With the current crises happening around the world and, more locally, with the intense flooding along the east coast of Australia, it can be a challenge to stay connected to what nourishes and supports us.
As I was walking the headland this morning with my partner I felt deeply tired at many levels. A tiredness that would see me stay at home if not for the fact that I know, in every cell of my body, that the fresh air and the exercise is needed more than the rest. As we neared the rise of the first uphill my partner started to hum the song that came to me while walking in Italy just before the pandemic hit.
In 2019 just after I had attended a silent retreat in Assisi, I stayed on for another week in the old town. I was walking in the Parco del Monte Subasio which I could access out the back door from where I was staying. It was Christmas time and very cold. I had set out in the morning and walked past the track entrance where I wanted to go— there was red and white danger tape blocking the path, a very universal symbol for No Entry. However, about 5o metres past the track I saw six bike riders come out and stop. In broken English and Italian I understood they had come from the town I was going to. I turned onto the track and started to make my way along the path. About 2 kilometres in, I met up with an Italian family who were mushroom picking and asked them, again in broken English and Italian, what was the problem with the track. They said a few years ago there had been a landslide about 5 km ahead. I figured I would go a few more kilometres, have my picnic lunch and walk back. The beech forest was silent and I felt like I was the only one for miles—with a sense of deep safety and happiness bubbling up. I strode at quite a pace to keep warm and while I was bobbing along a mantra surfaced: “I am filled with joy and wonder, joy and wonder…here and now” and my heart was bursting with joy!
It’s come to mind many times since then and now, back in Emerald Beach, tired after my surgery, my partner was humming it to me as encouragement. I didn’t feel like it at first—I was empty—yet as we neared the second rise of our walk, I joined in quietly and then, by just saying the words…my enthusiasm for the song increased and, while I was still tired, I saw the world through this filter rather than just the ‘tired’ filter. It changed my pace and face, and by the time I got home my frame of mind had shifted. I was filled with joy and wonder.
Life’s joy and wonder—
Trees stand tall and sing along
I breathe in the earth.
Timothea Goddard, from the Mindfulness Training Institute (Aust and NZ) sent out their newsletter today and she wrote, “Mindfulness Initiative in the UK is continuing its brilliant undertaking of integrating the work of mindfulness and compassion with the needs of communities, and the challenges they face, in immediate, and practical ways. They have just finished a consultation draft of their publication
You can download the draft here. It’s an interesting and inspiring read.
“Mindfulness and compassion are key to reconnecting with yourself and with others. In an age of divisive politics and constant distraction, they are a vital antidote to hate narratives and us-versus-them mindsets. They help us to stay connected with the wider whole and the longer term, and act as if these mattered.” – Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute and Professor of Political Science
One of my NVC teachers, Miki Kashtan, writes, “As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues and intensifies, many of us who have committed our lives to nonviolence are struggling to know how to respond and where to look for information to help us make sense of what is happening. She offers the following suggestions:
How can we hold compassion for others? “Discovering the Boundless Space of Compassion— a Guided Meditation with Tara Brach. This short 6 minute version of the Tibetan Tonglen practice guides us in courageously opening to the suffering within us and all beings, and allowing that suffering to be held in the formless heartspace that is our true belonging.”
As mentioned in my post the other day I have been engaged in the Poetry Masterclass with the poet and teacher, Mark Tredinnick. Here are a few short poems of place.
AT SIX in the morning, surfers take to the waves.
There’s a pink wash on the sea. I dive
Into the rip and float beside the headland—
Passing over the rocks and kelp. Maybe
A shark or two. My body is soft, and I wait
For the turn, to flip and swim to the back of the waves.
I float and look to the sky. Alone.
FROM the plateau, I look at butterflies
Below, dots on a carpet
Of green that rolls down to the sea. I sit
And listen, to the lyrebird’s mimicry
—rich and bold.
Winter air. In the azure sky
A single cloud. Behold!
Copyright Wendy Haynes 2022