Sunrise Sunset

Sunrise

We returned home from being away in Plettenberg Bay this last Sunday. I took this photo on 12th June from the balcony of the bedroom in Plett. It was taken at 8.06 a.m. the morning of my birthday. We’d arrived the previous day. It was a lovely sight to begin the day in spite of the lingering haze from the smoke of the fires in Knysna, Plett and surrounding areas in the recent week.  

I wanted to put up a post on the Winter Solstice, acknowledging this particular time – for us in the southern hemisphere it means a time of going inward, germinating, lying low, the soil resting, cold, frost – for you in the northern hemisphere, a time of warmth and bursts of colour as Nature reveals herself in all her glory. 

But I didn’t put up a post. The 20th June was the anniversary of my severe car accident 4 years ago; yesterday was the anniversary of our moving into our townhouse 4 years ago, the day I was released from hospital. 

Two days ago on the 20th June I was in my car, very aware of the anniversary. A taxi nearly took me out at the traffic lights as I was about to make a right turn. It went through the red lights – a bright blue van. Later on, when I was returning home, there was a terrible car accident at a different set of traffic lights near where I live. Two vehicles were involved. One car was upturned. The officials were doing a good job of directing traffic.  Ambulances and a fire engine were on the scene. Later on that day, I was alerted to an earlier shooting of someone dead in a Bentley in the road much further down – also close to where I live. A ‘hit’ is currently assumed –

The name of the main road which is close to me is South Rd. A car accident at the top of South Rd, and a shooting at the bottom end of it. Top and bottom … it gave me cause for pause …

Not that this is the only matter that gives me cause for pause. I feel a pausing on many levels. I wonder if I’m a pessimist, or an optimist; or a mixture of the two. A pessimistic optimist – or an optimistic pessimist. Or just simply caught in the opposites. Never a comfortable place to be.

Maybe this is the time to pause – as I did today, going through my photographs of the week spent in Plett. Both sons were with us, our elder son Mike in his lovely new home, and younger son David with Jüte his wife visiting from Cape Town. Hence my decision in putting up the sunrise photo and writing a blog while feeling ‘happy’ looking at the pics remembering that special time.

I messaged both of them on Tuesday to thank them for their assistance 4 years ago when they were both in Johannesburg to help with the packing and the move and when I had the car accident.

David responded: “Was a very hectic day – still don’t like thinking about it. But it’s also good to be reminded of it & to ponder the fragility of life. That incident taught me to savour each moment I get to spend with family, and not to take you, dad, Mike or Jüte for granted”. Mike said much the same thing in response. I was also reminded of my dear friend Lyndy, now just 3 months gone, of saying so often to me as she lay dying, don’t postpone doing what you want to do, just do it …

The sunset photo is from a long while ago, in the bush. Though it makes me think of Lyndy and therefore feel sad, I see the beauty in it.

Sunrise-sunset, pessimistic-optimistic, energised-enervated, happy-sad, top-bottom, above-below, life-death, north-south, east-west, new moon-full moon and all the phases and pauses in between. May the new moon in the next night or so bring you renewal and joy.

Thank you for reading.

 

Circle of Light

 We’re flying down this Sunday to Plettenberg Bay where we’ll be for a week. I’m having a few girlfriends this Saturday morning for breakfast. Although plans for the ‘menu’ are in place, I decided this morning to stew some fruit, something I’ve never done before. It tastes quite nice, both bitter and sweet. I thought I’d warm it slightly on Saturday when every one is here; they can add it to the full cream greek yoghurt I’ll put out. That will be the starter.

I peeled naartjies (clementines), removing as much of the pith that I could, cutting in half, ensuring no pips and adding to the hard pears that were already softening in the pot. I also added a little muscavado, a little balsamic, shake of cinnamon and ginger and some dried out prunes.

I thought how the times we are in, are times in which we are all metaphorically stewing.

There’ve been dreadful storms in Cape Town since Tuesday night, lives lost, a huge amount of damage, thousands displaced. Poor communities frightfully affected. The western Cape has been in severe drought for the last long while … water rationing is in full force. The storms and very high winds are expected to quieten down today. Cape Town has been battered and ravaged.

Then, as of yesterday, huge fires cut through Knysna. Knysna is 30 km away from Plettenberg Bay, approx 550 kms from Cape Town. Very high gale force winds caused immediate spreading to surrounding areas. Evacuations again of thousands were effected, brought to safe places like schools, yacht clubs and churches. Infernos cut their flaming swathes through the land. Elephants and horses needed to be evacuated. That fire raced to Plettenberg Bay’s surrounds where my son lives. It’s been a nightmare for all – many homes, farms, wild life and vegetation lost. Mike has been racing around just about all the time helping where he could. Arson in some cases is suspected. Earlier this morning he was washing his car because of all the dust, muck and grime and it started to rain – slightly –

Extreme and troubling times indeed. Labour vs Tory vote in the UK today. James Comey testifies before Congress in the US today. The political situation in South Africa is totally haywire and unbelievably corrupt. The DA (Democratic Alliance, main opposition party) Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, has been suspended as of yesterday for a tweet she made in March and hung out to dry after the knives have been plunged into her. 

So much else world wide – hence my circle of light photo. Fire storms, rain storms, political storms, snow and ice; internal and external conflicts everywhere. I was going to blog from Plettenberg Bay next week but today I feel a sense of urgency. The photo helps me stand still in the centre of the storm and I hope it helps in some way for you too ..

May we bathe in the healing energies of the full moon tomorrow night – even as we know that the full moon can result in extreme weather and affect us in other ways –

 http://www.grahameb.com/pinkola_estes.htm – this is a link to Clarissa Pinkola Estes – her words on “We were made for these times”. With thanks to Deborah Gregory.

#WATWB

#WATWB

Sing up for We Are The World Blogfest!
We Are The World Blogfest

It’s the last Friday of the month; the 2nd time the We Are the World Blogfest is spreading a little light to alleviate the darkness in which we find ourselves.

Ongoing and recent events leave me constantly troubled not only for what’s going on in our neck of the woods but all over our precious planet. There is no need to itemise them. Here in South Africa we are rebelling against all that is corrupt and we’re pulling together on all levels not seen in a long time.

There are so many stories of people and communities coming together in the face of tragedy. And if not in tragedy, then in all sorts of small, kind, gracious  and meaningful ways which, like a pebble tossed into a stream, continues making ripples, spreading ever outwards..

Here’s a map of the world from a very ancient atlas. I occasionally put my hands over this map and ask for healing of our world –

The photo below is one I took a while back of the garden at night where the little solar lamp in the centre throws off shards of light.

I’m imagining that the lamp is each one of us, casting light into the darkness.

May these circles of light encompass each and every one of us, Mother Nature and all her creatures, our planet.

Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or some other enlightening event. Let’s set about diluting/dissolving
 the negativity around the world and bringing in the light. We are about 73 people so far around the world taking part on the last Friday of each month.
 
A quick checklist of guidelines:
Keep your post short, 500 words or less. Your own story or a link to a story

 that shows love, humanity and brotherhood in action.

This is the link to which you can add yours.
http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=277138&type=basic

 

There’s a crack, a crack, in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Leonard Cohen.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you.

#AtoZ Blog Challenge Z Zero

 

Z Zero

A for Autumn … my husband wanted me to see this tree and the autumn colours on the golf course … and Z for Zero …

Thank you for coming along on the ride on this A to Z Blog Challenge through the month of April which has gone like a flash as Aprils always do … I’ve so appreciated your support and comments which always broadens my view and thinking and feeling. 

The last page of Dr. Susan E. Schwartz’s and my book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ ends with Susan’s words: Aging presents challenges that we do not escape at life endings. pg. 140

and with a Zen koan: The ten thousand things return to the one. Where does the one return?

Green Balch

Let us be patient with one another and even patient with ourselves.

We have a long way to go, so let us hasten along the road,

The road of human tenderness and generosity.

Groping, we may find one another’s hands in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#AtoZ Blog Challenge Y Yes

Y Yes

These are very brief extracts from Dr. Susan E. Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES, and Susan Scott (me) as SS and italicised. This is from the chapter Yes & Yoga.

SS: …. It’s a universal truth that when we say yes to the psyche, the universe responds. I know that there is a price and exacted from me is the hard work required, paying attention to my dreams, my projections, my shadow, my inner figures. I’d rather err on the side of consciousness with its attendant shadow and live life with the unconscious as an underground river running through it. pg 136

SES: We age into age. … This requires a listening and honoring the being of an older woman with all her changes and advances, the limits and the expansions to body, mind and soul. With each limit comes the challenge to find other ways. What would the world look like if we said yes to age? pg.137

Mary Oliver

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?

(quote repeated, purposefully).

Below, if you have the time and/or inclination is the blog post I pout up this time last year. Took me back –

A-Z Blog Challenge Y: Yes to change

#AtoZ Blog Challenge X X ray

X – X RAY

These are very brief excerpts from Dr. Susan E. Schwartz and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming~A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and Susan Scott as SS and italicised. This is from chapter X-Ray.

SS: … It also reminded me of the necessity of putting the x-ray onto my psyche, looking into it more seriously and deeply, paying more attention to my dreams which surely provide an x-ray of one’s inner life. pg 132

SES: Age makes us finally confront from within. pg 133  … Now, finally un-hounded by the anxiety or inner tensions, we are honoring the ground under the surface, the unconscious listened to, an x-ray into the soul. Again, aging puts on our doorstep the responsibility to round out what yet wants and needs to be heard and expressed with a wider and more inclusive perspective. This means hearing the soul, not merely the ego. pg 133-134

Maggie Schien

A Soul is far too large to hide.

 

#WATWB

Sing up for We Are The World Blogfest!
We Are The World Blogfest

It’s the last Friday of the month and it’s the aim of ‘We are The World Blogfest’ to shine a little light on any darkness in the world or in ourselves by sharing uplifting stories. This is a once a month happening.

The story I’ve chosen to tell is one that happens often here in South Africa. While our country remains mired in corruption, very shady deals enacted by certain members in our government, thievery and thuggery, there are always people from all walks of life who make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

A police officer in Cape Town spends his mornings doing the most phenomenal acts of kindness

Please join us if you would like, and spread the word by adding your own personal story or some other enlightening event. Let’s set about diluting/dissolving the negativity around the world and bringing in the light. This is the link.
http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=277138&type=basic

#AtoZ Blog Challenge W Waiting

W Waiting

These are very brief extracts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and I’m not adding anything this time round. This is from the chapter Waiting.

It’s a public holiday here in South Africa – Freedom Day, the day on which 23 years ago, Mr. Nelson Mandela was the first democratically elected president. We waited so long for this – and we’re still waiting for democracy in its best form to manifest.

SES: Waiting as part of life brings to mind an entire day spent in the African bush… waiting for the wild dog pups to appear. …Did we ever see those pups even though we were there for hours? No. But the point seemed to be that we were there. We felt the rawness of existence; how the animal lives in the bush, waiting, lurking, looking. We might have missed all that unless we slowed down, been observant, patient, expectant. Gradually, just waiting subsumed the goal. The present moment was entirely full. How often do we take the time to wait? pg. 130

Mary Oliver

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

#AtoZ Blog Challenge V Vision

V – Vision

These are very short excerpts from Susan E. Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and Susan Scott (me) as SS and italicised. This is from the chapter Vision & Value.

SES: It is possible to have a vision that regards each day as a small but significant unfolding, like the various plants growing in the garden. We plant them when small and now they are older and have taken another shape, maybe gnarly, maybe vibrant with bloom, sometimes needing pruning. We tend to them on a regular basis. Our system, like a garden, needs care to remain vibrant and full rather than sickly or unkempt. pg 123

SS: What has been my version of life up until now? What will help me come into a fuller expression of myself? Will I have to go into the void, or the cave or dungeon, or enter a dense forest? Is this the way to find the treasure? Do I need armor? What awaits? Do I have the capacity for being vulnerable towards myself and others? Can I permit the breaking down of my previous attitudes and attachments? Is it time to show up if I haven’t already? pg 124

Madeleine L’Engle

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

#AtoZ Blog Challenge U Ultimatum

U Ultimatum

These are very brief extracts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently published book “Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry”. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and Susan Scott as SS and italicised. Chapter:Ultimatum & Unconsciousness.

SES: Aging is an ultimatum. Obviously. Time calls. The unconscious calls us to attend to the unfinished and the undone. If our focus insists on only moving forward, we might resist the slow and steady and undermine the world of the present that lies in front of us. We become lopsided, a one-sided emphasis that looks to speed rather than thoroughness and the slow building. pg 118

Joan D. Vinge

Throughout the ages, stories with basic themes have recurred over and over, in widely disparate cultures, emerging from the goddess Venus from the sea of of our unconscious.

AtoZ Blog Challenge T Time

Time

These are very short excerpts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan Schwartz is identified as SS, Susan Scott as SS and italicised. This is from the chapter Time & Trust.

SES: Time can be hard. Is it because time slides into shorter and shorter quantities? Each day holds the same amount of minutes but they fly away. Where do they go? Have I done enough? Said enough? Felt enough? Been conscious enough? Kind enough? Do I treat my body as a temple or do I treat it as a car to be merely filled with gasoline and then go on? Do I trust in life? pg 114

SS: A time comes when remaining where we are, if stuck, is self-limiting and restricting. Maybe there is much to un-become as prerequisite for becoming, as we unlearn that which is detrimental to our wholeness. pg 115

Carole King

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,

An everlasting vision of the ever changing view

Marian Beaman commented on a previous post on R and with her permission I’m adding her words:

 ‘When I read these words, I am reminded of the underside of a tapestry: full of knots and mere hints of a design. Our lives as we live them are rather like that, lacking sense until we can see the big picture, perhaps near the end of life or in eternity’.

#AtoZ Blog Challenge S Soul

S – Soul

These are very short extracts from Susan Schwartz’s and my recently co-authored published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan Schwartz is identified as SES; I, Susan Scott, as SS and italicised. This is from the chapter Soul & Sorrow.

SS: I recognize that the journey always has a dark side. There is a dreaded sense of the unknown. I feel my soul sometimes with me but many times absent; and I fear too that maybe the soil of my soul may be too dry, too thin, too arid, too wasted, lacking in essential nutrients. An ongoing existential crisis for me – pg 110

SES: Aging is a separation from what was. Endings bring loss as well as satisfaction. Endings also imply beginnings.pg 111 …. The self …defines how we best express and most fully struggle to be known and to know others. The self holds the conscious and unconscious worlds together. pg 112

Germaine Greer 

Sadness is the matrix from which wit and irony spring;

Sadness is uncomfortable and creative,

which is why consumer society cannot tolerate it.

AtoZ Blog Challenge R Reflection

R – Reflection

These are very short extracts from Dr. Susan E. Schwartz’s and my recently published book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’. Susan E. Schwartz is identified as SES and I am SS, in italics. From ‘Reflection & Renewal’.

SES: We refresh our relationships, till their soil, make happen what we formerly gave up and repressed. The regrets remind us. The old is the fertilzer that nourishes and rewards and brings renewal to fill in the present. pg. 106

SS: We may rue the choices we made in our lives …. all those steps we’ve taken, the threads, the barely discernible pattern, have brought us to where we are, now – an older time, one that has its own wisdom and beauty. And, the rewards are not inconsiderable. pg. 107

She wants to live for once. But doesn’t quite know what that means. Wonders if she has ever done it. If she ever will.

Alice Walker

AtoZ Blog Challenge Q Quest

Q – QUEST


These are very short extracts from Susan E. Schwartz and my recently released book “Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry”. Susan E. Schwartz is represented as SES, my words as SS – italicised. From chapter ‘Quest’.

SS:The quest in life is being aware of the questions – about who we are, our place in the mystery of life as we experience it. We can ask the questions, stir things up a bit as it will surely do. They can serve as a stepping stone; we can welcome whatever arises as we would a guest, coming newly into our home. Can I live the questions I ask myself? The only foolish question is the one not asked. pg 103

Quest is at the heart of what I do – the holy grail, and the terror that you’ll never find it, seemed a perfect metaphor for life.

Jeanette Winterson