Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I've noticed this flowering flax for several days - appreciating its beauty as I walked by. Yesterday I stopped and took time to deeply appreciate the detail, the intricacy, the patterns... Sometime soon the flowering season will be over...
Monday, October 24, 2016
If we were not so single minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves.
- Pablo Neruda
I've always been a person who loves silence. Even as a child my favourite places were quiet ones - indoors or out. Now I spend many hours of most days in silence. I walk - without earbuds! I usually drive and do things round the house without the radio or music. It is a preference, not a discipline. I spend quite a lot of time listening to others, that's a different kind of "silence". Of course there is the sound of the other person speaking, but internally I am as silent as possible to hear without the distortion of my own internal "noise".
Internal noise/silence is of course a completely different dimension to plumb. External silence often reveals the cacophony of endless thought loops, inner monologue, or dialogue between opposing internal voices. This is an arena I have been exploring more intentionally for many years. I suspect it is a life-long journey - a very rich and rewarding one. A daily meditation practice is a cornerstone. For me that is Centering Prayer but any established practice leads to the same end.
I'm always drawn to books about deeper, contemplative silence and have been nurtured and tutored through them by people who have charted the path ahead of me. The poem heading today's Post is from a book I am re-reading: The Grace in Aging by Kathleen Dowling Singh. I feel grateful that (most of the time) I can identify with this comment from the chapter on silence I was reading this morning:
"Silence is a solace. It is a space of penetrative relaxation, like falling into a hammock and, feeling ourselves to be suspended and supported, allowing ourselves to be suspended and supported. We can sink into it and let go of all the tension and energy required to hold up both ourselves and our stories. Quietude gives a deep rest."
I'm not sure which book I'm reading in this literal "hammock space"! But two of my favourite books supporting the practice of silence are:
and its sequel...
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
This is a truly remarkable book. I've never read anything that gives such clear and poignant insights into the adjustments required of refugees and those who mentor them. Of course every person's story will be unique and thus different but I was immediately drawn into the realities of Abdi, his daughter Rebecca and their mentor Deborah. The story is set in Glasgow and gives an idea of the setting and of the intricacies of English laced with Glaswegian colloquialisms! How far all that is from Somalia and the refugee camp Abdi has lived in for the whole of Rebecca's life. Abdi is not the only one dealing with past grief and painful memories... The title of the book is multi-layered and emerges several times. It is a powerful reminder to me too, to remember in every situation, whether 'good' or 'bad' that this is where I am.