Bullshite and Empathy

A cautious, ‘Hi’, here.

My response to Mark, at https://healingyourheartfromwithin.com.au/2019/08/28/empathy/

was becoming rather lengthy so I figured, make a post of it.

I reckon there are others who feel as I do.

Forgive me, Mark, please, for using a comment as a post. Haven’t quite mastered the art of brevity.

Hi Mark, the prodigal Scot is dipping her toes back in WP waters and you’re the first one I came across in my comments. I don’t even know if I’ll read anything else.

No, I’ll visit Beth at Colemining. You and she are two of strong connection. And that might be it.

Some of the lovely people I had met on here don’t figure in my thoughts when I’m away. That’s just life. Fleeting moments of remembrance and brief connection and we move on.

I hardly know why I’ve been away so long but your post has struck a chord.

Empathy.

It’s a bugger for me. Not only me. I was speaking to one of my sons recently and he was feeling emotionally and mentally drained to the point of …not depression…but similar… a hopelessness. He works with troubled young people while also studying at uni. He feels. He feels the world. It’s painful. I tried to explain what you are saying, in your post, but I don’t think I got it myself.

One of my daughters is the same. Mostly, the others of my crew practise a lot of sublimation. Or, maybe they just deal with the part of the world they have any control over and they’re better at separating the two than some of us are. Force them, and they’ll talk. They’ll give their opinions. They’ll tell you their beliefs. But, mostly, they get on with life. And I try to do the same.

But a few of us here struggle with the realities of what is happening all over and fluctuate between action and inaction, depending on how much energy we have left after dealing with life.

Empathy. The drain.

I’m struggling with the world. My own corner of it. What a mess is going on here. That’s kind of why I’ve been absent from WP. I decided to do something instead of writing and talking about it. But I’m not sure that what I’m doing is making any difference. Any more than words would.

Communication, for me, has always been key to dealing with people. Although, frankly, I don’t really relish being with people. It’s like I love humanity but I’m not so fond of it on an individual basis.

Someone once described an introvert as a person who can party hard with everyone else but needs a long time to recover. I rather liked that description. It fits who I am. I’m compelled to deal with people – kids, mostly – all day and, at the end of it, I just want to sit quietly in a corner. But I can’t, for the most part, because life demands and commands.

I began to take a more active role in politics last year, in the belief that actions speak louder than words. I still think that’s the case but those who have the time for action tend not to be holding down a full-time job and managing a household. Something always suffers. My writing has. It has become the last thing I do after everything else.

But it’s been bugging me. The same son I was speaking of earlier told me once, ‘Mum, writing’s a constant for you in your life. You always return to it.’

He gets me. The lass who feels the same also writes – in between living.

And that’s the shitty bit.

Something that constantly returns, but has to be put on hold, suffers neglect because arseholes are making a mess of doing the job they’re supposed to be doing.

I’d have been sacked for less.

And quite rightly.

They have all day, every day, to manipulate the world and I – we – are ants in the middle of it. Working till we drop.

I can’t stop seeing a bigger picture. It’s hazy. But not as hazy as I’d like it to be. All too clear, in lots of ways. And I’m bleeding energy for the state of the world.

What do I do about that, Mark?

How do I make empathy work for me? For the world? Because, right now, all it’s doing is draining me of the hope that has been as constant as the writing.

Thank god, right now, we have the September Weekend – a four-day break from work that’s a Scottish holiday. How I need it!

 

I had no intention of posting anything on WP. Hasn’t even figured in my mind at all in months. But, your post, Mark, speaks to me. I just don’t get it.

I don’t know how to separate what I think and feel from my energy source. When I think, I feel. When I feel, I’m exhausted.

I need a course on how not to let thinking and feeling drain me.

I need to retire, quite frankly!

But, I’m not going to do that until I see a world fit for my kids. This momma didn’t raise no cannon fodder!

Just tell me how to stop feeling everything and letting it bleed me dry.

If not, tell me a joke so’s I can laugh and move on.

And, I’m only half kidding.

I need a laugh to deal with the bull.

Thank god, I have a few comedians here who keep me smiling despite angst. Great leveller is humour. And so much truth in it too.

(There’s a slight glitch in the video but it only lasts seconds and it’s well worth hearing till the end)

Distracted, Abstracted

skin of papered onion 

peeled in pen and ink

as doodles crossing virginal

help me mull and think

with layers of lined abstraction

in markings freely made

thoughts and things I’m dreaming of

when words remain unsaid

while radio goes rambling

through the contours of my mind

in each portion printed pattern

discoveries I find

glassed in red libation

smoked in embers’ flames

onion’d contemplations

melt with those I’ve named

mid musings in a mindset

that meet where two lines merge

diverging while perceptions

collide and then converge

as news holds deep disturbance

tangents here to there

while my pen reacts to everything

in words I cannot share

Fighting Shadows

Do veins take on new colours, shades and shadows

Absorbing spectrum’s range as multi-hued

Muted, harsh, spectacular or mellow

Bleeding into consciousness till true

When courses plasmic liquid in exchanges

Breaths of capillation, calm, serene

Does dreary darkness vie with light in stages

Concur as cancer, out of sight, unseen

Inseparable companion, undercover

Ominous and partial to disguise

Unaware the host, a mother, brother

Living, breathing silence with each sigh

When veins resist the rainbow, embrace shadow

Pray light into the gloaming till it flows

 

If you pray, please pray for my eldest brother who, for the second time, has had a diagnosis of cancer. He will be undergoing surgery within the next week.  He has the strongest of spirits and has fought his way to life through major health trials over the years. My heart aches for him that he has to fight once again. Thank you.x

Ceud Mìle Fàilte – To My Part Of Our World

I think I’m really clever

so coordinated

when I can remove

the remnants

of today’s make-up

with my right hand while

unhooking earrings with my left

after having

stacked

crockery and cutlery

in preparation

for twenty

having cleaned for the days

I didn’t

while working

teaching

clearing

sorting

finishing

one job

before embarking

on the next

 

I think I’m so organised

after

shopping

with my list

for food

drink

accroutements

the je ne sais quoi

of visitors

 

I think I’m on the ball

 

I’m not

 

I’m not on anything

but the same wheel

that we’re all on

you know the one

when we impress ourselves with our

own abilities to cope

under pressure

to be

to do

to act

to keep on

keeping on

 

I think I’m doing so well

and I am

 

I definitely am

 

I know this

by comparison

to when I’m not

and, oh, there have been times

when ‘not’ has been

the ‘it’

 

but now

right now

I’m doing well

as well as anyone can do

with

still

so much to do

 

I think I’m so clever

removing

with my right hand

today’s make-up

while

at the same time

my, oh, my!

such dexterity

disentangling dangling earrings from lobes

time-saving

knowing I have organised

am organised

will be

the hostess with the

enough

more than enough

to make them welcome

and

next week

I’ll abseil

and kayak

just for fun

 

these are the

holiday-days

the manage-and-do

and fill-the-days

with what is not the

everyday-do-days

these are the good

but also

busy days

 

as all days

 

I think I’m so clever

so coordinated

so resourceful

that I can do all this

and be

sane

 

while monitoring

watching

still

always

what is going on

in the realm of those

whose lives

coordinate

and manage

a different agenda

where

welcome

hospitality

ceud mìle fàilte

are not the operative words

I know

I’m doing well

and the earrings and makeup removed

two-handed

in a satisfied acknowledgement

of

the fridge

and dishes

ready

speak my truth

 

I’m clever

in some ways

in more ways

like so many

the everyday ways

we do

we are

the embrace

that love

to welcome

life

and loving

 

how clever

and resourceful

and full of life

are we

in spite of all

 

slainte

friends

 

these are the days

of life

living

and being

the welcome

to our part of the world

Remember, To Carry The Flame

We marched for you back then

You don’t remember

Crusaders for a kingdom

How we strived

Destitute, determined

Carried with us

Hope, appeal, intention

To survive

 

We stood for you back then

You don’t remember

Faced down the tanks

Deployed in George’s Square

Heard the Riot Act

Dismissed, resisted

Gathered for a living

Far more fair

 

We starved for you back then

You don’t remember

Force-fed prison time

For worthy aims

All but now forgotten

As the years pass

No recollections

Still done in your names

 

We died for you back then

You don’t remember

Someone from your family

Now deceased

Their legacy, the freedoms

Fought and died for

Bequeathed to you

So future would know peace

 

We lived for you back then

You don’t remember

Parents of a past

Lost in years’ layers

Gone, their cause forgotten

Present children

Remember now

And ask if you still care

 

We worked for you back then

You don’t remember

Unborn you were

But we had you in sight

Fighting for the future

Of all children

And conditions we could live by

Workers’ rights

 

We fought for you those years

You don’t remember

Distance lends enchantment

Or dismay

Forgotten, now, we are

We were foot soldiers

Who thought that we had

Surely won the day

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Battled for a birthright

Better ways

Took a stand

We fought for bread and butter

For a piece of

All created

By our hands

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

In daily labour

Justice all we sought

Manned the streets, the trenches 

Raised our voices

We fought for you back then

As parents ought

 

We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Torches dropped

As mem’ries fade away

Hopes were high among us

Generations

Would benefit in living

Brighter days

 

We fought for you back then

You must remember

Gains we made

Eroding by the week

Fight for us

As once we fought your corner

Supporting those

Who work for what you seek

 

We fought for you back then

Oh, please remember

The battle scars we wore

To pave the way

Conditions that we railed against

Remember

Vote anyone

But not for Maggie‘s May

Buddha Knows Best

20160529_181913

waiting for first coat to dry

pegging out clothes on the line

ivory tint in ponytailed hair

clotted cream scones tasting fine

 

pen and a coffee at hand

doodling flowers in the sun

soda and lime and ink on a page

ecstatic that summer has come

 

music chosen by kids

buddha sat under tree

lotused repose in semi-closed eyes

replete and contented like me

 

windows of soul opened wide

faint breeze to filter on through

leaves of green gratitude canopies all

wishing the same for all you

Not Nearly Ready

you’re ready

I’m not ready

and I don’t know

when or if I’ll ever be

the seconds

they are racing

I can’t stop them

and they’re squeezing

all the lifeblood

out of me

you’re ready

and you’re willing

I’m not either

but the time

keeps ticking on

till I can’t see

ready, steady

please don’t go

just stay here

while I practise

letting go

to set you free

You’re Younger Yet

you’re younger yet and life holds full its promise

and I would not deny you all its claims

nor ever harness hopes or all that they hold

nor ever seek to squash the fire that calls your name

 

and I would not withhold from you each wishbone

that comes your way, upon which you may dream

nor burden you with harsher truths that years taught

I’d never blot the landscape of young life or all it seems

 

I have no aspirations to encumber the joy you know

for I, too, once believed the dreams you cherish and you hold

I once believed that all I sought was there for ripest taking

if I were, like you, courageous and so bold

 

I’d never take away your youth nor hope diminish 

by word or deed, the dreams we share, though altered, still unchanged

I cannot be the one who says the no to

life’s expansion, growth, by any name

 

life takes on a new form and I’d never challenge spirit

younger years, exuberance that dares

I’d only caution prudence, observation

as you climb the unknown, always have a care

 

as you go along the ridges, meet the strangers

hold within some doubt, please think of this

that somewhere, on the dark of all horizons

is the love that once betrayed with tender kiss

 

you’re younger yet and, out there, there are traitors

beware but still believe that life is fine

I’m older, always here if you’re discouraged

one flight away, one thought to keep in mind