Earlier this week I visited the National Memorial Arboretum. It was a beautiful place to visit. There are many memorials not only to service men and women but also for events like the 9/11 attack, for all children who have died because of terror attacks and wars, and for stillborn babies. It was a place to sit and enjoy the surrounding landscape, the river and the woodland and a place to remember those who had left us in one circumstance or another.
The guide book states ‘ Remembrance is living, changing and part of everyday life. It comforts those left behind and pays respect to what is past’. Remembrance is very personal and means different things to different people. The ancients built burial mounds for their dead as a memorial maybe, while today we have various types of memorials. There is a burial mound in the Arboretum.
We choose what to remember and what to forget. I have various items in my home that bring back memories or my parents and friends. My father was an accomplished carpenter and I have two chests of drawers in my bedroom that he made. They will last longer than I will as they were so well made. So each day as I use them I remember my father. I have a painting on the wall done by a friend who died a couple of years ago. He used to work with my father when I was young so lots of memories there.
We keep photos of our and our families activities and when we look at the photos we remember the events and those people in the photos. My son and I recently dedicated some woodland to a friend who passed to the Summerlands recently, so each time we visit we remember our friend and his life. As a druid, I remember my ancestors especially at the time of Samhain.
Remembrance is therefore part of my everyday life. Is it part of yours?
I bought some beautiful poppies (artificial ones) at the Arboretum. I love poppies and they are also a universal symbol of remembrance although many will not wear them on Armistice day as they believe the poppy glorifies war. I am not a believer in war and prefer peace but I am happy to wear a poppy to remember those who died in the war and that includes the many civilians who also died as a result of the war.
Why does everything happen at the same time? Or as is happening now, it is one thing after another. Little minor health things and other little things to do with everyday living are building up one after the other. It seems that there is never a gap between each thing that happens and they just follow one another before you have fully recovered from the first one. And somehow I have to fit in the everyday chores of living, cleaning, washing and cooking, etc. But this is a sign of our chaotic world I suppose. Even the weather is chaotic and not normal for the time of the year.
So how do we cope with this kind of thing? Going with the flow was always something I advocated but now even the flow is turbulent so I am not sure I want to just go with it. What I decided to do in the end was to sit back for a few moments and think of ways of calming or taking my mind off what was going on. Music is good for me and I love to listen to it all day. I have my favourite music as well, some of which can be very inspiring but is not necessarily the right kind of music to calm me down.
Again I like to read but some fiction can be relaxing while other fiction can be just the opposite and have you wondering what is going to happen next in the story. I have started painting again which I do find relaxing and takes my mind off other things too but inspiring music is good for this. I love the soaring music of Rachmaninov but I also love the soul searching music of Shostakovich as well. But neither of these are really calming although they do make me feel better.
Just sitting by the window and looking out on the garden is calming. I can watch the birds and butterflies which are still around and relax for a while. The simplest way to relax or calm down is to do some breathing exercises, taking deep breaths to slow everything down. You only need a couple of minutes and you can feel much calmer then.
I wonder how long this chaos will continue. Everything I read about it states that all will be well in the end and that all the hidden corruption and badness in the world will come to the surface to be healed and then we will learn to be who we are meant to be, compassionate, respectful, loving towards each other and helping each other to live a joyful and peaceful life. I hope I’m still around when this happens!
How often do you say the words ‘I appreciated that’ or ‘I really appreciate it’? What do you really mean when you say those words? According to various definitions of the word ‘appreciation’, it means to recognise and enjoy a good quality of someone or something. The word is also used where banks or politics are concerned when the word means an understanding of a situation.
On a personal level do you like to be appreciated for what you do for someone else or for your work? If you have put in a lot of work on something special it is good if someone appreciates the fact that you have worked hard to do whatever it is. It is a recognition of your hard work. So if someone says to you that they like what you did, is that also appreciation? I often ask people to read drafts of my books or review my new website to see if there are any errors, and I use the words ‘I would appreciate it if you did this for me’. So is appreciation also similar to gratitude or is it something different?
And how do you feel if someone says they appreciated something you did or having your company for a trip out? Did you feel better about yourself? Do you appreciate the world around you, the world of nature? There is so much to think about where appreciation is concerned and I have asked a lot of questions in this blog post. I hope you can answer them.
I love books and I am an avid reader. I much prefer to read a book than to watch the TV. So what kind of books do I read? I read all kinds of books, everyday feel good fiction for the evenings when I want to relax and more serious non-fiction for other times. I used to have a huge amount of books but had to ‘cull’ them when I downsized. Now I have more space so I have started buying books again. There is something about the smell of the paper that makes me want to read books.
One of my recent purchases is a book called ‘The Fall’ by Steve Taylor. I have only got through the first part so far but it is a very interesting read, for me at least. The sub title is ‘The insanity of the ego in Human History and the Dawning of a New Era.’ So far it has provoked a lot of thought. Why did humanity suddenly become ego oriented and get a hunger for material goods?
Ancient tribes had a great connection with nature and the land on which they lived. Some of them still do but the rest of us seem to have lost that connection, that feeling for the land beneath our feet and for all that lives on it. This morning the sunrise was stunningly beautiful and I felt so connected to it and the surrounding trees and land. I know I am not alone in this way of thinking but there are far too many people who have totally lost the connection with nature and are busy trying to destroy it and everything that lives on the earth. Do we really need more motorways and high speed trains? Why is it so important to get a journey to work a few minutes shorter? Why are we in such a hurry? Do we need more airports so we can go abroad? What is wrong with taking a holiday in your own country?
I have been abroad several times and seen some stunning scenery and some ancient ruins where my ancestors lived but I do not need to keep going there or going somewhere hot to lie in the sun or as many do going to the beach and drinking far too much. There is so much around us that is beautiful. Watch the flowers open in the sun, the bees flying around collecting pollen and the other insects with their marvellous colours and diaphanous wings. To sit quietly in a park and listen to the birds singing is wonderful and so healing and refreshing too. Let’s encourage others to do the same.
We are now at the Autumn Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when day and night are equal and in balance. The sun is in the sign of Libra which is again about balance.
So a time of balance and it is time maybe to look at how our world and its inhabitants are in balance or not in balance as the case may be. Taking a look at nature itself first of all. The food chain shows balance in nature but what if one part of this chain has too many members and wipes out another part of the chain? It can take some time to get back in balance and in some cases when a species has been wiped out, that part of the chain can stay broken for a long time.
On a larger scale perhaps, what about our world? The number of wars and refugees and areas of great poverty shows us that our world is not in balance. Not only wars but there is the way we have been stripping our earth of its assets, plundering the soils and forests for material gain. This is not a way of balance.
But what of ourselves, our bodies and our lives. If we overeat all the time or drink too much then we get out of balance. What we eat plays a part in this too. Too much of one kind of food can also make us out of balance. Our mental states can also get out of balance as we get stressed or depressed. How we spend our money can also make us out of balance. Do we buy too many gadgets or clothes or chocolates? If we do then we can easily get out of balance.
So now at the time of balance of the Equinox, for me it is time to take a look at my life and see what is out of balance so I can do something about it. I hope I have encouraged you to do the same.
This week the words from the Beatles song ‘All you need is love’ have kept going round in my head. So is love all we need? There are of course many different kinds of love. We love our parents and our aunts and uncles. We also love our siblings but in a different way to the love for our parents. We love our firends as well. We love our pets too but again a different kind of love.
We love doing different things. Some of us love cooking and baking, others love gardening or going out walking. So we are all different and our kinds of love are all different. Whatever we do, we do it with love or at least I do and I hope you do too. But what about those we do not know who need our love? Refugees and children who live in poverty too. If we send them love does it make a difference to their lives. At some point it does make a difference especially if they realise that they are loved. But it won’t necessarily change their circumstances.
In our 3d world we need material things in order to survive. We need food and clothing and a roof over our heads. Does love provide this? In order to have those things we generally need some form of income usually from a job. Does love provide this? Many of us have worked at jobs that we do not like in order to have the roof over our head. Although we might come from love and it might make us feel better, love does not provide the roof or food or clothes.
So how are we going to get around this? Is it possible that in a different world love would give us everything we needed? I think there is a lot of thinking to do about this phrase ‘love is all we need’. What are your thoughts?
It has been a strange week with lots of things to think about so here are a few of my thoughts from this week.
I have written about respect before but a brief thought here about it. I was watching a television programme this week when the subject of respect came up and how important it was to respect yourself and each other whatever age, creed or colour you were. No-one should feel superior to someone else because of colour, age or creed. Cheddar Man was brown as were most of our ancient predecessors. We all come from the same source.
Listening to my body has been important this week. Since I moved house I have ignored the listening and just got on with things, housework, gardening and eating junk food. This week my body rebelled so I had to listen. Too much pain and an upset stomach made me realise that I cannot go on as I have been doing. So hand some things over to others and look at my diet, cutting out the junk food.
Other thoughts have been about courtesy which is again about respect. If you are asked if you are coming to an event via email it is courtesy to respond. even if you are not coming. I run a group with about twelve people as members and after my last email about the next meeting I had five replies. Some of course will turn up even if they have not replied. I find this not good at all. After all I need to know how many teas to book!
But now I am listening to my body and going to make a decaf green tea and have a plain biscuit with it!