I still can see HIS face

You  know, I  must have read the book of Galatians at least a dozen times and not once has the following statement from the Apostle Paul even remotely caught my eye or captured my imagination: “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

Wow, simply, wow. How can I have possibly missed such a monumental, foundational, intricate premise of what faith truly is? How after all these years of calling myself a Christian, I have been unable to see what was staring me in the face every time I opened my bible? I tell you why. It’s because of what is at the core of Paul’s statement. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves or how others try to persuade us, because it suits their own ends, man cannot find God himself in a church building, in legalistic religion, in Alpha courses, Christian mass gatherings or Christian wanna-be rock star worship concerts. Yes, being part of all those things may or may not reinforce our faith once we are blessed with it, but the revelation of God himself to us cannot, does not, in my own experience and that of the Apostle Paul, it seems, take place through make-believe by others’ own experiences or the teachings of men and women whose livelihood depends on those very teachings.

And why is that, you may ask? It is simple: purity of motives, purity of heart. Paul said: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I have now been out of the church system for almost decade. I look back after all this time and am still staggered and often ashamed at the person I became when I was caught in all the hype and intensity of the machinery that collective organised religion truly is. When you enter into that world you are swept by the romantic notion of a mirage. You are sustained literally by gravitational forces which only require of you to feed into that machinery, be it financially, emotionally, or physically. In return, you became part of this prefabricated bubble of everlasting joy come rain, hail, earthquake or fire. The reality is that for the majority it is only whilst we remain part of this ‘community’ or ‘social club’, that we feel God’s redemptive presence and grace in our lives, or at least the kind of presence we have been taught to believe is the ‘real McCoy’ of spiritual God-encounters or revelations. I don’t want to be sustained by man’s regurgitated idea of God. Like Paul, my spirit can only be set on transformational, purifying  fire by a revelation from God himself.

I have a severe allergy to phoniness. When my spirit becomes aware of its presence, I feel physically sick, nauseated, my heart races, and my chest struggles to breath freely. Finding out whether God exists should surely be a quest each of us should make our number one priority or at least if we decide to enter into that quest, we should enter it on our own and NEVER rely on someone else’s word of what is true and what is not; relying on someone else to do all the hard work; to ask the difficult questions and handle the often even scarier answers. Just as we do not eat food which has been chewed and broken down by others first, because by the time it gets to us it has lost all its flavour and nourishment, we shouldn’t entrust our spiritual health and development to another person.

And yet we are shockingly lazy and bafflingly stupid as we rely on someone else’s answers to what surely is the most important question humankind will ever ask: Does God exist and if he does, how does this revelation affect how I live my life, the reason of why I am here, the purpose for which I live?

I very much feel like I have been through a process of spiritual rehab and cleansing in these last few years. Withdrawn from all things ‘church’ and from do-gooders or the blind leading the blind constantly whispering in my ear, I have surely but gradually come to realise that indeed many of the things I had come to believe immersed in my local church joyous bubble, are not wheat but tares, fruitless, powerless, empty chimeras that lead nowhere but to the growth and enrichment of an institution and those whose lives and reputation depend on it. Harsh? Maybe, but true and truth is all I seek, no matter at what cost. Someone else’s experience may be different. I can only speak for my own. Somehow, judging by where the world is at today, I am pretty certain my experience is that of millions of people across the globe.

I often wonder, and I mean often, why the world is in the state that is in when there are millions of Christians scattered all over the earth. Why are churches closing and church attendance diminishing. Why is a church’s budget directed in so many cases to a bigger, flashier, highly tech building,highly trained and well travelled staff and resources instead of to the least of these, the poor, the orphans, the widows, etc as Jesus so clearly asked us to do time and time again? And every time I ask this question I come to the same conclusions. Only, today, on reading that passage of Galatians, the answer has stared me painfully right in the face: Only a handful of Christians today act on direct revelation from God. The rest of us think spreading the gospel is simply staging, be it through words or actions, the epiphany that someone else has had. That is not faith, not true faith anyway, the kind of faith that results in a new creation, a heart and spirit truly on fire for Jesus Christ and his gospel; the kind of miraculous faith that turned Paul from persecuting and murdering Christians to risking his own life for the gospel.  And because of it the millions of Christians who display a pseudo faith instead of what Paul describes as revelation from God himself, are rendered absolutely powerless in genuinely drawing others to the true knowledge of Christ. None of us will ever bring another person to God until we experience, as Paul did, a revelation of the gospel by Jesus Christ himself.

I left the confinements and restrictions of The Church a long time ago, but the good news I bring to you today is that I still can see HIS face.

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SILENCE ENCOURAGES THE TORMENTOR

It is challenging not being an emotional wreck at the moment with the ongoing influx of news revealing a new normal which dictates that the bricks our shelters Liberty & Democracy have costly and laboriously been built upon be removed one by one by the craze of a man so full of ego, he can’t see anything past himself.

When adverse times come, our only hope for those of us who have faith is God, but for the rest, is courage, solidarity and the knowledge that we are not alone in the fight against bigotry, evil, injustice and abuse. We need to speak, and we need to speak loud and clear. Not just those who enjoy a platform from which they can easily be heard and guide others, but certainly more so them.

I woke up this morning and was elated to learn Richard Armitage had pronounced himself against Theresa May’s shameful delay in stating that she “does not agree” with the US ban on refugees. In his tweet Richard courageously demands her to “say it loud and with conviction”.

But therein lies the rub, because nothing denotes half-heartedness and lack of conviction more than speaking up for the truth and then taking it back by deleting all evidence that you ever positioned yourself one way or the other with regards to mammoth global game-changer issues such as refugees, women’s rights, bigotry, you name it. As well as tweeting about May, Richard went on to delete not only his touching Christmas’ message which gave hope and inspired thousands of us, but also his statement about the pride he felt for being at the Women’s’ March. I cannot even begin to tell you how winded that has left me feeling. Ironically, it has also taken the wind out of my sails.

Standing up for the truth and being counted ARE sacrificial acts which inevitably put one at risk of adverse consequences, namely verbal abuse, trolling, threats and even much worse. I get it. I am a passionate believer that only the truth can set us free and therefore speak truthfully fully aware of the backlash that pursuing the truth always brings with it. I get abuse, defamation, insults, trolling and harassment on an ongoing basis, but to me none of that compares with the peace one feels within, knowing that not only you are being true to your convictions but that when the pressure intensifies and when there is much at risk, you stand by those convictions and fight for them not with less resolve, but even more.

One cannot demand of others, in this case, May, to speak out loud and with conviction, if we ourselves are not prepared to stand by what we said. Richard’s tweet expressing his pride in taking part in the New York Women’s’ March got the most likes and retweets he has ever had on twitter by far, if I am not mistaken. That means this issue is one that matters to people, a hell of a lot! People applauded his courage in adversity, his courage to position himself one way or the other, specially significant because of his popularity and career. It is true to say that those who have much, risk much. So many of us were moved by his fearlessness to take a stand and make himself be counted against widely accepted misogyny and discrimination. Yes, the March wasn’t perfect and yes there were many women (and men) there behaving in shameful ways which do not represent me in the least and which had little to do with what the march was about, BUT the general gist and spirit of it was good and right and it spoke volumes about the power of solidarity against thugs and bullies who get away with “murder” when the rest of us choose to remain silent.

In the words of Ellie Wiesel:

screenshot-1169

I do not know the reasons why Richard deleted those two monumentally significant tweets and others in the past , but whatever the reason, I think we can all agree on the consequences that deleting them have. Some say that deletion is a way for him to cut the blood supply of personal attacks amongst fans/followers and towards him. And whilst that may be the case and may be effective for a while, the underlying currents of hatred and bigotry still remain and will find a new outlet. Yes, he received disgusting abuse and vitriol for his tweet about the Women’s march, often at the hands of Christians , I am ashamed to admit, but if we all buckle under pressure, we do more damage than if we had not spoken up in the first place. It gives an impression of lack of conviction, of wavering, of doubting that the truth you stood for is indeed the truth. For each tweet, affirmation or stand we take back, the “enemy” gains ground, gains support, gains strength.

And if there is one thing I am sure about Richard, is that his convictions are rock solid, he means what he says, his truth is his banner, his shield, his sword and the drum to which his heart beats, which makes the effect of his deletions all the more catastrophic at a crucial time in history when consistency, resolve and stoicism are required.

I can’t help but wonder if his latest tweet challenging Theresa May’s complacency and lack of courage, will soon be deleted too when bigots and trolls who feel threatened by views they do not share will go on a rampage to destroy what took so much courage to build. It is my daily prayer that this is not the case but ultimately it is Richard’s choice.

These are very challenging times for all of us and the weeks, months and years ahead will reveal the metal each of us is made of, indeed whether it is even metal we are made of. Yes, we are flesh and blood but history has taught us the unbeatable force the human spirit can be when we stand together fighting relentlessly for justice, truth and freedom. Sadly, it has also taught us the carnage that can take place when we remain silent or we speak but then discard the evidence of where we stood when it most counted, when it most mattered.

2017 will require us to be Fiercely Fearless

https://www.facebook.com/RichardCArmitage/posts/298316477236425

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I woke up to happy tears for yet another very moving and heartfelt Christmas message from Richard Armitage (@RCArmitage) about his wish for 2017 for him, and his invitation to us, to be fearless, to live without fear. Barely a few hours later, the pillar which sustained the very core of his lofty communique was shaken just as powerfully, as symbolically as the earth and everything that is in it is currently being shaken: physically, ethically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, on each and every level. One wonders how some doubt the existence of a God, when there is such perfect design and harmony even in the shaking taking place right now in all dimensions of all that lives. Maybe we should begin to pay attention again to Scripture. Whether one believes that it is a load of nonsense or not, I find it to be an endless oasis of wisdom and guidance in a world where as of late, the blind are leading the blind. Is it a coincidence that the word of God has so much to say about fear? And aren’t the fear demons we all fight in frantic silence every day, as does the world at large, not the reason why humanity is on a downward spiral to self-destruction? At times like this, I cling on for dear life to this particular verse:

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

A sound mind: the hardest thing to maintain in a world where no one cares for integrity and truth any more.

Last night my new courage-filled, fired up heart stumbled upon a bucket of icy water on hearing the news of yet another brutal killing in the streets of Berlin. The very notion of fearlessness, of loving our neighbour, of extending ourselves toward our fellowmen, so beautifully expressed by Richard, was put on the stand for trial once again as news travelled fast about the killer allegedly being an individual who had been in a refugee shelter. Like moth to a flame hundreds of crazed individuals who thrive and fester on pumping out hatred from every pore of their being, used this dreadful news to cast blame on all those who have shown a basic humanity for the millions of displaced people whose lives have been robbed of basic rights and any kind of dignity; whose existence is regarded by so many as far less worthy of any consideration than that of a stray dog.

Don’t get me wrong. I do understand where some are coming from. In Spanish we say “El miedo es libre”. In other words, who are we to judge another if they feel fear and because of it close themselves up to any kind of risk or possibility of coming into harm or danger? I myself am scared, of course I am. But what am I scared of? Am I scared of what may happen to me or my loved ones? Am I scared of getting hurt, of losing it all, of becoming an outcast in society, of being treated by others like an animal? Deep down, the majority of us would rather close our doors and our heart to refugees, to any kind of immigrant, because opening them would mean being put out of our own comfort zones, both physical and emotional; it would mean letting others partake of all the material things, resources, and possibilities open to us; it would mean giving up our misconceived utopia; it would mean loving on someone who is a complete stranger to us; it would mean giving up our obsessive self-centeredness in order to consider the needs of another. Simply put, it would mean: being human.  Last time I checked that’s what we call ourselves, and yet, in turning the needy away, are we not as soulless as those whom we despise for perpetrating such terror on others? The irony of it all is that all these people already are where we fear we might be, if we let them in. They are in Hell on earth.

But for every hell, there will, there should always be a heaven. Only, at present, we, the rest of the world, their only hope, have shunned that responsibility and so our inability to empathise with the human beings in such a hell, makes us no different to those who put these people in such abominable circumstances in the first place. We live in an era where there is no heaven for every hell, only more hell. A world where evil meets with more evil, and fear is met with terror rather than courage. Humankind, like the bull in the ring whose masculinity has been tampered with in order to rid him of his ability to fight in fair and equal measure to his opponent, has lost the very essence that gave birth to its name. Yes, in this age of sexual freedom, ironically we are all being turned into eunuchs by fear. Our most basic human instincts to love and care for the least of these, to fight for justice and against barbarism and oppression, our ability to sacrifice ourselves for what is right, has been neutered.

A scene from the film Schindler’s List always comes to mind when I think about fear. When Schindler realises he could have saved so many more lives if he hadn’t coveted so much for himself and his. We waste so much time, so much money and energy, so much life because of fear. Sometimes the very thing that we fear is the very thing that we become, as we turn a blind eye to desperate need, to injustice, to atrocity, to inhumanity. In essence, when we choose our own safety and comfort when faced with the utmost desperate need in others, we become dehumanized. We might think we are safe and free but we lose the greatest of gifts, the one that sets us apart from all else that lives: our morality, our very soul. Will turning these people away stop terrorism from happening, even reduce it? One has to be pretty naïve and pretty brainless to think that. Evil always finds a way, a vessel to have its way. It has been like this since the beginning of times and it will be like this to the end.

No matter how hard we try to make this issue about something else, it all boils down to one very simple reality, a trait in the human soul as old as the earth itself: pride. The pride to think that we are better than them or more deserving of a better life. What a ridiculous notion: men playing at being Gods who choose who deserves to live and who doesn’t; who deserves our mercy or by contrast our indifference.  Yes, Richard once again hits the nail on the head for me when he says “It hasn’t been a great year in terms of honour and grace, it has been a year of hubris and loss”.  For it is only by grace, how else, that some of us are born into comfort, freedom, abundance, peace. And just as it has all been given to us through no accomplishment of our own, it can all be taken away. It often is. I don’t know what the point of life is. I sure ponder on that often but have not quite come with any resolute answers yet. But what I do know is that to everything that lives there is a cause and an effect, there is a purpose, there is a cosmic justice, there is a right and there is a wrong. And as sure as we are witnessing a hell on earth at present, I know with every fibre of my being that one of the reasons why the rest of us have been spared from such a hell by grace, has to be so that we counteract it by being the antidote to all the hurt, pain, misery, tragedy, evil and yes, sin.

Thank you Richard for your words but most of all for not giving up hope and in doing so, encouraging the rest of us who are struggling. I was out walking with my dog today and I prayed for you. I prayed that God would arm you and me with the courage we need to start being fiercely fearless in everything we need to be. I prayed that he would give me the words to write this in answer to your Facebook message, and this is the result.

God bless your heart and soul Richard.

Mercedes

I leave you with another scripture which keeps me sane when I think I can’t stomach any more of this horror:

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

Unprecedented levels of toxicity in the air

Anyone else finding it hard to breathe these days? The air is acutely oppressive with the toxic fumes of impending doom and the numbing stench of deceit, pride, hypocrisy and bigotry. I am trying so very hard to keep upbeat at the moment, if nothing else, for my children’s sake, both of whom currently have considerable challenges of their own to navigate through, as have I.

I have not been able to write in months, but I need to exfoliate these dead layers out of my soul before they contaminate the hope and joy of the generation that pushes behind me. The question that keeps popping up in my mind though is what are we all navigating towards? What the hell is this incessant striving and ongoing battle against each other and ourselves all about? The point of experiences is surely to learn lessons, to grow, but life feels like a pointless journey where throughout history  humanity needs to constantly make the gravest of mistakes in order to keep relearning the same lessons over and over again. My existence, and I am sure thousands of others’, feels very much like living in a world which is a broken record. We are not navigating towards anything but simply running through the one and same circle. As the world spins, we spin round with it. The mouse and the wheel? Now you get the picture!

We work hard, we love hard, we forgive hard, we fall but we get up to be tripped up again. Only, with each new fall comes more debilitating injury as our strength and hope ebb away when we begin to realise no matter how hard we strive, how passionately we fight, there will always be yet another mountain to climb, or rather another crevice to fall into til the very end of our life, because of the mere fact that we live. That is what living is, isn’t it?

During the former years we learn from our elders to equip ourselves with the tools, the weapons to engage in battle for the rest of our life against ourselves, each other, our demons and our circumstances. Only, in today’s world we are all heavily invested in fighting the rest of the planet as well. It all seems to have become a global conflict between them and us. Think of any distinguishing criteria between human beings, and then choose which side of the line you will stand on. There is no longer a middle ground. You are either in or you are out. No dialogue, no debate, no discourse, no compromise and most certainly no tolerance. Social media has cocooned us all into our own little righteous worlds, our pedestals of self worship and we have all finally forgotten how to properly socialise, communicate; we’ve simply forgotten how to be human. The irony of what social media has done to societies is just too monumental to contemplate further. The frantic technological progress has ironically made humanity regress thousands of years of evolution back to the dark ages where the survival of the strongest was and is once again the one and only life pursuit and meaning, tinted with a callous and primitive disregard for the needs and pain of others.

Today I am struggling to breathe!

Is there a baby on the way?

Gosh, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last wrote something. The more I read that a budding writer must get into the habit of writing something, anything, every single day, the more my psyche resists such a notion. How can anyone write just for the sake of writing? Why make writing a chore when it can be such a spiritual and cathartic experience when it is spontaneous and inspired? Surely one writes something when they feel it is meaningful or useful either to them or to someone else. Writing is a release, an outlet for emotions, knowledge and encouragement. Writing is an open door that leads to creativity but the process is so, so much more than that as is the end result, for the writer as well as the reader. Whether one writes fiction or personal reflections or experiences, the act of writing, indeed any artistic enterprise, is in many ways very much like having a baby, in that we feel something powerful germinating inside of us and there is nothing we can do to bring forth any quicker the delivery day, just as there is nothing we can do to stop it once we know it is on the way. The baby will only come when it is good and ready. Similarly, we never know what the baby is going to look like until it is born. Yes, we suspect our child or work of art will bear some resemblance to us, some features that will point back to where it came from, but just as there is much of the miraculous in the act of procreation, it is so with a work of art. It is the fact that we know where it came from but we are not quite sure when, how and why the seed was planted within us; why we have been charged with the task of bringing it to fruition or for what purpose. We just know deep within that we must follow that prompt for if we don’t, we will be failing ourselves and the world around us with cosmic consequences. The creative process is utterly beyond us, out of our control. We simply feel an overwhelming, relentless pull to be used as a vehicle that delivers what has been planted in us. Artists and in this case writers are no more in control of the conception of their work of art than a mother is in control of the outcome of her attempts to conceive or of what will happen once conception takes place.

If you have been hanging out on this site for a while, you will know that Fiction is not my forte; it is simply  not my bag. I do not have the imagination or perhaps those are not the kind of babies that I am meant to bring forth into this world. I struggle a great deal to engage with anything that is fiction. I am a realist. I am averse to Science Fiction and any form of art which distorts or embellishes in any way what I know to be true today; it just does not engage me at all. I can only connect with those things which touch me in a personal way, because I have experienced them myself. And so I can read fiction whilst I am on holiday chilling out on a visually stimulating and awe inspiring spot with a glass of wine, fantasising about the lives of fictitious characters invented by others, but when it comes to my own writing, I very much feel it would compromise my integrity to publish something which is only true in an imaginary world. Sure, it would be classed as fiction and therefore it is clear my intent as a writer would not be to deceive anyone, but nevertheless, I personally would not be satisfied in myself with settling for the make-believe. I don’t knock it, of course! The wonder of imagination is what makes the world go round! The possibility to change the reality we live in. The ability to dream off a better set of circumstances for ourselves and others; the what ifs and the ability to travel on all the roads never taken. It is just not for me! The bigger the fantasy, the harder the knock when we close the book and are faced once again with the reality which faces us and which we try so hard to not face ourselves a lot of the time, though I have to say that more and more, artists are putting out there creations which surpass  in what can almost we classed as pathological, the sordidness and horror we find in our world today. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot understand the purpose of such so called “art”.

When I put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard time and time again, hard as I try, my mind always steers towards my own perception of the world and the people around me, my experiences, my fears and regrets. In other words, when you read what I write, I am giving you a big part of the “Me” that no one gets to ever see or experience when they interact with me face to face. My writing is not born out of a narcissistic nature or an obsession with self. Far from it! I am an extremely guarded person and it grates on me enormously to the point of physical and mental affliction to have to disclose myself beyond what is necessary.  I most definitely feel introverts get a real raw deal in this world. That guardedness often means others interpret your silence for you and misinterpret your utterances also. Being an introvert is also mistaken for a cry out to be rescued somehow; for lacking courage to accept perhaps what others think they know already about you. And so writing for me very much feels like stepping into a secret closet which only I have the key to. No one knows where that closet is and only when I am in that closet I am truly fully myself. Writing for me is an act of liberation; is the opportunity for the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Only, in my case, the butterfly reverts back to the caterpillar once the creative process subsides.

I suppose a lot of it is to do with what it is that as an artist or “creator” one wishes to leave behind as a legacy. In other words, for me there are two very different types of artists: those who project that which is germinating within them onto a medium which points away from them onto a new reality, a subjective reality, primarily for the purpose of delighting and stirring themselves and others, and which eventually points back to the artist who gave it birth, and then there are those artists who in the creative process lift up the veil off the deepest and most sacred corners of their soul to give us as the result of their creativity all of themselves, and in doing so connect on a very transcendental level with others to a place where a kind of epiphany takes place; an epiphany which leads to radical personal transformation and in turn acts also as a catalyst for radical transformation of the world and the people who are most immediate to us. For me there is no art more enduring, meaningful and powerful than that which does not concern itself with the talent of the artist or the quality of his/her creation, but rather sets our hearts on fire, our spirits ablaze and is capable of breaking the boundaries of space and time; it inexplicably shifts us from the natural and ordinary into the supernatural and extraordinary. So out-worldly is that moment of reckoning and connection between the artist, the work of art and the recipients of his/her art that when it is over, both artist and recipient no longer resemble the person they were before the creative experience. Indeed, they simply are unable to go back to who they were before the creative process.

I have a long, long way to go yet, but I will die trying! It is who I am and what is in me. It is how I am wired.

 

No Walls: No courage = No Victory

RE:  Richard  Armitage, British Actor @RCArmitage

Dear Richard,

It is of course your absolute right to choose what to write and what to delete on your timeline and I would always respect your choices and freedom of speech or lack of it, just as I hope others respect mine. I feel compelled however to express my deepest sadness to learn this morning that you have also deleted the very first tweet you sent to Mr Trump with the images of the Berlin wall and the #nowalls tag.

When I ponder on the Annals of History, I always end up with the same reflection: How many awful trends, atrocities and human suffering could have been avoided if only more people had been courageous enough to make their voices heard in the face of evil, greed and pride? I often imagine myself living in those episodes of history and try to honestly gage what I would have done in those situations; what I would do now, if a similar situation arose. This is a mental exercise I do often to pluck up the courage to speak up when I know it matters; when I know it counts. It is scary and it comes at a price, but I am not here to win a popularity contest. Life is too precious, too exquisite to simply settle for that. I guess, I do what I’d call a “John Proctor” drill. God knows this world is becoming an increasingly hostile place and the time may well come again for all of us to make such impossible choices.

I feel we are very much on the onset of such a situation, but as in previous chapters of history, for so many of us our attention is focused on all the wrong things, the trivial things, things of no real consequence to the wellness of humanity and this world in general. So many of us have become complacent and voyeurs in others’ lives whose reality is so much worse than our own and yet, we often dismiss it as not our problem. It is their life it affects after all, not ours.

The whole world is watching, because the whole world is looking for answers, the right answers. In a world where social media has such predominance and worldwide reception, it seems to me it is the optimum platform to make some waves which in turn create bigger waves that ultimately can pulverise some of these issues threatening the very delicate balance upon which our world stands today.

I was so elated when I saw you tweeted that hashtag to Mr Trump. It gave me hope that things can change; that there are those like yourself who act on their sense of responsibility to the wellness of those beyond ourselves, responsibility to stand up and be counted as another voice who is prepared to risk everything for a reality so much bigger than our own, and yet so intrinsic to our own. It blew me away to learn that someone of your popularity and following would have the courage and character to stand up to Mr Trump and speak up. After all, when I do so, I am not really risking all that much, or at least not yet, but for someone like you, there is much more at stake. The ripple that your wave will create is multiplied by the thousands, whilst mine may initially have some impact but soon dies away.

There are so many youngsters and adults even who wait by your side every single day, virtually anyway, to hear what you have to say or not say. So many completely at a loss as to what to make of what they see in the news and in their towns, on their doorstep. So many seeking direction from voices like yours, voices which belong to individuals that are already placed in a strategic spot to be able to change the course of events, to influence through their gifting, their work, their mere presence, the very fabric of history.

Perhaps I am mistaken and the ripples that your tweet to Mr Trump created are not as powerful as I believe them to have been, but I am certain that the effect of you taking that tweet down will be monumental. I fear that it will take the wind out of the sails of those who are inspired by and aspire to emulate the behaviour of the people they see as role models, exemplary, trust-worthy. Not to mention that Mr Trump’s following and anyone who is watching will regard it as a retreat. Another battle won. Let’s go on our merry way to win the whole war.

I do not sit here in judgement. How could I? I know nothing about your circumstances besides what we read in the media and what you put on twitter. You obviously have your reasons for your change of heart. I am no one to judge you one way or the other. As I said at the beginning, it is your absolute right to do as you will. I simply wanted to share my sadness this morning as one of the thousands of people who are inspired by your character, integrity and moral and social conscience, that you have retraced your steps on what I felt in my heart to be a gigantic leap of courage and extraordinary behaviour in this current climate of self-exultation, self-absorption and self-glorification, qualities which Mr Trump is the true champion of.

With my love always,

Mercedes Underwood

 

Is human creativity an attempt to reconnect with the reality we see with our spiritual eyes?

A friend kindly tweeted me yesterday a quote to encourage me in my writing, which said: “You write because there is fire in your bones. You have got to do this whether anybody ever reads it or not”.

Whilst I appreciated fully the sentiment with which she forwarded this tweet to me, I felt a great unease about the implication in that statement: whether one has an audience or not, one must write and use their writing as an outlet for that fire, that passion, that message, truth that lies deep within them. My reply to this kind lady was “Writing is an art form which makes us feel through another person’s creation. No artist creates something to keep it hidden, a gift must be shared”.

I don’t believe that those of us who feel the absolute need to be creative, be it through a painting, a poem, a novel, a drawing, a sculpture, a song, an instrument, a performance, can create with the same integrity, intent and vulnerability, if we are fully aware that there is no recipient to the art we create. Art stems from an undeniable need to communicate something to the rest of the world, be it for their benefit or our own. Yes, ultimately, as we create art, we experience a moment of reckoning with ourselves, our fears, our longings, our hope, our frustrations, but I believe that being able to create something is a privilege, a tremendous gift from above, an opportunity to reach others where direct words or even actions may fail. I believe that there is a purpose to every gift; there is a responsibility inherent to every talent. For isn’t it in the ability to create something new, something powerful, something way beyond our mundane existence, that as humans we are able to best connect with our spirituality, that side of us which is so mysterious, unexplored, that dimension which remains hidden and yet is so apparent, so beckoning, so vital to our existence and how we relate to the world around us and each other?

It is through art that we depart from the natural and we step into the supernatural; we leave a temporal, ephemeral reality and we take a chance into a world of dreams, hopes and endless possibilities; a world  where the optimum side of the human race fulfils its utmost potential and also a world where the most evil side of humanity is fully realised and visualised too. Art gives us the opportunity to take a glimpse of heaven as well as hell and as we undertake that journey, be it as the artist or the person who explores that work of art, we are able to connect with, explore and develop our innermost self, our own tendencies towards good or evil or both as is the case for most of us.

I am fully persuaded that creativity is a gift and as with every gift, with every good thing, its goodness and worth increases a hundred fold, if we are able to share it with others, if we offer it to others so that they too have access to that other dimension which is so elusive and at the same time so present in all of us. I cannot imagine an actor who would perform to an empty theatre, or a painter whose work gets exhibited in a room which is always empty just as I cannot comprehend the notion of a writer who puts his heart out on a piece of paper for all to see, only he is also expected to bear his soul with the same intensity and passion where there is not a  single witness to benefit from such an introspective and didactic encounter.

Getting back to the quote at the beginning of this post, yes, I write because there is fire in my bones. I write because I feel called to do so. I write because it is in being able to create something outside of myself, which can only be attributed to myself, that I feel most akin, and closest to the God who created me, who put that fire in me in the first place. Perhaps it is worth considering for those who are believers and maybe more so for those who are not, that creativity is the vessel which allows us to break the boundaries of time, place, matter, proof and knowledge, for as we create we reach out into another world, a world where we can give free rein to that inner voice that whispers to us in the quiet of night, and the buzzle of daytime: we are called to a different existence: something more grandiose, something more beautiful, more perfect, more free.

It is almost as if lying deep within all of us there is knowledge of a far superior reality we feel called to fulfil and aspire to, and that knowledge cannot be suppressed no matter how hard we try to deny it in our everyday living. It has to surface somehow. Art is like bubbling magma under the surface fully aware that its sole purpose is to eventually burst out with uncontrollable magnitude into the surface and annihilate with it the certainty of anything that exists and is secure up to that point. Creativity challenges all of us from what we know into a world of what we might suspect exists but refuse to accept.