As I get older, the simple, elemental, fundamental aspects of life seem to grow more important and comforting. Water is a good example of this. It forms seventy percent of us. We die very quickly with out it. It is an absolute necessity of life. Perhaps this is why it is so soothing to sit by a favourite stream or on a loved beach.
You can stand in a river but you will never have the same particles of water flow over you twice. Water contains messages for us regarding the fluidity and change of life. Some also see water as a teacher of acceptance of what can’t be changed – such as Barry Stevens (the Gestalt therapist) who stated ‘don’t push the river, it flows by itself’.
Water – don’t take it for granted. We need it and it has much to give us.
As an avid reader I am always delighted to hear when other people have discovered the t power that the written word can hold. That feeling of sheer delight and surprise you get when a sentence jumps from the page straight into your heart and says ‘me too’. Bibliotherapy – the practise of reading to resolve ills or provide solace and comfort is now used by some GP’s. The reading agency is a charity that has been set up to recommend books that people of all ages may find helpful. They have complied booklists divided into age categories to help you find exactly the title you are searching for. Have a look at the excellent website reading agency.org.uk for some inspiring ideas.
There have been some spectacular cloud formations hanging in the sky over Mounts Bay recently. I have been lucky enough to have had some time to stop a while and watch as they change from one form to another. This process is in constant flux and reminds us that life flows and is not fixed. Understanding this can help us accept that change is constant in life. If you get a chance, look up at the clouds for a while – something simple can recharge us with a sense of awe and wonder at the physical world we inhabit.
I am excited to be returning to face to face work this week, following the Covid 19 restrictions. Obviously, precautionary measures are in place to protect clients – but it is great to be able to sit with others again. So much of the way we communicate is non-verbal, and this can be lost on the phone or internet. As communication is a bedrock of therapy, it is exciting to be able to return to working in a holistic way with clients.
I wanted to share a fragment of the lyrics of a song by Sarah Quartel called Wide open spaces. Her words made me think of how being in wide open spaces can make us aware of the spaces in us and how we might like to fill them…
Into the world now, look at me go
out in the wide open spaces around me
but as I journey out, I look within
and see the spaces inside of me
yet to be filled
filled with what I have seen
and what I will be
I am filling the wide open spaces inside of me
with something I love
with something I would like to be
filling the wide open spaces with in me.
So many of us have experienced devastating loss of one kind or another over the past few months.
Reading is one of my great pleasures and I have just finished a great ‘true story’ by Raynor Winn.
The Salt Path is an account of how two people manage to carve out a new (if difficult and challenging) life in the face of terminal illness and total loss of material wealth. I defy anyone not to be moved and inspired by her tale.
As someone who likes to spend some time alone, I have been reflecting on the difference between aloneness and loneliness. My own experience is that being alone can nourish, while feeling lonely can be isolating and devastating. We are currently in the middle of loneliness awareness week and the Marmalade Trust are encouraging us all to think more about the impact loneliness may be having on people in our communities. Every conversation we have about our own experience of loneliness is one less lonely voice.
If you are interested in finding out more in how we can tackle loneliness visit marmalade trust.org
I am lucky; in fiveteen minutes I can walk to some of the most beautiful stretches of Cornish coast. Sometimes simply staring out to sea helps with wider contemplation, it opens the mind. Other times, I find I can loose myself in the alternative universe that exists in the rock pools. I really recommend rock pooling. It is totally absorbing. The more you look, the more you see. The delicate and unique balance between the organisms in each pool reminds us of the importance of connectivity and inter-dependance for all life. Take the snakelocks anenomes in the picture above. They are given their green colour by the tiny algae living within their cells. Life supporting life.
If you can’t physically get to a rock pool – why not find out more about the fascinating animals and plants that inhabit them online. I especially love Heather Buttivant’s website and blog – cornishrockpools.com
I would like to use this post to signpost you to the BBC Spring Watch series that is available to view via the BBC iplayer. The annual series has watched spring unfold as usual, while sensitively placing our understanding and appreciation of nature unfurling in the context of the Corona Virus. It has showcased many features on the science behind why being immersed in nature is so beneficial for our mental health, as well as some beautiful, presenterless films, shot to highlight the meditative qualities that being in the natural world can gift us.
Next week it is mental health awareness week (18th -24th of May 2020) and the focus is on the power and potential of kindness.
You may find it helpful to take a look at the Mental Health Foundation website – http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk where you will find thoughts, ideas and lots of free resources to help you look after yourself. There is an especially useful page on coping with feelings that may be arising due to Covid 19.
With in the theme of kindness, the foundation are also encouraging us to consider how our mental health is collectively formed – and they are suggesting that it may be fruitful ‘to use the week to explore the sort of society we would like to emerge from the coronavirus’.