Category: 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge

A-Z Reflections

Reflections: A-Z

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

Thanks firstly to Arlee Bird and his wonderful team – without you all I would have been a non-starter.

As always it was a wild ride … exhausting but worth it! I was away for a week from mid- April, with no internet or wi-fi, so I HAD to preschedule some posts before leaving. On my return from the bush, I did my best to catch up on comments and needless to say I had to do the remaining posts on the fly.

I always so appreciated receiving comments on my posts, whether long or short. It’s gratifying that people came by and read. It means and matters much to me, thank you. In the earlier part of the A-Z when I did some random jumping around, I noted that many did not have their April 2016 A-Z badge up and what they’d posted, if they had, bore no relevance. But other random jumping around yielded amazing posts. I could not get to all I wanted to or read as thoroughly as I may have liked but I did what I could. Towards the end of the A-Z my computer went on a total go slow, almost to a stop and no-go which had me tearing my hair out, but which my son rectified when he got back from being away (also out of contact attending AfricaBurn in the middle of nowhere) by adding extra data .. thanks Mike.

I know of a few who were not able to access my posts to leave a comment – they wrote to me personally to say so – they received ‘Error 404’. I do not know why this happened.

Thank you Rosie, Shilpa, Elaine, Pat, Gulara to mention but a few, for retweeting my posts! MUCH appreciated!

I’ve gained a few more WordPress and twitter ‘followers’ to my blog for which I’m grateful.

The warmth, comradeship and the quality of the posts of the A-Zers made it all so worthwhile, thank you all. A delight to read! All of quality, whether on people, dogs, music, movies, spirituality, places visited accompanied by photographs or not, stories, books – the list is long – 

There is no current or past A-Z category under which I can categorise my posts at the start. There is no category for ‘psychological’ … perhaps there could be such a label in the future? This could include eg myth, legend – ?

Again, my heartfelt thanks – to Arlee and his team and to all of you who participated, and to you who came by my posts.

We’re all facing challenges on many levels, individually and in the outer world, as this year continues on its shaky path … may the Force be with us, always. And thank you all, very much, again. 

A-Z Blog Challenge Z for Zebra

A-Z Blog Challenge Z: Zebra

Coat_of_arms_of_Botswana.svgBotswana Coat of Arms

So many black stripes against the white background – or is it the other way round – with evidence of tinges of brown. Botswana’s coat of arms* with the two zebra on either side look identical, mirror images, but in real life this is not so.

Nevertheless the zebra symbolises equality and unity between all races. A zebra is upholding an elephant tusk on the one side representing wildlife and tourism; the other zebra holding an ear of sorghum, corn, represents Botswana’s main local crop.

(This brings to mind the myth of Demeter and Persephone and Demeter’s search for her virgin daughter abducted by Hades to the underworld. In her grief she cursed the land which became sterile. Zeus asked Hermes to step in – and in brief, Persephone was allowed to visit her mother in springtime at which season Demeter permitted corn to be laid and grown. I wonder if the Botswana government is aware of this ancient Greek myth and its corn connection to the Eleusinian Mysteries).

We saw many zebra on our Botswana trip, often with giraffe in close proximity. The first photo is when we were on The Island, the 2nd in Moremi. Seeing animals at peace in their natural zone often gave me moments of zen –



One of many fables as to how the zebra got its stripes is from the San Bushmen of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. In brief, long ago, when there were few animals and it was hot, dry and dusty, a zebra and his son came to a water hole. The baboon, who thought he was lord of it all, challenged the zebra to a fight if the zebra wanted to have his fill. They fought. The zebra gave the baboon a huge kick and sent the baboon flying into the rocks high above them. (Which ‘explains’ how the baboon came to have a bare patch on his bottom, for his hair was scratched right off on landing on the rocks). The zebra was so amazed at this, that he staggered backwards into the baboon’s fire, leaving burn marks on his white skin. This shock sent the zebra galloping away into the savannah plains where he has lived ever since.

And so, with this fairy tale, we come to the end of the A-Z! Thank you for coming along for the ride! I have so appreciated your comments, always broadening my own outlook on life.  Time to take a deep breath for the moment before attending to posts of yours I have so much enjoyed!

* Pula is the local currency and also means rain. The wavy blue represents rain. The head of the buffalo recognises the importance of cattle herding, and the cogs represent industry – diamonds and mining. It’s a rich country. Education is key in the life of Botswana, though many remain mired in poverty.

A-Z Blog Challenge Y: Yes to change

Y: Yes to Change

‘I imagine that yes is the only living thing’ – e.e. cummings

I returned home from Botswana this past Saturday; my US friends began their return home on Wednesday night. Only yesterday did I note that my orchids on my patio are beginning to bud and a few are showing blossoms (I’m sure it’s way too early). They weren’t showing any signs when I left on the 16th April. I went walking yesterday afternoon around my neighbourhood and delighted in the magnificent trees of rich and vibrant colour.

magnoliaThe seasons are changing from summer to autumn to winter, and nature keeps on showing us her beauty. Yes! I say, and thank you!

Yes! that I could take another photo of the fish eagle on a dead branch at sunset.

sunset fish eagle

 And in the first days of our bundu bashing I snapped a photo of a different baobab in all her glory in the pulsating sunlight.


Another photo of an elephant taken while I was sitting outside my tent, on my side of the river .. I heard nothing, suddenly it was there …ellie2

I wish I knew how to upload some of the videos I took of elephant and hippo in the water gallumphing, wallowing, spouting, playing. 

Yes! to all the different views of nature, changing all the time. Yes! to my beautiful orchid buds, photo taken this morning, even if it is too soon. Yes! to the bee who’s buzzing around in my study –

Aprilorchid buds

And Yes! to all of you who’ve accompanied me in this A-Z blog challenge, I’ve so appreciated it. Thank you!

Z tomorrow – I have some lovely photos of zebra which I’ll put up. They all look the same but they really are different to each other. 

A-Z Blog Challenge X: Xray for Change

X: X-ray for Change

dead tree

On our landrover trips further into the bush on our Botswana adventure, we came across this very dead tree standing tall in the water. The tree struck me the first time I saw it; and again the next time at a different time of day and light. This was one of two photos I took the last time we passed it by. I loved the shape of it, especially how the branches were in symmetry at the top. And the tree and branches reminded me of an x-ray of the body, or some of it. I wondered how something entirely dead could look so lovely, and be in life-giving waters.

Over the last several days I’ve been thinking about that dead tree in life-giving waters and the symbolism it represents to me personally. For me, it symbolises the necessity of ‘doing’ or ‘practising’ a death meditation every now and then. Some I know do it daily, on arising. How to simply put it – it considers life and death together, the two most extremes that I can think of, the two most extreme opposites that have to do with us, with you, with me, and is an exercise of value. It makes me think about life, my life, others’ lives, loved ones past and present. I put a sort of an x-ray onto those thoughts and feelings –  interesting of course only to me – and thoughts and meditations on death of course enter the picture – ever changing and deepening (I hope) –

It is a task to attempt to hold those extremes in a healthy tension – but the task has value to me. The dead tree in water photograph is a graphic symbol of life and death residing together in symbiotic relationship. For me I must reflect on them, often. It is not morbid.


The first time I saw this spider web it was glistening in the bright morning sunlight, bejewelled and sparkling. This photo of it doesn’t do it justice, taken as it was at a different time. But, in whatever light, it was impressive. I thought briefly of Arachne (mere mortal) who challenged Athene (goddess) in the arts of weaving. Athene turned Arachne into a spider endlessly swing at the end of a thread. I thought of other myths and stories around the spider – and its web – it’s a very powerful symbol worthy of attempting to x-ray it and valuing the symbolism. I thought of the fine-ness of it, its elaborateness, its tension, its connections, its beauty, a tapestry, glistening like a jewel, so fragile, so strong, it’s threads sometimes used to make parachute chords.

I remember a dream from a long time ago in which I was bitten by a spider above my right ankle on my leg.

baobab2This last photo is of a baobab tree taken on our first walking day on The Island. Again, not a great pic … but this one was unusual as it has two trunks. The baobab tree is a mighty work of nature. Elephants love the pods from which tartaric acid is made and it’s used in food. They have a lovely lemony taste. I read in the Air Botswana in flight-magazine of a baobab that had recently toppled over. It was over 3000 years old. Before Christ, before Buddha –

So, x-ray and change – there’s always a new way of viewing an x-ray. 

Thank you for being with me on this trip – the A-Z trip and my Botswana trip. My US guests left for home last evening, and I am settling back into things, not least catching up on your blogs.

A-Z Blog Challenge W: Wilderness & Change

Wilderness & Change

I’d love to put up a short video or two but photos will have to do. I’ve barely had time to digest our week away; our US friends are still with us, leaving tonight, and it’s been busy since our return.

On our first day after overnighting in Maun in northern Botswana we travelled by mokoro  (canoe, these days made of fibreglass) on the water to The Island and camped in tents. No electricity, no wi-fi, just pretty basic. The photo below was taken at the beginning, but the waterways got narrower and shallower as we were poled along in the blazing heat. The 15 billions tons of water have yet to come down to Botswana from Angola later this month or in May.water lilies

After 2 nights in tents, we got back to Maun and from there overlanded to Moremi where, after crossing the quarantine border we got into game country.  By now we’d left tar roads behind and were on gravel roads. Elephant crossing the road, zebra and giraffe in abundance …

The staff had set up camp prior to our arrival this time on the banks of the river for the 2nd stretch. All was more spacious and also a shower and flush loo were in the encampment! I had my own tent. Two of our 6 had left us in Maun to fly to more comfortable lodgings – two nights of camping and roughing it had been enough for them. So we were four. Plus our cook and his assistant, and Joseph our guide who drove the landrover and sat with us at the supper table and told us stories. Of course, also no electricity – though the moon was full the nights we were there. This elephant was on the other side of the river. One morning at 4.00 I woke up to quite a bit of noise, a racket actually. The light outside was dim. But I saw 2 large shapes pretty close up and flapping ears – elephant, really close. In the still of the night they were drinking and eating and thrashing around. Unless they’re doing this they move so silently you can’t hear them, and blend so well into the bush, they’re visible one moment invisible the next.tent ellie

We would leave in the landrover around 6.00 a.m. after tea, coffee, rusks, returning around 11.00 for a slap up brunch. Two are both strict vegetarians and both were delighted and impressed with Chichu our cook. All meals were delicious. We would relax until 4.00 p.m. and leave again for evening drive returning around 7.00 p.m.hippos

These were hippos at sunset. 

fish eagle

I snapped a fish eagle in flight with its cry – 

I met up with my relatives which was a delight – I had tea with Anne, my brother’s widow and nephew David and his lovely wife and family in Anne’s beautiful home on the banks of the river. What was truly wonderful was hearing them speak of my mother and how much she was loved by all.

David tree

This photo is the tree under which my brother is buried and by which I spent a few minutes alone remembering him. The river is in the background.

I felt so full – of memories, love, warmth, small children, lush gardens, wildness, wilderness, and felt the wilderness in my own heart matching the outer …

We all felt the magic of the bush and our travels, getting down to basics. Each changed in some way …


A-Z Blog Challenge: V Vision for Change

A-Z Blog Challenge V: Vision for Change

vision quote Eleanor Roosevelt

I often think of Madame Thuli Madonsela our public protector who battled for many years to have our current president acknowledge his shady dealings in using tax payers money for his own private purposes and who was finally (recently) vindicated against all odds. Her vision was clear, to rid our country of corruption and to make it known explicitly that no-one stands above the law. Mr. Nelson Mandela, past president of our country – in fact tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of our first democratic election in South Africa – whose vision was also clear in his ongoing striving for equality and peace in our land between its peoples. Martin Luther King who had a dream …

 I wonder about my vision and whether I have a clear sense of purpose and meaning in my life. Sometimes I do, sometimes not – my vision gets blurry with a sense of helplessness about this world in which we live. But, I pull myself away from this kind of questioning as I realise that the important question for me, is what is the meaning of my life. And then it becomes a struggle; why should I wonder about my own little life? And the questions become more urgent as I think and feel about this. I know that I must look more deeply, more probingly even if I don’t want to or don’t care to. I recognise my resistance; my wish to remain on the comfortable surface of my life has a strong attraction. Yet I do know that I have to do the personal work required of me, inter alia to recognise the negative and positive qualities of my shadow; to be able to recognise when I am projecting these qualities onto others and thereby have the wherewithal to withdraw them; to be more aware of when I act unconsciously; to know the whys and wherefores of why some of my complexes get tweaked every now and then; to take my dreams seriously for the messages they portray; to use the creative abilities I have elsewise they will wither … and on it goes … lighting a candle in the darkness for new visions to awaken to more of who I am and will yet become. I owe it to myself if I wish to lay a claim to my own authenticity in my version of my life.

 Carl Jung: Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

My post tomorrow will be on the Wilderness, where I was in Botswana. With photographs and hopefully a short video of elephants gallumphing about in the water, playing, trumpeting, splashing; with hippos in the background and a fish eagle on a tree …


A-Z Blog Challenge U: Uncertainty and Change

U: Uncertainty and Change


When we are not sure, we are alive. Graham Greene

We live in uncertain times, wondering inter alia about the candidates for the US presidential election; what’s happening in Brazil with the Olympics coming up and the president facing impeachment charges and the Zika virus; and here in South Africa all is very uncertain, our economy, the factions within the ‘ruling’ party (they’re supposed to be our servants, not rulers, but it’s the language we use); and on it goes.

We feel for those in danger, crossing seas in life boats to escape from certain death in their place of origin. We feel for those who cannot feel sure of their countries’ policies and who turn a blind eye to ongoing corruption and failure to protect women, children and innocents from autocratic and paternalistic rule. Those kinds of uncertainties can only be dreadful.

How hard it is to live with uncertainty! But is it really? Would life be any better, happier, more fulfilling if we could be certain about everything? I’m not so sure. It wouldn’t leave any room for the unknown and what is yet to be lived. There would be no room for the trickster, Hermes, always present, shaking up our assumptions and forcing us to view ourselves and others and situations differently. No room for doubt to open up our thinking and feeling and the possibility of putting away our conditioning even if it threatens the ego.

We would no longer wonder about our dreams that shake us up at night when we enter into unknown terrains. We are hostile to the unfamiliar, forgetting that the unknown and uncertainty drives so much – in the sciences, medical research, technologies, the arts in all shapes and forms. Change will happen always, by delving into the unknown.

Just a postscript – I was amazed to find on my return that I had put up 2 blogs on T … on the Friday night before our departure for Botswana, I thought I had done T but when I went to look for it late Friday night I couldn’t find it anywhere so wrote up another …

A-Z Blog Challenge T: Tension as Agent for Change

T: Tension as Agent for Changedreamimages (9)No doubt there will have been tense moments while in the bush these last several days. Because of no wi-fi I’ve prescheduled my posts but I can’t help wondering as I write this before leaving so that this post goes up this 23rd day of the A-Z what sort of tension there may be. Have I packed everything that is required? I haven’t even checked the check list as I write this, late at night, leaving early tomorrow morning (every one else sleeping peacefully). Coming across a lion facing us in the bush? Hippos too close for comfort? An unseen snake dangling in the tree just overhead? It happened to me once. I was almost no more …

We’re a group of 6, 3 Susans, one Frederic, one Lisa, one Richard. My husband is not with us on this trip as he is too wary of malaria. 

Many years ago we were the same three Susans while hiking the Amalfi coast. There were plenty tense moments … getting lost and taking forever to wind our way down the mountain. Myself, Susan and Frederic. The other three went the right way though Richard hammered his knee ..

But for this post, I’m writing of the necessity of tension in our lives. While I may yearn for peace and perfect balance I know that this is not realistic and that there is value in tension. It gets us going. Like the arrow on the bow achieving the perfect still point and necessary tension before release, so too these opposites come into play. 

Of course there are different kinds of tension, those times when we hold our breath too long out of anxiety, or we tense up in certain situations and muscles go into spasm. And just the busyness of the day makes me tense… the rush rush rush. I know then that I must release it and not hold onto it. 

“But there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites; hence it is necessary to discover the opposite to the attitude of the conscious mind.”
C.G. Jung, The Essential Jung: Selected Writings

As I write, I’m imagining perfect peace and harmony in the bush. Who knows – the bush has its own kind of tension, necessary for it to be what it is …

S: Soul and Surrender

A-Z Blog Challenge: S: Soul & Surrender


‘Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.’

‘Imaginative sympathy is the sole secret of creation’.

Oscar Wilde – De Profundis

This is too large a task for me right now to put up a pre-scheduled post on soul. But I will relate a personal story that happened several years ago, which made me think about surrender and soul, an ongoing question and mystery for me.

It was a Monday. I was presenting at reading group that evening (on-going every other Monday night) and had pretty much done the work on that. I had a deadline of 2.00 pm to hand in part of a manuscript I was working on, in a suburb unfamiliar to me. I also had to take my younger son to the bus at the Zoo Lake for his return after half-term to his boarding school at 2.30. All was on track. Tuck box sandwiches and other delights were in the fridge for my son for his long ride back to school ..

I was preparing supper for my husband in my absence that evening. I was steaming some asparagus. I lifted the lid of the pot and was badly burned on my right wrist by the steam. It was unbelievably painful. I ran my hand and wrist under cold water, put plenty ice in a bowl with water and continued at the computer finishing the manuscript work while plunging my hand and wrist into the ice-water every few moments. I kept on adding ice to the bowl. I phoned my husband at his rooms and asked whether we had any burn cream. Look in the fridge he said. None.

Time to go – I wrapped my hand and wrist in one of those cold vacuum packs with strappings to hold it in place. We got into the car and somehow found the place where I had to deliver the manuscript. My son put it into the postbox and while he was gone for a few moments I was thinking about the unbelievably extreme pain I was in, and thinking about stopping in at the hospital to have it attended to after I’d delivered my son at the Zoo Lake. I was thinking about victims of war and methods of torture used to extract information and whether people could hold out and not give in. What helped them not to give in? Or surrender. I knew that I was hopelessly trying to keep the pain at bay – But, the word ‘surrender’ sounded a little more insistent.

And, in a heart beat it was gone. Just gone. Pain free. Gone. I told David when he got into the car … a man was approaching us walking on the pavement. He asked for money as he needed to catch a taxi to get to the hospital to see his ailing wife. I gave him all I had in my wallet – not a huge lot. It was a necessary exchange.

Davey and I set off. I delivered him to the bus stop at the Zoo Lake and returned home. I am still in awe of this particular event. It was soul-changing. 

I am still away in Botswana where there is no wi-fi in the wild so I am unable to respond to any comments you may make, or to make any comments on yours. I will attend to all when home! Thank you for coming by.

R: Re-membering as Agent of Change

A-Z Blog Challenge R Re-membering as Agent of Change542591_620348161315085_803962571_nThe stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone: OT: Psalms 118 vs 22

Re-membering – what does this mean? We’ve been through dismemberment at times in our lives when we’ve been hit by ghastly events. Our world is turned completely upside down and our selves are shattered into fragments.We want to return to where we were before. Someone close to us betrays us and all we stood for and we feel rejected, dismembered, no longer whole, in little bits and pieces tossed to the howling wind … and the reality is unbearable.

It is such hard work putting ourselves back together again. I remember a long time ago someone asked me apropos of what I can’t remember, what nursery rhyme comes to mind? Mine was (I had no time to think) Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. Immediately I felt a twisting in my heart and gut. She looked at me I looked at her. It touched a deep core in both of us. Well, we did talk about it and remembered heart breaks and felt the wrench even though long ago – and it was something I pondered on a long while after –

Much of what has happened in our past we choose to put behind us and close the door. If this has been done consciously and we remember the whys and the wherefores and can re-member those broken parts of us, then this is good and healthy. We remember in a different way, a little more compassionately, to ourselves and towards others that may have hurt us. There are parts of us that still need re-membering, which is why the quote about is a powerful one for me. Don’t reject what can be the healing agent – the cornerstone.

We’re away in Botswana, quite where I cannot say as you read this … this is a prescheduled post and we’ve been advised that there is no wi-fi, no signal, out there in the wild. I won’t be able to respond to your comments or comment on your posts until our return… so, for the meantime, thank you for coming by.

Q: Quest as Agent for Change

A-Z Blog Challenge Q: Quest as Agent for Change


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

I’ve already given many quotes in my P post and others, so this time I’ll resist and put up only this one.

For me Jeanette Winterson’s quote is a bit … hmmmm … terrifying. It gives me a queasy feeling. There is always terror or uncertainty that what I strive towards will not come to be. I’m thinking of peace, an inner peace and an outer one in the world as well. But, I do what I can and I know that this is all I can do. 

It is apt that the word question contains the word quest within it. Our quest in life ends only when we stop asking questions, of which we know there are never certain answers. Is it true that part of the answer is in the question? Do some questions qualify as especially important ones, ones we’re quick to avoid? I sometimes feel as if I’m stepping in quicksand if I take on too much or go too deep in my ongoing quest or questioning. That quarry is, for the time being, too deep. I’ll query its’ meaning when I feel ready to tackle it. 

And here I’m not going any further about quest as Agent for Change but instead adding some of my q thoughts –

I love reading about historical quests and wonder about my own, and quiz myself about my purpose in life, often.

I’m interested in quarks and quantum physics where the wave is also a particle.

I love quartz crystals and am not so mad about quince or getting shots for quarantine when travelling to exotic places.

How to quell my desire for quality chocolate is ongoing.

I will NEVER queue in a restaurant for food ..

I’m still away in the bush in Botswana (this is a pre-scheduled post) so am unable to respond to any comments. Thank you for coming by.

P – Paradox – Potential for Change

A-Z Blog Challenge P: Paradox, Potential for Change


C.G.Jung: ‘Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life … non ambiguity and non-contradiction are one-sided and thus not suited to express the incomprehensible.’

For me, being aware (sometimes) of the paradoxes in my everyday life makes my life meaningful, even if they seem overly difficult sometimes. Maybe a bit like faith and doubt being two very strange bedfellows. Yet, having doubt about certain things means a tussle or a conflict with my inner being and can lead to my having a stronger faith as in, in illness there is healing. In death there is re-birth, or as in when winter gives rise to spring.

I know I gave several opposites in the O post; here I’m giving paradoxes.

Niels Bohr : ‘How wonderful that we’ve met with a paradox! Now we have some hope of making progress’.

Lao Tzu : ‘Most true things are stated in paradoxes’.

Edgar Degas: ‘Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do’.

Soren Kierkegaard: ‘The paradox is the source of the thinker’s passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a lover without feeling.’

Yogi Berra: ‘No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.’

Voltaire: ‘The superfluous is a very necessary thing.’

Disraeli: ‘No government can be long secure without formidable opposition.’

Henri Paul Gauguin: ‘I shut my eyes in order to see.’

Michel Foucault: ‘All modern thought is is permeated by thinking the unthinkable.’

St. Francis: ‘It is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned.’

Johan Wolfgang von Goethe: ‘Where there is a great deal of light, the shadows are deeper.’

I’m still away in Botswana and have no wi-fi access so am unable to respond at this time to any comments, but thank you for coming by.

O: Opposites and Change and a bit of Oscar

A-Z Blog Challenge O: Opposites & Change & a bit of Oscar


We’re probably on the Okavango as I write this pre-scheduled post – an out of the ordinary adventure – (there’s no wi-fi access so I’m unable to respond to any comments or to your posts at this time).

‘All opposites are of God, therefore man must bend to this burden; and in so doing he finds that God in his ‘oppositeness’ has taken possession of him, incarnated in him. He becomes a vessel filled with divine conflict.’

C.G. Jung: CW 11 par. 659

Top-bottom, above-below, light-dark, visible-invisible, pain-joy, light-heavy, black-white, growth-decay, life-death, spirit-matter, optimist-pessimist, sacred-profane, agony-ecstasy, masculine-feminine, sinner-saint, alpha-omega, as high so low, as above so below …

I know that I contain those opposites within me, and that they pull me in different directions much of the time. But I know that they are related to each other. It is the human condition, this wavering between the polarities which are both without – and within. Always in process of change if not utterly fixed. 

Life asks much of us. Very often we find ourselves at one extreme or the other of those opposites. I know that if I SIT in the sometimes darkness of them and make a conscious decision not to jump out of the fire (my more impulsive inclination) and permit the smouldering, something else will emerge. No longer will I be at that fixed and extreme distinct pole or polarity but there will be a movement of each to the other in recognition of acknowledgement; and from that the wheel will turn and there may be light however long it takes. Not that it ever seems like it at the time. But it is essential for me not to stay fixed with the familiar in my attempt to avoid conflict.

We are called upon to hold the tension of the opposites and carry that cross until a re-conciling third appears.

Oscar Wilde wrote ‘De Profundis’ (while imprisoned in His Majesty’s Prison at Reading) a long letter to Bosie. Truly, my heart opens at his words. I’m randomly selecting a few  excerpts –

‘The supreme vice is shallowness. Whatever is realised is right’.

‘Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was for me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was a malady, or a madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others … I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the house tops. … I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. There is only one thing for me now, absolute humility.’

‘Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground. Someday people will realise what that means.’

Of Jesus Christ he writes:  ‘His justice is all poetical justice, exactly what justice should be.’


N: Now and No for Change

A-Z Blog Challenge N: Now and No for Change

eternal mother Guan Yin

Now, as you read this, we will have landed in Maun, Botswana. I hope that I and we will have the serenity that the Buddha has – pre, prior and post –

And, there will be no wi-fi I’ve just learned in the bush from Sunday to Friday. My prescheduled posts will still go up and I look forward to catching up on return on Sat 23rd.

We know that we are advised to be mindful of everything, including the inner and the outer and not concern ourselves about the past or the future. Let it take care of itself – only always be in the now.

It’s a hard ask – for me anyway. I can’t re-invent myself every moment. I am in this moment because of my past and present. This is a prescheduled post so as I write it – and I’m also thinking of the future – I am here this week with time set aside for drafting the remainder of my A-Z posts, and responding to others’ blog posts, and hopefully walking later on this afternoon and NOT ‘allowing’ myself to slide into sloth.

In my now moment this day 13th April as I write, my head is busy and already it’s been a busy day. Earlier I popped down to the shops. I invariably do a mental estimate of the bill to be paid. Call it a curse or a gift that I have, i.e. with numbers, but I always add up in my head as the items are scanned and get a very accurate guestimate. My sons and husband have been totally amazed on occasion when with me (I take a bow) as have the shop tellers when I say ‘I think this bill will come to xyz’. This morning I was overcharged (yet again) at the till. I am always irritated – it’s such a waste of valuable time. So I keep calm so as not to inflame the situation. It takes time to get the error corrected, but for me it is important to not be overcharged. There’s a ‘no’ in that somewhere – no, to being unconscious about e.g. money. I will take the error at face value, i.e. that the price changes were not shown at the goods on show or that the till machine had not been altered … but there is an imperative in me to not be complicit in that particular dance. I have to be in the now at such times – and be changed in some way because of it.

It’s a beautiful autumn day as I write – and now as I view my garden from my study, all’s well with my inner world, if a bit rushed, trying to keep focused and in the now and I hope so with you too.