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Hiding when you lose Meaning — Try This — Reflect, Refract, Transparency

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(flick read and go to process but remember your wellbeing needs depth inside your self)

  • Signs of why we struggle for Body and Mind Wellbeing
  • And 3 things to absorb for our own benefit
From Mogadishu departure lounge-InSouth Sudan people took to sacrificing their lives to gain compensation for their families

An interesting set of incidents caused thought-provoking lines of questioning and further thinking on mental wellbeing. Travelling to places where people have, are in many respects, experienced life on an edge far more difficult to balance on then the majority of us ever have to contemplate, what are the 3 main takeaways for any of us to do?

Returning to Somaliland, the unrecognised state to the north and east of Ethiopia, neighbouring Djibouti, abutting the Rea Sea, is always a heart warming experience. Seeing how the places have recovered from the violence of two, or even in some places, three conflicts of significance is always stimulating in terms of knowing we, as people, do rebuild given the opportunity and right resources. Studies undertaken a decade ago showed psychosis[1]was endemic with populations in certain towns have over one in every four people showing the signs of psychosis.

How do you live in an unrecognised country?

You value yourself and others as people — citizens, neighbours, friends, family, rivals maybe even enemies; but always people.

But do we rebuild to ensure history does not see another set of such conflicts as others manipulate memory, or the lack there of, as new tensions build around fresh challenges of identity?

Identity is regularly invoked when looking at the purpose of people. But usually as a collective, rarely looking at how we define ourselves as individuals; particularly in post traumatic settings where open conflict has taken place. There are people wrapping themselves in flags and calling for challenges to others who, they say, are contesting their people’s liberties. Invariably it is a clarion call to the wider population as leaders use symbolism to foment biased opinion to regularly look at their own failings in political and economic development.

How do I define myself?

Name, sex, family, wider network of friends or ethnic cultural group?

Think again defining yourself by what is inside your head and body

What is apparent is the manner we act and react when points of emotion are touched on. We have become emotionally detached from the consequences of social interaction in general and conflict in particular, whilst regularly feeling the adrenalin flow as calls to conflict are raised. This may simply be pulling on the Premier League football team; but it is there, the need to have leadership and a sense of being social with the animosities coming with arguing which team is better.

Are you being marketed to? Is someone selling you a sense of belonging?

Be prepared to avoid sides, see competition, conflict as a globe where you can roll around and see, hear and sense all perspectives.

Having a briefing on security, the conversation was diverted from the regular rehashing of ethnic groupings and politics.

My ears are hearing but my mind is not listening.

I am now of a mind to always ask individuals whether they would go get themselves killed simply because of their heritage? Yes, history is littered with examples of men going off to do their patriotic duty; history has also brought forward much of this patriotism as the basis of the inequity we now suffer.

When there is no mass emancipation and the capability to have Rights enshrined in respect for the rule of law, we need collective identity. But, examples are abounds of abhorrent behaviour being practiced because it was socially accepted. Wife beating, women as chattels, child labour all causing heads to shake but all still apparent in different societies. We have come a long way but personal identity is still not universal.

Many will question: Do we have the respect for the rule of law?

Given events in recent time as people seem to have placed themselves above the law, the social disparities are causing angst for people as individuals. A sense of fait accompli pervades many leading to desperation among some —

During the briefing, we hear further mass graves have been opened around the capital city of Hargeisa; there was an era of mass killing during an already bloody conflict.

The collective has failed and there is no real follow up by international bodies charged with looking at human rights. It is a continuance of something seen back in 2002 where lip service was paid to (international) justice but nothing, nothing, of significance happened. Somaliland issued an invitation for the accused perpetrator of some of these crimes General Hirsi Morgan —– to come and visit Hargeisa any time. He was welcome to fly in and enjoy the welcome essential for someone accused of multiple crimes.

There are a couple of poignant comments and points made. Rather than say something non-descript, both the other people in the room laugh. Laugh not in that is a ridiculous point way but in the nervous chuckle of someone embarrassed we can talk about death and the lack of emotion it now seems to summon with people; in a person.

I take the signal and, as the person doing the presentation seeks to move on I ask myself a couple of follow up questions — Why laugh? To cover embarrassment? As a reaction to the inability to think more deeply about the emotional capital invested in being murdered just because you were of this or that lineage?

The emotional cost of this example is multiplied a million fold when including all the other ethnic cleansing of Africa’s Great Lakes, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and now Syria and Libya.

More insidious actions are apparent in other places, the seemingly regular school killings of the USA where internal angst, inability to be able vent, leads to explosion of violence

– because we have not built the collective beyond it being a means to exercise power taking away from people; taking away life itself and traumatising many more in numerous examples.

Gone seem to be the positives of collective reciprocity building support and offering opportunity, collectively, to grant individuals the capability to be an individual and define their self.

When, building links around a room full of some 60 people, as some one complains on being asked to work on a public holiday, drawing on hard examples of working through a public holiday, we started talking about life’s imperatives and death. The embarrassment in the room, across cultural divides, was palpable. Interesting to see the divides in the reactions by age, by geography. I noted how when, first working in Somalia, we used vast amounts of cloth making shrouds as we buried hundreds of people dying from neglect as famine gripped the country. The seniors in the room made eye contact, the nods of affirmation were there, we cast our eyes downward and shoulders slumped in quiet recognition of the looses of life surpassing any public holiday desire to laze around. Younger people were wondering what burying hundreds was like, a glaze across their faces not knowing what emotion to show and difficult to get past there personal ‘loss’ of a day’s holiday — stuck in the here and now. Some people did not know how to react when bringing up death and how we not just coped but worked with it.

Perhaps we have sanitised the cycle of life far too much in Europe and North America?

Yes, plenty of exceptions as cultural practices are found celebrating the cycle of life but, in the main, we have become displaced from death. Even the slaughter of the animals becoming the meat on our plates is removed. A survey showed how people could not tell cuts of meat and even some mixed the animal source of some pieces of meat.

The sanitisation of life has led to an inability to appreciate our inner self and how we feel toward life of ourselves, those around us be they people or animals; domesticated or wild.

We are removed from nature.

My example was brought up later in a debriefing meeting and, again, the embarrassed (or was it nervous?) laughter appeared as someone misquoted the example I had used. It set the thoughts rolling and comes back to points some of us have, perhaps, challenged our own cultural upbringing as we are put in extremely stressful situations causing us to confront how situations impact our own personal wellbeing; this will involve both mental and physical health as we can resort to hiding from situations with drugs and drink exacerbating the issues rather than getting past the nervous/embarrassed laughter stage and talking about how we are because of who we are as individuals is shaped so much by the superficiality of environments we now tend to occupy. Environments possibly dominated by short termism, the here and now over the longer-term building of strong networks. The superficiality of social media setting a consciousness driven by mass marketing and selling over relationships of substance?

Individuals conditioned by culture and social norms

Norms constantly being manipulated as our insecurity requires a sense of belonging.

How about trying this process:-

Be alone.

Look inside and write down about, or draw pictures or mind maps of, your self

How the inside projects outward.

How the outer influences impact the inner self.

Put it away and return to it at time intervals — a month, every season as trees shed their leaves and the blue in the sky changes to grey and then again when white fluffy clouds float by and new shoots appear.


Challenge yourself to not be left to right, linear in thinking and expression


Change the perspective and sense your wellbeing and how it is changing, being changed, by what factors and how?


See through situations, listen, and watch and feel how your conditioning causes you to act and react.

Be open to express yourself on situations where words may fail you but your body language will cause messages to be sent.

Through the physics of light: reflect, refract and transparency, you will experience the capability to transition between states and material situations. Changing, challenging, the inner self, being open inside yourself and opening to a close circle of real friends. Challenging how you perceive others around you and how we are preconditioning toward wellbeing and mental health.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !