The owlet processes

I’m still here -though it’s a month since I last posted. There’s been much to reflect on …and I’m missing my anam cara (soulmate) who helps me with the tough questions.

 

image

I love summertime, especially here in Finland. I know most species of owl are dusk/dawn or nighttime creatures, but it’s in strong, warm daylight that I feel most alive. The sun’s natural vitamin D, melatonin and other goodness is good for me …as is the more relaxed pace of life … Long leisurely evenings on the terrace and lazy mornings are so restorative, I find!

I’ve needed this in the wake of Brexit that left me depressed, disillusioned and fearful. I sat in Scotland, watching the votes to leave pour in, too shocked, too numb to do much more than shake my head in despair. And for almost two weeks after I struggled to fall asleep, only to wake up feeling violently and physically sick. For me it’s been akin to watching the rise to power of the fascist right in Germany in the 30s. Until now I’d never really understood how hysteria caused by right wing propaganda can cause a nation to vote in such a off-balance, seemingly patriotic, but actually inherently xenophobic way. I have now seen and experienced it for myself, and I’m fearful of what the next chapters will be – for all humanity!

I know as Christians we owe our loyalty to the King of kings, and we are called to co-build a kingdom so very different from our national and international understanding, but I have to confess that  I’ve reacted badly to Christian friends who seem to have accepted the Brexit decision passively or perhaps even voted for the uk to divorce itself from the greatest peacemaking force Europe has ever known, and ending up seeing the EU as something awful – demonic even -akin to Babylon!

My heart is heavy, even if God is good and the sun is shining and there’s a bright twinkle in my eyes. Keep me in your prayers, and ask for all the qualities of the owl -wisdom, perception and truth, to be in the forefront as I process with God.

Posted in 2016 the owl

Insomnia

image

This owlet is currently on holiday – staying with a friend – the best of friends actually- and in the most wonderful house, with the most comfortable of beds. I’ve slept so well here – all the sea air, the long walks with dogs, the relaxing in different ways, and ironically a lack of reading have really done me good and given me head space, and until last night I’ve slept very well.

Last night however the skull theatre crept up on me – first time in ages – and stupidly found myself worrying about whether my friend would know who to contact if I died in the night (easily remedied by writing it down!).

Posted in 2016 the owl

Leaving the nest

Owlets have to learn to fly. It’s a risky business – with no short cuts, but hopefully a few soft landings at least! But once they have mastered the knack of flying- I imagine they love it – soaring silently just for the fun of it AND of course to stalk their prey. I’m fairly sure the fun factor is key for owlets at least!

image.jpegThis tiny owlet (can’t remember the species) touches my heart :)

This owlet is flying again tomorrow. To a northern nation that is actually south of where she is now. It’s been a year since she was last there – and June is her preferred month for going – so it feels a bit like an annual migration, a time to dip the toes in new, clear, UN-muddied waters, and to take in deep breaths of a different world.

Posted in 2016 the owl, out and about

clear out!

Clear out!

This can have two very different meanings in English. It can be a synonym for “clear off!” (Go away, get out of here!) but more usually it means to spring clean, declutter.

Yesterday in Helsinki was “siivouspäivä” – literally cleaning day, though clear out day comes closer to the meaning. It’s a day to clear out the closets, under the sink and bed, and set unwanted belongings free! The parks were full of people selling off unwanted stuff – usually for next to nothing- and sometimes the money went to good causes, the Naistenpankki (women’s bank for one) or eg to two young women’s travel fund! I just had to support that!

hesperinpuisto was the best park we went to as its in the wealthier part of the city so the goods being discarded were generally very high quality – but the other park had much more random stuff which was fun!

what I liked most was how organised the set up was. The parks had charity shop vans and recycling skips – so if you didn’t want to sit and sell you could still declutter , and at the end of the day sellers could also donate their goods and avoid recluttering their homes again. And there was a really festive feel to the whole day!

this owl likes decluttering – getting rid of surplus and unwanted posessions is very liberating. Yesterday though I was a buyer – new trousers for 10c (which my friend shortened fir me this morning!) and a couple of new shirts. Best Buy though was a new flask – turquoise – which I’m using today on my way home!

Posted in 2016 the owl, this & that

Manic

image.jpegThe term manic depressive has largely gone out of fashion. We are more used to hearing about bipolar syndrome or dis-order. I’m fairly sure this owl doesn’t have this … I do suffer (sometimes very badly) from SAD (winter depression) and have to make the most of any available daylight and take high dose vitamin D to survive the dark period. Interestingly, I rarely recognise how much I’ve missed the colour and shades if colour that light gives, until spring hits – every sense is opened, and I come alive!

At first this owl has to bask in the light – sniffing in all the aromas, new sounds, and all the different greens of Spring. Then the warmth comes and for me that’s very much a time to recharge….and as I do so a manic spell comes. I become super productive in a really good way. Windows get washed, things that I’ve procrastinated about for months are prioritised. I sleep better (in spite of the light) because I use my body more. And I take a lot more time to BE in more positive ways.

The wisdom of the owl has taught me that this is a good season for me; a real gift. To be unwrapped everyday – sometimes slowly, carefully  with deep anticipation, other days fast and furiously because I can’t wait!

Posted in 2016 the owl, Finland

Kingdom living

Owls are generally solitary animals – but when they do come together they are known as a parliament of owls because of their shared wisdom. That’s an important collective benefit for us humans too.

Owls are – in some respects – hard working. Their natural diet consists of whole, live animals – which need to be hunted. That takes a lot of expertise and energy. Interestingly, owls are not natural home builders – they do not usually build their own nests: Some species use old hawk, crow or raven nests while others use a scrape on the ground, and a number of small owls nest in tree cavities or nest boxes. Parents of young owlets do, however, share responsibilities for their offspring – for at least 24-70 days (depending on the species) because owlets stay with their parents for most of the summer before finding a territory of their own.

But what I love about owls is that they are pretty content “just to hang out”. So while they are actually not very active birds unless they are hunting or feeding young – they know how to ‘be’. That’s an important skill for us humans to learn too.

Yesterday this owl was really blessed by a group of hardworking owls who came to join us to work on getting our home environment into shape. I suspect this doesn’t usually happen between parliaments of owls (at least I couldn’t find any evidence of it) – and isn’t that common amongst humans either. The difference between us humans and the owl world is love -and that love motivates us to be counter-cultural and be a blessing to one another . As one human expressed it yesterday ‘ this is Kingdom living’ – and we loved both the working (even if our muscles ached at the end of the day) and the feasting together!

Posted in 2016 the owl, at home, this & that, Turku

the suffragette owl

I watched the film The Suffragette for the third time last night. It’s a film that grows on you – and each time I’ve watched it, I’ve seen and learned something new. And it’s made me think – a lot!

index

So what was the vote for women campaign all about really? It’s probably a mistake to think it was only about giving women the right to vote, (important though that was).

In 1912 (when the film is set) only 60% of male homeowners aged over 21 had the right to vote. The means that ordinary men who did not own their own home (or own property) were also dis-enfranchised. In other words of a population of 41 million people only 7.7 million were entitled to vote in the election of 1912 (just prior to the first world war).

The film The Suffragette however gives some fascinating – and troubling – insights into the plight of women in particular. Merely a hundred years ago the husband (or father, uncle) – in both working and upper class families – was the absolute head of the household. Women had almost no rights. Clearly they had no right to vote – but additionally they had no right to a home; no rights to their own money, (this is demonstrated  in the film both by the MP’s wife not being able to sign the cheque to bail out the other women from prison, and also by Maud handing over her wages in their entirety to her husband!); and they even had no right to say ‘no’ to intercourse with their husband and physical abuse – ‘wife beating’ and worse –  was common in all echelons of society. Women even had no rights over husband in terms of access to their children, or making decisions on their behalf. It’s hard for us to understand just how dis-empowered all women were in 1912 – whatever their class – but as the film shows the plight of working class women was in many ways even worse.

The conditions for working men and women in the London of 1912 come into stark focus in the film. Conditions at work were abysmal for both men and women – but women worked 1/3 longer hours and in far worse conditions in the laundry in Bethnal Green for example, and were paid 1/2 of the men’s wage. This was in no way unusual. The sexual harassment of the women and girls by the laundry owner was also sadly typical of the times (and not unknown 100 years later!)

So then what was the Suffragettes’ aim.

Let’s hear from Maud Watts – the heroine of the film:

Dear Inspector Steed.

I thought about your offer, and I have to say no. You see, I am a suffragette after all. You told me no one listens to girls like me. Well I can’t have that anymore. All my life, I’ve been respectful, done what men told me. I know better now. I’m worth no more, no less than you. Mrs. Pankhurst said, “If it’s right for men to fight for their freedom, then it’s right for women to fight for theirs.” If the law says I can’t see my son, I will fight to change that law. We’re both foot soldiers, in our own way. Both fighting for our cause. I won’t betray mine. Will you betray yours? If you thought I would, you were wrong about me.

Yours sincerely, Maud Watts.

In other words women did not merely want the right to vote, they wanted to have a voice – they wanted to change the laws that were unfair and unjust and which were based on discrimination.

“We want to be law makers – not law breakers” – became their cry. ‘The Union’ as it’s called in the film is the WSPU – The Women’s Social and Political Union was a splinter group from the non-militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, and came about because of the lack of success in persuading politicians of the day to give women the vote.So why then did they begin to break the law – smash windows, commit arson, attack property, and go on hunger strike in prison?

Here’s Maud Watt’s explanation (emphasis mine) in the film

Maud Watts: We break windows, we burn things. Cause war’s the only thing men listen to! Cause you’ve beaten us and betrayed us and there’s nothing left!

Inspector Arthur Steed And there’s nothing left but to stop you.

Maud Watts What are you gonna do? Lock us all up? We’re in every home, we’re half the human race, you can’t stop us all.

Her cry was the cry of millions of women – who had been beaten and betrayed by their system, and yet still refused to give up. The leader of the Suffragettes, Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, made a speech in the US in 1913. This is an exerpt

“We entirely prevented stockbrokers in London from telegraphing to stockbrokers in Glasgow and vice versa: for one whole day telegraphic communication was entirely stopped. I am not going to tell you how it was done. I am not going to tell you how the women got to the mains and cut the wires; but it was done. It was done, and it was proved to the authorities that weak women, suffrage women, as we are supposed to be, had enough ingenuity to create a situation of that kind. Now, I ask you, if women can do that, is there any limit to what we can do except the limit we put upon ourselves? (You can read the full speech here)

You can read about the real women who inspired the film here.

These women inspire me – and their fight goes on, not necessarily in terms of votes for women, but for rights for womenin all walks of life.

Posted in Politics, this & that, writings