Our little dog escaped via the front door and gleefully ran through the neighbourhood, totally unaware of the dangers, with J and I and others in hot pursued. I wish I could be as free from fear as he is.
I was at Sissinghurst Gardens the other day. I was deeply touched by the sheer wonder of it all. I couldn’t help but think of the link between wonder and compassion, because that’s what I felt too, a wave of compassion for it all. No doubt, wonder and compassion are inextricably linked.
Do Daffodils smile? Poets say they do. Walking on the sidewalk yesterday I came across these. I stopped and watched them rocking to and fro in the wind. I detected an expression of glee in their yellow faces, and then I saw it – they were smiling.
If there’s one thing this Pandemic has taught us over the past year, it is this: rugged and exaggerated forms of individualism are dangerous. I’ve never been more aware of the strengths of community as I am now. George Bernard Shaw said, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.”
If we want the future to be ethically moral and compassionately successful, we have to shift ourselves from the mindset of “I” to the mindset of “we.”
This is the Peace garden at The Friars, an ancient Carmelite Priory in Aylesford, Kent. I have often sat in this garden and left through those doors with a perspective far different from the one I came in with. For me, it’s one of those special places we all have, where we find balance, sanity and direction.
The world between close friends takes on a life of its own. It’s a world where speech is often not needed and where nothing really has to be proved. Assumption and intuition flourish without sanction, and trust is never mentioned. A “knowing” permeates this special world.
I enjoy walking through the woods. Whenever an opportunity to do so presents itself, I welcome it. There’s something so idyllic and peaceful about it. However, there’s also something a little strange about it. Many spaces in the woods have a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere about them, and lingering in them can be so uplifting and energising; but, there are also spaces that feel decidedly uncomfortable, disconcerting, even a little malevolent, and the feeling to get away is intense. Strange, I’ve never been able to understand this contradiction. It’s a mystery to me, and I’ve come to accept it like that – even been in awe of it at times.
“The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees nothing at all.”
So says, Oscar Wilde. Not sure I agree. The person who sees both sides is precisely the person who sees. But if it simply means seeing both sides with nothing flowing from it, then the person does see nothing at all.
The ability to see both sides of an issue needs to inform and lead to decision and action. Only holistic seeing and thinking nurtures wise opinion, decision and action.