Thursday, 19 January 2012

Vulnerability

"[We are] vulnerable to our techno/virtual culture creating a false sense of our power as the earth's god, and as such, we are no longer capable of listening and learning other than from ourselves." (A Journey Tracing Roots, Peter Cock. www.ecopsychology.org)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Alternative Perspectives

There is a bike ride I often do around here and although I often vary it in various subtle ways it remains very much the same. Yesterday, however, I did the ride in reverse and it felt quite different. When you do the same journey time after time you do notice different things about the landscape but, usually you are seeing it from the same perspective. By turning round and altering the viewpoint it is interesting how the familiar can suddenly become quite different. There are new views, the light comes from different angles, the hills are different... etc. The overall landscape hasn't changed as such but how you approach your viewpoint has. I found my ride quite enlightening, new and refreshing. Perhaps it is good to turn around and go the other way for a while!

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I happened to attend a men's breakfast organised by my church yesterday which initiated the impetus to do the above bike ride. It was the first time in many years that I had been to a 'Christian' thing and not come away emotionally upset, angry or frustrated. I think I am learning to settle down a little now and forming a method of coping and existing in such environments. I think yesterday I approached worship in a different way so that I could participate in a more accepting and tolerant way. For me it is about looking at the words of modern day 'choruses' and looking for the mystical, ecological, elemental and natural references that can be reinterpreted into a sort of eco-cosmic-pagan interpretation. I was mildly surprised at how much symbolism and terminology can be cross-referenced. For example: we sang a popular church chorus that contains the lines 'Shout to the North and the South, Sing to the East and the West'. Now that did remind me of something to do with the casting of circles that I have come across in my readings elsewhere...

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Everyone has story. Each is as valid as one another's. Acceptance of this is important. Our story forms us into who we are up to the present moment.

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Why is it that so much of a hang up in Christian circles about people not being worthy or having low value? It feels as though there is an ingrained concept of negativity that pervades the faith that teaches people they have no worth apart from their worth in God. This frustrates me because from an 'original blessing' view I would never teach this - it almost encourages the devaluing of people and who they are. I'm probably deeply wrong on this, but I'm not putting forward a well thought through argument on the case here as it needs more indepth theology and thinking!

Monday, 9 January 2012

January Blooms

Today was warm. Warm for January anyway - probably about 10-12 degrees C. I had a little walk at lunchtime and was quite happy to be out without a coat, hat or cloves. The high winds of last week have given way to a relatively mild week. Over the past couple of weekends I've been out gardening - weeding the allotment; pruning and cutting back shrubs and plants in the garden and general tidying up and odd bits of landscaping. There seem to be ladybirds hiding everywhere.

In Devon over just before New Year saw the occasional daffodil, crocus, celandine, herb robert, red campion, dandelion, white deadnettle and blackberry in flower.

Walking through the garden at Castle Drogo on the north side of Dartmoor almost felt like being somewhere in early spring. There seemed to be so many bushes in bud - quite subtlety in most cases yet it felt significant and as if the plants were about to awaken from dormancy.

On the allotments yesterday saw marigolds and wallflowers in bloom. Felt like it was time to plant seeds and potatoes - but that should be another couple of months away!

Forsythia flowers, early cherry (?) blossom and wild arum leaves also seen.







Place of trees

Notes from sketchpad 28 December 2011, Lydford Forest, Devon

Sheltered : cool breeze but not cold : sunlight highlight the beautiful bright greens of the mosses underfoot : south facing : cloudy with sunny intervals : high pitched calls of birds (tits etc) : whooshing of wind in tree tops, but still here : golden brown leaves on beech saplings : murmur of stream below : mosses all over the ground - deep, soft : spacious : light filters down between the dark douglas firs : Qi Gong - feel and hear the moment of the air around me : special place

Beauty of Creation

Reflections written 27 December 2011 whilst at Lamerton Church, Devon.

There is beauty in this dark porch. Sheltered from the cool breeze with dusk falling and light fading. It is impossible to see what I am writing so I am having to scribble by guesswork. The old metal gates are silhouetted against the dark yews and the greyness of the churchyard. This old wooden bench is my resting place after the hours of motorway driving and the beginning of a holiday at the end of the year. Christmas is over and this is a pilgrimage that takes me out into the wildness of nature. Here I am, in this old stone porchway of this ancient stone church.

This small space is so old and yet so beautiful. The handcrafted stones stand cold and exposed, like the tors on nearby Dartmoor. With the high arching woodwork, an old heavy wooden door, Christmas floral arrangements and crafted metal gate this is a wonderful place to be - to rest. It is a place created by ancient craftsmen - you can sense the work of their hands and you can imagine the 1000's of worshipers who have passed through into the place of worship. By their handiwork the craftsmen give their gift to God. This place reflects the beauty of the created world in a time when wood and stone meant so much to people who knew how to use their hands to fashion form from the wilderness. How their skills have been lost and with them a sense of awe and wonder at the simplest of things. The heavy stonework exudes peace.

This is my place to Be right now.