Divine longing

I just had to share a beautiful prayer with you all. It took my breath away, as does everything that this wonderful woman writes. An ardent longing to know God, coupled with a Divine love deep enough to submerge body, mind and soul, are all summed up beautifully in a prayer by Cheryl Anne on her blog site, Saint Brigid’s Hearth. The prayer poem is called A humble Harvest. The imagery is exquisite, the love expressed within it so alluring. Here are a few lines to tempt your senses, but do check out the full prayer and the blogsite by clicking the links above:

"Let my life’s remaining days
Be a quiet harvest of praise"

Isn't that beautiful?

"Let me reach high
And dig deep
For the precious fruits
And roots of gratitude"

Amen to that!

I can truly say that I want my life’s remaining days to be a quiet harvest of praise. I affirm sincerely that I want to reach high and dig deep for the precious fruits and roots of gratitude – every day. My thanks go to the author as this prayer poem has reawakened my longing to be closer to God on Earth and beyond. Have a glorious week. Much love, Anita.🙏❤

Mr Benn

I was recently asked this question:  If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would I choose and why?  Well, it’s got to be Mr Benn, my favourite children’s animated programme of the 1970s. 

Mr Benn was an ordinary English gentleman, dressed in pin-stripe suite and bowler hat.  He lived at No. 52 Festive Road.  However, Mr Benn had a very surprising ‘other life’ in which he would often visit the Costume Shop in his town.  There, he would try on a different costume each time before walking through the second door in the changing room, “the door that always led to adventures”.   As he did so, he became the person from the costume and would have an adventure.  So, for example, when he tried on the space suit, he became a spaceman; when he tried on the Safari costume, he became a big-game hunter on safari and so on.  I loved this as a child.  How rich is the world of our imagination!

And for the writer that I am now, I can see why it entranced me so much back then.  For isn’t this what we do when we write or read?  Each time we open the cover of a book, it is leading us on an adventure, isn’t it?  And with each page that we turn, we enter a different world, another life.  We can be the characters in the book and live through their experiences with them. There are plenty of episodes of Mr Benn on YouTube.  One of my favourite episodes is Mr Benn Spaceman.

The above forms part of my Interview with the Authors on the fabulous Camilla Down’s blog, MeetingtheAuthors. I’m sure she won’t mind if I publish this teaser in advance of the full interview! So, who would you be if you were trapped in a cartoon world, and why? It’s a very interesting and revealing question! Have a great week. Much love, Anita.

Misty mornings

I was trying to sleep one afternoon, but the beginning of this piece kept repeating itself in my mind, a sure sign that I should get up and write the words down lest I lose them as quickly as they had arrived. I am entranced by early morning, the quiet time just before all the chaotic ‘human’ action begins. Here are today’s musings:

    “The mist hangs low across the field this early morn: an ethereal backdrop to the grand play of life; a silken web of silence spun by Nature’s thread. All the supporting characters are already in place. The trees stand stock still, a verdant frame if you will to the enfolding picture, with their delicate branches trailing to touch those of their neighbors, as if wishing to hold hands. A couple of roe deer graze in their usual spot in the far corner of the field, ears, head and tail popping up at the slightest sound. And the birds—both garden and woodland―are rousing, taking their roll call, yet still too drowsy to venture out for food.

    There linger a few man-made traces in the pink-smeared sky – evidence of recent holidays abroad and business trips. Life in the fast lane. If only it were as easy for us to fly as it is for our avian friends! The swallows who dart and swoon so gracefully and in perfect unison, or the woodpecker with his comical bounce, seeming as if he will tumble out of the sky at any moment, or finally the great majestic buzzard who languidly circles in the blue. His eerie call echoes through the treetops, attracting families of crows to rise in ambush of this dangerous intruder.

    My neighbor, (some 20 years my senior and hardier than a lifelong North Sea fisherman) is walking his dogs. Rico, the soppy Rottweiler, who sits on your feet and leans into your legs for a cuddle, and little tiny Rosie, a fawn-colored terrier, barrel-round and waddling, with the cutest face to bring a smile to the gloomiest of hearts. I wave to them through the glass. “Well now,” I turn and say to my own two dogs, “let’s take our places girls. Today’s play has begun!”

    TODAY: Try not to let the drama of life’s ups and downs get to you. Just treat them like scenes in a play or movie. Keep yourself a little more detached from the action. This helps to balance your mood and steady your emotions, leading to a calmer, happier you! □

The above was an excerpt from my new book, Soul Murmurs, out July 26th.

Don’t wobble!

When you are walking, walk. When you are sitting, sit. Don’t wobble. Gautama Buddha.

🌿✨🙏🌿✨

I love this quote. Especially the “don’t wobble” part. In my case, I interpret this as “don’t fidget”! But it’s really all to do with mindfulness, isn’t it? In this crazy frantic world we are so accustomed to doing things unmindfully. We cannot do just one thing at a time, nor are we able to give it our full attention. Our thoughts flit about; our senses experience the world and stimulate memories or thoughts of the future. As the wonderful spiritual teacher, Eknath Easwaran put it,

When we do things with only part of the mind, we are just skimming the surface of life. Nothing sinks in; nothing has real impact. It leads to an empty feeling inside. (from Take your Time)

I know this is definitely the case with me. HOWEVER, I’m fighting back. I don’t want to live that way any longer. It makes me feel “wired but tired”. So this morning was Day 1 of the new, mindful me.

an example of one-pointed attention

My usual morning routine goes something like this. Perhaps it will sound familiar to some of you:

I stagger a little bleary-eyed into the kitchen, with our Labrador nipping at my heels, desperate for her breakfast. As if I would forget to feed her! (Well, I did once. 😏 I wonder if dogs have memories?). I put on the kettle to boil water for tea. As it’s doing so, I’m measuring out her breakfast feed. As I do this, I notice some laundry in the dryer and open the door to check if it’s dry. Before I know it, (and the kettle has boiled by now!), I’m sorting laundry, feeding the dog, checking the weather on my mobile phone, flicking the switch on the kettle again, and putting away any dishes left on the drainer from the night before. Isn’t this exhausting, but many of us function in this way, ALL DAY! And then we wonder why we can’t relax; why we don’t find lasting enjoyment in life. Function is a good word to describe this way of living. It’s not based on enjoyment. Rather, it seems to originate from a relentless need for efficiency and good time-management!!

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Here’s how I changed things up this morning:

I lay in bed for a few extra minutes until I felt okay to begin the day. Amber the Labrador was firmly told to stay in her bed while I made her breakfast. When distracting thoughts came into my head, I brushed them aside again and again to concentrate on the task in hand. Once I had fed the dog, I made myself a cup of tea. After I had made my tea, I put on a slice of toast. I forced myself to do just one thing at a time and to fully concentrate on it. When my mind was saying to me, “Wouldn’t you like to check your fb page while you wait?” or “Why not put away some dishes or plan the menu for next week?” I said to it, as firmly as I told Amber to go to her bed, “No.”

The most difficult thing to do was to eat mindfully!

I found it very strange not to switch on the tv, or complete the crossword I had started yesterday, or put on some music, or sit and look out of the window, or watch the birds at the feeder. All of these are distraction habits. They make us “skim the surface of life” where nothing really sinks in, not even eating. And so, I sat with eyes closed and concentrated all my senses on just having breakfast. Here’s what I found:

  • the sense of touch: holding a warm mug of tea in both hands is so comforting, especially on a cold morning.
  • the sense of sight: I purposefully kept my eyes closed while eating so that I would not be distracted by things going on around me. Although I did notice that I like my tea to be a certain colour (with not too much or too little soya milk). This adds to my enjoyment of it.
  • the sense of smell: melting soya spread on wholemeal toast. What an amazing aroma! Concentrating on this really enhanced the experience.
  • the sense of hearing: I tried to block out any external noises and niggling internal thoughts and kept bringing myself back to concentrate fully on breakfast.
  • the sense of taste: I enjoyed experiencing hot and cold on the tongue, chewing slowly and mindfully. I was hyper aware of the physical process of swallowing food. This is usually automatic, but you know, when you slow down and take notice of it, the alimentary system in the body is really quite amazing and beautiful in its simple complexity.

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I hope you find some of these suggestions useful and that you manage to have less “wobbles” in your day. Why not try to have a mindful breakfast tomorrow? Let me know how you get on! Much love, Anita.😊

The joy of friendship!

What do we really need to be happy in life? What are the things that truly matter in the long run? You know what I’m going to say, don’t you, and it isn’t career, material wealth or possessions. Sure, these things are good in life as long as we don’t become too attached to them and make them our whole raison d’etre. For me though, (and I’ve come late to this realisation) what’s really important is who and how we love.

TODAY: If you’re a competitive person like me, remember that everything we have (looks, personality, possessions, skills and so on) is on loan to us for this lifetime. We can’t take any of it with us when our time comes to leave the earth. Are these things really so much more important than allowing love into your heart?  Here’s my poem on the joy of friendship. It’s called, I am Complete:

I am complete

I am replete

I open the door on this life

and gifts in abundance

come tumbling out:

🌿

love for living

joy in giving

health and well-being

bounty beyond all my needs.

🎈

But friendship holds me high

with encouragement to fly

“Look at me!” I squeal

as I soar in the sky

like a kite on a blustery day

vulnerable yet full of joy

🌿

free to be me

supported by the filaments

of companionable love.

 The above is an extract from my new book, Soul Murmurs, published end July 2019.  I’d love to hear your views. Anita😁