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Saturday, February 28, 2015

A creative retreat for Lent

During Lent I am participating in an on-line retreat from Abbey of the Arts. Each week has a theme, reflection on a Biblical text and suggestions for both writing and photography. I am really enjoying the balance. I may post my creative reflections here sometimes. This week the theme has been: Mindful Attention and Affectionate Awareness. One of the photography/writing suggestions was to take a photo of something that attracted that "mindful attention" and then write a Haiku that expressed some awareness that arises from it. (Sorry about the advertising on the Haiku site but if you ignore that, this is a good introduction!)
Here are two of mine:
slow down and enjoy
the little things in life where 
secret blessings lie

Photo: street art on walkway near home.

peeling bark reveals
a smooth new surface ready
to be written on

Photo: Gum tree in Maygrove Park 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The beauty of small things

Two "small things" attracted my attention today:

While having a coffee in a local cafe I noticed a young woman come and sit beside an elderly lady with very shaky hands who was trying to fill in a crossword puzzle. She so graciously and patiently came alongside and supported the older woman by explaining clues and pointing to the places the letters needed to go. There was no patronising or impatience. It was a truly lovely interchange. As the young woman was the barista I soon gathered that the older woman was her Grandma. A few moments of relationship before getting up to serve the next customer, but definitely not an insignificant "small thing."

In the corner of the garden of our new house is a plant that has suddenly grown a tall black spike.
 Not very attractive. A bit of a mystery to us. But yesterday it began to flower. And when I looked closely at the tiny flowers I was struck by the beauty and delicacy of each one. Walking quickly past  one could miss it, but taking time to look closely at this "small thing" is a cause for wonder.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Lady in Number 6

Last night on Maori TV I watched one of the most inspiring movies I've seen in a long time:
The Lady in Number 6. "The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of the year.  As the world’s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor, 109 year-old Alice Herz Sommer shares her views on how to live a long and happy life. She discusses music, laughter and how to remain optimistic come what may. The film features beautiful photographs and rare film footage that truly brings Alice’s extraordinary story to life." Quoted from the website highlighted above.

You can see short clips from the movie on the website highlighted above, and on You Tube there are longer segments of 12 minutes and 38 minutes (which must be most of the movie which is 1 hour long with ads.) Make time to see it! 

There is also a book which I haven't followed up yet:
And of course you can Google her name and get lots of other resources...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rainbows through the rain

Thanks to Paul Windsor's Blog for the link to this wonderful and very moving rendition of the beautiful old hymn O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, by George Mattheson (Click here.) (If you can listen with headphones you get the richest sound of the amazing Cathedral acoustics.)

For those who need reminding of the words:
O Love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.

O light that foll’west all my way,

I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.

And for the very powerful story behind Mattheson's writing of the hymn click here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Are we "frogs in boiling water"?

If you had any doubts about the effects of global warming watch this 4 minute You Tube video: Chasing Ice.

Put this alongside the campaign for Divestment of Fossil Fuel energy sources.   Click here for an excellent 3 minute video about GLOBAL DIVESTMENT DAY. February 13 and 14 are the days designated for protests, marches and actions around the world. But if joining (or starting) a group action feels too hard click here for ideas about how to take a small - but easily manageable - step as just one person lobbying for change right here in NZ.

I have to admit that at first I thought "Oh not this time. There are so many good causes, I'll give this one a miss." But when I looked at the ideas on the NZ site  I thought, I can do something - and I did. I've added my name to a letter asking the NZ Super Fund to divest. If we all think "it's too hard" or "I can't be bothered" or "I'm sure others will rise to the challenge"… we are essentially just like the fabled "frogs in slowly boiling water". It is an uncannily apt description!