What makes you tick?
Makes you want to live?
Where do you draw your strength from?
What is your ideal?
SEND US YOUR ANSWERS (Assoc.PleinsFeux@gmail.com )
AND WE WILL POST THEM HERE ( from first to last responses )
Michel, 85, Orne (61)
What keeps you going?
The joy of others, especially if I have been part of it.
Keeps you alive?
To be able to move about independently and to be attentive about everything that can be read or seen concerning cultural and political life.
Where does your strength come from?
A well ordered physical and intellectual life starting with gym in the morning and going to bed early.
What’s your ideal?
Friendship in all domains.
Mahboubeh (63ans, Téhéran, IRAN)
What gives me hope is seeing my children’s success. See how they fix their problems and beat (overcome) their difficulties.
That they’re raising their children as well as I tried to – to raise them to be better persons.
And watching each of them making their own way and going through it.
Yatsa, 62, Yugoslavian (native language Serbo/Croatian) a refugie living in France for 20 years
What gave me strength was the offer that I was made to teach French to young French people, their native language which wasn’t mine. I felt worthwhile.
Jelina, 68, a refugee in her own country of Bosnia (professeur of comparatif literature)
What keeps me alive is work : lots of work writing and several projects to publish my poems and two scientific books.
Rabia, 30, from a Maroccan family in France
What gives me strength are the handicapped people that I work for, without whom I wouldn’t have a job. I’m hyper and nervy normally and I become calm and have a patience which surprises me.
C., 16 (14 France )
What keeps me going is my thirst for justice.
I shall stay alive as long as I have fights to fulfill.
What keeps me going is the others.
Simon, 19 (14 France)
What keeps me going is my desire to bring pleasure to others.
What keeps me alive is my will to succeed.
I get my strength from my family and friends.
My ideal is peace and happiness.
What keeps me going is the perspective of moments of happiness that I can look forward to.
What keeps me alive is the imperfect perfection of my human body and my heart which sends the blood to my vital organs.
I get my strength from my desire to learn more and more and to suceed in my undertakings.
My ideal is a leftwing government.
« What buoys me up : being aware of bathing in life’s current which also runs through me.
What makes me want to live : Love and Hope.
Nature helps me to balance my energy : I take care of the earth and the earth takes care of me.
My ideal : goodwill towards everyone…. »
Jean-François, 55 (14, France)
Purely by chance I wrote the first lines of this story on an Easter Day while listening to the marvelous St Mathew’s Passion. I who am a poor believer ! Beautiful stories of rebirth bring me joy.. They talk about life rather than death. At the time when the bells ring out under the sunshine of an Easter noon, there is another little bell ringing out by itself in the Normandy landscape. It concerns a chapel dedicated to Saint Roch. A saint who is revered in Normandy because he was clung on to during the terrible plague epidemics. I have been engaged with the Chapel of Saint Roch d’Argentan for the last forty years. Although it has been deconsecrated, the ancestral memory of the chapel and the people will never forget the thousands who are at rest there. It was the charnel house of the town. Through our efforts it has become a charming place bringing joy to many. Access is free. The garden made up of small enclosures encites the well being of the visitor. Groups and individuals come for the exhibitions, the concerts, the conferences or the festivities which fill everyone with happy memories. It’s in this place of contentment, in one of the enclosures that for several years I have been wanting to create a project that will bring sense to our lives. I want to put sepultures which will definately not celebrate death…..
… a DNA garden. I said it was a « life cemetery ». Someone took me up on it one day saying « no, a garden of life !». That’s good enough for me.It means making sepultures during our lifetime. A « green stick » stuck in the ground. The right length must be chosen. It should be approximately your size. You write your name and your date of birth. It can be decorated. If you want to an epitath or its equivalent can be inscribed while you are still alive. Another word should be invented for that but especially as the wood must be pierced to include our DNA. In the way that suits us. Seriously or amusingly ! To use a beautiful place to put your sepulture…. like offering oneself a second home. You could imagine a migrant worker chosing to put his living sepultures here and another in his own country. An idea is like the future of a small child, with everyone leaning over his cot wishing him all the best. Everybody should bring his best. I can see these living sticks flowering at Saint Roch with happy people gathering there but also on small plots of land along the coast, in valleys and mountains, in beautiful properties and on the lawn of a modest gardener ; all happy to leave a trace of their pasage on this earth. The cold marble houses in graveyards have no place in this project. Their aim is to celebrate death, that is not our intention. After the « living sepulture » everyone can choose to do what he likes with his mortel remains. This idea is a sort of collective work of art and not a cemetery, which has to submit to laws and rules.
So here you have the idea which keeps me going for the moment. I’m looking for pretty sticks. I will plant them soon and I will offer them to all those like-minded freinds who would like to join us in the Saint Roch garden.
Myriam, 70 (Caen)
What makes you want to keep on living?
That’s a surprising question, not one that comes up frequently during our friendly relationships and quite unexpected : it’s so evident that I’m still alive!
So what does it mean?
For the moment I don’t want to go into a philosophical, rational or introspective reflection, even less to praise anything or anybody BUT I must reply as I know that the question will bother me in any case and that’s a good sign…
To sum up, for the moment I appreciate being able to choose to be alone and have my moments of silence, then to listen to music (not every kind …), and to go down to the sea – essentiel moments through out my life. Every day I cannot forget the fragility of my existance : I need then to provoke the sensation of beauty, keep up the perception of the grandeur of everything, to search for the pleasure of the infinite whatever it may be! For example, the horizon, I miss the clouds and the stars when they are veiled by the season.
In addition, to keep the perception of the simplicity of being there, to love and be loved is enough- « I think » -though it doesn’t satisfy my many and multiple curiosities. I face up to myself and so the time passes by so fast, too fast, going into a library or a bookshop disarms me as I shall die without having discovered so many marvels and so many trips. Meanwhile, since wanting to create my own pictures has become firmly installed in me, the tension of doing the research, the steps, feeling of ones way and the diverse results, have stopped me the best from becoming dispersed.
In conclusion, it’s being conscious of living in a space and a moment of PEACE which reassures me and to imagine losing them makes me wary of others. Is this how I have faced up to diverse fights that I couldn’t avoid or that I shared? Probably!! and more… but this is not the question, and so this question isn’t it prior to that of oxygen* which, in spite of everything, we all breathe?
*P.S. : for sure, this physio-chemical reference takes us back to a common source, another tangential subject, and thus to water – never forgetting that the water we drink at the moment has exactly the same characteristics as that which the dinosaurs drank! Right, that’ll be, may be, for another time……!!!
Caen, 22nd March 2017
José, 67, Caen
Creativity has brought me through for several years,
the place for the imaginary and the poetic in the heart of th city preoccupates me,
the theatre is my favorite vector,
all this is fed by mankind and the condition which has made him,
and as Federico Garcia Lorca said « theatre, is the poetry that rises up to become human ».
All creativity is a poetic and political act that has been placed in the middle of the city.
Caen, April 2017
Marie-Claire, 59 years old (14,France)
The fire that keeps me going…..
to gather twigs…….
… To light a fire in their heart.
Gives them the spark,
which will release the blue dancing flame,
according to their desires!
Throw their pitfalls into this blue fire!
Add the warm orange scented gestures,
Share moments of solidarity….
And hand in hand …… crackle with joy!
Michel, 90 years old ( 14, France)
What keeps you going?
The primary thing that keeps me going is my constant need to struggle (with the small means at my disposal) for a better and more just life for everyone.
I don’t know who said : » you complain about your time, but what have you done to change things? » I think that each of us has an important rôle to play on this planet : to have a mission which begins with our relationships with others, helping others, accepting others as they are and not as we would like them to be, in other words to be tolerant ? To understand them, respect them whatever their opinions (political, religious/atheist, etc…). For this to be possible one must be confident, open minded, positive.
As an elderly person, I also believe that we are on this earth to do the very best we can by setting an example. Thus showing that there is a sense to life, if we have a heart which believes in love, in respect for others, in sharing, in forgiveness. To detest hate : we take joy in the happiness of others, in their success instead of being jealous of them etc…
What keeps you wanting to live?
Above all my family, where we all share their happiness and misfortunes with love, understanding and an open mind. Our grand children and their parents are fantastic : words like »bad feeling, jealousy, hate » don’t exist in our family. The get togethers, lively meals, outings are a source of little things that fill us with joy. We all have the capacity to be for or against all things »joyous ». If by chance (very rarely) a quarrel takes place, forgiveness is a lovely present. It is an act of strength. Forgiveness is a creative act. It opens up the the future to better days.
Where do you get your strength from?
I gather my strength from the power of my thoughts. I have great faith. All that we build is done through the channel of our thoughts. Nothing can be done outside of them for they are the origin of everything :
A house cannot be built if it hasn’t been thought about beforehand, created by thought and fixed to a plan.
When we pick up a pen to write, the idea of writing has to go through our brain.
Our mentality, (thought) works on the whole of our organism. Fear, worry, anxiety not only influence our hearts and nerves but also our circulatory organisms, our digestion … and can also make us ill.
My motto is : »I don’t care about yesterday / I couldn’t give a damn about tomorrow / I’m passionate about today » (My wife says I’m not realistic.)
We are on this earth to be happy, proclaim it loudly. Be in the habit of being happy by controling our emotions. We aren’t born optimistic we become it, by being confident and overcoming fear.
To conclude, I deeply believe that thought tells us : »love, joy, respect, happiness are the roads to a happy life ».
What is your ideal?
My ideal comes from the certitude that a better life on this earth is possible. I have been struggling since 1948 against those who today are, little by little but surely, killing the world and its inhabitants :
- An excess of chemical products in food, cosmetics, etc….
- Pharmaceutical laboratories controled by a few friends (payed experts).
- More and more industrialised food profiting the multinationals.
- More and more polluting agriculture (pesticides should be reduced, but last year – in 2015 – 20% more were used!!!). What is more the farmers have lost out : instead of »farmers » they are called »agricultural workers » .. All for the profit of Monsanto, Bayer, etc… who exploit them by making them buy their grain from them.
Many artisans, agriculturists, cooks, scientists, etc…. are rebelling for a healthier life without pesticides, herbicides etc…. without the multinationals, the banks … I believe in them and I support them.
My second ideal gives me a sort of hope and justice : the certitude of life after death. Many people don’t believe in it and say it’s impossible, but if one looks closely at what happens in our world »everything dies to relive otherwise » :
- grain of wheat dies to become an ear of corn
- fruit dies to become a tree
- the candle dies to be transformed into light
If there is no life after our journey on this earth, then our earthly life is absurd and unjust : there are rich and poor, those who are healthy and those who are always sick, the able bodied and the handicaped …Luck for some and misfortune for others. All of these is an evident injustice.
Man, the best of creation, the most accomplished in the solar system, would be condemned to live 50-70-100 years only fall into nothingness? While the Earth, the Sun, the millions of stars, the heavenly bodies, the planets have been living for millions of years (the sun is there every morning), this seems to me to be unthinkable and, what is more, unjust.
We can ask ourselves : am I only a physical being? Or is there in man something more than his physical body – which we see? What we don’t see, from my point of view, is the essential part of Man, in other words : his soul, his spirit, his feelings, his love, his affection, his thoughts, his energy, his vibrations. None of this dies and I believe continues to live otherwise, in a world where we live in peace, equality, where we don’t judge others!!!
More questions : Why the sky? Why Man? Why life? Why death? Why torturers? Why victims? Why happiness? Why unhappiness? Luck? Destiny? A God or not? Or simply the unknown which escapes us?
However, over 2000 years ago, a man named Jesus came to earth to offer us a marvelous message : »Love each other as I have loved you, even your enemies ». Without refering to religion, everyone can do it. If everyone listened to this message, there would be no more war, no more conflicts, no more hate. The peace would be marvelous. Peace would be forever in our hearts. It will be difficult and long, but we must keep on hoping for happiness.
I believe unconditionally in a marvelous afterlife, and I will continue to believe even if many people lose hope when facing death.
Thank you for reading this right through to the end even if I have been a pain in the neck. Never lose hope… As far as I’m concerned life is without end. »Win » a little through »Humility » by bowing in front of the »inexplicable ».
All my best thoughts
Joël, 66 years old (14 France) September 2016
4 questions, 4 entries but maybe only one answer : other people. All of those who live around us, and this can be very far away, who are taking part in the building of our world, but unfortunately also in its destruction (each of us more or less).All of us play a part, each of us has relationships with other people. Our relationships with others are made through exchange. I receive a lot, I give little back, I receive little, I give a lot, it’s not always the same thing. But I accept things as they are. This is how we can live together and share. It is also how we can hope to go forward towards better relations between human beings, to hope for a better society in which all will have their place, with equality for all. We are all building this world, in the stairwell, the square, in our village, our town…..Each of us is part of a community. I want to share, to meet, to go forward, to build, but also to laugh, to love and, why not, cry but not alone.
Michel, November 2016
The charter of the other’s rights
Here and everywhere in the world, someone else: The one who isn’t on my side or doesn’t share my opinions. The one who doesn’t live the same way as I do or isn’t of my age. The one who isn’t from my region or country, whose race or colour isn’t the same as mine.
The other, every human being whoever he may be has a right to life and happiness, to space and liberty ; every human being has an equal right to dignity, for he is unique, his story and his destiny is unique ; in the middle of others, all are subject to rights and duties.
He is unique, he has a right to be recognized as himself, he has a right to his face, to his speech and his identity has to be respected; he has a right to work, to the flowering of his capacities ; he has a right to his loves and his celebrations ; he has a right to his roots, to the culture and the community of his choice ; he has the right to come and go freely across this vast world ; he has the right to live in peace.
The other is worth while ; every human being who isn’t respected as he is, who is manipulated or scorned, every human being who is silenced or starved, every human being who is stopped from acting for his own good, or for the good of others, every human being who is pursued or oppressed, enclosed or rejected, has the right to receive, here and now, the concrete help of my thought, my heart and my hands.
(Text discovered by Frédéric, published with the kind permission of the « BANC PUBLIC » association http:/lesbancspublics.fr/temoignages,charte.html)
Madeleine September 2016
I believe that every time a hand is extended towards another,
Every time a step is taken towards another,
Every time we smile, give thanks,
Every time we act with others to make life better, to diminish an injustice, to respect the environment…..
Love comes to life, spreads, multiplies and the whole world moves.
What keeps me alive, is to feel useful, bringing my modest bit here where I live. I try, with others, to build within daily life a more just world, more human, with more solidarity towards all forms of life (human, animal, plant life….). This helps me to perceive that another world is possible and that I am participating towards its coming.
All humain beings are the same in spite of their differences. We all have the same desire to love and be loved, to do something with our lives, to live in harmony with others, with nature.
Globalisation is a unique opportunity to share our desires, our way of living, our cultural riches, artistic…..
So, why let ourselves be fooled by the interminable flow of information and the media, secreting the fact that the Other, the Foreigner, the Migrant, those who are Different are inevitably a menace ?
Ria, 65 years old, (La Ferme de Védrénas, 23, France) June 2016
In one word : Nature
Nature is my driving force ……
Nature makes me alive …..
Nature is where I draw my strength from
Nature is my ideal
Cécile (France, 50)
In answer to your little questionnaire at the age of almost 88, I can tell you that I never asked myself questions. Alone with my children and my work as a teacher I just did my « duty » one way or another just as my parents did.
Now with my pension I can live well, take advantage of my children J-Ch and P, my grandchildren and my 5 great grandchildren.
My family enable me to « pull myself together » and keep fit (as much as possible) and stay « nice » to look at.
When they come, I play the piano and show them family photographs.
It is important to pass on good memories to this ultra « telephone and computerised » generation.
My ideal is to leave them with good memories.
They know that I belong to a club, that I like walking along the shore and that I have travelled a lot thanks to the souvenirs that I brought back.
Jean-Pierre ( 73 ) & Janine ( 70) , 14 France
The Blue Fire tribe
That your dreams might become a reality !
Seek to live a daily life less reliant on materiel goods, while knowing that growth has its limits.
- 1997 …Lasting development englobes all aspects of human life, we must all measure the results of our decision making, thinking of those who will follow us on this earth. Changing our lifestyle and consumption, making solidarity and justice our first priority … in my opinion employment for all is no more difficult to achieve than schooling for all. In the 1956 constitution : « everybody should be able to work and have the right to obtain work .». Selective sorting, the organisation of means to collect the waste, the treatment and evaluing of the waste are sources of new employment.
« You have no worth if you are not useful to someone else » (Descartes).One should thus contribute towards workshare and avoid exclusion becoming a logical way of life for some.
- 1992 … Ecology and economy have the same roots, its an aberation that the two have been separated; today, we will not be able to succeed by considering the appropriateness of nature’s economy and man’s economy… I said no to Maastricht for a Europe of justice, progress, cooperation with the third world, humanism, ecology and peace.
- 1990 : the waste collecting center, a place of service, of work, of creation of partnership…
- My military service, at the time of the Algerian war , was spent in prison as I did not want to kill an other, others.
- I have worked for the housing project in Hérouville Saint-Clair : a multiparty town, a social housing agency (HLM Caf) takes over the environment, its housing, its life, encouraging meetings between the inhabitants, the associations and the institutions… a workshop to do up your flat, a workshop « tool box » …
The Housing Boutique still exists today in Hérouville….
- Engaged from the beginning… in the Young Working Catholics, the unions, the CFS, the Secours Catholique, Live Better in Hérouville, The Green Party : its a means to be part of a group and so avoid being exploited.
I also get my strength from the actions of people like Nelson Mandela, Stéphane Hessel and Pierre Rabhi. My wife, Janine, has always supported my actions.
- Today if the questions of method arouse so much passion, it is because they open the doors to change …. to believe in man is to believe that every man has a future.
René, aged 20 in his head (14, France )
What drives me since I became politically aware, is social justice, is love without taboos but also friendship, is now the culture of peace and non- violence.
What keeps me alive, is what remains of my health, is the the combat for a better society!
I get my strength from the class fight for a better society, to leave a planet where one can live for future generations!
My ideal, is to build today a democratic gathering through which every citizen counts with a voice within an ethnic frame and which rejects all the political mess! During the congres today, 16/11/15, I enjoyed Celine DUFLOT’s and the lady communist senator’s intervention. This needs to be clarified : not an abstract national union, but the union of the people for change, to put humans first!
Carmen (14, France )
Like a creation, and after meditating on the subject, I have noticed that to all these universal questions, as far as I am concerned, there is only one universal reply :
the other person, others,
with these notions of exchange, sharing, questioning, dialogue, evasion, emotion, love, observation, surprise, to marvel, an invitation to…
be it the object
In a word, this is my leitmotif :
to start resonating with……
and that thanks to my individual memory but also to our collective memory.
Jacqueline (France 14)
« We should have two lives. One for learning and the other for living ». Alexandre Romanès
I owe a lot to the children with whom I spend my life. I have grown with them.And I continue to do so.
With them I have learnt patience, leniency, complete confidence in the other who helps one to grow.
I know that today I cannot change the world in spite of my horror of injustice and even worse humiliation. I, myself, try to be as sincere as possible.
Here where I have chosen to be, I act simply : drink coffee while chatting in a caravan, sharing each ones joys and worries, giving pleasure to the children, etc.
Without dogma or judgement I am attentive that those I meet know that our pleasure is shared. I need them to live.
I flee moralising and hypocrisy. I feel reassured about my own weaknesses by the weakness of others. I have taken a bet on »la belle resistance » that the change will come here where I am. But of course this strength, this desire, I draw from the confidence, the interest, the kindly looks and the love which come to me in diverse ways.
Geneviève, 88 (France,14)
My ideal is any kind of integrity. Which includes the duty of marriage and family engagements and the understanding of others.
I draw my strength from religion, from the affection of my family and the friendship which can come from anywhere.
What I like in religion : I feel comfortable because there is understanding and it welcomes everyone.
To greet, listen and serve others make me get up in the morning.
I like simplicity in my relations with other people.
I lean on my deceased parents and husband from whom I received a lot.
Fanny (France, 14)
I am nourished by the sun, dance, creativity, travelling, dreams and the people I love.
Hope, dreams and my son keep me going.
I draw my strength from group association and from within myself.
I long for a just, self managing, egalitarian and tolerant society. Also, from a personal point of view, I would like to create a burlesque cabaret dance troop.
My ideal would be that my dreams, and they are numerous, become reality.