The Function of Racism

June 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

“The very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again why you are here. Somebody says you don’t have any language so you spend 20 years proving you do. Somebody says you don’t have any culture so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.

The strategy is no different than bombing Cambodia to keep the Northern Vietnamese from making their big push. And since not history, not anthropology, not social sciences seem capable in a strong and consistent way to grapple with that problem, it may very well be left to the artists to do it.

For art focuses on the single grain of rice, the tree-shaped scar, and the names of people, not only the number that arrived. And to the artist one can only say, not to be confused, not to be confused. You don’t waste your energy fighting the fever; you must only fight the disease.

And the disease is not racism. It is greed and the struggle for power. And I urge you to be careful. For there is a deadly prison: the prison that is erected when one spends one’s life fighting phantoms, concentrating on myths, and explaining over and over to the conqueror your language, your lifestyle, your history, your habits.

And you don’t have to do it anymore. You can go ahead and talk straight to me.

Complete your work without worry. Do not be confused. Don’t waste your energy fighting the fever, you must only fight the disease. And I urge you to be careful, for there is a deadly prison. The prison that is erected when one spends their life fighting phantoms, concentrating on myths, and explaining over and over to the conqueror your language, your lifestyle, your culture, your habits. And you don’t have to do it anymore.

You don’t have to dwell on changing the minds of racists. Racial ignorance is a prison from which there is no escape because there are no doors, and there are old, old men and old, old women who need to believe in their racism, and need you to focus all of your creative energy on them.

They thrive on the failures of those unlike them. They are in prisons of their own construction.

But you must know the truth. That you are free.”

From Toni Morrison’s speech at Portland State, 1975.

How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults

June 29, 2016 § 1 Comment

This guide from United Against Racism is very helpful

http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/archive/pages/info30.htm

(It’s both terrible and sadly incredible to have to be posting this).


I would add these thoughts to the mix:

Be in grounded consciousness and awareness

Be responsive not reactive

Anger is a natural part of witnessing fascism in action, but don’t let it run you. Also compassion, numbness, shaking, crying, vulnerability. These are our strengths not our weaknesses, they show you are human.

The victim must be our first priority.
Tend to the victim with love and compassion, not pity.
Your authenticity, love, and humanity mean everything.

If it does sadly come to violence against you or the victim, and they can’t be contained. Defend yourself  and end it quickly by going for eyes, throat, or genitals of the aggressor.
(I know you don’t want to read this bit, but like so many, having lived with this shadow all my life, there comes a point where you have to stand up).

There are no sides or debates to be had here, racism is personalised terrorism and is aimed to kill the spirit of the person receiving it.

Bless us all

John

‘Some things are unthinkable, until one day the unthinkable is here’

June 26, 2016 § 3 Comments

‘Some things are unthinkable, until one day the unthinkable is here’
Julia Kent & yours truly, perform THIRST: live on BBC Radio 4 in a show hosted by Cerys Matthews

I wrote this poem on seeing David Cameron’s face on tv when he first became Prime Minister. It was clear to me in that moment the falseness and the lack that was inside of him. I didn’t know quite what he would bring, but I knew it was going to be bad…
Thirst-Poem

Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade 2016 – Highlights

June 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

2016’s Handmade Parade:
Celebrating the stalwart love, spirit, and community that forms the basis of our town. This year we reflect on the terrible Boxing Day floods which threatened our very fabric, & which as you can see from the skip and the damaged shops, we are still recovering from. But this is Hebden Bridge… We actually support each other, we are an inclusive community, that’s our secret of survival and of thriving.

 

Be Unreasonable:

June 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

Be unreasonable:
(PLEASE ADD SOME LINES OF YOUR OWN BELOW)

Be unreasonably present
Be unreasonably sane
Be unreasonably loving
Be unreasonably reasonable
Be unreasonably human
Be unreasonably sexy
Be unreasonably inclusive
Be unreasonably soulful
Be unreasonably in truth
Be unreasonably open
Be unreasonably borderless
Be unreasonably conscious
Be unreasonably creative

Over to you…

Love
John

By-the-sea-16-9

Living Authentically When Your Heart Hurts

June 21, 2016 § 1 Comment

A videoblog on loving ourselves when life delivers an emotional kicking and we are not clear why. I hope you find it beneficial, this was a really tough one to do as I’m going through this vulnerable patch, but I thought that my not hiding vulnerability may be of some use you if you’re going through rocky times as you purify the heart and moving on from deluded living into self realisation .

‘Secrets are hidden in darkness
And difficult nights.
You awaken into a pang of aloneness,
A howl of separation.
This is the call of the Dark One,
The roar of life seeking its source.
The union you long for is within reach.
Throw off all hesitation.
Become one with the fear.
Plunge into the uncanny blackness,
Eyes wide open,
As if there were no other choice.
Vibrating with fierce tenderness,
Breathe intimately
With the Lord of Infinite Space.’

Lorin Roche

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel, and please share this video with anyone you think would benefit from it.

If you’d like to be kept up to date with my activities, meditation sessions, creative writing events, readings, retreats… please join my mailing list 

Love
John

Live Your Own Way Amidst The Noise

June 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

For those of us living with awareness and presence in the world it’s really important that we develop the courage to live our lives from the centre out, and not get sidetracked by society, news, reaction and the dramas of others.

Filmed by the sea this video is a positive message of love and encouragement for all with eyes and ears to receive.

Love
John