Category Archives: Philosophies

Commentaries and poems about life

October 2016

Moving Moments

greyton-snow-capped-mountainsEver since I can remember I have dreamt of living in a space surrounded by mountains, forests and rivers. And now, finally, having reached a point in my life when I no longer had commitments that bound me to a city life, I sold my house in the city, and moved to a small village in the Overberg district of the Western Cape, called Greyton.

This is not the first time I have moved. I wonder at the nine moves I have undertaken since my early adulthood. Three of those were by choice; the rest circumstantially provoked. I hope however that having used up my nine “lives” as it were, this is the last move I will have undertaken pending my final move into the great unknown at the time of my death. Perhaps the fact that Greyton is literally at the end of the road before the mountains, I can take that symbolically.

According to an article by Will Stone published in the Express that lists the major stressors we might experience in our lifetime, I have been exposed to all of the top stressors and most of them precipitated the need to move. It is perhaps small wonder that having now moved into a place that some have called a piece of heaven, I have finally been able to take the time out to rest and heal. I do aologise to the users of my website for not having kept up the pace of regularly posting new articles, but at the same time I have needed the past three years to just STOP the rushing need to DO and enjoy the peace of this moment in time.

And this is where I pause to reflect. Perhaps a parallel can be drawn here between the physical act of moving house and the emotional act of moving on; of letting go of anger, self doubt, self deprecation and other dark emotions that come with the territory of traumatic life events. Both are hard decisions to make and, as with all decisions, both involve the reality of loss and gain. There are many who talk about moving on as if it were the easiest thing in the world. And yet it is so hard and so much easier to become a prisoner of the things that have been done to us; that have hurt, disrupted and traumatised our lives. Sometimes it seems to be impossible to set them aside and make a deliberate choice to move on. i-am-leo And yet it is those moments of decision, what I like to call the moving moments of our lives, that spur us on and move us forwards on our life’s not always easy journey. And since so often these moving moments come with deeper insights and understanding, they should be treasured in our memory banks as the golden cornerstones of our foundations.

I think a mistake that many make is the, in my opinion, false belief, that moving on from past hurts and pain means forgiving and forgetting. I believe that tryig to do this in a forced way could be the very thing that anchors us into not moving forward in a healthy way. These are topics for another time but I would like to say that I am not a believer in cheap grace. What I do believe is that the memories of both the traumas and the successes and joys of our past, are what makes up the tapestry of who we are in the present. To negate the one and only focus on the other can lead to an unhealthy imbalance in our holistic wholeness. A healthy heart beats up and down along the life line – it is the manic heart that ticks up and up and the depressed one that ticks down and down. So I do not promote forgetting; just not drowning in the quagmire of our hurts.kitkat

 

As with a household move, a decision to “move on” comes with its own special kinds of rewards. There is the culling of unwanted baggage, taking with us items and memories that will enrich the new life, and a stirring of our creative energies as we plan our future both inner and outer gardens and decorate our new both inner and outer homes. It is a process of looking forward as we meet and engage with new people and new life experiences in a positive way.

July Food for Thought

Salt

saltThis is what a single grain of salt looks like. It reminds me of a crystal or precious gem. I was thinking about salt. For many people salt is seen as a bad thing – something to be avoided in food. And yes – too much salt can be extremely harmful. But sometimes a pinch of salt in our food makes all the difference between bland  and enjoyable. It occurs to me that a realtionship without a pinch of salt might be rather bland. On the other hand, when too much salt is thrown into the mix, only harm can result.

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June Food for Thought: Marigolds

marigold3
I love marigolds.

In looking for meanings of this flower I discovered that they are seen to be flowers of the sun. Words like passion and creativity are also associated with them as is good conversation. With reference to their growth pattern they are considered to be an extraordinarily resilient plant.

An interesting blog dedicated to marigold seed sowers for good in a troubled world can be found at http://www.marigoldloavesandfishes.com/.

Not everyone likes the marigold. There are some people who associate it with death and jealousy. It is however just that ambivalence that draws me this flower. It seems to hold within the aroma and delicacy of it’s petals, the depths of humanity’s pain, their ability to stay strong in spite of adversity, and their passion for life.

As humans when faced with adversity we have this choice – we can look at the event and focus on the good or we can acknowledge the pain while also finding beauty and a will to go forward in spite of . . .

What do you chose?

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June Editorial – Beating the ‘winter’ blues

marigold bowl I know that this time of the year is not associated with winter in many parts of the world, but here in “sunny” South Africa, in June we leave autumn behind and enter our winter months. So I thought I would make the theme of my editorial this month “Beating the Winter Blues”. In line with this I have also replaced my former all grey color scheme of my website with a new look featuring one of my favorite flowers: the bright yellow marigold.violets2 But life is transient in nature and so, as winter begins to set in, the former glory of my sun loving marigolds has had to make way for the more delicate viola, a plant more suited to the winter climate.

When it rains here in the Cape even the sea looks stark and gloomy. We are an interesting country in that the Cape is best known as the Cape of Good Hope but we are also known as the Cape of Storms. Seals

Our winters tend to have this same dichotomy, with wonderful sunny days making their ongoing entrance into days of rain and gloom. Come June, we can usually anticipate this fluctuating weather pattern for many months to come – with cold wet days even making their entrance as late as November.

The unpredictable nature of this  pattern serves as a reminder that no matter how hard things can get, there are always moments of beauty onto which we can tag our bleakness and know that summer is still on the way. But this is tempered by the certainty that no matter how wonderful life might seem at a given point in time, there will  also be moments of sadness, crisis or even trauma that come in to darken our days.
The question is: Where do we place our focus?

Even in the worst of weather if we  take our focus off the weather and look around there are always moments that can become a good memory to  walk alongside the bad ones that often tend to flood in like a heavy rain in a thunder storm. Hout Bay harbour

I remember a much looked forward to outing to Seal Island in Haut Bay. Instead of the hoped for cloudless skies and wonderful views we all found ourselves huddled inside the cabin – the weather outside was dangerously bad as the boat rocked over the deep swells causing people to slide down the deck.  Of course once the seals were sited,  people did rush to the deck in spite of the bad weather, risking their lives in the process. When I came home  my photos were also dark and gloomy – instead of color everything came out in greyscale. But with a bit of work I had fun adding my photo of children surfing at Bondi Beach in Sydney Austraia to the seals surfing here and came up with a fun picture. Surfing school seals and kids

Of course both are at risk of the ever present menace of the great white shark, but then that is another story.

I wonder where you might be at this moment in time? Are you experiencing a cloud burst  that leaves you drained, dejected and exhausted or are you able to look at that cloudburst and decide to step out singing in spite of it?

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May Food for Thought

How many times do we look at something or someone and judge by what we see? lemon

Let’s take the lemon for example. I have had many people emphatically declare to me that the lemon is an acid.  cut lemonThe truth is,  the lemon has a high alkaline content. When I experience heartburn, a slice of lemon in a glass of cold water is usually all I need to re-balance my system.The lemon might suggest acid and taste sour but when you get to know it,  there never was a sweeter fruit.

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Life

life

Life

I wonder sometimes how many of us forget how transient the various stages of life actually are. The scriptural book of Ecclesiastises has a recurring theme: “all is vanity”. I’ve often reflected on that translation and my investigations led me to The New Jerome Biblical Commentary in which I discovered that the original hebrew word was in fact hebel which, literally translated, means breath or vapor. It has occurred to me that replacing the word vanity with transience brings new meaning to the wisdom words contained in that book. I drew my inspiration from that book to create this poem:”life in a nutshell transitions seven stages infancy complete” It also links into Erikson’s theory relating to the stages of psychosocial development, although Erikson identified 8 stages not seven. In my poem I am referring to infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle adult, late adult and finally old age. Every age brings new perspectives on life and on living. Inevitably however life involves living through those stages, experiencing the transience of each, from birth to death. There is no escaping the inevitability of today’s realities becoming tomorrow’s memories.

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Guava recipes

 

 Guava Chutney

Guava ChutneyApril is now just turning into May and with that my guava fruits have begun to ripen. My fears that the fruits might be spoilt were for nothing and I have a wonderful crop of yellowing fruit giving me the pleasure of not only a delicately delicious flavor but also filling my kitchen with a fresh fruity aroma. But what to do with all that fruit. I came up with this recipe for a chutney.

Ingredients

900 grams ripe guavas
900 grams ripe tomatoes
2 red onions (sliced)
White grape vinegar (to measure)
225 grams brown sugar
5 ml peppercorns
5 ml pickling spices (whole)
5 ml ground ginger
5 ml salt (optional)

Method

Scald, peel and quarter the tomatoes and guavas. Remove the seeds and strain these into a measuring jug. Add vinegar so that the combined liquid measures 600 ml. Thinly slice the remaining tomato and guava flesh.Combine all ingredients in a preserving pan, bring to the boil then simmer until really thick and rich.(Approximate time for simmering: between 1 – 2 hours – keep checking, especially towards the end of the cooking period, to ensure that the mixture does not burn. Turn into preserving jars. This amount will fill 2 x 500ml jars.

Calory count: Approximately 40 cals. per 25ml serving

 

 

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Food for Thought

guava  With the onset of autumn, the former brilliance of my guava tree blossoms have now turned into the promise of a bountiful crop. As I watch the tiny fruits grow, I feel a twinge of guilt in the knowledge that I have not sprayed against the enemy fruit fly.

I am a reluctant sprayer of poisons in my garden and tend to avoid it if possible. guava2And yet so many times the potential that is seen in the tiny fruits, when they finally turn ripe, is not realised, as the first bite into the delicious fruit, reveals the first worm and the fruit has to be discarded. Perhaps a parable can be made of this.

 

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