Tag Archives: New Year

TRANSITIONS & NEW BEGINNINGS – NAVIGATING CHOPPY WATERS

It is the time of year for transitions and new beginnings – new class, new school, new University. A time for looking forward to the new and letting go of the old.

For some, it will be exciting, and for others terrifying, and for most of us, a mixture of the two.

For me it is a time of contemplating the opportunities and sadness that comes with an emptying nest, as my daughter makes her way to a new beginning at University.

This last summer I took her for the first time, back to my roots – to Zimbabwe, where one of our adventures was to raft the mighty Zambezi – the toughest one day white water in the world.

I’ve  done it before and know what can go wrong, which actually only makes it doubly terrifying! Coupled with that, my daughter’s father had sent me a news clip of a woman being taken by a crocodile not so long ago on the same venture. He was  convinced I was taking my daughter to her death…..

We  survived, but the pictures show how rough it was, how I came out  of the boat in the roughest rapid, but managed to cling on…unlike the Ozzie in the neighbouring raft, which flipped, and he got sucked into a whirlpool and nearly drowned..

The unknown is so often scary, and these days it is always possible to find horror stories of the dangers that lie ahead. I have been anxious, contemplating this next phase of my life, even though I know it could be a great adventure.

I have been grateful to a friend who has sent me good thoughts each morning and I thought that for the rest of this month I will do a short ‘thought for the day’. Maybe it will help some of you who are navigating new and possibly choppy waters. At least it will set me daily on a positive path

So here is my thought for today:

“It is not required that we know all of the details about every stretch of the river. Indeed, were we to know, it would not be an adventure, and I wonder if there would be much point in the journey.”
Jeffrey R. Anderson

 

 

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About Purpose and Scarab Beetles…..

Scarab BeetleThis weekend I led a meditation on the word ‘Purpose’ as a way of beginning this New Year.

As a preparation for meditation, we allowed a symbol to come to mind that in some way represented Purpose. Over the many years that I worked with the teacher who taught me this meditation, she continually emphasized the importance of accepting the first symbol that came, whether or not it seemed wacky, or we understood its meaning or significance.

The last time I did this meditation, the image that came to me was of an acorn, for which I was most grateful. I first learnt this meditation when my University students were in their cradles, and I often feel that I have not learnt the lessons with which I was wrestling at the time. Oak trees are of course, extremely slow growing, but they are also very long lasting, and I was reminded to be patient with myself, and to value the process instead of  looking for dramatic results.Scarab Beetle

This weekend the image that came was that of a Scarab Beetle. I was intrigued, knowing that the scarab beetle has some significance in Egyptian mythology, but not what, and also that beetles are not usually the most likeable of creatures! The ‘not knowing’ allowed me just to relax with the overall concept of Purpose, and not to get into my analytical mind, which has a habit of intruding on my meditations.

Afterwards I looked up Scarab Beetles. There are many types of scarabs, but perhaps the best known (and of interest to me) is the Dung Beetle.

Dung Beetle

‘Dung beetles have a keen sense of smell that allows them to hone in on their favourite food and use specialized mouth parts to draw out moisture and nutrients from the waste. Some species simply live in the dung, while others form perfectly spherical dung balls, which they roll with their hind legs, often over large distances, to a place where they can bury it. Females plant a single egg in a dung ball where it matures from larva to fully formed beetle, feeding off the waste. Because they move so much waste underground, dung beetles are considered essential to controlling disease and pests among livestock.’ National Geographic

I was pretty astonished at the symbolic references – for anyone interested, there is a fairly exhaustive article that begins in the Paleolithic era referencing shamans, and the ability of the beetles to both fly (address issues in the celestial world) and dive into the earth (acting as mediators between infernal powers and ordinary men.) Perhaps the best known is the Egyptian mythology which associates the scarab with the rising sun god Khepri – the association being of the god rolling the ball of the sun through the skyScarab Beetle in Egyptian Art

The symbol of the scarab was also used in burials – A large (3-10cm) “heart scarab” was suspended from the mummy’s neck with a gold wire or chain, not only as a token of resurrection, but as an advocate to help the deceased to present his defence before the tribunal. These scarabs were often made with green stone (basalt, schist, jade, etc.), for green was an auspicious colour.

The article ends in the 17th century, with references to German Jesuits and alchemists who associated the scarab with Christ, resuscitated from the dead; a promise of resurrection for all human beings!

http://www.insects.org/ced1/beetles_rel_sym.html

Apart from anything else, this research demonstrates to me power of symbol, and the depth and breadth of meaning associated in one image.

But what stands out for me most of all, is that the scarab beetle takes shit, does something with it, and enables it to nourish and form new life. That sounds about what I do, and is a good enough purpose for me!  IMG_4715

Some thoughts for the New Year

Yes

IMG_2069

Embrace

I began this Year at my favourite place in York – down by the river, near the Millenium Bridge.

I had spent the previous half hour taking part in a meditation shared by others around the country, reflecting on 2014, starting at the end and going back to the beginning. I have had a number of years that in many ways had been pretty challenging, and it was a joy to me to allow my mind to take me wherever it would, and to find for the most part, joy and gratitude.

Then each of us paused to see in the New Year as we wished, and followed that with another short meditation, finding our way into the New Year, and finding a word that connected us to the Year.

I had been thinking about this beforehand, and had been thinking about the word Balance (more on which in a later post), but two words came to me, and they were YES, and EMBRACE.

Yes

I have seen firsthand in my own life what it means to say YES, even when it seems frightening and there are many unknowns. It took me a couple of years of fear and vascillation before I I could say YES to moving to York, and now in just three years, I have a wonderful stockpile of memories and and experiences for which I am enormously grateful, and which would not be there without that initial YES.

Now you…

What is it that you would like to say YES to in this coming year? Give yourself some time and space to write.

Write down whatever it is that you would like to say YES to, and then keep writing until all your fears and worries and logical reasonings as to why you should not/could not do that are all on paper, and you find that you have written to plan of how to get to that YES

Now go out and do it! Better still, at the end of the Year, write down what it was, and how you got there, and send it to me! I want to start a Treasure chest of Triumphs!

Embrace

verb (used with object)embraced, embracing.
1.to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.

2.to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly:

to embrace an idea.

3.to avail oneself of:

to embrace an opportunity.

4.to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.):

to embrace Buddhism.
5.to take in with the eye or the mind.
6. to encircle; surround; enclose.

7.to include or contain:

An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.
What immediately came to me, sitting on a plastic bag on a bench by the river at 00.05, 1/1/15 (floods over Christmas meant the benches were really muddy and I was well prepared!), was to EMBRACE those aspects of life  which I normally spurned/criticised/feared, and see what I had been missing! Also, to EMBRACE myself – those aspects of myself which I daily spurn/criticise/fear.

Now You….

Allow yourself to acknowledge those things which scare/annoy/frustrate you, and to wonder (preferably in writing) what it would be like to embrace them? And as Henrietta Klausner(author  of Write it Down, Make it Happen) says, what might be the outcome of the outcome, and the outcome of that outcome….

Ask yourself the question “And because of that… then’ and keep asking, until you arrive at what, at depth, is important to you in Embracing whatever it is you are writing about. I am sure that in the process of this process, you will find the motivation to overcome your objection…

 

Wishing you a wonderful New Year, in which you Dare Greatly, say YES, and EMBRACE, and create a Treasure Chest of extraordinary memories for which to be thankful this time next Year!