“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai
New song ‘Listen to Women’ inspired by International women day and youth strikes, singing circles with Extinction rebellion families, Stroud Sacred music festival with relaxation recording and sharing with young Stroud artists and Caribbean singer Omer Makess. Back in London, family Sangha and upcoming evenings of songs with FOTN BBC6Music at Jackson Lane community arts centre in London and aboutabear tour coming by Grove Park our community.
Through June and July so far, I’ve had so many moving moments connected to women and young people, I felt I would theme my post; beginning with this quote from Malala; young human writes speaker who came to the attention of many for her Nobel Peace prize; Malala has promoted education for women and children in Pakistan, despite being under threat from some who disagreed with her ideas, she was shot for these beliefs and survived.
Listen to Women came to be from these ideas, that the voices of women and children I hear speak of nurture, the earth, of a shared, loving life. While I’m aware it’s broad to say, when I think of Men, I think often of business, of competition, aggression and power. Statistics show 70-80 percent of violent crimes are committed by men and the vast majority committed by women are in self defence against men – something I feel I must hold in my heart.
I grew up at the time of the Gulf War, I remember seeing news stories, numbers of deaths; I remember thinking why are all these men killing each other. My mum responded to an advert at the time to write to one of the soldiers, I remember we received these letters a few times from someone who I’m sure was younger than I am now, then it stopped. I remember he drew pictures of planes and I wonder what happened to him.
Writing not long after the First World War Emeline Pankhurst, known for suffragette work, said this
“We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half.”
I feel the spirit of Emeline would be pleased of the social movements of the last 100 years and still say we had work to do, I wonder what you think?
This is a live recording of the song- thank you to Naomi Kate for Cello and to Sarah Gosling at BBC Introducing for playing this on her show back in June
Twice since I last journaled I’ve sang for the Extinction Rebellion families group; an ever-growing gathering of families engaged with the planning and action of the campaigns. First outside the National History Museum where (inside) a dinner was taking place for fossil fuel sponsorship of the museum itself. Second at the Royal Courts of Justice where those gathered asked for Ecoside to be made law.
Motioned by Great Thunberg (thank you Sophie for the mural from Bristol that went up in June) the Friday school strikes are also still happening.
For when it comes around again next year I’d like to recommend the Stroud Sacred Music Festival for anyone interested in song, dance, community, interfaith and international arts. I had the honour of being the youth mentor this year co hosting the youth stage with the lovely Nell Kellino-Miller (pictured bottom right) and together with a with group of brave/ gently persuaded audience members and performers beginning the evening concert in front of the main stage, opening for Scripture Says Acappella, Baka Beyond, Omer Makessa Kakatsitsi, Master Drummers from Ghana Matthew Heyse-Moore, Bob Hillary and others
All events are on donation and it’s organised for the love of it by the Rev Simon Howell, Ali Shepherd of Ragababas, Katie and Kieran Harris to name the few of the volunteers that I know.
Sounds from Stroud and Relaxation
Back in London, I want to show you a film I’m in showing a project by friends of mine giving families a space once a month to explore meditation and mindfulness together. The family sangha, inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village runs once a month this film made by the lovely Conscious Film Co says it all .
Begun by BBC6 Music’s Tom Robinson, Fresh on the Net is a community page that invites artists to share music with each other and Tom and team on a weekly rotation. The atmosphere is supportive and I’ve found it inspiring, I’m touched to have been asked to this years Fresh On the Net festival at The Jackson Lane Arts Centre on Sunday 21st of July, Ill be on the acoustic stage, upstairs at the theatre about 9.30.
A week later our community, Grove Park, are hosting About a bear to keep them safe (James Mason pictured below) on his latest tour, we are planning a day of community gardening followed by the show and a fire in the evening, all are welcome, get in touch if you would like more details.
For other upcoming dates please go to the events menu above a few appearances and workshops in England and a peace, mindfulness and arts creativity retreat at the Plum Village centre in Germany that is now open for booking.
(The above link is for our Wake Up Your Artist page, our young adults (18-35ish) year olds, this next one an all ages retreat we are trying out, meditations, workshops and group work around peace, emotions, creativity and our art in the world.)
To close some flower pictures from our community – opened these last few weeks.
Slow me down universe
ease the pounding of my heart
by quieting my mind.
Give me amid the confusion of my days
the calmness of rolling hills
break the tension in my nerves
with soothing streams.
Help me know the power of sleep
Teach me the art of one minute holidays.
To look at a blooming flower
or the face of a child
or a face to face chat with a friend
Everything needs to change. And it has to start today. Greta Thunberg
Extinction Rebellion; recorded conversations from Marble Arch. Danny Nedelko (IDLES cover) on BBC6 music & Foxx Frequency May playlist and Wake Up Your Artist retreat (with relaxation recordings) and poem from our refugee ‘welcome ticket’ recipient, my friend Joseph Mpanga,
and your stories please… if you wish to share… with the UK government’s climate emergency declaration this month I decided to theme my next sharing, Trees.🌳
This month saw the occupation of 5 sites in central London by Extinction Rebellion, bringing together thousands of people to voice concerns over climate change. I arrived early on Monday morning and met with friends from a number of faith groups who together planned what was needed to hold the Marble Arch site for a lorry to come in and be disabled in the roadway to then become the stage for the weeks events. The lorry came, and while, people were locking themselves to the underside, others set up solar panels to run the sound system.
The same story was unfolding at Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square – each with a programme of open mic sessions, artists, speakers and training /information for anyone who wanted to know more (I spoke to Tash; Bassist of Brighton’s much loved feminist lesbian band Siren – who was running one (see below). Among the main messages of XR is about Citizens Assemblies, a method of gathering a diverse range of people from society and hearing opinion on social issues (thanks Naomi for explaining this also in the interview)
The atmosphere was like festival, music played, food on donation from Hari Krishna and a few other kitchens, children played, drawing in chalk on the roads in these now traffic safe spaces. Eye contact, gentle, thoughtful conversation. I heard speakers on the environment, feminist approaches to politics, poems, meditations and contemplations from faith groups.
Around the site were also stewards (thank you Rebecca -also interviewed below) and at points.
Extinction Rebellion families, thank you for the invitation to sing with you, it was lovely
A few months ago I hear this song by Bristol band IDLES, a friend sent me a link and I had tears in my eyes after 30 seconds of listening. This might surprise you because of the style of music, it’s big and loud and vocals Joe Talbot kind shouts the melody. Saying this, how about these lyrics?
My blood brother is an immigrant/ a beautiful immigrant
He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood, he’s made of flesh , he’s made of love, he’s made of you, he’s made of me, unity…
They touched me enough to want to try and work out how I might turn it into a cover.
With the help of my friend Sophie Lowendahl (pictured – violin) we did.
Thanks for Tom Robinson who played it a couple of times on 6 Music, in April, on the introducing mixtape and sitting in for Steve Lamaq with a show of bank holiday cover songs. still available for a little while.
Below the original and my version is Songs for May, a playlist by Foxx’s Frequency with the song in.
Springs’ Wake Up Your Artist retreat felt beautiful, thanks to all who came and thank you too to those who supported our refugee crowdfunder. Joseph joined us who had in previous years ‘suffered’ the UK Immigration system/detention centres (I put suffered in marks to reference Joseph’s ability to turn anything into a learning experience!) and brought us much joy for being with us. This is a poem by Joseph and below some relaxations from the week.
Lastly, I invite you to remember some trees from your life that meant something to you.
Following the UK governments climate emergency declaration, I wanted to make, in a moment of collective insecurity, a collection of comforting, supportive and restorative memories…
heres the link, please send me yours if you wish to
Alongside the recordings in my journal pages I have recently released an ep of songs ahead of an album. You can visit hereto stream and download.
Please don’t let money be a concern. Feel free to pass through the donation screen with my blessing if you would like to download any songs and have no means to donate.
Any donations will go to my recording and traveling fund – thank you.
The UK government has declared climate emergency, from this week first/second week of May. Many have named this before though now following a few weeks where climate change has become mainstream news due largely to Extinction Rebellion and the visit of the Swedish teenage environmentalist/ school strike activist Greta Thunburg. I wonder how this is […]
The UK government has declared climate emergency, from this week first/second week of May. Many have named this before though now following a few weeks where climate change has become mainstream news due largely to Extinction Rebellion , David Attenborough’s BBC Climate Change Documentary and the visit of the Swedish teenage environmentalist/ school strike activist Greta Thunburg
I wonder how this is be acted upon in the coming months/years.
Writing Oak Tree at new year brought together some threads I’d been contemplating, the relationship to those we can’t talk to (of course you can ! but in terms of a verbal exchange!) but are in relationship with and what this means for climate change. It felt important to contemplate that, the wisdom thats there, the experience, lessons possible to receive from life as it’s happening around us.
I heard once, ‘trees are the biggest living thing you can hug’ I like that -I’m a tree hugger sometimes 🙂 . Mostly though I like being beside them and head for woods if I need to clear my mind. I’ve heard it’s the oxygen that draws us there and I like the feeling of there being roots underneath me.
The CO2 – breath exchange I find a wonder – 1 tree provides that relationship for 2 humans.
One thing I do everyday for the love of trees is this …I wonder if you’ve seen Google search engine alternative Ecosia affectively everytime you search trees are planted.
So I wondered about collecting tree stories – a way of being in touch with that respect and reverence – care to send me one?
Charlotte, Vancouver, Canada
Monks ordaining Trees and Climate emergency declaration in Vancouver
My friend is driving down an old highway in Chiang Mai to Lampang there are some very loved trees there and he told me the local monks have ordained the trees as monks to prevent them being chopped down by the promoters of an extended highway ..apparently this is happening quite a bit – Deforestation is a issue for Thailand as it for many places and the move to ordain trees thus protect them is very important. The Buddist monks have been wrapping the trees in orange material to protect them from harm .Whilst it doesn’t guarantee there safety the majority in Thailand are Buddists and their trust for the monks better judgement is high .It is a unique idea originally started by the Thai Forest monks and has spread .Of course often elsewhere a colored ribbon is more harmful than good and can mean a untimely end or signify a property line – so it is a very positive move 🙂 You are very welcome to post the story . I did read that -about the UK declaring a climate emergency – kinda bittersweet isnt it ! I mean its great that they recognize the need- its very sad that there is a need . I also read that there was a protest outside of Ottawa City Hall in Canada demanding the mayor join some other municipalities in doing the same – a motion was made and I believe that they did declare it 🙂 .. Vancouver city has already declared a climate emergency which was done in January, I am on Vancouver Island ..which is an extension of .. and a ferry ride from Vancouver
An acorn growing in Cornwall from where her father passed away during the war in Germany
My Fathers name William Henry Tanner, he was in the Devon & Dorset parachute regiment 6th Airborne , he was 29 years old killed crossing the Rhine on 24th March 1945
Thank you Joe, trees have always been a great source of joy for me, alongside of rivers, growing up by the Thames. Yes you can use my picture, I’d be proud of that .
Onbeing episode with Wangari Maathai.
Wangari Matthai is a nobel peace prize winner, the first black woman actually to win it for community work around conservation- I loved listening to this woman and felt you would too the episode is called Marching with trees
love from here
Heritage tree project
https://heritagetrees.org.uk/ in case of interest a project that finished last year x
Heritage Trees ran from January 2015 – December 2018 and aimed to celebrate, record and protect our local tree heritage – the trees, woodlands, hedgerows and orchards which are part of the fabric of our towns and cities. Watch the video to find about the difference the project made.
Charlotte, Vancouver (again, thank you Charlotte)
Story of Piplantri in India
This amazing village in India plants 111 trees every time a girl is born
Tree houses and the ‘seven sloughs’ (marshes)
As a kid I had a pretty intricate and impressive treehouses. I grew up in a huge yard with a backyard slough, and my brothers and I built a suspension bridge that went over the water and into the trees in the woods across. There were a lot of sloughs wrapping through the woods until they met up with the river. We called them the seven sloughs and spent loads of time adventuring around them, and skating along them in the summer 🙂 Once on a school trip we went out and planted trees.
Grandparent and oak tree picnics
Each Summer at the start of the holidays we’d go to a park near where my grandparent lived and have a picnic there – pretty sure it was an oak tree, it looked like it had an old face, my sister, my mum and I could hold hands around it. Early tree hugging memories !!! We continues after my grandparents passed away until we moved from there.
thank you I enjoyed remembering that
Be like a tree
I was feeling down, sad and down a few years ago and a friend sent me this picture. I made a drawing of it and had it in my diary since then, there’s something about that makes you feel ok again with all that goes on sometimes inside your life and outside in politics and the landscape. I come back to it often and if I feel sad again I remember it, look at it or find a tree, or imagine a tree – I can always do this
Mary Oliver poem
(I love this poem too Paula thank you , Mary Oliver , who passed away this year pictured with her dog Percy )
My favourite poem about trees by Mary Oliver When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”
Br Dao Kein
thoughts from my friend, monastic at the Plum Village monestry in France.
people as trees
I always thought of my partner was like an Oak tree. I always felt compelled to buy her images and jewellery of The Tree of Life. I have a similar feeling and compulsion with another friend.
Also Some people have something of trees about them. Feel free to share this,