Categories
Awe ordinary well-being

Awe in the Ordinary

A view of Pentre Mawr park looking towards the Gopa taken by Diane Woodrow
A view of my “ordinary” park looking back towards my house and onward into the hills beyond taken by me this morning, 13th June, at 7.45am

I’ve been doing reflections on Rest and Silence with Lily Lewin’s Gift of a Sacred Summer kit These are only the first two of many more but is so much meat in them I don’t want to rush through them.

For me Silence is just taking Rest to the nth degree. Silence is mega rest! [Maybe a longer blog on this some other time?]

The key thing which has struck me so far is the importance of finding “awe” – “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder” says Google dictionary.

I read somewhere that seeing and feeling awe calms our blood pressure, our breathing, our sense of well-being and much more. Experiencing awe is good for us so we need to do it as often as possible.

I am lucky as I live close to some amazing scenery, don’t need to walk far for some amazing views, but most days, due to various constraints, I walk round my local park. It is an ok park with lots of green spaces, trees, a couple of ponds, A55 running along the bottom of it. I could focus on the noise of the A55 and very easily miss the awe of my every day walk.

So from pondering some of the things in The Gift of a Sacred Summer and from reading through the Warrior Goddess book I am working on getting the feeling of awe into my every day, getting awe into the ordinary, and stop seeing “feeling awe” as something that only happens when I go somewhere extraordinary.

It is too easy to stomp round the park – because walking fast is good for one’s heart; making sure to say hello to all the other dog walkers I know – because I’m a polite person; to see it as just what it is, a town park. Instead I have been trying to combine these important functions of my walk with checking out the flowers, of which there are many different types, colours and hues; of listening to the bird song which is different depending which time of day I go and what time of year it is; of seeing what is going on in the ponds, the ducks, moorhens and swans, but also the growth of reeds, algae and more; of checking out the trees and how they change and alter. At the moment things are that solid green of summer whereas only a month ago the leaves were that vibrant green of excitement of springtime. I even made sure I felt awe as I walked the path by the side of the busy A55; for the amazement of the motor car, the way that things speed by and most of the time they are safe, the wonder that it is now possible to go on holiday whereas only 12 months ago it was not.

As I go round and let the awe of the ordinary take me over I am more inclined to have time to chat to the people I pass because I am no longer rushing by, even if I am walking quickly. It is possible to walk fast enough to stimulate one’s heart without rushing. I wonder too if it is possible to walk slowly but still have one’s head in a rush and not have time for others?

From doing this my ordinary has become an extraordinary awe filled place. I arrive back home much more contented and ready for my day. Feeling the awe of the ordinary place I visit every day has stimulated me creatively too. A totally creative awe-filled time that benefits my whole day.

Give it a go. Take your regular ordinary walk or drive or whatever you as a habit each day and find the awe within it. It will change you.

Categories
Being not doing Jesus prayer

When Jesus Went Away To Pray

Photo by Diane Woodrow from near the top of Conwy mountain towards the interior of Snowdonia
View from Conwy mountain into Snowdonia

What does that mean? It occurs quite often in the gospels with no real explanation as to what it means. Preachers over the years have explored and explained it and so often it comes down to a doing thing which we’re then mean to follow – petitioning, telling, asking for, listing, talking with. The other day I got a different revelation whilst listening to a podcast on Spotify by Orphan No More talking about mediation – something that was almost banned when I first became a Christian because it was seen as Eastern religion, verging on demonic!! Thankfully things have moved on in the last 30 years.

The way Josh expounded Jesus “going to pray/going to be with his Father” I got this revelation that Jesus went off on his own not to talk, not to ask, not want for anything, but to just go back to the basics of who he was and who Father God is. And it was during this time that God revealed things to him – eg who to pick for his main disciples [Luke 6:12-16]. The more I allowed myself to just dwell on those verses and also on the “Be still and know that I am God” [Psalm 46:10] I came to see that as I pondered about peace and stillness with God so God could talk to me.

Earlier in the morning I’d been pondering an issue, done some journaling around it, did 10 mins of yoga, then sat for 10 mins just breathing in and out focusing on the peace and stillness of God and that verse. Almost as soon as my timer went to tell me I’d finished my 10 mins stillness what I felt was the answer to the issue fell into my head. As I was walking the dog later I wondered if this was what Jesus had felt like when he had been hanging out in stillness and peace with God all night. That suddenly he just knew who to call for his special twelve.

I wonder if too often we do too much talking when we’re with God or even too much trying to listen when actually he wants to get us to a place of trust so that our hearts can hear. Too often it is our heads, our minds, that hear but not our hearts. Doing this QEC counseling one of the things to learn is to stop, breath and listen with one’s heart rather than one’s mind. The mind is jumbled up with thoughts and shoulds and oughts and fears and anxieties and busyness. Meerkat/monkey mind, always on the alert. But our hearts know what we really really want. They are still and touch the peace inside of us. If I listen with my heart I feel peace. I think it gives me time to know what I really want, to feel what God wants for me, to slow things down a bit, and to let go of the meerkat/monkey mind that is constantly chattering.

I think if Jesus was fully human then Jesus also had to deal with a meerkat/monkey mind. If he didn’t then he wouldn’t be able to truly understand what we all go through. But he taught that to go away not to petition God but to rest in God’s stillness and peace we could hear the answers to what we need to hear answers to and let go of the rest. I think Jesus spent his times with God alone calming his meerkat/monkey mind and remembering who he truly was – which if Jesus did then so do I!!

Categories
angels greta thunberg joan of arc passionate prophetic

Joan of Arc

Stained glass window of Joan of Arc

First posted on https://godspacelight.com/2021/05/29/joan-of-arc-2/ on 29th May 2021

I wonder what we would have thought of Joan of Arc today even in some of the more crazy charismatic churches. She doesn’t fit the stereotype of prophetic leader. She didn’t have visions of Jesus but of Michael, the archangel, Catherine of the “death by flaming spinning wheel from which the firework known as the Catherine-wheel comes from”, and Margaret who was tortured and murdered because she would not renounce the vow to remain a virginal bride of Christ when a pagan king wanted to marry her. Would we have been more like one source and just say “she claimed to have heard voices in her head”?

I wonder if she had come forward today, a young girl of 16 or so, and said she heard voices of an angel and two martyred women and that she wanted to lead her country to victory, she would be taken to a psychiatric ward? Or, if one of our children said they heard voices, would we tell them to hush and maybe get them checked out for autism? Or, what about ourselves? What would you do, what would I do, if we were sure we could hear voices telling us to do something bold and brave? I wonder if we would just keep quiet and wait for our voices to be “confirmed”. 

As I pondered Joan of Arc, Greta Thunberg came in to my head, the teenager who has stepped up to the mark to try to lead the world to another place. I wonder if there were other young people who felt the same but whose parents, teachers, or churches, told them not to be so silly and the whole thing was too big for them. Greta, I believe, has only got as far as she has because her parents didn’t stop her. There is nothing to say what Joan of Arc’s parents thought but it was her relative who was bold enough to take her to a local garrison and from there she made it to the French court. 

Joan experienced lots of opposition but preserved because of her total belief that this was what God was telling her through his messengers; Michael, Catherine and Margaret. How often do we hear something, and hear it very clear, and yet when we hit opposition, or lack of support from others, we give up? This doesn’t mean that we should power on through because we think this is what we should do but sometimes, like both Joan and Greta, we need to listen to what we are hearing, listen with our hearts, and keep on keeping on even if it means we lose our reputation, our livelihoods, and in Joan’s case, our lives. 

I don’t think Joan cared what other people thought. I don’t think Greta cares much either. This isn’t to say I think either of these young women lack emotion at all. I think they both believe/believed that what they were doing is/was so right that they just can’t/could stop. 

From pondering Joan of Arc, and as a result of that Greta Thunberg, my hope is that when I hear a voice or voices telling me to go and do something I won’t hold back whatever opposition I face, or however much it might damage my reputation. But also when I hear of some young person talking about a dream, a vision, voices speaking to them, that will change the world I will be willing to encourage them rather than hinder them. 

Our world needs to change to stop it going back to the same pre-covid patterns where those who have stuff and status, fear of losing out to those who do not, and where those who do not have status are treated with disgrace and live in fear of having the little they have taken from them. We need to change and I believe we need younger people to help us with that – with more energy, more determination, more of an innocent belief that things can change. 

I would like to be like Joan of Arc’s relative, helping to get someone young person to where they believe they should be, helping and encouraging them to see the change they believe in. 

Categories
cat God's throne room yoga

Entering God’s Throne Room Like a Cat

Diane Woodrow's black and white cat lying on a purple yoga mat as she joins Diane Woodrow for yoga in the morning
My cat doing yoga with me in the morning

To boldly go or to enter boldly! Whatever it is I know my cat can do it best of all. As you can see she does yoga with me each morning. She doesn’t care where I’m putting various body parts but sits where she is comfortable. Then I have to roll her up in the mat when I am done. We know when she has entered a room. She doesn’t only open the door wide enough to get it like the dog does. She doesn’t hope it shuts behind her like we do. She pushes it so wide and then struts in. Generally she enters with loud meows. In fact if she has something to say, no matter what the time of day or night, or what we are doing, she tells us with loud meows. She then lies on the bed, the couch, the laptop, the floor, and purrs loudly. At I write this she is sleeping by myself wheezing happily.

I think when Jesus said to come before God boldly he meant that we were to come to him like my cat. We announce ourselves by throwing open the door and coming in like we deserve to. We don’t care what else is going on because our belief, like my cat’s, is that we are so important that of course he’ll pick us up, stroke us, feed us, whatever us. We shouldn’t care what God is doing if we have something we just need to report and so will shout loudly because who else would he be listening too. And then when we are done we should know that nothing is more important to God than us curling up contentedly with him, purring like the cat.

I was gong to say God doesn’t want us pussy-footing about but for my cat to pussy-foot it is loud, wide doors, in-yer-face, not anything quiet at all.

My cat knows she is the most important being in the house and deserves to be treated as such. Maybe I need to learn to start being like that more with God. Perhaps that is true humility?

Categories
Little Yellow Boat social media technology The little yellow book video

The Little Yellow Boat Makes A Video

The Little Yellow Boat book by Diane Woodrow on the sand with small footprints around it.

The Little Yellow Boat and I have been busy over the last few weeks. We’ve been working with a local film maker to get a promotional video made for The Little Yellow Boat book. It is now ready and scheduled for release on Saturday 15th May. I will put the link up here on Saturday morning as I’m not quite sure how to link to my YouTube site as yet. Hopefully that will come once the video is live.

As you will know from my post Be Who You Really Are, it has been a challenge for me to say what I wanted. Or more precisely to know what I wanted. But once I got my head round that I was able to keep sending the video back and forth to the maker until I had what I wanted.

Though my struggle now is with technology. I think I’ve got the site sorted and I think it will work on Saturday and so would really appreciate all my followers clicking on the link when I post it up, around 11am GMT, just so I know it works. I will also post it on my Instagram page and Facebook page and hope for the best.

There are still many things with YouTube, Facebook and Instagram I am grappling with but hopefully it will all come together.

There is much more to publishing if you want to get sold than just writing the book!!

Categories
friends friendship Godspace The little yellow book

Jesus our Friend

Diane Woodrow's dog, Renly, sitting on a rock looking up lovingly
“Can I be your friend?”

These thoughts on Jesus our friend were prompted by Lilly Lewin’s Post from 5th May entitled “Cups of Connection and Joy“, from starting talking about connection the post flows into the John 15:14&15 were Jesus tells his followers they are friends not servants.

How often do we see those in church behaving like servants, running round doing stuff, keeping the whole show on the road, even busy doing the praying stuff – which looks so righteous – but in fact they are spending time in praying, whether at alone, online, in prayer rooms, not to hang out with a friend but to serve.

When I tried to share this I was reminded that the Bible talks of asking for things, of petitioning prayers, etc as if that meant that we had to do rather than hang out with our friend. It got me thinking about my friends and how I behave with them and what I expect from a friendship. I though about the words in The Little Yellow Boat book where she says “She realised she did not want to be rescued and taken home. She wanted help to continue her quest.” She then realises those boats she had dismissed, which become her friends, all have different things to offer and different ways to help her so she goes to them for different things.

My friends are all very different and I go to them for different things and expect different things from them. I have friends who I would go to for help to do things, friends that I would go to if I was trying to workout what to do next, friends that I would walk with, others I have never walked with but drank a lot of coffee with, others no coffee but lots of meals and wine. Some of my friends are Christians like me, and some even think about God in similar ways to me. Some are of other faiths and some none. Some challenge me and turn my thinking upside down. Some are a calming influence. When I met with them I am different depending who I’m with.

I found it interesting that there are many many Bible studies and Christian groups that look at God the Father but very few what look at Jesus as our Friend. I wonder if that is because there is distance between us being able to father/parent someone else and us being someone’s friend? With talking of Father God we can stand back a bit, forgive parents and welcome in God, or if parents repent for our misplaced parenting, but perhaps we keep our distance from looking at Jesus as friend because it would challenge us more. I also think being a friend is much harder to define than being a parent. As I’ve listed above I expect different things from different friends and give differently to my different friends.

Yet every day we can get up and be a friend, in whatever guise that is, but how often do we choose to do that?

Categories
GodspaceLight Love self-love shared blog

A Love Note by Ana Lisa de Jong

This was originally published on https://godspacelight.com/2021/05/06/a-love-note/ on Thursday 6th May. It fits in so well with my last post that I felt I had to share it with you too.

Do check out https://godspacelight.com/ to read other inspiring posts. And also check out Ana Lisa de Jong on https://livingtreepoetry.com/

A Love Note 2

poem and photos by Ana Lisa de Jong,

A Love Note

I want you to write yourself a love note.
A story of the spirit that lives in you,
rises up,
defies opposition.

I want you to write the inverse of everything
you’ve been told that hurts,
limits,
keeps you sold out to other’s opinions.

Who do you know,
even amongst those who love you,
who see you truly,
who do not see you through a lens imperfect.

You are everything to the one
who perceived you before you stood up,
this one calling, every day, your name,
that you might live unto yourself.

And know that when the darts come
out of the night,
you have a shield, and a counterpart
to every word that isn’t true.

That you have comfort,
when strength is in short supply,
encouragement when
to show up smiling takes every ounce of will.

I want you to write yourself a love note.
From the spirit who lives, breathes in you,
stands up to bless you,
declares against

all that would hurt, intentionally,
inadvertently,
that the words echoing,
might die out on the tongue,

dissolve before they reach the ear,
meet the light,
come undone.

A Love Note 1
Categories
being real life QEC warrior goddess

Live the Width of Your Life

Diane Woodrow's dog Renly barking at "the world" on near the top of Conwy mountain
Renly barking at the world on Conwy Mountain

I have just started reading “Warrior Goddess Training” by Heatherash Amara, which was recommended by a friend. I’ve only got as far as the Introduction and I’m scribbling away in my notebook. It all fits in so much with what I have been doing with QEC therapy.

In fact I said almost word for word this quote the other day

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well

Diane Ackerman

As Amara says fifty years ago women were told their lives would be complete with a husband and children. I know people who still believe that. We think things have changed so much but really it is just the “things that make one complete” that have changed – and I think this is for men as much as for women. We’re told we will be complete with either a beloved/a partner, a “proper” career, a chosen spiritual path where we are involved with the group we are part of, a good income so we can afford a good car/house/clothes/things. Add in your own things that you know you have been told that will “make you compete”

Also too often we base our worth on who loves or doesn’t love us, whether that is parents, children, spouse, partner, boss, teacher, friends, people we meet in the park/shop/cafe. Or we base our worth on our size, shape, talents, skills at multitasking, our behaviour. The book goes on to say that we need to bring ourselves back to discover who we are on the inside – and that is not who we wish we were or who we think we should be – in our relationships, with our jobs, with our families, or even how we wish we were.

The book continues by saying that the irony is that the firsts step on this path is not about gaining insight but rather we need to relinquish some things that we have been holding on to. We need to let go of the stories we’ve been telling ourselves for a long time, those false beliefs that we have spoken over ourselves for so long that we believe them and they limit us. This is something I have being doing myself during my QEC sessions; finding out the false beliefs in me and replacing them with truths of who I truly am

If we are living a life that is working so hard to “make us complete” but not knowing who we are we can easily suffer with anxiety, depression, stress, eating disorders, addictions, which in turn can lead to more serious, life threatening illnesses. If we were willing to let of of the baggage that we carry with us, find out who we truly are and “live the width of our lives” I wonder would we be calmer, would we be healthier, would we be freer and from all that would the world be a gentler, kinder place to live?

Categories
being me The little yellow book

Be Who You Really Are

Film maker George Frost setting up on Pensarn prom to film Diane Woodrow for a promotional video for her book The Little Yellow Boat
Film maker George Frost setting up to film me for a promotional video for The Little Yellow Boat

Even though my book, The Little Yellow Boat, is a tale about a boat learning an important lesson, all the way through this process of writing, of collating, publishing and promoting the book I have been learning important lessons.

Yesterday was the second time I had been to my local beach to film the words I wanted to go with the video about The Little Yellow Boat. The first time I was mixing together words George, the film maker, had suggested and words I felt I ought to say. I also had another project I was trying to get finished so that was hovering at the back of my mind too.

On Monday I had been working with a group of young people on a writing project of theirs and shared how The Little Yellow Boat came into being. As I did this I realised that these are the words I wanted preserved on my promotional video. I also realised that even though the shots of me standing leaning on the promenade wall looked really good, personally I preferred to sit down. Interestingly George arrived yesterday one of the first things he said was “can we give it a go with you sitting on the pebbles?” Sometimes it is interesting how, when we think things in a positive way they filter through to other people

So we did a couple of takes with me standing on the prom and then I went to sit on the pebbles. I also spoke words very similar to those I had shared with the young people on Monday. I was relaxed and confident with my words so they flowed slowly and calmly on all occasions of filming, but it was when I sat on the pebbles I totally relaxed and that was the take we are going to use. Yes I did stumble over my words a bit but it came over as me sharing with a group of friends rather than a performance piece.

So the latest thing The Little Yellow Boat has told me is that I am to be myself rather than what I think other people might want for me. Also I realised if we are ourselves we let people help and support us in a way that we are not resentful about and can enjoy.

Check out https://aspirationaladventure.com/little-yellow-boat/ and also “like” or “follow” The Little Yellow Boat’s Facebook and Instagram pages to await the arrival the finished video and check out other adventures of the The Little Yellow Boat.

Categories
clapping the nhs Earth Day Earth Week gifts

Earth Week

Pink cherry blossom tree outside Diane Woodrow's living room window
This is the view I had this morning from my living room window as I did my yoga. The cherry tree is back in bloom

I was very excited to learn that this week is Earth Week. Although, as someone else said, I’m not sure why it isn’t Earth Week every week because the earth is just amazing. But then I also don’t understand why we have to have a Women’s history month or a Black history month. Why aren’t these just history that we learn? But that’s for another blog!!

The Earth is amazing – however you believe it came into being. Without the Earth we would not be here. Everything we do comes from/about/because of the Earth. Even the things we call “man-made” come from things that were part of the Earth already; from the food we eat to the minerals that go into our mobile phones.

Everything comes from the Earth.

So I suppose we do need a special week and even a special day to celebrate it. It’s like I’m amazing all the time, and getting older all the time, but I still need a birthday when people can tell me how awesome I am. And I need my friends and family to have birthdays so I can tell them how awesome they are. But what do you give to the Earth that has everything? Everything I give to the Earth will have come from the Earth, which I suppose is a bit like the little kid who is given money by their parents to buy their parents’ birthday and Christmas present.

I remember when my kids were little I actually much preferred it when they did some special deed or act for me rather than bought me something. I felt it meant they knew who I was in a deeper way. But then my love language is quality time so for me those deeds and acts meant special time together. Even now, much as I love those special presents that are things I really would love but think are too extravagant to buy, I still enjoy that special doing more; that thinking of a place I’d like to go, doing a chore that I don’t like, planning something for me. My bestest birthdays have been when I’ve had both my kids with me and my husband. Quality time! But I digress.

So thinking of the kind deeds and acts I like throughout the year got me wondering about what to give the Earth. The Earth is something we treat so badly. We abuse it. We take and take and so rarely give back. We praise man-made things but forget they came from the Earth’s resources. We even badmouth the Earth when disasters happen like earthquakes, floods, landslides, etc. And we even talk of leaving the Earth and going to live on the Moon or Mars. We only have to do that because of the awful way we have treated the Earth.

So what can we do for the Earth week and especially on Earth Day? There are lots of resources on Godspace’s pages. But I think one of the most important things we could is to remember how important the Earth is to us . Maybe we should go out and, as we clapped the NHS here in the UK at the start of the lockdown last year, maybe we should all go out at 8pm on Earth Day, Thursday 22nd April, and give the Earth a great big clap and cheer. Let us remember that without it we would not be here.

Maybe we could do more than just clap and cheer. Maybe, just maybe we could start respecting it?