Point Of View Makes The Difference

Wet walking – treat for the eye

Mud mud glorious mud! There is a lot of it about. In the woodlands, fields and paths where I walk each morning there’s lots of mud and much opportunity. Mud and wet paths can be an opportunity to complain, to struggle through and long for drier weather. Complaining at ones lot and wishing it to be otherwise is a very common habit. Bending my knees, camera in hand, to view the path from a different angle it was transformed. The sky reflected in the puddles, the texture and the going on-ness of the path. Now I am wondering how it would be viewed from above. But no! I am not going to climb trees to find out.

It is hard to conceive when life seems to be doing it to us in harsh and mucky ways that how we view life is a choice. And choice changes with conditions, over time.

Here is somebody reflecting on what she does and finding beauty in it.

The job I am doing at the moment allows me to express in abundance kindness, gentleness, tenderness, compassion in a way that my ‘career’ job never did (or at least made very difficult.) And the spin off for me is huge. It feels as if what I am able to express comes directly back to me in some sort of circle of energy. I have the privilege, for a couple of hours a day, of caring for a lady who is close to death, supporting her and her husband, washing her, sitting with her while he goes out, talking with her about anything and everything, including her dying, sitting quietly beside her while she sleeps, holding the cup while she drinks tea, smoothing cream into her body, massaging her feet. It’s sad and moving, but it is also almost unbearably lovely and an incredible privilege.

Broken Promise

Hartside Top looking towards the Lake District

Time for a bit of colour on the page. This was taken just after new year on a morning when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get across the pennines via Hartside. As it happened there was hardly any snow and the view was clear. It was brisk though. Just a few miles away and coming my way were grey snow clouds dumping on the hill tops just north of the pass.

After getting caught up in a blizzard last year I’d promised myself I’d not attempt the Hartside route if there was any chance of snow. I broke my promise.

Eve Arnold – Photographer Remembered

The passing of Eve Arnold should not go unmarked here on Jade Mountains. I found this tribute to her this afternoon; Bidisha’s thought for the day: Eve Arnold. The thoughts echo my own.

And just in case you are not familiar with her work….

Ah! To Be Understood.

Some time ago I made reference to something Zen Master Ryokan wrote about in connection with personal habits of speaking to be aware of. One of them was talking with ones hands My mother did it, she did it a lot! It was almost as if she helped herself to find a word or an expression by wiggling her fingers. And sometimes her hands as well. It wasn’t the kind of use of hands where one adds emphasis such as making a fist to show anger. Or add strength to a welcome with a gesture. We have the saying Welcome with open arms don’t we. There is the custom when ushering in a guest with an open hand and then pointing through into the house or room, arm extended. In this instance words can be cut out all together.

Somebody wrote asking me about this business of talking with ones hands questioning what Ryokan wrote. Personally I don’t think he was talking about adding emphasis, colour, humour, emotion and the like to interactions. More the kind of habitual wiggling my mother did and which I did until the habit was pointed out to me. I think I still use my hands and arms while talking, and hopefully only when needed and I REALLY hope I have kicked the habit of searching for words with my hands.

And as I write this an image comes to mind from a few days ago. I was waiting at the traffic lights and a man with two energetic dogs was waiting to be let into a house. He gave them a dog training gesture, hand flat and horizontal then moved the hand as if to point to their tails. Obedience itself! Calmly they sat, calmly they sat as the door was opened. Calmly they walked in. No mad dash as is quite often the case.

Now another story comes to mind. Of a gran with here grandchild at play school where the pre verbal children are taught to communicate by using their hands to sign what they want, don’t want etc. See Sing and Sign.

Ah communication! Ah language! So full of colour and so ripe for misunderstanding.

Why Shout?

A Buddha asked his disciples, ‘Why do we shout in anger?
Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?’

Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, ‘Because we lose our calm, we shout for that.’

‘But, why to shout when the other person is just next to you?’ asked the Buddha.
‘Isn’t it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice?
Why do you shout at a person when you’re angry?’

The answer can be found here on Beyond The Opposites blog.

Thank you for the link to long time sangha friend Norman in California.