The World on Fire


I, like most of you, have been fortunate enough to be born in a country and situation of stability. I have never heard the sounds of bombs dropping from the sky, I have never seen bodies blown to pieces, I have never watched a child deliriously cry after being pulled out of rubble and learning their parents have died. I have never had to worry about starvation. I have never had to worry about a mob of men raping me. I have never had to surrender my life to hopelessness. This is all because I was fortunate enough to be born in a place other than Aleppo, Syria. A place other than South Sudan. A place other than Yemen. A place other than Burundi. A place other than many other places in this world. Humanity’s shadow side is incredibly dark. However, the biggest disappointment is the complacency of those of us so far removed from the situation. The self-consumed attitude. As if what is happening over the Atlantic will never arrive at our door. As if we don’t have the foundations to birth a place of viable instability. As if we don’t have a responsibility to our fellow human beings. WTF humanity?!WTF?! “The world has always been on fire.” But that is because complacency has kept us all from believing we hold the bucket of water needed to extinguish it.

Humans of New York: Sharing Stories from refugees in Europe

Humans of New York (HONY) is currently sharing stories from refugees in Europe. These are stories that need to be read and shared. It is easy to remain disconnected from what is happening across the sea or across the border, but we are ONE world, ONE human race, ONE love.

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The extent to which refugee children have been conditioned by their environment is heartbreaking. We wanted permission to take this young girl’s photograph, so we asked if her mother was nearby. Her eyes filled with the most uncontrollable fear that I’ve ever seen in a child. ‘Why do you want my mother?’ she asked. Later, her parents told us how the family had crouched in the woods while soldiers ransacked their house in Syria. More recently they’d been chased through the woods by Turkish police. After we’d spent a few minutes talking with her parents, she returned to being a child and could not stop hugging us, and laughing, and saying ‘I love you so much.’ But I went to sleep that night remembering the terror on her face when we first asked to speak to her mother.

Earth, Water, Air, Fire

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Be like Earth
Solid, Committed
Loyal, Firm
Allow water to soften rigidity
Allow air to open the mind
Allow fire to power the will

Be like Water
Adaptable, Engaging
Creative, Intuitive
Allow Earth to solidify paths
Allow Air to invite in philosophy
Allow fire to drive expression

Be like Air
Expanding, Generous
Liberated, Inclusive
Allow Water to guide in the flow
Allow Earth to ground scatter
Allow Fire to outline intention

Be Like Fire
Passionate, Ambitious
Spontaneous, Transformative
Allow Air to elevate thought
Allow Water to advance intuition
Allow Earth to introduce patience

Bootstraps

“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps”

Said the man in the golden seat.

The child looked down looking for straps

but only saw bare feet.

“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps”

Said the woman covered in pearls.

The man looked down, saluted the space

where his legs once felt the hurt.

“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps”

Said the pompous working grad.

The elderly lady looked down in shame

her memory had long gone bad.

“Pick yourself up by your boot straps”

I often hear THEM say

until THEIR straps are no longer there

and THEY begin to pray.

“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.”

“But I was not born with any.”

“Well here, my friend, take my straps

and pass it along to many.”

Your Heaven, Their Hell

In your heaven, dinner is served.
In their hell, hunger pains keep them unnerved.
In your heaven, doors stay unlocked.
In their hell, boundaries are mocked.
In your heaven, a child runs free
In their hell, a caged bird dreams of a tree
In your heaven, the sky is clear
In their hell, bombs rain down on fear
In your heaven, your neighbor is like you
In their hell, prejudice and racism ring true
In your heaven, time is but time
In their hell, days are spent avoiding death’s chime
In your heaven, life is but a dream
In their hell, struggle is the theme.
In your heaven, god is good
In their hell, why are their prayers misunderstood?

In your heaven, a blindfold is worn.
So not to see, it’s in their hell, where your heaven was born.