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Uncategorized

Busy Doing Nothing

It is funny how a day starts off one way and then heads in a completely different direction. I had a list of plans for today that for one reason or another didn’t work out, starting with a planned trip out for breakfast which didn’t materialise as my favourite cafe turned out to be closed on a Tuesday. This was followed by a rather fruitless shopping trip and a dispirited walk around the town resulting in getting in the car and driving home again.

There were many things I could have done when I returned home but then I stopped and looked out into the garden. It was such a beautiful day – a wonderful bonus of an early autumn day, filled with sunshine and the perfect temperature.

‘Right’ said my husband, ‘shall we get out the deckchairs?’ I didn’t need asking twice. We took out a pile of books and sat in the gorgeous warm sunshine, reading in companionable silence. I finished a lovely book which I have had been dipping in and out of for a while – In My Mind’s Eye – A Thought Diary by Jan Morris. It is good, witty and wise and I would thoroughly recommend it. Then I also re-read some favourite passages I have saved in my notebooks over the years and it felt good to reconnect with the pieces I have felt to be so important in the past. It is easy to forget the things that have once moved us.

It still amazes me when I read quotes that have been passed down through the centuries, and I realise that they are as wise and relevant today as they ever were.

I love this Malagasy proverb – ‘A canoe does not know who is King, when it turns over, everyone gets wet.’ A wonderful reminder that we are all created equal.

I sat with my bare feet resting on the warm grass and knew I was meant to stop today and let the world go on without me for a while.


Follow the path 
If you wish
But don't forget
It's okay to change direction
And spend some time
On quiet reflection.
The wind can change 
In a heartbeat
And time can be stolen away
So why not stop awhile
And say hello to today.






Categories
Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

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
Categories
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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Uncategorized

Finding Things to Enjoy Right Now…(and what not to).

We may be finding ourselves sliding into worry again (if it ever really left) – for the world is insane, unfathomable, and the news almost offensively-familiar. Some people are back in lockdown and others wonder if and when it will be re-instated. We wait for the doors to shut and try not to think about all the repercussions once more. And this time we will not have the luxury of the long daylight hours, and the beautiful warm weather we enjoyed in the spring. We cannot help but think it will be a phase of quiet dullness with no novelty this time round – we have slightly tired of the ‘well this is making us appreciate reading/ catching up on box set viewing / home cooking’ etc. phrases. Second time round we really don’t want to think about the tiresome problem of finding somewhere that stocks plenty of loo rolls and has a good supply of marmite. We don’t want to plan our wardrobe so that we can look good from the waist up when taking a zoom call. We want to dress up properly and go out! We want to be able to choose a new winter coat and some snazzy boots that we might even be able to show off! For me, even the online yoga has palled a bit, as has the indoor walking. All these things have had their place, and indeed, still help keep us sane, but when we knew the restaurants were open again it didn’t take us long to drop the ‘woo woo’ stuff and leap off out. We don’t want half-hearted any more, we don’t want sorry attempts at being normal, yet at the moment that is what we have to accept.

But we are nothing if not resilient. We may fold our arms for a moment or two and grimace at the thought of what could lie ahead, but then our hard-core, steely reserve kicks in and we make the best of things. Again. That is what we do and what we are good at. And deep down, most of us do enjoy the small things.

So here are a few things that help me find some comfort now that a different kind of Autumn beckons …

The moon – Dust off those binoculars and get ready for the eleventh full moon of 2020. October’s moon was dubbed the Hunter’s Moon because preparations for winter began around this time. The next full moon doesn’t grace our skies until October 31st, but each night I have been moon gazing; the position of the now waning crescent moon is low in the sky and has taken on an extraordinary golden colour. One can only look and marvel at this loyal companion.

The colours – Oh the beautiful colours and traditions of autumn. From walks among the crunchy fallen leaves, to harvest festivals with the wonderful, abundant fruits and vegetables, the golden colours envelop us. The pumpkins in particular, grace our window ledges, stacked in all their golden glory, waiting to delight us with their spooky glow at Halloween. In October, the sun sinks low in the sky, the light mellows and takes on a rich amber hue so loved by photographers. Perhaps it is because my birthday falls in October but it is one of my favourite times of the year. The cosiness is there without the bone chilling cold of deep winter. And one can have an enormous bowl of porridge for breakfast with a drizzle of cream knowing it will bolster you up for the day….

Then there is the wildlife to beguile us. The pheasants, scampering and squawking through the ploughed fields and the geese who seem to fly over our rooftops most nights in their amazing v – shaped formation. The last few nights I have been lulled to sleep by owls hooting. Sometimes it sounds like just one, other times perhaps two, hooting back and forth in their night-time conversations . Looking in my bird book, I learn that great horned owls begin setting up territories in October. Apparently, they mate for life but begin their courtship about now. Perhaps I am lucky enough to have a pair of great horned owls living nearby! Some say the sound of an owl hooting foretells something untoward but I like to think it is something rather more romantic.

Hello Comfort.

Autumn lovers wave goodbye to those pesky tee shirts that show the worst bits of your arms and the skimpy sandals the cover your feet in blisters. We can welcome fleeces, UGGs and an abundance or warm, soft clothing. We can drink hot chocolate and eat home-made apple pie whilst wrapped up in a cozy throw on the sofa. Or how about some hot apple cider? If you have never had mulled cider before why not give it a try? Just pour a bottle of your favourite apple cider into a pan, with 3 cloves, I cinnamon stick and a sliced orange. Gently heat for ten minutes so that it infuses, cool slightly, then pour into glasses. Tastes delicious and so reminiscent of the days when we could meander round Christmas markets.

I guess we all want a bit of decadence in our lives; to relive the joy of dancing, and have a bit of a knees up from time to time. We can’t have that just now but we can dream of good times that will come again. Perhaps until then we can adopt a sort of sanguine resignation to the latest restrictions, look after ourselves and our mental health, and toast ourselves with a glass of cider.

Categories
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

Categories
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
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Checking the Apples and Time Passing During Coronavirus Lockdown

Checking The Apples and Time Passing During Coronavirus Lockdown ….

 

I was looking at an apple tree in our garden which we planted about eighteen months ago. The first year after planting it didn’t blossom and we were worried that it would never be pollenated. This year, however, we were pleased to see buds forming in early spring. As I wandered into the garden last night for some air, I looked at the rosy apples on the little tree – shiny, healthy and covered with raindrops, and I realised that the span of time from the early buds, to the now almost mature apple harvest, was the same as that of the start of lockdown to now – a time when we are seeing the loosening of lockdown and the re-opening of hospitality services. Apart from thinking about the quiet confidence and constancy of Mother Nature, it made me think about time.

Does time pass differently during times of great change or worry? If we think of the first day of quarantine, does it seem like yesterday, or a lifetime ago? I have heard many people say that during the coronavirus crisis they have noticed time passing more strangely than normal. Some complain of days dragging on and on, yet others feel the past months have passed eerily quickly. In can feel in our minds that time ‘warps’ very easily. Perhaps this is to do with our worlds shrinking and being kept between our four walls. We have stayed at home for the majority of the day, with the highlight of the day being a walk or a visit to the supermarket. We haven’t been performing many memorable activities, necessarily, although that is beginning to change now. We have missed travelling, missed going out for dinner, and days have blended into one, with weekdays feeling the same as weekends.

Perhaps, because we haven’t made so many new memories or been on holidays, we perceive time has passed swiftly.

Key workers who haven’t had the opportunity or luxury to stay at home and isolate may look at time entirely differently. It may seem as though the period of time lasted longer than normal. Many people have been busier than ever, whether working on the front lines or at home balancing a full work schedule while trying to home school their children.

When we eventually emerge from this time of immense challenge and isolation, perhaps some of the more mundane routines we have had to follow will turn out to hold more memories than we think.  We have been challenged to spend time alone or with others in our household and have been given a chance to learn how to cope with boredom and isolation. We have learnt how to set goals, however small, taken time to read, or engage in other quarantine-friendly activities in very tough times. Perhaps we have found the time to engage in those important conversations we have put off for too long. Perhaps we have found time to look inside ourselves and even look at life through fresh eyes. Perhaps we have taken the time to really think about others and rediscover compassion that sometimes can take a back seat during busy lives, no matter how well-meaning we are.

We don’t always realise how much time has passed, until we look back. And we are going to look back on so much. Heartbreak and fear have walked hand in hand with just trying to ‘get by’. We have seen fear take over and people lash out, and we have seen staggeringly good deeds carried out by those who have put themselves on the line. We have seen human nature pushed to its limits. We have all been hurting – everyone of us, for others and ourselves. Thank goodness for the small things.

I am grateful for my apples

 

apple apple tree apples branch

Categories
The Place We Call Home ...

The Place We Call Home….

 

Most of us have been living in a lockdown situation now for about three months. We have got used to every inch, every nook and cranny, every quiet corner of the place we call home! Perhaps we have got to the stage where we may be taking it for granted, and yet in another way, nervous to take those new, tentative steps out again and reconnect with the world. Some of us are starting to venture out now, but more than ever before, we have needed the safety and the anchor of home, and the roofs that cover the place where we truly have the space to be ourselves. Sometimes I, and perhaps many of us, have a fantasy which involves roaming free and letting go of all the restrictions handed out to us that hold us back. But no matter (in normal times) where we may travel, it doesn’t take much – a familiar smell, the sound of a distant lawnmower, or a warm light shining through a chink in the curtains of an unknown house, to fell us with a surge of homesickness.

The structures of our homes are more than just bricks and mortar, for within our walls are the people we love and care about, and where we share our hospitality with those we hold dear. It is interesting that the bond we share when we have lived in the same home with family members never leaves us. My beautiful sister was only five when I left home as a teenager, yet the times of being together under one roof has bonded us in a circle of love that can never be broken. Of course the family ties bind us, but the familiarity of homes we have shared stays forever too. It is the feeling of connectedness to others that home symbolises.

  ‘Home is where hearts are sure of each other; a place where you know your way in the darkness.’

I think of those people who do not have a home, now more than ever. For those who are homeless through no deliberate choice, I cannot imagine what living through these times without the comfort of home must be like. Somehow, there must better ways of supporting those who would love to have a more permanent place to call home.

This is the time to express gratitude for home. Our homes have probably taken a bit of a battering lately but they don’t complain! Perhaps we should give them a bit of TLC! A good spring clean may be on the agenda, some new leafy green plants to freshen the air and a change around of the furniture. It all helps us to see our refuge with fresh eyes and give us a sense of achievement and a sense of progress. And as I get out my warm blanket, folded to sit on for my yoga practice, and light a candle, I can feel a sense of appreciation that I am home, and comfortable, and that warms my soul.

Home is the nicest word there is.’ – Laura Ingalls Wilder

‘If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.’ – Malala Yousafzai

‘A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.’ – George A. Moore.

The place we call home needs to keep peace within its boundaries, welcome within its walls, shelter for its friends, and a cake in the larder.

So when you feel unsettled, remember that home is where you and your loved ones are – it is not dependent on fancy fixtures and fittings, palaces and mansions, but on you and the people you love, and in the cosy place where you gather together.

Welcome Home ❤️

 

the-house-we-left-behind

Categories
Can’t Say No to Tomorrow

Can’t Say No to Tomorrow

 

For those of us thinking about the next step out of lockdown …..

Time has settled round us –
Yet drifted like a stream
That slowly meanders,
And passes us unseen.

A day is a year, a year is a day
When life is put on hold,
Too many separations and longings,
Too many stories left untold.

But don’t forget to greet the sun,
For it will always rise
Like a beacon, for us waking
To these uncertain skies.

So the blackbird sings louder,
As if with a message in his song –
We cannot stop the summer
Tho’ the winter has been long.

Yes it’s going to be a new day,
But the memories we will keep
Of a time that brought a new way,
To live, and love, and weep.

© Lyn Halvorsen

 

The fields looking extra green this year…..

 

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