Growing up in a politically fervent time in Kingston, Jamaica, you would not be blamed if you were to describe me as a young activist. As early as my 9th birthday, I was holding my own and passionately so, in the debates about politics: Cuba’s place in the world, the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) actions on my island home, communism and free education for all to name a few.
By my 18th birthday, my level of activism stepped up to official membership in the youth arm of one of Jamaica’s political parties. For many years before that, lunchtime would find me under a tree at my all-girls high school debating the validity and rational for one of the many initiatives my Party Leader had taken to move the island out of economic dependence. With clenched fists and youthful eyes, I boarded an aircraft in 1981 and left the island, for the first time, on a seven-year journey to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R.).
Politics Shaped My Womanhood
Little did I know then that it would also be the years that would change me to the core, map a difference course for my life as a woman, wife, mother and friend.
This past week, without the presence of Contributors to this blog – all who were occupied with personal challenges, work and taking care of their businesses – much of what I learned arising out of that pivotal period came to bear in my posts.
Almost a couple of decades since that fateful plane ride to Eastern Europe, another plane flew me away from the land of my birth. Now a citizen of Canada for 13+ years and as I wrote in the third most visited and read post of this week past, “Women, Please Vote!”
I did not exercise my franchise in the last [Canadian] federal elections. My adolescent years in Jamaica were very much focussed on women and voting, politics in general and international affairs. However, my life a few years ago was in somewhat of a topsy turvy and quite frankly, and ashamedly so, voting was the last thing on my agenda. Those who know me will tell you that regret is not a word that comes easily to my lips – it will not now. I do not regret my decision not to go to the polls in 2011 but it is something that, moving forward, will never happen again.
Canadian Politics This Week
Watching Justin Trudeau lead his party to victory on Monday, October 19, my thoughts went back to the many debates I participated in about his father and Canada’s relationship with Jamaica at a rocky time in our political history. Being the connector of dots that I am, my thoughts also went to the topic of the second most visited post of this Roundup: “Fear: A Swap Tactic To Overcome It.” Much of my experience of fear and the way that I dealt with it hark back to my childhood and observing how my mother and adults around me dealt with their problems.
Read that article and see the tool that I created as a result of my later training and experience in spiritual counselling, behavioural therapy and chaplaincy. It has helped me tremendously over the years in balancing my life, facing my challenges and letting go of what no longer served me.
Top Post Of The Week
A huge part of what I have had to release was my die-hard beliefs around politics, how relationships “should” work and living according to society’s standards. Well into my 40’s, one of my greatest lessons was on what I discussed in the most read post of this week: “Pushing: 3 Reasons To And Not To.” Politics and my activism for so long was a major push area in my life. It was one where most of my pushing against negativity would largely result in more reasons to fight.
While I am not discounting the need in politics to take a stance for the best interest, what serves the highest good for all, as I wrote in that post, whether in politics or personal life, it is important to understand,
“…The subtle difference between pushing/staying focussed on a goal or wish that was born of my soul and pushing against the “No’s” that Life was telling me. The difference is forcing and allowing. You might be doing what it took me so long to get – trying to force happiness, force well-being, force yourself to be who you are not simply because the neighbours are. Until you understand that pushing and forcing will largely and often only result in more pushing and forcing – you will be as I was – unhappy and dissatisfied with your life.”
Women, Choices And Politics
So many are the times that I have commented that Canadian politics is lackluster at best or simply boring. This observation was largely against the background of the unfortunate cutthroat nature of Jamaican politics and the high drama of US campaigns. Things changed this time around in Canada and over the 78 days of the campaign here, my interest piqued as I watched the machinations of all the parties involved.
The Prime Minister elect, Justin Trudeau, was not my first choice. In the end, it was with my granddaughter’s future very much in mind not to mention my concern for women and how our interests were being discussed, that I voted. My vote was cast strategically, as were many Canadians’. It was considered to the last-minute decision and made after setting aside the fears that one party would have had us vote in its favour to prevent.
Politics affects us all but as I have grown, Life has tempered my youthful outbursts, quieted many of my fears and taught me how to stop pushing against negativity but simply let go of what does not promote peace, prosperity and love for all. That was what this week fully demonstrated for me in very practical terms. That is what I hope you will come to, if you are not already there, that politics is as much women’s concern and that we can bring to it our knowledge and experience of fearless living. To borrow from Trudeau, who this week said that his election was significant of what “positive politics” can do.
We can only hope that he will continue along this path and not give into the pressure of any one group of interests over what is best for all – women, men, seniors and children and nature.
Have a wonderful weekend! Subscribe to this blog and receive one daily email update of posts as well as my monthly newsletter and affirmation poster. Our Contributors are back next week with a variety of posts to continue flavouring our conversations.