Today the scent of summer is in the air.
We’re not quite there yet, but the lighter evenings and the blossoming hedgerows let us know what’s coming and relief, growing enthusiasm and excitement are palpable. Long gestated projects begin to emerge along with newly sprouting edible plants. I cook wild spring greens soups from nettles and wild garlic harvested from wild edges and on the dance floor greet friends not seen over the long winter hibernation.
It’s late spring 2017 and we stand poised at the beginnings of a new chapter.
We can choose where to focus our attention; on the confusing and disturbing unfolding of the Brexit agreement and the unexpected news of an up and coming General Election and feel rather perturbed, uneasy and unsure of how best to plan our coming years, or we can look to the only choice there actually is – to live in the present, and make our decisions moment to moment.
We live in Transition times; the patriarchal structures that have governed the past 2000 years and more are dissolving bit by bit, some of them melting away unseen whilst others claw at existence with desperate measures designed to hold onto ever diminishing power. As things change around us we can feel a little insecure, watching the certainties of childhood slip away at the same time as relishing new found freedoms and rejoice in the rise in humanitarian actions just as we wring our hands in horror at the atrocities still committed by ruling powers.
Perhaps there have always been two sides of the coin to appreciate; perhaps that is the very nature of life. Perhaps there is no good or evil but simply extremes of different qualities. What we as individuals can do midst the chaotic unfolding of a new era is to appreciate paradox and choose where to focus our attention. We always have that choice and it can be liberating to remember that just as we water our awakening gardens we can choose what to nurture in our everyday lives as well as what to promote in the wider world.
This time of budding honeysuckle and dreamy bluebell woodland scenes is a time when we can best dream our visions into being in an active way. We can choose to be preoccupied about the decisions of others and how they might affect us or we can focus our attention on that which we would like to gift to the world ourselves. Coming from a paternal culture this is still a challenge for many of us; don’t we have to ask for permission, seek approval, get loving support? Well actually, no, we don’t. The only patriarch judging you now is the one inside your head; you put it there yourself when you were young to keep you safe.
How would it be now to simply respond to your heart’s calling, listen to the call to arms within; what would you have exist in our world if there were nothing to prevent it? For me this takes many forms; sometimes I cook on retreats at the rather magical, idyllically situated Sharpham House. I enjoy nourishing people literally, and appreciating the satisfied faces of retreatants at mealtimes, knowing I have provided healthy organic local food that is good for people and good for the planet. At other times I work with language, sharing my expertise with speakers of other languages, and enjoying cross cultural exchange. Often I am immersed in books; feeding my desire to understand where we came from, find our roots, reading the stories of our ancestors in myth and folklore and then there are times when I speak with others, interviewing inspirational people for my local radio show, bringing new perspectives to our shared understanding of who we are.
Once a week I work in my community; earlier this year I founded the South Brent Storytellers Club. We work in the primary school teaching the children the value of the oral tradition, preparing them for meetings with the town’s elders, to share stories of the past and of present, so that together we can vision a future for S Brent that takes all things and all inhabitants in account. As part of our project we have begun a town Archive and the local historian has gifted us her collection of research materials so that we might learn of the recent past and add new stories to our collection as the years go by.
Mostly though, in the space between the projects that weave who I am to the people and places around me, I dream of a time when I can live free of concerns over money,where I am free to roam wild across the hills and woodlands of the lands of this Europe, land of my birth, telling stories, minstrel by my side, all through the long summer days, then I dream of harvesting a garden full of produce, pickling and preserving, baking and drying, preparing for a winter’s retreat. Yet too I would have time to write my book, the book that tells us the myth of our times; not the one we have lived, but the one that has always been ours, alive in the tales of old wives perchance, fairy tales and half remembered folklore passed down in half remembered ritual of a time when the rhythm of nature made sense to us.
How then, do I find the focus to create the reality I would live ? For there is no surer guide to a new way than the one who lives a good life, content with what life brings, showing the way to heaven here on earth by their very presence. Perhaps it is in the saying that the energy can begin to build, perhaps it is in the commitment to a dream that it can begin to manifest, perhaps it is in taking a first step into the unknown of the creative process that the reality unfolds?
Perhaps it is in the daring to dream that our passion fully rouses, and once we have a nation full of awakened dreamers we won’t need to be concerned over the actions of the desperate for they too will have awakened. There is nothing between us and a peaceful world but our repression of our own deepest longings to remember our interconnected nature.
As summer approaches, do you dare to dream? Do you dare others to dream too? Can you let go of trying to control those that control and simply live the best version of yourself? Can you share the best of yourself rather the worst of others? Can you learn to say No without malice or hate? Can you learn to see the deepest longing to do good in every character you meet? Can you recognise the trauma that acts out badly, see the desperate child in the actions of one crazed with power, and manage your own anger and frustration? Can you bring your attention home to you, see that the aspects that most frighten and disturb you are the things you run from in yourself? Can you take back your projections and be a whole person? Can we collectively dream ourselves awake? Can we recognise that any one of us at any one time can display the qualities of any one of the archetypal energies that pervade life? Nothing is personal unless we choose to make it so.
We stand at the beginning of a new chapter. Summer is coming; the signs are everywhere. What shall we water and what let wither and die? What shall we celebrate and what shall we let go of? How can we marry the past with the future and live here in the present together?
To what shall we commit our passion, what dreams will come true and what will fade away?
Summer is coming.
Summer is coming.
The signs are everywhere.
If you look
You will see
a new world is born
put your attention there
and breathe life into its form