Omnipollent nature – beauty in the ordinary

Just in case you wanted another miracle (and the The upward pointing icicle and other miracles was always a popular post on this blog) here we have a bee with blue knees. The pollen she is collecting comes from one of these lace cap hydrangeas. But the whole blue suede knees thing is to be encouraged I think.

Gathering the beautiful and extraordinary in the ordinary is a life enhancing practice. As a psychotherapist I spend a lot of my working life wondering what it is that makes some people able to feel content, delighted in life, peaceful and fulfilled, and what makes others frazzled and despairing. Obviously there is circumstance – some situations militate against joy and peace. But often it is about our attitude, and noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary is one easy and reliable way to up your quotient of satisfaction. So I am offering this bee image today.

Bees gather pollen to take back to the hive as a protein food. Their carbs come from the honey they make (obviously enough), and they also gather water (for cooling the hive and for the manufacture of honey), and propolis (tree resin) which they use as glue and wood filler, and for mummifying dead mice in the hive in the winter (yes……really…..don’t dwell on it, it is gross). But pollen is the other thing which they gather and store for later use. Sometimes when you open a beehive you can see all kinds of different pollens which have been gathered. This blue one is this year’s favourite  and has been announced ‘seasonal miracle’ here at Alchemical Towers.

 

One for the money

Two for the show

Three to get ready and

Go, cat go! But don’t you step on my blue suede [knees]!

You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede [knees]!

 

(are you dancing yet?)

 

 

Rigidity and fracture – be a willow tree…

When structures harden, and crash in to other hard structures, they fracture, fragment, and break. Rocks,  tectonic-plated continents, religious systems, political ideas, and of course, hearts. The hardening of our ideological positions holds the danger of rendering us brittle, subject to cracking up down the fault line of our weakness. What might once have been a powerful, beautiful, coherent whole runs the risk of shattering in to meaningless parts. Being too hard, too intolerant of ambivalence and otherness, makes us vulnerable. It does not make us stronger.

There is always doubt in faith (whether that is spiritual and religious faith, or faith in a more secular ideal). Doubt is what makes faith real, it is that which removes it from the realm of fantasy in to the realm of choice. By knowing doubt, and where you stand in relation to it (willing to have it behind you), you can have an honest, flexible, vulnerable and surrendered faith. The fault line of our faith is our gold.ecotherapy ecopsychology transpersonal psychotherapy katy baldock

Fanaticism is a failure of flexibility. It is a denial of otherness, a pathological incapacity to know the world may look different through the eyes of the other. The incapacity is in all likelihood born of fear, a fear of what the other may do if they are not controlled. It operates within the psyche as well – in oppression of inconvenient longings, fears, thoughts – in the denial of our doubt.

Opinions, including very strongly held opinions, are a life-giving pillar of our inner and outer life. We orientate ourselves around our opinions and values, create systems for living out of them. But when we become hardened, rigid, monolithic, then we risk crashing in to the opinions of others and breaking up. In an earthquake zone, architects take care to build flexibility in to their structures, so that when the earth shakes the building can move with it. A willow tree bends with the breeze, flexibility allows it to stay strong and standing when met with great force. The heart – and our faith –  needs to be the same – strong, stable, but not hard. Clear, but not fanatical. Open, not closed.

 

 

 

 

The Bright Field. A poem for late summer.

In August there can be more time to stop the rush and tumble of our lives, and to bathe in the richness of what is here. Every second taken away from awareness of the eternal present is a second lost. Most of us lose most of our seconds, most of the time. Screwed up in to tight little balls of anxiety, regret, striving, good intention and well laid plans we miss our life as it flows on by – the river of being always on its inexorable way, same river, always different. Finding the discipline to be present changes everything. Or actually it changes nothing, but it opens a window on to the eternal treasure waiting for us to stop by and say hello.

Here is RS Thomas’ poem, ‘The Bright Field’ which says all this with such beauty.

I have seen the sun break through

to illuminate a small field

for a while, and gone my way

and forgotten it. But that was

the pearl of great price, the one field that had

treasure in it. I realise now

that I must give all that I have

to possess it. Life is not hurrying

 

on to a receding future, nor hankering after an

imagined past. It is the turning aside

like Moses to the miracle

of the lit bush, to the brightness

that seemed as transitory as your youth

once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

 

RS Thomas.

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