A Tapestry of Love for Valentine’s Day…

Celebrations seem different these days….

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 
 

 

 

 

Understanding this Life….

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.
 
 
 
 

Physical Distancing vs Social Distancing….

Staying together whilst apart…

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.

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

Let the Wind Blow

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.

Silver With Cobwebs…

Do you struggle with the dark November days?

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.

What Is Normal? A poem for today…

How are you adjusting to the ‘new normal’?

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking The Apples and Time Passing During Coronavirus Lockdown ….

How do we feel about the passing of time?

 

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

The Place We Call Home….

Time to show your home some love….

 

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

A Poem for Lockdown

 

 

Who knew that there would be a time

Of an early white spring in all its prime;

When sunbeams fell on empty fields

And silence cloaked the distant hills.

Where, in a shady woodland, spiked with green

A carpet of bluebells would bloom unseen.

Where time, so often snatched away

Would slow to the rhythm of a different day?

I watched the bold and fearless crow

Go black and shiny, to and fro,

Its rakish presence curiously noted

Although yesterday it flew unnoticed.

Toppling change sweeps ‘normal’ away;

Only necessary work now, and no outdoor play.

Selfless heroes put themselves on the line

Yet they have lives, like yours and mine.

So what happens to trinkets no longer desired,

And priceless pictures in galleries, once so admired?

Some things can stay behind closed doors

Until feet echo again on busy floors,

But empty arms have no-one to hold

And isolation takes its toll.

Now windows bright with rainbows are the new big thing;

They gladden our hearts with the hope that they bring,

And lockdown reveals to worried eyes

The blessed arch of infinite skies.

© Lyn Halvorsen