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Encouragement For Today

Days of dull spirits…

I am aware that sometimes my blogs could be a bit more cheerful! I tend to be deep thinker and can let my mind run away with me at times. I have always made it my policy to write about positive viewpoints but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally visit dark places. I wrote a blog at New Year about diet and food and added some poetry about my granny’s kitchen and words about my grandad’s delicious but simple bread and butter tea-time snack. It has been by far my most popular blog and made me realise that it’s often the simple things that lift our hearts. I have even started to wonder whether I should start writing a food blog as all things food-related brings us together in ways few other subjects do! Think of all the food programmes on television and how popular they are. Food seems to spark all sorts of emotions. I have seen people in bits when a cake doesn’t turn out well or a soufflé doesn’t rise, but also seen them jump for joy when a special dish turns out well. Food programmes may seem trivial in times of unrest but that is not the case because feeding people brings out the best in us. It helps us come together and it lifts the soul when we sit around a table together, eat together and try and put the world to rights.

What else lifts the soul on grey days? This week we took a walk through the bluebell wood near us. It wasn’t just the beauty of the stunning blue flowers dipping their heads as we walked along that filled our hearts with happiness, it was the peace that came from walking in a quiet corner of the world. We listened to the birdsong and watched a deer shyly walk past and disappear deep into the forest. We inhaled the subtle fragrance of the flowers. Nothing had changed in our world yet everything had shifted to a good place, at least for a while. When we lose ourselves in nature we can let ourselves relax, we can allow our imagination to take us to different realms – perhaps the White Rabbit frolics nearby!

For a while, we can leave our burdens on the forest floor…….

When the day is heavy with noise and the news I don’t want to hear comes bouncing into the room, I will remember the quiet of the forest…

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Does the Universe Have Us Covered?

Does the Universe Have us Covered?

I‘ve been talking to someone close to me who suffers from anxiety and trying to talk them through it. When someone is seeing the world around them as a bleak place it is very hard to come up with something that will make them feel better. I find myself offering techniques and advice that I know from experience can help, but at the same time I sometimes question the suggestions I offer, even though I am praying that the smallest bit of advice could just be enough to provide a ray of hope or bring a spark of  light in a dark time. Of course,  anxious feelings arise for all sorts of reasons; there may be health worries, both real and imagined, relationship problems, problems relating to the past, work related problems and many more, and each cause may need to be addressed in a different way. Sometimes just a loving hug and a chat with a friend may be enough to help the clouds to disperse and the anxious feelings to lift, but at times when a person is in the severe grip of anxiety then professional help may be needed. Whatever the situation and whatever help we seek or try to give, is there a force bigger than us that can we can hold on to when life seems to be a struggle?

Does the Universe really have us covered?

I think it does. I really hope it does. Why are we here otherwise? We may hear a lot of bad things and we are bombarded with bad news constantly; we know bad things happen to good people, but we also hear amazing stories on a daily basis  – tales of amazing feats of bravery, courage, bravery and kindness. We hear about people who never give up; who find hidden strength from somewhere. We marvel at new life, when a baby takes its first breathe;  we despair when we lose someone dear to us and we wonder how we can ever recover, yet somehow we know that this is all part of the pattern of life.

I think of myself as a spiritual person with a Christian background. I was brought up to go to church regularly and read the bible;  I like the background that has given me even if I don’t attend church now on a regular basis. I like to believe there is a power that is bigger than us, that is all encompassing and is loving, and I find that even though I often have doubts, faith is what gets me through. Faith in a world that is inherently good and a life force that cannot always be explained and is beyond understanding. What compels eels to cross the Atlantic from the Saragossa Sea to spawn in the Irish rivers of their origin, or birds to cross whole continents, following a favoured route that no one could explain, to land atop the same trees every year? In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives we forget that miracles happen around us every day; we lose our powers of observation and fail to see the wonderful and awesome occurrences happening in nature on  daily basis.

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So what should we do to reconnect with the Universe when we feel we have been set adrift? If we can hold on to that faith we have deep down, whatever the sort of faith we have or follow, we can feel grounded in times of crisis. A spiritual practice I have found to be good is a ‘loving kindness meditation’. Just set some time aside, shut your eyes and generate feelings of compassion by repeating phrases such as ‘may you be happy, healthy and free of pain.’ Direct this to yourself at first then gradually increas your circle to include you family, your friends, the country and then finally, the whole planet. You can alter the words to find something that you feel comfortable with. Do this on a daily basis and at times when you feel stressed or anxious. Make time for this even when you are busy and notice the difference it makes to your day.

Thinking again about my loved one. I wish I could do more to make her feel better and I wish I could take all her worries, wrap them in a cloth bag , throw them out to sea, wish them love and wave them goodbye for good. Indeed, I will picture that very thing happening. In the meantime, I will actively help in every way I can until she can move forward with regained positivity. Even then I will be by her side – figuratively if not physically. And I will have faith that the Universe does have us covered.

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 I lay upon the ground today, Looked up to the sky,

Concentrated on the clouds, As they drifted slowly by. 

Connecting with the Earth beneath, As it wore a peaceful face,

I felt the whole world turning, In this quiet and tranquil place.

And could I see a reason, Shine through the clouded sky

For all the actions unexplained, The many questions why?

I saw beauty and perfection here, Sweet birdsong filled the air,

So I must trust life’s answers, Lie in wait, somewhere.

(C)    Lyn Halvorsen