If Only……

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

..The Bible had been an autobiography. After the killings in Christchurch and those in Sri Lanka a few days ago, I can’t help thinking that God must really regret not making his intentions for the human race clearer. I’m not trying to make light of those two terrible atrocities but I do wonder how much longer mankind will continue to maim and kill in the name of religion.

From the Crusades to the Muslim Conquests, from the Protestant Reformations to the troubles in Northern Ireland and 9/11, millions upon millions of people have died because they believed that ‘their’ God was ‘better’ than other Gods – are we really so stupid? Every single religious book speaks of peace and yet that seems to be the one message that has been forgotten in the desire to prove others wrong. What do you think? Will we ever learn?

 

I’d be interested to know your thoughts……

Lisa x

Our Fortunate Present

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

How often do you hear people say that you shouldn’t think about the past? It’s over and done with, the future is only in our imagination and that we should all live in the present to truly appreciate what life has to offer. For the most part I would agree but I watched something yesterday which made me realise how incredibly lucky most of us are to able to live in our ‘present’ and it involved visiting the past….

I’m not a great one for documentaries normally, I prefer the escapism of dramas about slightly crazy, over-sexed lawyers or fantasies about impossibly good looking, charismatic vampires. However, for some unknown reason, last night I watched a programme about Auschwitz and the Nazi’s plan for exterminating all those that they considered ‘inferior’.

Holocaust 4The degradation and violence that these people suffered is, for most of us, beyond imagining. They were beaten, starved, frozen, made to live in conditions that we would deem cruel to animals. Their captors found ways to kill them that would lessen the suffering of the perpetrators; shooting at close range was considered too traumatising for the soldiers. Can you believe that such a mentality existed? Could ever have existed?

They experimented with types of gas and for their initial tests they used disabled adults and then disabled children; sometimes the tests worked and sometimes they didn’t and they had to resort to other methods. Eventually they refined their techniques and the gas chambers were born; over 3 million people were herded inside to their death.  3 million. That’s more than the entire population of Chicago!

AuschwitzWe all know that Hitler was to blame for these atrocities but how many others were needed to carry out the orders of this madman? Thousands, tens of thousands? No, the German army, at the time of WWII had 13 MILLION soldiers. Almost twice the population of New York were convinced that it was right or acceptable or that they had no choice but to kill their fellow man. How did this happen?

Holocaust 1Yes, it’s all in the past but if we leave it there don’t we risk the same thing happening again? Watching this programme made me realise that, whatever little suffering I’ve had in my life, it’s nothing compared to the mental, emotional and physical torture that these poor souls went through in the name of creating a ‘better’ race. In short, watching this harrowing programme made me realise quite how lucky I am to have the life that I have and my visit to the past made my appreciate my present a whole lot more.

What do you think? Should the past stay in the past? Should we all live for the now? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you

Lisa

x

Past Mistakes…..

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Torquemada blazed the trail, thousands perished

In the great name of Faith he struck them down, proud

Thomas Cromwell tortured, maimed, broke heretics

In God’s name and the King’s: treason or some such

Bloody Mary turned the tables once again

Three hundred burned alive for not believing

Another Cromwell, O, set brother against

Brother in the name of the Father. Revolt.

Hitler, 6 million more would meet their end

For their beliefs. Omar al-Bashir brought fear

To Darfur. More millions dead, still dying

So Many more names belong here. Remembered

For torment, evil, killing of believers

Of non-believers. Of black and white. Of rich

And poor alike. Death in the name of something

Under a righteous banner, held aloft

We remember. Still. Why do we never learn?

Many people are saying that these are terrible times, with unprecedented violence and persecution and yet history will show us that it has ever been thus. Since time immemorial human beings have been fighting against each other in the name of religion or for their land or their beliefs and what do we have to show for it? Nothing has changed, we’re still fighting, we’ve just found more sophisticated and efficient ways of doing it.  Even after thousands and thousands of years we still haven’t learned to accept each other for who we are………….sad really……….

Lisa

x

Motorbikes, Mountains and Toilets…

Have you ever had one of those days that was practically perfect? When everything in the Universe just came together to keep a smile on your face from morning ’till night? We love those days as they’re happening and the memories stay with us for years. I had one  yesterday, 12 hours of fun, sun and enjoyment with only one teeny, tiny fly in the ointment…..

Have you ever had one of those days that was practically perfect? When everything in the Universe just came together to keep a smile on your face from morning ’till night? We love those days as they’re happening and the memories stay with us for years. I had one  yesterday, 12 hours of fun, sun and enjoyment with only one teeny, tiny fly in the ointment…..

After a very satisfactory Pilates class which was, unusually, practically pain free, I ran around in the shower for 30 seconds (I was running late) and threw on my biking gear. My best friend turned up with his Cagiva Raptor (such a fun bike) and we set off to meet a couple of  other friends in some place that I’d never heard of and now can’t remember the name of. Running late was not much of an issue as Will rides fast….really fast, so the trip started with a fair amount of adrenaline coursing through my body….

IMG_6480 (1)

We hooked up with our friends at a cafe in the middle of a tiny village in the mountains. We ordered drinks, took off our jackets and basked in the 20+ degree sunshine; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! Fortunately for me, my brain was having one of those days when it had decided to understand French and I not only followed the conversation but contributed a fair bit too, which is, in itself, unusual. We had decided to lunch at a small restaurant which sat at the top of endless flights of winding stairs. As is often the case in tiny French villages, it was closed; there were people eating but apparently they were all family…..

After admiring the breathtaking views and the beautiful tranquility of the place (the only sound to be heard was the faint rumbling of tummies; it was almost 2pm), we headed back down the stairs and to the cafe where we’d had our drinks. Fortified by huge sandwiches (half a french loaf stuffed with everything the cafe owner had to hand) we carried on chatting and laughing in the warm autumn sunshine. After about 5 minutes it was 3pm and our friends asked us if we wanted to see a house that they were thinking of buying. Yes indeed!

IMG_6512 (1)

We were already in the mountains but the route that they took us on to get to this house went up…and up…and up via a series of bends of the kind that bikers dream about. The view, when we finally arrived literally left me speechless! The photos that I took can in no way do it justice, it was jaw-dropping, stunning! The house they were hoping to buy was ancient and tumbled down with grape vines, laced through the higgledy, piggledy architecture; it would need so much work but I could understand why they were so enamoured..

“Imagine waking up to this view every morning” said my friend. I could.

Anyway, we all parted company as one of them had to do a school run and we hit the open road again; it continued upwards. I have no idea how high up we were but my mind was blown time and time again by the views. We stopped several times to take pictures, including one of me perched on a small wall which was the only thing between the road and a sheer drop of many, many hundreds of metres. As many of you know I’m not keen on heights so this was another adrenaline rush and something that gave me a real boost in the self-confidence department.

IMG_6497 (1)

Our final stop was in a forest. A gentle wind had started to blow causing the red, gold and brown leaves to gently swirl around us; I felt intoxicated by it all (admittedly that could have been down to the altitude) and completely, totally happy. That was until I realised that I really needed a wee……the coffee, orange juice and apple juice I’d had at lunchtime had all decided to arrive in my bladder at the same moment and it was ringing alarm bells. The thought then struck me that we were miles from anywhere….gulp!

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I told my friend that we needed to go as I really needed to go and he suggested that I pee in the forest. There are many things that I will do, I’ll try most things at least once but peeing outdoors is not one of them. The ensuing eyerolls and manic hopping from one foot to the other persuaded him that finding a cafe would be a good idea and, happily, he knew of one not far away….

It was closed. Bugger!

Now, when you’re in a car, you can cross your legs and distract your bladder with a few well chosen tunes; both are impossible on the back of a motorbike. My friend rode like the wind as my mind and bladder joined forces to torture me for a good 20 minutes as we searched for a building with a toilet; by this point I was prepared to bribe or even beg homeowners. Just as I’d reached the point when I thought my bladder would burst we arrived in a village….in Italy.

I ran as fast as my boots would carry me, almost knocking over ancient locals in my mad dash for the toilet which was, extremely fortunately for all concerned, unoccupied. Oh my God! the relief! With an empty bladder and all previous good humour restored we sat at the cafe for a while and chatted about happier things.

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I have absolutely no sense of direction as you know, so I’m not quite sure how we ended up in Italy but we did and I enjoyed the atmosphere of the quaint little town as I sipped hot chocolate. We’d ridden and chatted for so long that the sun was beginning to go down so we decided to ride back to France and have dinner which was absolutely delicious. So, after going out for lunch at mid-day, I finally got back home at around 9.30 last night; I really love my life sometimes :O)

Have you ever had a day like that? It might not seem that special to anyone else but, for you, it was pretty much perfect? If you have please share it with me, I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa x

 

The Meaning of Life: Part 3

“Have we got any biscuits? I’m feeling a bit peckish”

“You’re not peckish, you’ve only just had lunch. You’re just bored; you know you don’t like it when it’s too quiet in the factory”

“Look if I want a sodding biscuit………oh hang on a minute what’s going on over there…”

“Have we got any biscuits? I’m feeling a bit peckish”

“You’re not peckish, you’ve only just had lunch. You’re just bored; you know you don’t like it when it’s too quiet in the factory”

“Look if I want a sodding biscuit………oh hang on a minute what’s going on over there…”

“What? Where?”

“Over there look, someone’s making a declaration of some sort; this should be interesting….wait…oh no, that’s torn it!”

“hmmm? munch, munch, what?”

“Where did you get that biscuit?! Didn’t you hear what he just said? It’s a disaster”

“Sorry, no, it’s the biscuit, it’s really crunchy……”

“He just said “All Men are Created Equal”

“He didn’t?!!???”

“He bloody did! Will you stop spraying crumbs all over my desk”

“He can’t say that boss, there’ll be chaos!”

“Well duh, you think?”

“There’s no need to be sarcastic………what are we going to do about it?”

“Not a lot we can do is there, the words are out there now. Go and put the kettle on and I’ll see how much essence of sheep we’ve got left”

“I told you that free will would give us a problem…..more sheep essence I said….can’t go wrong with sheep I said……”

“Stop muttering, I’m trying to think”

“I was just saying………you’re just in a bad mood because I ate the last biscuit”

“The last….??? Look forget about biscuits for a minute, I’ve had an idea. Why don’t we give them a template”

“What do you mean, a template?”

“You know, we’ll take all the best bits of the ones that are down there now and make a template so they’ll know what they all need to be equal to, otherwise they’ll just be squabbling about this for ever more. You know what they’re like ‘your mountain’s got more trees on it, it’s not fair’, ‘our deity’s bigger than yours’, ‘he’s got more cows than me’, honestly, it never stops! Nope, we’ll give them a template and they’ll all want to be like that and everyone will be equal. It’s brilliant!”

“When you say the best bits what do you mean? Really good hair and a nice bum? I did a great bum the other day, round and peachy, perfectly symmetrical….I was proud of that bum…”

“What are you rambling about? No, I’m talking about kindness, understanding, compassion, intelligence, honesty, determination….the good bits”

“The bits you do you mean?”

“Well, I suppose so yes…”

“Typical!”

“Oh don’t get all huffy, you can do the bum alright?”

“Yay! Let’s get cracking!”

“Yes ha ha, ‘cracking’ very funny”

“What?”

“Never mind, just get on with it”

Time passes………..

“Finished!”

“How can it take so long to do one bum? No don’t answer that, just stick it on….no, other way up…..right good it’s ready to go”

More time passes….

“How’s the template going boss? Did they get it? Are they all feeling nice and equal now?”

“I don’t want to talk about it”

“Why? What happened?”

“………..they shot him”

“Bugger! Oh well better luck next time, fancy a biscuit?”

“I’m not hungry”

Ghandi quote

 

Have a great day everyone

Lisa x

 

 

 

 

I’ve Got Nothing…

Hey, fellow bloggers, have you ever had one of those days when you sit down in front of your computer and you’ve got nothing? You woke up full of vim and vigour and ready to roll out another post and, all of a sudden, your thoughts just leave….en masse? It’s not like a few of them just sort of wander off leaving you with something in reserve, they just decide to go on a mass walk out and you’re left wondering what you did to offend them?

Hey, fellow bloggers, have you ever had one of those days when you sit down in front of your computer and you’ve got nothing? You woke up full of vim and vigour and ready to roll out another post and, all of a sudden, your thoughts just leave….en masse? It’s not like a few of them just sort of wander off leaving you with something in reserve, they just decide to go on a mass walk out and you’re left wondering what you did to offend them?

That happened to me this morning. I’ve spent the last few years trying to reach a state of such inner peace that my mind is blank and I am free to appreciate the wonders of the world around me and, now it’s actually happened, I’m thinking sheeeeiiiit!!!!

So instead of trying to force my brain into action by trawling the internet and reading until my contact lenses refuse to peel off my eyeballs I’m going to enjoy it and just leave you with a this:

Friday

 

If this has ever happened to you please tell me that this involuntary brain void will pass!

Lisa x

Peace and Love to All as Long As…

Are we so unbelievably arrogant that we can state quite categorically that there is only ONE God and we believe in him so we’re right and everyone else can go to Hell (quite literally)?

………You agree with me. That’s always been my impression of religion and why, although I believe in a higher power, I have no time for organised religion. That’s not to say that I don’t respect people who are religious, I do, but I simply cannot understand why a certain group of people who believe in God think that they are different or superior to another group who believe in exactly the same thing even though they may use a different name.

religious warsIn England, in the time of Henry VIII, heretics, i.e. people who didn’t agree with the accepted religious beliefs of the time were tied to a big stick and then set on fire. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe in God and His teachings, they did, but they didn’t accept the rule of the Catholic church. So, basically, same God but different people handing out interpretations of what He said and all hell breaks lose – why????

The same thing happened to Christians in Roman times – their beliefs were considered ‘superstitions’ and not in keeping with the opinions of those in charge at the time i.e. that there were lots of Gods, so they were put in a big pit with some lions who did what lions are wont to do and ate them. On this occasion it wasn’t down to the quality of the God but the quantity apparently but, in either case, the dictator and the lions’ breakfast believed the same thing, that there is a higher power…….

In more recent times religion has been used by crazy people to justify their insane actions: the Nazi concentration camps and the 9/11 bombings for instance but why use God to legitimize acts which are simply and straightforwardly mass murder by lunatics? If it is claimed that some terrible act is carried out in God’s [insert deity of choice] name does it make it more acceptable or does it just give the perpetrators a good excuse for their own violent natures? There are very, very few people who would condone mass murder but it doesn’t seem as though religions lose followers when atrocities are carried out, in the name of that religion, against people who don’t agree its philosophies – why?

QuranALL religions speak of love – for God and for our fellow man and yet all that seems to go out the window when religions are criticised. Is it that we, as humans, cannot bear to be wrong? Is it that, if the being we believe in is given a different name by someone, that belief is weakened or threatened? Are we so unbelievably arrogant that we can state quite categorically that there is only our God and we believe in him so we’re right and everyone else can go to Hell (quite literally)?

Even people who don’t believe in God will argue with those that do and both sides will demand that their beliefs be accepted by the other – why? It’s not as if either one has any proof is it?? Arguing that an opinion is right or wrong without proof is an exercise in futility and yet this particular opinion based argument has been going on for centuries….

bible quoteI don’t know if God or Allah or Shiva or any other deity exists but I do know that a bunch of people who believed they did, many years ago, wrote books about love, forgiveness and hope and yet all of that seems to have been forgotten by people who can’t bear to be told that their beliefs are wrong. It seems to me that faith should be more about understanding and accepting the opinions of others and less about believing blindly and unquestionably that your interpretation of those ancient scripts should never be criticised.

Please let me know what you think. As with everything I write, it’s just my opinion and I’d welcome yours

Lisa x

 

Imagine There’s No Heaven….

Does the thought that are lives are somehow guided by a divine being comfort us or stop us looking inside ourselves and reaching our true potential as human beings?

...It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

If there was no reward after death for the good and kind deeds that we do during our life -time would people still be moved to do them? If, at the same time, we knew for sure that there was no chance of punishment after death, would we be more predisposed to commit ‘evil’ deeds in the name of self-gratification? Does the thought that are lives are somehow guided by a divine being comfort us or stop us looking inside ourselves and reaching our true potential as human beings?

If we had no worries about yesterday and no fear of tomorrow would we all live more happily and peacefully today? If we could all live in the moment without judgement or criticism, could we finally find a way to co-exist without hatred and war?

These lyrics, by John Lennon, are, in my opinion, the most profound and timeless of any song ever written.

What song lyrics have stayed with you and continue to inspire you?

Lisa x

Walking on Sunshine or Eggshells?

If you’ve done something kind for someone today, for no other reason than to see them smile, please share it with me and restore my faith in human nature. Have a wonderful day lovely people xxxxx

If you’ve done something kind for someone today, for no other reason than to see them smile, please share it with me and restore my faith in human nature………..

Today I am genuinely saddened by something truly wonderful. The sign above, which I imagined would be a fantastically uplifting start to someone’s working day, was posted on Twitter and accompanied by this comment:

“Thought of the day: why not take the time to sexually harass a stranger”

I had an entire post prepared on how this kind of self-victimisation in the name of feminism is damaging to the entire cause and women in general but instead I am just despairing that we may be losing all trust in each other and the desire to interact with strangers in case we inadvertently offend them.

So, instead of giving you my usual rambling insights I’m going to leave you with these thoughts instead and hope that the World isn’t becoming as cold and distant as I fear:

Kindness 1Kindness 2kindness 3

We all need to feel loved and, when we do we are free to love others. The problems in this World will never be solved by argument and criticism but only by acceptance and understanding.

 Have a wonderful day lovely people xxxxx

 

Is Woke the Path to Enlightenment?

People should not be treated as sheep unless the intention is for them to become like sheep – mindlessly following popular opinion without applying their own moral standards – that can never lead to anything positive!

For those of you don’t know (and I was one of them until recently) ‘woke’ is a widely used term for people who are ‘aware’ of social and racial injustices but does being aware make them enlightened or just intolerant of the intolerance of others?

If you have a quick whiz around Google you’ll soon find this comment from David Brooks (who is an American journalist apparently):

“To be woke is to be radically aware and justifiably paranoid. It is to be cognizant of the rot pervading the power structures. The woke manner shares cool’s rebel posture, but it is the opposite of cool in certain respects. Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.”

face palmWhen I first started thinking about ‘woke’ I thought yep OK we need a bit more tolerance and understanding of other people because, with that, comes acceptance and with acceptance comes peace but then I read this explanation and face palmed….It would appear that, in modern parlance, woke is merely calling other people out over their ideas and opinions which the ‘woke’ collective deem as being unacceptable. It has led to a culture in which some people, who presumably consider themselves woke, criticise the comments or actions of others and, furthermore, are offended on behalf of others. 

A sad example of this was the online castigation of a young girl who posted a photo of herself in her prom dress. Pretty innocuous right? Nope, because she was wearing a traditional Chinese dress called a cheongsam and she’s not Chinese which apparently means that she committed the crime of cultural appropriation which prompted responses such as:

“Was the theme of the prom casual racism” (this from a girl whose profile picture indicates that she is not Chinese)

This was followed by:

“I’m Asian and not insulted in any way. You look beautiful”

This thread prompted over 6,000 comments, some condemning and some showing support. Those condemning appear to consider themselves woke; they are pointing out that a dress choice could be interpreted as taking something from someone else’s culture without having the proper respect or understanding of that culture which is, apparently, inappropriate. If you take this theory to the nth degree then, surely, it means that everyone must stay within their own cultural boundaries in case they offend someone by stepping over theirs. Whilst I can appreciate patriotism and pride in our heritage I do find it incredibly sad that we should not be able to appreciate the wonders of someone else’s culture without fear of inadvertent appropriation.

Your rights endThis phrase from Mr Brooks “woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable” really concerns me not least because who will be deciding what is ‘unacceptable’. Is it the case, as it seems to be with advertisements these days, that if more than 0.00000001% of the population is offended then it naturally follows that the rest of the population should be offended?

There is currently a battle ranging between trans women (biological men who identify as women) and extreme feminists and both sides are gaining a lot of traction in the media because they are trying to force people to accept their beliefs by saying that, to have a contrary opinion, is offensive and unacceptable. So, to take this example, does ‘woke’ mean that you have to accept both sides of the argument as being offensive? If that is the case then where does the positive on each side fit in? Where is the place for the individual in all this?

sheepApparently woke is collectivist which means that the good of the society has to be considered over the welfare of the individual. That’s dangerous ground for me I’m afraid; what is ‘society’ other than a collection of individuals and who gets to decide what is good for the majority of an individuals other than a minority of other individuals? People should not be treated as sheep unless the intention is for them to become like sheep – mindlessly following popular opinion without applying their own moral standards – that can never lead to anything positive!

Lotus isolated on blackSo, is being woke the same as being on the path to enlightenment? In my opinion, that would be a resounding no. True tolerance and true harmony between individuals doesn’t come from being offended, angry and indignant, it comes from acceptance and understanding. It’s a rare thing to be able to accept others just as they are but I believe that’s the way to peace so I will try to be awakened and not woke if that’s all the same to you ;O) x