Gaia

There is a hypothesis called The Gaia Principle first expounded in the 1700s by Scottish Geologist, James Hutton.  He studied the planets and concluded that in the same way our bodies are made up of billions of cells all working together as one single unit, everything on Earth also works together as one single, living, self-regulating organism – all living things, the atmosphere, plants, animals, humans, climate and so on.  And just as our bodies have their own regulatory systems (eg. nervous system, respiratory system), so the Earth has its own systems:  atmosphere (air), biosphere (all lifeforms), geosphere (soil and rock), and hydrosphere (water).  The health of the Earth depends on all these components working well in harmony.  If one system is impaired or malfunctioning, it will affect all the others.   There can be many reasons for impairment or malfunction, for example ozone thinning, unbiodegradable plastics entering the food chain, fracking, draining of water tables, to name a few, of which the common denominator is: us!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. John Muir

If we subscribe to the Gaia principle, I guess the overarching aim behind it might be that we learn to share, cooperate, compromise, discover consequences of our actions; that we learn the need to give back to the Earth in order that it may thrive for future generations. 

Scotland, voted the most beautiful place on Earth!

I love the Earth. It’s absolutely astonishingly beautiful. Let’s cherish it. I love my part of the world too. Here are some images from Scotland. The first image is the castle in my hometown, Kilmarnock. We live in a region called Ayrshire. If you look at the second image, this is a view of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. I like that we are never far from the sea no matter where we are! The Mackintosh rose is an icon of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the famous architect and furniture maker. You can visit examples of his work all around, from the Hill House in Helensburgh (a small town on the west coast) to the Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (our largest city), to the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. The fourth image is an interior view of the City Chambers (where the city councillors meet). Isn’t it gorgeous?!

In the penultimate photo, you can see that we don’t take ourselves too seriously in Scotland. In fact we are famed for being self-deprecating! The final image is of the paddle steamer The Waverly which chugs tourists up and down the west coast and islands.

I would dearly love to see images of your part of the world! Why don’t we collaborate on a joint post on the beauty of our world? If you’d like to do this, just add a link to this post https://anitaneilson.com/2019/03/11/gaia/ when you’re writing your blog. Right, I’m off out to litter pick and look after my little part of Gaia. Have a great week. Much love, Anita.😊🌻🌳👍

Be a superhero!

We have a temperature gauge in our shed in the garden. It’s true to say that a lot of Brits are obsessed about the weather, as we can literally have 4 seasons in one day (we are an island nation buffeted by the Atlantic ocean from west and south and the North Sea and Scandinavia from the north and east. A case in point was yesterday when I awoke to a beautiful, sunny day; by 11am it was snowing heavily and covering the daffodils which only last week thought it was Spring and whose stems had ever since been climbing steadily skyward.

The point is I awoke this morning to the temperature in centigrade of -10 (that’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who use that scale). My first thoughts were, “I’m freezing. I’m sore. It’s so cold.” But during meditation this morning I realised that actually I’m not freezing, but people who had spent the night out in the cold were. Sure, my mind thought it was in pain, but I would soon get better once the central heating got going in the house. I have a house, a home. It’s safe, secure, warm. I have the choice to turn the heating on or off. I can make myself a hot drink or soup any time I want. Some people aren’t so lucky. I’m one of the lucky blessed ones.

When you’re out and about today and it’s cold (and even if it’s not), don’t pass by the homeless person you see most days. Be a superhero. Buy them a hot drink/soup or a pair of gloves. It doesn’t matter their reasons for being homeless. We can all judge each other for something. Let’s not do that. Just show some love and compassion even if they’re not ready to receive it yet. It’s the intent, the act of giving of yourself to help someone else, that’s what matters. Have a great day everyone. Much love from a frosty, snowy, cold Scotland. Anita. I leave you with some images of snowy scenes. Be careful out there.

The Moon Rabbit

In today’s post, I want to talk about charity, selflessness, kindness to others. I always feel that January lends itself to charitable deeds, and many people take up challenges such as Veganuary, or Dry January for example, often asking friends and family to sponsor them financially for their chosen charity. So I thought I’d give us all a little prompt to do our own self-audit of how charitable we’ve been this month. First here’s a tale which embodies the qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness to the max!:

In the Buddhist Jataka tales (Tale 316),[2] a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon, believing that a demonstration of great virtue would earn them great spiritual reward. They came across an old man begging for food and decided that giving him food would be a good way to practice charity.

First, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and gave them to the old man. Next, the otter caught some fish and presented it to the beggar. Meanwhile, the jackal caught a lizard and stole a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit knew only how to gather grass. Did humans eat grass? it wondered. Then it remembered that they did eat rabbit meat, so it offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire that the old beggar had built.

But the fire did not burn the rabbit! The old man revealed himself to be Śakra, ruler of the Gods. He was touched by the rabbit’s selflessness and virtue, and drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon. In this way, all would see it and remember the rabbit’s kindness.

It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire. The legend is popular and part of local folklore throughout Asia (in China, Japan, India, Korea, Sri Lanka and so on).

So how can we use this tale to do our self-audit? How can we endeavour to embody these qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness? We don’t have to literally give ourselves, but couldn’t we all give of ourselves to help others? How have you measured up this month? Is your first thought in the morning to check your social media for likes, or to call your mother to say good morning? When someone has admired something you are wearing or a treasured possession, have you felt puffed up with pride, or did you feel even a little impulse to offer it to them as a gift? If you won a Christmas hamper, did you keep it all to yourself or did you share it with friends and family (or neighbours, local community groups?). Don’t be hard on yourself, for that is a form of unkindness. Simply use your experiences as a starting point for improvement. You’re on the road to a new, kinder, happier you. Enjoy the journey, and remember to look up into the night sky every so often and think of the kindness of the rabbit!

Much love, Anita.

Letting go!

Ever had one of those dreams just before you wake up that really messes with your head? You start thinking, “Was that a dream? Was it a message?” or “What in goodness’ name was that?” (I changed my initial less polite wording in that last part!). I want to share with you the dream I had this morning which went from strange to lovely. Read on to find out more….

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Let’s make room at the inn this Christmas!

Twenty centuries ago, a young couple is turned away when they ask for help and shelter for the night.  She is heavily pregnant and eventually gives birth to her child in a stable.  We will come to know the child as the God-realized avatar that is Jesus-Christ.  Fast-forward to 2018.  A young girl (from a country torn apart by war or environmental catastrophe) witnesses her home, her family, her world as she knows it, decimated.  Will she find help and shelter?  


“What place is this, where blossoms cry in pain, dripping sorrowful nectar, an indelible stain, on my bleeding heart?”   from poem In the Garden, by Anita Neilson.


Our world can often appear tragic, unkind and inhumane.  Isn’t it all the more important that we turn our focus to all the positives, to every act of kindness and compassion which happens day by day, minute by minute, second by second.  Then we can reimagine our world as the precious place it is.  We can rediscover our place in humanity by making sure there is room at our inn, in our heart-space. 

Let’s leave aside our judgement of how others choose, or are forced, to live their life and drop a few coins in the begging bowl of the homeless woman on the street;  let’s offer help in any way we can to our fellow human beings, be that in thoughts, words, or acts.   If we are blessed enough to be relatively wealthy in comparison with those who are struggling in our communities, well what use is wealth if not shared with others?  Let’s make it our mission to find out what charity projects are running this Christmas and to contribute to them.  It could be our local newspaper organising a Christmas Dinner in a Box to be distributed to vulnerable families.  It could be a local children’s charity asking for donations of a new set of pyjamas and a toy for those children in disadvantaged families.  It could be welcoming an elderly lonely person into our home for Christmas Dinner.  Let’s look into our hearts.  What would we buy for our own child or grandchild?  Can we find it in our hearts to extend this love to other local families?


I was reminded this weekend about family and about why God gives us family and then (so cruelly it seems) takes them away from us in death.  I believe He gives us the joy of family so that we may experience all the different kinds of love He offers – parental, filial, romantic, children and so on.  In taking loved ones away from us, He wants us to learn to extend the love we feel for family out towards the wider world, so that eventually we will learn that all the world’s peoples are our family.  We should not differentiate between anyone, regardless of race, colour, creed, gender and so on.

Can we find it in our hearts to open wide the doors of our inn(er) heart centre to welcome others and give them shelter, materially, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.  Have a wonderful week.  Much love to all.  Anita.🙂🙏