We are Spiritual Beings Having a Human Experience

On paper, London is the greatest city in the world.

When I woke up this morning, my mind was clouded with thoughts on the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower in an area of West London, here in the UK. It has been described as a towering inferno and the loss of life is devastating. The physical injury, trauma and displacement to those who have survived the fire is awful. I have lived in London my whole life. One of the world’s busiest, cosmopolitan, historical and controversial cities. Art and culture is fantastic, there’s free access to museums, galleries, royal parks and green spaces, ancient sites and listed buildings. Attractions aplenty from Madame Tussaud’s to the London Eye and a real life royal family for whom you can line the streets and wave a miniature Union Jack on the right state occasion. We also have a welfare system, social housing and there are food banks, the latest phenomenon needed to provide help for those of us who thrive the least in our society. Nevertheless, there is access to the possibility of finding shelter and for feeding yourself in difficult financial circumstances. On paper, London is the greatest city in the world.

In the last year alone, people in the UK have shouldered the burden of two elections. First there was Brexit, currently a huge source of uncertainty and then a week ago today, the country was forced to the ballot box once again. This time the two senior political parties fought tooth and nail for our attention, because it was thought that a ‘landslide victory’ would assert proof of authority or some other insular message or sentiment of power. Little thought seems to have been given to how this minority mission might affect the majority. This is on top of an ongoing government implemented austerity plan that penalises the poorest people in our society, a social housing crisis, cuts in health that warranted television airtime for documentaries on the state of the NHS, education from primary to higher education impacted to the detriment of the learners and possible future generations. Frankly, the list goes on.

It is possible to tune out of political wrangling and avoid the rhetoric that easily mars your day. It can indeed be absolutely infuriating. However, when the news feeds are week after week filled with everyday people being mindlessly or carelessly killed and harmed it is quite impossible to ignore. We are having a tough time in the UK at the moment. The March 22nd, terror attack in Westminster, right in the vicinity of the Parliament Houses was thought, perhaps in an unconscious way to be a one off. Perhaps it was our complacence, our faith in humanity or just sheer hope, but who could have predicted that just a few weeks later a pop concert would be targeted. On May 22nd, the Manchester terror attack was particularly heinous and equally shocking because many children were there to enjoy their favourite pop idol. A time when defences are low, when socialising is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

After leaving work at offices in London Bridge earlier this week, I decided to catch my breath on the riverside before my second appointment. It was a sparkling sunny day with a spectacular view of Tower Bridge with the walkway fountains a cascading orchestra. I was surrounded by others also eating their lunch al fresco at the prime location restaurants as our touristic visitors strolled back and forth. It was beautiful, but I guess you could also say it was one of those, on paper moments. When it came time for me to get on my way I decided to walk to Moorgate. Further along the riverside, I turned out of the Hay’s Galleria and as I neared the top of Tooley Street the scent of flowers was heavy and sudden. I looked down to see the pavement carpeted with bunches and bunches of flowers, messages attached, tea light clusters that had lighted the way and the wall that holds up the Southwark Needle covered in messages of memorial and hope. Written on post-it notes the multi-coloured frieze was quite mesmerising. I was rudely awakened to the emotional out-pouring in the aftermath of the June 3rd, attack on London Bridge. It was when I arrived home later that day, that I heard the news about Grenfell Tower. This now overloads my Facebook feed as I write.

Expressing our outrage and sadness on social media has become an acceptable way to cope. These public platforms are as easily accessible from our smartphones as quickly as it is for rage to flare or sadness to take over. If only the ‘aftercare’ was met with as much enthusiasm as the delivery of the latest breaking news. The sense of control over our destiny or even more simple activities like a routine journey from A-B is diminished in a fraught environment. We may look to our guides and leaders, whether spiritual or otherwise and it is at times like this that we need to hear from them. All too often, we do not.

As a coach, a poet, a creative, a mother, a daughter, sister, a friend and someone who is, let’s say spiritually progressive I am always seeking to practise and promote excellent self-care. Hashtag, self-love is the new black. All the time, seeking to raise or expand awareness for self, for the environment and how I react and interact within it. We each and every one of us will find ways to overcome in the space of which we must find ways to thrive. Don’t ever be afraid to face yourself and how you are feeling. It’s also okay to cry. I did while I was writing this. Feel free to comment on this post in whatever way… These are my suggestions for right now:

  1. Count your blessings – practise gratitude daily by acknowledging the things we take for granted.

  2. Practise being peaceful – and remember that we never know what somebody else may be dealing with.

  3. Journal – write down your thoughts and how you feel about what you think.

  4. Meditate – When we meditate we allow space to open up within and with this, there is a flow of energy that benefits the collective.

  5. Be in nature – stop, breathe and make use of parks and green spaces.

  6. Read poetry – Rudyard Kipling’s, If and/ or Maya Angelou’s, And Still I Rise.

  7. Drop yourself out – ignore your Facebook feed for a day – come back when your resilience has replenished (or not at all).

  8. Disengage from the television and press news – replace with that story your children always ask you to read again.

  9. Take practical steps – give to a fund or charity in need, donate items or food.

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