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.
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.
August has always been a difficult time for me emotionally for various reasons. Grief is foremost at that time even though those I grieve for may have passed over twenty years ago. There is also a deep sadness at their loss knowing what they could have achieved if still here. But these things are meant to be and you learn to live with their loss. It does get easier generally but there are times when I feel as if it was yesterday and the emotions run high.
As an empath, world events affect me daily and again I feel a deep sadness over recent events. I don’t feel anger as that would lead nowhere but I do feel this sadness at what has been happening all over the world. However I do have hope.
I have done a lot of reading and a lot of listening and I understand, and this is my point of view, that we all need to find our spiritual connection to the earth. We need to feel the earth beneath our feet, listen to what she is saying to us, listen to the trees and the animals that live on our planet. If we listen carefully then we can hear them and learn to do what they ask of us. It is quite simple really. Find that connection and the understanding that everything on our planet is connected in one way or another. You only have to think about what I was taught at school about the food chain and see how each species is connected to another species. We are the human species and we are connected to all the other species in some way or another. Find that deep contentment that comes from being in nature. Let your emotions flow into the earth to be healed and find joy amongst the trees and plants and the many insects some of whom have wonderful colours.
There is joy out there if you go outside and search. I find joy in the simple things like sitting on a seat overlooking a local lake and watching the birds on the water and seeing the dragonflies flitting about. Being by water is good for the emotions especially flowing water or the sea. It cleanses and heals too. So forget your anger and hate and go and find the joy outside in our wonderful natural world.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of restrictions you might be finding it hard to see what is good in your life. But there is so much out there that we can be grateful for and that are good. After a couple of weeks of illness I was looking forward to feeling better and I am gradually getting there but I have found much to bring me joy.
One thing that makes me feel really happy is that a hedgehog has started to use my garden and has found the food I left for him or her. Then this morning I watched the sun shining on the yellowing leaves of a neighbours tree. That is a beautiful thing in the morning and also gave me joy. We have had a lot of rain recently but I love to see the raindrops hanging from the washing line and on the leaves when the rain has stopped. They make the flowers look beautiful too. I have been able to start knitting and sewing again and this too makes me feel so happy. Creating things is something I love to do. Of course, music plays a large part in my life and I can listen to favourite music while I do other things. There is so much there to give me joy and happiness and is good.
If you focus on the bad things then they seem much bigger and much worse. It is better to focus on the good things however bad you feel and I know that that can be quite hard to do but it does help if you focus on the good things. The good things that bring joy and a smile are often the small things that can be missed. The other day I was outside in the garden with my son and the twenty or more birds in the hedge were all chirping at the same time. It was very loud and not really tuneful but it made me smile and feel happy. It was good to walk around the garden and see which flowers were still blooming and there were a lot of them.
Talking to friends is good too and never underestimate the value of just talking. We are social people mainly and enjoy the companionship of others. Living alone and in areas of restrictions has not helped people who are older and live alone so they have to make more effort to find the good things that are still there. But even cloud watching can be fun as you see how they change colours and shapes. So look for the good things out there and think about them not the bad things. Enjoy what you find.
I seem to remember words to a song going like this,’Summertime, and the living is easy’. I suppose that living is easier in the summer and there is so much to enjoy. I love the blue skies and the sun shining but I don’t like it too hot. The garden is full of different insects. The bees are bussing around the cotoneaster hedge and in the many other flowers.
The young birds are learning to fly and to use the bird feeder. It can be amusing to watch them as they find a way to perch on the feeder. There are so many of them this year. There must have been at least 3 different nests in my hedge as the broods of fledglings arrive in fours and fives.
I already have a lot of flowers in bloom and many more to come as summer progresses. I can see ladybirds in plenty and other flying insects. Soon there may be damselflies and dragonflies as one of my neighbours has a pond.
The hedge is alive with the noise of the birds and insects. It is also very green. One of the things I love about this time of the year is how green everything is, so alive.
But now the Summer Solstice has passed the night is creeping slowly over the day, making each day that little bit shorter. Years ago I wrote a poem for the Solstice. Here it is now;
Solstice Prayer It is the time of the longest day When the Sun is at the height of its power And as the Sun watches over us and feeds us all So we feed our Inner Fire. May the power of the One unite us all Bringing hope and peace to our planet; May the Ancient Wisdom, the Eternal Truth, Be warmed by the Sun this day Let us join together in peace and love, Let the Sun shine within our hearts, Let the Child of Light guide us on our way, As our world is filled with peace and love.
Despite the dreary weather and the onset of sciatic pain there has been a lot of good things happening this week some of which have brought me great joy. As usual after moving house there is always a lot of paperwork to do and this time has been no exception. I am still working on this as some change of address letters can only be done via the post.
I have bought myself a new mobility scooter which will be used a lot while I have this intense sciatic pain. The scooter will enable me to get out even if it is showery so I hope to get down to the country park soon which is not too far away.
I have managed to get all my new plants that were ready, planted in the garden where some of them shot up several centimetres the following day as they enjoyed the space around them. I still have about thirty plants in pots which are not yet ready for the garden itself.
My main joy has been sitting and watching the birds in the hedge, some of whom have built a large nest. I think this is the pair of blackbirds who are busy getting worms from the garden. One day a butterfly visited and I managed to get a photo through the window. It is not as clear as it would be had it been taken outside but it is quite a good photo anyway. At least I think so.
At six o’clock this morning the sun was shining but it has disappeared and there is a mist. It does look as if it will improve though and if it does I shall test my new scooter and head for the country park. But whatever the weather does I can enjoy watching the wild life through my windows. Nature heals as well as giving pleasure so I hope you all find time to enjoy being out there too.
Last week I wrote about Trentham and how much joy it gave me to walk around the estate. This week while out there a woman came by and said ‘What joy in nature there is here’. We smiled at each other in recognition of our similar thoughts and she moved on.
But then I started to think about other things that bring me joy. I am creative, I write, paint, make music and do various crafts. Creating things is a large part of my life. This week I have been creating music and photo slideshows. I learned how to do this earlier in the year but had forgotten some of the technicalities involved so another learning curve began. After some frustrating moments I did this and the following day a friend suggested I load the video to YouTube and so I learned how to do this as well. But just looking and listening to this video brings back the memories of that time in Trentham and so it brings me joy. The actual work involved also brings me joy. Here is a link to this;
But there are many other things that bring me joy like playing the piano and composing my own little pieces of music. So this is my ‘hobby’ at the moment and although I use the computer for this as well it is very satisfying to learn something new each day. The learning itself brings me joy.
My photo this week is from a series taken last year but when I look at this photo I see so much beauty that I feel joy too.
Since moving back home I have been revisiting some of my favourite places. Some are long gone of course as this is a large area of industry and housing. But some are still there and there are also many new places to go and explore when I have the time. Derelict wasteland from industry which is now gone has often been turned into parkland.
One of the places I used to visit with my children is still there and I go there often but I have found another place to go which has exceeded my expectations. The Trentham Estate is a large commercial operation designed to attract tourists and also has a shopping village. But it is a place that never ceases to make me happy as I explore it. There is a large lake around a mile in length, there are historic gardens, woodlands and meadows, and so many places to hide from the crowds. Many things have impressed me, the way the old trees that have fallen are used from sculpture, the newly planted meadow areas and the wild flower gardens. Even the children’s area blends in with the land itself.
I have found small areas right by the lake where I can sit and watch the birds on the lake and the dragonflies and butterflies flitting around. I can walk through the woodland and see the sculptures. Then there are the fairies, a series, now sixteen in all, who sit around the estate. They are wire sculptures and can be found in unusual places. I have not yet found them all. But the peace of the lake and the ever changing sky are something I love to see. Each visit is a joy and like many others I purchased an annual ticket as the only day the estate is closed is Christmas Day.
The river runs alongside the lake and there are otters here but I have not seen them yet. There is a hide where you can sit and wait for them to appear. There are many varieties of ducks as well as swans and herons. A small island is the home for the herons. For me this is a wonderful experience enabling me to be at one with the landscape around me and I treasure it. I hope it will be there for ever.
So what does joy mean to you? For me it is a deep feeling of happiness and great pleasure. I have been having this feeling rather a lot since my move and it has to be something to do with my surroundings which are much different from where I lived before.
My surroundings are urban but there is so much green around too. One small thing which gives me joy is my walk down the hill to the retail park. I live in a street which has several other streets running parallel to it but with a street running across the top end joining them together apart from one street. This is linked by a path across a small piece of land with trees and grass. There is a small group of trees, some currently full of blossom and daffodils, tulips and now bluebells are opening up in the sunshine. I like to stop and admire this small plot of land every time I go that way. It brings me joy just to stand there and breathe in the scent of nature.
Following the path downhill I see willows and alder as well as other shrubs like brambles and a couple of small birches. At the bottom of the hill the retail park is edged with trees now all becoming green. They block out the traffic noise of the dual carriageway but they also give me joy as I have watched them start to awaken to the sunshine.
I suppose that I am a druid who is very much a part of nature. I love to just stand there and ‘be’, listening, admiring and being at one with all that is around me. I don’t need to dress up to do this, I’d rather blend in with the land anyway so I really seem a part of it. My photo today is of the bluebells at the end of the street in that small plot of land.
What a difference the sun makes! You feel so much better and cheerful when the sun is out. The flowers are starting to bloom and the fledglings are learning to fly. I counted at least 10 this morning on my shed roof. It brings us all hope in this troubled world. The natural world carries on and grows throughout whatever the weather does. The cold has made the spring growth happen much later but nature has survived and shown us that we can survive too.
There are many people in our world struggling with one thing or another. Some have lost loved ones, others have lost their jobs and some have lost their homes for various reasons. But out of this mire will come something new. Each disaster we have in our lives, makes us stronger and we learn how to live in a better way so that some of the disasters which are of our own making, do not happen again. Look around you and see how nature has survived the long cold winter, see the flowers blooming, the tiny fledgling birds learning to fly. Let them give you hope and strength to move on and work your way through any problem in your life. Visualise yourself living in the way you want to live, caring, nurturing but strong and connecting with everything around you.
The peony in my garden is now flowering and gives me joy every day as I look on its beautiful colours and petals. Look around you to find something which gives you joy too.