I was born in Northern Ireland, part of a small and beautiful island, steeped in such ugliness and hatred. I was born during the height of what was known as "The Troubles" where man would kill man because of his religious background, because he was believed to be different, because he was perceived to be the enemy.
I was also born into a religious family, one that taught you, as the bible would state, to love thy neighbour.
And yet "loving thy neighbour" wasn't quite as straightforward as "loving thy neighbour".
It came with conditions, it came with stipulations, not all of which were verbalised.
Love thy neighbour... as long as they:
- belong to the 'right' religion
- look right,
- vote right,
- talk right,
- pray right.
So what I heard and understood from the literal translation of the phrase "Love thy neighbour" was very different to what I was witnessing, hearing and seeing practised in daily life. And it never felt right, it never rang true.
So, as a teenager, finding my own way, finding my own self, I moved away from and rejected religion as, for me, it fueled fear, it encouraged discrimination, and it was very manipulated. Quite simply, it didn't practice what it preached.
At the time I couldn't quite put my finger on why religion felt so uncomfortable for me, why it didn't fit how I looked at the world or how I wanted to live in the world. Only years later would I understand that, for me, this energy called God, that was worshipped and praised every Sunday and yet forgotten and ignored in daily life when it came to viewing people of the 'wrong' religion, wasn't the true energy of God; it was the human-manipulated version. For me, this energy called God should be about pure and unconditional love and, yet, humankind had exploited and mis-shapen it into something harsh, judgemental and discriminatory; a God that only blessed and supported one side of the story (that side being whichever religion you chose to have your faith in). For me, this didn't sit right and it certainly didn't feel right and, so, I walked away and have stayed away from religion ever since, as a result.
After many years of nudging and patience from spiritual energy all around me (of which I am, today, eternally grateful), I finally tried to open myself up to the energy that many call God, only I found I could only open myself up to the gentle, loving, protective energy I felt from the angels because I had felt no negative connotations in relation to them. To this very day, after working with the angels and having them in my life for so many years now, I still shudder with discomfort at the word "God" because it is, to this day, a word I simply can't use because of the negative connotations that were created in relation to it. For me God (or "Source"/"the Universe", as I prefer) is about unconditional love where judgment has no role to play, only pure love. For me this is spirituality, a lifestyle I chosen and have embraced, a lifestyle that I still find myself bathing in to this day.
For me, where religion has been manipulated by man to be discrimatory and cause separation and hatred, spirituality is inclusive and loving. Because the foundation of spirituality is pure love and oneness, one energy.
Love for thy neighbour... regardless of:
- their religious beliefs,
- their skin tone,
- where they live,
- the language they speak,
- how much money they earn,
- whether they're human or non-human.
Just simply "love thy neighbour".
Recently when the lovely soul that is George Floyd was killed as a direct result of his skin tone, I wasn't sure how to speak up, how to speak up without adding fuel to a growing fire of hurt, pain, retribution and retaliation. And, yet, I knew I had to. To sit quiet and not say anything in response to an act fueled by fear, fueled by ignorance, fueled by misunderstanding, fueled by hate was, I felt, quietly condoning the act as "something that just happens" in our world.
Because it didn't happen on my doorstep, doesn't mean it shouldn't impact me because, as a spiritual person, I believe we are all one energy. What we do to another, we do also to ourselves. And as all energy comes from Source, the Universe (or, if you choose, God), then what we do to another we do to Source.
So I spoke out and I talked about the importance of, not 'just', black lives matter but that all lives matter. And whilst I still stand true to what I say, I feel the need to back up a little. Because I feel the human-race, as a collective, is not ready for "all lives matter".
For me 2020 is about a series of events that are awakening humankind, that are opening our eyes so we can change to become a better and more considerate guest on this planet, better and more considerate towards those we share this planet with.
I feel the advent of the coronavirus, covid-19, was a step too far for us. I talked a lot and I wrote a lot about the coronavirus and why, I believe, it was given to us as a gift from Mother Nature and the animal kingdom, asking us to become a better species; to change our lifestyles so they are more aligned to Mother Nature (for example, reduce the pollution we're creating, to stop desecrating the earth and leeching all we want and demand from her very bowels) and more respectful to the other species we share this planet with (for example, stop animal trafficking, stop the vast killing and eating of animal meat, change the ways of the farming and agriculture industries so they show more respect to these beautiful sentient beings). Having watched the world slowly re-open over recent weeks, it's clear to me that, as generous as this gift was, Mother Nature and the animal kingom may look to have over-estimated us. I don't doubt that the message got through to many beautiful souls but not to as many souls as it needed to, to start a movement of fast and effective change.
Next, the world was faced with a replay that we have experienced far too many times; the killing of a fellow human-being because that person didn't look exactly 'right' in the eyes of the murderer. So he took that life away because, in his eyes, that life didn't matter. George Floyd's life was tossed aside as if it was a piece of cheap unwanted clothing that didn't quite fit, a gadget that was no longer fit for purpose.
As a spiritual person, all life, be it human or non-human, is sacred. And that's why my focused went beyond 'black lives matter' to 'all lives matter'. However today, as I said, I feel the need to take a step back because humans, as a whole, are not ready, not open, not awakened enough to accept the deeper concept of all lives matter.
We are still a fledgling species that has a lot to learn and, like a child, we can only learn one thing at a time. But we need to learn. We need to grow. We need to develop. A child can't stay a child forever. It's time that we started to grow up.
So, I believe, that to expect humans to grab and embrace the concept that all lives matter is like expecting a baby to leap out of the womb and jump on, and ride, a bicycle like a pro... it just ain't gonna happen, no matter how wild your imagination.
Covid-19 was a gazillion steps too far for many, not all but many. However, Mother Nature and the animal kingdom didn't make a mistake by expecting too much of the human-race and over-estimating our intelligence, they played it just right by introducing something that would shock and would touch everyone's life in some way, if even as a result of having to stay indoors for weeks on end. Covid-19 was the precursor of the next event destined to take place in the year 2020, the year of clarity and 2020-vision. We were already feeling vulnerable, we were already feeling exposed, we were already feeling unsafe and unsure thanks to Covid-19. And then George Floyd's life was sacrificed and many in the world stood, and still stand, shoulder to shoulder in protest and disbelief that something like this could happen... again.
Whilst it may not be apparent yet, lives have changed, opinions have changed, views have changed because we were hit when we were already knocked down. And that makes an impact.
For now, we're taking that first baby step in our attempt to walk forward. For now, many in the world have had their eyes opened and are now seeing and understanding that black lives matter and that, should (or, sadly, when) this happens again, it will not be brushed under the carpet because now more eyes have been opened, eyes that will not be closed.
Does it mean that as a collective we now all understand and appreciate that black lives matter? No.
Does it mean that as a collective, eventually everyone will adopt the belief that black lives matter? No.
What's important is that there's an awakening happening that will touch the hearts, eyes, minds and souls of many so they can lead the rest of the human-race forward to a better tomorrow.
And when the majority believe, in their hearts, that black lives matter and that we need to crawl forward as one energy, as one collective, as one; then we can begin to stand up and walk tentatively towards muslim lives matter, native american lives matter, aboriginal lives matter, 3rd world lives matter... non-human lives matter. Will we trip up and fall over? Of course we will, All babies do. But if we get up and keep trying, keep putting one foot in front of the other, we shall grow, we shall learn, and we shall develop into a species to be proud of, into a species that is ruled by love, not fear, hate or inequality.
But we must keep walking forward because 2020, the year of clarity, the year of 2020-vision, is not yet over, it's not done with sending us lessons to learn from. And for us to keep learning and growing, we must take on the lessons (and learn from them) as they come to us, one at a time, as individuals and as a collective. For us to grow and develop, we must change gradually and continuously, as individuals and as a collective.
2020 is a year that could go down in history as the year when the human-race began a new evolution and growth. Do you want to go down in history as someone who played their role in helping our baby species learn to walk? I certainly do.
Whilst the lessons, to date, have been tough, they've been generous in their teachings. As more lessons come our way, I invite you to look for the positives, to be the positives, to be the changemakers. If each of us doesn't change today, when the opportunity is in front of our faces, we'll struggle to play catchup with everyone else because the gap between those striving forward and those left behind will be canyon-like. Don't make life difficult for yourself. Don't get left behind. Don't wait for someone else to make the first move. Shine your light of love for others to follow.