people are falling off the planet

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Walk any city in the evening and you will see people in shop doorways settling for the night. Huddling, or lying prostrate. Walk any side street or back alley and the stench of stale urine will rise to greet your nostrils.

Travel early in those cities and you will see, wrapped in sleeping bag cocoons or under piles of cardboard, those not yet risen. Some you will see with large bags or shopping trolleys to transport their worldly belongings. The lucky ones may have been left a coffee by a passer by or by a charitable agency.

Walk any city during the day and you will see an array of cardboard notices outlining each individual’s plight; some held, some lying by cap or cloth on the pavement. Or you will encounter those seeking some loose change or perhaps a spare cigarette.

This seems to me to be getting worse. More people with less. More living at the edge of humanity.

Yet, for the most part, we walk by. Perhaps increasing our pace or looking away to avoid eye contact. Maybe it’s shame? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s security? Or maybe we simply can’t face what is happening around us?

What has gone wrong?

 

 

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reality blind?

We have seen this road sign many times – it is familiar as an image.

We don’t need to read the sign. We are conditioned to know red means stop. The words are somehow irrelevant.

We have seen this context too. Roadworks, queues, lights, single file traffic…

So, if this sign said, “WHEN GREEN LIGHT SHOWS WAIT HERE”, would we stop? Probably not.

I wonder how often in life do we ignore what we are being told, verbally or visually, because we have been programmed to create our understanding, our awareness, by what we have experienced before?

How often might we delete, distort or generalise the information, because our programming  tells us what we need to know?

In reality, how blind are we to reality?

drawing life’s curtains

Have you ever noticed that dusk brings a particular behaviour for a short period?

During the day, we exist in our offices or our houses, with curtains wide open, blinds pulled up, shutters flung back. The light inside and outside in balance somehow, we seem open to the notion that people might look in, might see us. And that’s ok. There’s a form of equilibrium. Equality of visibility in this balanced light.

Then dusk arrives. We turn on lights inside our homes and offices. But we leave curtains and blinds wide open. The result is the light is stronger inside than outside and people can see in. See us more clearly. We are silhouetted in the artificial lights. More visible. More exposed. So people look, sometimes stare.

Then we draw the curtains, drop the blinds, turn the light off maybe. In essence we hide. Perhaps too exposed now, we retreat, away from prying eyes. And so it stays, until dawn, when we throw open the window ‘shields’ and allow natural light to flood in, safe in the knowledge that we can be seen again, but not clearly seen, not highlighted, not in the spotlight.

And so the pattern repeats.

Maybe it’s like that in life?

Happy to be seen when we blend in, when the light of others equates to our own light? Maybe though when we are in the spotlight, highlighted, more visible, we seek to hide? We set out to draw a veil over ourselves, to become more private, more introverted? We quite literally pull down the shutters.

Instead.
Shine your light.
Hold lightly the sight of others in the soft light.