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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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Dear World

I am not wise enough to comment on the shocking situation in the world today. I can only try and concentrate on anger somehow dissolving, reason taking the place of fighting and new life evolving in a way which at the moment we cannot see.

We have to believe we are part of a bigger and better picture, even if we cannot see it, and part of an all-loving Universe even if we cannot feel it. We can be part of humanity where we see those who feel invisible rather than those who are in the limelight and part of a place where we don’t nurture our fears at the expense of others, or turn our backs when others weep. In the long quiet hours with the challenge of despair we long to find a place of hope and new life, for here is where all bad things are banished, no explanations are needed and yet we know everything we need to know.

Let us pray for broken hearts to mend, and that the hands of those in power let go of the reins and review the compass so that we can all find the right way.

In an all-loving Universe generous, kind hearts do their best for the common good.

How fiercely we must hope and pray for Ukraine and for all of us. We pray for peace.

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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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Twisting in the Wind

I’ve had another birthday. For the first time, I have been thinking a lot about becoming a senior person. Really quite senior! It’s almost as though, at the stroke of midnight on my birthday, my glass slipper came off and was replaced by a fluffy one, built for comfort, cosiness and practicality! I’m not sure what Prince Charming would think of that!

Time whispers around my ears and I find myself thinking it’s time to be sensible and pace myself when I’m out walking and to drink more water and take more vitamins. Perhaps we should start looking at bungalows too! Then I look at all the people in the public eye who are still out there ‘strutting their stuff’ even though they are well past retirement age and realise that whatever age we are, all we really need is a good and positive mindset. I think of my dad too, who was still working at the age of 89 and who never gave up on trying to improve his health and was always happy to meet new people and strike up an interesting conversation.

It’s quite easy to spend a lot of time reminiscing, at least, I find it so. At times, looking back down the years is rather like looking through a kaleidoscope, seeing a jumble of places and faces, of memories, of good times and sad times, and everything in between. The brightest colours shine through and these are the memories we hold on to.

One thing I realise, is that we can spend our whole lives trying to find the meaning of it, only to get to our later years and find that simplicity is the way. All the striving and all the hurly-burly of life can only take us so far, whilst loving and just ‘being’ takes us exactly where we need to be.

I've seen a lot of years
As I've moved from place to place
And you can see the storms I've weathered 
In the lines upon my face.
For every step I have travelled
There has been much to understand -
How life can be unravelled
By an unseen sleight of hand.
But even the sweetest flower 
Sometimes twists in the wind,
But then it spreads its precious seeds
So new life can begin.
With every turning tide
Comes a new and mighty wave,
And I remember there is always time
To stand up and be brave.

L.M.H
Photo by Fiona Art on Pexels.com
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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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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

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The Bigger Picture...

The Bigger Picture

It is hard to focus at times. Easy to lose faith and wonder what on earth is going to happen next. The ground seems to be shifting under our feet as we await the latest news and feel like we should hold our breath. That’s how it feels to me some days anyway. I am a bit of a thinker and I regard myself as a believer… I believe there is a bigger picture even if I can’t totally understand it and sometimes need to re-affirm my faith in it.

If you feel a bit like me, I hope these words might help a bit….

 

The Bigger Picture

We are part of a bigger and better picture

Even if we cannot see it,

Part of a Universe where we are free,

Even when we cannot feel it.

Part of a humanity where we see those who are invisible,

Rather than those who are in the limelight;

A place where we don’t nurture our fears

At the expense of others,

Or turn our backs when others weep.

In the quiet, long hours

With the challenge of despair,

We long to find this place of hope and new life,

For here is where all the bad things are banished,

No explanations are needed,

Yet we know all we need to know.

Now broken hearts are settled

And all that went before

Drops into an ocean of understanding.

And it is here, this place,

This bigger picture…

Waiting to reveal itself

When powerful hands let go of the reins

Review the compass

And allow us all to find the right way.

Here in this all-loving Universe,

Generous, kind hearts

Do their best for the common good.

(C) Lyn Halvorsen

 

ball shaped blur close up focus
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

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What is Normal? A Poem for Today ...

What Is Normal? A poem for today…

 

 

We used to talk about the weather

And should we take a coat?

It can always rain here

Even if the chances are remote.

 

We used to make plans

To meet in steamy cafes,

And huddle together in busy places,

To pass time in a multitude of ways.

 

And what of the theatres –

With the nightly applause

For the actors, with their names in lights,

Bowing for their artistic cause?

 

And we waited all year

For the holidays, for fun,

And the long-awaited chance

To turn our faces to the sun.

 

We held hands, and each other,

Never knowing we could be denied

The chance to come together,

By a fierce and changing tide.

 

For the whole world held its breath

As we awoke to a different day,

And fear lodged in our homes

And edged the normal away.

 

Yet written in the dusty catalogues of time

Were reminders that would last,

So that history would beg us listen

To the warnings from the past.

 

Normal is just complacency of sorts –

A comfortable, unchallenging way to go,

But who could even blame us

For going with the flow?

 

Now life is forever altered,

And we step up to the mark,

And boldly gather up ourselves

To chase away the dark.

 

(C) Lyn Halvorsen

woman walking in beach
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Love in the Time of the Coronavirus

Love in the Time of The Coronavirus…

 

‘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.

 

  ‘One thought I carry in my heart

For all the times we are apart

Is that the moon that I look up and see

Shines above both you and me.’

 

afterglow art backlit birds
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Encouragement for Today…

Some encouragement and suggestions for today…

You may have already read this piece but I felt I wanted to add it here:

     ‘And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.’

                                                                    Attributed to Kitty O’Meara

 The above words are wise, thought provoking and beautiful.

But how do we steady ourselves today? The news is factual but dramatic. Of course we need to be informed but it is hard not to feel unsettled and anxious, even frightened.

At the moment we have to listen to the advice we are given and try and keep calm.

Here are a few things helping me feel calmer:

I have been watching the rooks building their nest for a while now. High in the trees and way above the rooftops, they are going about their business. Whatever the weather they come and go on a regular basis – dipping into our garden to help themselves to the bread on our lawn and flying backwards and forwards with twigs in their beaks to bolster up the nest. No matter what is happening on the ground onwards they go…

A selection of houseplants are arranged on my kitchen windowsill and whenever I look at the perky green leaves and tendrils I feel better. There is a softness in the natural colour. Above hangs a crystal which catches the sun and throws a rainbow of colours round the room and spreads healing energy.

Photographs are arranged on the shelf and I look at pictures of my wonderful sons, their beautiful wives and all nine of our adored grandchildren. I can imagine my hands on theirs. My arms around their shoulders. I can send them love, and love knows no boundaries.

As I write this I am listening to some music recommended by my daughter-in-law in America. She plays this to our youngest granddaughter every night. The music is peaceful, spiritual, harmonious . It helps to think that even when we are all apart, we can still share beautiful things.*

My husband is in the garden. I can hear him turning the soil with the fork, preparing the garden for the next season. The smell of newly mown grass is drifting in through the door. Tending the land is good for the soul and connects us to the earth.

I have been cooking. Chopping, blending, seasoning and then filling and shaping Cornish pasties just like my mother and grandmother before me. Home cooked food nourishes the soul as well as the body.

I have cleaned and tidied the house. There is something comforting in making our surroundings as pleasant as possible, especially if we have to stay in for while!

Looking for the silver lining helps – we may be frustrated because we cannot do a lot of the things we normally do without a second thought, but we are being given the gift of time. Time to have conversations with loved ones, time to reach out to neighbours who are grateful for our help, time to catch up on chores we have been putting off. Time to remember who and what is really dear to us. Time to put trivia aside and concentrate on what really matters. This is the time we wouldn’t have had if we were rushing around meeting deadlines.

I end by saying let’s encourage each other. Let us not isolate ourselves emotionally even if we have to physically. Find ways to relax. Stress does more damage than anything. Love and kindness matters. Let’s get through this scary time together.

 

*Hidden in My heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture)

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