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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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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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In A New Light…

A while back I noticed a mother and her little girl walking in the park. Actually, the mother was walking, and the little girl was bouncing. She had a pair of sunglasses on, they were pink and glittery. As she bounced along, she kept taking the glasses off and on. She was laughing to herself and I heard her mother ask her why. ‘The world looks different when I look through my pink glasses,’ she said. ‘It’s fun.’  

That was just a small moment in time – I had stepped out for some air in the middle of a busy day, but it was a good lesson for me and one which has stuck with me. The little girl was right and in a simple and fun way had shown me that when you look at things differently, they change.

Maybe it’s why we put our heads in our hands sometimes during stress; if we peek out through the space between our fingers, we don’t have to view the whole picture in front of us – just a few slithers of light that we can cope with.

Sometimes it takes getting farther away from something to see it for what it really is too. How many times do we get bogged down with work and sit grimly in front of a screen trying to figure something out that is taxing us? We feel compelled to keep going because we must be able to get this right! But inspiration and answers don’t come. Yet often if we walk away, have a cup of tea and return half an hour later with renewed energy we can make much better headway. 

It’s an old cliché but it is true that sometimes ‘a change is as good as a rest’; when troubles or anxieties mount up a change of scene can help us re-focus.

At times, we need to have the courage to go our own way – realise we are unique. Seeing what everyone else is seeing is one thing. Seeing things differently from others is something else and seeing things differently from others can produce new ideas and new results. If you look at something from a new angle you may come up with a brilliant idea no one else has thought of. It takes time to see things from a different perspective, but it’s worth taking a step back. We also need to see ourselves in a different light at times. It is easy to be hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up when we make a perceived mistake. Give yourself good feedback today and see yourself in a positive light. Remind yourself you are doing your best. And perhaps have a go with the rose-tinted specs.

   ‘We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently’.

                                                    Jame Hillman 



I was afraid of the shadows
Casting shapes upon the wall,
Dark and forbidding
They looked ten feet tall.
I crept silently toward them
They made me feel so small,
Yet when I went to touch them
There was nothing there at all.

L.M.H 



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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.






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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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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
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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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The Art of ‘Not Thinking’….

During lockdown, with all the stresses and strains involved, walking in the countryside has been a salvation for many of us. Walking up hill and down dale, I have found helpful spaces in which to walk, and think, and sometimes, not to think!

Not thinking can be hard! Where do we start with ‘not thinking’ when all the days thoughts swirl round and round in our heads, and the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’ won’t be stilled? There is certainly a skill to learn, to apply to ‘not thinking.’

Left to one’s own devices, it can be easy to listen to those churning thoughts that bob up to the surface in an unwelcome fashion……

So I wanted to concentrate on ways of ‘not thinking’ – or perhaps thinking in a different way. Taking time to focus on the small but important things in life. Then I thought about the fact that thinking can be good even when there is turbulence. We may like calm seas, but actually, it’s when the ocean is at its most choppy and the waves are hurtling to the shore that it deposits the most beautiful shells at our feet. As long as we can look at problems from within a deep and calm mind we can find the strength to cope with what life throws at us.

I must have been so busy trying to think about the art of ‘not thinking’ that sadly I hadn’t noticed that most of long blog I had written above hadn’t been saved! I was pleased with it too. I felt I had some real gems to share with you. I put my head in my hands. I used some bad language! Then I thought – perhaps there is a reason for that, and I tried to calm down.

So, dear reader, this isn’t the whole blog I had written for you today. I had written about how we can always feel better after a walk outside. And how we can feel better if we talk things over with a kind friend. But I have written a poem for you that I hope might help get my point across. For those days when our thoughts get the better of us, I hope my words help a little bit!

When Nature Smiles

'Oh, my!' She said,
My mind is just a jumble
Of broken thoughts,
And morbid fears that I will stumble.
What if I can't find a way
To calm my heart
And stop my world 
From falling apart?'
'Come and walk'
Beckoned the sun,
'And just talk'
Said the wise one;
'Tell your woes to the trees
And they will float
Away on the breeze.'
And so she did just that,
And nature smiled
As she sat
Curled up like a child.
'Oh, my soul is free!' She said,
'Today is a new day'
And she waved to the sun
And went on her way.

L.M.H.