Fog of grief


© Thinkstock

Occasionally something rises as Excalibur that speaks directly to the heart.

Well, while gliding up Twitter feeds, a grieving Aunt was comforted by a compassionate soul with ‘So sorry. We thank him for his service to Our Country. Rest In Peace.’

It doesn’t matter if these two compassionate souls know one another. Acknowledgement of pain and its cause matters somehow to the process of accommodating it. Why?

Amid the pestilencial perfidy slithering itself around the Globe has been revealed an appetite for humanity to shine stronger. One aspect blazons strength of resistance to unseen attack. Another demonstrates the importance of softening the heart to others’ suffering. Not feeling so alone in grief is itself of comfort and support.

It helps knit together forever broken threads.

The nature of our nature


©  Basic Elements Photography / Getty              Walls in Antelope Canyon        The smoothly eroded walls of both Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon are slot canyons located on land belonging to the Navajo Nation, near Page, Arizona.

Is it just me or do you idly anthropomorphize objects – you know, see human form in clouds, trees, … rock? Well, take a look.

The couple locked in an impossibly forbidden kiss simply breaks my heart.

To restore things, therefore, cheer yourselves up with this exquisite demonstration of virtuosic performance by Renaud Capuçon and Guillaume Bellom, musicians whose joie’d’vie simply splooshes over the brim.

Look at how they Listen to one other.

Bringing joy builds muscles for bringing joy. Listening builds muscles for Listening. …

Call me by my name


© A Rinehart, 1892                                                  Teenagers: they never change

When in North London – or anyplace else, does this happen to you? A thought occurs, you turn to which ever device is to hand and before you know it, the original question is lost in mists of diversion and you find yourself looking at photographs of First People of Turtle Island, the original inhabitants’ term for their land, namely what is now North&South Americas&Canada.

Captivated by the strength of character in every single face of this montage of Turtle Islanders, you can see them all here.

If you look, perhaps you’ll share a sense of dismay in the documenting of a whole culture which now exists subsidiary to a European model.

Such was the way of the world.

It’s odd, isn’t it, that those whose dignity has never been questioned seem ‘to hold their manhood cheap’ while others robbed of grace and stature, are the living embodiment of those virtues others discard.

In light of the potential for begetting a fresh model of existence, perhaps we can all play a role in giving others the space and permission to live truly in the dignity of their culture? Rather than forcing others into our moulds, might not sitting together to smoke a pipe of peace achieve more?

A poem, We the first People, whose author is unknown ends …

But my question is | How did we exist | For hundreds of centuries without them?

Arc of our covenant


© Evening Standard

In the UK, crayoned pictures have been fixed to windows reminding passers-by of how the NHS contributes to the health of the nation. We clap in recognizing heroic efforts of those on the front-line at 8pm each Thursday.

Last week, in the fifteen or so minutes preceding this weekly applause, there floated over London a double rainbow. The second, outer arc appearing a good five minutes after the first.

That confluence of coincidence cheered the heart … well, it cheered my heart while getting increasingly soggier … in virtue of an implicitly genial kindness: a gorgeous kind of empathy by Nature.

If the NHS – by which I mean the people who bring it into being each day and each night – has saved your life, you’ll know that it doesn’t have time to dwell on your renewed wellness because it is already acting on the next patient.

The clapping is really the only time we can transform our passive role into one of positive action. It is a kind of covenant we have to acknowledge that which is given and gracefully received.

The clue being in the title, a rainbow occurs when light penetrates through rain and is reflected, refracted & dispersed, appearing as a spectrum in the form of a septa-coloured, circular arc. Nuff said.

Centenarian reigns supreme


The scintillating success of Captain Tom Moore’s fund-raising walk may well be far lovelier for him than the recipients of his strident imagination. His first ambition to raise £1,000 swiftly swelled to £500,000, a sum now exceeded by 5,920% according to his fund raising page at £29,600,902 as of 07.00 this morning.

Giving gives. As everyone knows, giving gives the giver a sense of well-being deep within: a peace on which floats kindness, softening the heart.

Studies link random acts of kindness to releasing dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain that can give us a feeling of euphoria. This feel-good brain chemical is credited with causing what’s known as a helper’s high.

In addition to boosting oxytocin and dopamine, being kind can also increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. [quoted from Science of Kindness: link above]

NHS Charities Together, the beneficiary of Captain Moore’s charitable walk completing 100 turns of his garden before his Hundredth birthday, will doubtless yodel Many Happy Hoppies today while the rest of the population clap in recognition of all NHS healing hands at 8pm.

Now an honorary Colonel, Tom Moore has given the country far more than Thirty million quid. He’s drawn out of a worried population a little more wellness than we thought we had.

Moore power, less force


© The Times                                              Captain Tom Moore on manoeuvres

Have you ever pondered the how of people’s ability to cope with extraordinary events? I’m thinking of the advent of World War II when the times suggested themselves as slower, kinder, more trusting, more willing to do a good turn, when normality was giving the benefit of doubt to put others first.

The shock of those brutalizing six years when events spiralled ever downward with loose tongues costing lives: how did those who endured through&beyond emerge emotionally intact?

How greatly did they suffer in virtue of not speaking? Their rigour and adherence to commitments made locked them in to a kind of mind/heart/spirit cell from which honour ensured many never attempted escape.

While comparing this global pestilence with a world war wildly over-eggs the puddin’, it does seem the closest subsequent generations have come to grasping the enormity of what went before.

We are fortunate that evolving habits will not trap us into silence and there will be no shortage of empathic understanding when we need to share our experiences of this weird epoch.

Captain Tom Moore, whose suasive vivacity and spirit has raised millions for the NHS, knows at the cellular level that duty and courage enable courageous contribution to the wider world. Slowly, deliberately, his aim was true and met the target of 100 garden rondells before his Centenary. He’d considered raising £1,000. At the time of writing, his walking total is a furlong over £29 million.

An elevated mind which belongs to an ocean-swimming lawyer sent some uplifting words. Don’t know if intended as both inspiration and Haiku, but they are.

And there is a tomorrow. It does improve, if ever so slowly.

Blinking marvellous


© NASA                                           From 2016, a ‘supermassive black hole’

If a thing winks, so it declares itself to be an eye. Today, the Hubble Telescope, a miraculous gazing object which sees into an infinite past, celebrates its Thirtieth birthday: it is also the start of Ramadan.

© NASA, ESA, M. Sun (University of Alabama) and W. Cramer and J. Kenney (Yale University) via Yale News                                                                     The spiral galaxy D100, on the far right of this Hubble Space Telescope image, is being stripped of its gas as it plunges toward the center of the giant Coma galaxy cluster.    Hubble’s picture shows a colorful and poignant scene – the last of the galaxy’s gas being ripped out from its center in a massive stream of star-stuff that’s twice the length of the Milky Way Galaxy.
“It’s a 200,000-light-year-long tail of gas that you can see is very narrow connected to the center of the galaxy. You’re really seeing this galaxy in the last stages of its lifecycle of producing stars.”

Scale is incomprehensible: 200,000 light-years long? 1 light-year stretches 5.6 trillion miles. If I understood what that meant, it’d make me weak at the knees: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment” (thankfully, happened on my behalf shortly before birth!)

With Ramadan, Rūmī waltzes and whirls to mind.

Persia brought early understanding of the Heavens. Rūmī, born in Afghanistan at the start of the Thirteenth century, would have had closer proximity to all things celestial than do we by virtue its principles informed the basis of life. Not surprising then, he stiffens the sinews with exquisite shatterings, en-couraging those who hear.

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

© NASA                                                       Hubble capture of “Pillars of Creation” The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars.
The dust and gas in the pillars is seared by the intense radiation from young stars and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. With these new images comes better contrast and a clearer view for astronomers to study how the structure of the pillars is changing over time.

In these uncertain days and weeks, I wonder if pondering the place of the heart in the universe of our soul might melt the barricades we build against life?

“The wound is the place where Light enters you.”

Quotes are Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī‘s, 1207 – 1273