That cool air this morning tells me summer has gone- almost before it has begun- here in Scotland. It's been a busy one for me. We have celebrated weddings, birthdays and there was the not so small issue of standing for selection as a constituency MSP. I wasn't selected so it was hard not to feel a sense of deflation in the exhaustion that a campaign leaves you with. So many talented people want to represent their people and I always knew it would be hard. But I'm glad I tried. I learned about what people care about and are awake to, I found I enjoyed the challenge of the hustings and meeting people across Edinburgh. It's a great way to reaffirm what matters to you and not surprisingly for me it's especially around what makes us well not just as individuals but in organisations and as a nation too. And those are the things I know I will focus on in my work. But one of the questions that remains for me is how I integrate my political knowledge and passions with my work. All things are connected after all and I'm a gestalt practitioner....gestalt means that together we are more than a sum of all our parts.
Last week I had a break with the family in Austria, it was a fabulous break full of beauty and laughter and the Sound of Music too!
It was timely and therapeutic and full of family memories. But as this week has unfolded the refugee crisis has deepened in Europe and I couldn't help compare their plight to my own situation. As we sung and laughed and toasted each other, they struggled across seas, across unwelcoming borders, they walked up autobahns, they tried so hard to give their families a different life. The lifeless body of the three year old Alan has symbolised the desperation and danger of their plight. I know I'm not alone in having a sleepless night after seeing that little boy dead and abandoned; a sense of guilt, distress and powerlessness the cause....but anger too. I'm pleased our own First Minister has shown compassion and leadership but the British government has been slow to respond all summer.
Again social media has played it's part with the refugees welcome hashtags and banners. Like many I have signed petitions, donated to local and international response charities and I'm looking out warm clothes to send over too but it doesn't feel enough. The Germans and Austrians especially are reminding us what a human response looks like, it's uplifting to see the many examples of their kindnesses. May we all learn from that. This article highlights how we can collectively tackle this crisis and reminds us importantly of the part the British government and others have played in creating it too.
As we approach the anniversary of the referendum this month, the memories flood back and that sense of loss of hope for a different Scotland can be overwhelming. Although my own political career since then may have been short-lived I know there are still ways to make a difference. The crisis in Europe reminds us that staying active politically is also about holding governments to account, to ensure their actions engage both head and heart. Social media has changed our lives in many ways but it has also changed politics. We can collectively make our voices heard and help to shift public opinion; speaking the truth to power.
So I plan to stay active; to stay engaged, to blog, to let my values shape my choices in life and in work. I leave you with this quote and the knowledge that we can turn our powerlessness into action..
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."