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Who Inspires Me?

I was recently asked to write a short piece about inspiration and who inspires me.

I started thinking about who I wanted to write about and found myself struggling to single out just one person. There are so many people both in the present day and those who have gone before us that have inspired us through selfless acts, scientific development, religion, philosophy and politics. There are giants who walk tall in our history books and have left us with lasting legacies and we in the world will always look up to them. On the very top of my list would be the names of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, all three of them arguably the most important names of our time.

But that would be only the start of my list, which could indeed be very long, because, thankfully the world is full of very good people, though it’s easy to forget that at times. Especially now.

What always amazes me is that the greatest teachers we know focus or have focused, on lifting the hearts of those around them rather than extolling their own virtues. When an interviewer attempts to paint the Dalai Lama as something grand, a soul with a mighty preordained purpose, his response is typically, ‘I’m a monk, a simple monk.’ That made me think about all the people out there who quietly go about their business, whilst spreading some good feeling or intention to the world. The people who touch the hearts of others in small but significant ways.

And so I put my thoughts into this poem…

Who Inspires Me?


The person who smiled
When I was troubled
And kindly looked my way,
The selfless mother 
Who, though tired and afraid,
Held her children tightly today.
The angel at the food bank
Who couldn’t sleep,
Knowing others were hungry -
She came with love
And bread for them to eat.
The doctor who cared
And knew every person 
Waiting to be seen
Deserved love and attention.
The brave person who stood up to say
‘I’m different, but please look my way.’
The special one who said:
‘I know there are challenges we must all face
But it’s going to be okay,
I love you,
All will be well today.’


Lmh


I hope you will feel inspired by someone today - even better, maybe you will inspire someone, perhaps without even knowing it. How wonderful is the gift of a warm smile.

Namaste 





Here, no less beauty I am shown, than Cardinals or Kings…
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Dreams of a Peaceful Christmas ….

Christmas to me is the one time of the year when the atmosphere changes completely. I’m not talking about the commercial frenzy that assaults us from every angle, or the busy build-up to Christmas Day itself with all the stress involved. It is much more intangible than that. It is a feeling that stirs emotions and opens the heart. It is the feeling of concern for others, and even the resurfacing of grief that lies within us. A sadness that those we have lost are no longer with us to maintain the family traditions, to bring out the old familiar Christmas decorations and the expressions dear to us.

Step out into the quiet, still night and look at the stars, and there is a sense that the Universe is holding its breath just like it did over two millennia ago.

The Sankofa bird is a symbol that is used to explain the Sankofa, a word in the Akan Twi and Fante language of Ghana that translates to ‘retrieve’: go back and get. The bird has its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. It is often associated with the saying: ‘It is not wrong to go back to what you have forgotten.’ It teaches us we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us so that we can move forward.

That is what is beautiful about this time of the year. We can reflect as we prepare our homes for Christmas, and remember all those who have gone before us who did the same. People change, times change, politics change, but the message of Christmas remains the same.

May we be filled with hope for new and better beginnings, and pray for peace to wrap itself around our brothers and sisters who are struggling both here and on distant shores, pray for mothers and fathers to be able to keep their children warm and fed, and for lovers to be able to hold each other in safety. For the little children who suffered unspeakable torment at the hands of those who they should have been able to trust, may they find eternal rest.

Footsteps on the snowy field
Left no lasting mark
Yet you walked there once
Hugging the Christmas tree.

A candle glowed in the window
And with sweet relief
You fell inside
In a tangle of scented branches.

It was different then, yet the same,
The children were just as excited,
The tree was lit
And Santa was expected.

The kitchen was warm like spice
And family came
To hug and greet you
And sit around the table.

Nothing changes
Though the world moves on
Thinking it knows best.
Still, we sing of angels,
And on this Silent Night
A tall tree bows, and remembers.

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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Life Can Still Be Good

For the last few days the sun has been shining after what seems like weeks of grey skies ... suddenly there seems to be plenty to smile about... 

But if you need a boost, please read on... 



Thank you for showing me life can be good.
With you, I know the world is full of people who care 
And seek what is still beautiful and right. 
Thank you for choosing softness in a hard world 
And keeping your heart open instead of building walls.
I am grateful to you for your kindness 
When the darkness falls
And for taking time to point out the stars. 
The world is a better place
When WE are in a better place,
And harmony comes from your gentle words
That are spoken with grace. 
Thank you for not being perfect 
But for doing your best 
And not making judgements. 
Thank you for shining through difficult times 
And wearing your Sunday best on grim days. 
Thank you for showing up today - 
Sometimes you need to hear that 
And that's really all I wanted to say. 

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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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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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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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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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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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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