As the world unravels around us and the feelings of powerlessness start to bite, I’ve taken refuge in nature and (of course) books. Poetry really does hit the spot when all else fails. And there’s nothing like major international crises to switch our focus from big to small. I can’t fix pandemics or conflicts but I can pause in my day to look up at the sky. Other things I’ve noticed: a seagull woke me up this morning with a screeching laugh; the daffodils beside the shed are still trying to come up; Hugo the kitten’s eyebrows are gorgeous.
It’s a scary world, and it was ever thus. Megalomaniac despots will always make a grab for land. Viruses will always make a grab for hosts. But we are here. And in every day there are moments of beauty. Be open to them and they’ll find you.
Here’s my Thought for the Day about my encounter with a goshawk and everything she taught me.
Having spent some time in the company of Mary Oliver last week on the topic of ‘worry’ I couldn’t help but notice that the word is all around. I saw a Twitter post recently that said: “Women are now in charge. No worries if not!”
Unsurprisingly it quickly went viral. It’s funny, of course, but it also manages to say something incredibly deep about what’s going on with that phrase. Women in particular are fond of it, as we seek to minimise requests and thereby take up less space in the world. It turns up at the bottom of emails, on social invitations, even in close relationships. It trips off the tongue (and page) so easily that I have to make a concerted effort to avoid it. And, whisper it, there’s internalised misogyny in there too: men who ask for something are confident; women are annoying.
So. Are you inviting someone for coffee? Sending an email with a new work idea? There’s no need for those little words at the end. You’re worth spending time with and you’ve got good ideas that are worth sharing.
Oh and do you need someone to rescue you from a burning building? You got it. Just ask for help. After all, in this scenario, there are many worries if not.
We’re still in the middle of things aren’t we? There’s not a school around with a full capacity of pupils in class; so many family and friends are unwell at the minute; rules keep changing.
Funny enough, this Mary Oliver poem is speaking to me these days. I’d love to say I share her ability to shake it off (the end of this piece is gorgeous) but I’ll certainly use this wisdom to keep trying. Worry doesn’t achieve anything after all.
The rollercoaster goes up and down and then up again. With immense relief I can report that Chris’s MS relapse has fixed itself. Isn’t the brain amazing? It’s been an unsettling month, with daily reminders that a neurological condition is now part of our lives.
And yet. Daily reminders, too, that we are surrounded by lovely people who send messages, bring food and make us laugh. In amongst that crowd are wise and talented neurologists who keep us right. We feel held up in many ways.
Over to Chris for an update:
Press to watch on YouTube
The future is uncertain but with moments of joy all around – we just need to seek them out. And best of all, it’s full of love.