Changing seasons

It has been a long hot dry summer but the last couple of weeks have brought us some rain which has been very good for the garden. One day last week I opened the door, as I do every day, to let in the fresh air and to give thanks for all around me. This particular morning was different than the previous ones. It was cooler and fresher but there was also a distinctive feel and smell of the coming autumn.  It’s not something I find easy to put into words but the feel and smell is something I recognise and know that autumn is on its way.

Looking back at the days of summer I see lots of flowers, their wonderful colours still there for the coming days. I noticed the number of birds too. I have a large thick hedge at the top of my garden and it has been home to several broods of birds, blackbirds, sparrows and robins. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow into adult birds. This last week a sparrowhawk visited as well. Luckily all the smaller birds were safe in the hedge and surrounding bushes.

I have also noticed the large number of bees visiting the flowers. But many of the flowers are there specifically for that purpose, to attract the bees. There are not so many now but they are still coming finding other plants attractive when their favourite ones have finished flowering.

There has been a large number of different butterflies visiting the flowers especially the buddleias which are commonly known as butterfly bushes. I have also seen damselflies and dragonflies whizzing around the garden but not often settling for photos! The plum tree and the brambles (which are not really wanted as they stop other plants from growing) have done exceptionally well and I have lots of fruit in my freezer. There were so many plums that I have been giving them to neighbours. Someone said it must be the fifth year as you get an abundant crop every five years.

But what I have noticed the most is the abundance of everything. There has been wonderful colour, and food for everything that comes into the garden, and watching the birds trying to get the blackberries and plums has been entertaining at times.

So now the season is changing and there will be different things to watch and to do as well. But my main thought at this point in time is ‘Abundance!’

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Staying calm in a chaotic world

Staying calm can sometimes be extremely difficult in the world of today. There is so much going on in the world around us as well as in the wider world and there is so much pressure to do this or do that or be that way not the other way and so on.

Many years ago when I was first working with the Reiki energy I learned to stop and take deep breaths when I was getting worked up about something or pressured into doing something that I knew was not right for me. I also gave myself a boost of the Reiki energy. But not everyone can do this so how can you stay calm when you need to be calm?

I find that just stopping whatever I am doing and looking around me at the world of nature outside my window calms me down. I love to watch what is going on outside the window in my garden. I can see butterflies and damselflies and lots of flying insects all busy about their daily work.

But what if you don’t have a garden outside your window but have noisy traffic and other sounds. Then you have to find a place in your imagination where you can go to when you need peace. Have you been on holiday somewhere or on a day out where you have found a place you really like and feel at peace there? This is the place you go to in your imagination when you need to feel calm and peaceful. It can only be for a minute but it will help. It is the stopping what you are doing and taking a few seconds or minutes out that does the trick. Don’t think of what is getting to you but think of the peaceful place you love. If you do this regularly then you will feel much better and get less stressed by everything that is going on. You will be more able to go with the flow of things as they occur and deal with them in a much easier way. So take a few minutes out at intervals during your day and see how much difference it can make.

Here is a photo taken in my garden this week.

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My heart sings

I have just returned from a few days away in North Wales. Snowdonia is my spiritual home and I spend time in meditation being there but being there in reality is so much better.

It was good to see the snow capped mountains while walking on Llandudno pier. That was only the start though. The following day was a tour round through Betws y Coed to Llanberis. There was the rushing river over the rocks, refreshing and exhilarating and new buds on the trees. There was  a lovely view of one of the mountains I have not managed to climb in my younger days, Moel Siabod, standing there proud against the sky. Llanberis gave another view of the mountains and the stark landscape of Vivian quarry.

The second day was Caernarfon followed by Anglesey and then back round the mountains to Llandudno. Each time we stopped  I breathed in deeply, by the sea and in the mountains. It refreshed me and replenished my soul.

The final day was the best. Two friends for whom I am truly grateful organised a taxi up the Great Orme. To stand there with my feet on the earth where ancients have trodden was wonderful. To stand and look out over the sea and the mountains made my heart sing. We walked back down, me with my walker,  to the little church of St. Tudno, and sat on a bench looking out over the sea watching a ship go past and the sun glinting on the blades of the wind turbines. Peaceful as well. I not only have new memories but more photos as well.

I am going to copy here the words of a poem I wrote many years ago but which came to my mind on the Great Orme.

I felt the earth beneath my feet,

I saw the sky above,

I felt the throb of my heart beat

In wonder and in love.

I give thanks for the days spent there and for my two friends, Viv and John who made the trip up the Orme possible. It has meant so much to me to be able to tread the land of the ancients and of my forebears. Despite the pain I feel it was a wonderful time and I am blessed.

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Moving on

The weather this week has been stormy. Dark clouds rushing along in the sky and heavy rain showers. The leaves are being blown off the trees like magic carpets rushing along. But there are still many beautiful coloured leaves around and of course the weather is making the fungi grow.

But like the storm moving onwards, my thoughts have been doing just the same. I have been going deeper in Reiki seeing it more as a spiritual path than as a system of healing. I find myself drawn to the Buddhist aspect of this but know that Buddhism is not for me. I know others who manage to meld together various different spiritual paths and make it one of their own. In some ways I have done this, taking a lot of knowledge from the Native American paths and mixing it with druidry. Now I am adding the spiritual aspect of Reiki to the mix.

If you ask 100 druids what druidry is you will get 100 different answers and I feel this is the same with Reiki and other paths. We are all individual and we are all unique and therefore our spiritual paths are unique to us too. I find that I take from each path what I feel is right for me and then I have this mix of different beliefs and paths. Is this something that you do as well or do you follow a specific path?

I am also moving on into the darker months of the year as many of us are, when I feel I want to create more, to journal more and to be restful. Somewhere deep inside me, is the germ of another book but it has yet to grow big enough to do something about it. Maybe the darker nights will encourage it to grow. But life is a journey and it goes on every day bringing more experiences, more joy and often more sadness as you get older. I have reached an age where many of my friends have passed on. I have to dig deep and continue to do what I need to do and also what I want to do and progress even more on my path. Moving on is a continuous process. How do you feel about this process?

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Nature – observing and being aware

We all seem to have busy lives and we rush from one place to another so that we can do all the things we think we have to do. But we miss so much. I watched a mother hurry her child across the footbridge over the local stream because she wanted to get home quickly. The child wanted to see if there were ducks or fish in the stream, but did not get the chance to stop and look. If we don’t give our children the chance to observe nature how can we expect them to respect it later on in their lives?

The bridge over the stream is a short cut for children going to and from school and people going to work or to the shops. In the last year I have only seen two parents stop and let their children look at the stream. One mother brought her child especially to feed the ducks.

I often stop and watch when crossing the bridge. I have seen the stream in full flood with muddy swirling water rushing past almost as high as the bridge. One side of the bridge looks upstream to a tiny waterfall. The other side, the stream goes between tall buildings close to the edge of the banks. But here there are buddleias and a small elder tree. There are lots of little inlets where ducks can hide and lots of large stones which can hide various larva such as that of the caddis fly. I saw a kingfisher earlier this year and my son saw one last weekend. I remember standing still to watch the kingfisher and is seems that he was very aware of me. When I blinked, he moved and was gone. How did he know when to go?

There are plenty of tiny fish in the stream and when you ‘tune’ in to the water you can see them clearly. It can be a magical place despite the buildings and the factory car park but there is no access down to the stream. Perhaps this is a good thing as it prevents human damage to the unique habitats within the stream. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this stream but I will show you another photo of the country park where the stream has its source and after the heavy rains.