Wisdom from Fyodor Dostoevsky

Quotes

Fyodor gives us a  clue in the word meaningful when he describes “work” furthermore when he states “lose their reason for existence” he reveals the depth of his statement.

So many people are employed or working for wages; yet hate their jobs. They are going as Fyodor says “stark raving mad.”  Could you imagine the destitution of the human essence when it is not striving towards its purpose?

Some may search for their purpose and feel like they failed to find it, when all along it was the very thing they least expected. The work that you are destined to do is the thing you are most passionate about, the thing that makes your heart soar.

When it is found, treasure it greatly and master it! Eventually you will find you’re passionate about many things and take on more “work.” 

Stay Blessed

Josette xo

They Walked Before Me

Today, many across the world shall proclaim- “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” or worse say “Patty” in which technically it is known as “Paddy.” This is actually an unflattering term because once upon a time, it was used negatively towards Irish immigrants.

Except, taking pride in ones heritage does not, nor should be honored once a year. Yes, firstly I am born American; yet my blood comes from natives of Europe. Previous posts tell some of my journey, and how I discovered where I come from; better yet who I come from. My DNA is at the highest percentages for two populations that spread throughout Europe; Celtic and Viking people.

*Side note- Not only Irish and Scottish people are Celtic. Studying history, geography, migrations and folklore will teach otherwise.

A long study of mitochondrial DNA places my ancestors around 8,000 years ago in Central Europe. The subgroup that I branch from H1ap so far shows the highest matches to myself in Ireland. So I am estimating my genetic mothers were in the great old land of Eire (Ireland) for 3,000 years or more.

Is it about the land, or the people?

Yes, I am a firm believer in the concept, we are all human beings! I love the lands they lived in; however it is more about the heritage and identifying with as many of my dead ancestors that I can discover. We all come from humans that despite the odds of climate change, war, genocide, disease, famine and any other obstacle, survived. Taking a close look at human migration shows us how far some of us traveled just to ensure that the future would exist.

Why aren’t we celebrating our existence?

Is it really just about wearing green today? Getting drunk? or Plastering shamrocks and Leprechauns all over. Why is it all about one man? I don’t want to step on toes or religious views but the “snakes” St. Patrick drove out of Ireland were pagan people. People who didn’t believe as he did. I suppose a glance around our modern world we could say in current times the Muslims are being treated the same way. Why? because any different view is always seen in fear.

My one request for the world today is to look beyond the stereotypes of tradition or the norm and dig deeper. Find out who you are, discover the names of the people who brought you here. What were their struggles? What adversity did they face? Why did they have to move from country to country? I promise you the more you dig, the more you will transform. It doesn’t go without saying, you will find tragedy. You may even find at times your ancestors were oppressed by a major power. It is then you will find anger at first, and it may subside or cause hatred. Time will heal you! If getting my DNA evaluated taught me anything, it was that we are all connected in some way. Yes, even to the people who once oppressed your ancestors. That is when healing begins!

So by all means get up, celebrate today! The saying is “we’re all a little Irish.”  Just don’t forget that everyday, you are a product of the people who brought you to this destination!

 

Be blessed with peace

Josette

 

 

Wintry Decline

Blow, blow, thou winter wind Thou art not so unkind, As man’s ingratitude.
My age is as a lusty winter, frosty, but kindly.
Now is the winter of our discontent.  ~William Shakespeare
She always articulates her parting with a twinge; does she not? Here’s my expression of her departure.~ Josette ❤
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#BlizzardStella from my back yard South Bronx March 14, 2017
Stranded, bellowing encircling seductively, kindred essence of the malevolent; yet enchantingly, she stays
Nipped, rasping endearments embracing bitterly, kin to the seams of the quill; yet enchantingly, she plays
Partaken, gelid drops diminishing sluggishly, tastelessly, ally from the arctic abyss; yet enchantingly, she sways
*Footnotes- So what motivated me? Obviously the view 😀 and these lovely sounds-
Winter Sounds and of course quotes from Shakespeare!

The Elephant in the Room- Discussing Gentrification

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Photo taken by my Daughter Alexandria on Garrison Avenue here in the South Bronx where I choose to raise my family.

Gentrification: 1. The process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.

1.1 The process of making a person or activity more refined or polite.

Does the agenda meet a genuine concern?
If the objective for gentrification was to reform housing, schools, and employment; then why is the first thing they build in our neighborhoods, shopping centers? 
Typically the retort I obtain is  “Well, it creates jobs.”
Naturally, my detective instincts drove me to ask these employees at these new shopping centers, “Do you live locally?” Surprisingly, many of them do not.
The objective then folds, and the reality of it all is that gentrification is influenced by ulterior motives.
In return, these jobs do not pay a high enough wage to satisfy the cost of living; which is high, even in our low income communities. Rising from this employment crisis is the issue of employment requirements.  Did you know many retail, and food service  jobs now require a diploma, or equivalency? All it takes is acquiring a list of High Schools within your community, and observing the statistics for graduation rates, you’ll see the problem staring you in the face. So the next issue arises, education reform.
Have you had the pleasure of discussing education with these gentrification promoters?  The rhetorical jargon you’ll hear is “We are giving you charter schools, aren’t we?” Oh, those good old charter schools, gotta love em! Personally, my life was flipped upside down during the 2015-2016 school year, due to charter school takeovers.
I had the freedom to home school my children for many years, and did so successfully. For my daughter Elissa’s high school years I decided to put her in local high school. Elissa became a student at the former F.L.A.G.S here in the South Bronx. When the new year began I received a notice that her school was being proposed for closure. After tons of research, and speaking with staff, the scales fell off of my eyes. This was like a war going on in my community, and I was sleeping! FLAGS did close ultimately, despite my own attempts, and the attempts of teachers to petition otherwise.
What is the reasoning behind these school closures?
Remember those snarky replies I keep speaking of? Well, be ready for these because they are quite amusing when the pieces come together.
Here is how they do it!
They build these lottery schools, or charters, I am sure you receive mail about how these schools want your child. Instinctively, parents will see all of these amazing choices the school provides, and enroll him/her because they want what is best for them. Don’t be fooled they fish for our teachers too, offering the moon, and stars.
This reaction is what I like to call the game of Jenga! Piece by piece they remove stability, until the system collapses.
You will now have lower enrollment at your local public school; as well as it now being understaffed. I am sure the wheels are turning, and your thinking “lower student to teacher ratio” can’t be that bad, right? Yes, lower student to teacher ratio is excellent; however the board of education has enrollment requirements. Your school is now at a disadvantage according to their standards. The sole purpose or focus on my daughter Elissa’s school closure proposal was lower enrollment. Keep in mind, they succeeded!
There is other problems with lower enrollment. The board can now withhold funding, and cut programs; which in turn will provide a poor data report. Your school will now reflect with lower graduation rates, and less resources. 
Now that the paper report is created, these schools will slowly make their way to closure. Don’t believe me?
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You are looking at a notice from my other daughter Amber’s school. She attends Entrada Academy here in the South Bronx. This notice is enough to frighten parents into transferring, providing lower enrollment. The cycle has now begun, and Entrada is getting “less space” can you guess why? They are proposing a Charter.
Where is the better solution for reform?
With the cost of living on the rise, our schools closing, our children being bounced from school to school, and homelessness on the rise, how is this gentrification considered reform?
The answer is within these paragraphs, they are not reforming us!
So what is gentrification?
Gentrification is an attempt to eradicate whomever doesn’t conform to the lifestyle dictated by leaders. Gentrification is modern day slavery, it is a way to break, and shatter delicate lives. When our pieces lay upon the asphalt, they will sweep us to the side to be taken out like trash.
On a side note, half of the affordable housing being built in my community has income guidelines out of the boundaries for low income families. We can’t apply! Section 8 and NYCHA are not accepting applications either. Just one walk around my neighborhood and you will see almost every building is now a shelter. 
When they call our neighborhoods ghettos look at the definition:
A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
An isolated or segregated group or area.
Now I ask you, am I wrong for saying this is modern day slavery?
Until next time
stay blessed,
Josette xo

To London with Love

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There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. ~ Jack London

Ecstasy, from the Greek Ekstasis, meaning ‘standing outside oneself.’ The sentence Jack has made “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life” can be likened to the idiom ‘on cloud nine.’ Certainly Jack paints a picture for us in one small statement so vividly.

The semantics within provide us with an almost socratic mindset. To reach ones highest state in a single moment; yet forget life itself, is agreeably a paradox. Yes, there can be that one single moment, it will define you forever. These moments can leave you feeling as if nothing can ever exist before, or beyond that space. When time stands still and all that matters is ‘now’…these are the summits that forever shape us.

I have unquestionably found moments like that; both good and bad. The births of all of my children, and the deaths of loved ones.

If not for my greatest teacher Ms. Fuller of my fifth grade public school class, I would not have known Jack London. To her I owe my love for both reading and writing; for she taught me to reach higher, and go beyond my limits.

Until next time,

be well, and stay blessed xo

 

Twain Thoughts

Ah but what is courage? 

For without fear one would never know. 

Words are a way to convey emotions, without words, feelings or knowledge of them would be void.

Courage is not the absence of fear! The word courage originated with the thought of the heart. The heart is considered the seat of emotions, thus the original meaning of courage is heart.

Courage is to face danger; however one perceives it, and hold back the desire to give up or run. 

If fear were completely absent, how would you learn how to strengthen your heart? 

Courage and fear are reliant on each other. Let’s face it, how many times have we done something we were afraid of, only to face it every time with trembling anyway? Oh, it may become easier, yes but fear will always rise to meet you, lest you forget its existence.

Fear is a natural emotion to teach us about ourselves and how to be human. I’d rather feel than to be so numb, becoming an emotionless ghost walking in a tomb. 

Twain understood the importance of standing against the grain in order to renew and strengthen the human heart. 

As always 

Stay blessed, be you, face your fears in trembling and awe, smile on the inside knowing your heart is excersing its right to feel. 

~Josette 💗

Oh Edgar

For what is it to dream? 

Poe brilliantly uses these words as a comparison, both completely reliant upon the other; disastrous apart. Perhaps, a paradox of sorts. 

To dream by day 

Setting goals or reaching for a destination of hope while being completely aware in a fully conscious state.

One is in control, focused with their eyes upon their target. Detours may be expected but the course can be rerouted or adjusted.

To dream by night 

The subconscious mind assembles images or thoughts that play out in a state of complete slumber.

You’re a backseat driver to a message that may play out jumbled or strange. These dreams are almost never literal they need to be interpreted differently and could steer people down the wrong path. Sometimes we don’t remember our dreams at all.

Edgar expresses the importance of daydreaming. The emphasis of hope hides within the text; for to set goals in life, gives us purpose. The two really do go hand in hand: to aspire that which shall strengthen one in a state of awareness; will in turn, provide dreams in sleep that will give you peace. 

*Endnote 

The word dream comes from middle to old English, which derives from Germanic, Dutch, Old Norse and more. 

The middle-old English related dream to joy, pleasure, gladness, even music, to name a few; however Proto-Indo Europe relates  dream to illusion something injurious, or even damaging. 

Clearly our ancestors knew and understood, what Poe expresses. 

These are the words that come to thought: “To dream blindly, is to run in darkness toward the unknown edges of consequence.” 

Once again 

Be at peace 

Dream big 

Reach for your stars 

Be yourself 

Regards, 

Josette






Blod af mit blod

I could tell you tales,
Tales of my wanderings.

I may blab on and on about my triumphs or downfalls, perhaps how I have been very akin to a Gypsy. Except I know not where those words shall lead me.

I must run this course, 

The course I’ve planned to write and tell of my spiritual wanders to know thyself.

~Josette Hansen~

Briefly, in past posts I’ve spoken of my research. Finding ancestors was like a gold mine because growing up American had stripped me of heritage. I could be told by my mother “I’m Irish, Italian, and German.” My father could say “I’m Danish, French Canadian, Scottish, British.” Except what did it mean to be any of those things? Culture, heritage, language? Everyone would say well, “you’re American.” It still felt strange though because many of my American friends had kept some form of old country language or culture.

I had a hippy mother who loved Jesus and a Norse Pagan father who was born of a Danish immigrant. Christmas, to say the least was interesting. We had a tree every year named Olaf, and a nativity in the corner. I remember wassail and Leif Erickson day, but it was pieces and fragments I didn’t grasp.

Studies of religion brought me through so many transitions in life. I sought Jesus from the age of nine and wandered about until my twenties. I started to cling to Christianity for quite sometime, which led me to Messianic Judaism, and finally full blown orthodox Judaism. I did find great comfort in Judaism and fell in love with the traditions, language, prayers and oral history.

Not knowing yourself can be quite scary, trying to find a place where you belong. I decided to do my DNA and found 88℅ of my blood was North West European. 95℅ is European in general. The German, Danish and British Isles dominated my DNA. These findings left me wanting to connect with heritage. I was so hungry to “take my place among my ancestors” so to speak. 

I know all of those regions were Christianized (is that a word :D) but I also know for years they killed each other, Catholics vs. Protestants. I had ancestors on both sides who suffered great losses. I wanted to go beyond that before the conversion crisis as I like to call it. I found my Celtic and Germanic/Scandinavian ancestors worshipped the same gods and goddesses. The names varied by language but they were the same. These are the gods my father and sisters had come to know. I decided I wanted to know them too.

*When the struggle within myself surfaced*

I transitioned so much through religions and cultures, it was as if I hated myself. I ran from the Hansen surname. I remember getting married and double checking that I marked the box to give up my maiden name. Once we separated, I took on various pennames even using my mother’s German maiden name Schramm. There was honor behind my reasoning for using mother’s name but it’s another tale.

How many times would I allow myself to submit to what I thought everyone wanted me to be? How many relationships were built upon hiding behind someone else? It was the worst case of crisis identity. I believe my anger that I held onto against my father was the reason. I kept blaming everyone else instead of realizing, I had captured myself. Prison, I was in a personal prison without cell walls; yet it was such a small, lonely place.

It took me so long but I know who I am. Studying the old heritage and oral history of my ancestors has been water upon parched lands.I see the wisdom in each tale, the dual meanings in each poetic Edda. It is strength to discover who you are and where your roots have belonged all along.

med kærlighed og ære Josette

Scenes from my novel

Oh how the sound of crunching gnawed away at my patience vehemently. Would the journey cease at some point? (Sooner, rather than later preferably)

Our bodies shook violently; while the wind cut through our layers like razors. Night sounds crept around us slowly and we knew it would prevent us from moving forward until daybreak. 

      “We should light a fire, no?” Gunnar looked up from the snow covered log     he decided to lounge on.

      “What about the wolves? Don’t you   hear them in the distance?” 

      “Well, warrior Queen, they’re the least of our problems. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Andra hung her head in silence momentarily. 

       “I suppose you’re right.”

***A scene from my novel Kingdom Rising*** 

Thinking cap on! Wish me luck xo

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