My Mojo Is Back!

I am currently sat in my bed, incense lit, light streaming through the windows, and I am engulfed in a sudden state of peace and bliss. I have been ill for a few days and am awaiting the results of my COVID 19 test. Sat here, coffee in hand, reading the Quran with my cat by my side, I am awestruck by the level of gratitude that has awakened in my heart. I have come to realise that I need not fear ANYTHING because everything is up to God and happens in my life for a reason. My home, any possessions I have, and finances, are borrowed to me for this lifetime only, to fulfil my life purpose. They may come and go as I need or no longer need them. 

I have challenged myself to read the big books of all of the world religions in my lifetime. If there is one thing, I have learned during the last few years of the world landscape, it’s that ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds defensiveness’ and hate, hate breeds cruelty and violence, and that is what we have been seeing in the news for the last few years.

I feel truly blessed to have my sight and the ability to read and write. I feel truly blessed to live in a lifetime in which I have access to technology and books, and the means to communicate with millions of people at the touch of a button and to have free speech. I am blessed that I was born white in this lifetime, and I haven’t had to deal with discrimination and cruelty because of the colour of my skin, like my beloved brothers and sisters of the world have. My whiteness has given me privilege and power (unfortunately, it should never have been this way) and this has given me the responsibility to use these blessings to speak up, educate and be an ally for my black brothers and sisters in humanity. Also, to speak up and out against cruelty and the bullying of any living thing in whatever circumstance.

I had been feeling hopeless and furious for many weeks, but my sickness gave me space to reflect and to pray. My strength and courage have returned to me, although I still feel some existential dread and anxiety with the way humanity is going and with COVID 19. I feel I can’t plan too far into the future because it may be a different world by next month let alone a few years. But there is courage in the knowledge that all we have ever really had, all that was ever real, is the current moment, this second, now. Therein lies the power. 

What can I use this moment for? What thought can I switch to? Will I choose prayer or vitriol? What is one thing that I can do differently to reverse my mindset? How can I make a difference at this moment?

Who will fight with me? Who will engage and support the incredibly spiritual act of fighting and campaigning for social justice and love?

There is indeed plenty for all if we eradicate greed from the planet. If we act with love, and take only what we need, and share the surplus.

In love, strength, and power,

Lucy Loizou.

Image Credit:

Christine’s Healthy World

Let’s Learn Together. Let’s Care Together.

Well, the last two weeks have been emotional and intense for me. I was at first saddened by the brutal murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who had already been subdued, by a white police officer, while his colleagues stood by and watched. He repeated again and again that he couldn’t breathe and nobody would listen. He went limp. The people revolted. They responded with righteous anger, with protests, at first in a peaceful way, and they were ridiculed. Then they got more aggressive, and rightly so, because it was, and is, a life and death situation for black people every day, and nobody would listen. The problem isn’t just one bad policeman, the problem is systemic racism in every country, even Great Britain. Looking deeper I saw that it was just history repeating itself.

I feel saddened and heartbroken that even friends of mine deny there is a problem. All lives matter they say. Well of course they do, but how can you say all lives matter when history – ancient and modern alike, shows that black lives, and those of ethnic minorities, clearly don’t.  All lives matter they say, it’s not a problem over here they say, slavery was abolished centuries ago they say, it doesn’t affect me, I’m not racist they say, I prefer not to get involved they say, white privilege doesn’t exist anymore they say.

Well, that is wrong and incorrect. Totally. But I get it – I do. It’s hard to recognize what is so embedded in the culturescape that we can’t always see it. There is a popular meme that is doing the rounds on social media that I feel says it all with regards to the all lives matter response:

“If my wife comes to me in obvious pain and asks “do you love me?”, an answer of “I love everyone” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co – worker comes to me upset and says “My father just died,” a response of “Everybody’s parents die,” would be truthful, but hurtful and cruel in the moment. So when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says “Black Lives Matter,” a response of “All lives matter” is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.” (Doug Williford).

I didn’t understand it at first. I didn’t understand how the world is so cruel to our black and minority ethnicities.  But I love humanity, all of it, and I’ve dedicated myself to learning more, with humility. To ask my black friends what they need me to do and how to truly be an ally. I am learning to listen.

Racism, white superiority, systemic racism, and cultural bias affect all of us. We are less then human if we don’t stand up for those who are suffering because of the color of their skin.

As a spiritual person, it is not enough just to pray and meditate. Those actions are to help set ourselves up in order to get in contact with our hearts, with our intuition and Divine knowledge. We all have different abilities, skills, and roles to play. Your heart and soul will tell you how you are supposed to help. When we know what our souls have whispered to us, it is time to take action. This is all a call to action! But we should all dedicate ourselves to learning about the history and experiences of the oppressed, and actions we might unknowingly take on a daily basis that serves to keep them oppressed. Feel uncomfortable? Good – uncomfortable means we are learning and growing.

We are spirit having a human experience. We are soldiers for truth and justice. Won’t you rise up with me and fight the good fight? Let us educate. Let us support it. Let us grow.

To start with, here are some definitions, as I feel like the BLM movement has been misunderstood by some. It is not about condemning white people, it is not stating that only black lives matter. The issue runs deeper than any one of us individually. It is systemic and in future posts, I will explain how. I will share as I learn.

Ally:

“Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.

Allies commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in the oppression of those groups and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression.”

SOURCE:

  1. OpenSource Leadership Strategies, “The Dynamic System of Power, Privilege and Oppressions.”
  2. Center for Assessment and Policy Development.

Black Lives Matter:

“A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

SOURCE:

Black Lives Matter, “Herstory

Institutional Racism:

“Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.

Examples:

  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).
  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.”

SOURCE:

Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building. Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major. 2005.

Structural Racism:

“The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access and quality of care and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things. ”

SOURCE:

  1. Structural Racism for the Race and Public Policy Conference, Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center.
  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building. Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major. 2005.

White Privilege:

“Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally, white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.

Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels.

  • The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth and other outcomes, in part through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are maintained in part by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms, and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.
  • Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement.
  • Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal or appropriate that reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views.
  • Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices and behaviors of institutions — such as schools, banks, non-profits or the Supreme Court — that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white, and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices, and behaviors maintain, expand or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and/or inequitable outcomes for people of color.”

SOURCE:

  1. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women Studies. Peggy McIntosh. 1988.
  2. Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity, CAPD, MP Associates, World Trust Educational Services, 2012.

White Supremacy

“The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever-present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.”

SOURCE:

Dismantling   Racism   Works   web   workbook

I hope that starts to make things a little clearer for us all. Using the correct language can help us to discuss the issues of race and discrimination more efficiently and with love, and may help to reduce defensiveness in those we are discussing the issues. It certainly helped in my defensiveness. I’m still learning. Won’t you learn with me? Won’t you stand up with me and with all of those precious black lives?

Make yourself a cuppa, and let’s go!

Much love, and many blessings,

Lucy L XX

Photo Credit: Iamaneducator.com

Sources:

Racialequitytools.org. 2020. Glossary • Racial Equity Tools. [online] Available at: <https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary#white-supremacy&gt; [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Williford, D., 2020. M.J. Love. [online] Facebook.com. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222713907704588&set=a.2039420233395&type=3&theater&gt; [Accessed 11 June 2020].

 

Angelina’s Story

There once was a little girl,

who felt lonely and afraid.

She wanted to be strong,

She wanted to be brave.

She went for a little walk,

to see what she could see.

Looked up into the sky,

there was a figure in a tree.

Beautiful and bright,

surrounded by light;

the girl was quite surprised,

when she looked into its eyes.

A feeling of great love,

and lots of peace besides.

“Hello there, do I know you?”

The girl spoke from her heart.

“I am your guardian angel,

we have never been apart”

The girl stood rooted to the spot,

her eyes did let go little drops,

of tears so crystalline, so pure,

her heart did open like a door.

“I feel so afraid and lonely,

so different then the rest,

I try so hard to get along,

I really do my best”

“Don’t be afraid,”

The angel then replied,

“I am always with you,

right here by your side.

Remember you are not alone,

not even for a day,

God is always in your heart,

and that is where he’ll stay.”

The angel came down from the tree,

so beautiful and bright.

Huge feathery wings she had,

and dressed up all in white.

The girl just stood there, mesmerised,

as she hovered in the light.

“Whenever you feel lost or scared,

just draw yourself within.

I tell you, you will find God there,

you’ll find Him, there in”

The girl then thanked the angel,

as she was covered with its wings.

Wrapped in its embrace she was,

her soul began to sing.

As she made her way back home,

she looked down to the ground,

and saw a big white feather there,

just waiting to be found.

She picked it up and kept it,

as a gift from up above.

It was to be her reminder,

of the angel’s deep felt love.

Whenever she felt lonely,

lost scared or afraid,

she went in to her private place,

and their in deeply prayed.

She grew up strong and healthful,

a kind and gentle being.

Who shared her wondrous talents,

and helped those who had trouble seeing.

She helped them to realise,

to truly see the light,

that they had an angel,

strong and true,

watching over them,

day and night.

 

Love, peace and angel blessings,

Lucy Loizou.

Love

It’s taken me a long time to realise this, but love is not “nice”. Love is strong, dynamic, gut wrenchingly honest and fully present. Niceness doesn’t cut it anymore.

It finally hit home while I was sat watching Netflix all day. I decided to watch a Tony Robbins documentary – “I Am Not Your Guru”. I thoroughly recommend it for a form of entertainment while you learn about yourself at the same time. Anyway, he was trying to help a mother who had been letting her daughter be in control of the whole family, and she said to him that she was trying to bring peace to the family. He grabbed her on the top of the head and shouted, in true Tony Robbins style, that there is no peace in family. This, along with all the quiet reflective time I have taken of late, trying to understand my life lessons, really struck a chord with me.

Many people confuse niceness with kindness. However, if you look deep inside, niceness really implies that you want something from someone. You want to be liked – which is natural – we would all like to be liked. But doesn’t it feel incongruent? You are not being genuine when you are being nice. it is like a manipulation tactic, probably derived from child hood – if you are being “nice” you are following the rules and so your parents will love you and thus you will survive into adulthood.
It is bland. If someone tells me I am “nice” as a compliment, it doesn’t really feel like a compliment.

Kindness, on the other hand, comes from the heart. It is about easing the other persons suffering in a genuine way. This is what love is.

When you love someone, it is dynamic. You are invested in their highest good, and thus you are willing to let them feel uncomfortable for a while and hold them in that space if it means that they will come to a place of understanding and learn about themselves. If it will lead to their highest good, their living from their authentic self.

It means being blatantly honest with the people around you, and expecting them to be honest with you, because you are invested in them. It’s not about you anymore – it’s about both of you in relationship to each other.

If you are both living and loving from your authentic selves – you grow. You model healthy relationships to the world. You model genuineness, empathy, strength, unconditional positive regard. These are the core conditions for growth and healing that Carl Rogers posits – the father of person centred therapy.

To truly love someone, including yourself, you have to be strong. You have to risk not being liked for a while. You have to be honest about where you are at, what you feel about a certain situation, where your boundaries are, so the relationship – either with others or with yourself, can flourish and grow. So that you can be loved for who you genuinely are, and so that you can love the other person for who they genuinely are.

Being “nice” doesn’t even begin to cover this.

Here is to an amazing adventure through life where we all learn to love each other more and live from our authentic selves.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please do get in touch.

Wishing you all love and many blessings,

Lucy Loizou xxx