Monday, 8 June 2015

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

A bit like Wendy in Peter Pan, and possibly more like her daughter Jane in the Disney sequel, I've been lacking in three fundamental things recently.

Faith, trust and pixie dust may seem like fantastical things which we impress upon young children in an attempt to keep them innocent of the evils of merchandising and general life, but it seems to me that as adults we, too, need a dose of fantasy every now and again.

I'm well aware that I have a childish side.

At 28, I should not still cry at Disney, be able to recite every song verbatim or dream that somewhere is a Prince Charming (or similarly placed lead man) who will sweep me off my feet and away from my life of utter drudgery (which isn't really all that bad - I certainly have a better life than some).

But there are times when this manner of thinking has helped me.

 Whether it's a throwaway comment designed to make someone laugh when they're having a tough day, or just songs that pick me up when I'm feeling burdened with the cumbersome details of daily life, relishing being a bit of a kid is a good thing.

Having faith is a lot more than simply trusting that everything will work out.

Faith is knowing that despite being completely weighed down by doubts and fears, you can still be who are meant to be. That despite everything around you going downhill, you can keep climbing up the mountain. Despite your life seeming to be full of those annoying speed-bumps or a never-ending slalom of pot holes, you have a way through them and, okay, you might hit a few of them, you can get through the stuff that plonks itself in your way and you might even find yourself heading in a better direction.

Some will argue that faith and God are interlinked, and I suppose they are to an extent. But even those without a belief in a particular God or 'religion' are able to live their lives with faith that things will work out in the end. That, I assume, is  the difference between Faith and faith (if you will allow me to make such a distinction).

Nevertheless, it's a lot to pin on a word like 'faith'.

Trust is another concept that we seem to dissociate ourselves from as soon as we reach a critical point in childhood.

As a child, we trust that the world is like the cartoons we see. That the people we meet are lovely and nice. That every one we meet is going to be our friend and the best person we will ever meet, who will have nothing bad to say. That our parents and pets will be around forever and love us indefinitely.

But things happen.

Our best friend suddenly decides that we are no longer worthy when we're in primary school, and your life feels like its ending. Your hamster dies on your birthday, turning it into the worst day of your life. Your family, through no fault of your own,  divides and leaves you feeling alone and unloved. Your partner decides that the relationship you've been building for nearly a year is no longer worth the effort. The random stranger that you smile at snaps a nasty or rude reply to you.

Our trust can be chipped away at by so many small things that we sometimes reach a point where we suddenly find ourselves unwilling to put ourselves out into the world for its derision when we reach our teenage years. This shaky foundation can make anyone a wreck,

Without trust, we live very insular lives. Trust is essential. We trust that the person we ask directions from will give us the correct directions. We trust that the person holding open a door might keep it from slamming into our faces. We trust that the news that we are given is an accurate account of what has actually happened.

That essential little thing that seems to rule most of our lives - trust.

Perhaps the hardest item to quantify in all of this is pixie dust.

Pixie dust, in my context, represents that fantastical quality that we seem to lose.

That wonder of what makes the sky blue and the grass green. How birds can stay in the air and how worms bury themselves underground. How thunder, lightening, snow, rain and hail are all so different, but all come from the same place. Where the wind goes after it passes by us.

Pixie dust is that magical wonder that we can bring to what we see all around us.

I have had two very different moments like that since I began drafting this blog post.

It was a particularly windy day, and a bee stopped to rest on the outer window frame to take stock and have a bit of a tidy up as it soon became clear that it had been on a massive pollen gathering expedition. Now, normally, I'm rather afraid of bees. I'm generally wary around anything that flies and has a stinger on it. But with a double glazed window in between me and it, I took the chance to study it in beautiful detail. From it's antennae to it's legs I marvelled at the perfection of its tiny form - the eyes, the wings, the knowledge that it had it's own minuscule internal organs packed inside it's less than one inch body.

The second was having the opportunity to chat with a lady who was nearly 100 years old and was telling me all about her father, the St Christopher that had been hisand what their life had been like when she was young. That made me wonder at the advances that technology has gone through in the past 100 years and the move from virtually nothing electronic in the home to houses packed with appliances, screens, monitors, DVD players, microwaves, freezers, boilers and radiators.

There is a lot that is magical about the world, if only we could stop and stare at it long enough to get our own dose of pixie dust.

So I think we would all benefit from a little more faith, trust and pixie dust...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A dose of self-pity...

Like with everything else this year, things have changed so much, and yet I feel like I haven't actually moved anywhere. In the three or so months since my last post, I've been turned away from every application I've submitted (job wise and PhD wise) and I feel like I've spent all my time in a hospital waiting room.

Why? Well, you never realize how much you value your health, or indeed someone else's until something happens. Somebody close to me in my family was diagnosed with angina, as well as having a repeat of labryinthitis. Two things that really do not work well together. Many hospital tests, medications, Doctors appointments, operational procedures on the horizon and what looks to be a lifetime of continuing in such a manner, I suddenly realized how fragile life is and how much I take for granted. The idea of losing this person is horrifying to me, and I never realized before exactly how much I depend upon them for the support that they provide me, no matter how large or small it may be at the time. I know that such a condition (indeed, conditions) can be treated and managed all without issue, but there is the irrational part of myself that sits here and can only ponder as to whether the reason that I have not been able to secure a job or any other form of work related attachment is down to the fact that I will be needed far more urgently, and for much more serious an issue, than simply paid work.

I try to stay positive; I try to look around and value what I have - the endless opportunity to be with this person and bask in their presence, but at the end of the day I still find myself frustrated at the uncertainties and the non-progression that seems to be happening in my life. It could be worse - I tell myself - there are so many more that have so much less than I do, yet this never seems to quite fulfil the empty feeling deep within.

Bitterness is never a pleasant emotion or feeling to have, nor one that is particularly attractive in the eyes of others, and yet I fear that I am being swamped by such things.

Hope; Belief; Faith; Trust - amicable traits that I wish I could channel more of at this moment...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Price of Life

So I've reached the point in my life where I want to go and be more independent and earn my own money, and have the time whilst I try and figure out where exactly I want my life to lead and what I want to do to make my mark on the world. Sounds good, right? So why is it that in this modern day, and in an economy that is trying to recover I cannot get a job?

One would have thought that in order for companies to provide a better service to their customers and ensure that they can stay open longer to serve them that they would like more staff. And indeed there are adverts out there. But it appears that there is a contradiction in what we are being told. Despite it sounding like some companies are desparate for new staff, there is also the issue that there are far more people unemployed than there are positions availiable. In five months of job hunting and filling in applications for everything and anything, I have only had one interview. For most things, I appear to be either too qualified or not qualified enough. What is more, the number of advertisments that ask for a full driver's license is astonishing. The conundrum comes however, when you realise that I do not have said drivers license, would love to get one, but do not have the money with which to have lessons and take the tests. For that, I need a job, but to get a job, I seem to need a license. Troublesome? Infuriating? Yup.

But that's really a separate matter. It's just one of those things that will work itself out eventually, and I just have to wait for the day when I can afford to do such a thing. What really REALLY confuses me, is that the government said last month that we were, in fact, potentially heading for yet another economic downturn, but still brought VAT back up making everything more expensive even though there is still large numbers of unemployment. Not only that, but the energy company, EDF, have said that from March they will increase gas prices by 6.5% and electricity prices by 7.5%, and the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has said that world food prices are at an all time high. This graph (taken from the BBC - shows the cost of corn in US cents/bushel.

Can we really see an end to the difficulties and true economic recovery when it seems that there is nothing being done to help us out? It seems that the government seem to want us to work longer and pay more to try and sort the economy out, but what makes me laugh at the stupidity is this news report headline that caught my eye:

"The average age at which men and women retire has increased in recent years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)."

Of course retirement age is increasing - the pension plans that those working signed onto have reduced to practically nothing either through the decrease of money being paid into such things, or the need for money to pay for increasing food and fuel prices in order to keep us alive and well. Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means saying that those that are past the retirement age shouldn't work - if they want to, then by all means they should! What is ridiculous is the assumption that this is why most older workers are there. It couldn't possibly be out of neccessity for survival due to lack of money. But of course, it's more than acceptable for the big bosses in the banks and those in the government to take big bonuses, or  to claim expenses for things that most of us would (potentially) give our left arm to have. Add to that the increase in student tuition fees and things and we really have to wonder who exactly is benefitting from such a system.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ponderings of a manner unidentifiable

Ladies, gentlemen, hermaphrodites, and non-identifiables, welcome! One hopes that this blog may be of interest to some of you, and if not then I should imagine that you shall find your interests elsewhere.

So, there are many things in life that intrigue me. Most of all, perhaps, is anything relating to anthropology. The number of books that I own that ponder the way in which people act/do/think certain things will require a small truck should I ever decide to move them. One thing that caught my interest recently is that of the realm of the different status awarded to males and females. In the modern, twentieth-century Western society we often think that there is no differential between a man and a woman, save for the obvious biological things and some smaller concepts (talking on a broad scale here). However, if we travel further east, or even back in time, we realize just how segregated life can be.

It has been something which in my studies has cropped up a lot - the status and 'value' of boys versus girls. It was actually a radio talk show that highlighted an area which I had never heard of before - the devadasi. In India, the culture suggests that there is more value placed upon males - they are the ones that generally go and work, support their parents and provide for the family. In this Southern Indian society, the females are not quite so valued. Here they become devadasis - slaves to the goddess of fertility, Yellama. From childhood they are sworn to serve the goddess, to serve in rituals and dance for the goddess. So far, it doesn't sound quite that bad. But when these girls reach puberty, this seemingly idyllic life is changed. It doesn't take a genius to work out how these girls are made to bring in money to the families. Auctioned out to the highest bidders, these girls are refused 'normal' lives where they marry and have a family.

But is it really that different to our way of life in the Western world? We think nothing really of those that go and sell themselves to get by in life, and if you think of it, exploitation of females is somewhat of an everyday occurrance. It is, perhaps, only our desire to not recognize the undesireable aspects of life in what we see everyday, that makes us so shocked at the occurrance of something like this. Which begs the question, what will become of humanity?