Which is why I am here and you are here and we are walking together, rambling away. For a while as someone reminded me recently; you get past the adrenaline of still being alive and then you open your eyes wide taking in this new scenery. You also know intrinsically the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
I am starting to feel the need to contribute in bigger ways, the teachings of my elders have distilled a bit now and I can’t sleep very well knowing there is a kid somewhere climbing down a pit to put a diamond in a shop window. Ignorance really is bliss. I deeply admire those that are actually on the ground making a difference while I sit here typing on a computer in a house with electricity, running water and warmth. I bless the bills when they arrive, they are evidence that I live in a world where I have comfort at my finger tips. Water that is clean and comes out of a tap is a luxury for some Earth dwellers, it is a magical device capable of hydrating the body, it is life.
I guess for those of us on the other end of the computer need to treasure the power you have to influence other people positively. It’s the greatest power you will ever have. Let experience teach you quickly what is worth struggling for and what is not, there are other ways than The Fight and it begins with the Inner, we are all learning together x