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You’ve Got a Friend….

I’ve written a simple poem about friendship this week…

Sometimes, do you find yourself retreating from the world? Do you feel your problems are either insurmountable or too silly to mention? Maybe you want someone to understand what’s going on with you without having to talk too much.

That is the time when good friends step up. I love the fact that good friends come in all colours, shapes and sizes, all ages and from all parts of the universe! They may have been around for a long time or you may have made a new one yesterday. They have a certain quality that is just ‘there’. You gel and you fit. Friends love you because you are you. They know you. They have your back and they are happy for you when things are going well. Equally, you are there for them. Always.

Occasionally if a friend you love is distracted – understand:

‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’ Winnie – the – Pooh

A true friendship is easy. There are so many things in this world that demand stress and force heartache; this makes having a loving friend a necessity in this crazy life.

‘After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends.’ Eeyore

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Poems to sooth the soul on a hot day….

I hope you can find a quiet and shady spot today...as I write, the temperature is reading 34 degrees ...hotter than we are used to in England! As they say, 'this too will pass' and will probably become a distant memory before too long! In the meantime, my writing desk is piled with work for another, cooler day, so I leave you with a handful of poems. 

May you find shady, quiet nooks in which to read and contemplate.



I Will

I will sit in the apple orchard
And feel the warmth of the sun,
I will watch the dancing butterflies
And watch the children 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 falling shadows
And feel the peace
Only the wise man knows.

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.

Lmh
Be Hopeful

I had a conversation with the night
As I had time to spare,
I asked it what the world looked like
From the midnight sky up there.
The moon peeped through the window 
All silvery and light
And told me from where he was
Earth was a magical sight.
I told him there where divisions
That spread throughout the land
And there was sadness and unrest
That was hard to understand.
He said once his shift was finished
He'd hand over to the sun,
Then talk to his superiors
To see what could be done.
And as I waited below
'Be hopeful', he said with a smile,
'Tuck love under your pillow
And rest there for a while.'

Lmh
Sweet Peas

A tangle of petals
Lilac, pink and white
Bunched together
In haphazard delight.
A handful of summer
Is the gift that I bring,
Soft scent to stir the memory 
Tied up with string.

Lmh
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Take Your Time – and Pray

They say we are directed to where we need to be if our hearts are open. In the last few weeks, I have picked up several different books – novels, autobiographies and a book of essays and musings on the divine. Although they were looking at life from completely different angles, they seemed to have a familiar thread running through them, one that linked deeper thinking with simplicity. Yes, that sounds like a paradox, but I think enlightenment does come from a place of calm and contemplation in these times of intense social media and news bombardment.

It is easy for frustration to settle in our very being as we feel weighed down by events, both personal and in the wider world. Times are challenging. Yet times have always been challenging if we look back in history and will be in the future. What will help us along the way, along our journey through this life? What helped those before us and those that will come after us?

I have read somewhere that if you feel disturbed by something the wisest thing to do is to pray. For many of us, this may be something we have forgotten how to do, or perhaps we wonder how to pray and to who do we send our prayers? Again, simplicity is the key. A quiet place for some time out is all we need. If we calmly gather our thoughts and requests together, our feelings of love for others, our hopes for peace and love to prevail and send them to an all-loving being we can find the light. We don’t need to look for explanations because we cannot know the future. We can spread love though, and send out blessings for those who need them, and we will feel it return to us. And the prayers will know where to go. To God, to the Universe, Mother Earth – whoever waits and looks over you and knows your heart.

Prayer Changes Things

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The Gift of the Stars and the Ground Beneath our Feet

How well do we know the ground beneath our feet? As a young child, I lived in Cornwall. I seemed to know every inch of the garden that surrounded our house, as well as the sloping path that led down the stony road to the river. I remember sitting under a bush at the end of the lane where it overlooked the main road and smelling the scent of the buddleia. In summer the shade was dappled and cool and the flowers were a haven for butterflies. My best friend lived just across the road and we used to spend hours playing together, dreaming up stories of dragons and princesses. Sadly she is no longer here, but I can still see her in my mind’s eye calling ‘see you later alligator’ over her shoulder as she walked home.

I can still remember so much about my early years; I can remember where the robin nested in the hedge just beyond my playhouse, the Christmas trees planted each year by my father, and I can remember seeing a slowworm laying motionless on the grass; dark and shocking to me as a child though quite harmless. I can remember having tea-parties with imaginary guests and making them perfume from fallen rose petals.

The busy world went on around me, but I was only concerned with the freedom of the outdoors. Perhaps as children, we had more time to discover the magic in our surroundings, the simple joy of collecting shiny pebbles or building camps. As adults, we tend to ‘fit in’ a daily walk as necessary exercise, something to add to our mandatory 10,000 daily steps, often forgetting to look around. Perhaps it is time to reconnect with our surroundings. The natural world has, since time began, been one of the most important ways of connecting with something greater than ourselves, with God, the Universe, or simply with all the amazing beings with whom we share this incredible world. There may be so much still to learn, but there is also so much healing coming from the atmosphere that we can absorb just by being a part of it.

This week, we have been beset with raging storms and unsettling news. The world can seem grim. But if we focus on the ground around us we will come to know that even when the storm IS raging, the summer flowers are only sleeping under our feet, and are waiting to bloom again.

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Insomnia and The Worry Monster

I have often tried meditating. I know all the gurus extol its virtues. So does my husband…(he’s quite a guru in his way). I am sure it’s a good thing to do. I will keep trying.

‘Quiet the mind and the soul will speak’.

Buddhists suggest that when one is meditating and random and unwelcome thoughts come into your mind uninvited, it is useful to look at these thoughts and name them. You might say: ‘Oh, here comes insecurity again’ or ‘here comes the money thing again’ – by naming the pesky worries you may be able to distance yourself from these visitors.

For me, the intrusive thoughts all belong to the visitor named ‘THE WORRY MONSTER’. I can be lying cosily in my warm, snug bed, feeling happy and content, in fact, feeling very lucky indeed, when the ‘WORRY MONSTER’ creeps up and casts his nasty spell. He then goes on full attack, troubling my psyche with a barrage of unwelcome worries, pointing me in the direction of self-destruction.

The darkest hour is just before dawn.

I think the ‘WORRY MONSTER’ carries his own alarm clock because he always knows the best time to strike. When his alarm goes off, he dashes over to my side and does what he can to rattle me. He also seems to carry a list of things for me to worry about which he gets out regularly. This he reads meanly in my ear and urges me to:

Worry about the future,

Worry about every mistake I’ve ever made, no matter how great or small,

Go over all the embarrassing moments from my past,

Worry about disasters that could befall me or my loved ones.

He drones on with an ever-increasing list, often accompanied by a very annoying and repetitive tune that adds to my discomfort.

How can I sleep? I sigh and toss and turn.

I don’t like this monster at all, he causes trouble and upsets me, but then a thought occurs to me. I realise that he can be dealt with because HE ISN’T REAL! Just like all the ugly monsters in our childrens’ story books, he is just a figment of my imagination. And that’s a revelation. I can close the page. My imagination might have been stimulated but that doesn’t mean the scary things he urges me to worry about are going to happen in real life.

It is time to try meditation again. Concentrate on my breathing and think only good thoughts, be grateful for what I have and look forward not back.

Life brings worries of course. None of us know what is around the corner, but the time to deal with problems is when they happen and not before.

The ‘WORRY MONSTER’ has left the building.

'It is dark' she said
To the wise man.
'I really feel afraid,
Everywhere I turn
The rules confound me;
What's more to learn?'
'Nothing,' said he.
'Just be sure to hang on tight,
For the stars are brightest
In the darkest night.'

Lmh.

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Looking For Mrs. Messenger….

Do you feel as though you are sometimes swimming against the tide, metaphorically speaking? Does the world feel a bit weird right now?

Of course, we have the ongoing challenge of living through a pandemic and news and changing rules on this will be with us for goodness knows how long. But I think it’s more than that that affects us.

There are many suffering the hardships of homelessness and poor housing. Some children go to bed hungry, and it seems like there are apologies dished out and excuses made but hardly any action taken. People are dying whilst waiting too long for an ambulance and this should never happen. Services are over-stretched, decent people are working their butts off, the hospitals are overwhelmed.

Poverty and shortages are commonplace, yet it seems like the government are acting like inexperienced magicians pulling coins from their sleeves and then making them disappear again.

A bolder person than me would stand up to all the bluster, all the unfairness and lack of generosity that infringes on some parts of society and would set about highlighting the needs of us all. They would seek out the positives and change the way we look at things. Not only that, they would realise that mistakes can be made but it doesn’t mean they cannot be rectified. There are so many people with good hearts out there. We know it and our world knows it. We just need to find the right way to make things better.

Swimming against the tide might feel unsettling but sometimes we need to do that rather than go with the flow along with everyone else.

Mrs. Messenger



Mrs. Messenger came
And asked everyone
In the busy ‘shouty’ places
To examine their hearts
And to put smiles on their faces
And lead by example;
To tell the truth
And work for the common good.
To rebuild the crumbling houses
And distribute the food
So that no child was hungry.
And before long
We started to listen
To the one who led with gentle ease,
And kindness fell around us 
Like the soft November leaves.

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How Do We Cope With a Changing World?

Do you have days when you find it hard to cope with the changing world? Sometimes it feels that everything has been turned upside down and we wonder if life will ever be the same again. So many people out there are trying to do their best for us but there seems to be doubt too, doubt that is creeping in from the corners and filling us with uncertainty about the future. Every era brings new challenges, we only have to look back through history to see that, but how we deal with them now, in this age of constantly changing technology, is a complex issue.

Should we accept change? I suppose we need to accept what we cannot change, but we need to be curious too. Asking questions and listening rather than making assumptions will help us explore fresh perspectives.

We can all feel emotional during times of change, indeed we can feel unhappy and negative. We need to remember to be kind to ourselves and look after our energy levels.

When things become overwhelming, I find a good way of coping is to divide life into smaller steps when possible. Concentrate on how well you’ve done so far rather than constantly trying to look at the bigger picture. A good way to settle your mind is to make a little plan (I’m not normally big on making plans or lists but here I make an exception !) Prioritise what you feel you need to do and then start by taking a small step at a time.

‘When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.’ Victor Frankl

Having said that, still, I find what helps me the most is having faith. Faith in the overall goodness of people. Faith in Mother Nature and faith in the knowledge that the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other when things are bleak always helps.

Change

Change is here, we know it
And others pronounce it in harsh tones
That filter through every crack
To chill our very bones.

Hold on, we say to the big wide world
As we fear the changing view,
We haven't had long enough
To dance along with you.

But the world just turns by way of reply
And can't apply the brake
Surely, we should know by now
To give more than we take.

Oh, hold on world! It is time
For us who love you to be strong;
To gather your shattered pieces 
And put them back where they belong.

L.M.H 



Softly Green

The mist fell over the hills
Until there was no distance
To think about,
The big wide world was made smaller
And became more manageable
Until there was nothing scary to be seen
And then the rain fell
And washed it clean;
Nature emptying its pockets
To colour it softly green.

L.M.H 
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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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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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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.