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Hope, trust, breath, life?

When the sun’s out, we can be content with the things we recognise; the patterns, habits, and narratives or stories that give meaning to stuff. These everyday assurances or comforts will differ from person to person.
Occasionally the sun is not out – sometimes assurances break down. Our assumptions, the things we rely on being there, may simply fail to stand up as we knew them previously, (or we might begin a process of deconstructing failing myths). This has happened for many people recently. The everyday things that our days revolved around have been shaken. Usual routines canceled, expectations for the future canceled, opportunities canceled, assurance that all will be well… postponed.

Leicester, East Midlands, UK ©Julesprichards

When all hope seems lost, where do we look to for hope? Thankfully, some stories can be held on to. Family, friendship, community, food, nature, music, etc. But for some, even these essential things are distant, fragile, and difficult to find.
In the extreme story of Noah and his friends, where would they have found hope that all was not futile? They must have felt vulnerable. All they had were stories from their past, each other, a big boat, a lot of heartless water, limited supplies, nowhere to anchor, and the prospect of imagining some vision of what the future might bring.
There are lots of real-life stories of people who have held on to hopes in unimaginable circumstances. Terry Waite. Anne Frank. Nelson Mandela. Alice Herz-Sommer. There is also the lady at work… The man down the street… People who have been through tough circumstances that we may never experience.
If we have little we can rely on from our past, and the future is canceled, what we do have is ‘our present’.
I come from a country deeply influenced by Christian culture. It’s currently a time of year that some people celebrate Easter.
‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked in fear, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”.’ John 20 v 19
Everything they had hoped for had been canceled. But their hope ‘came and stood among them’.
In the story of Noah and his friends, the dove ‘returned to him in the evening…’, their hopes were renewed.
The dove returned to be with Noah, a spirit returned and was with the frightened disciples, our hopes might be found with us, if we are able to clear the confusing view of broken comforts and faulty promises, and if we are able to accept signs of life.

My young daughter said that hope is ‘strength’.
A friend suggested that hope “…invites us to be fully present in each moment”
In my mindful meditations, I try to find hope in the breath of life. Let’s face it, our breath (momentary life) is an essential thing to be celebrated, moment to moment.
Perhaps if we can see life… breathe, and breathe again… then, hopefully, we can build on that assurance and give a little smile?
I was lucky to be “with” a musician last night when he energetically revived the somewhat resigned tones of Phil Ochs; “My days won’t be dances of delight when I’m gone… guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here…”. You’ll have to take my word for it but ‘you had to be there’.
I ‘hope’ we’ll be able to recognise “the golden of the sun…” when it shines.

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working on Hope…

We’ve been thinking about Hope* recently… I’ll put some thoughts down soon…

But in the meantime, trying to take our minds off the cares and concerns of April 2020, we got messy…

Palm Sunday 2020, not much to do, and so we sketched an idea of how we thought some Hope might look.

We ALL got our hands wet…

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And a combination of masking, sticking, printing, spraying, etc. we came up with ‘hope’, visually at least…

We would like to say we are truly thankful to all those working in difficult conditions at the moment. We really do wish well to all those feeling isolated, displaced, out of routine, and shaken, by the changes we’re all facing.

As my daughter said, “I think hope is ‘Strength’…”, we wish everyone strength.

Can I add, what the pictures don’t show, that the above was achieved amongst chaos, frustration, annoyance, argument, worry, boredom, fear, disruption and uncertainty… …which continues now. But we still try to rest in a hope that what we know to be true will prevail.

*Hope? Morning, Is All Well?

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To be more porous…

Back in 2013, we were all in a different place, and we’ve all grown a tad since then.

This November (2018) I’m practising ‘Movember’: Movember is a charity tackling suicide prevention, mental health, and cancer.

Growing a ‘tash? It will be a meager offering I assure you, but perhaps the ‘practise’ is what counts. Silly perhaps yes, but being mindful of our physical presence, our breathe, our growing essence, might be a catalyst to something more real.

{This post is a lot of waffle… – forgive me I know not what I do!}

‘Growth’

There’s nothing quite like daily-life and the juggling of our responsibilities, our fears, and our hopes; the kids, the bills, the community, the salesman, the gifts, the rough-sleepers under the bridge, the rules, yesterday, the rouges, the plastic, the family, tomorrow…  There’s nothing quite like daily-life to illuminate both moments of pride and the many moments that we fail to be what we might wish to be. I fall short so so often.

Back in 2013, relating to #HolyHabits, I wrote that “in recognizing that we fall short, we can stand tall”

The choreographer Agnes de Mille said “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”

Perhaps in recognizing that we fall short, we can stand larger, more beautiful, in a glorious light.

I wrote before, that growth is an ongoing process. Growth is life. Life can be abundant, chaotic, beautiful and random. You cannot tame a storm, but you can adjust your sails and live through it. Life requires ongoing mindfulness, growth happens. Re-cognition of life creates and promotes further growth. Respect* for life and growth allows us to dance! (*If I might use such an old-fashioned word – courtesy is another.)

Perhaps in recognizing that we fall short, we can stand larger, more beautiful, in a glorious light.

It’s easy to theorise about life the universe and everything. Real practise, cultivation, and discipline might help us create and sense value. Being mindful of our physical presence, our breathe, our growing essence might be a catalyst to something more real. Awareness of our essential position within our environment, our household, and community might be a start. Yes, we will always fall short of perfection, we are essentially raw and wild.

In his book The Journey Home, Simon Parke talks of our ‘essence’ being the truth about ourselves.  Under (or above) the untruthful personality mask told to ourselves, our essence is without culture and time, our essence is possibility… a powerful prowling lion. Simon talks of our unhelpful personality; moulded by distorted cultural needs, expectations and opinions. Our personality is a scavenger living off scraps.

Life is more than our personality. True life is essentially larger, more beautiful, more powerful, more glorious.

Sometimes we come across things in daily life that resonate; vibrate, sparkle, have energy… I love it when I find such treasures.  I recall a respected university art lecturer of mine talked about collecting little treasures and the childlike view of art.  A friend who honestly ministers in the Methodist Church talks of ‘glimpses’, of what she calls God. A similar energy I think.  I recently heard Bono talking about the idea of being “vulnerable, porous and open”.  The word ‘porous’ really struck me.

Perhaps to grow well (live well) we need to be more porous, allowing things in and through. Not grasping, but keeping the hands open. Not clinging but keeping the arms outstretched.

What Antony De Mello said is often true, “wake up”: “…they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. Though everything’s a mess, all is well. …tragically, [many] people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.”  ‘Waking up’ makes space infinite, makes time infinite, waking up creates growth.

As Ezra Bayda said “What happens when we slow down and pay attention? Everything! Innumerable delights are right at hand.”

I love Simon Parke’s illuminating story; put her down at the river bank… stop carrying her.

As Agnes de Mille said “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”. (And giving?)

The ‘tash will be a meager offering, but perhaps it’s the activity or practice that counts.

 

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Conkers

HopeStrengthWisdomLove3

After a recent comments with friends around the phenomena of #conkers, a remarkable seed if ever there was one, I though I’d share the below with you good folks…

I created these a while ago to accompany a friend’s poem.

Do feel free to download and use them in your community as an aid to worship or reflection.

Where appropriate please reference https://julesprichards.wordpress.com

Please DO NOT use these © images commercially.

Sincere wishes of growth and hope.

Jules.

ORIGINAL HIGH-RES IMAGES in Dropbox  here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p1dguucbzqcqdip/AADt9QHR8qEni8OvpRNp_0R9a?dl=0

 

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Hope…

#earworm
If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to… Who needs paradise I’d rather have you.

Amen Corner – If Paradise Is Half As Nice 

It’s pretty much agreed that it benefits one to have a certain structure, routine and discipline to our habits and attitudes.  Even creatively, a certain method in your madness can be constructive.  In the past this might have taken the form of a religious practice.  Indeed ‘religiously’ also means: extremely scrupulously, conscientiously, exactly, faithfully.

A appreciate and acknowledge that results can often be greater than the sum of the individual parts.  I thank the various forms of faithful disciples that routinely put others first.  I rejoice that one plus one can often make three.

However I do struggle with the tradition and language of established religious institutions:

From the Methodist’s Prayer Handbook

Prayer’ in time of floods

O Lord of the waters of creation
   we are awed by the power and majesty
   of the oceans, seas and rivers.
We give thanks to you for the water we have to drink;
   for the skills we have been given by you
   to channel the power of the wind and the waves.
We remember before you those affected by flood, cyclone and hurricane.
We ask you to remind us, as we drink, of what we can do
   for those for whom water is less friendly.
AMEN 

My flawed adaptation:

Hope’ in time of floods

Think of the wonder of the waters of creation
   we are often awed by the power and majesty
   of the oceans, seas and rivers.
We are thankful for the water we have to drink;
   for the skills we have been given
   to channel the power of the wind and the waves.
We humbly remember those affected by flood, cyclone and hurricane.
We pause and consider, as we drink, of what we can do
   for those for whom water is less friendly.
May we learn from reconsideration.

OK, it’s still a maudlin meditation but it’s good to reflect occasionally – however action needs to follow Images Assumptions and Motives.

Only looking to improve.

#earworm
If paradise is half as nice as heaven that you take me to… Who needs paradise I’d rather have you.

Lucio Battisti – Il paradiso della vita.