The last few weeks have been intense, a real emotional roller coaster of a ride, it is all these lunar and solar eclipses of late illuminating the path, making things clear, or clearer, and encouraging a movement forward and the stepping up of a gear.
Whatever the reason, while I still feel a little raw, I am quite sure it has all been for the greater purpose, and only good will come. Or so I hope!!
Two weekends ago now I had two of those moments of realising how blessed we are to live on this tiny Island in the English Channel. On the Friday early evening I went to Castle Cornet for a Folk and Fable evening as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival (what an incredible event) with Elijah to join friends and watch my favourite local bands, "The Recks" from Sark and "The Space Pirates of Rocquaine" from Guernsey. The sun was shining, the castle was packed full of happy people, many of them my friends, and the music was good. Elijah slept on me throughout both acts and I just thought it was one of those incredibly magical moments where everything conspires to great the perfect time.
On Sunday Ewan, his friend, Carl, who was visiting from France, Elijah and I went down to Petit Bot for a high tide morning swim. It is the first time this year that again, everything conspired for a perfect time - the tide was really high, the seas was sparkling blue and dead calm, and the sun was shining brightly in the blue sky. Heaven. We stayed in for a whole 4 minutes and I remember swimming around looking at the beauty of the shore and just thinking, "wow, I am so happy to be alive and so lucky to be alive here in Guernsey". Blessed lives indeed.
Roll on a 4 days and we found ourselves in Jersey, where the weather was anything but lovely. It was Thursday and I had two board meetings and so Ewan came over with Elijah so we could meet for feeding purposes between the meeting and then we had arranged to stay the night and catch up with my friend and Reiki master, Ally, and her husband for dinner.
The weather was wet and windy and fortunately the meetings took place quickly so that Ewan was not too exhausted by looking after Elijah on his own all day - our little man does not like to sleep very much and constantly needs to be occupied...a little like his Mum really!! In any event that evening we met Ally and her husband and after a drink, we went to an Indian restaurant just near to our hotel.
I chose the seat I chose on the basis that I knew I would need to breastfeed and did not want to be too conspicuous. Elijah was a little restless as we waited for our meal and I fed him twice, trying to get him to settle a little. The restaurant became busier and noisier so eventually Ewan had to take Elijah outside as he was becoming noisier too! I was so absorbed in spiritual chatter with Ally that I was completely unaware of those around me.
Anyhow a short while later, the lady at the table beside me stopped by me as she was leaving the restaurant and I must admit I was expecting her to make a favourable comment about Elijah, so I was totally thrown when she told me that I was a disgrace. I had to ask her to repeat herself as these are not words I am used to hearing, but alas, yes, there it was again, I was a disgrace the manner in which I had breastfed my baby. I was in shock! Only a few months ago someone posted on the NCT facebook page that they had been told off in a café in Guernsey for breastfeeding and I remember being outraged and quite keen to join the group who would like to try and promote breastfeeding in Guernsey (we have one of the lowest incidences of women breastfeeding their babies, not helped when you are stigmatised for doing so).
I apologised as she started to walk on muttering about how she had nursed two babies and I was a disgrace in the way I nursed my own. Ewan was holding Elijah and stood up as she passed to ask her what was the problem and she shouted at him to not have a go at her...which he wasn't...so the staff rushed over and I asked Ewan to sit down and leave it, which he did, and we smiled and laughed on, brave face and all, but underneath I was upset and angry. In the whole six months I have been breastfeeding not once has anyone said anything negative to me about it.
Of course I analysed it, perhaps I have gotten a little blasé, I mean a breast is a breast, just go and look in The Sun newspaper to see one of those every day, it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Of course when the dust has settled, all it has done is propel me forward to make a difference, get involved in the campaign, support women breastfeeding in public, what are we, still living in the dark ages? Interestingly there was an article in The Times on the Friday about the manner in which women are being demonised for breastfeeding in public and so many give up and use formula and a bottle instead. In my opinion it is ridiculous, we have lost ourselves somewhere these days, as a society we really do need to wake up and figure out really what is important in this life.
On Friday we were fortunate to have a guided tour of Durrell's wildlife centre from a friend of a friend in Jersey. Amazing. I didn't really know much about Mr Durrell but they have a museum in his honour there now, wow, what an inspiring individual. It touched me on many levels as I have been reading a fabulous book by Stephen Cope about Dharma - your life purpose. Everyone has a purpose, some never really manage to connect with it, whole others, like Mr Durrell live it fully and are an inspiration to so many others. He worked tirelessly to try to do his bit to make sure that animals do not become extinct.
I am never quite sure how to feel in these type of places, on the one hand I hate to see the animals in enclosures prevented from living life to the extent that they would in the wild, and yet I also appreciate that many of these animals would not exist in the wild. Look at the orang-utans, amazing creatures, but slowly dying due to our need for palm oil. really it is quite insane. I do wonder how people can live with themselves sometime. Don't get me wrong I am no saint and I am quite sure I eat products containing palm oil without realising it, but shouldn't the palm oil companies do something to balance the destruction they are causing...I shall certainly avoid all palm oil products where I can.
Back in Guernsey on Friday early evening and while Ewan popped out to the shop I checked facebook and stupidly clicked on a video of - what I now know to be - a Malaysian lady physically abusing her baby daughter. Watching this made me feel the worst I have ever felt because I could not do a single thing to stop what that lady was doing, and I kept watching hoping someone eowuld do something about it as there were other people in the room, but no one did anything and this poor baby girl was hit with a pillow time and time again, kicked, pinched and the worse thing for me that when she was sobbing and reached an arm out to her mother's leg, the mother just whacked it away a couple of times.
I was beside myself with anguish, anger, rage and utter sadness at the video, tears were streaming down my face and I had to go into the garden with poor Elijah in my arms to ground and calm down until Ewan got home. Ewan tried to convince me it was staged which just wound me up even more because the sound of that child was not staged, not one little bit. I tried to show him but he was enraged himself and after putting Elijah to bed he suggested that I try to do good from what had happened. I guess I thought I was doing good by sharing the video - my friend had suggested we all do this so that the lady would get caught, so I shared with my friends...without stopping to think of the anguish it was also going to cause them.
I didn't really sleep that night, the video kept going around and around and around in my head, I didn't know what to do with myself, the baby was not that much older than Elijah, how can women do this to their babies, it makes no sense to me. The next day I awoke still so sad and as the day went on, I found I could talk of little else. I deleted the video from my facebook page as I realised it was not going to achieve anything to share - I had already received some comments from my friends who had also stupidly watched it and we were all a little angry and sad. I am a great believer in the global consciousness of this planet and the more anger and sadness, the less peace...we all have a role to play in this.
Fortunately I was teaching that morning so was able to distract myself and then we were out for lunch before having time for a swim in the sea, which helped with the grounding and the distraction. Early evening and Elijah went to bed relatively early so we watched the BBC Big weekend in Glasgow and I surfed the internet hoping to find a charity that I could support.
I came across Safe Haven, a charity in Cambodia that helps abused babies and children. It was one of those moments, not sure if anyone knows what I mean, but when you know that you were meant to find it, I was led there really and as soon as I read one of the postings on the website from a supporter, well I just know it is a charity I would like to support. It was one of those flow evenings from then on...my favourite band in the whole world, Coldplay, came on the TV, I just love the lyrics, the soul that goes into them, inspired on many levels.
And as I watched Coldplay I pinged an email to the charity only to receive a response within 20 minutes. I posted on my facebook and sent an email to my contacts, my idea to hold two classes in aid of this charity during the first week of June - all proceeds to go to Save Haven in honour of the little baby girl, so at least some good can come of her suffering...and fortunately a short while after posting this message a lovely lady came back saying that all was well with the little girl and attached a link to the CNN website, which contained a news item about the video being circulated on facebook.
Apparently a family member took the video so she could go to the police and report the mother for child abuse. The mother was 18 years old and was put in prison for 18 months and the baby was given to loving foster parents. I can't tell you the relief I felt reading this article. Thank god, it restored my faith in humanity. It all took place in 2011 and is still being circulated on facebook, which is ridiculous really and in many respects I wish it could be taken off because it is just making people upset and angry, but at the same time, it has reignited a passion in me to make a difference to the many children suffering in this world.
I first became inspired while undertaking charity work in Nepal and was a founder of a project to try and empower women, with the idea that this would empower their children too. the charity is still being run by my friend, Devika, in Nepal, but sadly life circumstances mean that I have not been able to get out there myself to be involved. The project is now self-financing and provides women with an opportunity to learn massage and then earn money from giving massage to tourists who they meet through Devika's yoga school. It has really helped provide an income to some ladies, which will have helped their children too.
But it is Cambodia I am currently drawn for the child sex trafficking industry (how shocking it is an industry) is rife, and there are many orphans and children being abused by Westerners looking for a good time. It sickens and saddens me to the core, we really need to wake up and do something to stop this terrible industry becoming one of the most lucrative in the world - I have a feeling I read somewhere that it is up there with the drug trade....trading in human children...what is wrong with us??
I appreciate there are millions of charities out there, so I don't expect anyone to jump on the bandwagon with me, but I feel it is important that we are aware. It is all too easy to bury our heads in the sand and consider that there is nothing we can do anyway. When there is. Just putting positive vibrations out into the world makes a difference. Yoga is said to encourage and increase the energy of love and compassion, so simply practising Yoga is enough, catching yourself when you have bad thoughts about others, it really is about being more mindful and thinking of the bigger picture, not just ourselves...and yet of course it starts with ourselves.
Anyhow I digress. I feel a little battered by all that has happened this last few weeks, and yet I feel incredibly inspired too...I may just need a few days to retreat and allow the dust to really settle!!
With much love and gratitude.