Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Enough Meaning

This morning I read an article by a Benedictine Monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast. Some of the things he said stayed with me. Maybe because I'm feeling washed out by this bug....but it made me reflect on my new life situation.....although I think about that all the time anyway.

I precis...

"Death is an event that puts the whole meaning of life into question......we are occupied with purposeful activities....and then along comes death and confronts us with the fact that purpose is not enough. We live by meaning. 
We tend to equate purpose with meaning and when purpose is taken away we stand there without  meaning.
The challenge is when all-purpose comes to an end can there still be meaning?

With purpose we must be active, in control, 'stay on top of things'.....use our circumstances like tools to serve our aims.

But matters are different when we deal with meaning.
Here is is not a matter of using but of savouring the world around us. We are more passive, as in ...'it moved me deeply'.

Our goal is to let meaning flow into our purposeful activities....by fusing activity and passivity into genuine responsiveness.

Death puts our responsiveness to the ultimate test."

Looking after Robin for the last 6 years became my purpose in life.  I stopped thinking about the meaning of it all. No time or attention for that question.

 I found something a long time ago that always helped me when the 'What's the meaning of life?' question arose.
Something the Dali Llama said about our reason to be here "is to be happy and to help other people be happy along the way if we can". Not that I apply it to myself very often.

I feel bereft and purpose -less now.  And being happy, except briefly, seems unlikely.

But this morning, when I came back from Wairtose with bags of shopping, because I felt a bit dizzy and tired -  it was probably too soon to go out after the bug -  I sat a while at the table and watched the rain falling on the garden.

And I noticed I was smiling as I followed the antics of the birds, all so different, flying in and out of the trees -  so busy, so chatty. So purposeful. Not asking the point of their lives. But giving me so much pleasure as I savoured them....the quick darting joy of them.

Which is enough meaning for me today.....at least on this last Tuesday in January.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Bed Bubble

Some dear friends are travelling in South Africa at the moment. I was there with my family, in the Cape, at the end of January 2012, a few weeks after my father died. We spent a day on this beautiful  beach called Noetzie which has very happy holiday associations from my childhood there when we used to visit my grandparents.

Now I'm laid low with a tummy bug. For three days now. Watery and wobbly. Staying horizontal, under blankets, sometimes reading or dozing, my laptop and phone close by, occasionally cooking myself rice and scrambled eggs to stick myself back together........the hours meandering through me.....the whole of me giving up to the tremors of the earthquake which scattered my world 13 weeks ago....letting myself tremble in my bed bubble.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Doubled Up

I wanted today to be about Jeffrey.....remembering and honouring him.....I held it together most of the funeral.....and afterwards in the pub...talking to all those people I knew and hardly recognised from 30 years ago. But Robin kept slipping in.... a shadow by my side whispering in my ear,
Who is this person? Do I know them? Can we go home now?

I am home now.....but it was all a bit too much.....my stomach and my heart turned upside down again....doubled up with hurting.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Feathers, Cold, Not Coming Back...

The wonder and mystery of feathers. Warm and waterproof.

Feel disabled by the cold. Even my my brain is sluggish. In the market the wind cuts through my coat as if it's made of paper. I struggle to stuff bunches of wet kale and spinach into brown bags even with my gloves on.

In the upstairs cafe afterwards my friends warm my hands with theirs before our hot coffee arrives. They suggest Vitamin B for circulation. And sheepskin mittens.

All day I'm thinking about our friend whose funeral I'm going to tomorrow.
 About how alive he is in my memory. 
And how this time last year Robin had his first night in hospital. Believing he could get better.
 And how lucky I am to be alive.
And how I have to think really hard to believe that it's really really true that neither of them are coming back.

A  coal tit taking a bath this morning in his waterproof coat of feathers.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Sometimes I could drown...

More swan - because I can't resist her utter elegant beauty.

A few moments today..

I buy a Senior Rail Card. It means I can get one third off the cost of fares. For some reason it makes me feel older than I did when I got my pension. Even though I'm very grateful for it. I'll be catching the early morning Penzance train to Paddington on Friday.

I share a coffee with a dear friend in a steamed up lunch time cafe. It makes my clothes smell of hot cooking oil but she makes my day richer, lighter.

The lovely young man in the Apple store shows me how to back up my iPhone and how to locate it if I lose it. Phew.

I boil up another cauldron of dark and bitter sweet marmalade.  It may still be runny. Like the other batch. Oh well.

Tonight I learn of the death of an old friend from my childhood days in Africa. He had leukaemia. He wasn't much older than me. I can remember playing with him in a hot, dry garden somewhere before I ever knew about school.

I thought we were all living longer. But only some of us it seems. 

Sometimes I could drown in this lake of sadness.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Lost Phone

 The Queen's swans on the river Exe on Sunday.

This morning I drive through a foggy Exeter, north east

into bright sunshine for a session with my lovely family constellations counsellor....and find clarity and strength and healing in her blessed intuition and wisdom.

Later in town I have a horrible few minutes when I lose my phone.  I thought it was in my coat  pocket. I search through the deep pockets of my handbag. It's not there. I retrace my steps looking on the pavements for its brown leather case. If someone found it what would they do? Keep it? Hand it in? I wrack my brains for the last shop I went into - the health food shop where I was looking for Chia seeds. 

Did I leave my phone here? I ask the two women assistants.

We haven't see one, they say.

Then I look beyond them at the counter where I bought the seeds and there it is in its brown leather case.
My knees nearly collapse. I want to cry with relief.

My life isn't really in my phone. But it is my heart line of connection to my world.

Today I felt how fragile that connection is and how quickly and easily it can be broken, taken away.

It's 3 months ago today that Robin died - 24th October -  and I couldn't feel him. I couldn't find him in my life today. Maybe I just couldn't bear to remember that day.....and I lost my phone to remind me.....to be practical... to back it up on iCloud......

 but also to remind me that our connection is not lost, not broken, it's just not in the same place that it was. And I need to look inside, in my heart, to remember him.