Category Archives: Overcome Difficulties

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.

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!
Meeting/parting
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.

Lights For All

How jolly! These trees get my vote out here in Lancashire where just down the road at St. Michaels the community suffered a major flooding. All here promises a fine day with sun showing. Shyly. What ever age holiday lights can’t fail to bring uplift. Can they?

Two children ran playing on the path as I stepped out into the brisk air to snap this photograph. Adding bounce and vitality. But as with the smile so too with the ‘bounce’. One does not need to skip and hop to convey a sense of liveliness. Not at all. Not preoccupied by what has been or what is yet to come let loose your eyes to let light in. Through each and every pore.

What Is – The Smile?

Durham 1
We are heading towards the shortest day (of daylight), that’s the 21st December. After that the turning of the year will slowly, slowly bring us into Spring and then Summer. There is a rhythm to our living is there not? However at this time of year living seems, for some, to come to a standstill. I supplement with extra light as I am prone to low mood or as it’s called, The Winter Blues. No shame in that and many people benefit from adding some extra sunshine into their lives when the real thing is hidden behind clouds, much of the time.

Continuing on the theme of humour, which brings on a smile, here are the words to a song surely all or most know. Sing along and bring a smile to your heart. One does not need to be grinning from ear to ear to show happy. The smile is on the inside after all and can be there what ever the weather, or time of the year. How so?

When the fears and troubles fade into the background of ones consciousness, as they surely will given half a chance, The inside smile will show through….because it never leaves us. There is Joy in living past and deeper than what we manufacture. Especially at this time of year with all the ho, ho, ho and jingling bells it’s time to find the smile that is always there.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
Songwriters: CHARLES CHAPLIN
Smile lyrics © BOURNE CO.

Thanks to Mark for the photo of Durham Cathedral taken the other day and to Ian for posting the above song in the comments. Both photo and song have me now posting. Cumbria is getting back on track after the  floods and damage to infrastructure which has impacted everybody. Merit to all those who have been caught up it the devastating effects of floods to their homes. Oh and light therapy is not the cure all for low mood, depression and or despair. These are debilitating conditions which go deep into ones being, professional help can help. The first step towards help can be the hardest, after that the steps are a little easier.

Chance and Choice

20151121_160442A long time congregation member and reader of Jade wrote the following reflecting on the killings in Paris and her personal response.

The awful events in Paris on Friday evening became known to me as I snuggled down in bed with radio 4 on and then the news started coming in. My thoughts went to chance and choice, how the smallest change of mind and circumstance can lead to so many life changing events some good, some not so good. Overwhelming sadness for those killed and injured and for the perpetrators who believed so strongly that that was what they should do. This coming Wednesday my grand daughter’s class are going for a visit to Exeter mosque as part of their multi-cultural learning. At first there was a tiny amount of reluctance on my part but then I thought some parents might not like their children going to  a Buddhist temple. I’m just glad that there is a wider more open thinking now than when I was a child in Cornwall and had no idea of the faiths of other people.

Just the smallest movement; a last moment choice which has you not traveling a road. Saying or not saying  something that changes a life for good or ill. Agreeing, or not agreeing. Joining in, or walking away. But what is our guidance system? On what do we rely to steer through the day?

I was just talking to a monks here at Throssel. We remembered my father coming to visit who would, on arriving, habitually seek out the Reverend to admire his ‘handiwork’. One time he was working in a remote part of the monastery and sure enough my dad found him in no time. In an attic! I’d like to think my dad was exceptional but he wasn’t. Everyday each of us moves through clear thin air bumping into and moving around all sorts of things, people and situations. We make choices without consciously thinking about them, or aware a choice had been made. How was it my dad consistently found the Reverend when he frequently eluded members of the community?

Well I don’t think we can answer that question in a sentence. Chance and choice play their part along with conscious deliberation decisions, frequently involving rational thought – weighing up pros and cons. And then there is the mystery factor, that element in life when there is no rational explanation for how or why. Why some people phone consistently at an inconvenient time while others don’t. Why you were following a car that left the road and rolled down a bank. You called 911, sat with a critically injured passenger – while up above on the road your passenger directed traffic and kept everybody safe. Why a person who can act calmly in an emergency ends up on the scene of an accident.

And then there is the situation when a person is certain and acts on that, alone or with others, without wavering. Maybe there is a mystery factor involved here too, resulting in good or ill. However our living is played out on a vast stage set in uncountable time. Kalpas. And even knowing this we are called to act and respond now, best we know how.