Monthly Archives: February 2018

Nothing Can Dim Your Light

via Daily Prompt: Dim

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As the sun starts to go down the light dims inside and the stained glass is accentuated, allowing the colours to shine and wash over the reveals, and framed by the darkness, they look fabulous.

It only takes one candle to light a whole room, a sliver of light to reduce the darkness, the sun refracts and lights the night. The dimming of light is not an end, it is a change, a moment to focus the light. Light in the dusk, in the night, before dawn, is appreciated, more precise, much more beautiful. The colour of sunsets could not be unless the light dark contrast occurred. Without some dimming, we’d never see the stars as we do at night.

Sometimes we might feel a bit dim, as if the light has diminished somehow because the struggles of life lay us low, and perhaps we don’t feel that we shine. But it is the struggle that enables us to shine in our own way. I think of the many people I have encountered in life so far and the brokenness many of them have experienced, and yet the hope, the love, the spark of life was still there at the core, just needing nurture, a response, a friend, a touch … just like the stained glass window, as the light shines through into the darkness, the colour washes through, the light shines in, and there is beauty, warmth, energy … Sometimes, without ever realising it, we are that window.

Maya Angelou’s words speak to this: “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under art, nature, Spirituality

What Do You See?

Premonition

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Back in the nineties I was working in a country high school. One Friday I passed one of the teachers in the stair well, and I greeted her, as I normally would have done on any day. She looked up, and nodded, I couldn’t make sense of her grunted, terse,  reply. But I noted her eyes, black holes, pits that never ended, and it startled me. I commented to a couple of people who merely retorted that she was under pressure, her marriage was struggling, and she was always terse. But that’s not what bothered me, they were merely symptomatic, this was deep.

I left that afternoon with a heavy heart. It was a long weekend ahead and lots to do at home, so I turned my mind to the journey home. I spent Saturday around the farm and with the family. But all through Saturday I felt a deep pressure. I wasn’t ruminating. It was just there, and probably stemmed from my meeting in the stairwell. I felt that she was on edge, at risk.

Come Monday afternoon I told Lyn that I was feeling like something really bad had happened, but I didn’t know what, but that my colleague was in trouble. It was oppressive. At around 5.00 p.m. a friend rang me to ask if I was aware of the news around town, and I said I had no idea, but now my mind was racing. My friend replied that someone who was always scanning the short wave news, had picked up a police report of a death, something to do with the teacher and thought I should know. I realised immediately that my feeling was real.

I later rang the deputy principal and yes, the teacher had shot her husband then shot herself in a carefully planned action. She had her resolution, sadly. But I had had a premonition. It was painful knowing, and painful not being able to use the sense of it. It was what it was, and nothing could have been done (as my training tells me). The use of a premonition is not clear to me, but somehow I felt connected to a process no matter its outcome. It was a diferent level of awareness.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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New Eyes

via Daily Prompt: Imagination

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It’s known as Cathedral Rock (Windy Harbour), I get it, it’s quite large, it reaches skyward, spire-like. It was clearly someone’s imagination, and I get to share in that a little. However, if inclined, I can use my own imagination and come to my own sense of this rock, I thought of it as The Leap, the rock in the water having already done that.

I have met people who claim they have no imagination, or they only have a limited imagination. Initially I react to that with sadnness, but I question their premise. I think they have not had the encouragement, and probably the opposite in fact, to explore their capacity to imagine.

My imagination was given free reign. My mother indulged me in imaginative ways. She made cardboard castles and forts with working drawbridges (it’s amazing what bobbins and string can do), she taught me to imagine that my toys were real in the play moment, the cars, the plastic farm set, the soldiers, the trains. The best gift to my imagination was that mum read to me and taught me to read very early.

Reading took me to other worlds, and worlds I could extend, or place myself in. The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island, Pirates and Amazons, The Secret Seven, all fueled my mind and my play and creativity. These gave way to Asimov, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Donaldson, Moorcock, Rowling and more. Best of all were the poets from Donne to Oliver, and music, of course. It flowed out into writing, poetry, painting and more that I have passionately engaged. Imagination gave me new eyes, a different view. Which reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, which is related:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust

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Filed under beach, bush walking, Country, environment, history, life, nature

Letting Go

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I think planning can be helpful, even important, but I also believe that it is just as important to let go of the plan especially when it’s not working, but also when life calls us down a slightly diferent road.

I loved reading Joseph Campbell, he had deep insight, and he once said:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Which is similar to John Lennon’s well known comment: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Good to plan, not so good to be too rigid about it. Good to have direction, so long as you’re willing to modify or change as needed. Sometimes we can’t see, don’t realise, for any number of reasons, that plans get us going, but we need to allow for points of departure. And yet, strangely enough, looking back, the twists and turns, the points of departure look something like a plan that was meant to be all along. Sometimes we need to attend to those deep inner shifts in us that disturb our moods and thoughts, feelings that twinge, and attend to where life is calling us.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development, Spirituality

Congregate

via Daily Prompt: Congregate

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One of the greatest gatherings in the world is the Maha Khumbh Mela, at the 2013 gathering there were 30 miliion people. This particular gathering occurs every 12 years, and is popular among devout Hindu worshippers who come to bathe in the holy waters of the river at the sacred site of the Kumbh Mela. It is considered the largest gatheing of humans on earth. The tent city is so large it has been photographed from space. It would be amazing, and clearly important to those engaged with the devotional aspect, but perhaps overwhelming too.

What stands out for me is that place and story are so significant for many people and provides religious and cultural connection at a very deep level. You don’t get 30 million on a whim.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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The English Congregation

via Daily Prompt: Congregate

No, not the gathering in the cathedral, this lot ….

The Congregation, titled The English Congregation in the US to avoid confusion with another group, was a UK outfit put together by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, formerly the duo known as David and Jonathan (a biblical reference) who had had two early sixties top ten hits. Greenaway and Cook were succesful song writers for others but not so successful for themselves in the long term. They wrote for the Hollies, Bobby Goldsboro and others. Greenaway and Cook formed The Congregation in 1970 and they used their own song ‘Softly Whispering I Love You’ to launch in 1971. The song did moderately well across the world, and was their only charting song in the US.

In another sense this is radical, combining a formal choral backing with pop style. Note the fashion. And keep in mind that Jimmy Hendrix had recently died, The Beatles had come to an end, it’s only just pre-glam rock, heavy rock was in the ascendant, and along comes The English Congregation. It was a topsy turvey world. But then – that was the 60s and 70s – genre bending and progressive, and set the example for later creativity.

The song is catchy, and melodic, if whimsical, yet charming, and typical of pop.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

7 Comments

Filed under history, music

Astral Weeks

via Daily Prompt: Astral

The title song and opening track of Van Morrison’s 1968 album ‘Astral Weeks.’ Morrison said that the song represented transforming energy, and a renewing or rebirthing energy, dying in order to be reborn. It was Morrison’s take or twist on Astral Projection, and out of body experience. He encountered this in a personal way when he visited his friend, the artist Cezil McCartney in Belfast in 1966. McCartney had a painting which inspired Morrison. He said the painting embodied astral projection.

What is interesting is that the music critics said that the song, and the album, the voices and sounds were other worldly – astral also means from another world. So in that sense the album works and on every level. The album also coincided with Morrison’s wrangle with Bang Records, his move to America and marriage – a lot of upheaval and a lot of pressure, which is reflected in the songs and the mood. The album is a depature from rock and pop and moves into the jazz territory that became his stock in trade. Which leads to the question as to why he named his album Astral Weeks when jazz great Charles Mingus had one with the same name in 1964.

My experience of music is that it transports me. For a time music took me to worlds beyond myself, deep in my imagination, in my youth, when I needed to escape pain. I can still place elements of Lord of the Rings in moments of Led Zeppelin (the film ‘The Song Reamins the Same’ shows how Zeppelin enjoyed a medieval and sometimes Tolkinesque imagination, and some of their songs reference Tolkien) or Bach. There are many hits of the past where I can remember a place, a smell, a situation. I find music both energising and relaxing depending on the genre. Music still takes me to other worlds. Van Morrison is one of my favourites too, and he takes me to other worlds.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Fightback

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Photo of London, BBC, news.bbcimg.co.uk

I’ve already referenced the environmental ethics group in Ecuador. But more recently, I’m heartened by the action of a group of lawyers known as Client Earth  https://clientearth.org

Well, Client Earth have had their third victory in court against the UK Govt. in three years in relation to illegal levels of air pollution. A stunning achievement, and hopefully more to come. It is wonderful to have such a boundary rider active in a world where governments are captive/vulnerable to business and political interests that could not care less.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, environment, life, nature, Restorative Justice, Science

Conversant With Nature?

via Daily Prompt: Conversant

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One of my favourite places, the main beach at Augusta, clean, pristine, and great for everyone. There are dune protection programs, a series of specified paths, signs about protecting the Sand Pipers who breed there, and also for the possums too. The State govt recently imposed a ban on plastic shopping bags, and the community are supportive of that goal. The problems are few here, mainly the threat of bushfire, or the one or two people who flout the accepted behaviour for using the beach, river, or the forest trails.

I may not be fully conversant with all things environmental science, but I do feel conversant with nature, for me there is a sentience, a relationship with all beings. The result of that sense of relationship is more than just awe for nature, I have a respect for and desire to engage with nature. The interdependent relationships we survive with and thrive on are finely balanced and require care and attention. Any loss is more than just regrettable, it is permanently damaging, and in some cases, cataclysmic. Plastic islands in the ocean, plastic sand (grains of plastic) in the Mediterranean, marine and terrestrial creatures bound or damaged by fabrics, salinity, air pollution, and more, are a major concern.

As we continue to battle human rights and have made sweeping changes in some areas of human rights, it seems that we are not yet conversant with the rights and needs of nature across the world. Time is short, and nature needs us to be conversant with its needs now and its future. The irony is, the UN are in dialogue over space law, especially the treatment of the Mars environ by the Mars One team, yet we haven’t really ironed out a binding agreement on earth that gives nature a voice of its own. Ecuador has already stepped up (in 2014) and shown the way: “We the people assume the authority to conduct and Ethics Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. We will investigate cases of environmental destruction, which violate the rights of nature.” (Prosecutor for the Earth at the first International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Quito, Ecuador, January 2014). A sign of hope.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under beach, bush walking, community, Country, environment, life, nature, Restorative Justice, Science

Assay Love

via Daily Prompt: Assay

I say, I never thought I’d write an essay about assay!

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Coober Pedy, South Australia, the opal capital of the world. More than enough assaying going on to determine the quality of the rock and ore turned up.

That’s easy these days, assaying is well provided for with pleanty of laboratories vying for work in the mining industry.

But how do you assay love? Is it a look, a movement, a scent, a kiss, a touch, a word?

The lab of love is to experience the liminal, to hear the heart, to know its beat, to feel it, and to gaze into the soul of the other. The proof therein is the gaze returned, the love enjoined, the pulse of love reciprocated. Love is only ever real if you give it and receive it. The real proof of love is how you live it.

I ached for you,
my gaze held you in my eyes,
the proof was your lips

©Paul

pvcann.com

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Filed under Country, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, Senryu