Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FREEDOM STONE...


She examined the small circular object in her palm, then slowly reached out and gently passed her fingers over her grandmother’s eyes...
The elders would be here soon to take the body away, there was nothing more to be done. All that needed to be said, had been said, as was the tradition of her people; the final stories had been told, the last of the wisdom passed down and the farewell gift had been given. She turned her back on the now empty shell and passed out into the night, strolling towards the nearby water she had frequently visited as a young girl.
She smiled at the idea that another young one would soon be playing there, creating new adventures out of sculpted sand. With her grandmother’s transition, the home that her parents had grown up in, her own home away from home, would now pass to another young family beginning their new life together; she lowered her head and gave silent thanks to the ways of her people, that even in death there was an offer of gifts to the living.
Strange she thought, as she sat on her favourite rock, that not so long ago the house would be... What was that word? Oh yes, ‘sold’ to the person who had the most ‘money’ to ‘pay’ for it, rather than be given to people who needed it. Those words seemed so foreign to her, even though she was well versed in the histories of her people and understood the concept of money , the words just did not seem to have a place in the world she had grown up in. She looked down again at the circle of metal in her palm, amused that such a rare and unique object had been passed down to her. Her grandmother had explained that once, long ago, they were very common, although most had shiny, polished stones instead of the plain pebble that jutted out from the top of this band, so even back then, this particular piece was special. Imagine, making ornaments out of polished minerals dug from the earth, and wearing them as symbols of... Oh yes, right, they called it ‘wealth’. She giggled at the idea, such concepts, she mused, were barbaric. Was not everyone wealthy? Did the world in which they lived not provide for all?
During the final days before the transition, she had sat with her grandmother, as was the custom of the times, to share stories, ideas and dreams... It was during this time of bonding that her Grandmother had given her the ‘ring’ and told her the story of its origin.
It was a common custom back then for families to gather to celebrate the date of a person’s birth and it had been at one of these feasts that her grandmother’s future had been determined. Although at the time, the practice of formally asking a father for his daughters hand in marriage was outdated, her grandfather had insisted on making the request before announcing the engagement. During the meal he rose from his seat to make his intentions known. Initially, there was much celebration and immediate approval of the union but when he, only moments later, presented his betrothed with the expected symbol of commitment, silence had descended. Her family, having come from a long line of rich and powerful people, were shocked at the obvious disregard for what they considered to be an important element of the ‘promise of forever’, for there, perched on a golden band sat, not the expected display of wealth, but rather a small, rough, unpolished stone... Her father was furious, until the young man, confident in the message of love that his gift represented, slowly and deliberately began to reveal the meaning of the rock.
He explained that many years ago, when he was young child of the age of six, he and his family had lived comfortably in India. His father had been a well paid book keeper for a local Diamond mine in Krishna and for years had done his job, content in his ability to provide generously for his family, without any consideration as to where the diamonds were coming from. Then in the year of 1994, he accidently discovered a discrepancy in the finances of the company and in the process of trying to clear up the odd miscalculation, stumbled upon a disturbing truth. Many of the stones that were being sold by the company were in fact being smuggled in from South Africa; referred to at the time as ‘blood diamonds’ for the fact that they were mined by slaves, the discovery had serious ethical implications. Knowing that his own people had for years been working in unacceptable conditions, underpaid and unable to provide for their families, the morality of his position within the company hit him and he realized he had a choice to make; he could do something about it, if only he could find the courage. Torn between guilt and fear for his own safety and that of his loved ones, he nevertheless sought to dig up as much information as possible. Eventually, with the help of some cousins who were working as cutters in the nearby factory, he managed to hatch a plan of escape. Smuggling a few small diamonds and a wealth of information out of the country was not an easy task. By some miracle the family, having left everything behind except for what they could carry, made their way East across the country to the coast, then travelled up the coast to Pakistan. There, they used the stolen diamonds to buy passage to Canada where they sought refuge in exchange for information.
The small stone, he revealed, came from the yard of their house in India, the only piece of his homeland that he still had in his possession. He had carried it with him, a symbol of all that was good and true about the human heart, a symbol, he said, of freedom. As his eyes shone with unshed tears, he placed the ring on his beloved’s finger, proclaiming to the family that it was the most pure symbol of love that he could offer.
The mood in the room had become subdued, but there was a peaceful feeling of love and acceptance that flowed from the family towards the young man that night and as the evening wore on, some had the courage to begin to ask questions. Long into the night he shared his journey and its outcome with the family. A bond was made that night that would never be broken.
The family learned that it had taken the government a long time to act, and it was years before any kind of serious move was made to stop the torture and abuse of helpless innocents in the name of procuring precious gems. Finally in 2007, the U.N. revealed the results of years of investigation into the diamond trade. The call was put out to governments around the world to intervene on behalf of the slaves; in time diamond smuggling and slavery was abolished but it had taken the sacrifice of thousands of lives and years of civil unrest and war.
In the years to follow a slowly growing awareness had spread across the globe, and over time, people united, with one voice, tossing divisions and petty differences aside. A world wide movement was launched, and seemingly without any kind of leadership, grew into a unified show of solidarity that brought strangers from around the world into alignment with one another. A new age of peace was born.
It was now known as the global shift in consciousness and was accepted as one of the most remarkable times in human history, a defining moment where mankind stood together, after thousands of years of murder, war, starvation and suffering and declared with one voice that they would kill no more. Her grandparents had been there, they had lived during those times, had fought for the freedom of their people and had celebrated with their people on the day when the wars ended and the battle had been won.
That had been 200 years ago; as part of their new found freedom, her people had rediscovered the value of natural foods and had begun to exchange ancient knowledge that had for many years been hidden from the people because of their inability to communicate openly. People grew strong and healthy as the chemicals left their bodies, the balance was restored and life expectancy increased dramatically. There was much that needed to be re-built and there was much joy to be found in the co-creation of a new unified world.
She grinned at the ring as she slipped it on her finger, reflecting on how honoured she was to possess such a rare treasure; a stone that symbolized the hard won freedom of her people, humans, who had finally found the peace they had so long been seeking.

Jean Victoria Norloch

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Three Years Gone - Not One Second Forgotten...

If you would rather listen than read, audio reordings will now be available for blog postings...

Hit Play




It’s hard to believe it; it seems like only yesterday and it me leaves feeling a slight tinge of sadness to think it’s been so long.
It’s been three years to the day that my feet first stepped onto that magical land, three years to the day that I breathed that sweet air of freedom. Fitting I think that Valentine’s Day be the anniversary of the day my life changed forever from one of despair to one of love.
Some might call my perception of this seemingly minor event a bit extreme, some might even call it down right nuts but I honestly harbour no romantic delusions regarding either the land I visited or the people in it; I simply have a very open and honest acceptance of my own mind set and state of being before that fateful trip.
When I left Canada I was tired and worn, embittered by the never-ending cycle of death and destruction not only in my own life but in the world around me. I struggled to find hope for a future that in my mind would inevitably swallow up any dreams I myself or my daughter may have for a life filled with joy. I saw corruption and greed, in the government, in my place of employment and even within the confines of my own family. I believed that money ruled the heart, that mankind was headed down a road of self annihilation. With my faith lost in religions that seemed only to want to control and impoverish rather than to lift up and inspire, I could not see the God or The Spirit that people with light in their eyes spoke of. I knew at the core of my being that it was there, but I could not feel the warmth that I believed was mine by right. Without guidance I wandered through my life lost in my own fear.
I pretended often to be happy, faked it better, I think, than most and for years I managed even despite my many ups and downs to convince my friends and family that I had my life on track and things would in time improve. Inside I was dying, slowly hoping that the diseases, injuries and the abuse prescription meds and cigarettes would do me in long before I would have to answer for my perceived failures.
Then for one brief moment instead of being afraid of being sick, I got sick of being afraid. In a moment of desperation I asked the great emptiness for help and so began the journey that first brought me to Manila and ultimately brought me here.
Now I see hope for a better tomorrow, I see already proof in action of a better today. I believe that there are no longer limits to what either myself or my daughter can accomplish and all that shapes the future for us is the width and breadth of the dreams we will allow ourselves to dream. I see thousands of people working to create innovative solutions to challenges we as a society for a short time believed to be impossible to overcome. I see millions of voices screaming out in defiance of oppression and repression. I see the people not just praying to and worshipping but becoming the Spirit that some religions have so long held tantalizingly out of reach. My faith in God has been reawakened and my faith in humanity is unshakable. I know now that giving up is not an option and the joy is not found in things that are hard won or bought. I know that peace is easily attained once our fear of loss is released and I know that ultimately there is nothing really to lose in the first place.
I also know that had I not taken the time to wonder why even in the midst of such obvious poverty and intolerable living conditions they were still able to smile, I would still be lost. Thankfully I did ask, and they were kind enough to answer in their gentle, guide you by the hand to the water and never force you to drink kind of way, they taught me more about love in a few days than I had learned in a lifetime.
So if you ask me if the land and the people I met are really as magical and powerful as I have often claimed over the years, if you ask me if they really can have such a profound effect on strangers as to regenerate and renew the sprit within I will still say yes. Even knowing all that I know about the struggles that they themselves deal with everyday, perhaps especially because of my understanding of those struggles I would say unequivocally and irrevocably yes, they do indeed shine a light strong enough to save even one so lost as me.
To my Valentine – the people of THE PHILLIPPINES – may your light continue to shine in the hearts of all those who are blessed enough to feel the power of your love.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Jean Victoria Norloch


Monday, February 13, 2012

For My Sister's

Short Poetry reading in honour of all the ladies in my life...


PRESS PLAY



For my sisters...

“What now?” she whispered...
“I don’t know”, I answered quietly shaking my head; “we don’t have many options left”.
“Are they really gone?” she asked, a tear trickling from the corner of her eye.
“Yes”, I answered sadly, “they are gone...”
“Maybe they’re just hiding?” her eyes lifted from the ground hopefully.
“No child”, my voice softened, “they made their choice, as we have made ours”.
“Then what now?” she whispered yet again.
“We keep going”, I shrugged my shoulders and got back on my feet.
“But where?” she pleaded desperately, “where is it we will go?”
“We go into tomorrow” I answered.
I got back on my feet and started walking...
And just as every day before and everyday to come, she got up and walked by my side...

Somewhere, out there
I have a family
Somewhere out there
I have a home
Somewhere, out there
I have a future
Somewhere, out there
Is where I wish to roam

In here,
Is where I found her
In here,
No longer alone
In here
Where she protects my heart
In here
Where I protect her own

Somewhere, out there
She called to me
Somewhere, out there
She felt my fears
Somewhere, out there
She whispered to the stars
Somewhere, out there
Do not doubt, child so dear

In here,
She journeyed far to enter
In here,
And fought for many years
In here,
She came upon me whispering
In here,
Sister please, dry your tears

And this is where the poem ends,
And the story yet begins
As a promise long ago was made,
By an ancient group of maternal twins

Sisters sent to earth,
To wander through the lands
Always seeking those they know to have,
A loving heart and gentle hands

Warriors of old they are,
Returned for one last time
Their battle cry you hear in the soothing tones
Of every mothers lullaby

One asked me where I'd been,
And why I took so long
Another said, ‘no you’re not late’
‘I felt you all along’

The third said she would walk through hell with me,
And since we’re already here
Her word I cannot doubt is true,
So there is nothing left to fear

This is the story of the women of our time,
Who come for one reason and one reason only,
Can you hear the Victory chimes?

They did not come here to give up,
Nor to walk away
They did not come here to lose
They came to save the day

How many different styles have I included in this poem?
As many as the different angels who through our world now roam...
And what would be the purpose then?
To What end do I write?

To get the message out to you,
To shout it loud and clear
For as many different sisters here have come,
All warriors of light
Different though their task maybe be
Always and forever
Side by side they fight

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Travellers On Air

I was recently invited to visit my friend Luis on his blog talk show Travellers On Air...
It was an intensive conversation about Holo-sustainable living that explored openly some of the eco-social issues that people around the world are addressing.

To listen to the show displayed here in two parts just hit the play button...
Part One...

Listen to internet radio with Luis Daniel Maldonado Fonken on Blog Talk Radio

Part Two...

Listen to internet radio with Luis Daniel Maldonado Fonken on Blog Talk Radio


To learn more about Luis and his work you can visit him at
HOLOSUSTAINABLE