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I shared this post on Facebook on the 1st of July 2016, and because of the many positive reactions I decided to share it here too. I hope this writing empowers you too, wherever you are and whatever you are struggling with. – Usha

zonsopkomst

I found this beautiful picture of dawn/sunrise on the site of Boheems Paradijs (www.boheemsparadijs.nl), they own the copyright of this picture. Must be a beautiful place!

 

On the 1st of July, we celebrate the abolition of African slavery in the Dutch colonies, officially declared on July 1st, 1863, and made effective on July 1st, 1873, when other cheap indentured labourers from India were imported to work on the plantations and lived in disguised slavery.

The chains are gone, but if you take a good look around in our Surinamese and Dutch society and in the rest of the world, you can see that mental slavery is a state of mind that is too common. The invisible chains in ourselves are powerful.

“You were born into a prison for your mind.” The choice we have in life, is powerfully visualised in this scene of The Matrix. Do you choose the blue pill, or the red pill? “Remember, all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.”

Bob Marley (and so many others) told us: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” He knew, because he choose the red pill.

So did I, and some other people I know personally, or that I know through their writing or art or actions. We look around and see The Matrix, and we see the chained minds around us. And we keep doing what we have to do, because there is no other choice once you have embraced ‘the truth’, firmly based in light and love. There are no escapes or short cuts for red pill people, like when you have taken the blue pill, which stands for escapism.

My beloved birthcountry Suriname is full of people who have taken the blue pill, and persons who are in control of the blue pill factory run the country. And as we see in The Netherlands, England, the USA and many other societies, more and more CEO’s of the blue pill factory try to seize power and control.

But everywhere, there are red pill people too! I know we make the difference. I know more and more people wake up every day. Because that is what live on earth is all about: to grow from unconsciousness to consciousness. In this life or another. Every day, when we wake up, we have the opportunity to make better choices, because that is the grace of life. A person who finally understood that, was the person that gave us the powerful hymn “Amazing Grace”.

John Newton, born in 1725, was a slave trader. “In 1788, 34 years after he had retired from the slave trade, Newton broke a long silence on the subject with the publication of a forceful pamphlet ‘Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade’, in which he described the horrific conditions of the slave ships during the Middle Passage. He apologized for “a confession, which … comes too late … It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” (Wikipedia)

After he came into consciousness, he supported the abolition of slavery. And from his transformation into consciousness came the hymn that we know as “Amazing Grace”. It was published in 1779. And it is very popular among those whose African ancestors have endured slavery. When you think of it, you feel the power of transformation. And you get goosebumps, when you know the history and hear president Barack Obama sing it. He is a red pill person too.

Knowing stories like these fill my heart with red pill-power. I wish you all a freed mind and heart in this life, and connections born from and firmly based in love and light. You will feel the difference, once you have made the choice to step into light and take charge and be courageous. Remember: a new dawn, a new day, a new chance, every day!

Brasa, Usha

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I found these tips usefull to read, so I’m passing them on. Usha

What skills does a writer need to develop?

by Chip MacGregor

1. Develop a writing schedule (i.e., have a time and a place where you write regularly)

2. Have a goal (perhaps “create 1000 salable word per day”)

3. Learn to get the words down on paper (you can revise later – it’s always easier to edit something than to create something)

4. Create short assignments for yourself (you’re not trying to write a book all at once — if you break it into pieces, you’re trying to get each small assignment done)

5. [This is going to offend some people, but hear me out] In the words of Anne Lamott, be willing to create shitty first drafts (okay, forgive the language if it offends you — that’s stolen from Anne Lamott’s fabulous book Bird by Bird, and it’s one of the best writing lessons ever. So what should I say? “Poopy” first drafts? First drafts of deep doo-doo? It seems weak to say, “Be willing to create first drafts that aren’t very good.” So…I’ll just ask you to live with my colorful use of the language today.)

6. Know what makes a good story (understand what a plot is and how to follow a story arc)

7. Learn to create true-to-life dialogue (nothing keeps people reading more than a great conversation)

8. Establish a place (many novelists has lost the art of establishing a setting)

9. Characters make your story (newer writers often want to focus strictly on plot, but strong characters are what add depth and texture to a story)

10. Understand what makes superb writing (great themes, the deep questions, wrestling with morality, decision making, choices that may not be correct)

11. Learn to organize your life (in the words of management guru Bobb Biehl, everybody needs a calendar, an address system, a filing system, and a “To Do” list)

12. Learn to partner “a big idea” with  “great writing” and “a solid platform” (publishers want all three)

13. What is unique about your idea? (Solomon was right — the writing of books is endless, so figure out what is different or special or fresh about yours… If you can’t answer the “so what?” question, you’re in trouble.)

14. Establish your voice (the hardest thing to do in writing, but the single most important step to becoming successful)

15. Network so that you can create strong relationships with other authors, with editors, and with publishers (it’s who you know in publishing…just like every other business)

16. Know your audience (books are read by individuals, so know exactly which individual is going to be reading your book)

17. Create perfect proposals (work to create a proposal your publisher can’t say “no” to)

18. Seek to understand the market (you don’t have to be driven by trends, but it’s important to know what they are)

19. Understand what helps writing sell (fiction is for entertainment, nonfiction is for education, but great writing for either should change me)

20. Know how to sell (your book, your idea, your self)

21. Establish a relationship with a good agent (there are some lousy agents out there, but a good agent can help shape your career as much as any choice you’ll make)

22. Know how to plan a writing career (how to write, what to write, when to write, who to write to, how to move forward, and when to go full time)

23. Be able to read through a publishing contract (understand what you’re signing and what it means)

24. Be able to negotiate (even agented authors need some basic negotiating tools)

25. Work hard at marketing (the author is the person most responsible for marketing the book, not the publisher, the editor, the sales team, the publicist, or the marketing director)

26. Know how to manage your money (writing is feast and famine…knowing how to fill in the gaps is a really handy ability)

27. Understand yourself and your writing (plan your work and work your plan)

28. Politeness counts (express appreciation to others — success should be matched by grace)

29. Learn to give back (every good writer is a mentor who carries on the craft by investing in a protege)

30. Keep perspective on your life and work (publishing doesn’t make you smart or pretty or holy; getting your name in print doesn’t validate your life)

There you go — my list of things I’d share with you. If this interests you, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Carolyn See’s wonderful little book Making a Literary Life. In it, she encourages authors to write 1000 words and send a “charming note” each day. If you only did those two things, you’d probably be miles ahead of the pack. Maybe the best advice I know.

Chip MacGregor

http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/2010/03/what-skills-does-a-writer-need-to-develop-.html

India Today: ‘The Iceberg of Rape’

by Usha Marhé

“A rapist creates an opportunity that allows for a situation where there is privacy so that his control over the victim is complete.”

“…in most cases rape is well-planned and a considered act. The rapist actually enacts the rape in his mind for many times before he actually carries it out; the opportunity in most of the cases is created by manipulating situation carefully.”

These quotes are from an excellent article in India Today: The Iceberg of Rape. (Thank you Annie Paul, for drawing my attention to it.)

tapusjenvoorkant1In 1996 my book ‘Tapu Sjen/Conceal Your Shame’ about incest among Surinamese people was published. Incest is sexual abuse by family members or other caretakers who can be considered family. In this book victims of Indian, African, Chinese and Javanese origin tell their stories. I myself suffered from incest, which is the reason why I had so many questions. Nobody could answer them, so I went searching for answers. I wrote those answers and the stories I found along down in my book, breaking the taboo about this subject in the Surinamese society with it once and for all.

Through study and lots of interviews I came to the same conslusion as stated in the article: with incest (sexual abuse) the abuser creates an opportunity that allows for a situation where there is privacy so that his control over the victim is complete. And in most cases rape c.q. incest is well-planned and a considered act. The abuser actually enacts the abuse in his mind for many times before he actually carries it out; the opportunity in most of the cases is created by manipulating situations carefully. The article in India Today also states that in ‘as many as 90 percent’ of the cases of ‘Date Rape the victim is known to the rapist’.

Make no mistake about this, always keep in mind when you read about sexual abusers: creates an opportunity and well-planned and a considered act. Because people don’t believe this or don’t want to see this, they silence themselves and by doing that, they protect the rapist instead of the victim. They rather acuse victims of enabling the abusers, because it is easier handling somebody who is already victimized. As a society, we thus enable sexual abusers to do what they are addicted to and want to relive time after time for the high they get out of it: dominate and control others, destroying their lives and spirits.

Do you want to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Then stop enabling sexual abusers, as university officials are reported to be doing in this article in The Australian: Women in jeans no-no on Kanpur campus! Quote: WOMEN students have been banned from wearing jeans in India by university officials who blame Western dress for rising incidents of sexual harassment and assault. “We found the offenders mostly target girls in jeans. (The decision) was necessary as we keep receiving complaints from parents and students who expect us to act against the offenders,” said Dayanand Degree college principal Meeta Jamal. “We inform the police about the incidents but the college’s authorities have jointly decided to refrain girls from wearing jeans or using cell phones on campuses.”

Duh… How stupied can one be? This is a perfect example of blaming the victim and enabling sexual abusers.

Luckily, there are smarter persons walking around too. Quote: “Simpy Sinha, 27, said she suspected a political motive in the harassment in Kanpur, similar to the annual campaign by Hindu nationalist groups to prevent Valentine’s Day celebrations. “These people, they just try to create some havoc to get attention. Why not tell these boys not to leave their houses after 6pm?” she said. “Even girls wearing salwar kameez (long shirt and pants) or saris get raped.”

Educate yourself and help spreading awareness. Because this is a big problem in our world. If in the United States, a country considered to be modern, democratic and leader of the ‘free’ world, 1 out of every 4 women has been/is sexually abused, which is the tip the rape-iceberg in that country, ask yourself: what is happening in the rest of the world?

x—-o—-x

First published on my blog on June the 17th, 2009. Link: http://ushamarhe.blogspot.com/2009/06/india-today-iceberg-of-rape-eng.html