Only the Dance


At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

T.S.Eliot, From The Four Quartets

Love Lost? Think Not

spring flowers
It seems like yesterday, but it wasn’t, when I strained to hold up a flight of stairs while my dad fixed them in place at the top. They were heavy and I was seriously challenged; my relationship with this man, my relationship with myself. Why am I doing this, doesn’t he appreciate how ridiculously heavy these stairs are! For goodness sake, I could hurt myself. But that all flashed by so quickly and the thought imprinted indelibly on my mind was, I love this person, not in spite of his idiosyncrasies but BECAUSE of them,

How true it is of people, places, animal friends. Everything and everybody I’d say. The now-and-then craziness of our friends and acquaintances are still bonkers at times – love doesn’t render us blind. Each of us has habits and…quirkinesses others find difficult! But love transcends and acknowledges what is, seemlessly (and for sure sometimes love tells us to hot-foot it out and away, and fast.)

I love the car I drive, the place I’m staying, the pots and pans I use. I thank them as I leave and return, when I turn the key in the locks and when I burn a pan (as this morning) and it comes up shiny and new again. Love just comes and that’s the way of gratitude and of love, not a feeling, more simply of the heart. Just arises without counting the costs, the hurts and disappointments the slights and the worries. Oh, and of course the inter-personals!

I guess there isn’t a thing, not anything, that’s outside or inside for that matter. All the same it’s when we are estranged, leaving, leaving behind, waving good by, that what’s ever-present makes manifest.

These flowers above are in memory of my father who died on the 29th January 2000 and for a chap who is getting ready to exit this world.  My kind thoughts to all who suffer with loss and with lost love.

It never is.

To Behold With Admiring Heart

The other day while out and about – a swan beside the canal. Fetched up for a feather tidy. What an amazing creature. Huge. Huge feet! Sculptural in form. Incredibly flexible. What a privilege to encounter this creature going about its life on land.

But that we could behold our fellow human thus. To appreciate. To admire. Whatever the shape or condition. To not intrude. Obviously. But to allow the depths of us to meet. And to meet and to meet. With no gaps.


From the West Allen Valley, Northumberland. Wishing you all a bountiful New Year to come.
From the West Allen Valley, Northumberland. Wishing you all a bountiful New Year to come.

Supermarket plastic carrier bags have become an issue in Britain. Probably the case all around the world. Certain for the fish and marine life that fall foul of them under the oceans. They are a life and death issue for all of us. Plastic carrier bags at supermarkets are now no longer free encouraging shoppers to bring our own bags and reuse them. The monies collected for bags, 5p, is given to local charities, nobody can argue with that, nor the attempt to minimize the amount of wild plastic floating around the world. Actually and metaphorically.

I’m mindful to have my ‘bags for life’, sturdy plastic ones, with me at all times ready to load my shopping into. I’ve been doing this for years but they don’t last for life! The other day a handle became detached and the supermarket I’d bought it from originally pledges to replace broken bags, free of charge. But…. But the replacements are plain black with white writing, no pattern like the original. It had a design I’d grown to love and appreciate, much like an old friend. Clearly I’d have to develop a new friendship with the replacement.

Receiving my plain black and white (shiny) number this afternoon the young man behind the till said enthusiastically, Slick aren’t they! And with that my whole attitude changed. Changed on the turn of one word. SLICK! Instant affinity with my new shopping companion which I will never leave at home. I’ll not get all psychological about this particular turn-around of attitude, enough to say the world, one’s own world and outlook can change on a single word. For good or ill. Amazing! Ah, the power of words. A reminder to take care with what escapes lips or pen.

Last week-end at Throssel had me out walking in the West Allen Valley where you can see from the above photograph snow had fallen. Temperatures had fallen too. I included myself in the picture just to personally wish you a Happy and Contented New Year to come.

The photograph is tending towards black and white, however slick it is not!

Ongoing Flowing

The river surrenders to
fallen trees, bushes
dead birds, marooned goat, barbed wire
Oh heck!

The river-deep, rocks
jagged, rounded, to gravel, to sand
rolling, grinding, turning
……deeper yet. Deeper deeper.

The river!  Looking up – sky!
Playing a merry dance
Stretching, falling together.

The river – Ah! The sky – Oh!
No place to hang a hat
No ‘now’?
and yet….

Thinking – grace in movement.

I’ll now climb aboard and drive to Throssel in brilliant sunshine with temperatures falling as I climb higher over the Pennines at Hartside Crossing. See view from the webcam up there.

For those who are tempted to believe that all there is to this life is what one sees and knows.

Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives