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Monday, April 25, 2016

World Peace Bell for ANZAC Day

When we walked in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens recently we visited the World Peace Bell there.

You will see better photos by clicking the World Peace Bell site above and here.
The words on the plaque are: 
World Peace Bell Association - President Tomijiro Yoshida
The World Peace Bell is made from coins and medals donated by 103 countries around the world which have been mixed with copper and is a symbol of peace which gives the impression that the world is one. The aim of the Association is to install the World Peace Bells in capitals of various countries and ring the Bells in the entire world so as to promote the mutual understanding which transcends national boundaries and make contribution to the cause of world peace.
The World Peace Bell which stands in the courtyard of the United Nations headquarters in New York is rung annually by the UN Secretary General in prayer for peace on the occasion of the opening of the UN General Assembly. The following is a list of those who have offered co-operation to the Association by donating funds to it for the making of this World Peace Bell.

The story behind the World Peace Bells is inspiring and well worth reading. Link once again here.
We wondered if Helen Clarke will one day ring the UN Bell!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wisdom from a 10th grader

Continuing the Earth Day theme I came upon this article via Spirituality and Practice. To read the full article click here. (Photos mine)
When Nimai wrote this article, he was in the 10th grade. Nimai lives in Maryland and has been practicing Vaishnavism, a monotheistic tradition within Hinduism, since his childhood.
…my faith envisions Earth as a person, a mother. This mentality has formed the basis of my view towards the earth. One doesn’t treat a person as an exploitable source of resources, just as one doesn’t wish death upon one’s mother...

My religion’s view of Earth as a person has changed my own perception of the planet. I believe that the environmental issues jeopardizing our planet today indicate a spiritual lacking, a hole we’re trying to fill with more and more consumption. By lessening our needs, we can start battling environmental issues.
As Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.”

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day

Today 22nd April is Earth Day. I wouldn't have known except for a newsletter from the Gratefulness site which had many lovely reminders and resources. These two short videos I found especially moving:

The Pale Blue Dot  2 minutes BY CARL SAGAN This excerpt of A Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken by Voyager 1 in 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. The result is this moving and powerful monologue by Carl Sagan, delightfully illustrated by Order Productions, Ltd.

Dear Future Generations: Sorry 5 minutes (Plus a couple more after his poem finishes) BY PRINCE EA (April, 2015) An apology letter to future generations. "I think I speak for the rest of us when I say, sorry, sorry we left you our mess of a planet. Sorry that we were too caught up in our own doings to do something. Sorry we listened to people who made excuses, to do nothing. I hope you forgive us..."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

When plans change...

In case the previous post gave the impression that everything on our West Coast holiday went smoothly - and in sunny weather... not quite! On the Sunday we were planning to set off from Franz Josef, my traveling companion woke up very dizzy and nauseous. No way was she going to be able to drive (or be a passenger) through very winding roads for four hours. (It was pouring with rain as well.)

I enquired about any doctor or medical help being available. After phone calls to so-called "on call" people - no luck. So to sum up: A remote location, Sunday, raining, no medical help, not even a pharmacy! Not looking good.

This was one of those challenging times you hope won't happen on a holiday! However, we have a daily practice of writing our Gratitude Journal every evening. By that evening we had a list of things to be grateful for:
  • the motel having room to let us stay an extra night.
  • thinking of offering my friend some "Sea Legs" medication which we had with us. It did help.
  • a friend in Auckland suggesting (via text message) that we take a shorter route home and cancel the plans we had for the final days of our holiday. Good advice!
  • the motel manager calling a friend who works for St John's Ambulance. She came and checked out various issues and gave some re-assurance.
  • being warm and dry in a comfortable bed - near a bathroom (!) - on a wet day which would have been awful for travel.
The following two days for our re-arranged return journey to Christchurch were sunny and beautiful. Although my friend was still a bit wobbly it was fine to set off and we had time to see some beautiful places we would not otherwise have explored.

We reflected as we drove that we were also grateful that we were both able to let go the plans we had made and accept what had happened. The places we missed are places we can visit another time. It was a good chance to practice "letting go" and an attitude of trust even though it was certainly a challenging time.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

West Coast Holiday

After a wonderful week away on the West Coast of the South Island it is hard to choose just a few photos to post!  Here are some of my favourites to give a feel for our great holiday. We travelled from Christchurch to Greymouth on the Trans Alpine train. There's an excellent video and other photos on that link. It was hard to get good photos while on the moving train.

Then in a hired car we drove up to Punakaiki...

The weather was much warmer than we had expected! From our motel it was a short walk up the hill to the Pancake Rocks.

Then we drove down to the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier area.
Peter's Pool - a short walk near the foot of Franz Josef Glacier.

Mt Tasman (left) and Mt Cook from Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson - renowned for its reflections.

How's this for a coffee with a view! Lake Matheson cafe. 

A glimpse of Fox Glacier.

We returned via Hokitika - which turned out to be one of our favourite places. A lovely town with wonderful craft shops and a wild west coast beach.

 Sunset Hokitika Beach

and then...
 Sunrise the next morning

From Hokitika we drove back to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass - the route we had travelled by train a week earlier. The journey by road is much more spectacular! Once again we had a lovely day and much of the road is straight through majestic mountains. This was taken through the car window and really doesn't convey the feeling of being surrounded by these dramatic peaks.

But nothing prepared us for rounding a corner and seeing this...
Lake Pearson

Reflections that have not been "photo-shopped"or edited!

We spent a long time here soaking in the beauty, before travelling the final leg back to Christchurch.

Christchurch Botanical Gardens - pretty good reflections right there in town!

We are so grateful to live in such an amazingly beautiful country. We're grateful too for safe travel in some pretty remote places. We did have to change our planned itinerary quite significantly due to one day of ill health - but that proved to have some hidden blessings too. More on that next time.