From my Sketchbook

In the English landscape, you often see a single, sizable and old tree standing in a flat and expansive landscape. Although it has the look of loneliness about it, it’s locational rootedness is a positive affirmation of its presence and its right to be there. It makes no apologies for its presence.

Whenever I see such a tree, it affirms in me “my right to be here”  and I live and move through this beautiful world without any apology for my presence.

Dissolving Fear

To courageously take in the palm of your hand that which you fear, and to gaze into it with discerning sight, is to empty it of all dread. What is understood has little power to frighten. Inner peace is deeply tied to our ability to understand. To understand is to be at peace.

The Inner Wanderer

An evening walk – on my way home

I listen to the wanderer within. Wise and ancient voice, known, yet unknown, always calling me beyond myself;  I’m awakened to my sense of pilgrimage, yet also to my roots and belonging.  Between these two I live and dance.

Morning Light

This morning’s walk:

The soft morning sunlight has this unassuming power to gladden the heart of things and to call them forth into the confidence of a new day. It’s not a glaring light shaking us into forceful wakefulness, but a gentle one, introducing and revealing the day with poise and with grace.

Surfaces

The still and mirror-like surface of the lake was suddenly broken by the rising of a large fish, its fins dripping droplets of orange in the light of the setting sun. A sublime moment of disclosure, an epiphany, then disappearing beneath its watery world as quickly as it arrived.

I was reminded of the many thoughts, ideas and risings that have broken the surfaces of my life, and my responses to them – those that were acknowledged and actualised, and those that were simply left to sink below the surface again?

Deliberateness

To live deliberately is a good thing. Goal-setting and to-do lists etc., certainly get things done. But to be overly deliberate in our living is limiting. It becomes exhausting. Everything has to be gruellingly willed into existence, and the inevitable price we pay is a form of tunnel vision and a loss in natural spontaneity and creativity.

Optimism

The smell of the wet grass in this field reminded me of the African Bushveld.

We relish in describing ourselves as optimists, and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a good thing to be optimistic. However, in my quieter moments, as I’ve pondered on this, I’ve thought of our expressions of optimism as often having more to do with our fears than anything else. It’s a sobering thought.

Optimism is often used as a kind of protective armour we put on to shield us from all the vagaries of life. It’s a way of dealing with our fears. We bury them under a layer of false optimism, while all the time they eat away at us.

Oscar Wilde once said, “The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” Sounds a bit extreme, but I think I’m beginning to understand something of what he meant.

May your new year be filled with authentic optimism and encouragement.