Until writing this, I wasn’t sure whether to ignore or focus on what is unravelling on the world stage in front of our eyes. On a personal level, it’s hard to know how to transcend the shockwaves of negativity rippling across the globe – the rise of nationalism, the USA presidential inauguration, environmental destruction, and the cries of human suffering arising from endless war and famine. Oh, and let’s not forget the ungainly shape of Brexit in the making. The next five years look likely to be dominated by the new USA president in the global arena – a man who chooses to publicly demean women in sexist, misogynistic terms, appears to agree with the use of torture, build walls to separate ‘them’ from ‘us’ and openly discriminates against people of diverse sexualities and cultures. All of which can powerfully impact upon our sense of positivity, optimism and wellbeing.
I don’t believe that any of us would voluntarily choose to define our lives by negativity. The emotional imprint of trust, integrity, dignity and human goodness just feels so much better inside us. And yet it is so easy to react in horror to world politics – to contract inwards, to recoil and become submerged in individual and collective fear, anger, outrage, and horror at what is happening around us. And isn’t this what we are maybe in danger of doing now?
We could easily give our hope, motivation and energy away instead of spreading a different message that life is to enjoy, share, and co-operate with each other with compassion and love. Yet no human being can ever ultimately take away our joy, verve, appreciation and trust in what life can be. Except when we ultimately choose to do this ourselves.
We may not be able to control what happens to and around us, but we can decide how we respond to the world’s imprint upon us. And in this, we are the creators of our destiny and how we experience the world. We are ultimately a small yet vital part of the same humanity – and as such can choose to trust in the deep current of human goodness that still flows under the surface of world drama. We can see beyond the bigotry, injustice and polemic that divides us as a species, and connect to the love and benevolence that unites us together across the planet. And it is this message of hope and shared unity alongside our individual differences that we want to share at Sunrise.
So onto lighter things! A big thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising Celebration of Diversity evening at the Plough Arts Centre last Friday. What an uplifting and moving evening it was, with so many inspiring speakers, musicians and dancers sharing their creativity with us. A sell-out event – and a great start to this year’s Diversity Festival fundraising efforts! Thank you to everyone who came along, spread the word and supported us in spirit or presence alike.
February is LGBT+ history month and the Sunrise LGBT+ group are planning a walk (rain or shine!) on Saturday 18th February along the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Fremington Quay café with tea and cakes at the end. Any new members over 19 years of age are very welcome to come along. We’re also joining in the many events taking place at Petroc through the month which started on Feb 1st with the raising of the Rainbow Flag on and are ending with a talk by Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude magazine – you can catch him speaking at Sunrise on the 24th Feb.
Looking ahead to International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March, we’re organising a ‘Nurture, Nourish and Restore’ Women’s Wellbeing morning with Barnstaple library from 10:15 am – 1pm. This is a free event for women with a yoga class from 10.15am (all ages/abilities welcome, but please book your space with the library) and then a drop-in morning of tea, cakes, complementary therapies taster sessions, with drop-in arts and crafts activities. So come along and enjoy yourself in welcoming female company.
With warmest wishes to you all from Naomi and the Sunrise team
(Naomi Chunilal, NDS Manager)