a bit of etymology

books file on shelf
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There is a start to everything,

An early shoot that pushes through the soil

And flowers ephemerally,

In the hope that it will bloom

Into something worthy of its time.

I just watched the College Scandal documentary on Netflix and if you are looking for an hour or two to lose yourself in something, this comes highly rated. In case you don’t know what it’s about, it cover the case of Rick Singer who got the kids of wealthy clients into the best colleges by making them out to be talented athletes.

Now, I found the whole thing fascinating, but there was one thing that really popped out for me and that was when they started to talk about the reasons why they wanted to get into these schools.

I guess, over here in the UK we have Oxford and Cambridge, but I get the impression that over in the US it is the prestige of these top schools that pulls people in rather than the results. And one of the people being interviewed touched on this subject, and also where the word prestige actually comes from.

I find etymology really interesting and I just thought that a word like prestige must come from a really positive source. I assumed that it must be Latin for ‘the poshest place in town’, but that’s not it at all.

It turns out that prestige comes from a Latin word, praestigium, which means illusion or delusion and was literally used to describe magicians or jugglers, back in the day. So effectively, we are all looking for prestige and really that means we are all looking to create an illusion and to trick people.

I don’t know what that says about humans but next time somebody tells me that what they are selling is prestigious, I might think twice about actually wanting it.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i want to cancel my subscription

That money trickles from my bank account,

Filters from the little pond

Into the corporate sea.

I could cancel with one click, but they know

I won’t, the count on it, that people let

That little drip from everyone

Until we’ve bled our little bodies dry.

I started writing that poem because I read a quote today that made me laugh. It went something along the lines of ‘2021, I’ve had my 7 day free trial and I don’t like what I’ve seen so I’d like to cancel my subscription.’ I think we all hoped that 2021 would be brighter but it’s actually just got a lot darker.

However, as I started writing about cancelling my subscription, my direction changed and I started thinking about how we tend to get robbed by big companies (really sorry, I genuinely didn’t mean to go there). But that is something I love about the process of crafting a poem or a story; you just never know where it’s going to end and what it’s going to look like.

I think I did get taken there because I’ve had several reminders today of how big companies make more money than they know what to do with. Elon Musk became the richest man in the world, now worth billions. And also, I got an email from Netflix to say that prices are going up.

Neither of these really bother me all that much, but it is that drip-drip of money that goes out to companies that always scares me. I’m sure everyone has joined a gym and not gone for months before cancelling. Think of all the holidays we could have gone on, and all that money has lined the pockets of really rich men (sorry, it normally is men).

So, I’ll still be watching Netflix and I won’t moan about it any more. But, it just interested me that my work took a left turn and went somewhere different. I’d even saved an image of my cat to show how tired I am of 2021 already!

Much Love

Rachel xx

surviving death

ghosts in front of a brick wall
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

They’re there, pressed against the glass,

The curtain drawn between ourselves

And the other side. We press our palms

In hope of touching those we loved,

A message or a gentle whisper in our ear.

We need that simple word to smooth

Away the thought we could have changed

The way the story came to end,

That somehow we are not to blame.

I’m watching the Netflix show, Surviving Death and I’m finding it fascinating. I think a lot of people have a fascination with death, a need to know that our loved ones who have died are OK, and that we have nothing to worry about when our time comes.

I’ve always been terrified of death and I’ve had some struggles in dealing with it. And I’ve not really lost anyone close to me so I don’t know where the worry comes from. The only thing I can think of that may have kicked it off was when I experienced a few deaths in quite violent circumstances when I was young.

When I was seven, a family friend committed suicide and I remember my mum trying to explain to me that he chose to die. It had never occurred to me that you had the power to choose and it made my blood run cold.

Not long after that a family member was murdered. He was gay and somebody who was very against the gay community followed him home from a club and stabbed him to death.

So I guess that I did learn to fear death that year. I found that life was quite fragile and could be snatched from us easily. And I guess that I worried that it was painful in these circumstances. That could be why I feel drawn to mediumship and the like. I want to know that it’s OK on the other side and that death wasn’t a painful experience. Was it quick? Was it euphoric? How aware were they of those final moments?

I’m so fascinated by it but I’ve never actually visited a medium. I do have my reservations that some of it is a scam, and that God may be angry at me for messing around with the spirit world.

There are so many questions and none of them will ever be definitively answered. But I do believe that if trying to communicate brings some comfort to people who are grieving, surely that can’t be a bad thing?

Much Love

Rachel xx

jailbirds

Stripy pajama clothes

And crocs that slap on concrete floors

As howls will echo through the walls.

The women that are left in cells

Have stories darker than our nightmares can

Ever open up a window to.

I’m totally addicted to the shows on Netflix that are centered around prison and serial killers. I find it fascinating how people can get themselves into the situations that they do and I always wonder how I would cope if I found myself there (heads up, I would last about five minutes).

I’m always most interested in the documentaries about females because it really is fascinating to hear their stories. The men are all pumped up with testosterone and find themselves in fights that get out of hand, but how do women get there.

So many of them have such sad stories and their bravado is down to having no support at home. And then there are the ones that are manipulated by a boyfriend into doing something terrible.

But the truth is that when you watch these programmes, you see that these women actually possess a huge amount of kindness. They look after one another, they seem to regret what they have done and they just generally try to make the best out of a really bad situation.

I’m not saying that what they have done is forgivable or made right because they seem nice on a TV programme, but I am saying that the stories behind their actions are eye opening. They make me question whether people are really evil, or whether everyone is born a good person and shitty circumstances make them less so.

It’s a fascinating question that I often turn over in my mind and I think it’s why I’m so addicted to these shows. So many deep questions from such a trashy show.

Much Love

Rachel xx

5 reasons that listening should be your new superpower

I’ve just started watching Wanderlust on Netflix and I’m ever so slightly in love with the main character played by Toni Collette. I couldn’t quite work out what it was but I think it’s just the way that she interacts with the people around her. And then I recognised that look she gives when somebody tries to divulge a secret that they’re too afraid to fully admit. It’s the therapist look.

It’s not such a funny thing, because she does play a couples’ therapist in the show, so one would expect her to have a ‘look’. But I see that look and I want to just open up. And the characters around her do open up. She gets to hear EVERYTHING in the lives of her friends whether she wants to or not.

Now I do think that I’m a relatively good listener but I want to try this ‘look’ out on some of my friends, just to see what reaction I’ll get. I may get a scowl or a slap in the face, but I’m going to give it a try and see if I get people to start opening up to me a little bit more.

Most people who read my blogs, I can imagine, are the introverted type who like books and poetry and good story lines that can help you to escape from the world that we live in. So with this in mind, here are five reasons why listening should be your new superpower. These can apply to extroverts too, but I feel the introvert feels more deeply (sorry):

  1. Story lines. Most of us are writers and artists and it’s hard to come up with idea after idea. Listening to a friend for half an hour can normally provide you with about five year’s worth of writing material.
  2. Deeper relationships. I’m an INFP and I’m sure that any other feeling personalities out there will get me when I say that that is pretty much all I want in life. I want to connect with people on a spiritual level even if I can’t quite articulate what that means.
  3. You’re always at the centre of everything but never the aggressor. It’s so nice for me to know why people are feeling the way that they do, but on the other hand I hate being dragged into the gossip. If people know you as the listener they will go to you for a shoulder to cry on and some advice at the very most. If you are the gossip, you still hear everything but they go to you for a bitch ‘n moan session which is incredibly draining.
  4. People actually remember you more. I sometimes worry that because I don’t shout and make a noise like some of the stronger characters in my world, that I must just fade into the background and be totally unmemorable. But being the listener is a valuable cog in the machine and people remember the one who put them first. They remember the person who didn’t ram all their troubles right back down their throats.
  5. You learn so much about life. I wish that I had spent my twenties listening more. I would be so much more wise right now. My friend is twenty three and has a masters in all things therapy so she is well versed in the values of listening. Because she has learnt all this as part of her studies she is more aware of how humans work than I am and I have about twelve years on her. Now I’m playing catch up, but then there are people in their fifties who are still mouthing off like they know everything so it could always be worse.

Just try and think of a time you needed somebody to sit and nod. They could be thinking about what they wanted for dinner but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were there and that they made all the right sounds. I’m definitely going to try this a little more and I will report back with my findings.

Much Love

Rachel xx

The Mind with Emma Stone

I wanted this to be the friendliest place on the interweb so let’s start this post by fangirling over Emma Stone. She is pretty much one of the coolest people out there and beautiful and talented. Is there anything that she cannot do? I could probably write the whole post about why I love her so much but I’m only here to talk about the new series that she narrates on Netflix called, The Mind.

The Mind is a five part series that delves into how our minds work and some of the problems that we can encounter with memory and mental illness. Now I love the sciencey stuff on brains and space because I think that they are so bloody infinite. There is no end point in what we can learn about them and I find that fascinating. So, of course, this series was a must-watch for me.

I’m a Christian girl so I believe that there is a God that has designed us and I feel like science is an exploration of what God has created so the two things actually sit together quite nicely, contrary to popular belief. He designed us to be curious so it makes sense that we should want to learn more about the way we work.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s delve into the good stuff. All five parts were bloody brilliant but the last two were the ones that really piqued my interest because they could be linked to two of the things that I like to discuss on this blog: kindness and addiction.

One of these episodes was about mindfulness and one of them was about psychedelics. The first of these focused on Buddhist training and they told the story of the fox and the tortoise. The tortoise was scared of the fox and rather than fighting him or running away from him (the natural responses that we are all very familiar with), the tortoise tucked himself away in his shell and waited until the fox got bored. It wasn’t that the tortoise was hiding from his problem, rather he was making friends with the idea of it. This was such a revelation to me because feelings have always been something to be feared and combated with either drugs or withdrawing from a situation. Actually sitting with the feeling and making peace with it is so alien to so many of us.

What struck me most was that having mastered this the Buddhists didn’t use it to forge ahead with careers that would make them money or sporting feats that would earn them fame. Instead, they focused on using it to improve relationships. Without fear or hate eating away at us we are free to love others much more freely which is such a wonderful thing. We all know that love is the key to being happy and according to the Beatles, all you need is love.

And in being a good Christian you need to try your very best to live like Christ and he displayed perfect love. Jesus never pursued a cut throat career or spilled the tea on his disciples. He didn’t show hate towards the people who were viewed as the scummiest of society. He must have had o put aside his feelings of disgust and hate so many times and in its place there was love.

I remember a song from when I was young that went something like “Love is like a magic penny. Hold it tight and you won’t get any. Lend it, spend it and you’ll get so many. They’ll all roll over the floor.” So perhaps mindfulness and meditation can free up some space on our internal hard drives so that we can lend and spend some love. It sounds pretty good to me.

The episode on psychedelics also mentioned love. It showed studies that looked at what people felt when they had a trip and nearly all of them felt like there was a breaking down of the self and an awareness of an interconnection between us all. Again, it was love that seemed to hold us all together and it was a trip that was needed for these subjects to step out of themselves and see this. I’m not suggesting that we all go out and start smoking mushrooms but it makes you think that while we carry on with our daily lives down here in the physical world, there is something much stronger than money and politics that is keeping us together and making the world grind onwards.

It would be really nice if we could all experience that love without having to take drugs but perhaps meditation is the stepping stone. Interestingly, the LSD trips helped with smoking and drinking cessation if the participant had the intention of achieving that when they went into the trip. It just goes to show what we are capable of if we can tap into that higher state of consciousness that we just can’t reach down here.

I pretty much dream of a time when we are all just connected by love and friendship. I know that it can’t really happen here because society would fall to bits but I hope that at least here I can have that friendly interaction that doesn’t seem to be available in many parts of the internet. What do you think?

Much Love

Rachel xx