Equip yourself for life…

Sepia-toned photo on beige background of Sir John Monash in WWI Australian Imperial Forces full army uniform. Has stripes and peaked hat of a General. Over Monash are words in white: Peace A Cantata for John Monash. Behind him is an indistinct motif of the Shrine of Remembrance and a steamer ship.

Front cover of concert program

The title is taken from a quote by Sir John Monash: “Adopt as your creed that you will equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community.” 

On Saturday evening, after months of hard work (including many rehearsals in the final few weeks), the John Monash concert was held. 

It was an amazing experience. There were 29 songs. 13 of them were massed choir pieces, along with pieces for the children’s choir and soloists, all accompanied by a talented orchestra and conducted magnificently by Dr David Kram. David was also the composer, while lyrics were written by poet Kevin O’Flaherty or taken from speeches or letters from Sir John Monash himself. The soloists were Lisa Ann Robinson (Soprano), Michel LaLoum (Baritone), Kristen Leich (Mezzo Soprano), Eddie Muliaumaseali’l (Bass). The orchestra was a hand-picked selection of Melbourne’s finest. 

The concert celebrated the life and values of Sir John Monash. He was an Australian army general in WWI, whose ingenuity enabled a decisive victory in Amiens, France which hastened the Allies victory. But he was so much more than a general. He was a peace-maker, born of migrant parents, Jewish, educated and intelligent, a firm believer in democracy. He was a keen advocate for those under his command, an engineer, lover of music and languages; a family man. 

The Cantata demonstrated this through song – if only all history was explained this way! 😉 It also had some great songs about the peacemakers and the folly of war – the experiences of nurses, Indigenous men, family waiting back home for news, Turkish and Australian soldiers at Gallipoli, and the children of France. 

It was a wonderful experience to take part in. On one level, I sang with friends and my boyfriend, so had the shared connection of that. But more than that there was the music itself. The songs involved a few tricky-to-master parts like fugues and synchopated timings, as well as some entries on high notes. And the songs are memorable – the way lyrics and music worked together evoked images of the song’s message. Everything from the dread and anguish of a pink telegram (MIA soldier now confirmed dead), violins and the timpani sounding like planes strafing and machine-guns) to the importance of peace. It was beautiful. 

I do mean beautiful. It was a evocative Australian story, told through song. At the end of the Cantata, as we sat down after our final bows, I felt incredibly moved. A sense of awe swept through me. I wanted to sit with the feeling for a few moments, it was that strong. 

I cannot thank More Than Opera, the Melbourne company who supported the concert, enough for the chance to be a part of it. I’ve had concert songs float through my head every day since and they still bring a smile to my face. 

Let there be peace! 

John Monash Concert Update

Well, look at that – the concert is two weeks away! O.O

Where did the time go?

LaTUCS have been rehearsing consistently for the past six weeks on our own (led wonderfully by our new conductor). This week we began the compulsory combined rehearsals – rehearsing with other community choir singers. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be at rehearsals for at least two nights a week. The final week (first week of September) gets a little frantic as we’ll have a Saturday rehearsal, three weeknight rehearsals then a final full day of rehearsals (one morning, one afternoon) before the actual concert. Whew! So if I seem a little busy, here’s why. 😉 After all, as of last Wednesday, I’m choir president now.

There are going to be many different community choirs – adult and children – participating in this. If you’re in Melbourne on the evening of Saturday, September 9th, why not come along to Hamer Hall? Tickets are on-sale now: https://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/2017/classical-music/john-monash-peace-concert

If not but you’re in the city this weekend, there will be a gold-coin-entry performance of some of the concert works tomorrow afternoon from 16-17:00 at All Saints East St Kilda, by a small contingent of the concert choir.

Maybe I’ll see you there?

 

John Monash Peace Cantata Performance Announcement

If I’d remembered, I’d have put this up at the start of the day! As is, however, it’s here. LaTUCS (my choir) is going to be singing in a concert in early September as part of a massed choir. It’s going to be amazing!

It’s a performance celebrating the life of General Sir John Monash, the unusual general. Below is some context. 🙂 If you’re interested, the concert is on September 9th in the evening at Hamer Hall, Melbourne. It’s going to tour to other Australian cities for other community choirs afterwards! If you’re in Melbourne and surrounds, come along down to see us – tickets are selling fast so book now!

It’s shaping up well if I do say so myself. And we’re (re)learning a bit of history along the way too… The project is run by More Than Opera and will be conducted by David Kram. We’ll have soloists and an orchestra with us, the massed choir (adults and children). Be there!

*Hums Let There Be Peace under my breath*….hm, now I’m going to have the Cantata songs in my head all night. 🙂

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A world premiere event honouring Australia’s greatest son, John Monash.
Don’t miss out on being a part of this unique event!

A new documentary video for Peace – A Cantata for John Monash!
Who is Sir John Monash and why we set his life to music

0808 – Anniversary of the Battle of Amiens

On this day 99 years ago, Gen. John Monash led the Australian forces in the Battle of Amiens in France. The victory was a turning point in WWI which halted the German advance, and for which Monash was honoured with a Knighthood on the battlefield by the King himself. Monash used his incredible intellect and broad knowledge to utilise all available technologies in a concerted attack which resulted in the war ending sooner, and countless lives to be saved.

MTO honours this largely unsung hero with a grand concert worthy of the immense impact Monash had on Australia, and the world. This promises to be a memorable concert for everyone to know and understand the impact John Monash has had on this city.

6 pm, Saturday, 9th September 2017
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Composed and conducted by Dr David Kram
Soprano: Lisa-Anne Robinson
Mezzo-Soprano: Kristen Leich
Baritone: Michel Laloum
Bass: Eddie Muliaumaseali’i
Massed adult and children’s choirs
Symphony Orchestra

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to be a part of this world premiere event!

THE MAN, THE MUSIC, THE MOMENT

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

On Monday night I watched a brilliant, heart-squeezing documentary on Four Corners. It was one reporter, Liz Jackson, turning the camera on herself and her life, focusing on her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. It was amazing to watch and brought up lots of feelings to the surface.

One major theme the documentary explored, as part of the journey of living through the disease, was fear – or so it seemed to me. Fear of losing control; of being unloved/ unlovable; and of losing the self: the mental and physical capacities. The title of the report was called, “Sense of Self” even. It’s a vulnerable position.

It resonated. Like Liz, I’ve prided myself on my intelligence, both emotional and cognitive. I hate the idea of losing that…even though (barring some catastrophic event) the possibility is a long way off. Years down the track, if it were to happen. As I said to someone the other night, it’s the great trade-off…long life sounds nice (in theory) but is there much point to it if you don’t know you’re that old? (For example.) I know it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it still lingers. We humans often spend a lot of time ignoring our own mortality and debilitation – to have the courage to face it, as Liz Jackson has done through this documentary, is admirable.

The show really shows how harsh a diagnosis – and the aftermath – can be. Parkinson’s disease is incurable. It comes with a range of symptoms, not just the stereotypical tremors, which can range in severity. The impressions I got from the show were that such a diagnosis is bloody challenging, especially when it involves severe unusual symptoms (as is the case with Liz). Also that there’s a lot of trust needed between people in this situation, but to trust someone with your own life can be difficult, even when you’ve known and loved them for years.

The show reminded me of a quote I read recently: “where there is love there is life” ~ Mahatma Gandhi. I agree wholeheartedly.

One journalist in the Guardian wrote his own reflection on the show – it’s a good one.

Thank you Liz and husband Martin, not to mention the rest of your family, for your bravery and your candour in creating this piece.

 

 

REBLOG: Non-Violent Resistance

A good read. This is what we as a community should be doing, instead of hating and fighting. It’s also a useful list (in my opinion) for matching up government promises about community safety/ security to, for comparison. I.e. will this policy build allies? Will it reduce cultural marginalisation?

8 WAYS TO DEFEND AGAINST TERROR NONVIOLENTLY – Think the conversation of re-active violence dominates politics and media? You’d better read this

Posted: 23 Jan 2016 05:02 PM PST

This blog post came from the Uniting Church of Australia blog, morepraxis.org.au
It is a must read.  It is not unusual for people to rail against war, the United States proxy wars in which Australia is a strong supporter and so on.  But what do people actually do, in a sustained manner, to fight for peace, to change the conversation and actions that support war and provoke violence? Quakers have been working for peace for almost 400 years — so there is a lot of experience from which the rest of us can learn.
8 Ways to Defend Against Terror Nonviolently

Some good thoughts & tools from George Lakey a Quaker activist and expert in nonviolent activism.

8 Ways to Defend Against Terror Nonviolently
One of my most popular courses at Swarthmore College focused on the challenge of how to defend against terrorism, nonviolently. Events now unfolding in France make our course more relevant than ever. (The syllabus was published in “Peace, Justice, and Security Studies: A Curriculum Guide” in 2009.) In fact, the international post-9/11 “war against terror” has been accompanied by increased actual threats of terror almost everywhere.
In the first place, who knew that non-military techniques have, in actual historical cases, reduced the threat of terror?
I gathered for the students eight non-military techniques that have worked for some country or other. The eight comprised the “toolbox” that the students had to work with. We didn’t spend time criticizing military counter-terrorism because we were more interested in alternatives.
Each student chose a country somewhere in the world that is presently threatened by terrorism and, taking the role of a consultant to that country, devised from our nonviolent toolbox a strategy for defines….
What are the eight techniques?
1. Ally-building and the infrastructure of economic development
Poverty and terrorism are indirectly linked. Economic development can reduce recruits and gain allies, especially if development is done in a democratic way. The terrorism by Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army, for example, was strongly reduced by grassroots, job-creating, economic development.
2. Reducing cultural marginalization
As France, Britain and other countries have learned, marginalizing a group within your population is not safe or sensible; terrorists grow under those conditions. This is also true on a global level. Much marginalizing is unintentional, but it can be reduced. “Freedom of the press,” for example, transforms into “provocation” when it further marginalizes a population that is already one-down, as are Muslims in France. When Anglophone Canada reduced its marginalization, it reduced the threat of terrorism from Quebec.
3. Nonviolent protest/campaigns among the defenders, plus unarmed civilian peacekeeping
Terrorism happens in a larger context and is therefore influenced by that context. Some terror campaigns have lapsed because they lost popular support. That’s because terror’s strategic use is often to gain attention, provoke a violent response and win more support in the broader population.
The rise and fall of support for terrorism is in turn influenced by social movements using people power, or nonviolent struggle. The U.S. civil rights movement brilliantly handled the Ku Klux Klan’s threat to activists, most dangerous when there was no effective law enforcement to help. The nonviolent tactics reduced the KKK’s appeal among white segregationists. Since the 1980s, pacifists and others have established an additional, promising tool: intentional and planned unarmed civilian peacekeeping. (Check out Peace Brigades International, for one example.)
4. Pro-conflict education and training
Ironically, terror often happens when a population tries to suppress conflicts instead of supporting their expression. A technique for reducing terror, therefore, is to spread a pro-conflict attitude and the nonviolent skills that support people waging conflict to give full voice to their grievances.
5. Post-terror recovery programs
Not all terror can be prevented, any more than all crime can be prevented. Keep in mind that terrorists often have the goal of increasing polarization. Recovery programs can help prevent that polarization, the cycle of hawks on one side “arming” the hawks on the other side. One place we’ve seen this cycle of violence is in the Palestine/Israel struggle.
Recovery programs build resilience, so people don’t go rigid with fear and create self-fulfilling prophecies. The leap forward in trauma counseling is relevant for this technique along with innovative rituals such as those the Norwegians used after the 2011 terrorist massacre there.
6. Police as peace officers: the infrastructure of norms and laws
Police work can become far more effective through more community policing and reduction of the social distance between police and the neighborhoods they serve. In some countries this requires re-conceptualization of the police from defenders of the property of the dominant group to genuine peace officers; witness the unarmed Icelandic police. Countries like the United States need to join the growing global infrastructure of human rights law reflected in the Land Mines Treaty and International Criminal Court, and accept accountability for their own officials who are probable war criminals.
7. Policy changes and the concept of reckless behavior
Governments sometimes make choices that invite — almost beg for — a terrorist response. Political scientist and sometime U.S. Air Force consultant Robert A. Pape showed in 2005 that the United States has repeatedly done this, often by putting troops on someone else’s land. In his recent book “Cutting the Fuse,” he and James K. Feldman give concrete examples of governments reducing the terror threat by ending such reckless behavior. To protect themselves from terror, citizens in all countries need to gain control of their own governments and force them to behave.
8. Negotiation
Governments often say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” but when they say that they are often lying. Governments have often reduced or eliminated terrorism through negotiation, and negotiation skills continue to grow in sophistication.
Realistic application of non-military defense against terror
At the request of a group of U.S. experts on counter-terrorism, I described our Swarthmore work and especially the eight techniques. The experts recognized that each of these tools have indeed been used in real-life situations in one place or another, with some degree of success. They also saw no problem, in principle, in devising a comprehensive strategy that would create synergies among the tools.
The problem they saw was persuading a government to take such a bold, innovative leap.

REBLOG: Forgiving Those Who’ve Wronged Us

Kristi, from the blog finding ninee, talks about forgiveness.

We Have To Forgive Those Who Wrong Us

UGH, right? Here’s the deal, friends. Forgiving people who’ve betrayed us is hard. Like, really really really hard. The mere thought of forgiving somebody who has wronged me – especially when it feels as if they’ve done so on purpose, brings out the bear. The bitch.

When the bear feels too wounded and bumbling to know what to do, I become an older, taller, more wrinkled version of myself at the age of two. I become the I ain’t havin’ none of it, no matter what, arms crossed, feet stompin’ “I know best and you wronged me” toddler.

I’m not talking about giving the kind of forgiveness that happens when a spouse comes home too late from work to ensure that dinner, bath and bedtime are ideal. Of course, you want to throw a sponge at his head, but that type of forgiveness is understandable, and easy, after the moment.

I’m talking about giving the kind of forgiveness that we have to breathe deeply to give. I’m talking about the forgiving of people who were mean, thoughtless, and deeply hurt us.

The kind of forgiveness that brings out our toddler.

I know.

I know.

I KNOW, it sucks. It totally suckity sucksuck SUCKS because why should we?

But guys, we need to. We do, and I know it sucks.

We Have To Forgive Those Who Wrong Us

We Have To Forgive Those Who Wrong Us

Why should we forgive the guy who laughed at us when we fell? Why should we forgive the stupid single beotch with a full cart in line at the “12 or Under” checkout when we stand there, with a I-NEED-TO-NURSE-NOW-BABY and we’re in the store for tampons (and wine)?

Here’s why.

Forgiveness is about ourselves, and making room for light. It’s about not carrying around darkness.

And while I grumble and cry and stomp my toddler feet, I am writing this:

To those who have hurt me: Fuck you. Stupid Dicks.

Wait, sorry. Start over.

To those who have hurt me, I’m choosing light. Here are a few of the moments I want to release and the ones I choose to forgive.

Read the rest here.

REBLOGGED: In the Case of Optimism

I’m an optimistic realist. That is, I prefer to view the world through an optimistic, trusting lens; but I do know that solutions to problems are often complex. I’m a dreamer, who hopes for a better world – and will do what I can to bring that world about.

A week to go until Christmas, everyone. 🙂
I love this time of year, even though it’s hot in Australia now. No white Christmases here!

In The Case of Optimism

by writeforthemasses

It seems like the best way to tell if someone is an optimist, is to observe how much they value the idea of optimism. The phrase is popular “I’m not being a pessimist, I’m being a realist.” As if the two are closer together that optimism is. This could reflect the pessimistic attitudes of the culture, or it could just be a sign of one’s age.

Optimism is a curious thing. First of all I’d like to define optimism. It’s no doubt that it is more made up of a chemical makeup of the brain, but it’s also a state of one’s condition. We can accept it as “The feeling of good outcome, even despite evidence to the contrary.” Of course the word ‘good’ being dependent on the person. This definition leaves open to a few types of optimism.

The first type of optimism can be a limited case. This is typically when the individual reassures himself with phrases like “Maybe I will get that new job,” or “that cancer is benign,” or even “Yes, that girl does like me.” These cases or all instances of a specific outcome that brings some kind of good fortune to the person and has little effect other people in society.

The second type being the more broad case of optimism. This is with phrases like “Education can be reformed,” and “My candidate will be elected president,” or even “One day there will be a better society than ours.” So the first examples are all for the individual, the second examples are for people as a whole. Usually if a person is susceptible to one type of optimism they will be susceptible to the other, but this isn’t always the case.

Many people make the case that optimism is not grounded in reality, but I believe the case can be made for both. But first, what are the implications of both optimism and pessimism on a person? For instance the stoic school of philosophy has some interesting things to say about hope and optimism. Part of the doctrine of stoicism is the limiting of one’s desires, which includes the desires for the future. As Seneca stated:

Limiting one’s desires actually helps to cure one of fear. ‘Cease to hope … and you will cease to fear.’ … Widely different [as fear and hope] are, the two of them march in unison like a prisoner and the escort he is handcuffed to. Fear keeps pace with hope … both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Both are mainly due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present.

For Seneca and the stoics, hope was like climbing a mountain, and the higher you climb the larger the fall will eventually be. Optimism obviously implies a good deal of hope, the two go hand in hand. This is a curious view, but also a useful one. The higher we get our hopes up, the more we will be let down! It is not necessarily to expect the worst, but to simply adapt one’self to the current condition.

SenecaSeneca was an Ancient Roman philosopher, famous for his work on Stoicism.

This tactic is useful when wishing to avoid any sort of misery, but I do believe that a small amount of optimism is healthy. Simply on the grounds that people have a certain capacity for occupations that are higher than themselves. Optimism is the feeling that drives people to action, and since people will themselves to be apart of a larger cause, optimism can provide some good to society and individuals. For instance, people that have occupied themselves with politics and activism. Political activism is a cause that is higher than simply the individual, and if there were no shred of hope, there would be no point of being active. As long as the hope is of course within reason and regulation. Of course those that are active can still feel that let down after the work never saw fruition, but that’s the price of taking up a cause higher than one’self.

In contrast, Pessimism has its benefits as well. An observation I’ve noticed is that people start out naturally optimistic, and only later in life do they learn true pessimism. Many people claim that is only because when you are young you haven’t experienced as much of the world, therefore you are an optimist. This is a simplistic claim at its heart, seeing how so many activists are leaders are able to remain optimistic. What interests me is the switch between optimism to pessimism. I claim,  not that it is because pessimism is more in line with the way the world works, but simply it grows from the deregulation of optimism. In their youth their optimism grew boundless, and when they experienced that fatal let down it left them as a pessimist. This can be a result of both kinds of optimism, either a single time or being repeatedly disappointed.

The first kind of optimism, that of being limited and short term, can lead to disappointment. But even worse, the optimism of hope and eternity, that can lead to disillusion.

But now finally, is there actually a case to still be an optimist? Reading the news, it would appear there would not be. It is all doom and gloom, and as I and many others believe, more hard times are ahead of us. But this doesn’t exactly negate all prospect of being an optimist. As stated before, part of being an optimist is hope despite evidence to the contrary. And while the near future may hold disaster, it is the feeling that in the distant future people may have better lives than those of today.

It would appear that we were setup for failure. If both optimism and pessimism can end in disillusion, what are we to do. Seneca is correct when he means the best we can do is adapt ourselves to the present. At the very least, this we can always do. It can be debated whether optimism is a choice or a condition, but this isn’t as important. What is most important is the way we conduct ourselves when being either an optimist or pessimist.

Related: An excerpt from the movie “Monty Python’s The Life of Brian

I Pray for Peace Across the World


(Image credit: http://www.lightworkersworld.com/2012/09/heartfelt-by-will-schnoor-jr/_doves__by_tanakin/ )

“Lord, make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord,
And where there’s sadness ever joy.”
~ Part of a Christian prayer/ song, known as ‘Prayer of St. Francis’, ‘Peace Prayer’, or (song) ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’. There are many versions.

Further to my tolerance reblog earlier today – which was planned before the recent tragedies – I want to talk a little more about things.

I pray for peace across the world. If only, if only…
I pray for those affected by the conflicts in this strife-torn world, whoever they are.
I pray that solutions be found and that the people of these conflicts’ needs be considered in these solutions.
I pray that it is recognised that every death matters, wherever in the world each occurs.
I pray for respect towards each other’s differences – that we unite as one rather than divide along well-trodden lines.
I pray for those who feel isolated or abandoned – that they find support and hope rather than violence and despair.
I pray that we reach out to each other rather than turn away from each other.

Hug your family and friends – share your feelings and listen to each other. Do the things you love, your favourite things. Remember that pets are great healers, too.
This is a time for welcome and unity, not accusation and disharmony. It’s a time to stand for compassion, tolerance and peace. For all humanity.

Peace be with you, I pray, wherever you are.

http://unveiledthought.com/2015/11/14/pray-for-paris-pray-for-beirut-pray-for-humanity/
http://unveiledthought.com/2015/11/15/no-i-will-not-drench-my-social-media-in-red-white-blue/
http://chrisgrahamatlarge.com/2015/11/15/paris-attacks-highlight-western-vulnerability-and-our-selective-grief-and-outrage/
https://wordynerdbirdwrites.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/scar/
http://espirational.com/2015/11/13/thought-for-today-770/
http://progressiveconversation.com/2015/11/15/you-cant-fight-an-ideological-war-by-shutting-physical-borders/
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/11/14/paris/
https://thepoliticsofwriting.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/aftermath-of-the-paris-attacks/
http://wellthisiswhatithink.com/2015/11/15/do-not-weep-for-the-dead/

Musings on Tolerance (A few links)

The blog post partially reblogged below is written from an Indian perspective – but most if not all can be applied elsewhere (hence the star). Including in Australia.

It’s especially important, perhaps, in light of recent events.

 (from a google image search)

The original link, with the rest of the blog post, is here.
Some further links on this topic:
http://winstonclose.me/2015/10/26/whats-in-a-name-a-right-wing-terrorist-by-any-other-name-would-smell-as-rancid-written-by-john-passant/ – very insightful. The colour of a person’s political stripes doesn’t mean they can’t be a terrorist.
http://theaimn.com/against-radicalisation/ – radicals come in many forms, but are mainly characterised (according to this article) by fervent belief without much critical thought.

What is intolerance and identify its forms? How best to come out of it all?

04 NOV
Intolerance is supposed to have taken place when we do not accept others’ point of view or belief, are not in sync with others’ sensitivities or habits which are different to that of ours, etc. This intolerance could be due to our incapacity to put up with others beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices could be ritualistic or religious in nature or could be in conflict with our own persisting beliefs and its consequence / spin-off may produce harmful effects on the country as a whole. It should never be forgotten that any over-indulgence in our beliefs and stark disregard or denigrate differing perceptions produces hostility between the communities. Also, the allowable deviation in beliefs, if at all, could be ironed out by sitting of differing communities and reach to a conclusive result by an approach of give and take otherwise intolerance between could result in bad blood and ill-feeling and could prove to be counterproductive to inclusive growth of a country. Divisiveness could spell doom for unity and integrity of a country as well.

Intolerance in any form has disastrous consequences and if not controlled with iron hand can prove ruinous to the inclusive growth first and then shake the very foundation of the state. We should never forget that India* is a pluralistic society and every community has its role to play in its growth and development.

 

Belief

I saw this last week on Eden’s website, edenland. It’s apparently the creation of Útmutató a Léleknek, a Hungarian writer. I think it’s beautiful.

Do You Believe In Mother?

A parable by Útmutató a Léleknek 
In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” 

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” 

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” 

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.” 

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.” 

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

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After all, in my opinion an open mind is an open heart. Like that quote from Alice in Wonderland (maybe from the 2010 movie more than the book, I can’t really remember): [Alice:] “This is impossible.” [Hatter:] “Only if you believe it is.”
It is the Great Mystery….