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Sunday, 30 January 2011

What's it all for?? pt 1


It's all about Love!

Park Benches!






Too busy to really blog today but I did think of a question - not that I have any followers yet - but it's a question I've asked myself and so will put it out their into the atmosphere anyway..

If you could be a blessing to anyone you meet this week... who would it be ...and why?.

A few weeks ago I saw a man on a bench in the middle of the park with what appeared to be all his belongings around him. A huge 'white' duvet, boxes, clothes, and framed photos in a shopping trolley.
This wasn't someone I'd ever seen before, he was just a regular guy, looking like a fish out of water.
I said "were gonna see more of this with all the changes to housing benefit!!"
"Nah", my brother said... "Trust me, I reckon his girls just kicked him out!!"
"your crazy!" I said - "if that was the case wouldn't he go to a mates house, or family?"
"Nahh!" said my brother (with a strange confidence) "she'll have him out there for an hour or two then let him back in - he must have done something bad - I feel to ask him!"
"you do that!" I said - "Just make sure you drop me home first!"

Never did see that man again. I hope my brother was right and I was wrong.
If park benches could talk the tales they could tell. Often times this inanimate object offers comfort where mankind has failed to - experiencing all of life's emotions - steadfast.
We really need to treasure our parks and open spaces

Anyway - I've really got to get back to my other project right now - so till the next time x

Temperature falls in London!!


Until that time...
It's feeling kinda cold in London today baby!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Things to do - places to go! aka wish you were here?






So many reasons to love Senegal!
Take a romantic stroll by the beach!
Make new friends
Take a trip on an old bus
Or simply chill out..

Failing that.... there's always New York!

A Coldplay study day!

A cold walk to the local library for me and my niece, who decided to join me for a study day.
Not too far to walk, but in the cold biting wind it feels longer. It's a nice place, small and compact, warm and inviting. It wasn't as quiet as I expected it to be though - not long after we'd secured our 'table' the drilling started. Roadworks outside, on a Saturday! ..great.
Then half an hour later the piano I'd admired on the way in was accompanied by a pianist... and a singer!!
I looked at my niece( who I hoped would take back to South London - tales of the quiet subtleties of east cultured east London!!).. she laughed.

I remember years ago when I though Netto was cool - good family fair with unbelievable bargains! I took her with me once and she laughed her head off at how rough it appeared to her, flour on the floor, rice and sugar burst open!! I laughed too!

Anyway

I got used to the piano to the point I started to enjoy it. Looked out the window at Nisbit House remembered school days - Then thought about Lennie Henry who began piano lessons aged forty - I thought - I never did learn properly - would love to recite a classical piece or two - maybe this person can teach me - I got up and went to see the pianist!
Turned out to be an old friend. - we caught up a bit! he has a Pre Valentine Showcase coming up 13th Feb @Cottons - should be cool
I went back to study - he continued to practice - sublime
He recited a few tunes - over and over -but it was teh Coldplay that got me - I told him I hoped he'd perform it - he got shy

Seriously - follows me everywhere music!!

Anyway - here's the original - enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skUJ-B6oVDQ

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Captain's Log 1 - The Struggle

Captains Log 1 - star date January 27th 2011 - 21:00hrs

My sister and I are in pursuit of information.
We're concerned - unable to find answers. I'm holding her up from cooking - she's having to multi task
You see I read in a Guardian news report that Winnie Mandela was seen leaving hospital in tears.
and now - silently - I have also begun to cry.
I ask my sister what will happen to us if anything should happen to Mandela.
As if he's my own father
We don't really know what we're saying but we know that as every day passes so does an era that paved the way to the freedoms that we enjoy today. As every day passes we lose our fighters - our warriors and our leaders. As every day passes, we gain more, but lose most.
It's no secret that I've long admired Winnie Mandela
It's no secret that Nelson Mandela's greatness transcends - just simply - transcends.

Witnessed the struggle as a child - knew what was going on.
Played with dolls and toy robbots - read Topsy and Tim books - had posters on warriors on my wall!

I hope he's okay - although we know that one day we will have to face a world possibly without him
May that day not come too soon - no we love him - and we thank him
May his light continue to shine

Soul Food

What will I feed my soul wid today?
quick grab a a pen - list di ingredients me seh!
Tek out di bitterness!
rub in a likkle sweet
half a pound a love - wid a quarter a meek..

Stir in likkle spice - you no warnt it too bland
need a liikle fire!
fi pressure di sweatband

Add a pinch a prayer
an' a gallon a fresh
mix it wid vision
before you try di taste test!

Serve up a side dish of - 'just bring it come!'
Badda dem a badda me - yet we cyarn done!

A glass half full of fizzy romance
a bag 'a' cute smiles, plus a cool slow dance

Egyptian cotton and a handsome prince
half a dozen candles - an' me almost convinced!

So what should I feed my soul wid today?

Soul food baby soul food!!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Writers block?? rewind and press play!

I spend more time in the company of music than I do anyone or anything else.

Here I am sitting with nothing else on my agenda today other than to write. This is me.. taking a break from... writing!

Oddly enough, I had reached a point where I just sat - felt a block - so I did nothing other than think - in total silence, looking out over an unkempt garden littered with dead leaves and a searching squirrel or two looking for berries. Messy as it is - I like it. I like it because I know I can and will do something with it. I know why it is the way it is, and I also know that amidst it all it is - a very beautiful space. Period. I understand it. Yet it wasn't until I decided to share my silent moment with an equally serene sound track that the words started to flow. Instantly I felt a new energy, and was transported to another space ( in my mind) that was filled with pleasurable sorrow. I felt again at ease with my self in relation to why I do the things I do, why I've chosen to sit home alone, and why ( as I was told recently by a friend) all I do is work.

To be honest although I notice it - I wasn't aware than anyone else had, so It was quite funny to hear her talk about balance. Trust me - everything I do is to create a sense of balance in my life. I'm fairly centred anyway, but I guess over the years things have become 'a little bit out of whack' - to a passing observer anyway.

I made several excuses as to why I don't really go out much , but she wasn't having any of it. Told me that despite her being pregnant( not yet showing) we... were going out.. her choice of venue seems to be some 'kinda' wine bar ( I don't really drink, and she can't drink so that's a bit of an an odd choice!!) but as far as she's concerned I need to meet people. I'm not sure who she thinks I need to meet but who cares - I'm pretty sure come the hour come the day I'll be busy doing something else, as if there's one thing I have no overt desire to do - it's have the beauty of music spoiled by some drunken guy or gal who thinks its cool to fall about the place slurring. ( As enjoyable as they may find it) Do I sound like a snob?? shucks - I don't mean to!!- this again - is nothing more than an excuse ( I know when i'm making them!! - okay - I apologise to the guys and gals who like to drink and slur - mine is not to judge you!! )
Truth is - I've never really been that person - but I did consciously take a break from going out because I wanted to. Every now and again I think it's healthy to step back reevaluate your life and get to know - you! - and that can be difficult if you're constantly surrounded by people I've seen people become the people around them - only to later on mourn the loss of their identity -"It's behind you!!" Its not panto season yet - so why turn your life into a pantomine.

She said - "You're a hermit!" - I said - "thanks!" - she said "We're going out!"- I said "Yeah??" she's becoming a good friend. I like her a lot.
In the meantime I sit - my song of choice ?? - Alicia Keys - Unthinkable. The video looks like it's set in the deep south in the early 60's. I feel as though I'm of a different era - transported here as some kind of experiment.. "Hey! - you done yet??"

I digress.
You see, ever since I can remember music has been a part of my life. The soundtrack of my life is really pretty cool to me and I treasure it. I have songs that remind me of my father - Ray Charles - Al Green - U Roy, even Rod Stuart, my mother would be - The Heptones - Mighty Diamonds, a bit of Bob ( my mum's no Rasta - but she absolutely loves Rastaman Chant - every time she sings it - loudly - (this is not songs of praise mum!! ssh!!_) it makes me laugh - mainly because of how she sings it - and because for years she was on at my brother about his locks, but then along came Bob with a catchy tune and all was forgiven!! ain't life great.
Me - I love all music. My teenage walls were covered with posters of all kinds of artists. Don't think anyone would have been able to figure out what kind of person lived there - seriously - anyone remember Japan??

Over the years I've listened to it - written - sung and produced it to the point that some people only know me as Dawna Lee the reggae artist - and that's cool I guess - but that's not all - that's just one part - hence the deliberate pause. Yet any pause button will only hold for so long - before things begin to stir again. Music is powerful - a gift from the gods if you will - and once you love it - you will always love it
A song - or a piece of music will conjure up a mood or an image instantly for me - just one of the reasons I love musical theatre and I guess - it combines my greatest loves -and that's why - ( the dreamer that I am ) I'm able to write to it - my world makes sense. That said though - my current soundtrack is less about what I'm writing and more about me - where I am - write now.

Hey - my writers block has gone!! - back to writing
Rewind Alicia Keys!!
Peace

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Nice to meet you!

Over the past two days I've been fortunate enough to have been able to attend training on business and project management. Whilst the training over both days was excellent - what struck me more was the positive energy in the room. I was reminded again of just how nice it can be to meet new people with similar interests. If your lucky enough to have people around you - or in your life - that share your values or have a similar world view (or even if they don't see things quite as you do - they find you interesting enough to enjoy your space/company) then consider for a moment the impact that has on you as a person.

Does having the validation of others provide security? - security that you're okay? Does knowing that you have the support of others fill you with confidence to fulfil your aims, or achieve your goals? - If the answer to that is yes - What then if they weren't there??
What if tomorrow you woke up and no one agreed with you? - no one around you shared your view of the world - struggled to fully comprehend anything you had to say? - what then? Would you keel over and die??( figuratively speaking of course) does the thought fill you with absolute terror?? - send a shiver down your spine?? or - maybe - just maybe - you quite like the idea!!
Perhaps - we pay too much importance on the need for the validation of others ( Have a feeling my Coach might agree with that!)
There's saying that if someone can make you happy - then equally - they can make you unhappy. Your well being is too important for anyone to control - other than you.
Yet were only human - and it's in our design - our DNA - that we care - want to be loved - understood - cared for - protected
But it's not easy - and at times - just not even possible
Yesterday and today was a ray of light - small - but no less significant
In a world with a population of over 6,884,909,953, they don't all need to get you.
A room filled with 20 people - they don't all have to like you.
A conversation with two people they don't both need to understand
Sometimes it only takes 1.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Fathers

'What makes a father a father?' and 'Do children need fathers?'

I'm not sure why there appears to be confusion around these questions, it's a little like asking 'Does a child need a mother?'

But then again is it?

You see, a mothers role is clear - right from the start.
But many fathers - appear to be lost - It's either they really don't know what their role is or they are feigning ignorance.

Either way - it's a sad state of affairs.

Apparently, Brixton has the highest number of single mothers in the country - and in certain areas there are second and third generation children growing up without fathers.

Where are these men?? -who are these men?? - they were there at conception!

What has transpired is that although some men are still with their girlfriends during pregnancy - once the baby's born they are no longer in the picture - ( possibly when they're needed most!!)

I speak to men about this on a regular basis, - and many of them are quick to blame the women. One stereotype is ' oh they just want to get a council flat - or some equally ridiculous statement

Some say they'd like to be involved with their children but don't have a job so can't afford to be
Others find it difficult to deal with being a father if the relationship with the mother has ended
Then there are some who just don't appear to care at all

There are those who believe that the benefits system facilitates the 'absent father syndrome', and that benefits should be cut for men who have children yet refuse to work.

To try and legislate in that way would be an absolute disaster - so let's hope that doesn't happen!!

Unfortunately - many of these men are unable to gain employment which pays them enough to get by - why? - lots of reasons... poor literacy - low skills - little or no previous work experience- criminal convictions to name a few - add to that the growing rates of depression among men and that hardly makes for a great CV, to present to employers - so there does appear to be a link between poverty and absent fathers.

Organisations such as St Michael's Project are doing a great job trying to engage fathers, but we need more. The stigma attached to adult males attending adult learning classes needs to be addressed, and increasingly it's being tackled in a variety of ways - including embedding literacy, numeracy and ICT into more vocational courses - talking to men - finding out what they need and encouraging and supporting them in attending classes

However...this is no excuse for not being there for your child - and the mother of your child.

Growing up - my father was ever present in my life. I went to him for everything - he took me all over the country to take part in athletics, let me play out when my mum said no and bought me my first ever electric guitar. He encouraged and supported everything I did, and took care of us all.

His strong values and sense of self meant that we were able to grow up feeling safe. More importantly - I was happy because my mother was happy.

As an adult - my father was still there for me - until - alas - he as there no more
I guess I was lucky

If it's true that there are people who prefer to remain apart as they may lose a paltry £30 a week in benefits then I would say perhaps they need to check their priorities.

You cannot put a price on a good father.

Single mothers are amazing - to do what they do every day - but then they have to!! - who else is there?? - yet still their love for their children outweighs the difficulties - and the joy that children bring is truly wonderful - children are a blessing

You cannot force anyone to care - you cannot force a man to take responsibility and be a father. Some have no idea how to be a father - maybe their own childhood was a difficult one - who knows!!... But I do feel that women may hold the answer. When meeting or dating a man who has children that he doesn't take care of - ask a few questions. If he doesn't care for them - will he care for you? will he care for your children? Is he a 'keeper' - or a 'retreater'

Perhaps if more men realised that being a good father - or a potential good father was of the utmost importance for women - something that women admired - those who need to improve may just begin to do so!

Perhaps we make it too easy for them to do nothing

Let's not kid ourselves that we can airbrush men into oblivion... it might work in OK magazine but let's be real...they still run the country!! take a look at our Board Rooms - Businesses - Banks

Yet - the role of a father is possibly the most important role a man will ever have

To all great fathers - thank you
to those not quite there - keep trying...get to know your child's favourite book...read it..spend time together... just .. be

Whether you live with your children or not - be a positive influence in their lives
Don't get me wrong women can do it - and do it well - but...

Who doesn't love a great father??

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Need a favour??

If it's true that the difficulties we face in life, the obstacles we have to overcome strengthen us, and teach us valuable lessons, then when we assist someone in difficulty are we really helping them at all??

Many times we feel that when someone comes to us with a problem the way to deal with it is to offer a solution, put a stop to their suffering as soon as we can and direct them to the path we feel would be best for them. Yet quite often when we do this it can be met with disdain, very quickly you can become an object for their resentment, fear , anger, and in their eyes the very reason for their suffering in the first place. ( untrue as it may be it may remain their perception anyway )

We assume ( quite rightly I think) that when someone says they're unhappy about something, they really are unhappy. But yet, given the opportunity to free themselves from a situation which according to them is causing them constant emotional, or sometimes physical pain, they remain stuck - reluctant to do anything at all!!

Why is this?

Is it that they're not being honest with us? or are they not being honest with themselves?

Or do they know something we don't?
Maybe we're overlooking a very important factor - that is the feeling of accomplishment when one has succeeded against the odds.

If I reflect on my own life for a minute - as difficult - and as painful some things have been in the past - right now - right here - I wouldn't change a thing - why? because I learnt lessons that will remain with me forever, and I know I'm a better person for it.
For example crying over some guy ( who in all honesty, would never have been good for me anyway, and ironically I wouldn't even want to be with now ) has given me an ability to experience what I consider to be real love.
You have to cry sometime, have to feel joy and everything else that comes with it.

That's just one aspect.
There are those who complain about never being heard, or being taken seriously, yet when asked a question or given a chance to say how they really feel - remain silent - or speak only to tell a joke.

We feel for people who are disadvantaged in life and want to help them, key question is -
do they want to be helped?? - and even more importantly by you?? and if not you - who??

I think I'm beginning to be able to spot the difference. It's not what someone says, or even complains about in and around corners - it's what they do... their actions

There's a well know quote ( can't remember who by but feel free to check)

Watch your thoughts they become words
Watch your words they become your actions
Watch your actions for they become they habits
Watch your habits for they become your character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny

I'm not suggesting that we no longer help each other.. absolutely not, we need more - as we're not exactly falling over ourselves to help as it it!!
but we do need to recapture the notion of personal responsibility also, as even helping others can get you into a fix


I will be trying very hard to ensure my words and actions are congruent
feel free to tell me off if otherwise!!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Can't blame the cuts for everything!!

How much is too much??

So what are the signs that indicate... enough???

There are times when great achievements or advancements are made purely to avoid more of the same...a desperate desire for a better life, a longing for a future with possibilities..
Desperate to avoid the homogeneity of an oppressive lifestyle of lack..want..need.. loss..pain...or sorrow. These things can be great motivators indeed, but does it really take for one to be at the point of no return to be moved to change?

Public sector cuts are an example of this. We've witnessed the student demonstrations and I expect they'll be demonstrations aplenty in the months ahead as the disappearances of key services begin to impact on those who need them most.
But when we think about protests, we usually think about 'collective action', 'strength in numbers'.. a campaign... a just cause, that if successful, will be a moral victory for the many.. great!!

Honour, Pride, Justice and Equality are words that spring to mind..

But can the same be said of an individual?

The lone solider.. adrift.. outcast

Whilst many are able to rise above their difficulties, conquer fears and obliterate barriers..there are many who struggle, with often terrible consequences.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard someone refer to the public sector cuts as 'way.. too much'.. 'or going to far'... and I just began to wonder how often we say that in our own lives.. in our treatment of others..
If we're able to recognise what we consider to be unfair treatment by a government towards it's subjects, why then do we not treat each other better?

Some people do I know.. and that makes life sooo beautiful!!...but still, I doubt there's ever a day where someone somewhere doesn't suffer at the hands of someone else... and we can't blame public sector cuts for that!!

Or can we??

So how much is too much?

Why risk it..

Thursday, 13 January 2011

In my note book!

A blank page...

Silent..
Unpredictable..

A moment in time.. captured
Infinity
A canvas for thought... letters... words
New worlds explored.. the unknown
The inspiration of hope
A metaphor for forgiveness...
For new beginnings

A link ..
A bridge of that connects us, overcomes distance
Bringing with it constitutions, laws, contracts... binding ...yet breakable
For us... a reason to be

An extension of me
Of all that I am.. and all that I will
A discovery of all things
An invite to all
To share... and be shared
To hear and be heard
A declaration

A void

Nothing..

Monday, 10 January 2011

Ad Breaks

I quite enjoy the happiness of others. Most of us do. For example, if someone laughs... and I mean really laughs, it's hard not to join them... or at least smile a little.

Anyway, in my pursuit of happiness I decided to play the role of agony aunt/matchmaker today, and in doing so was able to impart some pretty sound advice (if I say so myself) .. solid uplifting stuff that had my once quite miserable mate.. really looking forward to 'getting out there again'... dating...meeting someone new and having fun ... all that 'palarva'... Trust me, I was so convincing that even I was convinced... "see babe... I said .."they're not all the same"...(or something to that effect)

But then, she turned the tables on me..

"So what's wrong with you then?" she asked ... "too picky eh, or just haven't found the right one??"
To be honest I hadn't bargained for that question.. because, well...I hadn't really given it much thought.. (always seems easier to live through others I guess.. less stress, even if it is a bit cowerdly!! ..anyway, I though for a moment and then said

"Well yeah.. I guess I am picky... but not in a bad way!!.. I just value myself enough to know I'll recognise love ( or the potential for It) when I see it!... anything else is just an ad break... enjoyable.. but unecessary!!"

Now I was suffering from monitor fatique at the time so most of that could be garbage, so I do apologise in advance, but honestly... that's what came out... so i'll just have to own it for now..
(I can cry into the biscuit tin later!!)

No seriously, what it did do however, was get me thinking about ad breaks. and how our lives can be divided up into one long serial drama, with peaks and troughs..or highs and lows, dialogue, drama, tension, plots, sub plots whatever.

All broken up by a series of ad breaks. The little things you didn't expect or ask for... some you like, some you dont.. but they're just ad breaks...

Some can change your life, become you're life even, whereas others may fall by the wayside

The question I guess therefore is ... if we really know what we want it, will it become easier to spot the difference?

So when is an ad break.. just an ad break??

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Question of Trust

Where would we be without Trust?

"As surely as Trust erodes between people...so shall a society fall to it's knees"

I wonder about this often. I wonder why the nation were outraged at the MPs expenses scandal.. is it because they had placed their trust in them and were therefore shocked that that could happen???

Was it that despite the fact that certain politicians had pursued disappointing policies, or at times let people down by not maintaining their integrity and doing as they said they would when given the chance, people still lived in the hope that somehow.. someway.. Trust could be restored, and we'd all live happily ever after??? Hmmm

You see Trust is one of those things that can take forever to build, but can be destroyed in an instant.

For example, I've encountered a lot of cynicism over the 'Big Society' and I wonder about that also. I've yet to hear anyone describe it as an ideology that is about potential social mobility, communities, individuals...people essentially... living in a way that shows concern for others, mobilizes and strengthens.. and I wonder why.

Have we lost the ability to Trust, or is it a case of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me??

If we were to recap on a few examples of where trust is essential, such as... football teams, marriages/relationships/...schools...care homes... transport...doctors... let's be honest.. pretty much every area of life right? .. then I have to wonder if one reason people fear the Big Society is because they no longer want to have to care!! let someone else do it?.. maybe, just maybe ...we fear ourselves..

It is said that the oppressed, once oppressed long enough will begin to think like their oppressors, and given the right circumstances will become oppressors themselves..

Maybe that's harsh..maybe. You see the thing about real social mobility is it can be very difficult when you are low on social capital..

A community that has very little S.C will continue to have very little regardless of how much they enjoy each others company! Real investment is needed. But it's not just about money... (pearls and swines and all that!) .. no.. it's also about...Vision, and Ambition, and Connections.

Unfortunately the spirit of reciprocity doesn't seem to exist between 'them that have'.. and 'them that have not'... as people with connection like to share their connections with... (yeah you've guessed it) other people who have connections.

How many people develop real friendships with people who they consider to be of ... and I hate to say it.. a different class to themselves?

*And when I say class, I'm using the term in a purely monetary context, as class is a far more complex issue than many realise.

Communities are slowly becoming more divided and segregated than ever right before out very eyes.. and what is worrying is as the State pull away, how long will it be before those in the know, relish their autonomy and begin to manipulate the situation to serve only 'people like them' leaving behind those with little social capital, and virtually no hope of ever obtaining it...

I hope that is not the case, I really do

But one thing I do believe is we need Trust now...more than ever...as it may be the only thing that can... and will... pull us through

To be in the receipt of someone elses Trust is truly an homour
Ask an MP