This Is the Problem

Posted on 24 September 2020 | No responses

This video introduces people to social problem fiction. This is a genre used to reflect upon the issues people have to face today. It is an important way to hold a mirror up to the realities many people are living.

Look Out to Your Neighbour, Look Up to Something Better

Posted on 31 August 2020 | 1 response

A friend made a comment this morning that resonated with me. “How is it that people’s minds are so fragile right now?”

How is it that people we have known to be friendly and kind have slipped into hatred?

How is it that people who were once willing to reach out a hand to those in need are now withholding help, and telling those who are suffering that they deserve it.

How is it that after being mistreated for being who they are, people turn around and mistreat others for who they are? “My pain, but not your pain”. The arrow of empathy is expected to go one direction.

How is it that so many people of such great diversity are all yearning to be like the awful selfish people on the top.

We are all scared and we are all being fed toxic stories and images through our media. We need to start looking out and looking up.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Stories Make the Future

Posted on 20 August 2020 | Comments Off on Stories Make the Future

I have started a video series about how to write the sort of stories that capture people’s imaginations and help to create a better world. I talk about how storytelling can also be part of the social or environmental activist’s strategy. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Tips for Change

Posted on 18 July 2020 | Comments Off on Tips for Change

Helping.
CC BYSA 4.0 Intl Mr.rwaghmare

Stand up to those who are behaving in harmful manners.

Refrain from hating them…stay focused on the behaviour.

Support and applaud those doing life-affirming actions.

Do what you can to amplify the example of life-affirming action, so that it is seen more as the norm and thereby becomes more of the norm.

Don’t worry so much about converting the obstinate. Just be kind and protect the vulnerable.

Be prepared to hold out a hand when someone is ready to change their minds for the better.

You cannot change a person by telling them they are a bad person. You can change them by example, and by pointing out certain actions and words are harmful. Example is best.

Create a world whereby it is easy to do the right thing.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

The Nannies Are Okay

Posted on 12 July 2020 | Comments Off on The Nannies Are Okay

I object to “nanny state” on the same grounds as I object to “throws like a girl” or “screams like a girl”. The formula is: “this is bad, therefore it is like a female because females are laughably low status.”

However, as a metaphor “nanny state” is revealing.

Traditionally, nannies have been servants in wealthy households. They were live-in workers, sometimes even slaves, who made it possible for the woman of the house to participate in an upper-class social life.

For someone to create and use such an analogy they would probably have experienced being raised by a nanny. They may well be someone who resented a lower-class woman telling them, as rich children, what to do. In their estimation they may believe that they should have the right to tell the nanny what to do, and a nanny should have no power at all, even if it is in their best interest.

So what exactly are we saying with the phrase “nanny state”? No one for any reason should have a right to tell a rich person, regardless of age, what to do? The poor should never have power over the rich? Women should never have power over men? That caring for the populace: ensuring they have all they need and don’t hurt themselves, is a bad thing?

I am much more concerned by a surveillance state or a police state, than a nanny state. Perhaps when someone uses “nanny state” take a hard look at who they are and what their agenda is. Certain leaders right now come off as spoiled brat three year-olds yelling, “You can’t tell me what to do, I’m telling my daddy on you.”

I would love to see Mary Poppins become a positive protest symbol! I would much prefer to see her in power than many others.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

Stop Damaging Ourselves

Posted on 3 May 2020 | Comments Off on Stop Damaging Ourselves

2019 CC BY SA 4.0 Intl Michal Klajban

So many of us were raised by people who were damaged and who controlled, judged, and manipulated us through physical and/or emotional violence. So many of us are damaged and relate to the world through that damage.

To survive others of our kind we resort to the strategies used to protect ourselves from predators: fight, flight, fawn, or freeze. We all use a mix of these in different ways at different times.

Fawn

We try to please our parents, please our teachers, please the people in power. As children these are the people who are critical to our survival and we have no choice but to rely upon them. We expect their love.

As adults we may learn to flatter people in order to get what we want and need, but there may be little truth in the flattery. It is an appeal to fragile egos that are easily manipulated. We end up living in a world of glamours where we see nothing but complimentary images of ourselves.

The dark side of this is knowing that we do not match our images and become terrified of being found out. We become manipulable to those who recognise our secret and offer supposed solutions to our inconsistencies, while keeping us locked within them. We also live in terror of others finding out that we are not sincere, making our flattery ineffective and worthless.

Freeze

Just nod and agree with everything. Don’t rock the boat. When we see someone being brutalised by another, just stand back and become invisible. Maybe the bully won’t see us.

We may pat ourselves on the back saying that we are the peaceful ones. We are the moderate ones. We are the good people. In reality we are the cowards who are empowering oppressors.

Bullies only need to harm a few people to terrify everyone else into fearful compliance. We could stand together to stop them, but most of us do not. Instead we turn our backs on the victims, saying that they somehow deserved this mistreatment–because that excuses us for remaining uninvolved.

Flight

A number of us stay as far as we can from other people. We go to work, keep our heads down, go home, sit in front of the tv or play computer games until bed time, then after sleep go through this same cycle again. If we get lonely, we may become involved in social media, chatting with people we will never meet in person. If someone suggests we meet, we run away, terrified that we will be controlled, judged, and manipulated.

We may become especially sensitive to differences. That person is dangerous because they are a different gender, their skin is different, their culture is different, they are in a different field of work, they have more or less money, they look weird, they are in need, they are too good for us…etc. Honestly, bigotry is only the most obvious beginning to this sensitisation that results in isolation, dehumanisation, and ostracisation of ourselves and others.

Fight

We live in a culture that idolises violence. We spend a significant portion of our lives absorbing stories about people in violent contact. We normalise violence in order to keep that tool handy to protect ourselves. People who win live to fight another day…as if we should want to fight other days. We even romanticise those people who turn violence against themselves in order to escape the suffering.

When we are damaged by our families we may choose to harm them by being the opposite of all they are. We may do the same thing to our culture. However, then we are a simple mirror image. Everything we do requires keeping our eyes on what the enemy is doing. True freedom would be to simply walk away and be our most authentic selves, even if parts will be like our family or our culture…but it will be a matter of careful choice.

We may choose to “kiss up and kick down”. We treat those of higher status with deference, then transfer all our fear and frustration to those who are vulnerable and can’t fight back. Sometimes people kick up. But that doesn’t mean they are kinder to those of lower status. Many will bond more closely with those like themselves and form a gang. People can fight for noble things like universal health care for all, then define “all” as those who are part of their gang…all others are interlopers. And some will manipulate the most vulnerable into a combined force in order to give themselves power, without caring about the damage they are doing to these people nor ever intending to make their lives better.

Stop

I have lived long enough to see my cultures ride a roller-coaster from mean to less mean to mean again. Many people either do not have the will or the time to reflect upon the core reasons for their unhappiness. Many are terrified that if they let go of the script they are using to get by, then they will lose everything. Some are terrified of losing even a smidgen of their privileges.

No one is wholly good. Only a number are wholly bad and are probably in need of medical attention. We have to be conscious enough to start giving one another the things we need to be kinder more peaceful people. The children of abusers tend to become abusers themselves, but the cycle can be broken. Aren’t we all tired of living insecure lives? Security will only come when we are big-hearted enough to leave no one behind. Anything less becomes a cancer that eats us alive.

Things can be better. Open your mind. Open your heart.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Be Prepared

Posted on 6 April 2020 | Comments Off on Be Prepared

The Flag of Democracy

We need to think about many things for when our pandemic quarantine is over. Here are two I would like to mention.

Many small businesses have or will go under, leaving us more fully in the hands of the mega-businesses who are non-democratic and tend to be answerable to no one.

We have been granting our governments special powers in order to protect ourselves during these extraordinary times. In many cases we will have to claw those powers back.

In both cases we are losing rights, freedoms, and our democracy is being eroded.

We need to reacquaint ourselves with why these things are important to our collective and individual well-being, then be prepared to push hard to claim what is justly ours. Don’t let anyone fool you. We are the power. We must use our power wisely to create a world of peace, compassion, and sustainability.

In peace and kindness,
Katherine

How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Posted on 23 March 2020 | Comments Off on How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Get up and go to bed at regular hours
These don’t have to be the same hours as previously, just regular.

Clean yourself and get out of your pajamas.
You don’t have to dress up formally, just wear day clothes.

Give yourself a schedule.
For example: wash clothes on Saturday, play an online game on Sunday, Monday to Friday have a project your are working on. Whatever works for you.

Have a meaningful project you can work on.
Some hobbies can fit this gap, but really what you want is something that has a sense of significance like writing letters for Amnesty International or sprouting trees to be planted in a park.

Have special events you can look forward to from week to week.
This can be as simple as a favourite TV show on a particular night, or a day and time when you regularly call a friend or family member for a chat.

Make sure to find ways to exercise everyday.
You can follow a YouTube exercise tutorial, walk the dog, or just turn on some music and dance like a maniac for thirty minutes a day. Extra points for doing a little bit outside regularly.

Eat healthy.
Poor health can lead to poor mental health.

Find ways to socialise.
The more of a person you can connect with, without being physically present, the better. Writing on social media is fine. Hearing people on Zoom is better. Seeing and hearing people on Skype or Google Hangouts is even better.

Find a private space where you can cry, laugh, scream, whatever you need. Then be resolved to take one day at a time, noting what good moments you can.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

An Ordinary Rainbow

Posted on 19 March 2020 | Comments Off on An Ordinary Rainbow

Kindness 2020

Posted on 16 March 2020 | Comments Off on Kindness 2020

COVID-19, like Mad Cow Disease and a number of other pathogens, came into being because of our mistreatment of the animals we rely upon for food. These pathogens are spreading effectively because of our mistreatment of one another: not providing healthcare for all, not providing safety nets for all, creating an everyone for themselves culture.

We are all scared.

Kindness will save the day.

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