It is so easy to get pulled down with things that feel completely out of our control in the world isn’t it?
I have struggled with this volunteering and working in environmental protection since I was 16 years old. It has been my guiding force on my path for personal and spiritual development, as I work through the deep sadness I feel when I see the destruction humanity is impaling itself on.
Two summers ago I was in despair about our political situation and felt so powerless. A feeling I am sure that I share with many of you reading this, and I want to tell you about an experience I had which gave me hope. Hope I am seeing more and more as each day passes in this current election campaign.
The Summer of 2015
It was during the shadow of the last election two years ago and I was really low.
Our country was just embarking on the second term of a Conservative government. Everything I had once believed in politics had slowly been shattered over the previous six years.
Jason and I were on holiday camping in the Yorkshire Dales, and it was our first break away for a year. It had been a big year of change, so I was really looking forward to a rest. Then the day before we left, the government issued fracking licenses for the majority of Lancashire, including the West Pennine Moor area where we live. This is our heartland, so when I heard that fracking was coming right to my doorstep, it was as though I felt those drills go into my veins, and that toxic concoction go into my blood, and pump around my body.
As we lay up on the limestone pavements and in the wildflower meadows, my mind was swirling with what we needed to do to stop this. Woven into to my anxiety, I was also exhausted. I had just come out from a fifteen year stint in the corporations, trying to change from within, and my activist energy was dwindling. I needed a rest from the fight, to take a back seat for a while and recuperate, but it was seeming that there wasn’t going to be a chance for this. During my time on holiday I was disillusioned with pretty much everything about politics, society and the battle to protect our Earth.
I just couldn’t switch off and cheer myself up. I felt to the core of me really concerning times under a Right Wing government. Along with the aggressive pro-fracking stance, our elected leaders were also busy reversing all the work that had been done around climate change during the 2000’s, and were hell bent at implementing what they called austerity measures – basically a fancy term for continuing what they have always done, looking after the interests of the rich, and exploiting everyone else.
I was on holiday, but I most definitely was not on holiday!
Guided by a dream
Then I had a dream. It was something random like, I don’t know, bunny rabbits running around a gym, or cooking a meal using a frizby, or something like that. It wasn’t the content of the dream that was important. It was what I was shouting when I woke up, out loud.
“Gladstone, Gladstone, Gladstone”
So I looked up Gladstone straight away, and it led me to the Liberal Prime Minister of the 19th Century. William Gladstone held four terms in total, not all on succession, with his last when he was in his eighties. Nicknamed The Peoples William, he is widely regarded as the greatest Prime Minister of all time, and brought about huge reform for the people.
Reading about Gladstone restored my faith in politics. It taught me that with the right person post, things can be drastically different and for the good. It taught me that in the course history there have been good Prime Minsters in office.
Then, a week later Jeremy Corbyn was voted in as the leader of the Labour Party. I hadn’t heard of him either, but when I read about him, I put him firmly in the camp of Gladstone. For me the two men were from the same pod. Just a few centuries separated them, but they were of the same values.
I felt suddenly optimistic. For the first time in a long time. All we had to do was get through the next five years of the Conservative government, and in that time they would have made enough blunders for enough people to wake up and vote differently next time.
Needing the reassurance
So then came Piggate, then the money laundering, then the battle bus revelation, where there were no less than 20 police investigations underway into the illegal funding of local campaigns in marginal seats. The austerity measures, the government back-tracking and doing the opposite of what they said they would. The crippling of the NHS. The lies told through the referendum campaign. The publishing of the Chilcot report exposing that we went to war illegally with Iraq.
There are days when I feel dread, and days when I feel elation. Days when I find myself shouting at my facebook page after reading an article about how the government and the media are in it together. Days when tears fill my eyes when I watch Tony Benn’s speech on the eve of the Iraq war. Days when I laugh out loud like when Nigel Farage resigned, or the Theresa May ‘She’s a Liar’ pop video made it into the Top 10 charts.
Days when I feel empowered, when I joined the Labour Party, wrote to my MP to ask him to support Jeremy Corbyn, joined the Electoral Reform Society to support the reform of the political sham, and donated to the Labour campaign.
Days I am filled with fear, when I read that the North and South hemisphere thermal sheets have joined together. When I read we have reached one degree Celsius global temperature increase.
Days of sadness when I hear how my friends and family are struggling with the Euro referendum outcome, and how it might mean that they need to move home.
Gladstone and my ancestors
The Dali Lama was asked once what the most important meditation is that we can do right now in these troubled times. He said,
“Critical thinking followed by action. Discern what your world is. Know the plot, the scenario of this human drama. And then figure out where your talents might fit in to make a better world”.
A few months after researching into Gladstone, I was reading a book on the plight of the Irish immigrants in Victorian Britain during the potato famine. It was a book I had bought as through my fathers line I descend from Irish ancestry. My grandfather’s great grandfather came over escaping death by starvation and lived in the east end of London.
I found all this out by researching initially on Ancestory.com, and then following my curiosity, leading me ultimately to a series of three ancestral healing sessions with my shamanic teacher Jayne Johnson.
A few things really struck me from reading that book. The first was how similar the media was back then to now, with a headline from a newspaper in the 19th Century which read “swarms of immigrants take our jobs”. The second was a whole chapter on Galdstone. He brought about reform for the Irish in Ireland and the Irish immigrants who came to live in England. Gladstone helped my ancestors. The author of the book commented on how historians cannot fathom his motives, as he had nothing to gain from his actions.
Also, it wasn’t just the Irish he helped. Educated at Eaton and Oxford University, he started his political career as a Conservative MP, and left that party to join the Liberals, where amongst many other achievements he successfully worked to bring about the vote to an increasing number of working class men. It seems on the whole he was one of the good guys in politics.
Finding the calm
Looking at what has happened in the past so often helps me understand what is unfolding before me now.
My Gladstone dream brought about a realization for me that not all politicians are the same. That now, today, there is a good person who by a bizarre twist has been elected leader of the Labour Party.
Finally, I had a major political party I could believe in again. I was a Green Party member, and wholeheartedly support them and their policies, but they are a minority party at the moment, and I feel what we need is a real opposition to the Conservatives, and I saw it in Jeremy Corbyn.
Since then I have watched as the media work together to pull him down, and for a while it seemed to be working. But this morning I was heartened to hear that he has radically closed in on the Conservatives in the election polls.
This link in with my Gladstone dream, the knowledge of what has happened historically in politics during another period of great change during the Industrial Revolution, brings me back to my inner calmness. The calm in the centre of the storm.
I loved seeing these two pictures which were posted together on Facebook. A photo of Jeremy Corbyn on the night bus after a hard days campaigning, and a painting of Gladstone taking public transport.
Photo source: Mirror 1st August 2015
It spoke to me because the original cause of me getting disillusioned with politics was at the time of the MP expenses scandal in 2009. At this time when politicians are using our money to pay for their alcohol and second homes, horse manure, duck pond houses and private jets, Jeremy Corbyn is catching the night bus and paying for the ticket himself.
Another message for me from the Universe that all may just be well in the grand scheme of things, and all going to plan.
I am not saying I agree with everything Jeremy stands for. For example I wish that he would join forces with the other Left Wing parties and form a coalition against the Conservatives, and a new form of politics, but he has his reasons I am sure, and I trust him as a person with sound morals. Who knows what might just be around the corner for us all…
Living in the transition
What is certain is nothing is the same any more. Back in the late 1990’s the old political news I remember seemed to be Tony Blair hanging out with Oasis and getting patted on the bottom by Noel Gallagher, and the only political issue the media were really fixated with was as to where President Clinton lied abut having an affair. It seems such small fry in comparison.
Things are very different now. Things are ramping up. The crisis is happening, and we can choose how much we get caught up in the drama, and it’s very easy to get picked up in the whirlwind.
My job is to find my role in it all, stay sane and be the best I can possibly be. Oh, and have fun too. That’s really important. We mustn’t forget to have fun.
So find your own place in the story and follow your curiosities as they arise. Carry on learning how to tune into guidance outside of your conscious minds, be it through shamanic journeying, dream work, nature connection, meditation or whatever other practice works for you. Find your calm centre in the eye of the storm, as the world that we knew falls away and a new one emerges.
If you don’t have an interest in any of this, or feel that ’you don’t do politics’ then I really encourage you to reconsider. These are critical times and we are lucky enough, because of the fight in our ancestors, to live in a democracy and do have a say.
After all we are the sons and daughters of Robin Hood.
Footnote: Tactical voting
Here is a great website to inform people which party they should vote for if their objective is to get the Conservative government out. As I am sure you know, sadly it’s not always best to vote for the party whose policies you most agree with if you want an immediate change in government. Here is the link.