“A Ship in Harbour is Safe. But that’s not what Ship’s are for”
*Passenger Press Glasgow: artist Rhian Nicholas
When my son was just crawling he soon exhibited a drive to climb. I would watch him factor in the limits of limb and space as he would navigate the built world around him pulling self onto benches, sofas and whatever else was around. Extraordinarily (and luckily perhaps) my son from the start seemed to have an deep sense of self preservation and even when doing seemingly ‘tricky’ things he did it very mindfully. As a result I now have an eight year old who is both mindful of his physical space and an exceptional climber. Sometimes it was as if I could see the gears of his mind turning as he navigated things, assessing whether it was ‘safe’ or ‘appropriate’ for where he was at developmentally.
I suppose there are children (and adults) for whom their ‘safety’ filter is not so finely attuned. That said, *most* of us want to live and therefore do our best to navigate the world. Even for those accident prone children, most survive, albeit with a few more scrapes or bumps. Ironically I, (unlike my son) was constantly falling down stairs and off things as a child. Pictures of me from my toddler years often feature black eyes. And yet here I am.
I don’t think people forget about safety because most have the desire and will to live.
In the current climate however ‘stay SAFE’ has become spoken currency. And I hate it.
Anytime anyone says or writes it to me I cringe. Not because I am or want to be unsafe but because I feel like it’s a kind of curse upon my life. ‘The world is unsafe, batten down the hatches, don’t be stupid, you might be stupid, you probably are stupid about your life, DEATH IS COMING’.
I have (in actual fact) faced death a few times in my life. When I was twenty I had a stalker. I had to move out of my home into a safe house, I had police protection, I walked around with pepper spray in my hand at all times. I was terrified that this person was going to jump from the bushes at any time and kill me. Even now I can recall that terror. I know very viscerally what it is like to be afraid for self.
After sometime of living in that heightened fearful state, one day I woke up and it was as if the penny dropped. I realised I was not actually living anymore. This ‘state of being’ was not life. It was death in waiting. You see, death will come to us all, we (mostly) cannot determine this. But this fact should leave death as a companion, not our master. It is there to remind us of what is HERE.
In theology being able to do this is often referred to as Grace. Or dis-attachment. It does not mean the threat or darkness does not exist, but that in the midst of that we find our own breath, our life’s breath, our purpose, our joy, our peace. It is not surprise that the word spirituality comes from the Latin ‘I breathe’. And so we must.
As I always say - ‘just because I am living light does not mean I am taking things lightly’.
When my wise old Uncle Jim McCool in the final years of his life at 94 said to me ‘In hindsight don’t forget to enjoy yourself, because in hindsight you will realise you were fine, do not forget the gifts’. He knew what he was talking about.
When I was working with the NGO FunForLife in Sri Lanka during the war we would go to the orphanage and the refugee camp, and even when we heard bombs in the far distance, we danced. Always. Because we could. Because we could claim that space for ourselves. This is so VITAL to life. Do not miss on those opportunities.
I understand the struggle many face, I do, I have lived my own, I am (still) a solo Mother on a low income, my future (as always) is precarious as many. And yet it was this single Mum’s dancing Christmas tree that continues to whizz about the world creating a joyful embrace amongst people from all backgrounds, places and spaces. And so I am reminded, as I will share with you, that it is in the cracks that life flows and links and builds. Do not doubt your own power and potential.
And so I wish you Salaam, God bless, Godspeed, Have a lovely day.
With a huge amount of gratitude for those who have lifted me this year, the seen and unseen.
May you all find the dance.
Here’s to a joyous 2021, let us be gold dust for others.
Lots of love,
Kate E. xxooxxoo
Some press from my tree shenanigans:
(though was on a full clip not available for replay it seems)
STV: and another: https://news.stv.tv/west-central/mum-boogies-through-streets-dressed-as-christmas-tree-for-charity?noq
BBC Radio: https://twitter.com/bbc5live/status/1339835810540089344
Go Radio: https://twitter.com/thisisgoradio/status/1339596698591510528?s=20
Glasgow Live: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-dancing-christmas-tree-video-19478680
The Glasgow Gospel: https://fb.watch/2sAoolIj0d/
The Scottish Farmer: https://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/national-news/18954988.mother-boogies-christmas-tree-dress-dubbed-dancing-queen-sturgeon/
Herald Scotland: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18954955.glasgow-christmas-tree-dance-kate-e-deeming-raising-funds-local-schools/
Microsoft News: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/newsscotland/glasgow-mum-dressed-as-christmas-tree-dances-along-street-in-amazing-viral-clip/ar-BB1c1dZK
Scottish Sun: https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/scottish-news/6422110/scots-woman-dresses-up-christmas-tree/
In addition featured on The Today Show (USA): https://twitter.com/SunriseDances/status/1341765260563406848?s=20