Equinox, a time of equal day and night, a balance between the two. But everything around us seems out of balance. I do think that the Equinox also signals change as we prepare for the darker days and the colder weather here in the UK. I look around me at the chaos in our world and try to stay balanced but that is hard to do.
After my time out I felt energised and able to do things I had needed to do for a long time. That soon came to a halt as my body decided otherwise and some tiny movement unwittingly triggered a sequence of pain in various parts of my body. So much for balance!
There are definite signs of autumn in the garden as the flowers die back and the hedge has had its annual trim. I have a wonderful thick hedge left over from when this area was farmland. It consists of hawthorn mainly but there is holly and elder also in it. It provides a wonderful home for many birds and also food for them as brambles also grow there. It is still thick and high though and the birds still love it. They give me enjoyment too as I can sit and watch them for hours.
At this moment as I write this blog, the rain is pouring down heavily. We do need the rain and I am sure when it stops everything will look brighter and greener as the dirt and dust is washed away. Rain is so cleansing. But I do not like the dark days as I find them depressing. Trying to stay in balance is hard then too.
This week I was working at my table when something outside caught my eye. A dragonfly which decided to sit on my garden path. I tried to take a photo through the window but it wasn’t very good so took my camera outside hoping that the dragonfly was still there. I then discovered there were two of them having fun mating on my path. I don’t know where they would go to lay the eggs but I am not too far from a small river and lake in the nearby country park. I felt quite privileged that they had chosen my garden path for the their mating union. A positive end to my ramblings. The dragonflies can be the photo for this blog.
I have heard these words so often over the years, ‘Walk your talk!’ So I am pleased to see so many people starting to do this. It is very easy to talk about what you can do to recycle, or to respect others, or to help to save the earth for another generation. But do you actually do anything about it?
I started to talk to others about all of this and then managed to get a group of people together to talk about what we could do but to actually do something as well. We’ve only met twice so far but ideas are plenty and actions are starting. You can’t just sit there and do nothing!
But looking at the plastics problem I have found clothes made from bamboo and some with bamboo and cotton. Both of these grow so that in itself brings another problem. If we all decided to have bamboo and cotton clothes then growing the cotton and bamboo would take over areas meant for other things to grow like food crops, trees and various plants. So there has to be a balance.
Most of us have lots of plastic items in our homes. Some plastics are never replaced and that is fine I suppose. It is the single use plastic that is the real problem, the pop bottles, the plastic bags for food and so on. Here again we need a balance.
Some thing else that cropped up this week is inner knowing. I have knowledge at times that I know has not come from something I have learned but is inside me. Where does this knowledge come from? A example came to my mind. Years ago my mother said to me ‘Don’t go in that room, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.’ In that room people had been arguing. Today I know that it was the negative energies that could be sensed but how did my mother know this (she was born in 1916)? She also said the wind would blow the cobwebs away if I went for a walk in the wind.Cleansing the aura of course. So does this inner knowing come from our ancestors or are we born with it?
We have just celebrated the Equinox, a time of equal day and night. I have been taking a look at what is in balance in my and our world and what is out of balance. Looking at myself first of all, I have noticed that some things are in balance while others are not. If we look at our emotional, physical and mental bodies, are they all in balance? I think my emotional and mental bodies are in balance but not my physical one so I must find ways to deal with this. Next I looked at how I spent my days.
I am retired so don’t have to go to work but I do spend a lot of time working, either writing, making music or writing music and doing art work. Of course these could be considered as leisure activities! But sometimes they can be very hard work as well. I try to find a balance between doing these things and resting, taking time just to sit and stare, generally at the garden. I have been watching the blackbirds building their nest. It is a beautiful nest but I don’t want to disturb them by getting too close so I have not taken a photo of the nest. But watching the birds is an important part of my day. There are many of them and many different ones even though each one seems to have a character of its own.
There are many other things to look at for balance, do we/I overeat? Do we/I drink too much? Do we/I get angry or sad? Both of these make you out of balance especially anger. I look at the world around me and find very little of balance there. Our world is in crisis and our leaders seem paralysed and cannot make decisions to do the right thing. They are too busy fighting amongst themselves and making sure they get plenty of money to look out for the environment and the people they serve. So trying to keep myself in balance is important. I hope you can all do the same. Surely if we ourselves can stay in balance it will influence our world.
Extremes are in the news at the moment but they have been around for a very long time. But lets take the weather first as that is very current. There have always been extremes of weather but we seem to be getting more, possibly because the climate is changing. So we have lots of flooding and lots of drought. These bring their own problems, like landslides and forest fires which both devastate the land around them and people’s lives as well as the wildlife which also lives there. But we are unable to change these events so far. However, such events often bring out the best in people and they all help each other to get back what they have lost. But a question here, does it change their lives?
We can look at extremes of beliefs next. There are some very right wing and some very left wing thinkers around. They each have their strong beliefs and many try to get rid of those who don’t agree. This turns into dictatorship and is not good for the many who don’t have the same beliefs. How do we deal with such extremes? Compromise is essential and we all need to think about what is fair, not just to ourselves, but to others who share our planet. What is best for one person is not necessarily any good for another. We are all different with different needs and this needs to be considered at all times.
Sometimes it can be easy to see if something is good for all of us. Take a large car for example, made in this country. That benefits people by giving them a job, it benefits those who buy the car and drive it, therefore benefiting those who maintain the car. But against all of that, we need to consider emissions and air quality. Not easy is it.
I am a great believer in changing what I can and trying to work with what I can’t change. This applies in all parts of life and the ways of my life. I feel that is a start and try to encourage others so that extremist views may at some point become a thing of the past.
It has been quite a sad and emotional week. Here in the UK we have been remembering all those who died in the First World War as today is 100 years since the Armistice was signed. It was meant to be the war that ended all wars but it was not long before another world war started. Since the end of that one there have been many other wars and conflicts and some are still ongoing. I sometimes wonder if we are ever going to learn that war means death for many and strong emotions for those left behind.
I wonder how much is remembered by our bodies about war. I was born during the Second World War . For many years I said that I remembered the bomb dropping on the houses not so far away but when I researched it I found that the bomb had dropped exactly one week before I was born. How could I remember it? I also do not like enclosed spaces. I suspect this is because my mother always hid under the stairs during bombing raids and I was with her in a small enclosed dark space.
So if I remember these things and know how it has affected me, how do others cope with what they have seen and experienced during a conflict. There were many atrocities which seem beyond the understanding of human beings but they still continue. Man’s inhumanity to man continues every day somewhere in the world. When will we understand that we are all equal whatever colour, race or creed and we all need to respect that and work together. If we can’t do this then there will never be a world wide peace.
So today as during the week, I am remembering all those affected by wars and conflicts as well as those affected by large natural disasters and any form of terrorism or shooting events. The trauma left behind is not easily dealt with and can linger for ever.
Here is the Druid prayer for peace. I welcome you to use it whatever creed you have.
Deep within the still centre of my being
May I find peace.
Silently within the quiet of the Grove
May I share peace.
Gently (or powerfully) within the greater circle of humankind
May I radiate peace.
May we remember all those who died and the reason why.
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.
What a change in the weather this week. Not only has it been very wet but it has gone much colder. The leaves are changing colour rapidly and trees are now less leafy so you can see the birds better. There are blue tits using the new bird feeder and I hope to see many more during the coming colder months. There are more ducks on the pond although three of them flew off this morning! But I love going up to the pond in the early morning if I can. This morning though, for the first time I could hear the drone of traffic. This could be because of the wind direction and also because there are less leaves on the trees to absorb the sound. I noticed too the spiders webs this morning as they glistened in the aftermath of the last rain shower.
Some of you might know that I am a cycling fan and this week I can only sit and admire the feats of one particular cyclist. He has won the Tour de France several times now and this year has gone on to win La Vuelta, the first man to do so since the Vuelta changed places in the cycling calendar around 1995. He is an unassuming man but works hard to do what he does and always thanks his team for their support as without them he could not do what he does. I am writing about Chris Froome of course and I do wonder what challenge he will find next. He also took the time to learn to speak French and is then able to have conversations with notable people in the race management. In public he is always polite and does not have the quirky character that some other cyclists have which means that often the British public do not like him very much despite his achievements. I find this rather sad that we cannot look beyond what we see on the surface.
This applies to other things and people as well. Many of those who are in constant pain always say they are fine when they are not really fine as they don’t want to be pitied by others. Is this a British trait or do other nations have the same kind of feelings? I know I’m just as bad as often when asked if I am OK I will respond with a yes even though I might be feeling unwell.
So a mixed bag of things this week. Are you seeing and feeling the changing of the seasons? Do you see beyond the face value of things?
It is only in recent years that I have been visited by the black dog. I cannot remember it ever happening before about five years ago. I got very depressed at that time and wouldn’t go out or do anything. Counselling helped and I know how to deal with it. But recently it has happened more often and I am trying to find out why this is.
Up until about five or six years ago I was still very active and ran workshops and groups for various subjects. I have run a family history group for a very long time and that enabled me to meet others with similar interests. I also ran groups where we learned about colour, the tarot, numerology and other similar things.
Today I am much less mobile and have to use public transport to get anywhere and I do find this hard as buses never connect properly and you spend a lot of time waiting at bus stops. Every few months the bus companies change the timetables and this makes it even worse and also confusing. I do have projects on the go, for example, I am working with a group of other volunteers on a project with the local museum. I also have my own projects on family and local history to work on and possibly may start to run a family history group here where I live.
So plenty to do and a pond close by where I can walk every day at least once. But the black dog has been hanging around for some days now and visited me in a heavy manner the last few days. I do find it hard to live in confined spaces and I have heard others say they feel they are living in a cage and I suppose that is what it feels like at times. I like to feel space around me and lots of light and I have not had that anywhere I have lived in the last few years. That kind of home is hard to find. My mother used to tell me I should live in a field and I think maybe she was right!
But I am dealing with the black dog by making myself go out up to the pond and walk along the paths. I had company this morning, a local dog owner who has become a friend so that should make it easier now. If you get visits from the black dog, how do you deal with them?
As I now live in what is called a retirement village for the over 55’s I though I would write down my thoughts on this kind of living. This particular village is a complex of one and two bedroom flats. There are two annexes as well as the main building and I believe something like 285 flats in all. That is a large number and could mean around 400 people live in this complex. There is a shop open in the mornings for a couple of hours, a coffee bar open in the mornings for breakfast and a bar open in the evenings. These are run by people who live here. There is also a hairdressers, a charity shop, a games room, a computer suite, a laundry, as well as a small library. The corridors are wide and there are plenty of seats to sit on if you get tired walking somewhere. There are also two atriums where you can sit amongst the plants in comfort and entertain your friends. In the evenings and some afternoons there are quizzes, knit and natter groups, bingo and entertainment at the weekend. Various business people bring stalls at regular intervals so you can buy clothes, jewellery, handbags etc.
This means that you don’t actually have to leave the building at all and I suspect there are some that don’t. Does everyone get on together? Well, like any village there will always be those who complain about others and those who do not like where they live but in general everyone seems friendly.You can stay in your flat all day if you wish or you can go out on the bus to shop elsewhere and you can go for a walk in the small country park a few minutes walk away.
There are several thoughts that have crossed my mind about this kind of living. One is that it could be very easy to do nothing else except what is provided here. Would that make you an introverted person or perhaps dependent on what is provided here? Is this a good thing or not? For me it is fine as long as I can get out in the country park and to other places on the bus. I do wonder if my feelings will change if my mobility goes completely. Is it good to have people of this age range living together? If some residents have children and grandchildren and they visit then that keeps the family ties and the generations mingle together. I am lucky that I have found a few people here who also like the walk up to the pond and that is good. It is early days yet so more friends could be made in the future.
What are your thoughts on this type of housing complex for the over 55’s? Would you live in one when you get older? Are there better ways of living for the older person?
Many things that happen have repercussions most of which we don’t like or even expect. This last couple of weeks have brought about a large amount of repercussions after the tower block fire. I think that last week I said that misdoings were coming to light much sooner than before and that those who did the misdeeds would have to face up to what they had done.
The repercussions from the fire have shown how much our government and local councils really cared about us. They allowed buildings to be erected without the proper regulations to protect us. I generally keep politics out of my blog but this is enormous and has to be faced. Have you thought how people must feel if they live in a tower block or stay in a hotel or work in a hospital that does not have proper fire safety regulations adhered to during the building process and afterwards?
Any fire is traumatic when unexpected and this was a blaze not just a small fire. It has brought up anger as well as grief in those involved and it also is bringing up grief and anger which has been unresolved in others. But it is bringing to light the facts about the buildings too. Many people are scared to still be living in tower blocks in case there is a fire. It is going to take a long time to make people feel secure in their homes but it will also bring up many other unanswered questions about cuts to services and other things such as our health service.
Maybe it is awakening people to the fact that there are other ways of living where there is an equality and fairness in all dealings After such an event the local community come together to help each other but we should be helping each other all the time. How many more traumatic events do we need to wake everyone up to the fact that there is a better way to live?
We all managed during World War II and housing was found or built soon after the end of the war. What has changed in the last sixty years that we cannot find the way to deal with these events?