My life has changed so much from those early days of this blog…recently bereaved of my daughter Lily and living in the middle of a wood in cabins and caravans.
Now I live on the edge of a city, my children are in school and college (and toddler group!) and I am finally finding my steps into a new life for myself that is not just focussed on home and family.
Th truth is that I have started to believe that I can.
And whilst that has been a long slow journey whose many permutations I will not bore you with now…the reality is that I am now painting for my third public exhibition, well on the way with writing a children’s novel and more importantly; believing that I can make a difference in the world.
I have always been someone who looks at others and thinks…’yeah…they can do it because they are…. (insert more gifted, more confident more experienced more attractive, more..just you know…whatever it is that I don’t seem to have.)
This happened recently. I finally emerged from an extremely protracted period of my life where the dramas and crisis of my own existence took over my entire being…excluding any consideration for what was going on with anyone else in the world.
Having emerged, and looked around, I became aware of the refugee crisis. You know…I knew it was going on, but kind of, well looked the other way, was too busy having babies, living in difficult places, moving house. Hell, there really is something terrible happening and I just wasn’t absorbing it, the images had been glancing off me somehow, too hard to really see.
Except now I saw them. And it was too much. What could I do? NOthing. I was a mum at home with a toddler, three other living children, living in a yurt in our back garden while we renovate. I wasn’t tough and brave and well, I wasn’t the sort of person who could just walk into a refugee camp and start work.
I wanted to be, but of course I couldn’t.
Then a friend started to work in Kos, handing out baby carriers…but of course she was smart and tough and brave and um ….she had a toddler at home and three other kids and….anyway. She was good at that sort of thing.
But I wanted to do something. So I started to meditate. For peace. And I started to do it every evening at 9.30….I had read about the powers of mass meditation on areas of conflict and it was something I could do, at home by the fire. I even got a facebook group going to encourage others to do it with me.
It felt weird at first, sitting there by myself, trying to imagine love inside me spreading out to where it was needed. But as the days went by, it began to feel powerful, like I was powerful, heaven forbid. The love kept growing and I realised that if this movement grows it has huge implications. And at about the same time, I read the Dalai Lama’s words that prayer is not enough in this global situation…and I had a tiny huge realisation one evening, a revelation that I could DO something too.
I got cold feet in winter, so goodness knows how cold the refugees stranded all over Europe would be. I could collect socks.
So I did. The very next day I called every Steiner school in the UK (my kids go to one and I know how much store Steiner mums put by wool socks) and asked if they would support me by collecting socks. Most wanted to help.
I put a wee note on Facebook that I was thinking of taking a carload of woollen socks to France some time after Christmas and three people offered to come too.
To cut a long story short, we raised £3,500 on a crowd funding page ‘Wool Socks for Refugees’ gathered several hundred socks, made litres of homemade herbal cough syrup, and spent’ three days working at the Grande Synthe Refugee camp near Dunkirk. I was interviewed on live radio and am planning another trip to support refugees..possibly this time near the Macedonian border.
Next time I will write about our journey, and where it is going next, but for now my point is this:
I thought I was powerless. I didn’t want to be but I thought I was. I labelled myself as ‘not that sort of person’ Just as I might label someone else…’not that sort of person’…..or even ‘not my sort of person’
And that’s dangerous thinking which leads to fear, judgement and separation.
We are all powerful. We can all do something. There is no other who is better or worse, or not good enough or too good.
We can all do a little bit. From tiny acorns grow enormous oak trees.
I’m thinking of the acorn , I mean socks…..who knows what the tree will be, when it grows?
I didn’t do a big thing, I did a tiny thing.
You can too.
Until next time
Love Henrietta xx