All things repeat. All things. And now Paris. Again.
The world is a frightening and fascinating place. I have lived in a number of cities in the world. I have made terrible mistakes and wondrous decisions. So I am not naive. And as you know I have made a decision to move to the country, grow my own food and not to get involved in world news. No TV, no radio and no news feed on my computer. Not to ever see a doctor again even at the hour of my death. To leave politics. To live without influence. I cannot vote in the country I live in so Politics holds no interest for me.
This works for most of the time but with Hugo (my resident Frenchman) sitting across from me thumping his computer with the palm of his hand as Paris erupts in violence, I cannot help but be drawn in. He is cursing in French at the screen. I know little French to speak of but I understand every word. It is the scream of the young against the horror. Trying to make sense of a world of madness while sitting in a world of calm. And the madness is not new. Of course not. But for him it is.
Is this why I live in this isolated place? Where there is only cows and pigs and food and birds and me laughing and skipping about. Like an idiot. Am I terribly clever or the ostrich with her head in the sand.
I don’t know.
All I know for sure is that we are transients across the face of the earth we strut about on. We are temporary beings. Violence and war are a given for men and animals – even in a field of cattle, or a pen of pigs or chickens – violence is the way order is established in the animal kingdom and mans kingdom. Even the crowing of the farm roosters in the morning must happen in a designated order or there will be terrible retribution.
So why do we expect better from people. Yet I do.
We do. We can think. We can think and plot for power. Dominance over our kitchens or our neighbours, or our animals , power over our children, power over our dogs, power of religion, power in politics. It is impossible to escape it. We ALL think we know better than the other guy. But we also have the choice to think WITH the other guy. Listen to the other guy. Listen.
I said to a friend yesterday morning that I have won more battles with my EARS. Not by shouting or hitting or demanding that I know best. Because I do not. But by listening and waiting. Not joining in the name calling. Listening.
We are all flawed. We are none of us perfect.
Please, Please do not judge a person by his religion or his brothers religion, or by his political beliefs or by the food she eats or even her words. Judge me by my ACTIONS. Watch what I DO not what I say. Don’t blame me for the actions of my neighbours or the path I walk. Words are powerful but ultimately they are tissue paper. Listen to me. Watch my face. Forgive me, then listen again. Think about why I said what I said not WHAT I said. Then judge me when I am dead and in my coffin. Then you may judge me. Kindly I hope. But hold off until then. I may be still evolving and thinking myself. I may not have it right yet. I might still be working out how to live in this new and forever world. Or I may have hidden from it.
Don’t punish the little people on their little wheels for the horror caused by their big mean brothers with the big guns.
Be careful. Please be careful. I am only a wee person. Each one of us is. Being gentle is so much harder than pulling a real or metaphorical trigger.
Being gentle in this crazy world of ours is indeed a hard thing to do. Such a sad day.
Wise words celi. If only people did listen more. Very sad day.
Your wisdom is indisputable, and politics are a no go area for we disenfranchised expats. But it is very difficult to feel gentle here in France today. Yes, we too have more or less escaped the troubled city lifestyle. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. My kneejerk reaction poem is here: https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/sonnet-written-in-shock/
I woke up this morning to this horrific news. As I go about my Saturday morning chores, I an feeling shaken and so sad for the families who are experiencing agonies right now. All those lost lives….
“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right”
You get it, and are so right.
I feel your sentiments. It is so sad really that this has to happen (again) and the innocent people who lost their lives. Let there be peace and unity in the whole world.
My grandfather used to say, “Don’t listen to what I say, listen to what I mean”. These words made no sense to me as a child. As an adult, I understand then clearly. Our words have only a minor roll, while our actions take the lead.
As horrific as this is – and horrific is a tame word to use for this – what saddens me even more is the people who are now using this as a stage for hate and more violence. FB this morning is full of people calling for retribution! I can understand they are angry, but a lot of the times this anger is like a cancer, and it’s growth often kills the innocent because they are the closest to what we perceive as a threat. And when emotions are this high, some forget to listen. Hate to say this but a lot of people get a certain ‘high’ on this kind of tragedy, it justifies their ‘right to bare arms’ and they, in blind fury, look for someone to use these arms against!
If you are an ostrich, then so am I in my little corner of peace I have strive to make. It isn’t that I don’t care about humanity, but I refuse to add to the hysterical hate and bias of the world today. I will quietly go my way, helping those I can, when I can, without all the shouting and finger pointing!
Tolerance, understanding and forgiveness are all products of civilisation, and go against the raw instincts of man and animal alike to dominate, control and exclude the ‘other’, the different. I would *like* to say that all men are my brothers, just as all women are my sisters. But how can a man be my brother, if he oppresses my sisters? I do not bay for revenge, or threaten or hate, because how then can I think of myself as civilised? Instead, I work hard at not hating, at forgiving, and wondering how we can all be brought to talk together…
I have not heard till now about this. Like you, I have chosen not to engage in the media frenzy that is often slanted to induce more of the same. I pray for peace daily and keep my vibration as loving and peaceful as possible. So each encounter I have in the world reflects that. It’s the only tool I have to to help our troubled world and you are correct. It is always the struggle for power in everything. My heart goes out to Hugo. The only persons actions we can control is our own. Well said, Celi. Well said.
I was aware of news of events last night in Paris. Elly was flying to Israel with a long stop over in CDG. Thankfully she was well away when the events began. I have a friend who lives in between the Bataclan and rue de Charonne, and not so far from the other restaurants where killings occurred. He is safe, but was shattered when I chatted to him this morning. It is not only those killed, but those who mourn their deaths, the injured, the emergency services and passers-by who helped or saw the carnage we need to think about now. My heart goes out to Hugo, so far away from home. Please give him a hug from me.
The Fellowship stands with and behind Hugo, and you as well. I think we all grieve this morning in our own way and all stand in abject horror once again at this news. Peace and respect…words that seem to mean nothing anymore.
Thanks, Celi for these beautiful words. And love to Hugo.
Well said Celi, you always find the right words.
My thoughts and prayers are with Hugo, his family and his country.
I too agree! Very wise words and thank you, thank you for your wonderful blog that comes to me every morning. I really appreciate reading and looking at your wonderful
You are both terribly clever for living as and how you do, and also an ostrich. But we all are to some degree. I listen very little to news – especially the nasty stuff. It only brings everyone down, while we are presented with too few good things to focus on that will bring us up. We have to find those things ourselves, not wait for the news to bring them to us. It does not seem to matter how civilized we become (in any age of this long-lived world), the beast lives within and waits for moments like these to pop out and stir us up in a bad way.
I could not speak with my husband last night about the events in France, for he is angry right now. While I am angry and saddened, my church is currently working with many churches in our area to bring 3 families from Syrian refugee camps to our little corner of Canada. Do I worry that we might be bringing people who will not be able to leave behind their anger, who will lash out at their new neighbours in their new home – of course I do. But that cannot stop me from reaching out to those who need safety and comfort; who have children that need to grow up learning that tolerance and caring can make life beautiful; who simply want to work, play and live their lives with joy. I have lived my 50 odd years with essentially no worries, no fear, no trauma. How could I justify not working to give others that same kind of life.
So I tamp down my concerns, work hard to get homes ready for 3 families, and when they get here show them all the love and compassion I can. That`s how I am trying to make a difference, how I am trying to live out my life choices, how I am trying to honour what my parents taught me to be.
Please give Hugo a hug from me – it is very hard for the young.
Chris S in Canada
If only as you do, we could all ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Thank you 🙂
I suppose the point to make here is that what Paris suffered on Friday night is pretty much what many – not all – Syrian refugees have been subjected to for some years. To make them scapegoats – unwanted, rejected – because they are thought to be ‘terrorists’* adds a mighty insult to injury, n’est–ce pas?
I fell in love with all things French when I studied it in high school and again in college and fulfilled the dream of visiting Paris 3times in my life, this last time in December, 2014 when we also visited Normandy. It is especially crushing that these atrocities have occurred in the most beautiful , most romantic city in the world. My heart goes out to Hugo and his lovely family.
Very sad news and condolences to the people hurt by this. I’ve been oblivious to all as I’m setting up my winter RV in a small town in Mexico. Totally wrapped up in my own concerns. When I read about the deaths and horror in Paris, it made me sad. A group of us were out last night dining and dancing, having fun. Much like those innocents harmed by brutal creatures. I think hiding out is a way of protecting ourselves, but as some have mentioned, extending a hand in peace is one thing we all can do.
Thank you for your gentle voice of sanity amidst the huge unloosed fear. Living peaceably is so much more important than being right. I feel for the Parisians and all the immigrants who are going to suffer because of these acts.
Beautifully said. And can I say how inspiring it is that you’re living that way? I often dream of living like that but don’t always feel like it’s possible for me in my financial position, with seemingly no way out. But it gives me hope when I see people living like this – it makes me feel like I am able to live that way, too. Off the land, in harmony with it, and with a mindset of joy and peace in all of it, despite or perhaps because of the hard work involved.
you are very wise and we need more people like you. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.
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You are such a good and wise woman. Thank you for your wonderful blog and all that you stand for.
Please give Hugo a hug for me. He is in my prayers, as are his family, friends and country
I am a bit of an ostrich too, but if you live in any European city now, it feels close and possible. My heart aches for France, for Paris, for all those people whose lives were ripped apart in a matter of minutes. And then I think about the people in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria who live with this every day, sometimes at the hands of our countries. It is heart-breaking. And all I’m sure of us that violence begets more violence. At some point we have to say enough and refuse to respond in the same history-worn way.
Thank you for your message of peace. Poor Hugo, I know how horrible it is to be so far from home when someone attacks your country because I was in Budapest on 9/11. And after ten years of living in France, it also feels like my home although I’m now in California. I wish there were a way to comfort all those families whose lives are forever turned upside down.
Thank-you for this C. You have spoken what is in all of our thoughts and hearts. Please have Hugo know that the fellowship is surrounding him with our love and support. He doesn’t understand this…none of us do but there are way more good people in this world than evil. And now you have this extraordinary opportunity to show Hugo just that and he will remember it for the rest of his life.
Poor Hugo. My heart goes out to him. I don’t watch the news, but the hatred and panic filters in anyway. Times like this I find that I have to avoid social media too, so am possibly an ostrich myself…or just to fragile for the world. It’s too sad. SO much pain. God speed France.
Celi I read your words out loud. It helps.
For Hugo : Je te veux exprimer toute ma sympathie.
Wonderful piece. Was at a gathering last night, and the first thing we did (there were about 100 people)was to say a prayer for the people of Paris. Convey my sorrow and love to your young friend and stalwart helper Hugo.
A beautiful, heartfelt response Celi. Like creates like. If we want more love and care, we give more. If we want more fighting and hatred and violence that’s what we’ll get by it. I want peace and tolerance and community where everyone has a place.
Thank you for writing about this. I never watch TV now because the images sear my brain. I listen to the radio news, sparingly. With such terrible events, what comes to my mind is rebalancing. My way of rebalancing is to meditate and pray and be with the earth & my garden. Your way is to uphold a lifestyle of healthy living, kindness and care. This is a precious contribution, & I am so grateful that you and others are doing this. Thank you for living such an affirmation of what matters.
Because of time differences I got the horrific news and reposted the same amongst the first I guess in the ‘Community’: it felt like 9/11 all over again . . . Unlike you I do watch TV and read all available comments, am actually active in a number of groups . . . but SO agree with your pivotal comment ‘we all think that we know better than the other guy’ . . . if each and every one of us understood and accepted that we would be living in a different world . . . but we have a long, long way go provided we do not wipe one another out in the interim . . . and I simply do not know whether those who know to look left, right and centre are in the majority! Meanwhile am quietly humming the ‘Marseillaise’, bloodthirsty tho’ it also is . . .
This news made me sad and confused. For those of us doing our best to love and be tolerant and understanding, what else is needed? I don’t know, but I do know more violence is not the answer. If it was the world would be at peace by now. Hugs to Hugo. xxx
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At times like this when you see the news, you wonder what is going to become of mankind. There seems to be so much hatred and misunderstanding ripping apart the world. And then you realise, as you say, that violence has always been a part of living. You only have to look back a short way in human history to the Middle Ages, to find similar (or worse) times. I try to believe that human goodness will always triumph. It must be, or we would not have got so far as we already have. Do any of you follow Paul Salopek’s journey on National Geographic? He is walking out of Africa, following the steps of humans as they spread across the globe. His stories of kindness given to a travelling stranger and of friendships made even in the most unsettled regions, warm your heart. His latest post made me think. He visited an archaelogical site in Dmanisi, where a number of hominid graves have been found. And there are a number of skeletons whose existence proves that they cared for their own – an older man with a withered arm, a child with severe brain deformities. It makes you realise that kindness and compassion are part of our human makeup, and hope that it will always triumph over hatred and violence. If anyone else wants to read, the link is http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/10/the-natural-history-of-compassion/.
Have you read Sapiens – a short study of humankind or something like that – you might like it – i am half way through – but am very impressed
“I keep my ideals because in spite of everything I still believe that
people are good at heart.”
~~~Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Much love and especially to Hugo,
That was beautiful prose, my friend. You manage to express so many of the same things I feel – that many of us feel. I try to remember that I have not walked in another person’s shoes. And I can’t help but think as a collective group of caring people, that we can make a difference by being compassionate and loving.
I don’t watch the news, makes me far too angry. If, like what has happened in Paris happens, I will get wind of it one way or another so no need for me to watch all the negativity on the telly every day – I don’t like punishing myself like that. I agree, not all are bad but how very sad that so few are able to destroy so much! Humans are killing mother earth each day, quicker and quicker – one day she will have to implode on herself if things don’t start changing for the better.
Have a wonderful farmy day C.
🙂 Mandy xoxoxo
My heart goes out to Hugo as he comes to terms with this new reality.
Reblogged this on Art-Colored Glasses and commented:
This is a first for me, but I must share my friend Celi’s post with my community here at Art-Colored Glasses. Because ours are not always *rose*-colored glasses, we find it meaningful to contemplate the complexities of the human condition, and the mistress of The Kitchens Garden says it so superbly. Read on, my friends.
Exquisitely said. I must share this. Reblogged it. THANK YOU.
You will hear from Hugo in some fashion? It is the struggle of the young, Ci. May all the young be kept safe and allowed to grow to wisdom, tolerance and hopefully in peace.