Time To Grow

There is a book that I turn to for wisdom and support when I feel myself start to struggle with something, and I inevitably find just what I need when I open it. Here is what I needed to hear tonight to get my mind clear:

“During eons of evolution, from the simplest of living forms to the most complex, there has always been the day-to-day struggle to protect oneself. In our highly evolved cooperative social structures, this survival instinct has gone through evolutionary changes. Many of us no longer lack food, water, clothing, or shelter; nore do we regularly face life-threatening physical danger. As a result, our protective energies have adapted toward defending the individual psychologically, rather than physiologically. We now experience the daily need to defend our self-concepts rather than our bodies. Our major struggles end up being with our own inner fears, insecurities, and destructive behaviour patterns, and not with outside forces. Since it’s not socially acceptable to run into the woods and hide like a deer, you hide inside. You withdraw, close down, and pull up back behind your protective shield. Continue reading

Continuing to Cultivate Gratitude

“The effects of consciously practicing gratitude have been studied: When compared to merely thinking about significant life events, contemplating daily hassles, or comparing oneself favorably to others, thinking about what one is grateful for increases one’s feelings of well-being, motivation, and positive outlook toward the future.” – Sam Harris in Waking Up

Today I am grateful for…

The rain last night bringing a crystaline clarity to the chill autumn air that nearly moved me to tears three times today when I caught spectacular views of the ocean, more than 20 kilometers away and seldom visible as more than a distant smudge, glowing with life and beauty. Continue reading

A Final Breath

She came to us from trauma:
Born with HIV in her blood,
Neglected; withdrawn.
She didn’t know how to play
With the toys placed before her.

Over the months we watched her transformation –
Her smile emerged, gradually,
Until it would brighten any room
With its mischievous spirit.

As she learnt to play,
To talk, to laugh,
Her body grew strong –
Even a little round, happy belly! Continue reading

Waking Up

“One can spend long periods of time in contemplative solitude for the purpose of becoming a better person in the world – having better relationships, being more honest and compassionate and, therefore, more helpful to one’s fellow human beings. Being wisely selfish and being selfless can amount to very much the same thing. There are centuries of anecdotal testimony on this point – and the scientific study of the mind has begun to bear it out. There is now little question that how one uses one’s attention, moment to moment, largely determines what kind of person one becomes. Our minds – and lives – are largely shaped by how we use them.” – Sam Harris in “Waking Up”

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Tonight I am grateful for…

Shifting, moving, flowing.

Allowing new patterns to begin to emerge as I re-examine old behaviours that no longer serve me.

New sources of support and nurturing. Continue reading

Birthday Memories

On the 4th June last year I was in Cape Town with my beloved family to toast to the beginning of my 33rd year of life. We were brought together not by this milestone, but to mourn and celebrate the death and life of my father’s mother, yet were deeply grateful for being together. One of my many thoughtful gifts was a dictaphone, bought by my father and his wife after hearing of my desire to record and transcribe life stories from my husband’s last remaining grandparent, his maternal grandmother, into a book. Tonight I stumbled across a recording we had made at a sumptuous family birthday breakfast feast, whilst testing out the dictaphone, which I had forgotten about entirely and never listened to. It’s lovely to hear the threads of conversation that flow around the table, coming together with one focus and then splintering into smaller conversations, and hearing the voices of so many of those I love suddenly so close and alive. Continue reading