Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hope for humanity

My book for Sam is coming together, but I find my writing flows better when I am inspiring myself, so over the last week I have been watching the 20th Anniversary collection of the Oprah Show. I just love that woman! She inspires me to reach the heights of my potential that I know I can reach, but sometimes feel too scared to do so. I have laughed, cried, been inspired and horrified as I’ve watched the snippets of her interviews.

All of them have made me think but one in particular struck the core of my soul. It was her interview with Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, who was taken to Auschwitz with his parents and family as a small boy. A few years ago, I visited Auschwitz while on a trip to Poland with my (now ex) boyfriend. It was January, minus 16 degrees, thick snow. I remember having a cold and the wet tissues froze in my coat pocket. I was wrapped up in thick layers and a warm coat but the cold still tore at my face, and I wouldn't take off my gloves, even to blow my nose. The people incarcerated in that camp had worn just one thin layer, supplied by the Nazis; their own clothes taken away.

It was the most haunting place. You could feel the raw pain of those thousands of lost souls. It was just horrifying to see the train lines which brought thousands of men women and children into the camp. People believing that that were coming to a new life, people who had paid hard cash for that journey, holding that belief, and who were in fact coming to their death. This picture shows the train lines (in the snow) and the main guard house at the Birkenhau part of the Auschwitz-Birkenhau camp in Poland.

Immediately on arrival at the camp Elie Wiesel was separated from his mother and sister and he never saw them again. As people got off the train they were directed right or left depending on gender and age. It was usually the last time women saw their husbands and boys; the last time men and boys saw their wives and mothers. Thousands of them went directly to the gas chambers. Others were sent to these huts and put to work - frequently that work involved assisting in the murder of their fellow travellers.

Among the many horrors Elie witnessed were children being thrown alive into fire pits because the gas chambers were full. I can't begin to imagine how horrific that would be. And the fact that similar atrocities still happen the world over sickens me.

The image that sticks in my mind from my visit to Auschwitz is this one. It isn't a great picture but maybe you can get the gist. This display cabinet, which was floor to ceiling and at least 16 feet wide, is full of human hair, taken from the corpses in the gas chamber.

What struck me about Elie Wiesel in his conversation with Oprah, was his hope for humanity. He said ‘I have six million reasons to give up on the world, to give up on any other person, to give up on God, to give up on faith…and in spite of that, I must have faith in the possibility of every human being to remain human in spite of everything.’
I am humbled by his hope and by his faith. I guess ultimately that is what keeps us all going - faith and hope, one way or another. I still have to ask myself though, how can we even tolerate a world in which these atrocities are allowed to happen? Because they still do - everyday, somewhere in the world; maybe not on the scale of the Holocaust in one place, but collectively, the world over, day after day, we are destroying our fellow men. How can we hold so much hatred? How come we cannot love our neighbours as ourselves?
Perhaps therein lies the crux of the matter. When we don't love and accept ourselves enough, warts and all, then how are we able to extend our love unconditionally to all humanity, and to stop the killing - whether that is the brutal murders we hear about on the news, to the snide comments we make about others to make ourselves feel better, to the damaging words we use in our self-talk?
But Elie Wiesel can still believe in humanity, after all he witnessed, then I guess I can too, and I'll be sharing that belief with Sam.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I didn't dream it

Sam's mum, Helen, emailed me this morning so now I know for sure it wasn't a dream. Sam has such a wonderful vision of living the life he wants lead, following his passions of mountain biking and bushwalking AND making a significant contribution to society. It is wonderful to see such passion, enthusiasm and tenacity in him. He is obviously the little miracle I need.

This morning as I was clearing pooh from the horse's field I was thinking about my wavering confidence. On the one hand I know with certainty that this book that is swirling around has to be written; it will be awesome, it will make a difference for youngsters and adults alike. I have a vision of it printed in many languages, copies given to schools, Sam and I interviewed on Oprah. And then that little voice kicks in - the voice that says 'Who are you? What makes you think you are so special?' I feel my shoulders slump, and my head bow. Suddenly maybe I'm not 'enough' to do this; maybe it's just a castle in the air, all fluffy clouds and no real substance.

I was thinking I needed to do some clutter clearing in my soul again, to clear out this doubting voice, clear that energy from my aura. And perhaps I will. But when I got Helen's email and I heard more about young Sam, I thought 'If I can't feel special enough to do this for myself, then I sure as hell must do it for Sam.'

If I don't believe in myself right now, if I let the old hag voice get to me and hold me back, then all the things that I want Sam and all other 12 year olds to believe about themselves, will dissipate into thin air. I have always had a huge desire, need even, to make a difference. Making a difference has been one of my strongest values for the longest time. This is my chance to step up to the plate and give it my absolute best shot, for Sam, for 12 year olds the world over and for myself. Never mind the old hag within, I will rise to this challenge.

Interestingly I also had an email yesterday, via Ecademy from an amazing chap in Brazil, Joaquim. It was interesting because I listed the word 'Positive' on my Ecademy profile and Joaquim asked me if I am always positive, or if anything holds me back. I always try to find the positive in everything, but yes, self-doubt has held me back. No more though.

Tenacity is one of the core themes in my book. Tenacity has always saved me from the old hag in my darkest moments, of which there has been many. Tenacity is going to pull me right into this book and beyond. Time to get writing!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just awesome!

Something incredible happened this morning. At 7 am I had a phone call from a young chap, Sam, in New Zealand. This is my first contact with Sam and he phoned me to ask if I would be his mentor. It seems Sam's mother is a member of the XL network, as am I, and Sam had found me on the XL database. Sam is 12; he has already formed his vision, he knows his passion and wants me to mentor him on building wealth. I was stunned... and honoured...and inspired.

Part of me thinks maybe I dreamt it. Part of me knows that magic happens in XL and I didn't dream it all. The irony that Sam is a 12 year old has not escaped me, because my world turned upside down at age 12. Is this God working in mysterious ways I wonder? Yesterday I was still feeling a bit at sea following the move and asked for clarity, certainty, the way forward.

This morning Sam calls me and suddenly it all falls into place. Is Sam an angel, I wonder? If I did dream it, does it matter when that clarity and certainty has come? You see, for a while now a book has been wafting around in my ether. A book I knew I had to write but couldn't see how to make it unique. And now it's clear. The book is for Sam and 12 year old's all over the world. It's the tips that Sam wants to help him become wealthy, but it's the tips that most other books don't cover. It's life lessons for 12 year olds and adults who need to revisit 12 years old to reconnect with who they are. It's the book I wish I'd had at 12 to guide and mentor me through life and death.

One way or another, I think young Sam is an angel. And I reckon he'll mentor me as much, if not more than the other way round. Bless you Sam!

Back from the boxes

I canit believe it's so long since I have been here! Moving house seems to take forever. Firstly there's the packing and the clutter clearing and the throwing out; then the moving itself; and then the unpacking, clutter clearing and throwing out. No matter how much stuff you let go of in the packing process there is always more that has to go when you unpack. Things that have no home in the new place, things that you thought you wanted and put in a box but then wonder why you kept when they come out of it. Things that you discover don't go with the new decor and things that discover don't work - like the hover mower that I hadn't used for yonks, which doesn't cut the grass because two blades are missing and the other one is snapped in half! Why didn't I think to look at that when I was on a tip run?

This move seemed to take doubly long because I had my temporary lodger still with me. My friend M had been staying with me for the last 6 months. She had a superb opportunity to move to Herefordshire but had to work out her notice, so I've had her, some of her stuff and her large dog camping out in my spare room. Which meant that the things I wanted to store in the spare room were littered about other rooms while waiting for her to vacate. Last weekend we took her, her stuff and the large dog to her new home. Her horse wouldn't go in the trailer so its still here (though not in my spare room, thank goodness) until she finds an alternative. I have visions of her leading horse down the M5. I don't seem to have stopped moving things, people or animals for over a month!

But now, finally, it's done. Everything bar one box of magazines is in its home - or the spare room. And as I sit here in my writing room, enveloped by my big comfy chair that I've had since I was a student (and which has followed me to every home since); tapping away laptop on my lap, the summer breeze (rain-less for once) wafting in the open french doors, at last I have a sense of peace, a sense of homecoming. Phewwww!