It is always gratifying when I get a “welcome home” from the immigration officers, who sit looking very stern and dispassionate while they scan your passport for whatever they scan passports for… It is a strange feeling when you have your feet in two countries, with families in both lands.
“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.”
E. M. Forster
I always feel a bit jet-lagged the first day, and have a couple of days to turn around before going back to work. But my blog is a big priority, and I have been thinking about you, my readers. In truth, despite advances in technology, it was quite an effort and adventure posting my last blog entry while I was away. The friends where I lay my head the first night live so high up in the hills of Yorkshire, that the internet is very patchy, and when I finally got to my parent’s house in Cornwall, things were so hectic with family and friends, it took several attempts before I could find the time or a connection on a laptop that worked.
So, due to personal events and commitments, I am out of sync, and apologize.
Being in the moment was important to me. I had come to England to see my parents, and had originally planned to meet them at my sister's in the North east of England for a mini vacation. Unfortunately, my Mum was not well enough to travel, and so we all changed plans and went to Cornwall instead.
Not only did I have the blessing of being with my parents, and being able to assist them, I had the joy of seeing family, including 3 Great nieces, and two of my oldest girlfriends. The week was busy and hectic, and there was little time for me to post my blog. In addition, I was having frustrating technical problems. Every time I went to post, something happened, and I was unable. As important as my blog is to me, I realized that I had to put it on the back burner, and attend to my family commitments which included taking care of my parents, and some Zen of being a Great Auntie.
It has been my observation, that we have become a very narcissistic society, putting our own needs before others, and using technology to fulfill our own narcissism. You only have to look at Facebook to see how many people post numerous selfies and the most unimportant self -centered things to realize we have become dependent on others' appreciation of everything we do, from a one word exclamation to get people guessing, or to giving negative feedback to people they don’t even know. Even my need to post blog was somewhat driven by, “Will I lose my followers if I don’t post?”
So taking a good look at what is really important, being flexible, and being able to change direction at any given time was one of the challenges for the week. In truth, it mirrors the challenges that life constantly brings, no matter what the magnitude of a given problem.
I thought about people who face far greater everyday challenges than me. I watched my Mother determined to overcome her disabilities, and to make the most of the week, and enjoy her great Grandchildren. I visited with my oldest friend, whose daughter is fighting cancer, yet despite her own situation, was as welcoming and as wonderful as a friend can be, going out of her way to cook, be of assistance, and extend her hand of friendship in any way she could. On the first and last night, I stayed with another dear friend whose
sister recently died, and received the most loving hospitality tailored to my individual needs. I thought of my boss, whose husband is recovering from a heart attack, yet who still provided work coverage, so that I could go to England. The realization that everyone is struggling with their own challenges, adjusting their sails, is something we should always remember. When we are rebuffed in a store by a grumpy old man, or accidentally cut off in traffic by someone not paying attention, we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Each person is persevering with their own path despite obstacles, and we should remind ourselves that we are not the only ones out there with worries.
These sentiments stimulated the subject of today’s blog; Perseverance, and awareness of others' needs.
These attributes are reflected in a poem called Desiderata,
by Max Ehrmann Copyright 1952.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
RUDYARD KIPLING wrote a famous poem called IF, in which he gives life advice; good in 2015, even though it was written in 1943
If you can keep your head when all about you
are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Last, but not least I give you this wonderful poem written by Phil Lindsey, (ref Poetry.com), called KITE.
In it he uses the analogy of Kite flying to describe life.
I have attempted to illustrate this with my art work at the end of this blog
Dad made a kite
Out of paper and wood
And a white, ripped up sheet for a tail.
We all watched with wonder when without any wind
He could make his kite rise up and sail!
The trick, he would tell us
Is to run just a bit, then let the string play out just so.
There is wind up above us that you cannot see
It will make the kite rise up and go.
Up went his kite
High up over the trees
And soon it was up with clouds.
It dipped, skipped and twirled as he tightened his rein
“It’s DANCING!” we shouted out loud!
The kite, he would tell us
Responds to your touch, don’t hold it too loose or too tight.
Be forgiving, yet firm, let it fly by itself
And most times it will turn out all right.
Dad gave the kite
To the youngest child there,
And the rest of us waited our turn.
The kite soared, then collapsed; our confidence too
Dad taught; we attempted to learn.
Life, he would tell us
Is like flying a kite, you hold on but you cannot control.
Don’t let a failure or lack of success
Stop you from reaching your goal.
Have a great week.