A Tapestry of Love for Valentine’s Day…

Celebrations seem different these days….

Today I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you love and roses and heart shaped boxes. I am aware, though, especially at the moment, it can be a hard day to get through. Sometimes it appears that the whole world seems to evolve around couples; perhaps you have lost someone or are alone because of quarantine restrictions. Or you may be missing family members. I know I am! Whatever the reason, if you are alone, or missing loved ones, I hope that you can find some comfort today.

Tapestry of Love 
 

 

 Today we may think of roses
 Tied with utmost care
 Or a heart shaped box
 With treasure waiting there
 To fill a day so different - 
 Yet still somehow it’s here,
 And it’s a good a plan as any
 To celebrate this year.
 

 But what happens when the night falls
 And we are haunted by the feeling
 That normal is out of sight
 And other souls are reeling
 When there is no more light? 
 When there is always someone missing someone,
 And only a collage made of memories
 To remind us of the sun. 
 

 Imagine the tapestry of love
 Endless yet light
 Woven with gold
 Shimmering bright,
 Covering all those in the darkest corners
 And narrowest places,
 Like a blanket of peace
 For all those it embraces.
 

 
 Wear the tapestry of love
 It is ‘one size fits all’ -
 It will give you comfort
 If darkness were to fall. 
 And you will believe, and find 
 Kindness is shining through,
 Because others will
 Be wearing it too.
 

 

 (C) Lyn Halvorsen 
 

 

 

 

The Homeless Man

‘And homeless near a thousand homes I stood, And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food.’
William Wordsworth

Today is so cold. The wind is howling and the grey skies are bleak. But I can stay indoors and keep warm. I can stay in bed if I want to, with my duvet bunched around me like a warm and comforting cloud. I can cook, and I can make delicious warming drinks. I am worried, like many of us, about these challenging times, and the pandemic that is stubbornly refusing to go away. But I can spend my time worrying in a safe place. I can lock my doors. I have a small, but peaceful corner in this turbulent world.

I think about the man I met one day and who had the deepest sadness in his eyes. He was in a place that any of us could be in, given a downturn in circumstances. I wonder if he ever found a haven of his own. I hope he is warm and that he has been shown kindness. I hope he may have been able to reconnect with a life that obviously had meant so much to him long ago.

The Man on the Corner

There's a man who lives in a doorway
Just across the street
He sits upon a pile of rags,
His dog just by his feet

It's like he is invisible 
To those who rush on by,
And even those who say 'hello'
Can't look him in the eye.

One day, I see him in the park,
His aimless gait is slow,
He pulls his coat around him
As the cold wind starts to blow.

'Hello Luv,' he says to me,
'I'm afraid it's getting dark,
You may not want to linger here
It can be dangerous in this park.'

But I sit with him upon the bench,
And we look upon the plaque 
Dedicated to someone's long lost love
Who was never coming back.

And we talk about the weather 
How it was cold for the time of year,
As if it was quite normal
For him to live out here.

'I had a life once,' he turns and says
With a glimmer in his eyes,
And I imagine him in different times,
As he stands to say goodbye.

(C) Lyn Halvorsen

Understanding this Life….

I sat and wrote a new poem this week. It seemed to come almost like a message from a dream. It flowed from my pen. I usually write about all things peaceful and try not to dwell on negativity, yet I don’t feel I can shuffle these thoughts away into a corner without airing them.

We are living through turbulent times. This we know. But the clocks tick on whilst we are searching for healing and a gentle, benign hand to soothe us. And even when the peaceful, kind ones among us search for the right answers, the undercurrent of negative forces can pull us under or in the wrong direction.

But the quiet listener will understand.

Today it is Holocaust Memorial Day, and tonight I will light a candle and let it shine from my window. I listened to a lady of 97 being interviewed this week. She is a Holocaust survivor and suffered greatly during the Second World War. She has recently recovered from COVID-19. She advised everyone to keep going and never to give up. She was the epitome of hopefulness and courage.

‘I Believe in the sun even when its not shining. And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there. And I believe in God, even when He is silent.’

The above was scratched on the wall of a cellar in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

I know that as human beings we will never agree about everything and nor should we. But if we can learn to join together in the ways that matter and that work toward the common good, we will be facing the sun.

Understanding 

How can we ever understand life,
The unsteady see-saw
Between bliss and strife?
This beautiful, fragile world 
That is full of unrest,
And slips from the keeping
Of those with only love to invest,
And now lies open to greed and weeping.
How can we feel the benefit
Of reckless power that rushes
In the name of help,
Yet turns its back on all it crushes?
Is there a place out there
Where we have a right to choose-
To take what is fair 
And know what to refuse?
Where fresh eyes see
What is really there,
As light falls on truth
And lays it bare.
In the room where others listen only to reply,
The quiet listener understands,
And learns how to fly
With knowledge in his hands.

(C) L.M.H.
 
 
 
 

Physical Distancing vs Social Distancing….

Staying together whilst apart…

We hear so much about social distancing – how it is imperative that we stay at least six-feet away from people to avoid catching or passing on the corona virus. We have been duly wearing our masks, washing our hands, staying indoors unless it is essential to venture out, and following all the guidelines, and we know that for now, this is how life has to be.

But is the term ‘social distancing’ giving us the wrong message? After all, feeling socially distanced from family and friends is hard for us all. We may need to be physically distanced at the moment, and we can grasp the necessity behind the rules – but we need to be socially connected.

When we are physically distanced we cannot gather together but we can still stay connected in other ways. Virtual connection is imperative for our mental health. It is easy to feel ‘stir crazy ‘ and find anxious feelings taking hold when feeling socially distanced. We can still be sociable, just in a different way. Nothing can replace a real hug, nothing can replace holding a loved one’s hand, and nothing can replace kissing someone better, but ‘feeling’ someone is there, in the airwaves, in the ether, or smiling on a screen can help.

One thing that is hard, especially with social media, is to be discerning. With time on our hands, we can find ourselves endlessly scrolling through posts or comments on various sites or groups and reading more than is good for us. There is a lot of good and well-meaning information out there but sometimes we can read ‘stuff’ that is upsetting or just plain mean. So while social media is an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with loved ones, friends and the wider world, we need to be mindful of how it makes us feel and even what we pass on to others. I guess if we just connect with those we love, those we care about and those we admire, we should reap the positive gains that are there.

This January seems a particularly hard one. I think a lot of us feel weighed down with worry and fear. Even those of us who are normally positive are finding the days merging into one another, and that motivation has taken a dive. As always, it is focusing on the smaller things that can help get us through. We need to cut through the drama which is invading our homes each night via our television screens, the relentless reporting of miserable situations. Of course we need to be informed but we can only take so much. A few nights without the television news works wonders and helps us to get a better nights sleep.

And maybe it’s time to dream! Just because we can’t go anywhere right now, doesn’t mean we can’t visit places or people in our dreams. This time won’t last forever and good times will come again, but for now we can indulge a little bit in a fantasy world. I seem to be imagining living part of the time in a Shepherd’s Hut, set in a field of daisies, and complete with the softest feather mattress, coloured china and a wood burning stove. It’s my favourite ‘go to ‘place at the moment. I also remember dreaming once that I had visited my elder son who lives an ocean away – the dream was so real; I hugged him and touched his curly hair, told him how I missed him. Who is to say I hadn’t been there with him, for a while at least.

Dreams are something no amount of physical distancing can ever take away.

Hold on To Love.

We have heard so many news bulletins. We feel the need to listen, and we hope for a glimmer of good news. The good news, at Christmas, is that we can try to put normal thoughts and worries on hold, even if for just one day. We can wrap ourselves in feelings of warmth and enjoy the intangible atmosphere that is Christmas, and which surrounds us all, every year, whatever our circumstances and wherever we are. Who can fail to feel a certain magic when looking at the starry skies on Christmas Eve? And somewhere, out there, under those same skies, our loved ones are looking out and hoping for the same things that we are. The one thing the virus can’t stop us doing is loving, even if we are apart. Love sends good vibrations across the fields, the miles, the skies, the oceans. Love has no borders. In fact, it never leaves us. It sits in our memories and stirs us when we need it. It appears in our dreams and runs through our veins. It made us. Like Christmas, love is never cancelled!

So many of us may not be able to physically sit around a table with our loved ones this year, but our hearts will be together.

Whilst we notice the sadness around us and hold space for all that is broken, and in the quiet corners of our minds, we tremble at the thoughts of an unknown future, let us picture a time where all the four corners of our precious world have been swept clean and we rejoice in new beginnings.

Merry Christmas

Let the Wind Blow

Blow, blow winter wind
Grey clouds pass on by,
Christmas will be here once more
In the blinking of an eye.

Blow, blow winter wind
Until all our thoughts are clear,
Help us find our way again,
And let kind hearts draw near.

Blow, blow winter wind
Til all the sky is bright 
And Santa flies across the moon
For every child’s delight.

Blow, blow winter wind,
Chase away the sadness and the pain,
Sweep every corner of the world
And make it whole again.

Silver With Cobwebs…

Do you struggle with the dark November days?

It is a damp, dark and foggy November day. The sort of day which feels rather dreary and lends itself to squashy sofas and log fires rather than energetic walks and outdoor exercise. It is a day for baking cakes and making hearty soups. Outside it feels as though the earth is sinking to rest until next spring. And yet when we stirred ourselves and walked across the fields, there was something magical about the misty, silent world where only the hardy venture ..

 Silver With Cobwebs 

You can walk through the dark,
Make no sense of the day
That went before
And brushed your dreams away.
Then look up to check
That the moon's still in place,
Peering through the clouds,
With a smile on its face.

You can walk through the tunnel
Feel your way in the mist
To find quiet fields
Laid out like a gift;
Silver with cobwebs
Spun as you were sleeping,
A glimpse into fairyland,
That is yours for the keeping.

You can be pulled by the river 
That hurtles to the sea
Or go with the flow
And decide to be free,
You can let your fears
Drift past on the tide,
Let the wind dry your tears
And peace be your guide.

You can forget what you have
When the ground seems to shift,
And shout at a world
That has cast you adrift.
Then remember the blessings
Too many to list
That will warm your soul
 Like a lover's kiss.

You can look to your memory
See who was there
Before all your plans
Were plotted with care.
One who sends love
In all that this is;
A handful of words
To last through the years.

L.M.H.

A Place of Happy Endings…

We all need to believe that good things can happen ….

A Place of Happy Endings 


I wanted to believe in fairy tales,
Where a perfect magic spell
Cast from a passing fairy’s wand
Would soon make all things well.
Somewhere across the Universe,
There must be a corner set aside
For the keeper of happy endings,
Who could send them far and wide.

So I took a walk alone
As though it was commonplace,
To be embarking on a journey 
With a mystery to embrace.
And suddenly, beneath my feet
The ground was paved with gold
And I felt compelled to follow
As I saw the path unfold.

My feet, they trod so lightly
There was no weight to hold me back,
Just a gentle breeze to steer me
As I kept upon the track.
A kaleidoscope of colour
Played against the sky
And all the world seemed brighter
As the landscape slipped on by.

Peaceful doves perched
And invited me to wait
Where a tangle of roses arched,
Above a gilded gate.
Through it I glimpsed a different world;
A green and bountiful space,
Where rules had never mattered
Yet order was in place.

It was a garden full of people 
Wearing a harmonious face,
With room enough for everyone
Of every colour and race.
Forgiveness was the way here,
And with it, acceptance grew
From love, that was unconditional,
And kindness was all that it knew.

Strength came from gentle strangers
Who let me stop awhile;
I had found a world that touched me
And I saw wise men smile.
This was where the brightest of dreams
Would become reality,
A haven for all the lost souls
Who yearned just to be free.

And so I knew this place was real
For I had held it in my hand;
It had taught me to believe
And then, to understand.

L.M.H 

A gift from my sister ….

Opening the Doors…

‘No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’ Warden Shire

The news has been harrowing. We learnt of the deaths of four members of the same family who died crossing the channel. How can this be allowed to happen? There must be another way. There are NO excuses. In the words of novelist and former refugee Dina Nayeri : ‘It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.’

Found Again

There is sunlight on the leaves 
And in distant fields, children play.
Voices carry on the wind,
Bringing a piercing reminder 
That life goes on,
Even when for some
The light has gone out,
And left nothing but broken hearts.
Will there ever be a tomorrow 
As normal again as yesterday?
Somehow, we have to believe
That, one day
Sorrow will fall away,
And in another place
All that is lost will be found again,
Love will find its way home to us,
And the world hereafter
Will be better
Than it ever was before.

L.M.H.

Letting the Light In

Do you need some motivation in the morning?

Do you find it more difficult to feel motivated this time of the year, especially in the cold, sometimes grey light of morning? I think a lot of us do. Also there is that slightly gloomy feeling when we realise that we are going to be facing a period of short days and long nights. Next week in our part of the world we will be drawing the curtains at tea-time!

For most of our human existence, we have lived our lives according to the availability of sunlight. We would wake at sunrise and go to sleep when darkness fell. But now things are very different. A lot of our days are spent in artificially lit buildings and the structures of our days and routines are very different to those of our ancestors. We go about our days not noticing that we aren’t getting the quality of natural light we need, yet sometimes feel out of sorts – we can feel the negative effects without really knowing the reason why. It is thought we can be more prone to heart disease, sleep deprivation and depression when our circadian rhythm ( the daily cycle that controls sleep, hunger and alertness) is disrupted by lack of light.

We need natural light – it varies in colour, from bright blue during daylight hours, to soft, reddish glows in the evening. We get a message from these different lights and our bodies respond without thinking about it. We are used to many different shades of light – we aren’t really used to a switch on switch off setting! A glorious array of different lights and shade is what we tune in to best.

I am always tempted to turn on my lamps – I like cosy corners lit with favourite lampshades when the day is a little grey. However, I am learning to try and make the most of natural daylight when I can. The trick is to try and position desks by a window for example, and give ourselves the best exposure we can.

In the darker hours I use warm, coloured lighting with halogen bulbs, and position my table lamps around the corners of the room rather than use overhead spotlights. I have a Himalayan salt lamp too, which gives a wonderful, soft amber glow and is warm to the touch.

Whenever possible, it’s good to get outside during daytime hours and expose yourself to the light – if possible leave off the sunglasses but don’t stare directly at the sun (if it is making a rare appearance!). Sunlight, even in the smallest doses that winter allows, can help boost serotonin levels and boost our mood.

Why not take a short walk and even have your coffee outdoors – just put on a warm coat first!

But, if we are marooned indoors, we can still bring the outside in. By surrounding ourselves with lush green plants and natural materials we can feel infinitely calmer and peaceful. Just by looking at green leaves and natural shapes we can lift our mood. Tactile natural wooden objects can help us relax too. Open fires emit calming light, but if your home doesn’t have a fireplace, candlelight can give off an almost magical light and even the simple act of lighting a candle can de-stress us.

During the first lockdown in April, we were lucky to feel the benefit of getting outdoors; indeed, for many it was a salvation – we couldn’t go anywhere apart from taking short walks, but we could sit in the garden if we were fortunate enough to have one. We could wake up to the dawn chorus, and watch a beautiful sunrise. Somehow it made us feel more positive.

Now though, we can’t be sure what lies ahead, and the threat of further lockdowns hang over us. We won’t have the comfort of warm sunny days for a while, but perhaps we can embrace a bit of Hygge – the Danish expression which roughly translated means coziness , although it means a lot more than that. It ties in ideas of companionship, wholesomeness, and contentment, all wrapped up in one harmonious whole. The great thing is that Hygge is easy to embrace, even on a budget. Most of the things central to the Hygge lifestyle- such as candles, home-cooked meals, warm socks and hot drinks to name but a few, cost little or nothing. It is all about warmth, comfort and closeness – all the feelings you may normally get from a hug. We may not be able to have as many hugs as we like at the moment but we can focus on making our own personal space as welcoming and comforting as possible.

                                                     One kind word can WARM three months OF WINTER