Be like a train; go in the rain,

go in the sun, go in the storm,

go in the dark tunnels!

Be like a train;

concentrate on your road

and go with no hesitation!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

***Unfold your own myth.***

I hope you will go out and let stories,

that is life, happen to you, and that

you will work with these stories . . .

water them with your blood &

tears & your laughter till they bloom,

till you yourself burst into bloom.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Pause That Refreshes

I searched up and down the earth — 
and found it in my own soul.
 I implored heaven and hell —
 and the field daisies answered me.
 ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), 
My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

After the 2106 elections and the reports of how much it had influenced both the U.S. election and the Brexit referendum, I deleted all of my Facebook accounts, both the personal and the business accounts. Then this year, after growing weary of the numbing sameness of Instagram, I deleted that account as well. It got to the point where if I saw one more latte or muffin or someone's breakfast, I felt like my head would explode. After awhile, all the scrolling through photo after random photo looked the same. Since then I've never once regretted deleting those accounts.

Over the past year I have kept active on Twitter, but even that account is going to be deactivated for at least a month. Perhaps just a quick pause to refresh my senses & soul, or after that time, it may go the way of all my other social media, and all the 1s and the 0s chronicling my life will be permanently deleted. 

If a tree falls in the woods 
and it's not
posted on social media,
did it really happen?
~ Me

In part, what's happened on social media seems as though people who don't even know you feel they're entitled to have expectations about who you are or what you believe. There's also the false sense of entitlement to information about you. Other than to our close family and friends, we owe nothing of ourselves to anyone who isn't personally invested in our everyday life. What I've found is that if you give even a small part of yourself away, boundaries can blur for people very quickly and social media interaction can become instantly ominous. People must be blocked or muted. Now where's the fun in that?

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation... tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.    ~ Jean Arp

*And as a disclaimer: The bottom line is that this about my experience only

It does not and should not diminish anyone else's experience of what they choose to do with their time and energy. For instance, people love sharing food photos, which is fine. I do it myself when it's in the context of joy, fun, friendship, celebration. For me though, all the random sharing of the vast quantities of food we consume in the west, only reminds me of the people who have food only because they foraged it from the garbage dumps outside Nairobi, or begged for it on the streets of Calcutta or Sao Paulo. 

**Further disclamer: But that's just me. And I choose to not participate in it. 

Sharing a celebration that involves food and togetherness is one thing, I repeat--I do it myself, but the constant drone of "here's the massive plate of food I'm eating and paying more for than what a person in Zimbabwe makes in a year," I'm just not interested in. For me it only accentuates the chasm between the haves and have-nots in the world, between the over-fed and the barely-fed. And I'll add after a few reactions to this blog on Twitter last night, this isn't judgement on someone else's choices, it's only about how it feels to me, how I'm wired. And guess what several Twitter person(s)? I get to feel that way and it has nothing to do with you, which proves my point about social media in the first place.

Anyone, anywhere can look up and see a beautiful cloud, a colourful sky, a full moon; can see the smile of a small child, or a speck of hopeful beauty in the midst of their perhaps difficult life. That's the gift of creation to us. It's pure Grace, there for all, like the rays of the sun. That's the kind of grace I like to share publicly.

I do realise I live in two extraordinarily beautiful places, Oxford and Wales, but even when I lived in Yakima, Washington where trust me, no one moves for the beauty, I managed to find beauty every, single day. The deep blue of the sky, the clouds over the Cascade foothills, or the way the air smelled after a thunderstorm. Moments of grace, available to all.

A little oasis of beauty I created 
in the not-always-beautiful
Yakima, Washington.

So even though I may be moving away from social media, I'll still be experiencing moments of beauty all through the day, still photographing what I see and love. I don't write in a journal or a diary, I take pictures. At the end of the day I go through them all, think about my day, think of what I learned, where I found meaning, when I laughed, when I felt sad. Not being on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter won't change that one iota--in fact it may even make it better, deepen my days being away from the shallow chatter of the world of Twitfacetagram. I'll be less present in that world but more present in my own . . .

. . . taking a pause that refreshes.

I love to write and I love to photograph my world, and that I'll continue to do. And when the spirit moves me, continue share it here. In the meantime, it's time to batten down the hatches for awhile and move further up and further in to the real and present world around me, because in the end the Present Moment is all we really ever have.

Solitude is a silent storm that
breaks down all our dead
 branches; yet it sends our 
living roots deeper into the
 living heart of the living earth. 
~ Kahlil Gibran