For Bethany

There are very many unsung heroes, one can’t sing for them all. However tonight I will ‘sing’ for Bethany an NHS nurse who told me about a book she is reading. She reads one page in the morning and one in the evening, well done I say. The book is, The Art of Simple Living, 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy. I’m not recommending it but I’m pointing out that books such as this one work as an introduction, a seed which grows and sometimes flowers, opening the way to life-changing decisions. Or simply teach about how to live a better life, no formal religion required. For some of us though, no better no worse, there is an irresistible pull inwards ignited by those inky pages. That’s inwards to our deepest heart which cannot be laid aside at will.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryū Suzuki was my seed book discovered in the 1960’s. I’ve heard about many books that sometimes literally fall off the shelf in a library or bookshop or call from a friends bookshelf. Now the field is wide open; so many books, so much information, so many influences, so easy to be pulled this way and that. Which way is the right way, is there a way? Forward?

Then there are the stray people who float into one’s life sometimes briefly sometimes for the rest of one’s life. So many people who influence without even trying, not even a little bit. Casting my mind back now to what I’d imagine Bethany’s age might be and to who then, at that age, influenced me. That would be Hayden my boss who taught me photography and how to drink like an adult. And to respect myself. At the end of his life he suffered the indignities of Parkinsons Disease and Dementia.

That’s it Bethany, I said I’d write and I have. Keep up the good work and enjoy your life.

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5 thoughts on “For Bethany”

  1. Hayden (and I never called him that, he was Mr Cook) and his illness, which developed years after I worked for him, has me sensitive and sympathetic to those illnesses. And for those now who suffer from similar autoimmune diseases.

    Life encounters can be brief or in this case on-going although years would pass between seeing him and his wife, Margaret. I rode in the family car behind the hearse for his Cremation and was Celebrated at Margarets Cremation. I was ‘family’, for nearly 50 years, on and off.

  2. Such lovely, heartwarming words Mugo, which means so much to me.
    Today I turned the page onto, “dont fixate on right and wrong” the book says “not to fuss over black and white, you miss out on the beauty of grey”.
    Not sure if you get a notification for your blog, dad has signed up and I have been reading your blogs from the beginning, following you through all your travels.
    Dad and I are looking forward to visiting Throssel Hole when it reopens for visitors.

    Hope you are well.
    Until we meet again Mugo.

    1. Bethany, you have no idea how happy your comment makes me. Our chance meeting, then doing the post for you and now you are reading about the Odyssey of my monastic life from 2005. Just so you know not every monk of our Order gets around as much as me, I have an Order wide responsibility which requires that I toggle between UK, Europe and North America. For so many years I’ve been a moving-around-monk but now static here in the monastery which is in part a response to our world situation, even before COVID. I look forward very much to meeting you again, and your dad too. Ask for me and I’ll give you a guided tour. Who knows how long we will be closed for though.

      Glad your dad signed up for receiving posts into his inbox. A wave to dad.

      Lastly, I like your bit of teaching from your book ‘companion’. I will have to write a post about that. I had not thought about the beauty of grey.

      1. I’m so pleased my comment made you as happy as what yours did for me. It’s amazing to read about all of the places you have visited, along with pictures too so I can really vision where you’ve been in the world.
        Me and dad very much looking forward to when the day comes that you are open for visitors again, we look forward to the guided tour and meeting again.

        I enjoyed your post you wrote about the beauty of grey.

        A wave back to you, from me and dad.

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