Blogs 2020

As the pandemic/quarantine days unfold, and we go out into a world of masks and fear of being too close to other people, of hysterical news reports and warnings of danger, of the contraversies about schools...and on and on...what are we being and doing in our small parts of the world?  This question invites us to stop a few times a day and consider...

One way is to place your hand on your heart whenever you think of it, and for that few seconds, feel its beating and let it bring you into the present moment. Some people then say a short phrase, like "All is well, all manner of things are well," (echoing Julian of Norwich) - which - even for those few seconds, they are. Even 2-3 times of doing that each day will diminish the heightened charge of anxiety and fear that now dominates every part of our world. And - dare I say it - turn off the news, or limit yourself to once a day  for a few minutes.

Don't think for a minute that this practice serves only you! It serves those around you, and it even contributes to the larger world in ways we cannot see but trust and know. And isn't that faith?

There are some who say that we are at the height of summer now, but already I notice the dying away of daisies and buttercups, and the opening of Black-Eyed Susans; and, thanks be to the Weather God, a lessening of humidity...

Yet, for me, who would rather wake up temperatures never above 25 with no humidity whatsoever, it has been a summer of practising - and often failing - to be patient with what is.

And where I live, at SoulWinds (two acres of forest) on a river with Joan and her dog Mahti and my constant(it seems) cat companion MaCushla (Cushie), we are in thankful awe every day at the privilege we have of being cradled and comforted by the Earth herself.

So many are in distress every day; so many don't have enough; so many are at a loss on so many levels. I hold them in my heart and offer grace and peace - and then let go into trust: that no matter how difficult for me/us there are always many more (beyond my imagining) who need such focus and prayer, and it is those on whom I focus, not my own petty concerns.

This is a hard and difficult and even painful practice. It is so for everyone. And yet, and yet...how else will we contribute to a more peaceful world? How else will we bring peace to where we live? How else can we help the many who cannot even think of doing such things, so desperate are they, so lost and disturbed by it all?

A few days ago I decided to go with Joan in my kayak down the river behind our house. I have had a kayak for several years, but in the last two years I had taken it out very few times indeed. Nevertheless, I was confident, and felt strong as we began.

Not very far downriver from our dock is a bridge for vehicles to cross the river. usually I don't paddle under the bridge - I just float until coming out into the whole air again. But this time there was a ribbon of some kind hanging from the middle of the bridge to the water. I raised my paddle to move over so to see what it was attached to and FLIP! in a split second my kayak was upside down and I trapped beneath it, not immediately realizing where I was or what happened! My immediate concern was not losing my glasses underwater! My hand went up immediately to check for them and - luckily - they were there...then I realized that my head was in the seat opening, and so I pushed myself down and outside the opening, and immediately floated to the top of the water. By this time Joan was calling and paddling madly back to where I was!

I was really OK and insisted on paddling on down the river...my clothes would dry on this very hot day and so they did.

Since then, I have been pondering the similarity to our present CoVid flip. Sudden, feeling trapped, wondering what has happened to our dependable North American lives! Sometimes breathless in the unexpectedness of it! The disbelief, the restrictions, the conflicting advice, the plight of the poor and the elderly, the fighting among government leaders, and on and on.

Yet, when we pick ourselves up and name where we are for ourselves - and realize that we still have our glasses - we can look with a different eye. We can choose our own way of being in quarantine, we can savor the time we never used to have, we can trust an outcome which doesn't yet seem near. We can breathe deeply. Each breath moves us onward. We can claim the gifts that quarantine opens...and they are many...

It's a long time since I have made it here to write! I apologize to those who keep exploring the pages and I intend to share some thoughts here weekly or bi-weekly from now on. The pandemic/quarantine is changing everyone's life and giving us opportunity to explore what is important for everyone. Reflection helps...and leads, and widens our small personal worlds. Especially considering "what is my heart doing during this time?" Not my mind or thoughts, but my Heart Presence in the unfolding moments of the daily changing circumstances.

To this end, I offer you the following poem by a fifteen-year-old Irish girl, granddaughter of my friend and writing colleague Margarita in Dublin. Holly inspires us all by her deep perceptions and how she is expressing them here:

 

PACKING FOR LOCKDOWN

Holly Lusted.

 

If I could have packed for this,

Prepared myself,

I would have packed everything I would miss

I would have packed the beach

          and the city

And the laughter of children in a playground

Where everything is slippery with

          melted ice-cream

          and sunscreen

          rubbed on red, prickly skin

By the turquoise swimming pool in a hotel.

 

If I could have packed for this

Prepared myself,

I would have packed the shopping centre

          and the park

          and the town café.

I would have packed a family dinner

With Mum’s chicken and Gran’s cakes

And Dad asking “How was the journey up?”

I would have packed a school tour

To a history museum only I seem to care about

and the queues at IKEA

and the screams and splashes

Of a great gang of girls

getting caught in a rain shower,

and a football match.

 

I would have packed handshakes,

Hugs, and a kiss on the cheek.

New music and petting a dog.

I would pack everything I would miss.

I would pack until my suit case over flowed,

Until I could press my ear

To my luggage and hear

Life as it we know it fly by.

 

I would carry my suitcase for years

Without opening it once,

Until I had children of my own

To give my suitcase to,

so they could know

Happiness, sadness, freedom and rage.

The sun and the moon

And the squawk of gulls by the sea,

The cinemas, the playgrounds and all of the shops

So they don’t go without it.

I would give them a suitcase of their own and say;

“Fill it up”

So my grandchildren would know it too.

 

20th June 2020.

A year ago for the new year 2019, I was moved within to follow an ancient spiritual practice that says "Ask for a Word." This asking is within; it does not look for an answer; it is about waiting for an answer to appear. The practice is about repeating the request "inside" until the response appears, and you recognize that this is the answer.

The word that came to me was "Relinquish." It was clear. I didn't want it. Relinquish what? I waited for that answer too.

As the year progressed I began to notice changes that I might not have otherwise, and many of them required relinquishing on my part:

-time and energy when my housemate Joan was unable to function for four months with shingles;

- facing the end of my working career with religious Congregations;

- family relationship changes that left me in grief and long loss;

- extreme energy depletion that severely limited my functioning time each day.

I am still recovering from the relinquishing required during the past year, and though I would not choose the past year over, it rang true for the word I was given on New Year's Day, 2019. And despite it, I asked for a word again on New Years; Day 2020: it is "Allow" and right behind it "you will be shown." I am attentive to see what this means for the coming year...

Latest comments

03.03 | 17:19

Laurie...I might have my copy and will look for it. Otherwise...order from Amazon.
It is beyond inspiring. I will let you know. It's on kindle too.

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03.03 | 16:53

Hi Brenda, I would like to read The Choice. Where would I find a copy?

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12.02 | 11:09

Your imagery is intensely complimentary to the text deepening an infusion of wisdom. Thank you..

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01.02 | 10:03

I am grateful, Brneda, for your generous encouragement based on your own experience and quests.

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