Response to a Keyboard Warrior: by Gaynor 
I took this picture at the Chiang Mai Festival of Lights. It’s a picture of four generations of Thai people writing their wishes for the future on sky lanterns, then launching them up alongside many other families into the sky, symbolising their collective hope for the future. I felt very privileged to be there. There was a palpable sense of love and connection. This is why we chose the picture to launch our Awakening Heart program. 
I was therefore really shocked to receive on Facebook a very rude and threatening response to the picture about my image promoting animal cruelty and a non-polite statement that I am hardly Mindful if I act like this, I should be utterly ashamed of myself. I rattled off a long list to myself and anyone who would listen to me about how this could not be! A veggie since 1979, the owner of 2 border collies, a garden planted for birds and wildlife, the occasional fox and partridges visiting, Owls in the woods beyond the house. I got myself worked up in my defence that I would never knowingly hurt animals. 
I thought my factual responses would be enough. It was met by a second round of language that was completely out of proportion to the incident and culturally insensitive. 
I got stubborn and dug myself in. I was not going to change the image, I was not going to be battered by a faceless Judge or Judy. I was triggered by the tone and my perception of the wagging finger of judgement. 
I had fallen for it. I had never met the person and here she was having brief control of my life! I sat with my intention in sharing the photo and my response to the email. I did some more research on sky lanterns and wildlife, reflected and asked many others. My stubborn position softened. 
Then I got a second email from another person some time later, there was no judgemental tone, just a pointing out of why sky lanterns were not a good thing. Maybe It was time to take it down, this was not about me and my pleasure of the moment that had already passed, we were using a picture to promote our work and it was not working for 2 people who had engaged with us and many be many more. I was off message. 
Surya and I talked lots about social media, the speed of a faceless judgement; how easy it is to have an opinion and not consider that there might be any other view than your own; that fixed position that does not allow for difference or even cultural interpretation. 
So here I am again with my “Achilles heel” of the disappointment that good manners and politeness seem to have been lost! I was dismayed by the whole thing. We were certain though that we would not yield to such narrow and intolerant views of others. 
However, as it happens, it made us think of our message and we knew as we dug down deeper that the image was not the message we were quite wanting to make. 
It was not radical enough! 
We first decided on another name for the Awakening Heart programme and we came up with Mindfulness Unleashed. So, the image had to change too. At the moment we have a broken chain as the image – illustrating breaking free from constraints. 
So, the whole incident actually drove us to look deeper at what we wanted to do. It helped us be clearer about our approach and stronger in our conviction that we follow our own hearts and that is what our students want /expect from us – something which makes a difference to their lives. 
So can you be a mindful key board warrior? Let me know your thoughts, feelings and responses. 
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On 23rd September 2019 at 22:30, Kelly wrote:
Hi Gaynor,
I felt compelled to respond to your post as this is a subject that I have been struggling with lately. The rude threatening self righteous response to your post for me pin points what is wrong with our communities, everyone has an opinion! If you're somebody who has a platform you are expected to live unrealistic idealistic life which will at the end of the day doesn't satisfy anybody.
On 20th August 2019 at 16:34, Stephanie Tenneson wrote:
This reminds me why I dislike social media so much! There is a Netflix series called 'The Good Place' which takes place in a sort of heaven. At one point it is realised that almost nobody has made it into heaven for a long time. They figure out that it used to be much easier to get into heaven, because all you needed to worry about was your neighbour, his ox, wife, etc. and the local village. Now you need to consider all the threads that constitute our globalised world, unpick them all, and do only good for all the world's people, fauna and flora. An impossible feat!

Congratulations on keeping your cool and being willing to change your mind - Ghandi would be proud!
On 19th August 2019 at 18:05, Kath Glock wrote:
Hi Gaynor,
Whilst I am certain that neither you or Surya would ever deliberately harm another living being, I was struck by the sense that you had not acknowledged the potential harm caused to wildlife and domestic animals by the use of sky lanterns. I wondered if the unpleasant tone of the response to the picture had somehow meant this important point had been lost. Maybe I missed this in your post, but I was slightly alarmed by your comment that you would 'not yield to narrow views of others'.
Kath Glock
On 19th August 2019 at 09:52, Mandy griffiths wrote:
Difficult isn’t it? Your intention was from the heart. Unfortunately as we all know response to visual imagery is immediate and generally a judgement is made instantaneously. I have to admit that initially reading your introduction then seeing the image I had a mixed response. I connected with the prose. However, I’d read that the launching of lanterns into the sky was harmful to the environment in the same way that anything released into rivers and lakes. I did not judge you personally negatively however, the voice in my head just questioned one element of the message. I must admit that I am more mindful these days regarding what I post and respond to and how I voice an opinion. Mind you I have three children who are my greatest judge and jury in relation to social media! Take care. Namaste. Mandy.
On 17th August 2019 at 00:43, Limda wrote:
So many reflections from this. The faceless judgement of social media. It is easier to judge when not in person. One Can understand why it can increase mental distress especially in the young.
There you were defending your image. So easy for us to be drawn in. However within this another great lesson of our own Mindfulness practice.
Always remain true to your heart. Do not change to please the modern world. We do not need to conform and we are constantly flowing and evolving.
I liked awakening heart but unleashed means business!

On 16th August 2019 at 15:26, Dean wrote:
There is a saying which I came across through NLP which is that 'the meaning of a communication is the response it gets'. So whatever you think you are saying, actually that is not what the other person hears; as far as they are concerned what they think they hear is what you said.
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