How are you and those close to you coping with adjustments to ensure safety during COVID? Are you experiencing times of peace, or is that an elusive component right now? Do you have survival instincts in place? One valuable idea shared by a friend came from her meditation teacher: when anxious and faced with something unpleasant, pause, step back, be curious about it. It may not change what happened, but could let you see it in a new light and ease its stressful hold. Similarly, a huge help can be by talking with an understanding listener, and especially sharing some humour and laughs.
Reaching out to another for help can take courage and be a brave gesture, but so worthwhile. A wonderful example is in my current favourite book by Charlie Mackesy: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. It is a short read fitting for all ages, filled with delightful sketches and great wisdom, such as when the boy asks the horse, "what is the bravest thing you have ever said"? "Help", said the horse ... "Asking for help isn't giving up, it's refusing to give up."
Moments of comfort and joy are personal to each of us, but important links to creating smiles and memories that warm our hearts. What brings joy to you? Do you include such moments in your day? Listening this week to a Public Television documentary on memory, I learned that a valuable coordination practice is knitting. When assisting with Hospice Grief Support, an elderly gentleman in the group shared that another resident at his care home was teaching him to knit. As many of you who journey with me know, I love Christmas music, the Christmas movies, and have special Teddy Bears that sit on a miniature park bench with a brass plaque, "Bench of Dreams".
A few days ago, while looking through a binder of talks, inspirational ideas and stories, I read a heart-warming article about Breeze, an abandoned new-born foal, and a Teddy Bear named Buttons: A farmer discovered Breeze stumbling around and took him to a Devon-based Mare and Foal Sanctuary. One of the staff put a giant Teddy Bear into the stall. The foal was instantly attracted, the two became inseparable, and the foal had a healthy recovery.
We are never too old to enjoy what gives us comfort. The late C.S. Lewis dedicated one of his Narnia Chronicle books to his goddaughter with the inscription: "One day you will be old enough to enjoy fairy tales." Perhaps you like walking in Nature, music, baking, building, art. So pause, reflect, and implement whatever gives you moments of comfort, joy, and peace in your heart.
It seemed fitting that I share again a story about the real meaning of peace, which initially didn't appear to fit the definition; (author unknown).
"There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
"One picture was a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful, towering mountains that surrounded it. Overhead was blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
"The other picture had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
"But when the King looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of the angry water sat the mother bird on her nest ... perfect peace!
"Which picture do you think won the prize? The King chose the second picture. 'Because', explained the King, 'peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.'"
Today is a soft misty day where I live in White Rock, BC, with rain and a low ceiling, yet let's take heart, knowing that each day we are moving towards the light, and new life that Nature does so well.
Blessèd be to you ... Until we meet again, take gentle time for yourself, and please stay safe. Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada