Let your eyes rest on something completely “ordinary” in the natural world. As you look, the beauty and delicacy of what you are seeing you will reveal itself to you. There is so much gloriously ordinary beauty in everyday life; seeing that, restores us to ourselves. Stephanie Dowrick
When the land you love shakes beneath your feet
suddenly can shift because of a greater force, you wonder what is certain about your life anymore.
and the tides come and go.
The sea air is still tangy and refreshing. The sun warm and the sky blue on days like this one.
A wave surge hits the sea wall and exhilarates you with delight as salt water splashes your face.
It is ironic that nature means earthquakes here in Aotearoa but it is nature that we return to for solace and restoration of spirit and hope.
I regularly use this phrase “I love to get the juice out of things.” But what do I mean by that?
For me it is about looking deeper, looking wider and looking again.
It might be “getting the juice” out of producing a good crop of garlic. It might be after I’ve seen a movie or attended a concert or meeting.
Sometimes the “juice” might be new learning; sometimes it might be new understanding: sometimes it might be more questions or puzzles to think on and other times new responses or feelings.
The endless possibilities that might arise from “getting the juice” are a really attractive part of this process for me and helps feed the naturally very curious part of me.
Saturday 2nd July: Friday wrap-up, a day late.
So here are a few things that have happened today. It has been a good one.
I realized that the very cold weather we have had this week is just the thing to stimulate my newly planted garlic bulbs.
The coffee was good and hot at the café this morning
A friend and I had a discussion about resilience which is a topic we are both interested in
I walked around the lake near our shopping centre and enjoyed the winter light, the water, the birds and some stunning colours that surprised me in the depths of a steely, raw winter’s day
Hot soup was just the right food for lunch
I completed my Garden Bird survey and was delighted by the number of chaffinchs in the count this year
I did a guided meditation as the light of the day faded
Everyone enjoyed their hot roast dinner
There was some humorous television to watch in the evening.
And I found a new blog which I will be following closely with great interest. I’d encourage you to have a look:-)
I have felt in need of some soothing today after a week so far that has been very challenging on many levels. I turned to my garden and took this photo of our Camellia “Quintessence”. The tag off the plant says “ Miniature single white blooms with white filaments and yellow anthers. Sweet musky fragrance. Early to mid season. Slow spreading bush.”
This is our second “Quintessence”. I checked the meaning of the word quintessence after we first purchased this delicately flowered shrub and knew our choice was an appropriate one.
The dictionary offered me two meanings: “ Fifth substance, apart from four elements, composing the heavenly bodies, entirely and latent in all things.”
“Most essential part of any substance, refined extract; purest and most perfect form, manifestation or embodiment of some quality or class.”
I needed the “fifth substance” after the four elements: water (floods in New South Wales), earth ( yet more earthquakes in Christchurch), air ( troubled by volcanic ash ) and fire ( a spate of arson attacks in the past week or more) have dominated lives. It was helpful to spend time looking at the flowers, enjoying their beauty and noting the new growth that has occurred despite something nibbling on the leaves. I felt more at peace.
A tip I used to pass on at parenting skills courses was to ensure that you made 6 positive comments to each child, each day and observe any changes that happened. Parents who tried this often reported back that their children’s behaviour had improved and that life in their house was generally much pleasanter.
Humans thrive in a positive environment where they get positive feedback to help them on their way. Try ensuring that you say at least 6 positive things to each person in your home, each day and let me know how you get on…
Yesterday I blogged about the importance of time to yourself after I witnessed a checkout operator describing her enjoyment of a morning to herself. I can see some hours today which are already labelled “time to myself” and I am really looking forward to those.
As I was thinking about the regenerative nature of a chunk of unpressured time to ourselves, I also thought about how all human beings, no matter their age need “regroup time”. A transition space where they allow time and often personal space to shift from one activity or focus to another. I am very aware of this in my own family as the adults come in from work and often settle with a newspaper or magazine while they regroup from the pressures of work, the drive home and a shift into more leisurely time in the evening.
School children benefit from regroup time as they shift from the demands of the school routine, learning, noisy groups of friends and any personal challenges of the day. A slow drift home on foot is ideal, some food and water when they arrive home, and time outdoors just mucking around allows them to restore so many aspects of their being.
I noticed my two year old grandson needed some regroup time when he woke up from his midday sleep recently. He was happy to sit on my knee and allow me to cuddle him but apart from that he just needed regroup time to shift back into full of energy and movement mode.
No doubt neuroscience could explain what happens to our brains and why we need regroup time but for now we simply need to care for ourselves and our children by providing this important part of being human.
I belong to a local singing group. We meet for 8 weeks every school term and there are four of those. We meet from 7.30 until 8.45pm on a Tuesday night. The only requirement for joining this group is that you like to sing. No auditions, no ability to read music, just a desire to sing with others. So for a nominal fee, around $6 per session I get to sing a range of music with a great group of people, led by a talented and funny guy.
The age range in the group is from 12 to possibly 80 years of age. Our musical leader has the group divided into those who like to sing high, or low and then the rest of us are middles. Keep it simple and it works brilliantly. He adds in “keep it friendly” and every session we have a couple of short breaks from singing to say hello and catch up with the people sitting near by.
Twice each term we sing while enjoying supper together. We also get to sing out in public. The group sings once at year at the Wellington Railway Station for the evening commuters. This term we are scheduled to sing at the Wellington Airport for those flying at dinner time. Other singing get-togethers in various locations and for various reasons are also arranged.
Do we sound good? Yes, a lot of the time. Do we make mistakes? Yes, especially when a song is new but also when we have practiced and practiced. Do we laugh a lot? Oh yes!!!
Most people in the group would say that singing each week is the highlight of their working week. For 75 minutes on a Tuesday night all the stresses, troubles and cares in our lives evaporate and we leave feeling relaxed and much better prepared to face the world.
It is a very simple formula and it works a treat.
Recently on another blog the question was asked: ” Where is your favourite bush walk?” Here in New Zealand that means native bush. My favourite place to walk in the bush is in Otari bush in Wellington.
My parents took us there as children and my parents’ ashes are now buried beneath a young Rimu sapling that we planted in the reserve in 2004. The sapling we planted to commemorate our parents has grown from a seed from the 600 year old Rimu that lives in a different area of this bush. Not only is there the 600 year old Rimu but in the same clearing there is an 800 year old giant.
There are many tracks to follow in this wonderful bush reserve but my favourite is the one that runs from the Northern carpark to the Troup Picnic area. The path is always shaded no matter what time of the year it is. The path tracks alongside the stream through beautiful tall trees, smaller native plants, ferns, tree ferns, mosses and lichens.
Once at the picnic area the stream is very easy to access and it is fun to watch children paddling, searching for small creatures and attempting to dam the flow with rocks.
The calls and songs of the various native birds that live there are a delight.
It is very easy to forget the cares of the world once in the bush. I find it restful and restorative; a place to reflect and remember in; a place to wonder and experience awe.
Where is your favourite bush walk?