Ancestors and complacency

I have researched my family history for many years now but recently decided to check out one particular line as I had some DNA matches and some possible cousins.Looking at one particular census entry for 1851 I found two young children, a boy aged 8 and a girl aged 7 both working in the brickyards. They and their parents and two or three other siblings lived in a small house with two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. There would probably only be a cold water tap and the toilet would be outside in the yard .I have always appreciated my ancestors and how they lived their lives, working hard and having little to live on. It makes me realise just how much we take for granted today.

It is the time of the year when we honour our ancestors and I honour all of mine including those who died young through hardship and those who lived long lives. They all are a part of me and gave me some attributes too.

But today we take so much for granted. We have food and clothes and many have cars, fancy phones and gadgets and holidays abroad. But what is the cost of all these things? I don’t mean in money but in how our environment is affected. It is well known that cars pollute the atmosphere as do many other things. The metals used in mobile phones are often rare and there is a limited supply within the earth. But we have become complacent and don’t seem to realise the effect on the planet that all this has. We are in the middle of a climate crisis but many seem to think that as it won’t happen in their lifetime it doesn’t matter. But what about the children and grandchildren and those yet to be born? What sort of world will they have?

I keep saying the same things over and over again. When will people learn that we can’t go on as we are, that we must change the way we work, think and live? We need to look at how we eat and what we eat. Do we really need food imported from across the world? Do we need new clothes every month? Do you really need a new phone or car? My ancestors survived on very little money and often only a little food but some of them lived to a very old age. There was no pension or health service and no pay when off sick but they survived and lived well.

On a final note, I still use Windows 7 on my computer. It still works so why change it? This applies to other things too. If it works, keep it and get it repaired when it goes wrong. Only buy new when it cannot be repaired. This applies to so many other things in our lives too. So think about the way you live, think how your ancestors managed without most of the things you have today. They survived and so can you.

(photo of my grandparents both born in 1890)

Wanting, needing, treading lightly on the earth

We all want things. We want food, clothes, new cars, new electronic gadgets, etc I also want to be happy first of all, wanting other things comes second. But what do we need? I need food, clothes to wear,and a roof over my head. I don’t need a car or a fancy phone. I try to buy ethically and ecofriendly as well although that is not always possible.

But what about our footprint on our planet? If you buy certain good and foods they have to travel a long way around the world to get here. I bought a small shampoo hose thing the other day. It was made in China so travelled a long way to get here. I was hoping it had been made in Britain. This is the same for many other items, made in China or other Asian countries where labour is cheap and employment laws are not there or not adhered to. Do we want to buy goods that are made by what can only be called slave labour?

Do we want to buy food that has come from the other side of the world like butter and lamb from New Zealand? What is wrong with butter and lamb from our own country? Much of our fresh food is grown in Europe, picked with cheap labour then flown or transported by road to the UK. Some of this packaged ‘fresh’ food has had chemicals added to make it stay fresh longer. If you have ever grown your own vegetables you will know that they taste so much better. Even in you live in a place with no garden, some veggies and herbs can be grown on a windowsill or small balcony.

Many foods have lots of additives in them, some to make them taste better (!) and some to make them stay fresh longer. Personally I don’t like that. I remember when I went shopping with my mother when I was young. We had a special bag for vegetables. The potatoes went in the bag first, loose of course, followed by carrots and cabbages etc. Fruit went on top. The bag was washed out later and then reused. Meat, cheese and other similar items were wrapped in greaseproof paper. We are getting zero waste shops in some areas where you can fill and refill flour, cereals, dried fruit, washing up and laundry liquids, etc and this is very good but these shops are not in every town or city.

How do you tread lightly on the earth or is your footprint still heavy?

Making ripples

Have you ever thrown a stone into a pond or river and watched the ripples spread out? They go on for ages and ages. I find watching these is a wonderful way to think about how we live our lives. The ripples affect everything they come into contact with and we never know what that effect will be. I send out balls of energy filled with love, peace and harmony, out into the world each week. These hopefully have a ripple effect and a good one.

The future is uncertain and we need to trust, to have faith and believe that things can change for the better. But there is another side to ripples. What happens when hate is sent out or anger? Does this also a have a ripple effect? If so then there is definitely a need for lots of change.

I live in a small sheltered housing community and it is noticeable how what one person says about a certain event, changes as the comment is passed on to others. A bit like Chinese whispers. This could also be called a ripple effect in some cases. As the comment is passed on more people worry about what is said so for me this is a ripple effect.

So thinking about what you say is also very good. Engage brain before opening your mouth is a good motto especially for those who speak without thought. I can see how words have changed peoples actions over time and have made people fearful too. I try to think carefully before I engage in some conversations to make sure I don’t upset somebody. But there are people around who need to have their perceptions of what life is about changed so that they become more aware of what is going on and how to deal with it.

So when you say something good let your words act like the stone in the pond and send out ripples of goodness. We all need good in our lives and love and peace. Let your words go out into the world and ripple all the way through it. Maybe we can make a difference.

Finding the joy in growing old

In the 1990s I often wondered whether I would live to see the 2000s and after that I wondered if I would live to be 70 and then still wondered if I would reach 80. So here I am aged 80 and life has changed. I do not believe though that life stops when you get older and there is nothing to do except watch the TV and snooze the day away. My mind is still active although my body is letting me down a lot recently. But I still try to get out in nature however painful it is to walk. I can see a wheelchair on the horizon but that might make it easier if I choose the right one. But I can still cloud watch, bird and butterfly watch though my window. I can still stand outside and breathe in the morning air and feel the stillness as dawn breaks. I can watch sunsets and sunrises and watch the moon through its phases.

I can still write, craft and draw but playing the piano is harder as there are not enough sockets so I can plug it in. (It is a digital piano). I am trying to record meditations via my computer but there is a lot of traffic noise so I will have to think about ways of getting rid of background noise. There is so much still to do.

I was lying in bed earlier thinking about the mountains. I have always loved the mountains and being amongst them. No longer able to walk them I can use my memories to give me joy and look at videos of them. Joy can be found in the simplest things like watching the spider spin its web and watching clouds change shape as they move along. Last week I saw one that looked like an angel and as it moved across the sky it became a large bird possibly an eagle.

Pain is part of my everyday life. I take painkillers in moderation. Pain tells you something is wrong so I listen to my body and decide what I need to do. If you are busy doing something you enjoy then you don’t notice the pain in the same way. What I do miss since my house move are deep discussions with others. Maybe I should start a social media group to discuss healing and the meaning of life etc.

But life is generally good and there is joy at least once a day and I have gratitude for that and for still being here able to enjoy the natural world around me even if mainly seen through a window. I try to get through the ‘feeling down’ times as best I can knowing that something better is ahead but that life can be difficult some times. Meditation and music help me with this. I have a deep love of music of all kinds and find that listening to music helps me tremendously.

So getting older can be a good thing as you find new ways to enjoy your life, it is not the end of your world.

Stop for a moment and breathe deeply

Looking around me I see people rushing around trying to get this or that before there is none left. This just makes things worse so stop, stand quietly and breathe deeply. All is well and there is enough for us all. Standing still and quiet allows you to connect with the earth beneath your feet. Connecting to Mother Earth is important and many have lost that connection. That connection allows you to feel safe and at one with the earth, our planet and enables you to think positively and take stock of what you are doing.

There is always more to a situation that you think. If you stand back and look at the whole picture then you can see what is really going on. This is very important in today’s world. We all need to understand how everything is connected and that one person is not responsible for the chaos around us. It is a combination of things which we have brought upon ourselves by not thinking or listening to what is really out there and happening in our world.

Mother Nature is bringing more chaos as volcanoes erupt , fires burn over large areas and earthquakes happen. And if we don’t change our ways, things will just get worse.

My eyesight is not very good this morning so this blog post is rather short but I hope the message is there. Stop, breathe and think before doing anything so that you make the right decision.