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The Small Things are The Best Things…

There are so many times in life when we get caught up in life’s merry-go-round and who can blame us? Each day brings us new options to consider, sometimes new challenges, sometimes good news and sadly, sometimes things we would rather not hear or be faced with. Then there are the ordinary days – the mundane days, when we forget to ‘live in the present’ as they say, and get side-tracked, perhaps have a moan about the rubbish bins not being emptied or grumble about the weather being too hot, too cold, too wet etc… Often, we start the day with good intentions, but then life gets in the way. Even on good days, we can forget what’s really important.

Whatever challenges we face, big or small, we can’t be expected to deal with everything perfectly well all the time. We can wobble. Who doesn’t ? Even the most highly respected gurus (it is interesting that in Sanskrit, guru means ‘dispeller of darkness’) can have the odd day when they question what is going on in the world.

The world is going through so much change, we are all going through change. How can we remain optimistic? I think it is by shifting our focus from time to time, even in dire or worrying situations, and looking for the small things, the little things that keep us going. I like to think there are tiny particles of hope floating in the air, ready to encircle us in times of need!

The Small Things are the Best Things

The small things are the best things,
Like the comfort your smile brings,
And the dancing in silly ways
That chases away the dingy days.
The hedges in the lane
Are covered with flowers
That grow for free,
A willing gift for you and me.
The small things fill life's empty spaces,
Kindness is revealed in unexpected places
And in your words softly spoken,
That ease the heart so nearly broken.
Sometimes the world wears a muddled face
And everything feels out of place
But there are moments when it feels okay
And the moon smiles down at the end of the day,
And like the imagined flash of an Angel's wing
A small thing will mean everything.

L.M.H.


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Do not lose the day. Uncategorized

Contentment

I have a little book of daily inspirational quotations I keep by my bed. I had got out of the habit of reading it for a while but picked it up again this week. It is said we read things when we need to – that we are reminded about something at the right moment and I like to believe that. Is there an angel sitting on my shoulder pointing me in the right direction? I like to think that too. The short quote I read this morning reminded me that contentment is the most important feeling we can have. I don’t have the book in front of me now but the advice it offered stayed with me. It made me realise that when we are content we are gentle with the world, and that upset and anxiety rolls away from us like raindrops slipping off shiny leaves.

How many people do we know who appear to be content with their life? It’s not easy for any of us to go through life beaming contentedly at everyone we meet whilst skipping through fields full of daisies is it? Life has a habit of getting in the way of contentment. The daily grind, the scary news and events in general, all contrive to rattle us and upset our equilibrium. I did start today with a new mindset though, and reminded myself that striving for tomorrow is not what today is all about. Today is about being appreciative and realising that every day is special and won’t come again.

I am going out into the garden to help my husband plant a new hedge and then sit down in a deckchair with a cup of tea and feel content. At least for a while!

I will

I will sit in the apple orchard 
And feel the warmth of the sun,
I will watch the dancing butterflies 
And the children as they run.

I will see the kaleidoscope of colours
Unfolding all around
And feel the memory of a hundred summers
Fall like feathers to the ground.

I will hold nothing more than dreams
And love and love and love,
For this is all we have it seems
But then all we need IS love.

I will let the day run its course
And mark the time only by shadows
That will lengthen, until at last
Only peace follows.
 
I will forget to ask for answers
To how and why and when,
And know that though the darkness falls 
The world will turn again.
                  
                          L.M.H 




Photo by Isaque Pereira on Pexels.com
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Celebrating Our Uniqueness Uncategorized

Hold On To Your Dreams…

The world turns and with every turn there is more to consider, more to weigh up, more to cope with. Some days we may feel small and inconsequential and who can blame us?

Can we really make a difference? Can we make our own personal mark on this world with all its complexities? Yes, we can, because we can act on our dreams, and we can follow the path that knows kindness, that shows tolerance and fairness.

When we feel worried about the world and can’t see an end to all the unrest and disease that frightens us, it is good to take a step back and look at our beautiful world from afar. There isn’t an instant solution to what is happening at the moment and we know that, but looking from a distance helps put things in perspective. Imagine looking down at the world from a space-ship. What would we see? Only rugged land and great expanses of water. No big barriers and no big banners or labels. No big names written across the landscape. As we approach land and hover above the towns and cities we would see a blur of people going about their everyday business. We wouldn’t see one looking more important than the other. We would just have an aerial view of humanity. Looking from above, we wouldn’t judge anyone or be judged. How could we be?But we might realise that we are all equal in the eyes of the Universe.

Back down on Earth with our feet on the ground, we will feel the push and pull of everyday ups and downs, but it’s good to remember the ‘big picture’, and remember that big or small, we all have our hopes and dreams ….

Look to the sky now and again…

We are all made of stars they say….

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Anxiety Uncategorized

Survival Techniques and Finding Your Base Camp

If you were washed up on a desert island and desperate to survive, I wonder what survival technique would serve you best? No matter how fit and strong you were, if you weren’t mentally strong you would find it difficult to keep going. Bulging muscles and gym enhanced fitness might help you bounce around the sand for a while but without mental fitness, you would soon start to panic or go into ‘freeze’ mode. You would only be able to run around searching for ships on the horizon, and an immediate solution, for so long. While it is certainly good to keep physically fit, there is much more to survival than that. Often the person with hidden strengths survives against the odds.

Just as we would find it hard to cope alone on a desert island, there are times we may feel we need to go into survival mode, and that has been very true in the current challenging times. We may not be lost on that desert island but we may feel just as stranded and panicked.

The strongest survival skill comes from managing the mind. Everything you do and experience comes from your mind after all. It is hard at times I know, but there are some basic tips to help you settle your mind and feel more in control. Just as when trapped on that island, if you worry too much you may panic in stressful situations. In times like this just STOP.  Stop and find a quiet space and take a breather.

If you were stranded somewhere you would probably make yourself a base camp – somewhere where you felt safe and could shelter from the storm. In the same way, so it is also needed in normal life – make sure your surroundings at home are peaceful and comfortable – create a haven and your own ‘go to’ place or corner. Escape to this place from time to time and especially during frantic days, and feel the calmness there. Keep your own space uncluttered but keep a favourite photo on your desk of loved ones or have a framed positive quote that you like. Have a little area that is just yours and rest your eyes on a scene that is tranquil.

Make a plan – in  the desert you would formulate a plan so that you could attract help and the possibility of rescue. Do the same in your mind to help you ease your worries. Think of who may be able to help you in your current situation, whatever it may be. Be open to advice. Put out feelers  – you will be surprised where help may come from.

Work out your everyday survival techniques. Have an imaginary compass in your mind – picture it pointing you in the right direction – the calm and happy direction. If you have a problem that is really worrying you, picture your compass rotating until it points you to a place where you can work out your problems. Picture it pointing you to a friend who is ready to receive you with kind and open arms. Imagine it sending you towards your own personal North Star where peace and contentment abounds. It is amazing how this can help you find a way forward and calm your mind.

Every time you leave your own particular safe place, your ‘base camp’, and venture out in a calm and peaceful way and can cope with what ever is outside you will be building confidence and more able to take control of different and even anxious feelings. Also, knowing you have a place to retreat to and recharge your batteries will help, even if you just go there in your mind when you are in a chaotic place.

So next time you feel you are anxious or jittery, put your mind to survival and find the path you lost.

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Uncategorized

The Art of ‘Not Thinking’….

During lockdown, with all the stresses and strains involved, walking in the countryside has been a salvation for many of us. Walking up hill and down dale, I have found helpful spaces in which to walk, and think, and sometimes, not to think!

Not thinking can be hard! Where do we start with ‘not thinking’ when all the days thoughts swirl round and round in our heads, and the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’ won’t be stilled? There is certainly a skill to learn, to apply to ‘not thinking.’

Left to one’s own devices, it can be easy to listen to those churning thoughts that bob up to the surface in an unwelcome fashion……

So I wanted to concentrate on ways of ‘not thinking’ – or perhaps thinking in a different way. Taking time to focus on the small but important things in life. Then I thought about the fact that thinking can be good even when there is turbulence. We may like calm seas, but actually, it’s when the ocean is at its most choppy and the waves are hurtling to the shore that it deposits the most beautiful shells at our feet. As long as we can look at problems from within a deep and calm mind we can find the strength to cope with what life throws at us.

I must have been so busy trying to think about the art of ‘not thinking’ that sadly I hadn’t noticed that most of long blog I had written above hadn’t been saved! I was pleased with it too. I felt I had some real gems to share with you. I put my head in my hands. I used some bad language! Then I thought – perhaps there is a reason for that, and I tried to calm down.

So, dear reader, this isn’t the whole blog I had written for you today. I had written about how we can always feel better after a walk outside. And how we can feel better if we talk things over with a kind friend. But I have written a poem for you that I hope might help get my point across. For those days when our thoughts get the better of us, I hope my words help a little bit!

When Nature Smiles

'Oh, my!' She said,
My mind is just a jumble
Of broken thoughts,
And morbid fears that I will stumble.
What if I can't find a way
To calm my heart
And stop my world 
From falling apart?'
'Come and walk'
Beckoned the sun,
'And just talk'
Said the wise one;
'Tell your woes to the trees
And they will float
Away on the breeze.'
And so she did just that,
And nature smiled
As she sat
Curled up like a child.
'Oh, my soul is free!' She said,
'Today is a new day'
And she waved to the sun
And went on her way.

L.M.H.

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Nearly Going Somewhere…

I guess we are all missing our holidays at the moment. We still aren’t sure when we can book to go travel to sunnier climes. Perhaps it won’t be too long. Who knows?

I remember years ago reading an article called ‘The Art of Nearly Going Somewhere ‘ and it really resonated with me. The writer described how he liked looking at travel brochures and imagining himself setting off on exotic travels. He enjoyed picturing himself having many different adventures and experiences. He would spend lots of time thinking and planning. He felt the sand between his toes, he bought the tee-shirt and drank the Sangria. He was lost in blissful daydream for a while. But then he looked around him, took in his familiar surroundings. His home. And he realised, he liked home best. He was happy with his lot. The art of ‘nearly going somewhere’ was enough to keep him happy.

Sometimes, I think the planning and imagining of an event is as much fun as actually taking part. We can sit at home and just imagine the good bits, without experiencing the airport delays, the sunburn, the mosquitoes …..Ok, I know, you’d still like a real holiday! But here’s a poem about ‘nearly going somewhere’, just for a bit of fun. And you never know, just by imagining something wonderful, it may become reality!

Wishing you a very blessed and happy Easter.

Nearly Going Somewhere


I looked at sunny skies
And oceans blue,
Ancient relics
With a golden hue,
Cobbled streets 
Where we could roam
And enjoy a scene 
So far from home.
I saw places where we could stop 
And watch the sun set
On a fun-filled day
We wouldn’t forget. 
I could smell the blossom
From the flowering trees,
Feel the warmth
Of the gentle breeze.
I could imagine the markets 
With exotic wares,
See water parks,
Bazaars and fairs.
There was time to take a breath,
And focus weary eyes
On new horizons
With the hint of surprise.
Oh, how I enjoyed leafing through
The glossy catalogue
As I sat alongside you,
Dreaming of a different view.
Then we made coffee
And put the catalogue away,
Feeling more than happy
We had seen the world in a day.

L.M.H.
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Coping with the news Uncategorized

A Sympathetic Voice

So far, this week seems to have been one of highly publicised televised interviews and sensational headlines, followed by opinionated spats and disagreements on various news programmes. It can be hard to change focus and to stay grounded, for unless one sits at the bottom of the garden in a teeppee listening to the sounds of nature (actually I would love a teepee!) one cannot avoid the news altogether. I wouldn’t want to wade in with comments about ‘that interview’ for I cannot begin to know the reasons for other people’s trials and tribulations. What has occurred to me though, is how complicated life becomes, when the need to be right, or follow protocol, or make people obey the rules, gets in the way of everyday life.

Perhaps we should all take a step back and think about the simple acts of kindness that sometimes get lost along the way – perhaps because of busyness or stress or life’s pressures. I recently attended an outpatient appointment at my local hospital, and to say I was treated with briskness is an understatement. In a procedure lasting just over half an hour I was spoken to only once or twice, and that was just to give me instructions. Just a few kind words and a short explanation of what was going on would have made such a difference and really improved my experience. I wasn’t treated badly, but I was treated with indifference. I do understand the NHS is under great stress. I used to be a nurse myself, and I know what a great job a lot of hospital staff do, but that day, kindness and interaction was lacking. Just a couple of minutes chat and a smile was all that was needed. Would that have held up the day too much?

I give the above example not to criticise but to illustrate how it is the small things in life that help us keep going and feel better. Life is short, and we need to be feel cared for and we need to treat people, and be treated, generously.

Recently, I have lost three friends from various walks of life. I have walked around with sadness and grief on my shoulders. Memories of the past have woken me in the night and I have tossed and turned, and pictured myself as a teenager once more, laughing with a friend who has now said goodbye. I have realised that all that matters is how we love, and that we will be remembered for the good things we have done, the friendships we have formed and the way we still managed to carry on and be ourselves even when facing adversity.

If only we could all cut through the wasted time that comes about from looking in the wrong direction or from dwelling on hurts that we could just let go, then we could make the most of the precious time we have.

Huge misunderstandings could be put right and hurts could be healed if those who had the power, reached out and said, ‘What can we do to make things better?’



A Sympathetic Voice

Lately it has come to mind
It is most important to be kind,
To take a moment, and make a choice
And comfort with a sympathetic voice.

In this complex world we keep afloat,
Care for ourselves without rocking the boat,
Weigh up the politics, try and do what is right,
Find something we believe in and follow the light.

But too many times, on a solitary track
Have we passed on by, and not looked back
Not knowing the difference we could have made
To the person standing alone and afraid?

And after frantic years of business deals,
With arrogant managers kicking their heels,
Would anyone look back and say
'I'm glad I acted mean today?'


L.M.H 


Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3

When we love and treat each other with the utmost care and attention, the little things that bother us seem far less overwhelming. And perhaps we should listen twice as much as we talk.

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Where Did Yesterday Go?

Do you ever think about the passing of time? We all mutter those phrases about time passing – ask ourselves ‘where did those days, those years go?’ Time passes in strange ways I think. Especially now, when a lot of us have been enforced to spend our time in different ways than we are used to. It’s as though days morph into one another. Time is moving slowly, yet paradoxically, flying by. There is that strange phenomenon too, about clock watching making time stand still -perhaps when you are waiting patiently for an event and the hands on the clock don’t seem to move, and the times you are waiting for the kettle to boil and a minute seems like an hour. Or when you are waiting to hear an answer to an important question. And think about the times you lay awake at night wrestling with a problem that has taken on momentous proportions in the darkness; sleep will not come and it seems like the morning will never arrive.

I was looking for some essays and blogs about time and how we view it. Interestingly enough, there are many blogs about time management out there. Many suggestions for making your life better, strategies for maximising productivity and taking control. Suggestions for finding ways of being more efficient. Okay, it may be helpful to organise our time and keep a watch on how we spend the hours in our day, but that isn’t really what I was thinking about here. When we enter the Golden Gates, do you think there will be someone standing by with a report card, ready to tick the box marked ‘efficiency’? Or the one marked ‘excellent strategist’? These are probably useful attributes but not what really what make us tick (okay, dreadful pun).

Right now, is the clock that reliable anyway? Perhaps it wears two faces; ‘objective time’ – the time of timetables and calendars, and ‘lived’ time – time where we live and love and feel and act. It seems to me that the familiarity of the days is re-setting our clocks somehow. We don’t have so much use for objective time at the moment, even though we normally seemed to be ruled by it, but we are noticing our lived time more than normal. We notice the difference more; the change in the way our days are passing, and perhaps feel a strangeness and a discomfort. But actually, the calendar now is not too relevant, except in certain circumstances where we still need to keep to essential appointments. Of course, we all need to refer to our diary’s at times, but perhaps we will come to realise that timetables and charts and routines are external inventions thrust upon us, some of which we realise we can live without. We might even say that the pandemic has given us an insight into the fundamental nature of time.

 Yesterday 

 I must have got up yesterday 
 And the day before that,
 Had the morning cup of tea
 And the usual chat.
 I must have looked at the sunrise
 Checked the skies for rain,
 Avoided listening to the news;
 The same old sad refrain.
 I must have cleaned
 And cooked and swept
 And dusted the corners
 Where the umbrellas were kept.
 And I must have rumbled
 Through my mind
 A thousand thoughts 
 That were left behind
 From the day before
 And the day before that;
 A veritable swirl
 Of this and that.
 And I must have gone to bed once more
 As the day turned into night,
 And realised another day had gone
 As I turned off the light.
 And as I lay upon my side
 A lonely tear
 I tried to hide,
 Along with the growing fear
 That I can’t turn back the tide.
 But, then I must have noticed
 The moon was full and round,
 And Its silver face was smiling,
 Sending moonbeams to the ground.
 He didn’t question if he should shine
 Or worry about the passing time,
 Or ships that pass us in the night
 Or whether 
 What he did was right.
 And so I must have settled down to sleep
 As the Universe took charge,
 And I dreamed of all the days I’d keep
 Filled to the brim with stars.

L.M.H 
 

 
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A Tapestry of Love for Valentine’s Day…

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 
 

 

 

 
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Uncategorized

The Homeless Man

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