Desiderata 6

Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time

How many of us believe that our identity and self-worth are symbiotically  intertwined with our employment status.   Ask the person who has just been retrenched after more than say 7/10/15 years on the job, why he feels that his life has lost all meaning, his raison d’etre.  Ask the man who has just retired after more than half his life with the one company. How many people go into a deep depression when this happens – especially the males.

You are among strangers – among the first questions asked are: “where do you work?”,  “what do you do?”.

This is where I could say that there is more to you than what you DO, that Life is really about who and what you are, what kind of person you ARE – Doing vs Being.  And I am into that.

And that is all well and good, to bathe in these philosophies – if you have a roof over your head, you have food in the cupboard and you can pay your bills. But if you do not have a job, you are not part of the workforce and want/need to be, then that is a different kettle of fish entirely.

I wish to travel a more practical path – the effects of unemployment.

So many companies have gone to ‘casuals’ – not even ‘permanent part time’ .  There is no loyalty from the companies, with “workers” having to be on call just in case they might be needed. No preplanning, no regular hours, no consideration.  Workers are just an expendable economic resource.

Are you aware that statistically, if you work for just one hour a week, you are employed? That is where our ‘un/employment statistics’ come from. Who can survive on the wages of just one hour’s work a week? How many people just cannot get any sort of job, let alone a full time job. How many people are part of the “under-employed” trying to survive on a few hours’ work a week to top up their subsistence Centrelink payment?

Our ‘employment’ is a vital part of our support network.  It enables us to feed, clothe and house ourselves, and provides a major part of our social interaction with others. Our boss depends on us to do our job – and the company survives and grows.  We feel needed.  This give us a sense of satisfaction and achievement.  This is especially  valid in full-time employment and even ‘permanent part-time’.  There is a sense of belonging, of being part of a team, a necessary cog in  the wheel.

A person has to live, so he goes to the supermarket; he eats out; buys clothes; socialises with friends,  etc. etc.

The point I am getting to here – and is one of my pet peeves at the moment – people in jobs are being replaced by machines – not for better service nor greater efficiency – but for greater profits.

Now I am not suggesting that we go back to the pre-industrial era. There have been major improvements in the world thanks to mechanisation and computerisation. There have been some major stuff-ups too no doubt.

And I am not against profitable businesses – without a reasonable profit in your business, you’re working for peanuts – as many small business people are.  In many businesses, reasonable profits are achievable with a 50-100% markup,  resulting in a profitable turnover and a successful business.  A markup of 400% plus, seems  greedy and can be counter-productive to the sustainability of the business.  Like everything else – this is a generalisation and no doubt there are some businesses that NEED 400% markups and above.

My pet example, of machines replacing people, at the moment, is Supermarkets.

Two of the major Supermarket chains that I have visited, are replacing persons operating checkouts with self-service checkout machines, with one person overseeing as many as 6 machines – or maybe more.

I refuse to use the machines, as for each one they install, about 3 (shifts of) people are out of a job. I think this is extremely short sighted and driven by bean-counters – or worse – economists and theorists. Most times I go to a checkout, I tell the person serving me I am actively trying to keep him/her in a job.

There is a company advertising on television at the moment how they employ 87 new people every day – many of these are first time jobs for schoolies. These schoolies mainly man the checkouts – for how much longer !

This is where the schoolies often get their first work experience to put on their resumes, their first taste of working and earning money; it helps them to develop a good work ethic and to appreciate the value of hard earned money.  It never did grow on trees !

The ripples go out from there, to these young employees becoming useful and productive members of society, in whatever field they eventually choose to work.

The employee draws wages, pays income, GST and other taxes, contributes to the Supermarket employees’ superannuation pool, contributes via the Medicare levy to the Health system. He is more likely to shop in that supermarket – because he probably gets a staff discount – rather than at the competition.

His family will also shop there because he works there, his friends will often shop there because he works there – and it is nice to see a friendly face when you go shopping. He and his family and friends will also tend to shop at the Company’s other affiliated businesses – the department store, the clothing store, the shoe store, the liquor store, etc.  This all helps the company’s prosperity.

Being in a job also means that money is circulating in the community and the wider economy.  It goes to the butcher, the baker, the bank, the café, travel agent, the local restaurants, the local clubs, the pet store, the hardware store, the electrical store, the liquor store, etc.  It goes out in housing loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.

An employed person pays various taxes – which go toward schools, defence, roads, hospitals, infrastructure, (and yes, politicians’ salaries – which in turn contribute to the economy!).

He is also able to contribute to the various charities and other entities that desperately need funds to survive, from the bigger one like Salvos, to the smaller ones like the P&C, the hospital auxiliary, etc.

Each time a supermarket installs an automatic checkout machine, these are the scenarios I envisage:

The Automatic check out machine costs a small fortune to install and needs complicated behind-the-scenes software, which costs a small fortune to maintain and upgrade.

I do not think that the machine pays income tax or GST, it does not contribute to Superannuation or to Medicare or to the Welfare system.

It does not physically contribute to the actual cash flow/income to the business for whom it ‘works’.

It has no social benefit.

It does not need to buy food or clothes, etc, so it does not shop in the Company’s stores.

It is not a customer.

It won’t think of better ways to do things or solve a crisis. It does not answer a question, or direct you to a product you may want, or encourage you to try something new, or that is on special.  It is not constructive.

It is not a person.  It is not loyal – it has no feelings.

For the purposes of this discussion, let us surmise that each time an employee is retrenched/superseded by an automatic check-out machine, that employee no longer feels any loyalty to the Company – because the Company has not shown any loyalty to him.

So he no longer shops at any of the Company’s business – he now goes to the competition; his family and friends are more likely to shop with the competition also, because loyalty is important to people – especially to family and friends.

The other loss to the Company is the intellectual data store that each person carries around in his head.  The longer they are there, the greater the data storage that can be called upon – the idiosyncrasies and subtleties of the business, that long term staffers just know.

Casuals don’t normally take that deep an interest in the business – they are not there long enough and they are expendable – so why bother.  Then there are the costs of constantly training new staff…

As regards the further ripple effect – this person is now unemployed and no longer paying income tax or any other taxes, cannot afford to do much shopping at all so less GST, and needing to draw on the welfare system, the Medicare system – his contributions to which have ceased; he is no longer contributing to the Company’s superannuation fund – less money in the pot.

Less money in taxes means less money for schools, hospitals, infrastructure, health …. There is a whole host of things which depend on taxes.

When the family breadwinners become unemployed – particularly in a country town, then usually the families have to move to larger centres for work – if they can get it – so less children in the local schools: so less funding, less teachers, less facilities for the kids; other local shops close, because there is less money circulating in the local community; the charities and small entities particularly suffer,  as they are no longer being contributed to, but being drawn from.  The town loses its heart and dies.

It is the ‘working people’ who keep the town alive and vibrant and sustainable.

(Note: the politicians’ salaries do not suffer; they are not being retrenched and replaced by machines – yet).

I live in a country town and have lived in regional cities, as well as Sydney. Employment in regional centres and country towns is critical to the survival of the town, and in this respect, I believe that Local Government and State Government entities need to maintain and increase staff rather than decrease it, because they are losing so much more than they gain, by “downsizing” and cost cutting.

If the people leave town, then there are less rates coming in as well. Empty shops, many houses and properties for sale, create a forlorn atmosphere and then the visitors stop coming also – so no outside money coming in either.

Every one of us needs to consider, not just the economic implications of the current trend of cost cutting and downsizing, but the broader social repercussions throughout the communities in particular, and the whole system in general.

If you have a  job, but don’t really like it, find as many things to appreciate in your job each day – until you find a better job – if you can – that you do enjoy.

It is a whole lot better than the alternative.  Apart from the hassle of having to deal with Centrelink, the Centrelink pay is atrocious and barely enough to even subsist on.

If you are lucky it will pay for your rent, electricity, gas and water and some food – not a lot.  You may be able to stretch it to pay for a phone, but running a car is a luxury, as are new clothes, and just pray you don’t need a dentist or a doctor – very few bulk bill.

I repeat:
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

But also, maybe we should also be interested in fighting to help other people keep their jobs too.  I believe we have a social responsibility to the bigger picture,  the vast economical and social implications of cost-cutting.

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Desiderata 4

If you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter;
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 We each strive to improve ourselves – materially, intellectually, spiritually. It is human nature to dream and to bring those dreams to fulfilment through endeavour and acquisition.

But hopefully not at the expense of others.  And we should not laud it over those whom we might consider ‘lesser’.  They may have untold riches which may, or may not be, material.  Apart from which, our circumstances may change radically and we too may find ourselves among “the lesser”.   There but for the grace of God go I.

We are each a Human Being – we bleed when we are cut, we laugh when we are happy, we love our children, we cry when we are sad – regardless of where we are on the social scale, the corporate ladder, the environment in which we live and function.

If we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, are able to pay our bills with a little left over, that is really great – it is better than 2/3 of the rest of the entire planet – and although at least one of those things may be out of sync on occasion – I am still truly blessed with abundance and am incredibly grateful.

If we have family and friends who love and care about us, that is the most important of all, because then the rest just falls into place.  Because with true friends and loving family, one can weather any storm.  This is because you are not alone, and together you can make things happen for the better.  Just sharing a problem with a friend, can help put it in perspective and so diminish its impact, and then it becomes cope-able and probably fixable.  Life can be just so much harder when you are alone.

I am fortunate that I live in Australia – but it is not the place per se which makes me happy.  It helps, (it is the best country in the world 🙂 )  but my contentment comes from being grateful for what I do have.  I don’t really need the newest and brightest thing on the market – I have more than sufficient tools, implements, and gadgets that work very well.

But more than that,  I have a husband and daughter who love me and care about me.  I have an increasing circle of loving  and caring friends and acquaintances .  That is my true wealth.  The rest doesn’t matter.

There are whole communities who have less than I do, many people living in harsh situations with less than I, yet many of those persons still feel contentment.  They too are grateful for what they have.  They have the bonds of family and friends who care, and that makes all the difference  – the love and the caring.

You may think you desire what someone else appears to have, but the reality may be totally unexpected and not something that you really want at all. We often perceive only the upside of another’s apparent “good life”, without understanding the sacrifice, the burden, the pain, the mental, physical and emotional costs, the responsibilities it might also entail.  Sometimes there is even a darkening of the soul’s light.

Many of these people experiencing “the good life” are unhappy, are anxious, have trouble in various degrees with various types of relationships.  They are very busy doing and sometimes very busy neglecting the very things/people they are working for.

Envy is such a wasted emotion and bitterness leaves such a bad taste in the mouth.  And what do we have to be vain about?   Is vanity about anything that is not just superficial and impermanent?  Envy and vanity do not come from the heart, they come from the very fragile ego,  and so really have no currency in ones true emotions for living a contented life.    Love and compassion are the legal tender of a heart based action.

I really have too much physical stuff and I am not content with that.   I do want to simplify my environment and that too is a work in progress.

I am aiming for contentment and being comfortable in my own skin – the latter being a particular challenge.  I am aiming to do less and be more.   But if I must be doing, then why and for what am I doing.    I am aiming to simplify my life and separate the gold from the dross.

I wish you contentment with whom you are now and may you choose your goals wisely.  May you love what you do.   I wish you gratitude for the life you are living now and I wish you the fortitude to change what no longer suits you – be they outdated attitudes or outdated clothes.  May you stand in your own Truth and not feel the desire to compare yourself with others, lest you let the fragile Ego overrule the Heart.

I send you blessings from The Universe and Angels to help you.

 

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Desiderata 5

 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans

Celebrate each and every positive in your life, even – or should I say, particularly – the little ones. Life is made up of lots of little achievements, more so than big ones. Lots of reasons to celebrate.  Enjoy your achievements and you enjoy your life that much more.

Making plans can sometimes be much more exciting than the reality.  We tend to get very excited and enthused at the planning stage.  We often celebrate at the planning stage.  It really is enjoyable.    The reality sometimes needs commitment and perseverance – not quite as exciting as dreams – but necessary to achieve the goal.

Instead of wedding Anniversaries – where one makes a big deal once a year – unless life gets too busy and one forgets – ooooppppps!  – we have monthiversaries where we wish each other a Happy 12th.  Sometimes it can be a day or more late –  but we still laugh, and joke and smile – and kiss and hug.  We notice – not just the date – but each other.

There have been occasions when we have not been able to celebrate our Anniversary in an appropriate style, but that is not a big deal for us now – and we have been married 34 years.

Enjoy making your plans, setting your goals, based on your dreams.

Keep the steps, along the way to your goals, realistic, so you do not become discouraged.  Take smaller steps if necessary.

I make lists, lots of lists. However, I get side-tracked. I may have 4/6/8 things I want to complete in a day/week. Sometimes the list is realistic and sometimes it really is not.

At the end of the day I may have done 1 or 2 items – but I have done lots of other productive things (hopefully). So I cross out the 2 tasks on the list I have achieved – and then add onto the list the other projects I have completed – and then I cross those off too (I am not the only person who does this) and I celebrate.  The list then becomes an encouragement for what I have done, as opposed to a discouragement for what I have not done as planned. It gives me a sense of satisfaction – a will to continue and not just give up.

We know that each journey begins with a single step and continues by just putting one foot in front of the other – consistently and persistently – trusting we will get there, even if we can’t quite see the end at the moment. It is good to take a break and look back at times and notice just how far you have travelled – sometimes even beyond your expectations.   Rejoice! Celebrate! Re-energise and continue forward.

The difficulty arises because often we are on several different journeys at the same time. There may be a physical journey – the day to day stuff of life. There may be a financial journey – juggling money issues. A career/work journey – outside influences maybe getting in the way of your goals. An emotional journey – loss, grief, empty nest, new relationship, past relationship/s, current relationship/s. A spiritual journey – where do I fit in in the scheme of things, who am I, why am I here? What is ‘out there’, what is my purpose?   There could be other types of journeys I have not mentioned here, but you get the picture. One issue usually having just a little more priority at any given moment causes shifts in the priorities.

Our achievements can become buried under all the dreams, plans and footsteps.  Take the time to stop and notice, enjoy your sense of satisfaction.

I feel I am juggling all these journeys and the merry-go-round is spinning at an alarming speed. It becomes a case of ‘stop the world I want to get off’.   Well that is just not going to happen, so I hang on for grim death and swing between one priority and another, depending on which one is pulling my string hardest.

I need to take my own advice and stop and reflect and acknowledge the achievements – however small – however large.

Re-evaluate where you are on the particular “journey” you are focusing your attention on; draw a deep breath – or three – before moving forward once again.

Are you grateful for where you are on your various “journeys”?  Do you celebrate your achievements?

 

 

 

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Desiderata – 3

 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

Amen to that.

It is difficult to listen when the mouth is engaged;   2 ears – 1 mouth for a reason no doubt.  But boy, do we know how to use that mouth once we start talking.

I confess I have this strong urge to want to butt in and give my opinion if I feel I am being left out of the conversation and not “getting my turn”, which in turn leads to a rising in the volume level.

Isn’t it amazing that sometimes we just need to shout above the din of these loud and aggressive persons to get our own point across – our point being so much more important and relevant than theirs!.   :{    I too am guilty of being vexatious to the spirit, to others and even sometimes to my self! .

Optimally, I then need to ask myself how important really is it for me to rudely interrupt, to butt in – and act accordingly – not just butt in because I think that what I have to say is the more important.  I can be annoyingly pedantic.

More lessons to learn.

Notice I said “optimally”.  That is the goal.  I still find I have just barged right in – then there is this pause when I realise what I have done – then I lose the thread of the conversation entirely!  I guess all I can do then is have a chuckle at my own expense.

I sometimes cross the road to avoid other loud and vexatious persons – particularly if I am out at night – though it can be during the day time.  Luckily I am of an age where I don’t normally mix in that sort of crowd – but they can still find me on occasion – and escaping seems to be the wisest move.

 

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Desiderata – 2

 

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

A timeless reminder to show respect and courtesy to all, as you would wish it for yourself.

This is especially true of family. Although there are indeed times when we must stand our ground on important issues here too, we seem to think we have a right to treat family members less well than we would a stranger.

These family members, whom we love, particularly the children, we should be treating with the most patience and tolerance and understanding.

Love is …

Love is patient, Love is kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends

Instead, we belittle, we scold, we nag, we vent our frustrations and irritations and we humiliate and denigrate those whom we often care for the most, – adults and children. We use words as weapons to win the battles we think we need to fight to prove we are better than they. We use sarcasm to jab the arrow in deep.  There is little tolerance or patience or understanding once the demon takes hold.  Where is the thought of “walking in their shoes”?

First scenario: a child accidentally knocks over a drink at mealtime.

What do you tend to hear?: “You stupid child”, “why could you have not been more careful”, “so clumsy”, “you are nothing but trouble”.

Apart from feeling horribly embarrassed by the accident, the poor child now has indictments heaped upon its head many of which are just the adult venting frustration without thinking and without really meaning it literally.

Second scenario: a dinner guest accidentally knocks over a glass of red wine (onto your white tablecloth or white carpet !!!??).

What do you tend to hear?: “Don’t worry about it”, “I’ll fix that”, “It was just an accident” – ensuring minimal embarrassment for our guest.

We consider it bad manners to embarrass a guest.  To the “guest” we are   most conciliatory – while silently cursing under our breath at the inconvenience.  Why is it not equally “bad manners” to vocally embarrass a child in a similar situation?

Part of it might be if one were brought up in an authoritarian household where children were to be seen but not heard, do as one was told – or else?

The only power women had was within their own domain – the household. Any mistake of the child was seen to be a mistake by the adult/parent – regardless of the effect it might have on the child.

Many of the adults of that time came from a very different headspace and a very different world, almost a different dimension, albeit living in the same house you might live in now.

I was guilty of a lack of such awareness at times in my early parenting days (- and I still hear shameful echoes occasionally -) until someone pointed out these scenarios to me. I was mortified that I could think, (by exhibiting a thoughtless reaction to just such an accident), that my child was less important to me than a guest and those were lessons I needed to learn.

From that moment on I began to change – for the better I hope.  I am learning to separate the person from the action – a clumsy action does not make a person wholly clumsy, etc.

Instead of using thoughtless and hurtful preprogramed responses, I have
learned to say, (after taking a breath), something along the lines of: “Oh dear, never mind, let’s get something to wipe this up”. My child is an (almost) adult now, so my reaction normally is – with a smile and compassion – “OK – You spilt it/broke it/whatever – you can fix it – do you need some help with that?” – allowing her the responsibility of dealing with whatever, but with a helping hand available if needed.

There was also a TV program I saw once, some years ago, where adults were put into everyday situations – such as sitting at the breakfast table and having breakfast – where everything had been scaled up in size as though the person/s was a child – at different ages – i.e. about 4-5 years; about 7-9 years. I am not sure of the particulars – suffice that it illustrates my point. The “adults” were eating at the most awkward angles – wrists at shoulder height, cups and cutlery uncomfortable in their hands, things on the table difficult to reach easily or smoothly.

It was a real eye opener to a child’s world, particularly when coupled with understanding the age related developments of the brain.

It is still a conscious task for me to curb instinctive knee-jerk (verbal and attitudinal) reactions when things aren’t as I think they should be – when someone (I love) does not behave as I believe an adult should, in whatever circumstance is current – because I think they should know better  It is so easy to just vent your irritation and sarcasm.  It takes constant mindfulness to not do so.

There has been a huge, more mainstream, shift in consciousness, around the turn of the millennium, which I believe is for the better and is expanding. With the information explosion, we have become enlightened about many things hitherto unknown.

We now know the process and sequence of the development of the human brain and understand that humans have little understanding of consequences of their actions until they are about 25 (and sometimes not even then). This front portion of the brain is the last to develop and the first to be affected by abuse of substances – hence when drunk, who cares about consequences, there is no future past the present moment .

I think I have gone off track here somewhat and down a path that opened up in front of me…  so  …

 As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

As regards the broader field of “all persons”…

This does not mean that you should take a beating, or compromise your integrity to just let the other person win, but many situations can be diffused with calm and patience and tolerance, and reason, and then no one gets hurt. When these things don’t work, sometimes it is better to walk away and live to fight another day. Other times though, one must stand one’s ground. The wisdom is to know when to do which.

God grant me the serenity:
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can: and
the wisdom to know the difference.

Sometimes it helps to realise that the other person is not really your enemy.  His attack on you is usually not personal – he is just lashing out.   He is but another hurt and lost human being, only thinking that he must fight his way through situations because he doesn’t know any other way.  He may not necessarily be “reason-able”.

Acknowledgement of and sympathy for the other person’s point of view – particularly before you spout your point of view – will go a long way to diffusing discord and aggression.  One doesn’t have to win every argument.  Sometimes it is OK to be wrong.  Sometimes you can walk away knowing/believing you are right and also knowing the other person is never going to acknowledge your point of view – at least not now.

This is where you …

 Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,  Even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

I have noticed that when someone speaks quietly, and clearly and with integrity, at the appropriate time in the conversation, others willingly listen and contribute equally.

Surely it is relative as to whom is dull and whom is ignorant.  Someone who appears dull to one person, is fascinating to another.  A person who may appear ignorant may in fact be most knowledgeable on a number of subjects – given a chance to participate or in a different environment.

The discussion does not need to descend into a noisy battleground, or escalate to who holds the high ground in the discussion. One is more likely to be taken seriously if one does not rant and rave. People of intelligence and education should not need to rant and rave, they have other skills in their tool box – like reason and manners…

How often do we actually listen to another – with our full attention – without one eye/ear on something else, or running other conversations in our mind at the same time – whether they be prejudgements about the current speaker and his conversation, or topics on a totally different subject.

We each have our story we want to tell, our point of view to express – we each fall into the category of “the dull and ignorant” at some time or other with someone or other – and yet still insist on saying our piece, because we believe it is the most important thing we can say at that moment, and our “listener” just NEEDS to hear it – whether he wants to or not.

To us, our story can be just so much more important that anyone else’s. Have we been guilty of drowning out another person’s story with our own?  It is not a nice thought.

Sometimes the other person’s story is much better, sometimes even more important, than our own.   If only we would stop talking, mentally and verbally, long enough to listen….

Which leads nicely into …

 

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Desiderata – 1

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

Our world is full of noise – the beautiful sounds of nature mostly drowned out by our affluent lifestyle distilled out into such components as: the rattle of the refrigeration; the roar of the vacuum cleaner; the growl of the dishwasher and washing machine – its deep woof woof changing to a high pitched jet-turbine-like whine; the unceasing beeps of electronic devices, the pervading buzz of fluorescent lighting; the rumble of the traffic; the screams of sirens shouting to us of tragedies that we hope do not affect us or ours. The ugly noises of discord, brought into our lives by radio, television, abuse of substances and a too close proximity with our neighbours.

Always there is noise, the white noise that never sleeps, even in our dreams. The noise that incessantly erodes the fabric of our sanity – unless we stop and seek refuge in the silence, the quiet, the breath of God/the Universal Life Force/your inner Wisdom/whatever.

At first, it is just so hard to turn off the chatter in your mind, and when you manage to do that to a reasonable degree, you may find the silence frightening because it is so alien.  But you will come to treasure each moment spent there,  in the peace, the stillness, looking for it at every opportunity.

You could start by just listening to some soft calming and relaxing music – with headphones maybe – just enough to isolate and insulate you from the hurley-burley around you.  Discover your breath, your heartbeat.

Soon you can distill out the “civilized” aggravating noises (they will become less noticeable), to focus on birdsong near and far, and perhaps the bark of a distant dog, raindrops against the window – sounds of nature.

Upgrade your skills further to listen to a leaf fall in the autumn, the crackle and crunch of frost on a winter’s morn, the wondrous cadence of new life in spring, and the melting of tension in the warmth of a summer’s day.

There is a deep and abiding peace to be found in silence, away from the cacophony of modern life. You may happen to hear the whisper of a cloud passing by, or the gentle rustle of a breeze in the grass. That is OK – in fact that is more than OK.  I envy you if you can achieve this degree of subtlety.

In our 24/7 world, it is soul restoring to take time to notice a bird in a bush or on the pavement; the scent of flowers as you walk past the florist; the gift of a smile from a stranger; the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the rain on the tip of your nose; the laugh of a child.   The unmuddied and unsullied purity of life.

There are opportunities for these moments in time even in our busy lives. Take 2, or 3 or 5 (minutes/hours/ days) and sigh a long breath – aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh – and smile with your heart.

Become aware, empty your stresses, and fill your being with gentleness and peace. Gird and armour yourself with a clearer mind, ready to forge once more into battle with “the Noise”.

I am still at the “minutes” stage and I grab what I can get with an open heart.

How are you doing?

 

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DESIDERATA – Introduction

My head wouldn’t turn off last night, so to calm myself I started thinking of the first few lines of Desiderata – “Go placidly … “, be peaceful and calm etc. It is a piece of writing I keep returning to time and time again – a rock I cling to in the stormy seas of chaos and mayhem – when I need to draw on its timeless relevance.

It is a piece of writing that has resonated with me since I first read it decades ago. Whenever I think of it these days, I hear it deep within my being, recited in the beautiful velvet timbre of Kamahl’s voice as it flows into my soul like rich dark hot chocolate – warming and comforting.

The recording is somewhere in our collection. I haven’t listened to it for ages – but that doesn’t really matter as I am truly connected to its wisdom. I have a bookmark with Desiderata written upon it, and as I am a voracious reader, I keep it near me and awash myself often with its rhythm, and reason.

I started thinking about the words and the wisdom and then my head started having this discussion about what silence; our world is full of loud and aggressive persons; about employment and lack thereof; and trickery; and ideals; and virtue; and being gentle with oneself.

My head just would not let me be and I wasn’t going to get any rest until I put pencil to paper.

I have segmented it into sections rather than one very long dissertation because I think each section deserves its own discussion

… and so I begin …

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