Tag Archives: journey

Frazzled Cafe

Frazzle – Word of the Day

20140328_200301.jpg

She only sleeps all day but she’s still frazzled after eating and wandering around the house for a short time. Misty (not my cat) is a rag doll, and just lolls about in typical rag doll ways. But her answer to stress, and she does stress because she hates even small changes to the house or routine, is to rest up, chill out and take time. Not a bad example, though avoidance isn’t helpful for the long term, but resting when frazzled is always a good thing.

I’m finding more and more that the juggernaut of work, even working at play, is dominating people’s lives. My conversations are often around how others feel overloaded and stressed as they try meet their own expectations or the perceived expectations of others. Solutions and judgment are not helpful in such circumstances.

Comedian Ruby Wax, whose book “A Mindfulness Guide For the Frazzled” was published in 2016, has written about slowing down and taking time. But she has gone a step further. Wax has been instrumental in creating Frazzled Cafe  in the UK, a charity set up to provide a listening, non-judgmental space for conversation for those who are overloaded and stressed. What a simple and yet brilliant idea.

Journey friends are so critical to sharing the load through meaningful silence and open, safe conversation. For some that’s possible through friendship, or a professional mentor (coach, life-coach, mentor, or counsellor, professional supervisor), for others, opportunities like Frazzled Cafe are a gift in a stressful world. So, next time you’re chatting with friends, value the time, and know that you’re giving and receiving something quite vital, that release of what must be said.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

12 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, Work

Explore

via Daily Prompt: Explore

IMG_2558.jpg

One of my shots of Jindalee (Giles Breakaway). The Great Central Road and the roads that intersect it, the places along the way, have well and truly been traversed over two hundred years of exploration, mineral exploration, pastoral leases and tourism. But for us (Lyn, Su, Geoff) it was a time of exploration – it was the first time we’d been out there. As I looked out across to the east of the breakaway, I wondered what visual and geographic delights lay beyond. I was happy to camp for a time and explore the breakaway, and even happier to drive on into our unknown and see what was up ahead.

That has been my life up to this moment, that inner exploration. For me there is always that interesting intersection of living in the present moment, savouring the past for the treasure it has yielded, and looking to the next step, yearning to grow, to be more fully present, more in the experience, less attached to the material. Keeping the balance is the key, learning to love the past without clinging to it, rejoicing in the real now, and embodying the tension of possibility in tomorrow without trying to make it happen. I have worked hard at begining to let go the past, and I don’t always plan tomorrow, in fact, it is often said of me that I like to live in chaos – creative chaos I might add! Progress, though I smile, it comes with age and experience. Yet one must attend, be aware.  Even so, it is still a great achievement when I can just be in the present moment, and today, for a time, was just one of those moments. It always takes my breath away, and I am grateful for it.

I am one of life’s explorers, a soul on a journey of self discovery. I hope you are too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

12 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, self-development, Spirituality

The Four Quartets

Quartet

th.jpeg

I love music of many kinds, so quartet brings to mind the Norwegian musicians – Vertavo String Quartet, or from a jazz perspective, the John Coltrane Quartet. However, What is forever etched on my mind are four poems,  the ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S. Eliot.

The ‘Four Quartets’ are reflective meditations on humanity’s relationship with time. Eliot engages spiritual themes, and philosophy, and includes such influences as John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich (mystics), presocratic thinkers (Greek philosophy), and the Bhagavad Gita (Hindu).  The poems were written between 1936 and 1945 and originally published separately, until 1948 when Faber published them in one volume. The period in which he wrote these poems is perhaps indicative of the content. The threat of war, followed by the long war and the blitz, which he endured, must have impacted his sense of mortality and time.

The Quartets are: ‘Burn Norton’, ‘East Coker’, ‘The Dry Salvages’, and ‘Little Gidding.’

My favourite of the four is Little Gidding, simply because it contains a profound observation of the human condition that is neither perfunctory, nor damning, but rather, somehow, encouraging. That observation of Eliot’s comes in part five of ‘Little Gidding.’

We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

As I’ve quoted before, Proust puts it well when he says: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Eliot is not at odds with Proust in this. He too is suggesting that we humans are curious, we are seekers of truth, of belief, fact, geography, place and space, and more. But, in spite of great travels and in spite of much learning, eventually we return to our roots, our beginning points, and see them afresh.

For me that means seeing the horizons of body, mind and soul with new inner eyes, being able to see with the eyes of wholeness, forgiveness, love, kindness, compassion, and self-giving. Eliot also speaks of how experience is transformative (if we allow it to be so). He also speaks to how we mature in those experiences along life’s journey, and how time affects us, that aging and experience might afford us opportunity to see ourselves afresh. We engage with our youthfulness and “kick the traces” as we used to say, rebelling; we turn to masks, we invent personae for the public I, denial is the trope of our lives. But in the end, at our very core, there is only ever, our true self, if we but look carefully. And if we attend to our true self, accept our self, love our self, we see ourselves whole as if for the first time.

In a stark reminder, he’s also suggesting that, as with the story of Adam and Eve, so with all of us, we never leave the awkwardness of self-awareness, separation, and a sense even an anxiety, that we could do better we could be someone. All of us strive to overcome those things, but find that we were/are, perhaps, a little too hard on ourselves and that we just need to see ourselves as good. The journey we engage is one to be whole and perfect, but yet, the end of our searching leads us back to where we began, that we were indeed whole in the first place, and that nothing is ever perfect.

Paul,

pvcann.com

24 Comments

Filed under history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, religion, Spirituality

My Meander

via Daily Prompt: Meander

IMG_0600.jpg

The Warren River meanders for only 137 kms from its orign at the Tone and Perup Rivers near Manjimup and Pemberton, and down to the Southern Ocean, but it is one of the beautiful rivers of the south west. This photo is from Moon’s Crossing, near the public campsite, the last of the mist is still palpable, the glassy water a beautiful, reflective mirror. So peaceful, so inspiring.

Author, among many succesful charisms, Toni Morrison once said: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

The great (well I think he was great) poet TS Eliot wrote in his work ‘Little Gidding’ “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Neither is talking just about geography. They are addressing the inner life. Neither is being ironic, nor negative, or limited in their thinking. The yearning to return to the place we began is not to go backwards, but rather to appreciate in greater depth the journey to self. Such a journey is one of self discovery, the opening of the heart, even to pain and disappointment, the discovery of limitation, love and also otherness, to appreciate beauty in all forms, to know passion, to know oneness.

As we meander through life we do, at times, inwardly yearn to make sense of it all, even in the present moment. Eliot captures this briliantly. We return to where we began, but with new eyes, new insight. Because we cannot leave ourselves, we can only see with new eyes, experiences on the journey are all about arriving at self but with a completely new view framed and underpinned by our experiences. Which Proust famously pointed out when he said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” By which he meant new inner eyes. I am who I am, but the journey opens me to the possibility of new insights and discoveries of self which enable growth and change. My new horizons come from how I engage with life, love, nature, realtionships, disappoinments, passion, and find fulfilment in expression as I continue to meander through each day. It is then I know something new about myself or some experience, some feeling, for the first time. That moment of epiphany is potent, difficult to articulate, and at times overwhelming in its beauty, as much as its formative pain.

Paul,

pvcann.com

21 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

The Harbinger

via Daily Prompt: Conveyor

hobbit-gandalf-scarf.jpg

Signs, portents, omens. The hero is awakened by the herald, a harbinger (or two, or three). Gandalf sparks Frodo, Hagrid awakens Harry Potter, or Pooh to piglet The shady one, the mysterious one, the edgy one, is the harbinger, the one who calls or perhaps, the one who points. Some are explicit, some are covert, but whichever, whomever, they unveil the beginning of a path, a journey, sometimes an adventure. We all need a harbinger ot two in our lives, someone who will spark the journey, the adventure, the next step. And, in our own way, we all need to be a harbinger for someone.

As Winnie the Pooh says:-

"I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen." 
Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under community, life, mindfulness

Panacea

via Daily Prompt: Panacea

Panacea.jpg

Photo from – unusedwords.com

Many years ago I knew someone who was working hard to get a hospice in the city of Perth. They and others achieved that aim, and now there are several facilities offering hospice care around the metro. Hospice care is for when there is nothing more that can be done for an ill person. It is holistic in that it covers more than just patient care and medication. It is all about reaching out to the family of the dying person (so that children are included and so that pets can also be included). And in regard to the person dying it offers spiritual guidance (which can be independent of a religious affiliation); social worker help; volunteers to sit with the person, allowing family to take time out; pain management, and general care.

I’ve had cause to visit people in hospice over the years. It is hard to accept death, but even more so for those who are family and close friends. Often they desire a miracle, a cure, something, a magic pill. I guess we’d all like a panacea that offers a comfortable exit.

But in my experience there is an alarming avoidance of pain to the point that death is sanitised. Now I’m not wedded to any view of assisted dying (euthanasia) or opposed to it in principle, but assisted dying is an avoidance of pain, perhaps a fear of pain. A common statement I hear often is “I’m not afraid of dying, but …. I don’t want to end in pain.” But who does?

I need to tread carefully here, but there is something about how pain is part of our journey as humans. This life is not a constant pleasure ride. Yet we desire to be rid of it, to avoid it, to never have pain. I’m struck by people who live with all sorts of pain, Maximillian Kolbe the Polish priest who gave his life in place of a young Jewish husband and father that this man might have life. Martin Luther King Jnr. who knew that death and discomfort was a real risk; the many people I have been privileged to journey with through terminal ilness and dying. Pain cannot be romanticised, nor should it be glorified, but yet it must be faced. Elisabeth Kubler Ross in her groundbreaking work of 1969, wrote passionately about dying and grieving.

Two things she has said:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. these persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”

Hospice is no panacea, it simply manages pain, among other aspects of life and death. Somehow I believe that we shouldn’t rush to end pain, not so that we can build character or grow, but so that we can face ourselves, our body, and all that goes with pain and death. And maybe we’ll overcome our fear of pain if we face up to it, and take a different route. In some ways, I’d like to see my carvings, my beautiful scars and know them. So don’t search for a panacea for me, just sit with me when the time comes, and rejoice in the beauty of the carvings of my life.

Paul,

pvcann.com

4 Comments

Filed under life, Philosophy/Theology, Spirituality

The Journey

I’ve been pondering this quote for some time.

“To take shape a journey must have fixed bearings, as a basket has ribs and a book its themes. The clearest way to understand … our journey … is to look at a single woven basket’s basic design … First, two splits or reeds are centered, like the cardinal points of a compass. Then, two more splits of equal size and length are added. These are the ribs of teh basket. Weaving begins at the center … over … under … over … under … until it is finished. From the simplest basket to the most complex … this principle is the same. The ribs must be centered and held in balance. In a sense, they are the fixed bearings that guide the rythm of weaving.” (from: Marilou Awiakta Seiu, ‘Seeking the Corn Mothers Wisdom”)

And therefore, the bearings that guide our journey. In short, we need to have a guiding principle, we need a frame, a community, a place in the world. And we need to be held by that community, held by those principles. When we have these things in our lives, when we are held, when we are centered,  we weave a journey that is rich, under, over, under, over, until we are finished.

Paul,

pvcann.com

2 Comments

Filed under life, Philosophy/Theology

Circle

Circle

IMG_1327.jpg

Circles are in every aspect of life, from pratical wheels, to notions of the family circle, to schemas of life itself, the unbroken circle of love is one of those. The labyrinth is, for me, a special type of circle (and although not all labyrinths are circles, most are), it is a place to be still while yet moving, to be meditative, mindful, centered. I can be lost in a labyrinth without losing my way, and I leave things behind in the center if I want to or need to.

The labyrinth is also an ancient circle, an ancient wisdom (back to the Minoan civilization, and across other cultures on every continent) which doesn’t so much speak to me directly, but as through patient ferment, through the rhythm of our shared path. And it is a circle of life in that it breathes life through that rhythm, the movement is crucial, and so is stopping and pausing at the turns, and waiting in the center.

Sometimes I am on this journey alone, sometimes I encounter others along the way.

This circle is a friend, a real friend who holds a space for me and yet challenges too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Spirituality