Last night I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and I turned and I counted sheep, I counted my breathes, held them and exhaled, I talked my way through my sleep meditation but all to no avail. Suddenly I realised that the room was bright, daytime bright, a rising sun creeping through the curtains bright. Out of bed I crept and down the passageway, the flagstone floor cold against my toasty soles, to the front door where the light switch for the outside light is. When I poked my head outside to see if the lights were definitely still on I was met with more brightness, but not the yellow light of the street lights, the white light of daytime! Flicking off the street lights (they were still on) I turned to see if it was dark again, nope…still bright as a fresh spring morning…except that it was 2.30am and the sky was still a shade of navy. It had snowed for the first time in almost 12 months, with a bright, shiny pendant moon hanging against a dark, inky backdrop, the moon was reflecting its rays like the sun on the ocean on a mid summer afternoon. The rest of the house was just as bright with the snow reflecting the moonlight into all the rooms, like the early hours of the morning. So I went back to bed, dug out my sleeping mask and eventually rocked myself to sleep. When the alarm went off at 6am I wondered if I had dreamt the 2am expedition to find the source of the light but sure enough, bright as ever, the snow had continued to fall and what a spectacular sight to see it was.
Growing up in Kenya, snow at Christmas didn’t exist. Christmas was spent on the veranda or under the branches of an acacia tree. My Grandad lived his entire adventurous life without ever seeing snow close enough to touch, the closest he got was the snow capped peaks of Mount Kenya as he ate his breakfast on the veranda. Although every place on earth has it’s own beauties, it’s own unique sense of place, it’s own sunset that is quite unlike anywhere else on earth there is something so incredibly pure yet ruthless about the snow. Perhaps it’s because snow was a novelty when I was growing up. When we came to visit my family in Ireland, on the rare occasion that it was…my poor superhuman of a mother dragging three unimpressed, grumpy, cranky children half way across the world…we would pray for snow at Christmas.
I will never forget my first snowfall. We were staying in a cottage, not far from my grandparents house, it was small and quaint with lino floors and probably decorated in the 70’s but cosy with a 2 foot Christmas tree made of tinsel that my Granny had found to decorate the house a little for us. We woke up one morning and there it was…pure, beautiful, untouched…like the icing on the Christmas cakes we would see in mums magazines. We had only ever seen snow in films about America…and even those were few and far between. We pulled on our winter coats and bolted for the door! Mum, ever tuned into our shenanigans, stopped us before we got to it. Socks were layered on, jumpers were layered on, plastic bags tied up to our knees inside our wellies just in case any snow got over the top of them and out into the freezing, crispy air as our feet crunched through the glorious snow. I definitely underestimated how cold it was going to be…it soaked through my gloves and soon enough I was back in by the fire admiring the snows’ beauty from behind the safety of the sitting room window. That winter I went for a walk with my aunt along the promenade, the cottage was beside the sea our grandparents, aunts and uncle would take us for walks down to the beach to give our mother a quiet break. I can’t remember what we talked about but I remember sitting on one of the benches on the prom, looking out across the bay (or what we could see of it through the early evening fog) and my aunt showing me how to make a snow ball. It’s one of those memories that sits in a magical box in my mind that comes out every now and again, the purity of a child’s excitement over something so small.
After that we didn’t see much snow, but now as a grown up it holds so much more meaning. Although harsh and dangerous, bringing life threatening challenges with it wherever it goes, there is something so beautiful and deadly about waking up to a world reshaped by just one striking colour, millions of trillions of unique individuals forming a blanket of fresh ice, waiting for someone, anyone to leave their mark.
When getting up this morning I watched a YouTube video (link to it is at the end of the blog!) by a friend of mine. She’s sweet and poised with a heart made of love and kindness, her smile is golden and she would brighten up anyone’s day. The video brought me to tears as she discussed the bullying that went on when she was a teenager in secondary school and going into college, the harsh and thoughtless words that were spoken, the mean comments that were made, the challenges that she faced when she thought she had finally built a strong enough wall of protection only to watch it come crumbling down all over again. The thing about walls is, when they fall down we can learn how to make them stronger, every time we face a challenge we become better equipped to work through it. In the video this friend addresses those who have been bullied but she also talks to those who are bullies. She points out how they are going to feel when they look back and realise the type of person they were and the shame they will one day feel, she reminds any victims of bullying that it is the bullies ‘lack of ability to be a sensitive and nice human being’ rather than the victims lack of ability.
Watching her video made me think about the snow, it made me think about how every snowflake is unique, every single one is as different as our finger prints are to each other and every single person on this planet is as unique as each snowflake. We are all different, we all have strengths and weaknesses, we all have different skills and abilities, we all have both light and darkness in us, in our lives, in our paths. I have no doubt that everyone has made decisions that they later learned from, that everyone has struggled with family or friends, that everyone has felt less than their worth at some point in their life but it is our job as humans, our mission on this planet, our undeniable purpose, to become a united front against the darkness in the world, to work together to protect the beautiful planet, to use our own unique skills and personalities to create a world that our children can be proud of. But we can only do that if we can allow each other to truly be ourselves, to nurture the love and kindness in each other, to celebrate each others successes and release all judgement just as we do not want to be judged.
It takes millions and trillions of snowflakes, each one unique, to create a blanket of pure snow, to reshape the landscape, to use the highs and lows of the landscape to create something new and beautiful. What if we worked together, like snowflakes, no judgement, no hatred or fear of peoples differences, just acceptance and love? What if we used that acceptance and love to create a fresh start, used our knowledge to help each other grow and celebrate how unique and incredible everyone is? In her vlog, my friend talks about the importance of being yourself, accepting who you are and accepting others for everything that they are. In a world where so much has been achieved despite the differences in humanity, can you imagine a world where we worked together to build bridges and learn from each other instead of building walls and expressing hatred towards the unknown?
Growing up we were raised in a very Evangelical Christian family, we went to Christian camps, learned verses of the bible off by heart and were told that Christianity was the one true religion. We were told what to believe and so we believed it. As I grew up, and more in recent years, as I have begun to look at and question who I am as a person, how can we decide that someone’s beliefs are wrong just because they are different from ours? The more I learn about life, religion, beliefs, thought processes, emotions and identity the more I have to question humanities obsession with copy-cats. Everyone has to be like everyone else and if anyone is not like everyone else they become the subject of bullying or are surely on the pathway to becoming a social pariah. Why must we all be the same? From what I can tell, when man started to decide that ‘different = wrong’ that’s when the world began to turn on itself. If believing in a different faith makes it the ‘wrong faith’ or having a physical disability makes you the ‘wrong body type’ or having a different colour of skin makes you the ‘wrong social class’ or having a different sexual orientation than a ‘majority’ means you are attracted to the ‘wrong gender’ then where do we draw the line? Where do we stop deciding what can be right and wrong in a person and just accept and love people as they are? Surely humanity remembers when a certain Narcissist decided that humanity must all have blonde hair and blue eyes and almost wiped out an entire race of people? That didn’t go so well. By the nature of humanity each person is different and therefore two people will NEVER be the same. So many of these ‘traits’ are decided by birth, by genetics, by social circumstance, by an endless list of coincidences that a person had no control over whatsoever? And if there can be such a long list of what is ‘wrong’ then who can possibly be the ‘perfect’ human? Surely everyone who exists on the planet is ‘wrong’ in some way, shape or form according to society.
Can you imagine, for a moment, a colony of snowflakes where they all have a specific shade of blue in their genetic make-up deciding to wage war on the other colony of snowflakes because they have a silver streak through their genetic make-up? Silver are then forced to fight back to defend themselves against the Blue Snowflakes but this need to defend, protect and survive leads some of the Silver Snowflakes to fear and then to hate the Blue Snowflakes. The war of snowflakes ends up so convoluted with hatred, fear and terror that eventually no one really understands why they are at war…only that they are at war to survive. If that was the case we would never have a beautiful, crisp, fresh snowfall to wake up to. We would never experience the piece and tranquillity that comes with a heavy snowfall as sounds are absorbed, light is reflected and everything just becomes brighter, calmer and more mesmerizing.
If humans worked together like snowflakes, stopped questioning and condemning each others beliefs, started working together to share love and kindness, where there is war encouraging peace, a clean slate, a chance for friendship and bridges, where there is hunger sharing food, where there is hatred showing love and compassion. If we looked deep into the souls of the people who hurt us, look into the soul of the Blue Snowflake who started a war of hate, we would often find that there is a fear and hatred towards themselves that has resulted in the projection of hate towards the world. We are not born enemies, children are not born with a prejudice towards race or religion, humanity created prejudice, humanity decided that there was a right and wrong way to exist but humanity has forgotten that it is through these decisions that we have brought war, famine, hunger, sickness and death to our race and in doing so we have brought these on many other species as well. We often think that without humans the world would not survive, in fact it is quite the opposite. Without bees the world would not survive, without humanity the world would flourish and excel. Do we really want to keep being that race that the world could do without? Do we really want to continue to be the cancerous plague that is slowly killing the planet, or at least killing the planets ability to house humans? We take great pride in our homes, in our jobs, in our achievements but what would happen if we applied that same pride to the planet and treated each human as family? Wouldn’t the world just become the most incredible place? We have the chance to treat each other as equals, we have the choice to disregard the hatred being preached every day on the news, we have the choice to spread love and peace, build friendships and dissolve boarders, but it is a choice that must consciously be made.
Next time you find yourself judging another human, thinking an unkind thought about someone because of the way they look or dress or the colour of their skin, ask yourself why you think like that? Then think of you each as a snowflake, both beautiful, both unique, both incredibly blessed with love and kindness and the ability to change the world, create the snowfall and give our children a world of calm, tranquillity, brightness and love.
Below is the link to Leesa’s video ❤