Peace Like a river…

After a few days, nay weeks, where everything seemed to be yet more dry stones turned over to find yet more lifeless dust, life goes on.

Conversations with some individuals and the dearth of hope seemed darker then Dolcoath.
Thankfully eventually, a few more conversations with some other choice people and life truly goes on.

“The interaction between things is what makes things fecund”! (a favourite idea from Wallace Stevens)
Keep going! It can take more than one spark of the flint to get a fire going. Don’t let the bar stewards get you down.

From a dearth and emptiness can eventually come a peace like a river… I think we cannot create it we can only accept it.

Thanks people; you know who you are.

From the most barren of dry thirsts, and the dustiest emptiness can come peace, growth, and refreshing hope. This is usually engendered by people and a desire to realise Love…
Isaiah 66:12 , I extend peace to her like a river… As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you…


I felt the stream in a desert, and had to sketch together an image…



Notice Word CloudIn January, without much reasoning, I flippantly decided that my ‘one word’ for 2016 might be ‘notice’.

Over the period of 40 days leading up to the festival of Easter, where possible, I’ve been trying to ‘notice’ things around and within me a tad more.  I’ve been following a live email series, led by Brian Draper. (The same Brian Draper from Radio 4’s TFTD). Many of my recent thoughts have come from steers, nudges, and nuggets of insight from Brian’s ponderings.

The series is reminding me that noticing ‘our place’ among things is not easy; the bustle and busy, the habits and tasks, and the joy and sorrow around us, can often overwhelm. The distractions of the immediate digital and omniwise infotainment media can be hard to tame. The mechanisms of automation and individualism are not a great help.

How we ‘commune’ with our world can be far more alive than the constant, communicative chatter of our culture might pretend. We’re reminded that ‘life’ at it’s simplest and quietest can be so rich and full that it is almost unspeakable. “Cease striving and know…”

We’re reminded that the silences underneath the layered tracks in our lives are often what gives life meaning, worth and value.

Brian’s Radio 4 TFTD reminds us of the significance of the ‘producer’; in this case thoughts on Brian Epstein’s role in the success of The Beatles. The fifth Beatle, unseen but crucial to the product, the creation, the offering – the Producer.

PBRSPause, Breathe, Relax, Smile – It’s a simple but powerful mantra that we might use to refocus on our place in things, and notice silences underneath the noise. Perhaps we may even notice a producer at work.

Communication implies sound. Communion might be something else. Perhaps we can notice how we might commune with other people, as well as merely communicating with them. We might communicate in a way that goes far beyond speaking. Intuition, intimacy, presence… communion. The role of producer may know ways far beyond our own constant, communicative chatter…  Simple ways ‘so rich and full’ perhaps unspeakable.

The layers of our lives are underpinned by silence, sometimes uneasy silence; tense, expectant, anxious, deep, joyful or supreme silence.  Silences beyond language; beyond bustle and busy, beyond the habits and tasks, beyond the joy and sorrow, beyond the urge to impress or the impulse to fear.

The songwriter writes “A wise person draws from the {silent?} well within,” Proverbs 20

Perhaps to reach ‘a well within’, we need to notice our place, and the glory and power of the simplest foundational silences that our producer lays down.

Communion with our place in things.
Communion with our producer.
Noticing silences underpinning company.
The silence behind noise.

Then the noise might become beautiful.

Heard sounds are sweet, perhaps those unheard are sweeter.





It’s not denial…

Brought up in England it’s very had not to have biblical ‘ideas’ in your brain. No matter how hard you try to dismiss, replace, refute or deny them – things we were taught in our formative years will be etched into out neural pathways.  Earworms will surface and stories will mist our thoughts.  Culture will swamp ideals with glossy treats and ego-feeding promises and our views might be distorted to suit desires.

The season of Easter approaches; eggs, bunnies, martyrdom and sacrifice and spring, and fatty sweetstuff with a tang of cocoa.

“Peter … this night you will deny me three times”  Matthew 26:34

“It’s not denial… I’m just very selective about my idea of reality.” said someone.

I have been looking at Caravaggio’s “Denial of Saint Peter” and have been mulling ways of seeing a contemporary view on it.  Alas, grand ideas and dreams have come to nowt, but here’s an image that I have come up with … work-in-progress:

Denial of Peter


  • refusing to admit the truth or reality of something
  • the act of not allowing someone to have something
  • refusal to satisfy a request or desire
  • assertion that an allegation is false
  • refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing
  • a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality
‘The Denial of Saint Peter’ by Caravaggio 1610


But little Mouse, you are not alone,

In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
When—ouch! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

After Robert Burns’ “to a mouse”


40 days in a wilderness…

40days2“It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under…”

Ok so we might be far from GMM’s jungle but ‘our’ world can still seem wild… And the wilderness can often be as empty, shallow, and scorching as a desert…

40 days in a desert or wilderness
What might you do?
I guess coming out of a British winter and into spring can be a tad like coming back from the edge of a wilderness and back to so-called civilisation. New starts, spring, light, warmth, chocolate, holiday… February and the festival of cleansing. The promise of longer days…
What do we choose as we latch onto life’s footholds?
What parts of culture snare us and sucker our energies?
What ambitions do we expect and what desires might absorb us?

40days1The invitation & promise of glittering treasures, powerful position, reward and self-fulfilment is ever-present.
We have a choice, but habit can become a powerful deception. Sometimes we choose not to choose.
The wilderness, a wild untamed place; our world is essentially a wild untamed place, our cultural behaviours are often wilder than mother nature’s harmonies might recommend.

40days3Perhaps taking out in our wilderness and re-evaluating some of our habits or treasures might be worthwhile.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…

Where your treasures are, that’s where the essence of you springs from…

40 days in a desert or wilderness…
What might we do, next?

These are the things people gave up for Lent 2014 according to Twitter.



Lent invites us to stop, let go, open up and face our chaos…

…and then the angels came and attended to him




my black dog

She, or he, has dropped their toffee-crisp.

It lay on the ground as I passed by, it was still there when I returned.

Somehow on their trip to school it was lost, dropped, it fell from the security of a warm loving hand. Perhaps lovingly packed, it held promise of mid-day sustenance, smiles, security, glossy colour and a sugary boost.

As we make our way through our day, habits help us; help us stay sane.

Keeping chemicals in balance, emotion in check, perhaps we all need our toffee-crisps or such like. Soft opiates that keep anxieties, loss, loneliness, fear and anger in their personal private places.

This specific routine-tonic is now lost, being trampled by passers-by in the wet grime of a city street.

Will she find it missing when she hopes for it ?

Will he find it lacking when he needs it ?

Sometimes we lose it…


As I passed by again today, it was no longer there.

Let’s hope you have what you need today.


a black dogI’ve recently tried again to reduce my reliance on SSRIs, specifically Citalopram. Alas, it seems for now I still need my corrective fix.  Why affecting my neurons reuptake of serotonin should influence my character such, I do not know, but in 2010 I was diagnosed with depression. Along with exercise, NLP and a lot of attention to perspective and outlook etc, SSRIs seem to be essential to keeping me balanced.

Perhaps like a shortsighted person needs glasses, my neurons need assistance.

After 5 years I have again tried to go without this prescribed aid.  I recently tapered it off from one tab a day to one every other day, and then one every third day… but alas ‘the world’ returns. I work the other morning to tweetWhen u wake with weights of the world shredding holes in your brain, fear, worry, empty, fullness, lack, middle-aged, middle-class selfishness” and another to “Joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy joy utter joy…”

Without the SSRIs my thought patterns and emotions range from extreme vibrant beautiful joy to killing ripping dejection. The thing is, I would rather have the spectrum of life where corners are illuminated and wonders are glimpsed than the narrow numbing limited perspective of the medicated view. But with the broader illumination comes an awareness of lacking and the missing failure of nothing in particular.

I have never really enjoyed the plastic quick fix of toffee-crisp-like tonics but I think we all need them.

But… lent approaches… what will we do…



into the wilderness to be tested …forty days

Be still… Calm down, calm down!

“Calm down, and learn that I am God!”  That’s how the Americans’ Contemporary English Version of the Bible puts it. Psalm 46:10

Although “Be still…” is the most popular translation, it’s interesting to note a few others:


Be at peace in the knowledge…
That’s enough! Now know…
Desist, and learn…
Be still and see…
Let go of your concerns!
      Then you will know…
Stop your fighting, and know…
Cease striving and know…
Be quiet and know…
Be silent, and know…
Be in awe and know…
Return and know that…
Stop your striving and recognise…

 …I am God.


For a moment ‘desert’ the often distracting established trappings of organised religion…

Even if you cannot comprehend a God outside of our logic…

You might admit that when all constructs fail, as they will, there can be ‘still’ a big peaceful, quiet, awesome presence that breaths.


Before a spring springs…. ‘lent’

Before a spring springs…

I had an interesting experience attempting to ruminate and reflect during a twenty day period of ‘Advent’ last year.

I am not ‘religious’ in the common sense but do believe that a certain re-consideration of structures, routines and discipline to our habits and attitudes might be illuminating.
A certain method in our madness can be constructive.

Some people use a 40-day period prior to spring… called ‘lent’ to re-consider ‘stuff’.
The word ‘lent’ initially simply meant spring, as in the German language lenz and Dutch lente.

This year I hope to attempt to use a period prior to spring to, as Brian put it, “think about letting go… facing into a wilderness…”

I know not what i do but, before a spring springs… stuff happens.


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