It was on one of the very rainy days we had in March when my friend, Marilyn, decided to settle in with her devoted companion, Bella, to re-read my book of whimsical tales, By the Fireside ... Into the Mystic, and captured the photograph above. Bella, a beautiful Great Dane, was initially the service dog of my friend's late daughter. The photograph warmed my heart, made me smile and, with permission, I now share it with you, for your smiles.
Although initially having no idea what story I might weave around the photo, memories recently drifted back to something I had read and wrote about many years ago on the value of taking quiet moments to 'just be' with a favourite book. Here are some thoughts that first comprised part of a 2014 Innisfree Moment, drawn from that year's March 22nd paragraph of The Friendship Book - A Thought for each Day:
The author asks the reader to name one object that is a constant companion, a source of advice and a teacher that could be carried wherever we go ... and the answer: A book! The paragraph continued with words by Dr. Charles W. Eliot, a distinguished president of Harvard University from 1869 to 1909:
"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
Books and libraries have been my constant companions from an early age, starting with children's stories by English author, Enid Blyton, progressing to this day into nighttime reading through a variety of topics, depending on the interest or line of study at the time. On my computer there are photographs of my then home office location when I was writing my theses papers, where the tables and floor were covered with books and reference materials, that I used during many late-night marathons to meet personal commitment intentions.
That was then, and this is now, and now I have set the intention to have meaningful pauses in my day; also my theme for this year. How am I doing, you might ask? Mmmmh! Much better! Last week I took a day off and went to the beach, sitting in the sun by the water, and then walked along the promenade. It felt wonderful. This week, I've taken a half-day with another planned for later in the week. How about you? Do you need to give yourself permission ... after the chores are done?
Other than time sensitive deadlines that take priority and go to the top of the 'queue' , as one of mine did this week, and urgent family matters that arise, balance and intention are helpful key elements, supporting us to remain mindful of what is important for our self-care by asking ourselves: "Is this really important at this time"? The answer may be a definite "yes". Perhaps it isn't important at all, so then we can pause, step aside, and let the world whirl by. However, truth to tell, I do admit - as I looked up at the words of Michelangelo on the bronze plaque above my computer - I am still learning! Then again, everything starts with an intention! And anything enhancing our good health is a Grand Intention ... for me, it is my motivation to use my exercise bike, keep walking and staying mobile. How about yours?
So as we go about fulfilling our intentions, let's pause during the days ahead to notice this wonderful season of renewal, considering it as a personal spring tune-up, just as Nature is now accessorizing the trees with leaves and colourful blossoms. The cycle of life isn't always of our choosing, but ultimately (I've found) it brings a gift. My friend would not have chosen the reason Bella became her companion. When I wrote Fireside, questioning its value, she was the first person to read it; her encouragement led to its completion. Five years later, we learn how two friends enjoyed a rainy day in March. The evidence in the photograph warmed my heart and made me smile ... and I hope it does for you too. So let us trust that our lives are unfolding in the most perfect and precious way, just like the seasons.
Until we meet again, may you have many moments with your quiet companion. Mine, ever ready with a few words of inspiration is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy. It is creatively illustrated and just won the Best Animated Short Film award at this year's Oscar Ceremonies.
Thank you for joining me. I wish you beautiful spring days and rich blessings ... Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada