Categories
holidays Remembering

Remember All Things Can Change

Photographed by Diane Woodrow on her 61st birthday
Isle of Kerrera 2nd May 2022 taken by myself

We’ve just been away on a week’s holiday up in Scotland which is why I haven’t posted for a bit. It was lovely to hang out together, walk, talk, eat, drink and just be. One day my husband went off up a mountain and the dog and I stayed back at the cottage, did a couple of little walks and I wrote. The reason for going away this last week was that it was my birthday.

Birthdays are great times of remembering, of noticing the changes, of connecting. Last year on my birthday we were sat on a more touristy beach in mid-Wales watching jet skiers buzzing about and listening to children asking for ice creams. This year we were sat on top of a hill looking out to sea. It was peaceful but I’m sure when the castle was built there it saw its fair share of noise and mayhem. And then two years ago we were trapped in our house on lockdown enjoying the back garden and quiet of our town as next to nothing was driving about. How things have changed in these last couple of years. Now our town is back to its normal noisy self.

It got me to reflecting on seasons. So for now this castle of the Isle of Kerrera is a peaceful walkers destination, but once it was the site of a major battle towards the end of the Jacobite wars. But even before then it would have been a home not just of a nuclear family but to the entourage that goes with castles.

We also visited Hadrian’s Wall which is now a peaceful deserted haven for walkers, but I do wonder what it was like 2000 years ago when it was filled with Roman soldiers defending the borders of the empire.

Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Part of Hadrian’s Wall at Millcastle photographed by myself 7th May 2022

So from looking back on 3 years of birthdays to 600 years of Scottish history to nearly 2000 years to the Roman Empire it got me to thinking how we hold so tightly to the now as being the full reality.

And I know in mindfulness we are encouraged to be in the present and not to worry about the past or the future, but sometimes I think it helps to know that this present we stand in is not how it always has been or how it will always be.

There was much talk about yesterday – 9th May – Europe Day – which marked not only the end of the Second World War but also Schumman’s speech which led to the founding of the European Union. The world has not stood still over the last 75+ years. And as we see war in Europe again with the Russian invasion I think it would help to see that, awful though this is, it is just a phase that history is going through and hold it lightly. Who knows what things will look like in a year, in two, in ten, in twenty, in a hundred?

I’m sure those standing guard on Hadrian’s Wall or in the castle on the Isle of Kerrera when it was being besieged would ever have imagined their land being a place of tranquility but it is. I’m sure at the time they prayed for peace and now it has come.

So let us pray for peace in our world and know that one day it will come.

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.