The town mouse and the country mouse

‘Once upon a time’ in a children’s magazine of years gone by, lived a town mouse and her cousin, the country mouse.  The magazine often featured their adventures arising chiefly from their different cultures and views on the world.  I was reminded of this dichotomy (my big word for the day! I’m going to use it all day!) recently during our week’s holiday at the seaside, when I discovered something interesting about myself. Continue reading

Breathe the air deeply

Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer!  I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.  Gustav Mahler.

Spring is in the air:

These were my thoughts this morning, and I hope you like the image I chose to go with the quotation.  Nothing says spring to me like tree blossom and blue tits.  The changes of the seasons can have a real feeling of impetus to them.  I know I always feel the pull to “coorie down” (like the Danish word hygge) with the coming of Winter or the push to spring into action with the first shoots of Spring!

Our house mind:

The Mahler quote got me thinking about the idea of staying in the house, and what other meaning it can have.  Many of us can also be guilty of staying put in the house of our mind, and not just through the dark seasons of the year.  We can become so comfortable with our thoughts, opinions and habits that they end up imprisoning us, don’t you think?  This inertia can make us inflexible, polarised, stuck.  The windows of our mind house become dusty, so that we never look outside of ourselves, never seek other ways of being or thinking.  It’s us and them (and we’re always right in our house mind).  So this Spring, I’ll be doing a physical spring clean of my home and also of my house mind.  It’s okay to change our opinions; it’s great to clean the windows and see all the good in the world; it’s wonderful to dust ourselves off and seek out new opinions, new positive role-models, and rediscover who we really are.

Many blessings for a wonderful Spring day!  If you’re able, get out there and breathe the air deeply again.  Much love, Anita.🌼😁

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.😊🌻🌳👍

I’ve got a spring in my step!

I woke up this morning feeling great. The gloomy introspection of winter is easing more and more. As if to offer their support, bunches of yellow daffodils are blooming along the garden path to cheer on my soaring spirits with the coming of Spring. It’s just around the corner…not long now! This got me thinking of my poem ‘Winding Roads’ which I first posted in 2016!! Where have those 3 years gone? Here’s the poem. Keep in mind the lumpy hills of Scotland, denuded of trees by wealthy landowners over the centuries to make way for livestock farming. Such a shame, although the hills do have a stark beauty. We see them as they really are without any adornment. So this weekend let’s try to see the ‘real’ beauty in everyone and everything we come across. Have a wonderful time. Namaste, Anita. 😁🌳🐂

Winding Roads by Anita Neilson

The ‘Pap of Glencoe’

Winding roads and lumpy hills
lined by crowds of daffodils
cheering on the weary traveller
“Not long now!” they cry.
Snow-crested mountains
stand strong and serene
a majestic backdrop to this wonderful scene:
ochre heather and grey-coloured scree
trees clinging on at odd degrees
ancient rocks clad in moss against the cold
respite for travellers in days of old.
We are intruders in this landscape
yet it seems a part of me –
our shared heritage and history.
But this land belongs to all, not some,
softly winding roads leading us home.

You can read the original post at https://anitaneilson.com/2016/07/25/winding-roads/

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.