Monthly Archives: November 2012

Him

His dark hair is tousled and unkempt.  There is no vanity is him – he has little interest in his own appearance.  It is the shining of the rising sun, the colours of the sunset, the stories etched into the faces of others – these are the sights that warrant his attention. 

His warm brown eyes induce a tenderness in me, till now unknown.  Their warmth emanates from a thousand years of wisdom.  Yet sparkle with a crackling humour that undoes me as the crinkles appear the moment he smiles. 

My feelings for this man are immense and sure.  They are of respect and admiration.  Trust and devotion.  Safety and freedom.  This is an abiding love.  My soul’s search – finally satisfied.  This is a man who needs not a single thing from me, yet willingly accepts all my heart has to offer.  Demanding no more – and never keeping score by withholding his own affections.  His voice soothes my mind, whilst his hands alternatively induce a fever, then calm a storm.  His breath is my very own life-force.  And the circle that is created when he holds out his arms – is my only home.

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Artistry

“My life is a work of art – and whilst it is only I who hold the brush, and hence, bear full responsibility for the landscape I create for myself – I give thanks to everyone who contributes so much colour to my world!”

Michele Harrod

Your Absence

To say that I miss you is akin to referring to a hurricane as a ‘slight breeze’, an earthquake ‘a mere shudder’, a tsunami ‘a bit of a splash’.

Your absence has rendered my insides hollowed out.  As though my organs have been ripped from my core by vicious hands.  My lungs are squeezed in a vice, and I can barely draw air.

How is it possible that a heart so tormented continues to beat?  That this life force persists on pounding through these crumbling veins?  There is not a cell in my body that does not scream in denial of your leaving.

I claw the air – in the vain hope of capturing your essence.  Your scent.  Your spirit.  Or ripping out the eyes of Fate.

I crave the weight of your body on mine.  Your arm across my shoulder.  Your head in my lap.  And I die, piece by tiny piece.  As the knowledge of your irreversible departure seeps into my brain.  Like acid.  Burning this unacceptable truth into a soul that has no power to extinguish the pain. 

Your absence has become this ugly monstrous thing that sits in the room with me.  Mocking me.  I begin to whisper, begging you to return.  For surely this cannot be true?  Then later, gently pleading for my own sweet demise, so that I too can be absent with you.  But the monster simply roars with thunderous laughter.

© Michele Harrod October, 2010

Science and Spirituality: Separate, or just not properly introduced?

I’ve recently been having some discussions regarding some of the ‘New Age’ spiritual speakers who are becoming popular, such as Gregg Braden, and there seems to be much debate on his credentials and credibility.  I love listening to him speak – his ideas resonate within me and stir something dormant, and I feel excited at the possibilities he and his fellow specialists paint for us.  Oh, and don’t get me wrong, there are times I totally question it all too.  It is a form of faith in itself – trusting in ‘the light’ if you will, or in our own undeniable goodness!  I loved one analogy someone spoke of when discussing religion – that rather than one be right, and all the rest be wrong – maybe they are all right, in their own way?  And when I expand this beyond ‘religion’ I can look at all the actions we humans undertake, and give them a different spin.  With no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ judgements clouding my view.  Somehow I can even accept that animal cruelty (animal welfare being my choice of work in life) plays out a karmic role of some sort.  Otherwise I’d go mad with the utter insanity/injustice of it all.

Fear is indeed a major driver of all the things that are wrong in this world.  Fear of change, fear of the next guy ‘getting our share’.  Fear of not fitting in, and fear of losing our individuality.  Wow – what a battle we go through.  What warriors we are.  And our armor is – our Ego.  I think as humans, our job is to discover it, (which we do through our childhood), develop it (which we do through our teens and early twenties/thirties) and then totally destroy it (which we do by truly seeing the other person as exactly the same as us, that Oneness).  And literally, having no Ego block our reaction to them.

Hard to do.  It’s a feisty little monkey, the Ego.  It clings to us very tightly!!!  I often do what all scientists do, and hit the research papers searching for answers.  And then I think, darn, what if it really is this totally random, nonsensical thing?  What if there is no reason at all behind anything?  But then I remember the certainty I felt when I was younger.  Before I was ‘programmed’ to mistrust my neighbours, my fellow man, the world.  And most tragically – my own instincts.

And then I see the power of positivity – or love – and what can be achieved when the Ego is simply pushed out the back door by intensely powerful energies (these things sadly only happen in short bursts and on rare occasions, or in times of strife) but when they do, wow, I see our potential and it gives me great hope and excitement.  I saw this on the streets of Christchurch, after the 2012 earthquake – I saw humanity at it’s absolute finest, reaching out to help the next person in the street – and it broke my heart a little – knowing that it took such a terrible tragedy to pull that out of us.  Surely, we have it there, and can in fact, utilise that power every single day.  Why do we forget how to do that?

So, I am very interested in some of Gregg Braden’s ideas, I’m a scientist too, but I have always felt that science falls short by completely negating everything that it can’t physically measure. I have seen and experienced some incredible things that have had no basis in science, and are simply inexplicable from a scientific perspective, so I am what one might call a scientist with a spiritual bend. I think one day, when ‘science’ can measure the many things it currently denies exist, the human potential will be fully realised, and we will use our personal energies far more effectively and proactively. Science is just the study of what makes things work around us – and I think ‘science’ as a discipline is probably at the equivalent of primary school on the scale of all the knowledge that we are yet to discover. I sometimes wonder – if we hadn’t burned so many books in history, of great writings of the early Romans etc, if we would be years ahead of where we are now? The wisdom we have lost over the centuries is mind-boggling in itself.  Let alone the wisdom we have yet to attain.

I am convinced that we under-estimate the role every single one of us plays in the energies that create the world around us. I KNOW this, inherently – I can’t explain it, nor prove my hypothesis by conducting a repeatable experiment – but I love to explore the potential and power of human desire.  Probably because I grew tired of just witnessing the destruction that comes from human despair.

I like to think I live in exciting times where science will be turned on it’s head and made to say – “well, yes, there you go, that energy field really does exist – and just LOOK what it can achieve!!!

And I believe this ‘energy’ that Science remains baffled by – is DESIRE.  Albeit desire to survive, desire to attain, desire to love, or desire to destroy.  I think, somehow, it is what drives every single atom in our Universe.  It’s a very unscientific explanation isn’t it – but I even used to sit in classes, and have this whispering in the corner of my consciousness.  It is desire that drives our DNA to evolve – science can say we are a mutation, I say we were the result of a burning desire for ‘more’.  Just what that ‘more’ we are after is, is yet to be seen.

I believe we exude energy, be it peace, love, hope, desire, rage, anger, hatred – and the world around us responds in exact accordance to it. It’s that simple.  Turn on your television, and you will see the manifestation of our stress, our frustration, our anxiety ridden Ego, screaming inside for peace, but delivering only war and anger, and fear.

And also, do you notice how animals will respond to a person, so instantly?  THAT is to the energies I think we exude – science tells me this idea is just me ‘anthropomorphising’ the animal, ‘humanising’ it – to even imply it has ‘feelings’ or ’emotions’ like my own to even recognise ours.  And that it is in fact just scent, and some primal response from the animal.  But even if it is, it is something science cannot yet define.  “Give me the formula for that scent then”, I ask them – but they cannot!!.  So what chemicals do I release when I’m sad that makes my cat come up and snuggle even harder into my lap?  What is it I release when I feel intensely desolate, that makes dogs come running away from their owners and sit with me on the beach, and not just next to me, but crawling right into my lap and leaning into me, eyeballing me (this has happened twice, much to the shock of both owners).

I try to imagine that I can see that energy coming off others, or at least, I try to ‘feel’ it.  Especially when the ‘other’ is someone I react to in a negative way, someone who perhaps behaves in ways I find sickening.  Or believes in something I find untenable.  It is incredible how much forgiveness, or empathy I can create by doing that.  By seeing this frightened soul underneath the hard exterior.  A tiny loving person with an Ego that has sabotaged their inherent goodness.  This is how I manage to ‘process’ animal cruelty.  And it is how I try to process the madness that plays out on my television screen, whenever I turn on the world news.

I would do anything to be able to crush that aspect of the human ego, that allows us to kill, hunt, torture and maim – both animals and each other – all for reasons that are no longer valid or excusable.  I get very frustrated as a scientist realising how far away I am from finding the cure to this madness.  So, feeling into the ‘souls’ in the process – that helps me stay sane – and focused.  Because I have to believe we do, collectively, have the power to create that change.

That ‘Science’ and ‘Spirituality’ will, someday soon, meet – perhaps in a crowded bar.  They’ll strike up a conversation.  And start to enjoy each others company.  The piano man will sit down to play, and our new friends will clasp hands and start a slow dance.  And show us all how to move together, in a way that will take us to a whole new level of understanding.  Of sharing, and of loving.  Whilst burning with the DESIRE for a better world.

Image

I invite you to dance with me – to the tune of change.

Michele

© Michele Harrod 19th November, 2012

Photo retrieved from : http://manvela.com/rains-terrify-me/

Animal Cruelty – how to find the balance you need when you work in an emotionally challenging industry

Baby elephant on Koh Samui, Thailand

I am in my second year of University, studying Animal Welfare.  And I am often baffled at how the word “Welfare” actually made it into the title, because some days it seems I see so little of it – I think I am perhaps studying the ABSENCE of it.  And when you are in an industry, because of a strong driving love for those you are trying to care for, their abuse and suffering can be a very heavy load to bear.  And I am no saint.  I have dark days (and sometimes even months) where I conjure up all sorts of dire acts of revenge that I would like to dish out to my fellow humans.

But then I remind myself that I didn’t get into this industry to take my love away from humans, and give it to the animals.  Surely, the well of love is big enough to find enough inside of me for both.  And I don’t want to lose the love I have for my fellow man in this process – and yet sometimes, I feel like I come very close to losing it entirely.   So I have to work very hard to maintain a balance.  And it isn’t easy.

Some fellow animal advocates were talking about how difficult it can be some days to not actually ‘hate’ other humans, and I shared these thoughts with them.  If you also work in the animal industry, and have days of darkness, I hope these words can bring you some comfort and guidance to come back to a place of light.  The animals need you.  And the animals feel your love, so don’t ever let those people on the planet who haven’t yet found enough love in their own lives, steal yours away!!   Here is what I shared with them today…..

Ah, yes, I have been in that place of dark hatred many many times – and I still go there, often.  But believe it or not, I have found a way to ‘understand’ my fellow humans.  And I work very hard on finding a place in myself where I can also forgive them.  And it is so incredibly hard, and some days I just get so damned angry that there is no forgiveness inside me.  But them I quieten back down, breathe deeply, and hit the meditation pillow again.  And rather than ask – “why do they do that” – I imagine that I am that person.   I try to find that place of ‘Oneness’, rather than ‘Separation’ (that is the core of all the world’s problems).  I try to imagine/understand their background, what has happened to them, influenced them – remembering that they may not have had my education, or been exposed to the things I have in my life.  And I try to imagine – “how could I have done that”“What messed up way of thinking did I fall victim to, to act this way”?   And as strange as it may sound, I become flooded with answers.  I feel the gaps in their lives, the sadness, the desperation.  The stories they have been told, and that they have brought into that have shaped the lives they live.

And then, I come back to the one thing I truly believe – and that is simply this – I believe that when we die, it isn’t ‘God’ in heaven who judges us – I believe it is US, who judge ourselves.  From a place of pure love, where our ego has completely disintegrated – and I imagine we must be utterly appalled with our actions at that point, if we haven’t gone through a major process in this life of changing things – if we’ve wallowed in ignorance or been too ‘lazy’ to care or make the effort to change the world around us.  If our ego has totally over-ridden our heart.

And I think we judge ourselves very, very harshly indeed.  So that gets me thinking even more – and  then I wonder if the suffering we see in the world, is in fact, the manifestation of all of that shame – that we actually ASK and WANT to come back here and suffer to pay for our past sins. (A sort of self-directed Karma if you will).

So, I could then be very cynical and say “well, let them all suffer – they are probably right, they absolutely deserve it”.  But then I remember, I too am human.  I too have made very poor choices at times.  And I am sure will in the future too, sometimes not even intentionally knowing the suffering I might cause to another.  I was born into a culture (white European) for which I feel immense shame for the many things that have been perpetrated by ‘my people’ in history.  In the name of Elitism, in the name of Eugenics.  I have born that shame very deeply at times.

And I could just say – hey, it wasn’t actually ME that did that, and anyway, I can just let it all play out, it can’t all be my responsibility – but then the cycle just goes on and on and on.

Instead, as hard as it is, I sit with the horror and disgust, and rather than push it out of my mind, or fight it – I let my soul take it on board, and I just end up feeling deep, unending sadness for every single soul involved in this circus called life.  And I wish I had the power and capacity to forgive every single one of them – because then, maybe it could stop? But, as hard as it can be at times – I really do find that forgiveness.  I found forgiveness for myself for my own bloodline, and I found it for my past eating habits.  And I find it, even in the times I truly doubt it will come, for those I perceive as the most vile and terrible people on the planet too.

And one by one, I process that, and I can only hope that that will be one soul who WON’T choose to come back and play a part in this disgusting suffering any more.  I then imagine the power that could be wrought if we could all find this forgiveness, and start spreading it outwards now.  The entire planet seems to be so desperately in need of it.

If I didn’t think these things – I’m pretty sure the hatred would have overwhelmed me by now, and all I would then succeed in doing is feeding the negativity and probably doing something insanely stupid like taking out a few misguided individuals, in my pursuit of justice.  And then losing my own life or sanity to the unconquerable despair.

And I’d be damned sure I was right in doing that too.  Until I died – and then found myself sitting there, ready to pass that judgement on my own life.  And I would see those people as the pure souls they actually are, underneath the covering of ‘personality’ they were born into.  And I would look at myself, in the space of pure and utter love.  And I know, with all the hatred gone – I wouldn’t be happy with the choice I made.

So, FORGIVENESS.

This is the only solution.  And when you get to a place where you can find it, I swear, it empowers you to create change in a way anger never can.  And when it gets really hard, and you think that forgiveness is unachievable – just go watch an abused animal reconnect with a human being – they are the EPITOME of forgiveness – and they might just be here to teach us to be the same!!!

I think it is in books, photography and music that I find the ability to reach this forgiveness plateau.  They are like lights at the end of long dark tunnels at times – and I need to revisit them often, and immerse myself in their beauty.  To keep the darkness at bay, and connect with the infinite flow of love that is buried within us all.  And I think it is important to reach out, to others who share your passion, and understand the depth of the grief that can accompany it.  Sometimes I feel very alone here, fighting the world in what sometimes seems such an un-winnable battle.  But then I meet one other person, who’s passion shines even more brightly than mine – and I am reminded – we may be spread far and wide, but we are an army, and we are strong, and we are a TEAM!!!   Together, we just may change the world.

So wherever it is you find your peace, visit it often.  I hope it can bring you comfort too, so that the darkness doesn’t overwhelm you.  Remember – the animals need you, and I am very proud to be on your team!!!

© Michele Harrod 05.11.2012