Monday, 8 October 2012

No respect, no consideration

My wife and I live in a flat in a reasonably calm part town. The street actually looks quite nice and it is close to most of the shops and public transport we need.
There is little evidence of yobbish behaviour and any problems relating to drugs and alcohol are mostly confined to the furthest end of the street.

The appearance would suggest that there aren't many problems, but once you get indoors it's a completely different story.

We live in a house that has been converted to 2 flats and as the building was probably built around the 1940's it isn't really up to modern day standards.

When our neighbours upstairs moved in they seemed nice enough, just a young couple looking for a place to raise a family. We got on with them, and everything was fine until their first child was about one and a half  years old. He had discovered how to run and it seemed that it was all he did.
At first we didn't take much notice of it thinking he would somehow grow out of it, or that the parents would keep it in check. Any responsible parent would surely do their best to teach their children from young the difference between what is acceptable and what isn't. How wrong my thoughts were. I hadn't counted on their inability to do anything about the kids' behaviour.

When attempts were made to discuss the problem with the child's mother we were promised that something would be done. I must have been very naive to believe that. Instead of jointly trying to find a solution we were given false promises time after time.

Time passed and now we find ourselves 18 months after the problem first started and in that time another baby has been born who is now learning how to run. It's almost like we're back at square one, and still no resolution. No real help from the landlord, the council, and any other organisation we have contacted. The noise isn't even the only issue, the fact that these kids will grow up believing that if you are loud enough you can get what you want regardless of the consequences to others.

I was brought up in a way that taught me the difference between right and wrong, between what is acceptable and what isn't. If I had behaved in the same way as these children do on a daily basis I would have got a clip round the ear from my dad and if I dared misbehave in front of my Portuguese grandmother she would do the same. There was no ifs and buts, whatever they said was a law written in stone. There was no telling off and 5 minutes later laughing and joking. They made you feel and realize that you had done something wrong.

I really don't understand why people think that having children means having no responsibility or that it means an easier way to getting a council house. There are families where neither of the parents have ever worked a day in their lives and they just keep producing babies to get more benefit payments and a bigger house.
I strongly believe that prospective parents should get parenting lessons which prepare them for the reality of bringing up children. There are in the UK 12 year old girls whose ambition is to have a baby as soon as possible, because babies are cute. Yes, they are cute, but they are also very hard work, bring a lot of responsibility and do cause a lot of stress. I've been there with my own daughter in the first 2 years of her life. The sleepless nights before going to work, the endless dirty nappies, and everything that comes with having a baby. Both my ex-wife and I were as prepared as we could be and even then the reality was so much harder than expected.

I know we live in a noisy world, but the one place where you should be able to escape from that is in your own home. You shouldn't have to ever feel that you are being violated by noise inside your own home and for those that cause the noise to dismiss there is a problem is really not acceptable.

As is always the case, once you put a request to your god, your spirit guides, the universe, or whatever you want to call it, it will be answered providing the intent you place in it is right. You also have to get off your ass and actually do something to set the wheels in motion. This is exactly where my wife and I are at the moment and we know that work is being done on all levels.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Open Letter to my Inner Child

To my inner child,

No matter what we've been through you are me and I am you. We are always connected and without you there would be no me.
For many years you and I played together, pretended to be pirates, cowboys, indians, dj's, and adventurers. We sailed on big oceans and crossed little streams, we rode on horses and ran with wolves. We flew across the sky and were as one with life.
I know the one person who made a massive impact in your life was our grandfather / opa Rijnders. We hung on every word he said, we listened to his stories, and read the books he gave us. We missed him so much when he passed away, but could not bring ourselves to grieve. It is still very hard for me to remember the way he was on the day before he died. That moment changed both of us and we never united in our grief and our sense of unfairness that the person we loved so much just slipped away and there was nothing we could do about it.

The innocence we had was taken away when we moved to Angola, where we were scared of every noise and every gunshot. We saw the difference between rich and poor and we felt abandoned many times. We saw the results of war, we were so scared we would be prisoners of that place forever. That fear stayed with us for a very long time and still rears its head today.

I know your pain and I know your dreams. I have the same as you, as we are one and the same. I look at your picture and remember how happy you felt, how much alive you felt, and how your imagination had no boundaries.

I still feel like I'm you, but at the same time I have grown up. It was never my intention to forget you, or to ignore you. If I had listened to you more I would have been more like you today. I lost part of me when I lost the innocence and joy you gave me. I numbed the pain with anger, drugs, alcohol, rebellion, and finally the realization that I had lost you hurt me more than anything could ever numb.

I know you are still there, and I'm here ready to explore the world again with you and with a childlike awareness only you can give me. I am still the same and you are still me. I am sorry for the distance, resentment, and anger I have caused to you and ultimately to me.

I understand your anger, and I am sorry for being to blame for it. I offer my hand not just in friendship and love but because I can't move on without you. We need each other to heal the past and to make a better future.
I have heard you, and I am listening.
Please let go of the anger, and come out so we can play like we used to, so we can become united and face the world together. Let me feel the happiness you had, and I'll help you through this world.

I love you and I have missed you


Friday, 21 September 2012

How to change the world....

This was too good not to publish....

Must have things to make me happy....

Worshipping at the church of Apple

Today sees the, apparently, highly anticipated release of the iPhone5. As usual all the tabloid media in the UK make it their top headlining story. And it proves once again how brainwashed and manipulated they are to put happiness in things as opposed to real issues like living in a war-free world.
Ok, so it's not just a phone, but can anyone in all honesty say that in 6 months time you'll still be seduced by its slimline figure, its cool to the touch feel, and its high quality graphics and processing power? I don't think so, it will just become another item that will need to be replaced once the next iPhone comes out or when the novelty wears off.

To me it looks like worshipping an item is far more important than to use the knowledge and technology we have today to improve life for everyone on the planet. There is so much hunger, war, conflict, pain, and stress in the world and we worry about getting the latest bloody phone.
I'm not religious in any way, but having been brought up in a catholic household I do know about religion. If I were a religious man I would probably say that what's happening is that people just love to worship false idols. And many fools are seduced by it. It's not a golden calf, but I think you can see the parallel with that.

It is hard not to be tempted by things when every minute of every day you're told that you must have a 62inch flat screen tv, a tablet computer, designer clothes, etc. I used to want all the latest gadgets, but you know what? I don't care about things like that any more. I may not have a lot, but I'm rich in other areas. I have a wonderful wife, a roof over my head, a good Aikido teacher, an open spiritual awareness, and I feel completely happy with all that. When we die we can't take  things with us, but we will take our spirit and all the accumulated experiences inside of us to whatever the next world is....that is far more important than a bloody phone....

Monday, 17 September 2012

Revolution in the air....

Last Saturday there were massive demonstrations in Portugal against more austerity measures to be imposed on the Portuguese by the troika in Brussels.
I have been following things from a distance, but I know how hard things are for the poorest in Portugal. Many of those that are the most vulnerable are having to make decisions about whether to  pay tax or whether to eat. Members of my own family have joined the protests and that is enough indication of how bad things are. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's bowing down to the powers from Brussels makes me even more supportive of the protesters.

A solitary demonstrator holding a Portuguese symbol of revolution...
The Carnation Revolution (Revolução dos Cravos), also referred to as the 25 de Abril (the 25 April)
Photo by Sofia Macedo 15/9/2012

Millions of people took to streets showing a unity which I was, admittedly, surprised by. Maybe that is because I am living in a country where unity amongst the population seems to be very hard to find. People complain about the government, about lack of jobs, about education, about practically everything but I can't actually see people taking to the streets here in a show of force and defiance against the government. When there are threats of strikes politicians are very quick to say that those striking are making life harder for the "honest and hard working in society", and that legislation should be drawn up to make strikes illegal. Is that really the way a so called democracy should be governed? That makes them no better than communist North Korea!!
I have a strong feeling that Portugal, the UK, and the rest of the world are tethering on the edge of a crisis of the likes the world has never seen. The great depression of the 1920's is child's play compared to what we are facing.
The inequality in the world is reached such enormous proportions that it really is the 1% that own 99% of the world. There is corruption and deceit everywhere and it always is the weakest, the poorest, the disabled, and the unemployed that end up paying for the situations they had no part in creating. The bankers get away with murder because they are up the asses of the politicians, who have been bought by the media, and can manipulate situations in such a way that they will always end up making a profit.

The sign says: The banks you rescued now want your house.
Photo by Sofia Macedo 15/9/2012


When are people really going to wake up to what is going on? When is enough enough?

Is the time for a massive change finally coming? You tell me....are you awake enough to care?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

It's all about the journey...

Today I started on a new path in my life. I don't know where this path will lead me to, but I'm looking forward to walking it.

It's quite strange how you can get locked into old patterns and behaviours. It almost becomes like second nature to believe that the way you are today is the same way you will be in a years' time.
I've been stuck in an almost forced kind of acceptance that my health problems would always prevent me from being the person I know I am capable of being. It was always so easy to say "I can't ...." instead of "I CAN!!...".

For the past 3 years or so I've been told that there are no easy ways to deal with the problems I had. I've been suffering with chronic backpain, mild arthritis in my lower back and hips, chronic fatigue syndrome/ fibomyalgia, and depression. I've been prescribed painkillers, sleeping tablets, more painkillers, pills for nerve pain, pills for....well, you get the picture. I've been sent from pain management clinic to physio, and back to pain management to the point that I was getting dizzy from all the U-turns the British health service was putting me through.
About 6 weeks ago I started to get the words "Wake Up" being repeated in my mind. I wasn't sure what it meant, but I started to get a feeling after 2 weeks that I was given an opportunity to change my behaviour, my feeling sorry for myself, and ultimately my life.
I decided that the priority for me was to get a bit fitter than I was. Out came the dusty bicycle, and the first time I rode it I felt like I was a kid again pretending to be the winner of the Tour de France.

I started to loose weight, and I felt I was ready for an even bigger challenge. To confront my fear of confrontation. I opted for Aikido, a martial art which doesn't rely on strength, and where age isn't the most relevant. I felt that it would not only help me to get fitter, but it would also give me the tools I needed to stop being afraid of confronting difficult situations.

And that is where this journey really starts...