Thursday, 28 January 2010

The blackbird's visit

Watching a blackbird take its bath this morning gave me a moment's pause from being wrapped up in my own little world. There was such freedom and joy in its movements. It transported me firmly back into the present moment and reminded me about what is truly important in life.

I had an interesting comment on the division of body and spirit in my last musing and was asked if this was wise at a time where we are desperately seeking the melding of body, mind and spirit into wholeness of being.

This is where I answer, 'I am not my body'. To be my body and mind would be to be all the pain and suffering I have experienced over my lifetime. This is not what defines me and who I am. I am however aware of how they have shaped my thoughts and feelings to help me explore who I Am.

My Spirit is indomitable. My ego likes to forget this. It wants to wallow in self-indulgence which is fair enough for a while but somewhere inside me this changes if I can allow it. This is a miracle to me.

Quietly behind my self-pity, my Spirit sneaks in random thoughts with a different perspective. My ego does not really want to notice them but my Spirit is persistent. Behind my body and mind where the chaos of life is playing out its role theatrically, there is that wise part of me that observes my every move and deed with amusement and annoys my ego intensely. That wise part of me pays no heed.

This Wisdom is not attached to my physical life or my choices in any way. It is not judgemental or unkind like my ego can be. It is merely present to observe and oversee me through my dramas shepherding me to choices that embrace a wider panorama beyond my tunnel vision of the moment. It works very hard.

When I listen, regardless of the strain and stresses I am in, the synchonicities that follow astound me. I am humbled by how present the Divine is in every aspect of my life, escorting me along every step of the way regardless of whether I appreciate it or not. I still fall away from faith and have to be reminded of it again and again. That river of forgetfulness that one drinks of before birth is powerful stuff. Thankfully the Power that ushers me through my life is more formidable than the forgetfulness and is always there to remind me of what is truly important.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Muttering on my view of my world today

If you look closely at the picture you will no doubt conclude that I really should not mutter too much. Contained within it are a number of mixed blessings that help to get a frustrated being through the day. Books, magazines, chocolate, knitting, laptop and what is not seen is the coffee on the bedside table. If you have not guessed, I am flat on my back on the bed.

I am muttering because today I am chafing against the restrains that my body has place on the rest of me that would be rather be out walking in the woods or in some such beautiful open place. I miss it and my soul yearns for it.

I have decided that if someone asks how I am, the appropriate response will be, 'I am great but my body has a mind of its own.' Usually we get along together just fine even with the constraints that it has demanded over the last 18 months. I try not to be in conflict with it so that we can present a united front, supporting each other, but there are just those times that I can't be asked. Today is one of them.

I met a friend briefly for breakfast this morning. After walking roughly 2000 steps, I had that dreaded lightening bolt of pain flare through my hip and down the front and back of my leg. To say that it leaves me breathless is an understatement. The last few have transported me to a different reality momentarily and I come back feeling quite disoriented. Needless to say, the thought of placing my weight on my foot for the next step is not usually a very pleasant one.

This is enough of a challenge when it happens at home. Here I can sit or lie down. When I am out in the street it takes on a whole new meaning. I freeze wherever I am, on one leg and although I have not yet screamed and alarmed the locals, the astonished looks I get are priceless even if I can seldom appreciate them at the time. I am sure that my expression must be awesome. I am left stranded standing where I am on one leg until I have plucked up the courage to take the next step. I am grateful that this has seldom happened when I am crossing the street.

After one of these incidents, I play the sitting, standing, lying down game as no position is comfortable for long. Other times I have to retire to bed as I have done today and my view of the world changes. This all brings me to why I wanted to mutter. Yes, I love your sympathy and I am wallowing. Thank you.

Today, at the library, I visited an art exhibition' called 'It works both ways' combining the talents of an artist and a lady with cerebral palsy who can only communicate with her eyes. It is a display of pinhole photography and two short films. Her disability was barely seen as she expressed how she views her life. What an uplifting inspiration! It shook my looming depression away in an instant. If only it had banished the wallowing self-indulgence too but I do allow myself this sometimes.

However, I am gaining great new respect for people who are disabled or immobile in any way. What amazing challenges that they face every day and how little thought and respect we have for them. I have pushed wheelchairs and lived with the elderly and I still had little idea of what it is like. I am only experiencing a fraction of it now and it makes me grumpy.

So here I am lying on my bed. Regardless of my wallowing self-indulgence I am counting my blessings and if you are reading this, you are one of them.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Composing dinner for two

Yesterday evening as I was composing dinner for two, it struck me how my friends and family have helped to mould my enjoyment of food over the years. My mother was a 'meat, potatoes and two veg' type of girl who spent most of my former years fruitlessly trying to get me to eat vegetables. After my brothers kindly substituted small green pickled onions for peas on my dinner plate one evening when I was about three, I became suspicious of anything green. I existed on meat, fruit and cheese and remained steel-willed even when the same vegetables were served up meal after meal with nothing else in an attempt to force me to eat them. My mother gave up. I just had little interest in food. Not even cakes and puddings would tempt me. A stint at boarding school clinched the deal and food was of little consequence.

Then I met Borneo, one of the two who would enjoy the dinner being composed above. I was swept into a family of wolfhound men who hunter-gathered through the kitchen and dining room whenever they were home eating everything in sight. I was both appalled and fascinated. I had never seen so much prepared food disappear so quickly. And they, in turn, were horrified by my absolute lack of interest. The family introduced me to big South African braais (barbecues) with macho men declaring their hunting (going to the best butcher) and drinking skills around the fire in the garden and gregarious women preparing potato salads and accompaniments in the kitchen. It was all so strange and food-oriented.

After that, it seems that every friend I met took me deeper into my new found love for food. There were evening meals, lunch dates and coffee mornings. R had a Lebanese evening with sumptuous food that astounded my taste buds. S brought out a Mediterranean feast with peppadews and olives one night when we had finally got the kids to sleep and the girls tucked into it . I haven't taken to olives. J stayed a while and cooked pastas and risottos. T served us our first English Christmas with bread sauce and Brussels sprouts. I haven't taken to sprouts either. Y taught me to enjoy vegetables. R learned how to cook and still delights us with her creations. There are too many to mention but they have all lead me wonderfully astray and I am still loving it.

To end this I hope the irony in this last bit makes you smile. After 20 years of begging and pleading with me to eat vegetables, wherever my mother is watching me from, she must be laughing because I have been a vegetarian for over 14 years. I developed an intolerance for meat and cannot eat it. So now I am catching up on all those missed vegetables of my youth and enjoying them along with the cakes, biscuits, tapas and French cheese. The list is long and very delicious.