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.
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.
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
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
I sat and wrote a new poem this week. It seemed to come almost like a message from a dream. It flowed from my pen. I usually write about all things peaceful and try not to dwell on negativity, yet I don’t feel I can shuffle these thoughts away into a corner without airing them.
We are living through turbulent times. This we know. But the clocks tick on whilst we are searching for healing and a gentle, benign hand to soothe us. And even when the peaceful, kind ones among us search for the right answers, the undercurrent of negative forces can pull us under or in the wrong direction.
But the quiet listener will understand.
Today it is Holocaust Memorial Day, and tonight I will light a candle and let it shine from my window. I listened to a lady of 97 being interviewed this week. She is a Holocaust survivor and suffered greatly during the Second World War. She has recently recovered from COVID-19. She advised everyone to keep going and never to give up. She was the epitome of hopefulness and courage.
‘I Believe in the sun even when its not shining. And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there. And I believe in God, even when He is silent.’
The above was scratched on the wall of a cellar in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
I know that as human beings we will never agree about everything and nor should we. But if we can learn to join together in the ways that matter and that work toward the common good, we will be facing the sun.
Understanding How can we ever understand life, The unsteady see-saw Between bliss and strife? This beautiful, fragile world That is full of unrest, And slips from the keeping Of those with only love to invest, And now lies open to greed and weeping. How can we feel the benefit Of reckless power that rushes In the name of help, Yet turns its back on all it crushes? Is there a place out there Where we have a right to choose- To take what is fair And know what to refuse? Where fresh eyes see What is really there, As light falls on truth And lays it bare. In the room where others listen only to reply, The quiet listener understands, And learns how to fly With knowledge in his hands. (C) L.M.H.
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.
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.
Blow, blow winter wind Grey clouds pass on by, Christmas will be here once more In the blinking of an eye. Blow, blow winter wind Until all our thoughts are clear, Help us find our way again, And let kind hearts draw near. Blow, blow winter wind Til all the sky is bright And Santa flies across the moon For every child’s delight. Blow, blow winter wind, Chase away the sadness and the pain, Sweep every corner of the world And make it whole again.
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. L.M.H.
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