Changing appearances

This theme came to me earlier this week when a new FB app, which enabled you to change your profile to make you look younger, appeared and many people jumped on this and used it. I am always wary of these apps and looking up any info about it I came across this ‘

Facebook users are being warned against a New Profile Pic app which some experts believe is sending data to Russia.The app uses facial-recognition technology, allowing users to modify the picture they upload and create a new image they can share on social media.’

But that is not what I really wanted to write about. Changing appearances can relate to changing the room in a house or buying a different car or different clothes so that the image we send out to others is different. We decorate our houses in different ways and often change the decoration to suit the way we feel at that time. If we don’t like what we do then we can change it.

Another common changing appearances is done with photos. I know many who will take a photo and change it so much so that it looks nothing like the original. I am told that this is to make the photo perfect. For me, when I take photos, they are a record of what I have seen so it is not necessary to change them to look like something else.

Many change their appearance with make-up and cosmetic surgery because they don’t like how they look or like showing signs of getting older. Personally I like my grey hair and wrinkles, they are part of who I am and show that I have experienced life in many ways. And some cosmetic procedures cannot be reversed if you don’t like them.

What are your experiences of changing appearances? Do you decorate your house frequently or change your garden layout? Do you buy a different car so it makes you look richer or better off? Or do you like what you have and appreciate it? My motto in life is this ‘If you don’t like what I wear, or how I do my hair, or what I think or say, then that is your problem not mine. I am who I am and its tough if you don’t like that.’

Expectations and disappointment

I am often told that my expectations are too high. But if we don’t have high expectations what will happen? Expecting someone to do something well, encourages them to do well. If you expect them to fail then you are putting the thought of failure in their minds so they do fail.

Is it wrong to expect our water to be clean, our food to be healthy and uncontaminated, our clothes and houses to be well made? Is it wrong to expect our politicians to be truthful and care about those who vote them into their position of authority? If we are honest, caring, compassionate and loving, is it wrong to expect others to be the same?

There is a lot to think about on this topic. Going with the flow is good but should that stop us from expecting better things? Does going with the flow allow things to happen that are not good for us? Are there times when we have to make our expectations known to those in power so that the flow becomes better and smoother?

Recently my son and I have been growing plants from seed organically so that we can have a plant ‘sale’ for a brain tumour charity. Where I live, someone died recently from a brain tumour and we have all been trying to raise money by having bring and buy sales, running half marathons and so on. Currently I have around 100 plants in my garden area ready for new homes and my son has another 100 or so not quite ready to go out in the garden. We did not price them but asked for donations. 50 pence minimum was suggested. Some plants are perennials and in their second year so quite large and ready to flower. Others are a bit smaller but growing rapidly and will bring a lot of cheerful colour to a garden. I expected most people to donate freely and in most cases this is so. However there are those who don’t have the cash currently but will pay later. I get the feeling that having now got the plants that the money owing will be forgotten. None of these people are struggling for money and spend quite lavishly on holidays and other things so why is the thought of donating maybe a couple of pounds not acceptable? Last year my son and I did give plants away freely but decided to ask for donations to the charity this year but there are those who still want the plants for free. Are my expectation too high? I hope to raise at least £100 and there will be around 200 plants in total for ‘sale’. So this is where the disappointment comes in. But many thanks to those that have already donated some of them very generously.

Finding joy in these dark times

There is always something good out there that will give you joy, however dark the world is around us all. One of the things that gives me joy is my tiny garden. I live in a housing complex for older people so we have fairly large grounds around us with lots of trees and a small brook running along the bottom of the area. Some of us have found a spot to have a small garden and I am one of those people.

My son has a large garden and grows most of his own plants from seed. This year he ran out of space to house all the seedlings so a large number came to me. I have half hardy plants on my windowsill including some pepper plants and I have two mini greenhouses outside which are full of plants and I have trays of plants outside the greenhouse. Some of these plants will go in my little garden but some are being ‘sold’ to raise money for the Brain Tumour charity. There are chrysanthemums, echiums, lots of different rudbeckias, inulas and french marigolds. There will be others later as they become ready for planting.

‘Sold’ is the wrong word as people re being asked to give a donation to the charity. As the plants are ready to go outside, they will be offered to others for a small donation to the charity. My son and I also planted a wildflower garden last year and this is now coming to life. There are several plants growing strongly already including poppies, and wild carrots.

But being out there in the early morning, opening up the greenhouses gives me so much joy. I can stand there in the quiet and listen to the birds singing, robins and blackbirds mainly but there are other birds. I love the early mornings especially when the sun is shining. There is a feeling of peace out there and joy at being alive. I hope that those undergoing the terror of wars and natural disasters will find somewhere where they can feel peace. Just standing outside and closing your eyes can bring that peace feeling to you. Peace is inside you and is always there if you look for it.

My greenhouses

Gathering Strength

I wrote a post five years ago with this theme. Here it is again with some additions;

‘The decision to leave the EU brought a deep shock to many in the UK. Now is the time to regroup, to look at past mistakes and to plan for a fairer world where the old, the poor, the
disabled and all in need are cared for. Respect for others points of view is essential but if we all had that then the vitriol of the press would not occur and that would help all of us.’

So what has happened since then? Is our world a fairer one and do we respect others more? Does the press do better or have they got worse?


‘Our land is at threat by fracking and major road and rail building which will go through ancient woodlands and nature reserves. It can take many years for these to recover properly
and it is important that we try to stop the desecration of our land. Recent research has proved that spending time in nature can keep you healthy in mind, body and spirit. Think about this.’

This is still going on and many wonderful trees have been felled. Fracking was stopped but might appear again on the agenda as the war in Ukraine continues.


‘We also need a fairer voting system too. Over hundreds of years those at the bottom of the heap have fought for improvements in their lives. It has taken until after the Second World War to develop some of the things we should treasure like the NHS. Are we moving backwards to the years of Lords and serfs? Or can we stand united to get what is needed for all of us, not just here but in other parts of the world.’

No change here I think.

‘I have been watching the VE commemoration events. I remember the war vaguely. I was 4 when it ended. I remember the deprivation caused by rationing and the derelict areas where bombs had fallen. Many lost their lives in the war so we could have freedom, justice and peace. Are you ready to fight now for a fairer world? Reflect and think about what you can
do. Stand up and be counted!’

A few years after this blog was written and we are now celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s reign. Have your or your views changed over the last five years? Are you still ready to fight for a better world? We all need to stand up for what is right, for peace and respect for all. We need to shine out our light and radiate peace and love at all times. Can you do this?

When you have nothing

The news and social media are full of people in war zones and disaster areas who have nothing left. Houses are demolished in some way or other and there is no water, food or heating. What do you do when you are at that point? The only way is up of course but that can take some time. It was good to see photos of men repairing the roof of their home. But what has happened in many areas is that people are coming together to help those in great need. The events and darkness around them is also full of light as many awake to the fact that certain things are essential for living while others are not.

Some governments are trying to do things which are inhumane and show a definite lack of compassion. But the people in general oppose these things and see the wider picture of how we must help each other if we are to survive as a race of humans. If we are to survive then we must learn to care for each other, to respect our differences and to share not only our knowledge but our food, homes and most of all our love.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help although I feel you should never have to ask. If you are in need of the basic things for living then they should be available from some source wherever you are. We should all be aware of what goes on around us so that we can see what is needed and where it is needed. During the second world war, people worked together to help others with housing, food and clothing. No-one was left to starve or without a place to sleep. The same applies now, we work together in some way to help those in need. Have compassion for others whatever their religion or colour. The most important thing about them is that they are human beings just like the rest of us and have the same requirements in life. We are all connected and from the same source so do not discriminate in any way.

Sorry if this seems to be a bit of a rant but recent headlines make me feel ashamed to be British.

Attitudes

The conversation goes a bit like this. ‘Do you realise that we need clean air to breathe?’ Response ‘Of course I do’. ‘So why do you have a very large car that runs on diesel when you don’t need such a large car?’ ‘It doesn’t really apply to me does it, after all I am only one car and what difference would it make if I had a smaller car or used public transport?’ No-one I speak to seems to understand that we all have to change our ways, every one of us. It is the same with flying abroad for a holiday.We can do it so why not?

During the first weeks of the when we were ‘locked down’ and had to stay indoors except for essential journeys, the air around us became cleaner and the sky too seemed brighter without all the chemtrails running across it. If you stepped outside for some fresh air that is what you got, much cleaner fresh air with not fuel smells. Surely that must have told us something. But now we are back to normal, far too many cars, some of which are ‘souped up’ and patrol our streets bringing noise pollution as well. And the skies are full again and people struggling in long queues to get on planes and ferries to go abroad for a holiday. It seems that no-one is learning lessons here and that the future for us and our planet is of no concern either.

It is the same with all the conflicts in our world. Unless it is actually on the doorstep no-one seems to care. I thought that being human meant we cared about others as well as looking after ourselves and that we helped those who were less fortunate and had compassion for them. We are all one, all part of the same universe and human race. We are all connected in many ways and we need to find that connection and share love , compassion and peace so that we have a future to look forward to.

Thoughts of the week

A new month has begun and there are lots of things swirling around in my mind. I have written about change a lot of times but this week we saw a huge change in the weather. Monday and for several days previously the weather was sunny and hot enough to sit outside. Along came Wednesday evening and it started to snow and has continued snowing on and off since then although there is still a lot of sun. I wonder what this sudden change in the weather will have on the plants, the birds and other animals who have come out of hibernation. For me it was about putting on thick warm clothes again and having hot drinks not cold ones. There is an old saying, ‘don’t cast a clout until May is out’. I have always understood this to mean don’t take off your winter clothes until the end of May or when the May blossom is out.

Quite prominent in my thoughts this week were banned books. When I worked in the library around 1957 there were some books kept locked away but people could read them if they requested them. One of these was Ulysses by James Joyce and another one was The Decameron. Nowadays some countries have banned books that I read as a teenager. These include 1984 – George Orwell, Brave New World – Aldous Huxley, Lolita – Nabakov, Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Lawrence and so on. What do you think about books that are banned? If a book is banned then I want to read it and find out why it is banned. If a book is banned is there something in it that those doing the banning, don’t want us to know?

In my thoughts for a lot of time is the trauma of war. As a child I remember hiding with my mother in the cubby hole under the stairs while the bombs dropped. I now get claustrophobic in small spaces and hate loud bangs. What trauma is building up with those in Ukraine and other countries where there is a lot of conflict? How will this trauma be dealt with if at all or will those fleeing have to sort it out themselves. There will be trauma around the lockdowns during the pandemic as well. I have seen that in some children who won’t or can’t socialise with others and in some adults who will still not go outside. We can carry the pain of our ancestors within us so how many generations will it take to clear the trauma and pain of the current conflicts? I would love to read your comments on all my thoughts this week.

Trying to look forward

The Equinox has passed and this weekend here in the UK our clocks go forward an hour to British Summer Time. This week has been a wonderful week of sunshine and warmth. The butterflies that hibernated throughout the winter have come out to feed and there are so many of them, brimstones, peacocks, commas and small tortoiseshells. With them are the bees, large and small feeding on the blackthorn blossom. The birds are collecting twigs for their nests and all is lovely in the natural world. It makes it easy to ignore what is going on with the conflict in Ukraine. Is this a good or a bad thing?

I am still very aware of what is going on but know that the only thing I can do is donate to refugee and other aid funds and send our the energy of peace and love. If conflicts go on for a long time, people become complacent and forget that their help is still needed. The urgency of the first few days of the conflict fade away. This is not good and we always need to be aware of what is going on whether in Ukraine or in other countries.

There have been wars throughout our history and we never seem to learn the lessons that are presented to us. So we have to go through it all again. But we are going to have to learn some new things as prices rise and daily living gets harder. Those of us who are older will know how to deal with shortages of fuel and food. We lived through this kind of thing before so we know how to deal with it. We know how to use fuel sparingly and how to cook nourishing meals with cheap ingredients. A shortage of petrol may help our environment and clean up our air. People might walk more and become healthier. Good things can happen, just look for them. So I am trying to look forward with optimism and hope that the conflicts in our world are all soon ended.

Whatever happens, nature carries on

Our world is beset by conflict but the natural world continues to thrive. Spring is here now and it is much warmer. Today and for several days we have had blues skies and lots of sun. The birds are busy and I am not sure whether the starlings have already had one brood although it is a bit early for that. There is a lot of bird song though. The plants are thriving, the bulbs and flowers appearing, many of them coloured yellow to cheer us up and to remind us of Ukraine.

I claimed two free saplings from the Woodland Trust for their climate change programme. My son had one, a crabapple and the other one, a wild cherry, we planted in the garden of the housing complex where I live. The saplings were only small but they will grow over the years.

I am trying not to worry about the world situation as what will be will be whatever I or others do. I am still working with ceremonies for peace and will continue as long as needed. There are lessons to be learned but those in charge are unwilling to learn so we seem to be going towards another disaster at some point. Life can be simple and enjoyable. Walking in the countryside proves that. I for one, don’t need a lot to make me happy. Just listening to the birds and breathing in the sunshine does that. So take care, get out in the sunshine and look to see what you can find in the hedgerows as hibernating insects wake up.

Hope

This week has been a hard week going from ingrowing eyelashes which had to be removed one by one by the optician to more fibro pain and a knee that keeps giving way. Meanwhile the world around me rumbles on with conflict growing day by day. I am still working on peace, trying to spend 10 seconds every hour sending out thoughts of peace but this is hard to keep doing. However we must have hope, without hope there is no point in going on. We must hope that the fighting stops soon and that people are able to rebuild their lives and have a better life.

Since the last two world wars, I think many countries have become complacent and not seen any threats to that peace until now. So now we must have hope for a proper solution so that the world can continue to build better lives for everyone. Let’s look at the letters in the word hope. H could stand for heal or healing, O for our, P for planet and E for Earth. Let us continue to send out positive thoughts and healing for peace, for all those caught in conflicts in our world not just in Europe. Let us hope for peaceful solutions to all the conflicts and send out healing energy to all sides. As the signs of new growth in nature appear let the signs of peace appear in our world.

Let there be peace all over our world.