The Voices that Nursed the Massacre – Female War Poets

Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played,

The red crashing game of a fight?

Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid?

And who thinks he’d rather sit tight?

 

Women writers have explored and written on the subject of war alongside men but there is a stark difference because of women’s general lack of firsthand experience in the war. Women were not included in the army in World War I and only a few worked as nurses in hospitals which received injured army officials. Most women writers explored the theme of losing loved ones who went to  war or they assumed a soldier’s perspective to write. They wrote about terror, despair, loss and the harrowing effects of war.

 

Women were left behind in houses to endure, grieve, wait and survive without their brothers, fathers, sons, husbands and lovers. Their experience is different from men’s experience. The constant battle and atmosphere of terror affected their mental health and well-being, and their poetry laments the world’s collective loss.

 

Many of these women were educated which is why they had more mastery over language and technical skills when it came to writing poetry. This gave them an advantage over the men in the army who were uneducated and worked all day. The soldiers wrote poetry that lacked conventional poetic techniques whereas women avoided the critically frowned upon verbal clichés and heroic formula of verse in their writings which were common in male-written war poetry. The sonnet was used by them to express the grief of loss and symbolism and imagery for distinct purposes.

 

The publication of Catherine Reilley’s ‘Scars Upon my Heart’, an anthology which included women’s poetic verse of World War I, was significant in bringing forth women’s sentiments and experiences during the war. The poems in it showed frustration and indignity at not being able to share what the men were experiencing. Women were expected to support the morale of men in the army, but their poetry appeared more feminist and pacifist.

 

Charlotte Mew was one of the war poets whose poems revolved around seasons, particularly spring, which symbolized rebirth, hope and drew attention to the suffering of the war in the present where thousands of lives were lost, by portraying the death of small animals. ‘The Farmer’s Bride’ is the anthology that was published when she was alive, containing only 17 poems. She wrote 68 poems, most of which were short lyrics. She started as a prose writer but turned to poetry later.

 

Other poets like Rebecca West imagined trench life and the experiences of being in a ‘No Man’s land’ while Marian Allen’s sonnets exude loneliness and exclusions. Vera Brittain experienced war, as part of a Voluntary Aid Detachment unit, from home and from the Front. For her, poetry was something that comforted her whenever she read it or wrote it. Her poems were anti-war and feminist and she was admired because of them. Her interest in politics was due to her ambition to learn the effects of war and she hoped that a repetition could be avoided. Jessie Pope wrote light verse, light fiction for children and published three volumes of war poetry. Her writing was humorous.

 

As the war went on and men came to fully realize the harsh realities of war, they began despising the patriotic poems written to motivate them and to urge them to fight . The young women on the other hand did not have a chance to realize this, and the glorification of war shown by the media encouraged them to keep writing the patriotic poems that they were so fond of. Owen and other major male war poets criticized them in some of their poems and the female poets were generally despised.

 

Women’s position in society changed drastically as they were employed, gained economic independence, self-confidence and discovered that they could live their lives differently. This helped them in demanding voting rights  and the ‘suffragette movement’ achieved its aim faster. Their role in munitions factories and in regulating the economy of the country helped them gain political and voting rights. Their poetry had romantic and heroic expressions for the bravery of men and was filled with  disgust and outrage at the war. Women’s poetry revealed a different aspect of war than the direct attack and its consequences, and helped understand the things that shaped the society after the war.

 

But here, where the watchers by lonely hearths from the thrust of an inward sword have more slowly bled,

We shall build the Cenotaph: Victory, winged, with Peace, winged too, at the column’s head.

 

 

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At our Grave

Indigo descended

Upon my being

As the sand gathered around my folded feet

My entire body bowing in prostration

Besides our grave.

 

Indigo descended

Slowly

Penetrating our souls

The life in me seeping

Slowly

Into the sand grains

Into our grave

A parasitic connection

Drawing upon my strength

My passion and my dreams

Our future lay into the folds of the earth

And I sat attached to it

Never letting go

My life and blood

Making its way into the mound

My hands and heart

Trembling at its command.

 

Indigo descended

Upon my drooping eyelids

Silencing my pleas

Upon my lips

Stitching them together

Upon my heart

Bruising it forever.

 

Indigo seeped

Into my being

Indigo spread

Down into our grave.

 

Indigo were your arms

Indigo your mouth

As I buried you alive

Into the dirt

Above the dirt

Together forever.

 

Indigo rusted

Indigo preserved

Our grave

Our corpse

Our funeral goes on

Under a thunderous sky.

 

Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine wrote this Poem in My Head.

You brought your dagger up to my lid,

Cut them open as they bowed down to you.

My body has reflex reactions,

Even when my heart wants to behold your mesmerising smile.

You cut my eye lid open,

because you wanted me to see you through scarlet pearls.

And as the red haze blinded me,

You chopped off my ear lobes,

A chunk of my cheek,

And my body screamed at me.

Blood rushed up to the call of the knife,

My neck surrendered to the silver gleam.

You loved my collar bones didn’t you?

Your knife loved it that night too.

And at that moment when pain hit its prime,

You caressed my face and embraced my lips.

The adrenaline trembled helplessly in the hollows,

Every nerve end was on fire.

My body was busy in saving itself,

Between the ends of the ruptured veins

And the desperate gasps of breath.

Every cut throbbed and every slit whimpered.

And I could not feel your lips,

As they teased me for my attention.

I was Adam on the verge of sinning,

Your rosy mouth; the forbidden fruit.

That night,

God screamed at me.

You smiled at me.

Guilt burnt me alive.

And I still ask myself,

Why the body preferred to feel pain,

Over pleasure.

Pat-riot-ism

I never loved my country like I never loved my mother,
They both birthed me into a world I did not want to live in.
I have, for too long, been chained to relations I did not want to be tethered to.
They have been coercing out of me, respect and sacrifice, which I never wanted to surrender.
Natural relations choke me; they were formed without my permission.
And they take too much of what I never wanted to give.

Stubborn

I whine like a child. I demand for what I want. This is not going how I planned. Why are you angry at something I did not envision you to be angry at? Why am I caught off guard? Things spin out of control so fast. They do not walk the track I carved for them, they do not follow my command! And so I lay, whining and crying, stubborn to make things reach the happy ending I wanted. Forget what happened, forget what mistake I made. Just be yourself again. Just love me the way you always do, smile like you forgot what I just did. Like it doesn’t matter. I want everything to go back to normal so fast. I just want us to be back to being us again. But you decide you will remain angry and I decide I will not accept that. Sorry after sorry after sorry. Apologies on stacks of apologies on stacks of mistakes. I won’t give up. You won’t change. Yeah, but you still love me. I’m stubborn. Give me all the love I deserve. Give me back the person I was happy with. No. So I whine and whine and refuse to let go. I cry like that child whom you scold and refuse to hand over your most precious belonging because the child will mess with it in her innocence and you will have to deal with the consequences. But that child does not understand. And so she keeps begging for you to give your most precious belonging to her. But you know she will mess with it again and you’ll be hurt so you become stern and refuse to take the risk. I am that child that demands you to pour your love even on days when you are most scared to give it because you get so hurt when she doesn’t understand how to take care of you. When she’s careless and hopeless and you snatch it all away in your anger to punish her. I am that child. That still wants the person she loves to hand over all his love even on days when she hurts you like hell. I want you to be forgiving, endlessly, even when I don’t deserve it. When i make mistakes and I need it most. When punishment only makes me even more stubborn. And so I will cling by your side like an annoying child and cry and whine and demand you to hand over all your love, no matter how hurt you are. Because I cannot live without it, and I cannot ask you to leave me unattended. I will cry and scream and make you lose your mind but I won’t budge until your heart melts and you forget what happened and decide to stop being angry. Like an eager child I will greedily consume all your love till I’m sure you’re not angry anymore. And then the stubborn child will sleep, peacefully and you won’t be able to help but feel love for her abundantly. Eternally. Like a stubborn child I’ll be. Always there.

Absence

Absences are difficult. Complex to understand. You believe your absence won’t make a difference. But why not? You think your simple disappearance would just be that? Simple? Do you even know what monsters absences create? Its not simple. You leaving and believing life still goes on in the same way in your wake. It doesn’t. You believing life suffers no changes, nothing, is ridiculous. Do you know what darkness is? Is it just the absence of light? Is it only a void left in the wake of the light that leaves? No. Darkness is a separate entity. Darkness is a being of its own. It lives. It lives in the absence of light because it exists. I know because I’ve felt it grow cold around the edges of my teardrops when I’m helpless and alone and the failure of making you stay overwhelms me. I know because darkness engulfs me, mocks me and laughs at what I’ve become when I’m unable to stop you. Sometimes it becomes so motherly, it covers me and lulls me into sleep. Gives me comfort but it makes sure it never fools me. It shows me the reality, the consequences of my actions. And I let it educate me. You think cold is just the absence of heat? Have you not seen what a monster this cold darkness becomes when the light of your love and the heat of your body leaves? Do you think their absence is just that? An absence. Can you not see what tentacles this cold sprouts and wraps it around me. How it seeps inside me, numbing me into silence. When I keep screaming at you not to be angry at me! The heat just doesn’t leave quietly, it leaves behind a monster that thrives on my desperate wails and feeds on my silent prayers. It tells me you’ve left. But the monster that raised its head in your absence will never tell you that your absence is not just your simple absence. It will rejoice in the delusion you live in and it will devour me. I have to survive it until you return. Cope with it, like a boil you can’t remove until your presence becomes too powerful for it to survive anymore.
So the next time you decide you cannot bear me anymore, just know that your absence isn’t a meaningless void in my life. A loved one doesn’t just leave, he becomes absent.

Foreign

Today was a big day for me. I stood beside my best friend, as she looked over at the altar towards the man she loved. She looked beautiful, glowing with beauty and ecstasy. I smiled at her smiling face. Her happiness brought peace to me.

All through the event, her cheeks blushed at the appreciation she received. Everyone loved her. We had chosen the most beautiful and intricate dress for today and she bedazzled it. Her soft, thick hair flew around her face in the soft breeze and her eyes harboured a calm for which I had fought storms to bring to her. As everyone complimented her and she bowed her head humbly, I quietly complimented myself. Only I knew how many tears those pretty eyes had shed all these years. Only I had witnessed how her hollow cheeks had gradually become chubby and how her thin, weak and disease ridden body had recovered. I could never forget all the cigarettes that she had burned, all the drugs that she had enslaved herself to. My beautiful little girl had fought her way back with me and I had never seen anyone stronger than that.

As I watched her walking around, talking to her husband, my mind pulled me back to a chaotic evening in this foreign country years ago. I had been living a miserable life in Amsterdam, away from my family and friends, struggling to make ends meet in this alien place. I had come here to study, to earn money but I realised that I was only fighting to keep myself sane.

That day, I had been walking around aimlessly, crossing bridges and pathways I had never been to before. My mind was a chaos that day, questioning me about all the reasons for which I had put myself through this torture. I was homesick to the bone and every bit of me pained to be engulfed in the warmth and solace of my loved ones, of my home country.

I walked on, my vision blurred. All the memories of my life, of my happy past flashed before my eyes. It began raining soon and I let myself be drowned in the heavy pour. People laughed around me, enjoying as I ran ahead to find a quiet, isolated place. I wanted to be alone with my grief.

I jogged around a corner of a building and tripped. My face slammed on the gravel. I turned around to see what had been the cause and I froze. The face of my best friend, from back home laid there, her body curled up in pain. Unable to believe my eyes, I slowly moved towards her and scrutinised her face. It was Emilia; I had seen her face all through my childhood! I could recognise her. I tried to wake her up softly but she didn’t budge.

“Emilia?” I whispered, awestruck. “Emilia, is that you?”

Emilia was fast asleep and all her clothes were drenched in water. A white powder stuck to her lips and she had deep dark circles beneath her eyes. It was like looking into a person’s face that had borne the harshness of life. She looked so fragile that I was afraid to touch her, afraid that she would crumble in my palm. I searched the duffel bag that hung around her shoulder and to my utmost horror, I found drugs inside. Her wallet had no address, was devoid of money or any contact number that could be of my use.

Pain filled my chest as I grudgingly shoved the drugs inside her bag and called an ambulance.

“These kinds of drug addicts are not tolerated on the streets. Keep her inside if you can” The ambulance driver told me sternly after he dropped us at my place.

I carried Emilia to my room and laid her on the bed. I did not know what to do. I had no idea when she would wake up or how strong the effect of the drug was. I flung her bag on the floor and left the room as tears welled up in my eyes. Running to the lounge, I lay on the sofa and cried for hours. What had she done to herself? Why was she here? I could not understand. I only felt immense pain at seeing her in this deplorable condition.

She had been a healthy, hyperactive girl back in school and a constant companion to me. We had had an amazing friendship. I wished I hadn’t seen her like this. I wished she was her own self back again.

As midnight approached, I began to worry about her even more. Desperate to know whether she was fine or not, I tried to wake her up again. She opened her eyes after several tries and was ready to murder me as soon as she saw me.

“Who are you?’ She screamed at me drowsily.

“Emilia it’s me, do you….”

“Go away! Who do you think you are? Bringing me to your house! Why did you touch me! Who do you men think you are! Carrying around girls to your houses as if you own them!” She kept screaming.

Emilia was still under the effect of the drug so I kept quiet and waited patiently for her to come back to her senses.

“Why am I still alive?” She wailed as tears streamed from her eyes. “Why didn’t you just leave me there to die?”

She rolled around to the other side, clutching her stomach.

“Emilia, your clothes are wet” I told her.

“How do you know my name” Out came her muffled question.

“Emilia, it’s me Jared” I replied.

She laid still, her hair covering the expression on her face.

“Who asked you to bring me here? Why can’t you just let me live my life?” She said.

I stared at her with disbelief. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t happy that we had crossed paths? Wasn’t she glad I saved her?

“I am going outside. Change your clothes and come to the lounge for dinner” I announced sternly as I left the room.

Her attitude troubled me. What had she done to herself? This was unlike the girl she was. A few hours later, I carried a bowl of soup into her room. She had changed and was sitting on the bed, checking her drugs.

“Want to smoke one? She looked up at me and asked.

“No, drink your soup” I told her and left.

Days passed like this, with me carrying food into her room watching her drink cigarette after cigarette, puffing her life away. I kept quiet and controlled my anger. She did not disturb me. She slept in the room mostly and hardly ever cared to talk. I became more worried about her each minute. The smell of cigarettes filled me up with rage and disgust.

One fortunate day, Emilia dragged herself to the lounge and sat opposite to me on the sofa. She watched the television without really watching it. It was a pity to see that she was forcing herself to live like this. Alive, without really wanting to. The searing pain in my chest rose again as I watched her frail form and her weak, aging face. How a human being could subject themselves to such atrocity, was beyond my understanding.

I stared at her until she looked up at me. She stood up and started walking away from me. Enraged at her, I stood up and in one blithe movement, pushed her up against the wall.

“What are you doing?” She screamed in my face.

“Listen to me” I commanded her.

“Get away from me” She shouted.

“Please, listen to me” I pleaded.

“Well, I can listen to you, if you move back!” She threatened.

“No, just listen!” I held her strongly as she tried to squirm free. She was confused and fearful.

“What have you done to yourself?” I spat out.

“What? The cigarette? Oh please….”

“Yes and everything else too” I cut her off.

“What’s it to you” She demanded.

“What do you mean? You’re in my house, doing mad things and you think I wouldn’t be worried?”

“Well, I’ll leave then. You brought me here yourself”

“I did so because you were so messed up! You were lying in a street. My best friend, who I love more than anything, lying in a street! Do you know what I went through when I saw you?” I tried to make her realize what it had felt like.

“That’s none of your business. You could have left me, I would’ve died in a few days, problem solved” She blurted out.

“Are you mad?” I screamed. “Do you know what you’re saying? Do you know why I brought you home? That’s because I care about you. How can I ever leave you to die? I’ve always loved you!”

“No, you don’t. Nobody loves me. You came here and lived your life. I thought you were my best friend but you left me all alone. I needed you.” She began sobbing.

“You never told me you needed me. You destroyed your life for people who never cared about you. Didn’t I stop you? People used you, and you allowed them to do that” I tried to reason with her.

“You could’ve stayed” She accused me. “You could’ve saved me. You were my hope.”

“No…..you could’ve stopped me. You never stopped me…..” I couldn’t find my voice.

“Why would I have stopped you? To ruin your life! No!”

“Well, it got ruined anyway!” I told her matter-of-factly.

“At least I wasn’t the reason” She wiped her tears away.

“I wouldn’t have cared even if you were” I rolled my eyes at her.

“Just let me go! I will go away. I don’t need you to take care of me anymore” Emilia tried to break free.

“I can’t” My voice broke. “I can’t see you like this. You’re so wretched, it’s worrying me” I pleaded again.

It had been years that we had talked like this. Back in the happy times, we were inseparable, the best of friends. I let her cry her heart out and spill her insecurities. She had so much to complain about. I felt as if I was to blame.

She told me her story amidst tears and sobs. How she had been betrayed by friends, oppressed by family and rejected by love. Little by little, everything had added up to her depression. I learnt that she had ran away to London to escape the hardships and living alone had contributed to a severe depression. She had travelled to escape her monotonous life but had ended up finding escape in drugs.

As she spilled out her pain in words, I felt as if I was equally responsible for what had happened to her. I took my loved ones for granted, broke contact with them. I had run away to a foreign land to live a better life and I had not cared about how I had consequently destroyed the loves of the many people who loved me.

I could have stayed back and been a companion to Emilia. I could have stayed in my own country and been a companion to many who suffer. But alas! I had escaped to this foreign place and suffered myself.

I had wiped her tears away that day, promising to fix her life. I had taken her to the hospital, and helped her with rehab. The color of her skin became better, her health improved and her addiction subsided.

Day by day, she came back to life. The friend that I had in school came back to being herself. We read books together, played games and learnt how to cook. We painted the walls with bright colors, planted fragrant flowers in the garden and dealt harshly with depression.

All the love and effort I put into healing her brought great results. We fought the disease together and pushed darkness out of her life. Now, it was flooded with life. The peace that descended upon her engulfed me too. It made me proud, that I had helped my friend recover. It made me feel that I had done the sincere duty of being a friend. I loved her selflessly.

As years passed and Emilia regained her health, she got enrolled in a university. She made friends and had relationships. She had achievements and failures and I was there to support her in every phase of life.

“Jared!” Her melodious voice brought me back to the present. “Where are you lost?”

“Just trying to remember when you became so tall?” I asked her.

“I am not! You eat a lot that’s why you look chubby. Come, my husband wants you to sit with us.” She dragged me to a table.

“You have spoilt her!” her husband accused me as Emilia laughed at the joke.

“Do not hurt her, ever. Spoil her even more, she loves it” I told him, silently praying that he would never break her heart.

A part of their conversation had already been written down by me back in 10th grade (2010). The only difference was that it was from the girl’s point of view; scared and hateful. I changed the point of view to a more loving one when I picked that piece of paper up from a dusty box and began creating the story once again a few months ago.

Reiki: The Spiritual Energy

In this fast paced world of technology and scientific advancement, there are few who would believe in old ways of spiritual healing. However, the glaring truth cannot be denied; spiritual healing exists and heals. It has saved lives and done miracles in the same advanced world that denies the truth that stares them in their face. Reiki is one of the spiritual practices that thrives even in these modern times because it has proved its worth as an alternative medicine.

Reiki is a spiritual practice that was developed in 1922 by Mikao Usi, a Japanese Buddhist who observed meditation. Since then, it has been adapted by various teachers of different traditions, a technique commonly named as palm healing or hands-on healing in which a Reiki practitioner believes that he is transferring ‘Universal Energy’ in the form of flowing energy through his hands to the patient, healing him spiritually. There are two main branches of Reiki; the traditional Japanese which uses the intuitive sense of hand positioning and the Westernized form that uses systematized hand-placements.

Mikao Usi developed the system of Reiki after he received a revelation about it. While performing his Bhuddist training course on a mountain, he claims that he received a mystical revelation that endowed him with the knowledge of spiritual power and how to attune others to it. Usui went n to Tokyo to form a society that healed patients and produced practitioners of Reiki.

Like every religion has rules, and every practice some ethics, Reiki also has ‘Concepts’ that developed by Usui. From the Buddhist teaching, he summarized ‘The Five Reiki Percepts’ that condemned killing, thievery, sexual misconduct, lying and intemperance. Reiki teachers and practitioners have to abide by these five percepts to be successful in performing Reiki.

The Universal Energy is inexhaustible. It can neither be created nor be destroyed – it can only be interconvert which is why Reiki becomes infinite and invincible. Using this energy to induce a healing effect is one of the best ways to use energy for our betterment. To gain access to this energy, an attunement process is carried out by the Reiki master that synchronizes him with the patient. With interaction and focus, energy flows through the practitioner’s hands and reaches the patient, healing him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

People who are enthusiastic about practicing Reiki have to go through three levels of learning. The first degree course teaches them attunement and hand placement techniques, the second teaches symbols of connections while the third; the master training level teaches more than one attunement and further symbols. The art lies in the teacher himself and dedication and whole heartedness is needed to learn and practice this complex method of healing. Through this healing, the body is brought into a state of equilibrium as it works in conjunction with the meridian energy lines through the use of hand positions which respond to these lines.

Reiki has been gaining new respect within the medical community as it is a relaxing and natural treatment that has successfully helped patients in recovering from painful diseases like high blood pressure, hysteria, ulcers etc. Reiki releases the pain and stress to accelerate the healing process within the patient, eliminating the emotional trauma during such a harsh time. It balances the subtle body energy and supports other medical modalities including traditional therapies.

Even the patients who go through the hardest times during crucial surgeries have experienced the magic of Reiki that aids them in healing. It brings about a faster recovery from surgery, improves mental attitude and reduces the negative effects of medication and other medical procedures. Along with these, Reiki improves sleep and reduces anxiety which is healthy for patients.

In the last ten years, the use of Reiki has increased in modern medicine where it works as therapeutic support to recovering patients. Be it hospitals or health care centers, nursing homes or community centers, Reiki has been integrated into medical care to help patients.

Reiki has been deemed safe with no side-effects. Furthermore, it is easy as it only requires light touches to a patient’s body instead of including medicines to be ingested or needles to be used. Many doctors have reported to have used Reiki with chemotherapy or biopsy to reduce the stress level of patients.

Interviews with Reiki patients have been conducted to gain feedback which will favor further Reiki practices. Patients have commented that Reiki improves their overall balance and enable their body to heal faster. Patients feel relaxed in the meditative state and are able to focus more with a clear mind. The treatment removes the stress from their mind and puts them in a relaxed state. Patients added that the treatment improved their sleep, digestion, memory and self-esteem along with reducing pain and stress.

Reiki has been used to relax cancer patients after chemotherapy and it has proved that it makes the patients feel more comfortable. Patients who have suffered heart attacks in the past reported to have improved heart rate. Patients who undergo depression, hopelessness and stress were also treated with Reiki and they showed improvement in their behavior.

In Pakistan, many Reiki clinics are found and there are doctors who have learned the art of Reiki and they practice it and tech it to their patients. Instructors of Yoga also use this method to relax their students and to help them to meditate. Yoga and Reiki have been used together for many years as yoga practice is said to increase the flow of Reiki energy in a person. Both of these practices are favorable to each other.

The surprising thing is, Reiki’s advantages just don’t stop there. They are wide ranged and are useful in every aspect of life. Gardeners perform Reiki on their seeds/seedlings before planting them and while they grow so that they can have better plantations and crops. Housekeepers perform Reiki on their homes to remove negativity from their household and on their family members to have better relationships. Reiki has helped to develop closer relationships, which strengthens the positive energy that flows through them. This is a true form of spiritual healing.

The best part is, there are people in this world who have taken the art of Reiki to a whole new level. They have used the idea of spiritual healing with such a perspective that it benefits a huge part of our society. And benefit is a small word; actually it is an understatement to what Reiki has done to those who were previously ignored and neglected by our society. Reiki has helped them to make their mark and to prove their worth despite their disabilities.

Starting from just a background summer camp for mentally challenges people, Special Olympic worked relentlessly for 45 years to become a renowned sports event that has been changing lives and attitude. It is the World’s largest Sports Organization which uses Reiki to help children and adults with mental disabilities. Training almost 42 million athletes the whole year round from 170 countries, Special Olympic organizers are proud of holding 70,000 events every year to celebrate the individuality and unique nature of every disabled child.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the person who was disturbed after observing the unjust and unfair treatment of mentally disabled people and seeing that they lacked a placed for physical activity, she initiated the summer camps so that these children could play. Her aim was to learn what these people could do in the field of sports, rather than trying hard to match other people who were normal. Thus, her vision grew into a huge sporting event which gave a chance to these people to show the world what wonders they could do.

The first ever International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago. About 1500 athletes took part and made this event successful which attracted the attention of loads of people, gathering support and funds.

The biggest question is, how do these mentally disabled children play so well? How do they interact and understand their coaches and how do they overcome injuries that they suffer during playing? The answer is quite obvious; the spiritual power and the healing medicine, Reiki was the medium of communication. It was the redeeming master that aided these children in showing their best abilities.

In the training of these games, coaches use Reiki to build up the stamina that is needed to play and perform and so, these children are treated throughout the event. This practice becomes a blessing for these children, helping to reduce the rate of cardiovascular diseases and obesity along with other health benefits. In addition to this, they gain many emotional and psychological benefits, including self-confidence, social confidence, building greater athletic skills and higher self-esteem.

These games have fun activities that boost mental and physical state. Children are encouraged to become involved in games and activities that develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This healthy routine teaches them to learn their schedule and approaches to learning, along with how to follow rules and directions.

However, the best and the most crucial part is that the same children who are  shunned into hiding by the society , who feel ashamed of the disability that they are not responsible of having, walk  out with  their head held high after achieving medals and trophies at these games. They develop social skills after interacting with coaches, volunteers and fellow athletes and their confidence increases so much that it becomes easier for them to talk to others. Their communication skills are honed in the process so that when they enter their practical life, they are able to interact with everyone instead of shying away.

Special Olympics is known to organize large-scale sporting events that gather thousands of volunteers from the host city. From North Carolina to Dublin to South Africa and to several cities that are proud of hosting this cherished event, the Special Olympics has reached out to every nook and corner of this world to support the mentally retarded children from every generation.

Famous companies from all over the world present their precious contributions by donating funds, recruiting volunteers and organizing auctions, concerts, events and even yard sales to raise money for this organization. Food, transport and technological resources are supplied by these sponsors that help to make the event a huge success.

In 1968, North Carolina held this event and only a small amount of 6 athletes took part. However, as these events gained popularity and opened up chances for children of the society, this number was raised to 400 in 1970and to 25,000 in 1999 as athletes gained confidence and self-esteem through training and competition.

This movement has grown from 80 countries to more than 150 since 1990. Sporting events used to be restricted to USA but then they spread on to France, China, and Russia and so on. Countries hungrily signed up for these events to take place in their homeland as a ray of hope for mentally retarded children spread quickly.  The flame of this organization soon reached Europe and the First European Special Olympics Summer Games took place in 1981 in Nivelles, Belgium where 20,000 athletes took part.

The support for this movement grew wide as the People’s Republic of China joined. From the middle East, the Arab and the Israeli athletes came together for a peaceful competition in 1988 while in 1989, Lebanon announced a cease-fire to allow the first Special Olympics Games to take place in their country which serves a testimony to this peaceful event.

Another trend that has started in this movement is that many of the athletes dedicate their life to Special Olympics. They become officials and trainers who, with their experience, mentor and assist the new athletes. In this way, the athletes are able to return the good that Special Olympics has done for them and moreover, to give the same opportunities to other mentally retarded children that they themselves had the privilege to grab.

The Special Olympics also organizes ‘The School Enrichment Program’ that trains the volunteering students and teachers by giving them an understanding of mental retardation. This makes the normal people familiar with the mentally retarded population, the care they need and how they should be dealt with.

One more beneficial program designed by the Special Olympics is called the’ Athlete Leadership Program’ which enables the mentally retarded athletes to take on  further roles like coaching, refereeing, umpiring and speaking at public events. These athletes speak their heart out at events in front of the media which gives us a chance to listen to their inspiring stories and opinions. These athletes also serve as officials and skilled personnel at Special Olympics and other community sport competitions.

In this way, the children who thought of themselves as people who were dependent on society come out as people who do so much for the society. These athletes are trained to represent Special Olympics and their public speaking skills are refined so that they can present themselves confidently. These athletes become much more than just athletes; they become respectable coaches, admired members of the society and stars of the futures.

The difference is clear, Reiki is influential and life changing not only for these mentally challenges children, but also for the volunteers and coaches who experience a lifetime friendships and rewards. This whole period of interaction and training is beneficial both for the trainer and the child as the volunteers are graced by helping and nurturing such a child, while these children feel the happiest when they see their families supporting them and their coaches feeling proud of them. This constant support builds up their courage and they feel acceptable in the society.

The use of Reiki in Special Olympics creates a joyful experience for these children, as thousands of volunteers and athletes come together from all over the world, they unleash the human goodness within them. This event turns lands into places of huge celebrations with the idea that we can all make a difference for good. Athlete after athlete showcases the meaning of the world’s most powerful example of how we can and must change the world.

These athletes display overwhelming courage, determination, energy, and joy. They give their personal best, compete, fight for victory and are humble in defeat. They unite countries by breaking all barriers of communication, flying in and travelling from far off places to rejoice in the happiness of good will. And they do all this with their disabilities, the disabilities that are not allowed to become obstacles in their path to greatness.

It is a miracle to know, that there are children who suffered multiple problems in the first few years of their lives that left them with disabilities that robbed them even of the power to walk. But all thanks to Reiki and its powerfulness, that the same special children can now play sports like football, basketball and win medals and trophies.

Reiki has helped these children to embrace a new life, by not living on the mercy of others, but by triumphing on their own, using their own strengths and abilities. This unique method of spiritual healing has helped them to handle tough situations with more balance and to become heroes of their own lives.

Reiki has become a journey of love and beauty where the patients fall in love with themselves, connect with the divine energy, realize their true selves and utilize their true potentials to shine brightly despite their disabilities.

From being a gift of meditation to healing souls, Reiki has provided enlightenment both spiritually and physically. It’s not just a practice; it is a gift to humans to empower themselves and to make their lives better. Be it healing a little bruise that puts a smile on someone’s face or suppressing a disability that overturns a person’s life, Reiki is the way to feel this life force that thrives and glows inside each and every one of us.

My father has worked for the Special Olympics for many years and has learned the art of Reiki to help in his training of the special children. He has retired now but his utmost dedication to these children and their training has taught me a lot about life. I wrote this feature for my Mass Communication course two years ago.

The Girl in Red

I lay in the middle of the farm field, the warm ground pressing against my back. As I watched an eagle encircle the patch of sky above me, the stalk that I had in my mouth broke and fell down. Closing my eyes, I forced myself to lose my mind in the breeze that rustled my hair. I was calm, quiet and sleepy.

A crunching sound disturbed me as someone walked nearby. I hated disturbance and it seldom came at this time. The farmers and milkmen were usually busy at this hour. The footsteps grew nearer and passed without stopping by. I wanted to see who it was but I didn’t want to give in to my curiosity. The constant battle between being lonely and the need of company was wearing me out. Something always went wrong when I talked to people.

The rustling did not go away. It circled the farm, faded into the distance and came back. I turned around and was surprised. A girl with long, flowy locks wearing a bright red gown walked slowly around the farm. Her eyes were vacant, she looked on without really looking. I smiled to myself. She was just like me, escaping people and spending her time in an empty place.

“The universe will not give you any answers” I whispered to myself.

A mischievous plan formed in my head as I watched her float along the field. The red of her gown filled my eyes. That girl looked like sin.

I got up quietly and followed her slowly, passing her and stopping infront of her suddenly. She halted in her tracks and watched me intently. She looked amused, as if she knew I had been hiding.

“Do you know why the universe exists?” I asked as her brown hair flew all over her face.

“No” came the answer. She smiled at me.

“Why do you exist?” I asked another one.

“I don’t know” She answered earnestly.

“Maybe you shouldn’t exist” I stated.

She shrugged. The firm gaze of her honey eyes was unnerving me. She was not afraid of a stranger.

I turned around and walked forwards. She started following me.

“Maybe the universe should not exist. We should not exist” I said out loud.

“Maybe the universe exists because I exist” She answered back.

I laughed heartily. She kept following me, the rustling of our feet creating a soothing rhythm.

“Don’t you get fed up of asking questions that have no answer? Do you ask these questions again and again to yourself and realize that they have no answers?” I asked her. I loved talking to her.

“I never ask these questions” She said simply.

“I thought we all did” I was chagrined. Her life was so simple if she never dwelled into such absurdities. I longed to be like her.

I walked on and on, around the field until the footsteps behind me disappeared. She had left. I sat down in the empty field and loneliness descended upon me again. It became too quiet.

I lay in the same spot the next day. A red haze covered my eyes. I could see no one but her. A part of me wanted her to go away, to never exist. Why had she disturbed my peace, my empty life? But a small part of me wanted her to return, wanted her to give absurd answers to my equally absurd questions.

She came sooner than I expected. Relief and curiosity burned inside me as I yearned to turn around and see her. Her footsteps circled around me, fading in, fading out. Her presence was heavy. I could taste her in the air, the promise of unanswered questions shattering my beliefs.

As she passed nearby, I stood up and followed the red silk flowing in the air. The colour blinded me.

“Do you know why the universe exists?” I shouted at her.

She kept walking silently. It infuriated me. I grabbed her hand, turned her around and grasped her neck with my hands, as if I was going to choke her.

“Would this universe continue to exist if you stopped existing?”

She smiled calmly as the soft skin of her neck underneath my firm grasp turned red.

“Maybe” She answered.

I could not believe her. The anger raged inside me, I wanted to snap her neck. How can someone be so calm, so composed, so unsure about such important questions. I stared at her angrily, frozen as she smiled back like a child who was clueless.

“Go away” I ordered her and sat down.

She walked quietly, the red of her gown filling the horizon as far as I could see.

I was there at the same spot the next day. I existed like the universe existed. She would exist too. I waited patiently as the hours dragged on , listening out for the rustle of her feet. I waited and waited for the red to return to the horizon, to fill up the fields and eclipse the sun. I wanted the red to fill up my head. For the honey in her eyes to melt and drip, for that conviction in her smile to infuriate me.

But the girl in red never came. I waited and waited as the sun went towards the West. The blinding yellow of the fields and the sunlight covered up the whole universe. I hated it. I wanted the red to tint the skies, to turn the sun into a fiery ball of fire. It was too calm for me.

The girl in red had ceased to exist. My universe had ceased to exist. All the answers came rushing to me.

“Maybe the universe exists because I exist”

Her words echoed in my mind. She had given me all the answers. My universe existed because she had existed.

As the sun drowned behind the mountains, the skies turned red, the clouds crimson, the sun bloodshot. The blood in my veins boiled.

I wished it was blue.

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