Little Blogs 2

As 2017 draws to a close - and perhaps because of the deep freeze we have now experienced for days - I am particularly aware today of the shifting of the world unfolding right before our eyes and ears during the past year. Great Courage is needed to stay present to the realities of fake news, contrived interviews and false headlines, and by "staying present" I don't mean watching constantly and taking in detail after detail, outrage after outrage. In fact, refusing to do so - to stop watching and listening except for a few headlines now and then - is exactly the courage needed for our time so that we don't became infected and unconsciously dragged into the false beliefs shouted from our media many times a day. And so that fear and anxiety doesn't unconsciously take us over.

It is dangerous to despair. It is dangerous to believe the posturing and ignorance that dominates and masquerades as news. But - these aside - there are many positive things we can do. We can surrender to the reality and see it as an invitation to go deeper - meditating, for instance. We can form energetic intentions for good - ourselves and with others - and pour positive light into the world rather than engage in criticism and argument, both of which draw us into the darkness. And we can stay present to the reality we are asked to live through at this time in history. For more on this, see the review of a new book, Savage Grace, by Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker in Transformative Reads.

December always confronts us with deeper and deeper contrasts. While the world hovers on edge with North Korea's daily threats and Donald Trump's arrogant, self-focused stances on everything, out come all the Christmas hoopla, tired and worn and increasingly shallow and superficial. How to sustain oneself in such a world? Some ways I am discovering:

1. Don't watch the news too often. Anything major will reach you.

2. Look for positive signs of heart presence in yourself and others and dwell there.

3. Bless the negativity everywhere and then let it go, especially and immediately in yourself.

4. Seek out nature encounters - trees and dry grass and snow will do - and open to receive.

5. Search for silence - a few moments at a time. Slowly it will heal your wounds from too much noise and overload. Think of silence as a way of rest.

6. MIndfully light candles every day...

I have been noticing an increase of worry and anxiety, not only in the world, but in myself, and I have begun to wonder how the two might be related. Just now, I saw on my passing computer screen that ISIS is now threatening to kill Prince George while he is at school. Immediately my heart began to beat faster - this is the first time I noticed this - and I found myself compelled to click on that headline and see what this really says.

I could read the piece, but really I need to read myself. What is this sudden escalation of anxiety about something that might or might not happen? And if it does happen, it will be heartbreaking indeed, and perhaps the cause of widespread consequences. But it has not happened yet, and it is the threat of it that sends those ripples of anxiety out into the world. I expect the same is happening with many things I see even in passing, but this morning's moment stopped me in my tracks.

Recognizing the sudden escalation of anxiety from reading something that I didn't even seek out - this is a turning point of recognition for me. I have been seeing the need for more pausing, more frequently, throughout the day, simply to notice and settle into a more peaceful inner state. This moment gave me that opportunity...but it also alerted me to how frequently, in today's world, this practice of the pause might be more helpful than I realized.

"What a strange and ordinary topic!" you might say! "Of course I send cards through the mail!" But I know from my younger family members and those of others that this practice is dying out quickly.  All the more, then, am I drawn to send out more, especially as Christmas approaches.

I am finding the necessity of finding stamps, return address stickers, addressing envelopes, choosing a card and then pondering what to write on a card - all a slowing and necessarily thought-provoking practice. The part of me that sends/receives God knows how many emails a day, loves to post on Facebook and google answers to every immediate question that arises, knowing I will receive an immediate response ---these parts of me arise with hurry and impatience! I feel the inner push. All the more then, do I try to pause and be present in this moment to the task at hand.

Often it isn't at all easy until I let go of the niggling impatience and focus attention on the person to whom I am sending this card. That's what relieves the pushing pressure. When that person appears, I find an immediacy of presence, so that what I want and need to say to that person comes into my pen, into my hand, flowing from who that person is for me, and what I want to say to him or her in this moment.

Writing cards has now become for me a gift of grace, a moment of connection with that wide circle of friends and family I have been gifted with over a long lifetime. I am blessed in the sending. Oh...and did I say I make cards also?

 

For the first two weeks of September I traveled Ireland with longtime friends who invited me to simply say where I wanted to go and they would organize it and take me there, They did! It was deeply rich, and it will take me more time than I realized to allow the layers to come to articulation. When it is right, I will share more here.

One of our conversations stays with me. It regarded the number of stone ruins that cover the landscape - mainly Abbeys and Castles, and though I had seen many of them before, I felt a deeper connection on this trip, some kind of ancient presences as I walked among them.

But my guides were amazed at this. In our conversations they noted a few times in different ways,  "but I see them everyday, and everywhere I turn. I suppose I no longer see them at all!" Of course that would be the way...when in NL I discover it all over again when I show it to visitors.

Since returning home, I have become more conscious of my own living place. What am I so accustomed to seeing that I no longer see? What beauty all around me am I missing? What layers of beauty and presence are already there, asking only my attention to be seen and to give amazement?

Latest comments

31.12 | 17:04

Thanks,Brenda for these suggestions...trust your recommendations...

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28.11 | 07:46

Now into a second reading of INK and HONEY, I am finding it much richer and it's pulling me ever deeper into contemplation of my daily life.

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28.11 | 07:35

Perusing your musings about these books are a great help for me so I can choose my next book.. one that resonates at this time in my life. Thanks Brenda.

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22.11 | 20:53

Welcomed reading recommendations !

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