terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2012

Surviving through tough times... with HOPE in our hearts!

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” —Lao Tzu 

Portugal is a seemingly small country, nevertheless going on to 900 years of independent History.
People from abroad may look at us and feel we are just poor and going through a terrible economic crisis, but they risk missing part of what is most relevant about us: the incredible courage of those tiny sailors who in the 15th. century discovered most of the world, the endurance of the families, the dedication of the women, left to tend to their children and hold on tight...

Nowadays the crisis is upon us (and many others) as a bad dream. People wake up to find out that all that they worked for all their lives, including the chance for retirement, is questioned by a crisis whose origin is, once again, the greed and lack of ethics of the banking sector and the blindness of those in power to see that such a harsh policy of cuts will ONLY CREATE EXTREME POVERTY and a never ending number of bankrupt businesses...

Though this all, certain small towns and communities are starting to organize themselves to try and make it through the crises thanks to a cooperative effort. And in the mean time, hundreds of young people emigrate every day, in a perpetual and melancholy exodus...

Through it all, what will keep us alive and hopeful, if not LOVE? The loving kindness we can share with our families and neighbors, the effort to find creative solutions, the re-organization of one's life with less. Yet, some are finding courage and hope in the small Joys and Blessings of unsuspected things: the beauty of an Autumn morning, full of bright sunshine in spite of the lack of money,   the freedom to walk outside when so many other countries are at war or close to it, the peace of coming home and having the Family together.

Centuries ago, one of our Kings got a special dispensation (from the Pope, I guess) to allow the Cult of the ANGEL OF PORTUGAL, depicted as in the photo above.  Masses were held asking for the help and blessings of this Angel, called the Custodian Angel of Portugal. Well, few people know or remember this, but I would be inclined to ask for His benevolent help at this time of probation and difficulty.

That Mankind is so imperfect (especially its leaders) running the destinies of peoples and countries and of the whole planet, calls for HOPE in some sort of Providence that cannot be overruled by human stupidity and lack of ethics.

Therefore, against the impending melancholy and hardship, I call on the Angels for help and protection. What else can you do, when you hear some rulers stating "that they are very proud to be exporting so many technicians and experts" ?!!! Forgetting that these are human beings who would rather find a dignified life in their own nation?

Many years ago, Geoffrey Hodson, a writer who claimed to have the perception of Angels and who wrote many books about their help to Humanity, encouraged those who want to find more creative ways of living to ASPIRE only to the HIGHEST for inspiration and comfort. And in his books one could find an image of a standing Angel, with the hand pointed upwards to heaven, pointing us the only source of justice and hope:

May it inspire us to be OUR BEST SELVES and in each day give our best to find more just solutions than the  ones that are being forced on every one, increasing poverty and humiliation except for those who have a lot.

quinta-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2012

Remembering those who are gone...

I want to dedicate this post to my friend Tricia, whose blog yesterday had a post dedicated to her late Mum.

I can relate to Tricia's loss, at the age of 11, as my Dad also died when I was barely 15.
I can still remember the feeling of loss and unbelief during the first hours and days of his disappearance...
Walking to secondary school in a March day with sporadic rain and a lot of cold sunshine, and telling myself repeatedly "My Father is dead..."

This feeling of missing someone, this very deep sense of loss, of having half of ourselves that is missing, in Portuguese we have a word for it: SAUDADE.

SAUDADE is a beautiful, musical word that brings us recollections of people and situations forgone and a cosy feeling of familiarity, or else the hard feeling of loss and bereavement.

Looking back to those we love, I think that what we can do is to recall their inner beauty, the loving ties that still shine between them and us and - just like Tricia did, to recall what they loved to do.

Maybe Tricia can one day publish something written by her Mother. Better still, blend in one of her own books, her Mum's words...

Dear Tricia, my heart goes out to you and never forget: Your Mum lives inside your heart and her Love will forever inspire and protect you and your Children.


Maria Carmo.

Lisbon, 12th. January 2012.

domingo, 1 de janeiro de 2012


"The Star of the Hero" - Nicholas Roerich

I chose this image because for me it represents Human Aspiration and our profoundly ingrained wish to surpass ourselves and reach out to the stars.

May today be the beginning of a Happy Journey! After all, our small planet travelling in blue space is like a vessel where we are all together. That is why whatever one does affects all others, and also why it would be intelligent to cooperate for the sake of all.

Bearing this friendly spirit in mind, I wish you all a year of deep self realization through positive endeavours, full of Love, Health and inner and outer richness.

May the Goodness in everyone's hearts be strenghthened and shine like a light in the darkness of despair and doubt.

Maria Carmo

Lisbon 1st. January 2012.

quarta-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2011

Christmas past and present - childhood dreams...

Christmas Traditions are different in different parts of the world, and sometimes even in the same country there may be variations…

When I was a child, Portugal had already started celebrating Christmas Eve not only by going to the Midnight Mass, but also by distributing Christmas presents at around midnight… Previously, before the "midnight gifts tradition" was adopted, people would go to Mass and then to sleep, and Children would be excited to wake up next day and find what Little Jesus had left in their shoes, by the chimney…

But when I was a child, my Family already commemorated the 24th. Including the gifts being unwrapped just after midnight… The excitement was enormous, all the Family would gather at my Parent’s, and the supper would prolong itself so that “Santa” had time to drop his presents by the Tree in the living room without us, kids, seeing him! Of course, it was only later that I understood that someone invariably managed to leave the Dinning room and ring the door bell without us kids noticing it, and then in the confusion, as we tried to get quickly to the tree which shone in the half lit room, with the gifts shining under it, we never noticed that!…

On the 25th, the day was also dedicated to the Family and Friends that would come over for lunch and dinner, the table always full and the dishes regularly piling up and being washed and brought back to use…

Invariably, some of the gifts I most enjoyed were books! Yes, I loved to “loose myself” inside a good story, and in my time Enid Blyton’s books were among the most coveted by boys and girls who loved adventure. Later I found out that some critics considered her books had “bad stereotypes” for kids – but, as I read her adventurous tales of boys and girls depending on themselves to discover the truth and solve whatever problems they were faced with, all this accompanied by delicious food and wonderful pets, nothing like that ever crossed my mind. In fact, I think that trying to solve all those mysteries developed my mind with a “detective” flavor and contributed to make me more attentive to details and a great “observer”…

Today, with such crisis all over the world, these are happy memories to treasure! Even though for so many this not possible now, may the spirit of Christmas still rise from our Hearts and allow us to be Generous with LOVE and LIGHT and GOOD WISHES FOR ALL!

Maria Carmo

Lisbon, 24th December 2011.

sexta-feira, 11 de novembro de 2011

11 11 11

Today many people are wondering what is the meaning of this strange number:

11 - 11 - 11 !

Because I always go to bed late, I started after midnight wondering if anything special would make this day different.

These last few days have seen an increase in activity of El Hierro Volcano in the Canaries - something a lot of people don't seem to realize as a potentially hazardous situation - and renewed Earthquakes in Turkey and Greece emphasize the instability of the geophysical and weather conditions.

Gigantic storms are hitting Alaska, terrible, almost biblical floods have been striking Thailand for weeks now. In usually mild Spain, weeks ago two elderly foreign people spending a Holiday at Marbella or Benidorm where swept away by a sudden flash flood and died!

This is not one of these "end of times" text, relax... But it does make one wonder about the harshness and unpredictability of current conditions - no to mention the economy collapsing all over...

So, around midnight I watched the news about El Hierro, the strong Earthquake in Greece, the raising numbers of people caught in the most recent Turkish Earthquake, and I thought about the 7th Billionth Child that is supposed to have been born on the last day of October. Ans I wondered about what this world may hold for the seven billions who currently inhabit it...

In the mean time, of course I had to sleep. There was work to be done today and this morning traffic probably would be terrible, with strikes going on against the crises and people trying to avoid the rain.

So this morning I was startled when I was called to attend an urgent meeting.
I rushed down the hall merely to find several Colleagues in a circle, holding hands. One of them said: since it is almost 11H11 of the 11th. of the 11th. month of this 11th year of this century, we thought we might meet briefly to share this moment.

In a way, I was extremely relieved to see that no impending news were going to crush us with any more negativity! On the contrary, this was very much the spirit I would like to see among us "mortals", every day, no matter what its numerology: That we would be able, as HUMANKIND, to hold hands and cooperate in order to find POSITIVE SOLUTIONS for the diverse crises that are often cornering us into a fearful, limited space.

Crises, if anything, should bring Humans the possibility to find NEW FORMS OF LEADERSHIP, more humane and wise, a NEW-FOUND RESPECT FOR NATURE AND ALL BEINGS and an AVAILABILITY TO SHARE AND TO FIND BEAUTY AND SIMPLE GOODNESS.

Throughout the day (it is not over yet) I randomly followed the news, but until now I did not find those that would really inspire me. And what would these be, you might ask?
So, let me finish with a wishful list of news that would put a smile on my lips:

11 - 11 - 11 NEWS:

The 7th Billionth Girl born 12 days ago has received a grant from the government to study. She has become the image of a new sort of woman, that is cherished and welcomed from birth till death in this land called Earth.

The countries of the world have decided to finance a campaign about HUMAN VALUES - instead of marketing for other commodities, during one year all public transport in the world will bring quotes about lofty ideals, human aspiration, the courage to "be change we would like to see".

In an unprecedented move, the most powerful governments of the planet decided to support special Educational efforts. All children will be entitled to free education. Older children will also be taught HOW TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

Yes, I can hear your comments: CRAZY!

But why should this be any crazier than for people on such a small planet to kill and hurt each other?

So, I do not know how many Earthquakes today may still bring, how many economic blunders in this terminally ill Civilization. But I do know that all we may take as certain is WHO WE ARE, and we owe it to us and to all to BE THE BEST WE CAN BE, TODAY AND ALWAYS!

Maria Carmo.

Lisbon 11 11 11 around 15H50.

segunda-feira, 21 de março de 2011

We are all Japanese these days...

The Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis in Japan moved us all deeply.
Even if we are half a world away, the world is getting smaller and smaller, and it is clear to all that we are intertwined in a Planet where we all depend on each other.

From the blogs of two friends (Isabel and José António - mostly blogs in Portuguese, but also one in English, the blog http://newsletterfromlisbon.blogspot.com/ ) I asked permission to use some photos of Japan to illustrate this post. They were taken by Isabel some years ago.

I sincerely hope that the suffering in Japan will come to an end and that people all over will turn this sad event into an opportunity for cooperation, friendship and hope to build a better future.

Once and again, we praise the attitude and courage of the Japanese people, who's millennial wisdom tradition certainly has something to do with their discipline, spirit of self sacrifice and fortitude.

Let us all contribute to a better, more ethical and friendlier world.

Maria Carmo

quinta-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2011

Lisbon under a foggy mist... the amazing photo of a TAP PILOT!

Photo by Commander José Costa taken from the cockpit of his plane on 13th Jan 2011

After a long time without updating this blog (Mum has been ill for 10 months now...) I finally gathered the strength to "shake it off" and write again.

Some days ago, I was wondering what theme might be appealing but not shallow: in this new year, I really feel one ought to go deep into ourselves to try and answer life's questions and discover fortitude in shared values and true friendship.

That's when I found that a great friend of mine was seriously ill. Even though she is still young, she struggles between life and death and the sheer realization of this makes one aware of our common mortality.

What seems to be a gloomy discovery, very soon becomes a beacon of light, as I read the hand written messages she send through her Brother or Partner. These short messages tell of how much more she values life now, how beautiful everything seems and how much she wants to enjoy it once this crisis is over.

This reminded me that sadness is very much like a gloomy day: everywhere we look, everything looks grim ... But that is where the photo taken by TAP's Pilot Commander José Costa reminds us that one can always rise ABOVE THE CLOUDS of our lives to have a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE:

This photo, taken from the cockpit on the 13th. January above the skies of Lisbon, reveals only, besides thee apparent ocean of blue grey clouds, the pics of Lisbon's Bridge and the statue of Christ the King.

Likewise, maybe if in life we have our own reference points, when everything gets dark and cloudy, we can always rise and, from the sky, perceive our beacons of light and trust in the only thing that does not change: everything passes...

Maria Carmo

Lisbon, 27th January 2011.