Is Trump getting a raw deal – HAVE YOUR SAY

Regular contributor to St Francis Today, Steve Praetorious discusses US Elections

When it came to the American elections I was a bit like an ostrich. My head was in the sand for ages. Why should I bother with wasting time on something that was of very little interest to me. Trump is a Bafoon. He’s had his moment in the spotlight. Who’s this Biden dude anyways? Can’t possibly be worse than Trump right? Surely he’ll easily win and America/the world will be a better place? Job done. Hurrah! Time to move on ….. Or not.

After being contacted by a friend he implored me to follow things a little more closely. He believes that these elections are hugely significant and predicted (still does) a Trump victory. What!? So several weeks ago I decided to clear the sand from my eyes and started following various different news channels. As I did so, a few things became abundantly clear.
1. Most news channels are privately owned and have agenda’s
2. News is no longer used just to factually and fairly disseminate information. It is used to influence.
3. The power to influence lies in the hands of a very small elite.
4. Fake news is real.
5. What on earth are we supposed to believe?
The answer was simple enough ….. just put your head back in the sand Stevo!

But that was not to be. My friend kept sending me messages and links. Incessantly so. It was so irritating at first! A constant barrage of pro Trump information from a host of news channels that I’d never even heard of before. Personal voice notes with impassioned pleas to delve deeper into what was going on. We have to look ‘behind the scenes’ he implored! It started reading like some sort political thriller. Fascinating conspiracy theories and a host of phenomenal Trump achievements. Wow! Could this morally questionable, utterly humourless, tactless, tasteless, bullying, secular, non environmentally minded toad really have achieved that much in just 4 short years? I once again washed the sand from my eyes and diligently read every Trumpist link he shared. There was NO way in hell I was ever going like this man. Main stream news had done a very good job in that regard. Nonetheless (having swallowed several small stones) I began to digest all this new information.

Although even the word Trump still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I did have an epiphany or two. My friend had looked FOR news rather been fed it. I owed him one thing. I needed to separate Trump from ‘Trumpism’. I needed to acknowledge the positives. Without doubt, his ‘wrecking ball’ has drawn a line in the sand between good and evil. Where he stands personally may well be dubious but why should that detract from the value of this realisation? His achievements for working class America during a time of extreme global crisis are actually quite remarkable. That he hasn’t started a war and actually diffused the crisis in North Korea is barely mentioned. The list goes on. I can well understand now why his team are desperate another four years. There is an action plan and its BIG!

Holy crap! I need to get my head back in the sand …. nobody like to hear all that ‘trumpet blowing’ … Not even me! But before I do so I’m going to stick my neck out one last time. Trump has not gone quietly. Trust me when I say he has no intention of writing a concession speech anytime soon. He will tough this election out in the Supreme court. He may still even win. If he does, it may not be that bad after all. Rather the devil you know than the devil you don’t right? Here’s to digging deep ….

Article by Steve Praetorious

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The Gift of Pain

Stephen's ScribbleStephen PraetoriousA few years ago I joined an elite group of warrior men and women ….. those who walk and work with pain. Although it is nigh impossible to interpret the level of other peoples pain, dealing with our own daily challenges allows us to empathise and share with each other.

My pain greets me every morning, like a ‘most unwelcome companion’. (I originally wrote a far more explicative double barrelled word) A severed Achilles tendon back in 1989 lead to an antiquated arthroscopy on my left knee in the mid-nineties. My meniscus, having been butchered lead to severe medial cartilage degeneration. The result, unbearable pain and a uni-compartmental knee replacement 2 years ago. More recently my arthritic right hip has been extremely painful with mobility there pretty much poked (okay I said it). X rays have revealed (in my homeopaths words) that the ‘hip is gone’. Then of course there’s the old shoulder ‘thingie’ and the lower back ….. that’s more or less my story.

As with many people who endure pain, I do not wish to burden other people with my woes. That is not the point of this article. We all have experienced pain at some point in varying degrees. Take note however, many people endure pain for extended periods of time on a daily basis. Next level companionship. Most of us find it hard to actually quantify what that is like. Imagine waking up in the morning and asking yourself “I wonder how many ‘spoons’ I will have today?” ‘Spoons’ as in spoonfuls of energy. A shower takes one, by the time you’ve got dressed and made the bed, it’s two. Going to the shop is another two. Yesterday you only had eight spoons ….. You didn’t have a shower or have to go to the shops so managed to see a friend for an hour. Unfortunately your friend was full of shit and sucked 2 more spoons of your precious energy. For people with chronic pain, making those spoons count is really important. Pain will stop you in your tracks. There is no other option other than to lie down and endure. Endure to a that threshold that only the sufferer truly understands. If you are one of these people, I would like to honour your journey today. Your courage all too often goes unnoticed.

I made a choice some years ago to look at healing holistically and explore the incredible amount of modalities that are out there. Pain is what motivated me to this. This challenging companion has actually been instrumental in opening my mind. In 2017, after a huge amount of research, driven by the motivation to help heal and maintain the human body, I decided to become a Body Stress Release (B.S.R) Practitioner. (Feel free to read more about this incredible technique in the editorials) In making this decision I opened a new chapter in my life. One which has proved highly educational and very enriching.

Crucially, the physical element of pain is linked to our emotions. It has been proven that emotions such as anger, fear, loneliness, anxiety, frustration, impatience, aggression, stress, sadness etc actually exacerbate pain. Love, gratitude, peace, contentment, companionship, joy, fulfillment etc actually help to reduce pain levels.

Believe it or not, experiencing positive emotions is actually a choice. The habitual pattern of negative emotions can often be become ‘the status quo’. We are exposed to so much overwhelming information these days. It may take a little effort to break certain behaviour but its not that difficult, especially living so close to nature. Simply taking a walk to clear ones thoughts has a multiple benefits. We all know how awesome it is to find that special chilled out spot. Park easy in the sun ….. banish ‘the monkey mind’ for a while. Moments when we feel blessed carry a very special energy. It is almost as if there is a letting go and a connection at the same time. The feeling that everything is going to be okay. The grounding in the realisation that the journey ahead is manageable.

Yet stepping into that truth remains hard. Pain does not greet with hugs and kisses. (Not much does these days it seems) Pain catches one by surprise. For those like me who’ve taken some big hits on taken for granted bodies ….. the journey ahead is off road. How could not being able to run for more that 400m be fine? Excuse me? Try no longer being able to go to the beach because the crutches can’t handle the sand! Or getting stuck simply trying to get to the bathroom. There will always be somebody in a worse situation than ourselves. If that person can wake up in the morning and get out of bed then so can we all ……

To be fair, action speaks louder than words. It is crucial that people with pain do some form of controlled movement. Learning how to breathe properly through meditation techniques is also massively beneficial in flowing through the cycles of pain. Getting help through holistic health care practitioners is extremely comforting too. And it works! Whether it be Body Stress Release, hypnotherapy, pilates, kriya, yoga, counselling, swimming, physio, chiropractic, bio kinetics, reflexology, shiatsu, xi gong, sound therapy, ….. the list goes on ….. People are there for us, and they can really help.

In closing connecting mentally and spiritually to pain is crucial. It makes it so much more manageable. If your mind and your heart is on board, the battle is half won. Strangely enough, only when the heart opens to acknowledge the truth of our pain, can the mind can align. That means letting go …. which is more often than not about the things we love most. (such as beer!) So not easy ….

Here’s to your pain companion giving you a little space today. Space to embrace, take action and feel blessed ……

Thank you for reading

Stephen