Monday, 24 June 2013


It has started. The lead up to sinterklaas. The debate on zwarte piet. A couple of years ago a friend wrote a good overview and view of why changes to zwarte piet should be made. He said that posters of zwarte piet in the uk are of children au natural. Children who dont look like golliwogs. Golliwogs were dolls who also caused controversy in their time. They were removed as mascots from robinsons jam circa 1987ish. Im queen of vague, but it if you want to check it further. Wiki will help you out. Truth is i have lived in different cities in holland, and i never felt so much division as i have in amsterdam. So please god, let amsterdam be an arena for healing, an arena for forgiveness, on all sides. And arena for unity.

I am TIRED of them, and us, and us versus them. When in the end, we are all an US. I heard an interview from an nigerian-american about her new book. The interviewer asked whether she felt more nigerian or american, her words ammounted to this. Well, at the point that you ask this question, my feeling is of just being me. There is fine line between being rooted in history and culture,and living and being in the here and now.

The truth is that zwarte piet has to change his appearance. The truth also is that the sinterklaas party, and festive vibes that zwarte piet brings is joyful, and when times are testing, then everybody needs joy. Thats a truth.

But of course as debate rises there will of course be defensiveness on both sides. Should the change come this year, then there should also be a thread of forgiveness woven in exchange.

I got upset in the last weeks that id encouraged creative projects, and likelihood not be involved, and forgotton by creative egos. It made me question who is on my team, and to whose team i belong. But when i look at humanity now, its becoming so ugly that im glad my team is small, and that im glad im free of those teams id previously hoped to be in. By walking independently i can stay free from us and them, and hope one day when every superficial difference is abolished, and we are simply us.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

...warm love

The swifts were spanning the blue skies today. that's something I like about the Netherlands, is the full spanning of skies. People often ask me why I live in Holland, and a big part of the answer is that you can see a full horizon of skies. The scenery in Scotland can be beautiful and mystic, but its also darker in hues, and where there are hills, it takes part of the skyline away. sometimes stunning beauty, sometimes oppressive, particularly if I want an open feel of outlook.  During Breda summers, I have a romantic notion that Breda has the best skies, and I state justly so, because they are only touched by colours of the sunset. Now that I live close to one of the most famous airports in the world, flight paths imprint mans etcha-sketched thumbprint onto something naturally beautiful.

Actual Breda sunset.

Where as in Holland, the swifts seemed to stretch their wings in the expanse. In Sicily the swifts showed phenomenal aerodynamics. I sat with an orange juice in early morning, before rush hour on the ground began, rush hour in the air saw swifts darting, turning, gliding between the buildings, swooping towards the depths of pavements, sharp turns through alleyways, and soaring back into the skies. it was amazing to see. and it was nice to see nature intertwine so eloquently with what man has created. Rush hour in Palermo is also something phenomenal to experience, in fact not just at rush hour! to say its a different mentality, the tempo is very different to what you experience in other countries, and yet there can be kindness found in it. Mum said at one point that she had to remember, that scooters sounding there horns, is not out of rudeness, or that they might be upset, but more that they let you know that they are coming - which is handy. Whereas cyclists in Holland are treated like sacred cows, in Palermo, its the pedestrians who are given ultimate respect, lanes of rushing traffic will stop, or at least plan to avoid you as you walk across the road. Here's an example of tempo, Palermo traffic style..

My sister has a variety of theories. She has a love of Palermo, and that nature is beginning to take over where man is failing. Its not that Sicilians are failing, if anything I like the priorities that they make in life. if you take, lets say an industrious viewpoint, then Sicily is financially lacking, due to debts from war, corruption, and the current crisis. but from a different view, the vibe and soul in Palermo is warm and glowing. Family, Food, Fashion, Coffee and Ice cream (current trend is an ice cream brioche!). 

The birth of my niece was really a time for family to connect. but this time the connection was slightly different, my sister, in recovery from pregnancy, lacked buzz and opinion. on other occasions, she would have action packed days planned so that we could fully get to know the city that she's made her home. But instead, each day, she gave my dad a destination that she would like me and my brother to see. It was nice to see my parents adapting to a different culture. new language, new pace, adapting in their 50's and 60's takes some doing. They should have seen it coming though. my mum is not really worried what the Jones's think. (except when my sister wore neon "anti cool" waterproofs to a family walk, that time is the only time mum thought best to leave by the back gate, instead of promenade up the street). And only one time of frustration from a conversation was re told.

"and she said... oh I just think its funny, that one sons married his high school sweetheart.. and both my daughters are marrying, and have mortgages.. all my children are so settled"

"..and what was I to say.." says mother.."..well my oldest is head over heals in love with a refugee, my second oldest is running around South America with a  philandering latino, and my youngest.. well he's bringing back samples of Perth night life.."

That was said with a lot of tongue in cheek. there is a lot of tongue in cheek within my family, and its fun. walking along the street with my brother, it fell half into enjoying company, and a small part remembering old ways. and so this time I thought I might try to carefully amend bad habits..

"you know Fiona in high school used to spit all the time... but then a boy told her if we all spat on the street at the same time... we'd all be swimming in it."

"that's probably true Nic. but if we all held hands at the same time, its a nice idea, but no one would get anywhere would they? we'd be stuck in a circle all day..... Shall we go for a coffee?"

It was good having my brother there, he really took attitude of holiday. I had some moments of being overwhelmed sensitive wise, but he set the tone of holiday, and after taking 5 minutes to work through the buzz and tears of "it feels like too much is going on today", I could get back into the holiday vibe. I've read a lot from the sensitives-forum, and I get the sense that they crumble, hide and take offence with challenges to their comfort. If I didn't ride the wave and do it anyway, I would have been sitting on one of the most beautiful 30's style beaches I've ever seen. Advice to HSP, whilst self-compassion is needed, I do think to work through the emotions and experience life is very important to try.

So Pip sat on the sofa, "I want you to go see Monreale"

"Monreale is like nothing you will have ever seen, if you're willing.." Dad said, as we turned up the hairpin bend.  We'd taken two buses already, the blessing about not really knowing where you are going is that you find small parts of coolness. we found a building with amazing courtyard, and to the side of the courtyard was an art exhibition ( I'm sure the "lostness" of it all was inspired by Van Gogh. Max once thought a guardian angel of hers was Marilyn Monroe, it seems I'm more guided by an erratic artist with passion for nature. the grass is always greener.)   So the gallery was celebrating the work of Mimmo Germana, who's work celebrated the strength and colour of the mediteranean, which was hugely evident looking around. He also was described to be fiercely influenced in portraying human relation to environment.

anyway back to the hairpin bend. it was the most challenging hairpin bend I have walked around, for the following reasons.

  • my brother took hold of the fence, shaking it.. "I think theres been an accident here.."
  • below the fence was the roof of a house embedded into the rock,
  • the height of the house spanned the gradient of the hairpin bend
  • As my brother shook the fence, a helicopter flew BELOW us in the valley.
  • I have never ever had vertigo in my life until then.

"lets just keep going" says I.

as we got halfway along the straight, my brother and dad started admitting to themselves that this was actually quite a mission. And as it was said, two elderly somethings ran past us on the steep slope. on return, Mum was upset that we did not see the mosaic work depicting different bible stories, whilst the big lights were on to highlight them. I was just happy we saw the place in daylight.


"Its a really good idea if you go to Cefalu". It was the first time that week that mum came off duty to have an afternoon with us.  My sister had one appointment, so mum would leave after she came back.
So my dad, brother and I set towards the bus station.  Dad had conversation with his new friend, the bus ticket guy, who thought dads Italian was really improving.
We caught the bus which weaved in and out of the Palermo streets, and in one instant thought we should get off that bus. and when we did, he just stood, maybe to get his bearings... maybe not. that's the frustrating part, is that there's no communication until he's certainly fathomed his answer.  during that time, the child within feels her brain turn to marshmallow, and a desire to stick a finger in her eye and swirl that marshmallow around a bit.

"Dad. do. you. know where we are? how long is it to the station?"

"ohhhh ten minutes.." and after a second reaffirming glance. ".. or twenty.."

the lesson is that it takes time and patience to travel around Sicily, plan for one or two things a day, and enjoy the journey getting there. the second part of the lesson, is that it takes even more time and more patience to travel around Sicily with dad.

So we took a left, and found ourselves in a nice little square, and after a few discussions on the likelihood of  actually getting the 12.08  train, "..Well shall we just go for a coffee." and so we did.

"well.." says dad on leaving." that was a great coffee"

"yes," says I "..its wonderful for taking the edge off the frustration, out of actually getting somewhere!"

Dad chuckled dryly.

we found the station, dad went to buy tickets, my brother is diabetic, and needed to buy lunch. and so we sat waiting for dad. I left them sitting, tucking into lunch. to go find the ladies room. but glancing at the clock, and calculating time for my dad and brother to gather themselves, and to see the distance towards the train.. I "encouraged" them to get a move on! we had 5 minutes before the train left. we, or rather I rushed towards the front, less busy carriages of the train, dad and my brother following. and when the first door tried wouldn't open "IDIOTS" may have escaped my mouth.

We arrived in Cefalu station,  and as I was working out that dad would have to walk back up from the beach within the hour to pick mum up. BUT. Mum was already there waiting on the platform! she had left earlier, asked directions in Italian, and walked to the station within twenty minutes. as apposed to our rough hour and half..

she had been sitting in the carriage, had been sitting there for ten minutes already.  and saw me passing, waving on the others, dad marching past with bags flapping, and my brother casually sauntering past, checking himself out in the reflection.

this is my family, and its a conundrum of tempo's, all compromising, all adjusting, but all loving.

I look at the tempo's of the birds in the skies, how they all function with different types of grace, speed and mentality. Swifts who never rest, but glide onwards at full speed. pigeons who seem to be the most adaptive birds to their situation, and Aberdeen Seagull who will ruthlessly mug you for a bacon sarnie. They are products of the environments they live in, and so are we. but we are also products of the relations we bare on ourselves and each other. and that's what I find fascinating.

its how I adapt to my family's tempos', and vice versa. but also being quieter, how I remain strong in sense of my own tempo. its a beautiful tension that I am still trying to work out, and come to terms with. I am now quite strong in me, but they shape how I am, but its my own decision as to how far I allow it to shape me and in what way. and I guess that's part of learning to feel balanced.


On the way to the airport, we stopped at Seggesta. Seggesta amazed me. that the ground and stones that crunched under my feet had been walked upon, fought upon 300 years BC. having said that, we didn't go directly to the temple.. we had our lunch in the car park. and besides the car park was a path that we walked up, walking past a sign blown down by the wind, which had likely said, no entry. but to which no enquiry was made. so we saw the ampitheater from afar.. but for me more interesting was the settlement close by. perhaps it's included in the tour... we didn't find out. beside the settlement was a stack of cannonballs, BC-style. if we used those today, no one would be bothered to start wars.

As I left my parents in the airport, a white feather passed by my dads shoulder, and I thought maybe it was angelic help in good relations that week, for which I was grateful.
But as I got onto the plane, I had a very bad feeling about the flight, I went into quiet irrational panic, "We're all going to die... have I had a happy life? what do I most treasure?" these were all thoughts..

first announcement from the cabin crew suggested that since we were and hour from Maastricht, we may want to order extra drinks... a second comment told us that someone was very ill on the flight and we would be diverting to Pisa.  its quite unnerving to feel a plane fly so fast you see the engines shaking, kind of like taking my mums old car up the highway. at 90.. 

on a spiritual note, it hit me, that if white feathers signify something, I need to ask for angelic help in distinguishing different signs. white feathers will appear during moments where love is, but I know that it will begin to panic me if white feathers are associated too many times with someone passing, and so new prayer begins for heightened communication, more specific signs, and more specific discernment.

the ambulance took the old man, but it waited by the plane for an hour. me and the Spanish girl discussed possibilities of what might be happening, an air hostess then told us the man has died. its a very shocking and chilling atmosphere whilst people are stilled in contemplation. This old man had walked on with his wife, planning to go to a destination together... and now the wife is in Pisa, alone.  with my Grandad, his deteriorating health meant that as sad as it was, we knew..  but this situation in Pisa, was so sad for the wife. And it hit home hard that life is so so precious, and yet fragile and indefinite. and those moments that we take for granted.. we really shouldn't.

This is one of dads favourite songs from Van Morrison. Warm love.

On a separate, but interesting note, well for those who still have interest..Whilst I was experiencing Sicily, in different corners of the world,  David was experiencing Palestine on foot, raising money for the Hope Flowers school in Bethlehem. There are some interesting insights in his blog that may not touch us via western media - I know why the caged bird sings

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Teambuilding, me.

I have time to write at the moment, so lets write.

A while ago I wrote somewhat off the cuff, I am nurtured. I am encouraged, and I am ready to dance again.
a few days after writing it I really laughed to myself wondering if I had faith in what I had written. I am nurtured at the moment, but will that continue to be so. I have moments of encouragement, but that also dips and troughs. If I am selling that sentence, what do I have to back it up?
The questions from last week. who is in your front line team? and what empowers me at the moment? well it circles back on itself. what empowers me is my team around me. the members of my team are not always steadfast, but as team, and without always having knowledge of each other, for me, towards me, they are steadfast. I am because we are.
One of my closest girlfriends in Scotland, is someone I can rely upon to make me laugh. to get into silly scenarios, but also learnt has been hard truths from each other. In the clubs we made a good tagteam, our peers would concentrate around urban music, but half an hour rebellion dancing to cheeseypop, and we would proudly clear the dancefloor humorous moves.
the hangover days were spent well, lets give an example. Reminiscing over home and away characters and a shared crush on Dieter Brummer. Once her boyfriend left the flat, it was safe grounds to check out some old Dieter Brummer pictures on the Internet. Kindly, google offered the possibility to check out Naked Dieter Brummer pictures - well why not?  the hitch? we had to sign in using an email account. and being somewhat coy, we thought it better to create a new email account. under the name of Dieter Brummer. Its perfectly reasonable that Dieter Brummer would want to check out his own naked pictures on the Internet.
To our huge disappointment, there were no naked pictures. But having time left over, and a new email account to use. We thought it would be fun for Dieter Brummer to send a love letter to our friend Leslie. And so he did. The wondrous thing was that "love" turned Dieter Brummer's very sexy Australian accent into something that resembled Mr Hankypoo on an acid trip. And so it began, Deeeeaaar Leslie, ahhhh haaaad a dream...

The rest of the dream is really between Dieter and Leslie, but it was a few weeks that pasted until it was brought up. Leslie was driving us down the mainstreet, and I commented that Jason Donavan was due to perform in a local bar..
.".. you never guess, but I got a love letter from Dieter Brummer the other week.."
we still have  close bond, though distance and social networks have changed these days. When I arrived in Scotland for Grandad's funeral. which was the same week as my birthday. I found a card from her, with a feather on it. I take white feathers as a significant spiritual sign. whilst working through my own daily and weekly stuff, I often lose the focus on dreams. but as I opened the card, beside the happy birthday message was a quote 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined  - Henry David Thoreau
I mentioned that in the team there was different strands of strength and encouragement. Aside from the old faithfuls. there is a line of guidance and encouragement from friends who are on more of a spiritual level. not always expected, but always seem to be there when life wants them to be. I am highly sensitive, but I don't see it as just something in my personality trait. I see it as a process, of re-acclimatising with life around me. sometimes the world does feel harsh, and somethings can be upsetting on an irrational level. but if I was to hide away from it, then what would I be living? I stood up in discussion with Christian friends the other day, who suggested needing a stone is psychological. They need to read words in the bible to feel protected. I feel protection from energy that stones emit, some stones act as my buffer from negativities around me. a buffer from negativities that can have a disabling affect on my life.  but sitting beside my creative friend last week, it was uplifting to know that being around crystals is only part of the process, and I will not always be tied to that need, as diabetics are tied to insulin.
Today I sit with a injured foot, unable to walk, unable to take the next steps on many levels for at least the next few days. and its incredibly frustrating, not to be able to "do". the week before, I'd attended a bible discussion about healing (how ironic you say. yeps, I say.) it suggested that other peoples belief, Christian-wise, other peoples faith in Christ, can do miracles. So I wanted to ask my friend, can pain be eradicated through belief? in a non-christian outlook, can pain vanish by believing that it can? and the answer was yes. and I had this huge feeling that this part of the process is going to be difficult to fathom. And he wrote..
I ask How in the mirror?

There is work
to be willing

Light not
to be ignored
Bliss to be
Knowing knowledge

... Knowing being
Doing knowing
Do being
as knowledge

The U in topia
is just
Door, step
face Within

I, I will
work with you
willing us
to do

What the reflection
can not


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Love vs Loyalty

I like love. I don't like loyalty. loyalty expects, loyalty manipulates everything that love has provided. loyalty sets standards in which failure induces guilt and bitterness, love passes on without expectations in return of favour. Loyalty is in the brickwork of ego. Love flows from one to another, quietly, patiently, respectfully uplifting with joy.

Let me be broken from chains of loyalty. Let me not feel weights of manipulation. Let me be free to uplift others, and let love uplift me in return. Yes sir, I like love. I do not like loyalty.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

...Feeling Good

it started a few months ago with Kutweer. a dutch translation for shitty weather, except subtexting it with a slightly rude C word for the ladies v-jayjay (god bless Oprah for nationalising such a term). it was one of the words that Zussie taught me in Breda. and for personal intention, its never used to degrade the v-jayjay, I mean goodness me, its celebrated and attended to (worshipped)  in many parts of the world on a daily basis. who am I to imply c*nt as derogatory?

In the horse work in Breda, it was common use for exasperation's, kutriek, kutwijf, kutkop, kutkruidwagon, kutstroi...  so when I expressed sheer misery of the weather I was experience, it was to express, and to get it out of my system, on facebook. someone who is a great supporter of a creative friend, took umbrage and challenged me that it was an attack on womanhood, but it was never attack in that way. there was no intention in the words to attack womanhood, or to bring it down, but there was an attack on the state of the awful weather.

It was a few days later. and I had to cycle with the children to drop the eldest boy at a friend house. the weather wasn't rainy, but it was cold and slightly unpleasant. The little girl who normally could wear a vest in minus temperatures without complaint, got so upset that it was a heartfelt struggle to persuade her there and back. and as we dropped the boy off at the friends, and rested our bikes by the wall. there in small graffiti, was Kut. now this is not to say that my words and intentions influenced one of the coldest entries to summer I have ever experienced. I am not taking that responsibility. It says in the bible, that your belief, your faith can affect someone else, so is it then possible that my misery of words, my expression and belief toward the weather could affect others experience of the weather?

So I have started to meet with the lady I work for, the one who helps to nurture my HSP traits and spiritual side, to begin plans for the next steps. I am going to write more of my processing in a different blog.  questions of reflection came up, firstly who do I consider as being in my front line team, and secondly, what empowers me at the moment?

I wrote those names who I consider to stand strongly beside me in my notebook, in the end being me it wasn't a simple line of linked names, it grew to be several lines branching out strong from a central point. One line was the old faithfuls, those who have known me as I was then, and how I am now. There are those who inspire me. there are those who are spiritual, the Christians and the sensitives, and there's David, the patriarchal brother. And then there was that which which cannot be seen, only felt, but still important, Grampa.. Farao and Odessa, my equine friends both departed, and I'm almost sure Van Goghs taking himself into the team. But I'll explain that one another day..

My immediate team is always strong, but it rotates depending on me, and life.

Last summer, I had a strong network of brothership, which was great. I really love male companionship. But the drawback of hanging too much with the brothers was that my own feeling of femininity and attractiveness started to lessen and submit to feelings of others judgements towards others. it was never a point that I was seeking out their attraction on that level, I loved them as brothers, but seeing through their eyes what was deemed attractive, and knowing I was not in that cast, it had an affect on my own perception of myself.

And the issue came up again, as I met a brother for coffee, and we compared two friends of his, who were both blond. One was more Marilyn Monroe, and the other was more elfin type. He tried to set out that the elfin type was better looking than the Marilyn Monroe. To me, they were both blonds, however one, the Marilyn was more closed, and less attractive, and less confident, than the other. And perhaps I thought, maybe if the Marilyn Monroe felt more attractive in herself, then others perceptions towards her, might be different. there are always going to be people that are more or less aesthetically appealing, maybe.. maybe you can be the most attractive you can be, with the package you got.

So next day, whilst I was cycling to work. I thought I would experiment. on the basis that intention of misery in kutweer/shittyweather could be carried forward, if I simply spoke out "I am attractive", whether I believed it or not, to see if would it have affect... so it was said. breathed. and mentioned again on a couple of different bicycle trips, and then forgotten.

And I have to say, there has been some change. it wasn't done as a quest to feel most beautiful in the playground, or a step towards arrogance, but more peaceful feeling of my own value, and value in my own femininity, not just in aesthetics but also in a way of being. Nothing has changed in my daily routine, apart from increasing my exercise, which was done for my own feeling of fitness, apart from normalities of showering, using my toothbrush frequently, deodorant, eyeliner and mascara in the morning. nothing extra has changed. I am not able to see my own aura, although I'm sure some people can. But, I do know that people do respond to the energy that others put out. Because I know that I respond to theirs.

 In the last weeks, since accounting for my own value, I have found that more people have conversed with me, I've had more instances of split second connections with people. Cycling past the man who was so amused as his Labrador sprang like a gazelle through the long grass. for a split second we connected on that humour and I enjoyed it.
On leaving the cinema, the attendant who'd took my ticket, walked me out, and chatted with me about the movie til we parted at the train station, from there the train station assistants volunteered assistant (maybe I just looked clueless - who knows!). and I cant help wondering if my feeling of value was lowered again, and my energy was less open, would either of them have felt like connecting with me? would life even have put them in a position to connect with me?

We can be judged at how good looking we are.  We can judge ourselves on it compared to others. But it we're so busy concentrating on bringing ourselves or others down, what fun are we having?  who is having the joy?  We all have beauty, it just how we utilise it.