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Two for joy.

Nowt specific to focus on, but lots of eddies and currents going on.  After the advent-urous Christmas excitements, January sees a wake of settling sediments.

P1080960xxI caught these two magpies this morning on the early morning walk with the dog. It’s usually Em that takes Bracken out, but occasionally, usually a Sunday, I’ll get up and out early leaving Em to lay in – realistically Em’s Sunday lay in will typically turn into and early morning fest with the kids.

One for sorrow, two for joy… yadda yadda… goes the ritual rhyme, there are various versions but we stop at two (as we did with the kids, a sighting of 3 or 4 magpies is not really entertained). We tell the kids that one for sorrow usually means that the one magpie has lost his friend but that it’s probably around somewhere you just have to look harder for it.

My mid-life turbulence is accompanied by a sort of ‘return to nature’ thing going on with the old personal world-view.  I sense this might be reinforced by the infotainment media’s magnificent nature/science output, part of the bread and circus we are fed.  We are served imagery and coverage that is just fantastic and ‘out of this world’!  It’s easy to take for granted the stuff we see on our TV/PC screens but the common place close-ups and slow-mo we see would not have been dreamt of when we were young!

It’s a beautiful but also raw and cruel natural world; stuff blossoms, blooms, decays, dies, transforms. Stuff kills, feeds, struggles, in circles and rhythms – nature is a wondrous thing.

2014-01-08 21.26.46I have and for now will refrain from writing about my relationship to our dog. Save to say it’s significant. Bracken is/was Em’s project but I have taken to him full on. Yes he’s a dog and we try to maintain animal / human sensibilities, but one can’t help noticing the warmth of a living creature when he sleeps on your lap. When he looks for attention. When he shows ‘signs’ of affection. When he identifies with you as his ‘master’?  It’s nature.  An ongoing discovery.

The morning walks, as with the daily commutes, bring you closer to the elements and the seasons – again you feel closer to nature, more alive.

Where these ‘out of this world’ experiences link up with a supreme being, a creator, a trinitarian god, I cannot comprehend. Nature is not the biblical God, nature is a living breathing growing moving feast that shapes us and makes us what we are. Just look at the recent storms, that form and reform our environment. Just look at the fragile chemical soups that form our brains and characters. We constantly battle to forge our place in the natural world. We constantly battle to settle our physiology and psychology with drugs and medicine as well as habit and ritual. There’s a bigger thing than us indeed, but perhaps focusing on it becomes harder as life goes on.

OK, I’m also currently distracted by a few books and stuff that I received last month which will no doubt cause effect in due-course but generally there’s…

Nowt specific to focus on… ? except the world WE live in?

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Bad Weather and Glorious Views – (some foughts)

PICT2126I’ve always had cause to reconsider my experience of growing up in Cornwall – you can take the boy out of the county but not the county out of the boy etc… yadda yadda.

I have always failed to summarise this essential attitude that seems to pervade much of the Cornish being – previously, the best I could come up with is a curious ‘contentedness’ with their meagre lot. A brash humility, not necessarily humble contentment, but a brackish contentedness… a rough softness… a sugary saffron bun on a salty sea wall.

The steam engine and 3000 foot shafts were Cornish…
At sea, the most dangerous civilian job in the UK was Cornish…
The lichen and moss (soft silky) that coats many a granite outcrop is “Cornish”…
Causley’s Tim Winters was/is essentially Cornish…

Cornwall is the the second poorest place in the UK. It’s a place of contrasts: with expensive yachts and luxury second homes for Tarquin and Jessica’s summer sojourn, a place of union-jack shorts, Carlsberg nites, plastic buckets and chicken nuggets for Vince and Pat. It’s a place of community eating and religious feasting. It’s a place of craft and art as well as back-of-a-lorry markets. It was a place of place of warm chapels and cold pews. It was my home. It has a deep rich if damp past and an unknown future. Fantastic weather and a harsh climate.

Moving on from ‘contentedness’, I have recently reconsidered the notion of ‘reverence’.

In her book “An Altar in the World”, Barbara Brown Taylor, quotes Paul Woofruff “To forget that you are only human… to think you can act like a god – this is the opposite of reverence” Reverence – a virtue that keeps people from trying to act like gods. Barbara says “While most of us live in a culture that reveres money, reveres power, reveres education and religion, Woodruff argues that true reverence cannot be for anything that human beings can make or manage by ourselves. By definition, he says, reverence is the recognition of something greater than the self – something that is beyond human creation or control, that transcends full human understanding.”

My recollection of the Cornish world-scape recalls a sustaining reverence. The land sea and sky are so much bigger, the engineering and raw-material trades are harsh, the summer sun burns harder and brighter than man’s endeavour.

The Cornish love of music is another essential quality that I have always lived with.
Moving ‘up to England’ and losing touch with a ‘contented reverence’, I similarly found that a love of real music can be lost in the manufactured world that we find ourselves consumed by.
Bjork and David Attenborough recently discussed that essentially “singing is more fundamental to us than speaking”, and notions of the sublime, symmetry, transcendence, simplicity.
Musical expression is essential to human life? Live music, sound, reverberates, resounds, emotion… Song and rhythm agitate energy that can lift and stir…
Can I posit that feeling is more fundamental than thinking?…

The combination of emotional expression and an essential reverence, now there’s a thought.

Bad Weather and Glorious Views (just some foughts)

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Do it every day – read!

Four of my images were recently selected to feature on promotional Library Bookmarks that will be distributed by North Lanarkshire Public Libraries.

LanLitLions4

A suite of four bookmarks to collect, that promote local Lanarkshire authors.

The four images were selected from a shortlist of 8 of my photos are here:

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Siesta…

Busy, tomorrow, yesterday, must,
Ambition, solution, target, trust,
Importance, whether, should be, later,
rules, expectations, compromise, sin…

Siesta, siesta, siesta, siest…
Sun, scorched sand,
Sea, breezed land,
Cyprus, siesta,
and a perfect simple caesar salad, with relish,
and an ice
cold
beer.

JPR Cyprus 07/2013

Feet

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“How everything adores being alive” by Mary Oliver

A friend has be considering this poem recently and asked if i had any images that might go with it… (thanks R.)

How everything adores being alive”  by Mary Oliver

Being-Alive-1
What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

of a white flower,
and what if you had
Being-Alive-2a sort of mouth,
a lip

to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?

Poem featured in:
“Why I Wake Early” Beacon Press.

Amazon.

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May 2013

A respite where we might suspend disbelief in sunny weather – May 2013.

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Have a heart…

It’s an ongoing, daily, or even hourly practice!

Travelling, or indeed ‘being’, with a ‘mindful’ approach.

Mindful of ‘yourself’, mindful of ‘the space you inhabit’, mindful of ‘what you share’, and mindful of the ‘conflictus differentia’ that one encounters!

Where possible, I now cycle on the cycle-path if it’s available and usable. However, daily I need to join the stream of traffic when cycleways are not available.

20130321-215139.jpgTravelling with ‘the traffic’ (a passenger?), is quite a different prospect to simply travelling.
‘Being’ with the traffic, (the common consciousness?)is quite a different prospect to simple pilgrimatic being.

We are surrounded by ‘stuff’. The stream picks you up and you find yourself pulled by the “gotta get a double seat” milieu that surrounds you. Loud opinion, aggressive obstacles, disregard, covert gossip, music, art, popular consumption, empty promises, amplified surface, hidden depths, bling, gestures, advertising, glum faces, abstract expressions, connection, happyville, disconnection… and creme eggs! (and the like)

It’s taken me a long time, and I am not there yet, to truly move from a driverly approach to a new more ambulant(?), contented(?), endowed(?) perspective and outlook.

Yes, “drive” is what gets things done, but a mindful drive might be more fruitful.
“Every good tree bears good fruit” through a process of simple interaction, fecundity and growth.
Less haste and less speed!.
Perhaps Solomon said it first “diligence leads to riches as surely as haste leads to poverty” .
Creativity is most prevalent when one looks outside of the familiar (routine).

Mindfulness – stop, relax, breath.
The beat of your heart – we are all too often picked up be a pseudo heartbeat, pulse of the new.
The beat of the music, the media, the entertainment, the beat of information… it’s not our heartbeat, but often it takes over and we become part of it’s hypnotic ways.
Where your treasure is there is your heart also…

Rediscover your heart beat! an ongoing, daily, or even hourly practice!

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Our orchid’s awoken, again.

Our orchid went to sleep…

It’s bloomin bloomed again.  {slide-show}

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We’ve had this orchid for about 2 years (Jan 2011), it was selling off cheap £5 from ASDA and looked a sorry sight with flowers dying and generally seemed on its last legs. Somehow it liked its window seat in the kitchen and regained it’s blooms until last summer.

At the start of last summer it dropped all it’s flowers and the stems started browning. In a last ditch attempt to keep it going I pruned the stems to the third widget thingy and it sat like a stick in the mud (with leaves) for 6 months.

In December the stems started budding again and 3 months later we have 3 flurs!

Happy daze.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” ― Homer, The Odyssey

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Rutland Ospreys and Global Harmony

Global Harmony joins Rutland Water Osprey Team for a very special concert.

Saturday March 23rd 7.30 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Oakham School

A very special evening of audio-visual presentations by the Osprey Tea and songs from the choir tracing the migration path of the Osprey.

Not to be missed!

GHOspreyA5x

All proceeds to the Osprey Fund.MusicalMigration
Tickets including refreshments available from:
Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre,
Rutland Water 01572 770651

Music and More, Oakham 01572 756578
Global Harmony 01664 562215
£15 All proceeds to the Osprey Fund.

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holy habits?

JPRWhiteonWhiteOK ‘discipline’, again…

I like the idea of ‘soft discipline’ (it’s best if you), but dislike ‘hard discipline’ (you should). Don’t we all?

We all subscribe to cultural norms whether we buy the t-shirts or not, and in turn we all soft or hard
discipline ourselves to think in certain ways.

I shy away from many harder disciplines especially superstitious, ritualistic historical ways.

I guess there always has to be motive, or reason.

For the last few weeks I have made the decision to “shave my facial hair” almost daily (otherwise known
as my “shrew”). To be clean shaven – not something that I have made a habit of in the past.

I have been entertaining the idea of ‘habits that help focus the mind’.

This is not for aesthetic, religious, or practical reasons – but as a trigger to remind me of ‘mindfulness’.

At first this seemed an odd idea, but it has produced effect.

I can’t pinpoint what effect, but it’s “a decision”, a catalyst, that reminds and projects onto one’s world
view.

It requires time and action. It’s a physical, visual, sensual and personal act. But what have I associated it
with?

Attitude, worth, image, health, cleanliness, imperfection, routine…

As a single act it’s relatively meaningless, but when combined with other ambitions it seems to resonate.

It reminds you of growth, change, time, nature…

It reminds you of ablution, presentation, countenance…

It requires a daily decision, growth just happens…

To be wild, to sculpt an image, or to cleanse and routinely resolve towards clarity… ?

#holyhabits ?