Here we are, already at the end of July in the summer of 2016 and I have appreciated the softness of the breeze and the rustle of leaves as summer has unfolded in all her magnificence.
Irish summer has particular qualities of its own, as anyone who lives here knows.
Unpredictable is probably the only word to describe it – just like life!
I have found myself catapulted into a time of great challenge and change over the past few months and have been particularly grateful for the support that nature has offered me through this time. As I have moved with as much grace and courage as I can through a time of deep grief and loss, the trees have moved from bare branches to full leaf bloom, showering me with green blessings every time I walked in the forest close to where I have been living. Then there were the ferns – I watched them unfurl (which truly is a magical thing to see!) and they encouraged me to unfurl too, into kindness and trust, that even though times felt so tough, all was, and is, in a very fundamental way, well.
And then there has been that beautiful, soft, sometimes warm, sometimes rain-filled summer breeze that has offered me such comfort on the days when I could not find any comfort inside myself. Many times over the last couple of months the breeze has offered me quiet little miracles – rustling through the long grasses as I walk my dog and many times waking me up to this moment, this precious moment, where I am surrounded by the yellowest of yellow buttercups and the beauty of dancing grass. And in these moments all the unhelpful stuff that I can get so easily tangled in drops away, leaving just this body, this breath, this fragile yet strong human, doing her best to live with wakefulness and heartfulness in happy times and in hard times.
I have been reminded of the Buddha’s description of life as being the realm of the ten thousand joys and the ten thousand sorrows – life brings to us all our own share of suffering and stress, but happiness and joy are also available. I see in the workshop of my own life the role that mindfulness can play in helping us surf these waves and stay awake in what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls ‘the full catastrophe’.
If the ground you tread right now is hard, I wish you softness and the eyes and heart to seek out those things or people that offer you nourishment and support.
And if your ground is soft and joyous I wish you the awareness to savour and appreciate it in every cell of your being!
In the words of the amazing 13th century Sufi poet Rumi:
‘The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep!’
I include a summer gift of the track Sí Gaoithe (Wind of the Other World) from my album Whispers of Love, which I hope you will enjoy, and details of my teaching schedule for the autumn will be posted next month.
Don’t go back to sleep!
Warm summer blessings,