I am only here in this small body, with this small, helpless voice calling out.
I reach out to hold them in pain, while others seek to tear them down.
What are we doing, in the name of the law?
What is the law?
What is punishment at the highest level?
Isn’t it the feelings of heartache, guilt, shame, loss, that arise as the natural consequences of our mistakes? Do we need to drive the pain and the self-hatred into them more by casting them out and throwing away the key?
My heart breaks for those who have lost their way, who have committed an accidental crime for which they must pay a heavy price.
Why can we not hold them deeper?
Why can we not see their pain and feel it so deeply in our bones that rehabilitation is our only wish for them?
I could roar with this anger within.
It is why I wrote the post I deleted last night.
A man who’d been jailed for causing an accident that killed a child. He was a fool. He made an impulsive mistake, driven by ego.
And now the law stands, throwing stones at him until his soul is dead.
His soul is already broken beyond measure.
The child he accidentally killed was his Son.
How can they not see that this man could be their own Son?
How can they not see that we should be holding him through this tragic, tragic day?
I could say they are noisy, but they are not really noisy. They are only noisy if I think of them in relation to my world.
On their own, they are just who and what they are.
Chirping, squawking birds.
I’ve deleted another of my posts (those of you who have been around for a while will know I have done this, from time to time) because the energy of the post didn’t feel like my truth.
It felt like the underside of my world. It felt like the dark parts of me, not my sunshine.
I choose only to shine on this world, when I can help it.
In the post I deleted, I spoke of scammers and manipulation, and where I have felt victimised as a woman in the past. These pains, I know, are real, and they will live within me and walk beside me in everything I do.
But they are not who I am. And the ways I have been victimised are not the people who have hurt me, either.
I see those who have bullied me, taken advantage of me, used or abused me, but I see the pain within them more. They have been small children, hurt by something in life, desperate to cover that pain with a bandaid.
Who am I to blame them when I am the bearer of the very same wounds that scar them?
As he spun his web of gold around the evening, Sun smiled on the river children, below. Oh, how they splashed and cackled and loved!
What would Moon think of this beauty, Sun wondered, knowing how his dear and sleepy friend ached for the pain of the humans. This sight would surely glimmer her into a new and cheerful day!
But where was Moon?
Not dangling upon the cherry trees, nor casting a shimmering trail along the rivers’ edge. Tonight, Moon was tidying the evening sky, waiting for the river children to fall tired, and find their sleepy ways.
‘But Moon!’ said Sun, ‘The humans are smiling, look at them! Each of them laughing all along the shore!’
Moon put her quiet finger to her lips. Gently, without changing the calm expression on her face, she pointed to a patch of earth, darkened with gloom.
‘Oh, Moon,’ said Sun, heart broken as he spotted a small child, among the darkness, sad, cold and alone.
‘The others don’t know about him, Sun. They can only see what shines upon their day. This little boy needs me, Sun. I see him. I am ready.’
And with her words of calm and compassion, Moon spun a ball of silvery blue and cast it upon the lone boy of the earth. The boy, who had previously been lost in a puddle of tears, caught sight of Moon’s shine in the pool at his feet.
‘Look, Moon! He’s not crying anymore!’ shouted Sun, like a ball bounding along the open horizon at daybreak.
‘No, Sun. I don’t suppose he is,’ Moon smiled, wiping the last of the cobwebs off the dusty fridge of the sky.
Mistakes are our greatest gifts, and yet, we are buried in shame.
Do not make a mistake. Do not ever be bad.
We are shamed.
We are shamed.
We are human. Not one of us is perfect, not one.
I teach my children that their failures are the best things that could happen for them, their mistakes, beautiful lessons in how to do life beautifully.
Punishment breaks my heart. An eye for an eye, an ancient, barbaric way. And all of it pointless, in my eyes, because shame only drives the ‘bad’ underground, it doesn’t lovingly guide it to a better day.
Accepting our faults and carefully growing with them through life might work.
Shaming will destroy.
I choose the gentle way.
I choose self compassion, and compassion for others.
They abused their horses; yelled at them, hit them, spat daggers of anger at them, daily.
I was the thirteen year old victim of school bullying at the time, so I smiled when the abusers smiled and I laughed when they laughed (thankfully they weren’t horrible enough to laugh about the abuse.) I suppose a part of me must have thought: well, if they do this to horses, what might they do to me. I’d best tread carefully.
And so I did.
I was a mess of crumbling empathy, inside. Those poor horses. They must have been so frightened and so, so confused.
The two women, a Mother and her teenage Daughter, seemed otherwise nice. They had genuine love for their horses, I could tell by the way they spoke their names and stroked their strong, wide shoulders at the gate, as we talked.
Still. They really were rather horrible, to my thirteen year old eyes. That would never be me.
The day my horse bucked me off in the paddock was an ordinary day. Nothing unusual had happened to upset me. No dark clouds threatened to ruin the perfect sky, or my day as a little sad girl, joyously bounding around on her beautiful, crystal pony.
I was up on the horse.
And then I was down.
And my beautiful grey girl felt the wrath of a Brooke I had never ever been.
I screamed at her. I used words I didn’t even think I knew. I purposely chose sentences I had heard the ‘horrible ones’ using. And although I would never have hit her, I may as well have, because when the dust had settled…I felt such remorse. How had that venom lived inside of me? Did I really think all those horrible words about my very best friend?
I instantly hit the self preservation button, blamed the ‘horrible ones’ for making me behave in this way. Without them, I would never have done this. I was a beautiful, kind person, and wise beyond my years I had been told. Until now. Kind people absolutely never did ‘bad’ things.
But, you see, they did, apparently.
Every chemical of panic flooded my nervous system.
‘Horrible me’ had to go under the carpet and she had to stay there, never to be seen again. Only beauty lives here. Only sweet kindness and love.
Today, 26 years later, as I stood in front of the mirror, a flash of feeling came to me, a sludge of shame. And a memory. Of the little girl who had betrayed her own goodness, and tore another beautiful soul down.
Today, I saw the truth of what I had done, and I cried.
My beautiful girl. She had deserved so much more, and I had been capable of giving her everything she had deserved…until the moment I hadn’t.
That was the day I became fully human, imperfect and perfect, all at the same time. I wouldn’t understand this idea until many, many years into the future. Sometimes, I don’t understand it, now.
Self compassion is a beautiful learned skill, and my own has held me well, today. I can hold that silly little girl who really didn’t know any better and I can promise the me I am now that I will better protect my energy in the future.
Too many times I’ve allowed myself to be influenced by others in a way that has been damaging to me, and sometimes to others. I like to think my beautiful pony gave me one of the greatest lessons I’ll ever learn in life, however late I’ve learned it.
It is up to me to protect my boundaries.
It is up to me to choose love, and not the opposite.
And when I slip up and inevitably fail, it’s up to me to love myself enough to find self forgiveness.
He bought it in 1946 for six pounds, which apparently was quite the sum back in the day. He’s 92 and wonderful, my darling neighbour, Joe, I’ll call him. The gigantic relic of a dictionary was his. Now it belongs to me.
Joe and I lounged in his well kept living room and sipped champagne to celebrate my family’s one year anniversary of owning our home. He had remembered, not us. We were flawed with gratitude and awe.
As we sat, he told me stories of his life; the pains, the joys, stories of beautiful friends and loved ones here and gone. I could have sat there all afternoon. Instead I settled for an hour and a champagne, and two home-made yoyo biscuits (made by a dear friend of his, and absolutely delicious, might I add.)
The dictionary came up in conversation and I mentioned how I’d planned to buy a special one myself, some day. Brooke, the writer; of course she’d need to invest in something so truly lovely, full of all that writerly goodness. And just like that, the dictionary, the precious illustrated dictionary, had become apart of our family.
I will cherish it for as long as I live. Not because it’s the dictionary I’ve always wanted, but because it will remind me of a beautiful soul that has touched my life deeply.
As I sat with him I told him, ‘Joe. You have such a pure soul,’ and it’s true. I’ve never felt a person quite like him and I wish there were more people in the world who felt as beautiful, to me.
The purest of hearts. The ones that lift us to be our best. The ones we all hope we might be for others.
I plan to go for tea again with him soon, my darling friend, Joe.