I woke today, as I do too many days, with a severe headache.
Actually it was the brewing cerebral storm that woke me, hours before my alarm
was due to sound off. Always so ironic how the very headache that can wake me, requires
sleep to recede, or if I’m fortunate, release its grip on me altogether. So
this headache, fairly high ranking on my inner ‘migraine-Richter-scale’, woke
me and then had me back in bed, head on an ice pack, trying to slip back into
sleep. As always when this happens, intense dreams come in uninvited, always
with a clear message, that leave me wondering if I were less clueless, more
present, in my waking hours, would I be spared these pain induced sleep
sessions for enlightenment. But I digress… or do I?
Last year, Eoin Macken and Tim McDonnell travelled to Mozambique with Sightsavers as part of their Million Miracles campaign, ‘’which aims to give back the gift of sight to one million people over the next two years’. Shortly after their return, an appeal video featuring Eoin and some footage from their trip, was released. It was a beautiful and moving video. I of course did the usual social media sharing of the link. As I was about to forward it to specific people via email to make sure it was not just scanned over in a stream, but rather watched and seen, I decided to do it… differently. There was only so much (ie very little) that I could personally contribute at the time, and who knows when sending such a thing on to others what they do with it, if anything. Being as goal oriented as I am about what matters, I decided to indeed send the appeal video to my intended target list as well as a few of my regular customers, accompanied by a note that all sales through my site that day would fully and completely be sent over to Sightsavers as a donation. The responses came flooding in, and were as expected.
‘The proceeds from sales?’ No the entire amount of your purchase even the amount you pay in shipping – all the funds go to this.
‘Oh Honey, I know this is your own company, are you sure you can afford to do this?’ I skipped pointing out that I’m a big girl and can and always have tended to my own finances, and politely replied I was just fine.
Fact is that, in that moment I could indeed make it money wise. Fact also was that these folks, if not prodded for a purpose with a deadline, would not have ordered that day anyway, so my bank account would be the same regardless.
“Why are you doing this?” Seriously. Rewatch the video.
So that day brought in sales, and the funds, still humble in my not so humble opinion were indeed sent onward to Sightsavers as a second (after my personal paltry) donation.
Folks who had purchased, had seen the appeal video, never mentioned it to me again. There was no discussion, no inquiry for more info. No ‘how can I send more help, when I can’.
A few days ago part one of a three video series was released by Sightsavers, in which we got a more detailed look at Eoin and Tim’s trip; a more intimate and in depth view of the people they met, their lives before and after their surgeries.
I forwarded that video on to the same folks just noting ‘of interest’ – no call to action. I found long ago that we can and must present to the world, but there is no success in playing ‘soul police’. How we affect and inspire must be subtle, clever, almost like hiding a tot’s vegetables in food he wants to eat. (I’d elaborate more but will satisfy that urge here just by saying, THAT, to me, is one of the sacred trusts of quality literature and film.)
‘Oh my that is so sad’ was the overall response.
What. The. Actual. Fuck. – that was my mental response.
Aloud, I asked what they meant.
The replies were varied from ‘how they live’ to inane arrogant entitled comments like ‘even after their surgeries and being able to see again, how much is their life really improved QUALITY wise..' etc etc etc
I know… I must choke back my enraged reaction to people’s bubble mentality, forgive us all as humans with frailties and fears, and focus on the understanding that most condescend to the very thing they fear of being and experiencing. I get it. I just don't like it.
Instead I wrote a response sent to them all that explained that at I had just wanted to share the footage that further depicted the amazing life changing work they helped support with their purchases that day long ago, and that personally I found the video humbling, perspective sharpening.
‘oh you mean how we should be grateful, that we have so much more?’ came the question.
I did not reply. I was out of words to others and had to be as responsible soulfully to myself as I keep naively hoping others will be with themselves. And so my internal processing had me thinking of Agira (who we meet in part one of this series – links below to part 1 and part 2 that was released today), as well as the other folks we met in glimpses in the appeal video.
I for one did not see what these folks in Mozambique did NOT have, I saw what they DID have.
Oh certainly I recognized the differences in life style, amenities we take for granted, how their lives were changed by the return of clear vision, etc. I also recognized something else, about someone else that is not for discussion, not ever, even if I could fully articulate the light and dark of it all. Certainly not aloud, and maybe only to one person, someday amidst a lot of honesty, courage, and whiskey.
What I saw – what really hit me – was what they DO have. The love, the craving of true connection in family, in community, the support, the humility, the openness. We here in the more financially and socially (supposedly) stable and affluent regions are always searching, still fearful, seeking, painfully at a loss. Ambition and greed are bred. Fear, hate, and every nasty ‘ism’ (racism, sexism, ageism etc etc) is fed. What do we crave? What are we missing? What do WE not have?
That. What they have. It does not come from lack; I have never been one to believe we must suffer to earn comfort. Perhaps it is able to be, and to flourish due to lack of the distraction of billboards, media, smart phones, iPads, fashion, and such. Perhaps it is fostered by the need of it to survive, and encouraged by one’s worth being proven by who they are and not by what they have.
They have what feeds the soul, and we are the ones bereft and always poor and lacking in that regard.
Sure – some here have it. Loyal friends, true and loving family, and some even are brave enough to know what they honestly need in a mate, and find that as well.
Most… floundering, fearful…
We seek validation desperately, approval ravenously and I swear if I read one more self empowerment buzzphrase I will gag. No one stole our pride, our self, our worth, our inner balance and security. We each dropped it bit by bit as we walked through life. We dropped some as we picked up the latest copy of Vogue, we dropped some more as we chose to carry pain and others’ hurtful words with us as we walk forward in life, instead of learning something, and setting down the baggage, freeing our hands, our hearts, our selves to carry our value. It is NOT a magazine or TV or film or social media or fashion or money or even ambition that is destructive, it is how we each choose to use it. We have dropped the ball – the big shiny ball of our value, of who we are, of what we are here to share and to receive…we dropped that ball…and to me, in my odd way of (over) processing everything, of finding the meaning in everything, the substance, the soul….to me…videos like this show how us not just who we are and what we can give to another, but who we are not, and what we seek and must reclaim, find, nurture, and develop. Life content like this is not just media, or an appeal, a handsome face or two, a well known name, catching our attention… it is not Eoin or Tim, both known names and faces, men of great skill and even greater hearts….it is not THEM but Agira in this video who, at least for me, to me, is the glimpse at where to find that ball I dropped that was rolling away.
I just saw a popular quote this morning from a famed ‘life coaching guru’ that I thought was very … sad, detrimental, and most of all untrue – ‘Life is what happens on our way to the finish line’. Sure life is what happens as we breathe till we die – that’s not uplifting and was not meant (as per her full post) just literally. NO… life is a process and no not like going nowhere while constantly running on a hamster wheel until your wheel stops at some preordained time. IT, its purpose, its beauty, everything is in the meaning, in us.
I’m rambling… and I certainly need more coffee and maybe a
shrink or maybe just to sum up my
challenge in processing life and humanity, with the words of Anis Nin, " I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths, and a great fear of shallow living."
Why am I writing all this when it really is just running mental laps for and with myself? Maybe there is some reason besides the narcissistic concept of ‘it has to be written’. I am not sharing this blog anywhere, but I know there are some of you who check my site regularly (which makes me feel an odd combination of humbled at your interest and creeped out…), so maybe this is of some purpose for one of you. I just knew I had to write it ‘aloud’. So there ya go!
What I DO know is that there is more... deeper layers and levels of all we see, hear, touch, experience, and feel. We have to look and feel into things deeper, to understand better, to see what we can offer to others as well as what we can learn from them. There is SO much more than what we react to and process on the norm. We must go deeper...be more... DO more. THAT I know for certain.
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