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 ….
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.
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.
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.
‘To know you are loved or have been loved is more than uplifting, it is at the core of everything.’
Life for all of us has been put on hold except for all but the most necessary of tasks and the most basic needs. Time seems to be suspended and yet the days pass quickly; the world is unusually quiet but the morning light still shines through the window and throws shafts of sunlight across the floor every morning. Perhaps we appreciate it more today than we did a few weeks ago.
Going through the motions of a different daily life, we are coming to know more about love and kindness than ever before. When we are in a ‘normal’ state; on an even keel and just following routine, we don’t always stop to notice the small but profound things that are ever present yet not on our radar during the bustle of everyday life. But in a state of great, and sometimes frightening change, normal and trivial irritations lie unnoticed; worries about work deadlines, so important last month, stay in the ‘in-tray’ because we can’t do much about them even if we want to, and the cloak of regularity falls from our shoulders. We are having to view our lives with a much different perspective. We do have time now to notice the small but important things, after all these are the things that are essential now.
Most of us are lucky enough to have friends and family that love us; maybe we have taken that fact a little for grated at times; sometimes complacency can come with familiarity, but perhaps when we are sad, worried or in pain, even if we are not always vocalising what we feel or are going through, our vulnerability opens us up to others and their natural and inbuilt ability to reach out, even across the airwaves. And if we do open up, more often than not, we are treated with a compassion we needed just at the right time, and we can also show the same in return.
There cannot be many times in our day that are not touched by love in one form or another; it may not always be obvious but it is there. It is waiting in the wings – an unceasing energy and in limitless supply. Even when doing a mundane job like housework, chances are you will have the radio on in the background and before long you will be humming along to a love song. At the moment, happy memories evoked by music serve us well.
When we love deeply there are no boundaries. The heart finds a way to love no matter what the circumstances and the heart knows that love reaches us even when we are in isolation. We need courage today, and when we send love out we are rewarded a thousandfold. Love can be gentle when it needs to be; it can be held in a reassuring smile on FaceTime or in a virtual hug. It can be there in a row of emojis sent to our children in a text. And when we think in a loving rather than fearful way, the good vibration is felt across the miles, the fields, the oceans and beyond, just like the gentle flapping of a butterfly’s wings can be sensed across continents ( The ‘butterfly effect’ is an idea more commonly used in chaos theory. It shows that a small change can make much bigger changes happen; that one small incident can have a big impact). Love is borderless.
Love crosses realms. In fact, it never leaves us; it sits in our memories, it stirs us when we least expect it and again, when we need it. It appears in our dreams and runs through our veins. It is part of us.
‘Only from the heart can you touch the sky’. Rumi
We need to dig deep at the moment and find those inner resources that will get us through. Our moods may dip from time to time, but when we remember what we have – who we have, and who we love and have loved, we can find our way through.