Category: Current Affairs

Symbols of Spirituality: Electricity

1 Comment

ElectricalsocketLife is like an electrical charge. Energy itself is neutral. It will work whether we plug it into a TV or a tablesaw.

We make it feel good or bad with our choices, but we can always make new choices that feel better.

It's like our thoughts, or our prayers. If we focus our energy and attention on what we don't like or want instead of what we do like and want in our lives, we are giving those things our energy.

We are the socket and we give our energy to whatever we allow to be plugged in to us. Does that make sense?

Even if we pray for something bad NOT to happen, we are investing more thought into the negative than the positive. Keep your energy and attention focused on the positive!

 

Colombo Fashion Week, Triumphant!

No Comments

After the Tamil Tigers tried to crash our party with their very rude air raid, it wasn’t just the Sri Lankans who were resilient—Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis all bonded with Sri Lankans and representatives from a variety of nations in the hope for PEACE.

Just like the irritation of an oyster becomes a pearl, the interruption of Colombo Fashion Week ’09 only made everyone feel more strongly and celebrate more emphatically.

Bibi Russell, whose show was meant to be the finale on the previous night, started the show with her collection called “Design for Life”. What a celebration!  With bright colors and dancing models all exuding life and the pure joy of being—including a few in red with hand woven red AIDS awareness ribbons. 

BibiRussellsAidsRibbons

Of course, all of her designs are handwoven and handmade, using natural materials sourced in her home country of Bangladesh, where her goal of Fashion for Development continues to inspire me, years after I learned about her while working for Young Asia Television.  P2220015And this year, I got to work closely with her and see how much she truly embodies her ideals. When she had a chance to speak after her show, she spoke only of positive concepts and working together for the good of all.

The next collection to continue the previous night’s interrupted show was “Spiritual” by Shobhaa De.  Beautiful music shifted the mood to a magically meditative one, with a voice over which I suspect was Shobhaa De herself, reading from one of her novels. Lotus flowers, candles, all complementing the simple and elegant clothing also made from natural materials. She took the stage afterwards and also spoke of resilience and strength, peace and hope.

The rest of the night continued the celebration at such a pitch, a second intermission had to be added. The music was rockin’ and kept the tempo moving, (well done Aviva Bidapa!), the designs impressed and the crowd, at full capacity from two nights worth of audiences coming together, reveled in it all.    

If terror was what the air raid was meant to evoke, they failed miserably. They seem to have ended up inspiring and bringing people together instead. Which is why Colombo Fashion Week 2009 ended TRIUMPHANTLY!

Colombo Fashion Week, Interrupted

No Comments

Feb 21st, 2009

Last night, I was the compere/announcer for Colombo Fashion Week and thankfully, my hubby, was there too. There was a blackout, so I made a mic-free announcement for everyone to stay calm and stay in their seats. I had no idea it was a response to an air raid.

As you may know, the LTTE, also known as Tamil Tigers, smuggled in pieces of small, light aircraft and then built a small air force of a handful of 2-seater planes.

The lights came back on and I continued, as directed, to get on with the show, blissfully unaware of any threat. I even kept on reading my script when I heard what sounded like people banging on the wall behind me, sticking tight to my "show must go on" sensibilities. At the sight of tracer bullets, I knew that sound was something far more serious.
 
Then the director told me to announce the show would continue tomorrow and tell everyone to calmly move away from the huge plate glass windows that formed the entire West wall of the penthouse ballroom. No one even knew where the emergency exits were, so they all rushed to the elevators, which of course weren't working.

My husband, who knew ahead of time what was happening and had been hovering nearby, very calmly told me it was time to go, and when I said "I have to get my stuff" he explained to me, still calmly, "you need to get away from the windows, because they could fire through them. Get only what you need and come this way." I did and he grabbed my hand and held it tightly as we moved through the crowd to find our friends. He never let go of me until we were safe.

I realized I had left my cell phone, so when it was quiet, we went back to the sound stage-booth-thing and he helped me gather everything else. The emergency exits were dangerously close to the plate glass windows that formed the entire South wall of the ballroom, and also overlooked the Army Base, so he wanted to wait until things quieted down before we took the stairs. We sat waiting in a secure corner.

I had brought a flashlight because they hadn't provided me with any light the night before, and it was odd to read a script by the light of the DJ's laptop. And thank God! I grabbed it and we made our way down the unlit 8 – 10 flights of stairs that may have never been swept, amidst kicked off ladies footwear, with my friend's Dad in tow. He was on his cell phone trying to get through to the rest of his family, but was only receiving calls from his driver who was on vacation in another part of the island, asking if they were all okay.

We found our friends in a covered parking area, and then we began to relax and make jokes. Once we were down among our friends, the info started coming on cell phones. I don't know if you've seen it in the news by now, but the crash I heard was a small plane crashing into our IRS building, which is next to an Air Force Base, less than half a mile away. The anti-aircraft fire was happening all around us, and it seems it actually hit the aircraft, forcing it to crash before reaching its target. You can imagine the gleeful jokes about the destroyed IRS files.

The hotel made an announcement that were given the all clear to turn on the lights and air conditioning, but that we couldn't leave the grounds yet. They played music, served food and drinks, and we all relaxed into the return to normalcy. Our international designer guests from Dubai, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were all unshaken. When they announced that it was safe to leave, a group of white boys– a sports team from England or Australia–were all packed and waiting for a taxi in the lobby. They seemed amazed that the rest of us were all back to business as usual. It's just what I heard the head of British Council saying on the phone to someone "Sri Lankans are incredibly resilient".

I was thinking about the little decisions I made when getting ready that afternoon. I was already constantly invoking Divine Order, because I was nervous, so the fact that I made these decisions shows me I was aligned well. Things like: to remember to take a flashlight, to wear a comfortable pair of shoes and pants instead of a dress or skirt, to not take my laptop, to bring a granola bar or two because the intermission snack trays never made it our way the night before.

I was very grateful for all of those things in the midst of it all. And I was so happy with my choice of hubby. He took care of me, and then helped our friend’s dad make sure his family weren't still up there before we had him come down with us. Once we were downstairs safely, he located all of our friends and kept them in sight.
 
As far as I know, only one person died in the attacks, and the 2 planes were shot down. They missed their targets and caused only a bit of ruckus. Inside the hotel, I didn't see any pushing or hysterics, and the hotel staff were on top of it. The war seems to be almost over, and this was a desperate, last ditch effort to terrorize. I don't feel particularly terrorized actually. I just remembered that while I still had the mic, and it was on, I told everyone to stay calm and hold thoughts of peace in their minds. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for that, now that I remember it!

So there you have it.
🙂

The Words of Inauguration Day – Benediction

No Comments

Dr. Joseph E Lawry’s Benediction

 

God of our weary years

God of our silent tears

God who has brought us thus far along the way

Thou who has by thy might led us into the light

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, oh God, where we met thee.

Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand.

True to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant,

Barack Obama the 44th President, of these United States, his family, and his administration.

He has come to this high office in a low moment

in the national and indeed the global fiscal climate.

But because we know you ‘got the whole world in your hands’,

We pray for not only our nation but for the community of nations.

 

Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills,

For we know that Lord you’re able, and willing

to work through faithful leadership to restore stability,

mend our brokenness, heal our wounds,

and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, (or the least of these),

And from favoritism toward the rich, (the elite of these).

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President,

to inspire our nation to believe that Yes We Can work together

to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed, (the wind of greed) and corruption,

and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption,

we seek forgiveness, and we come to spirit of unity and solidarity to commit

our support to our president

by our willingness to make sacrifices,

we respect your creation to turn to each other and not on each other.

 

And now Lord, in the complex arena of human relations,

help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate,

On the side of inclusion, not exclusion

Tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosque, wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, first lady Michele, look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

 

We go now to walk together, children,

Pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficulties ahead.

We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power, and your heart of love.

 

Help us then now Lord to work for that day

when nations shall not lift sword against nation,

When tanks get beaten into tractors,

When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree

and none shall be afraid

When justice will roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labor rest

Joy of a new beginning,

we ask you to help us work for that day when:

Black will not be asked to get back

When brown can stick around

When yellow will be mellow

When the red man can get ahead, man

And white will embrace what is right

Will all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen, say Amen, and Amen.

Economy and Environment Conspire to Change Us for the Better

No Comments

It seems to me that the environment and the economy are conspiring to force us to change…for the better.

One man from Hong Kong told me the air has been so clear lately…because so many factories have closed down in China.

An ethnography professor studying the effects of You Tube on society (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU) says that people are reaching out for connection and community, but that we’ve all become such individuals, it is increasingly difficult to find.

The environment has been encouraging us to grow our own vegetables, ride our bicycles, use solar power, and recycle. And the economy may be forcing us to do this by sharing expenses and resources by moving in with family members or friends.

Our choice of Barack Obama as our new president shows that we as a nation (and as a global village, if all the Obama parties thrown in Sri Lanka are any indication) feel the old ways no longer serve us and we’re ready to step together into a new era.

As humans, we generally resist change. We don’t love it. It scares us. We like routine…at least until it bores us. But we can learn from the popularity of “What the Bleep” and “The Secret” that we affect our reality, and the world around us, with our thoughts and our choices. So let’s not move forward with fear, but with the excitement of someone about to embark upon an exciting journey.

Let’s see the economic shift as a way to bring us together, and to be creative about finding more meaningful, connected and sustainable ways of accomplishing our goals.

Let’s see the environment as a beloved part of us that we must learn to nurture and appreciate again, like our own inner child.

Let’s make “Follow Your Bliss”– Joseph Campbell’s advice after years of studying the world’s religions and mythologies—the basis for our choices. And where our bliss truly comes from may be overlooked sources such as an abundance of time, connections with people, and a return to the earth and environment (whether that means going to the park or the beach, starting a garden, or camping in a foreign landscape).

Another thing we can do as we move into this new phase is to really consider the cliche “making the world a better place” with our every move. We can buy products that were made ethically, and environmentally, that support indigenous communities or give a portion to charity. We can take volunteer vacations that help improve others’ horizons while expanding our own.

As the New Year approaches, perhaps we can make our resolutions about taking less and giving more, appreciating all that we’ve got and all that we can share, and making conscious choices that support our ideals, thereby creating a 2009 that we can all be proud of.

May your new year be one of abundance, joy and pure bliss!

Soon Comedians will Rule the World… (if they don’t already)

No Comments

   GordonBrown-TerryJones

Already, I have trouble taking Britain's Prime Minister seriously because he looks so much like a member of Monty Python. Luckily, I'm not British, but if *I* notice it, surely they do too!

And aside from all the comedy that Sarah Palin provides on her own, she carries the last name of another fine Monty Python member, Michael Palin.  So I think we should just elect the entire cast of Monty Python to rule the world. And maybe Tina Fey can marry Michael Palin and we'd have all that Sarah brings to the table and much more! 

Michael-TIna-Sarah-Palin

  

 

 

 

Photo pseudo-credits:

Gordon Brown:  http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/06/28/gordonbrown_narrowweb__300x425,0.jpg,

Terry Jones:  http://www.cinema24.ch/images/casts/jones_terry.jpg,

Michael Palin: http://www.londontown.com/lycos/assets/Michael_Palin.jpg,

Tina Fey and Sarah Palin: http://images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/38319/thumbs/s-TINA-FEY-SARAH-PALIN-large.jpg

 

 

 

“Commander In Chief” = Prophetic TV?

1 Comment

So here I was, sitting in my living room in Sri Lanka, watching some TV when the show "Commander in Chief" comes on.CommanderinChief1  If you don't know, the premise of the show is that the president dies, leaving his female VP in the place of taking over the presidency.

Has John McCain ever seen this show?

I don't know if this has already occurred to everyone else, cuz I'm kinda removed from the American media, BUT…

If the Republican party & McCain keep harping about Obama's supposed inexperience, and then McCain decides to run with someone who has even less experience, and let's face it, he's 72… Don't you think this may be our future pictured above?

I'm all for a female president, and Geena Davis did a great job on the show, but she's not running and I'd prefer one with a bit more experience. Having said that, I chose Obama over Clinton because she seemed almost too good at the game of politics.

I'm happy that Obama has chosen to run with someone well-versed in foreign policy, because as an expat, I really see the need for America to work WITH the rest of the world, and not act like a nation above all the others.

There's my 2 rupees!