Our Changing World

So much is changing in our world that it seems hard to keep up with it all. Let’s look at the climate first of all. It is February, winter in the UK, but it is mild and sunny. It is warm enough to sit outside. This is not normal and it is the same all over the world. It is very cold in some places and has snowed in others when there has been no snow for a large number of years. How do we deal with this? The birds are not sure whether to start building nests or not and I keep telling them not to do that yet as we could have more cold weather in the next month or two. I have had to take off a few layers of clothes so I am not too hot but I expect to have to put them back on again later as it gets colder again.

Where politics is concerned there are many changes in a lot of countries. Some are moving to the far right which is not good at all and there are many demonstrations all over the world. Some are about climate change while others are protests against the ruling classes. Much of this is caused by greed. We see large companies paying their staff minimal wages while making huge profits. Working conditions may be bad too but if you want a job then you have to put up with it, or do you? Hence more protests.

Racism of course is rearing its ugly head even more than in the past. I watched a programme on my TV the other week about the people who came from Jamaica to England in the 1950s and 60s, and how much racism they had to deal with. Some things never change.

It seems that we have become complacent and accept what is going on around us without thinking about what it is doing to us and our planet. It is time for us to change, to change our ways of thinking, to understand that we are all human whatever colour we are and to learn to accept each other and work together for a better place to live and work. Let’s do it!

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Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Some years ago I was asked to give a talk on the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, to people who may not know anything about them. So I put on my thinking cap and looked at things we did every day that if done with mindfulness especially, were a way of working with the four elements.

Each person was given a small booklet about these elements. It contained some information about the element and some exercises that could be done anywhere at any time, and also four small crystals, one for each element.

I was thinking about the Earth element the other day when I was working in the garden. I was doing some dead-heading and pulling out weeds. What a wonderful way to work with the earth. I found it very healing and therapeutic. It was a physical and practical act and to me this was so much an Earth element way to work. It renewed my connection with the earth too and made me more determined to do what I could to stop pollution and other things detrimental to our planet.

So now let’s look at the element of Air. If we were outside on a windy day my mother used to say the wind was blowing the cobwebs away from around us. Cleansing the aura as I now know. Air is connected to inspiration, new ideas, messages, movement, breath of life and new beginnings. Standing outside on a breezy day is a good way to connect with Air. Imagine yourself flying and see how that feels. Did you ever climb trees or walls when you were young, and then jump off? How did that feel? Just imagine that now though not do it practically!

I’m leaving the Fire element until last so now what about the Water element. I love to be near running water. I see it cleansing the earth as it moves along. It is receptive to my thoughts and I link it with compassion, trust, love and wisdom. When you take a shower, your are cleansing yourself and the aura around you. Think about it as you shower. You always feel better after a shower, or after walking by water especially running water or the sea. We often say ‘go with the flow’ when talking about problems in our daily lives. So flow like the water. You can imagine yourself floating on calm water with a night sky above. Then write down how you felt.

So lastly, the element of Fire. Fire can transform things as you can easily see if you burn something like a sheet of paper. So it changes things and cleanses. It is also about purpose and growth and rebirth. I like to think of our inner fire, the force that enables us to do things, to accept ourselves and to transform our lives when needed. I like to watch the flame of a burning candle. Try it and see how you feel .

Of course, this is a simple way of looking at the elements but it is a good place to start. The druid path takes you deeper into the elements and deeper into yourself but if you know nothing about them then start simply.

Spring – cleaning time

There are signs of spring around me. I have seen lots of hazel catkins and the snowdrops and anemones are in flower in my garden. I love this time of the year. The hours of daylight are getting longer and there seems to be much more sunshine. Everything seems brighter too. I can see the birds pairing off and singing to each other getting ready for mating later on.

But this brings me to the cleaning bit. I have been busy, with help from a friend, doing a spring clean around the house. Cobwebs and dust have been banished, furniture polished and the windows cleaned. The old stale energy has been replaced with new clean energy and everything feels so much better. I have a spring in my step too. I feel energised and ready to do lots of things.

But it is also a time when you can declutter and get rid of things you no longer need. But where do these things go? In the UK we have shops runs by various charities who will take your used clothes, ornaments, books, CDs and some will take furniture. This is one way of recycling. Something you no longer need might be just the thing someone else wants. I like to call these items preloved.

Many of us have items that are broken. Can you repair these or know someone who can? Even if you no longer need that item if it is repaired it will be of use to someone else. We have a throw-away society now. Earlier this week I overheard someone asking if anybody knew of a person who would repair a washing machine. The various answers followed the lines of repairs would cost far more than the washing machine was worth and it would be cheaper to buy a new one. This is the world we live in and it is not good. Items such as washing machines should be made to last and be repaired if necessary. There are large scrap heaps full of electrical items such as cookers, washing machine and fridges. What happens to them?

I was reading the other day about the rare ‘minerals’ used in mobile phones and how they are becoming hard to find. Yet we throw old phones away when a new one comes on the market to buy. Spring is a time to think about what we are doing, how we can stop polluting our earth by repairing items, giving to charities and not being persuaded to buy the latest gadget.

So Spring is in the air energising us, please use that energy wisely and think about what you buy and what you throw away.

Saving the planet – some random thoughts

I keep seeing adverts for doing things to save the planet. One I saw was about becoming vegetarian as that will save our planet. There are many others around as well. But it is much more complex than that. There are many things that we can all do to save our planet. It’s not just about plastic pollution either.

Here are some of the things that everyone of us, in the western world at least, can do to help:

we can look at the way we use water, washing clothes, in the toilet and shower or bath, buying bottled water to drink (why not use a filter for tap water);

we can use energy efficient light bulbs;

we can recycle things we not longer need that cannot be repaired and we can compost;

we can repair items that can be repaired, we have become a throwaway world and keep buying new items when we could repair the old ones;

we can look at the ways in which we produce food, how far we transport it and how we cook and consume it. Do we really need to import so much food from afar which costs so much in fuel and air pollution?

we can moderate our meat consumption and buy locally not just meat but other food items.

we can walk or cycle to places and leave the car at home, dry the washing outside, and use paper wisely.

These are only a few random thoughts and I am sure you will have many more but what I want to mention now is to me a very important part of saving our planet. We are all human but we are all unique and we need to learn to respect each other and to love each other unconditionally. We need to learn to work together and not be divisive. Co-operation is a good word. I know of areas where people have come together making a co-operative and buying, selling and making produce to sell. There are shops which sell preloved items which people find they no longer need. There is nothing wrong with buying used items. We also need to look at our clothes. The fashion world keeps changing ‘fashions’ every season and many feel they have to buy the latest type of clothes. Is this necessary? Keeping up with the Joneses has long gone. This also applies to gadgets. Do you really need the most up-to-date mobile phone?

There are a lot of things we can think about and if we look at what we eat, wear and use in our daily lives, maybe we can make some changes that will be of benefit to the planet. Choose wisely, our earth is precious to us and keeps us alive and also those that live on it, plants and other animals. Bear in mind also that plants too are sentient.