Caring for others, for animals and for our planet has been on my mind this week. Caring like compassion, respect and appreciation seem to be less seen than it used to be. What is happening to people that they lose these aspects of their lives? I often here the words ‘I don’t care about that, as long as I’m OK that’s fine’. But is this the right response?
OK caring for ourselves is important especially caring for our health. If we are not fit then we cannot help others, in practical ways at least. But caring for others and our planet is important. There are many vulnerable people in our world and we need to care about them. There are young children, harrassed young mothers, those who are disabled in some way and of course the elderly. At this time of the year caring about those older than us is important. As the colder weather comes along with ice and maybe snow, then it is difficult for many older people to get out. The same applies to young mothers with children. If we care enough we can offer to help in some way, do their shopping, sit and chat, babysit for an hour or take their dog for a walk. These are simple things but can make a huge difference to those on the receiving end. We hear about the elderly being lonely but young mothers can also be lonely if they have no adult company. Taking time to sit and chat over a cup of tea or coffee can be a life saver for someone.
Caring for our planet is also important. Keeping your area clean and free from litter is a good start. Trying to use less electric or electronic gadgets is also good and recycling is so important for us all. When I was young, my mother made all my clothes as well as her own. It was a skill she passed on to me and I try to make at least some of the things I wear, if not by sewing, by knitting. These clothes last much longer than those manufactured by cheap labour in other countries. We have become a throwaway society and that is not good for people or for our planet. We need to recycle or upcycle nowadays and reuse everything we can in some way or other.
So do you care enough to do some of these things, to help others, to recycle or upcycle and reuse as much as you can? I hope you do this to show your caring for others and for our planet.
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.