reality: what helps keep us grounded and at peace

reality - trees - sky - landscape - what helps keep us grounded and at peace (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

These are deeply unsettling times we are living in, aren’t they? They make us yearn for a sense of solidity and thirst for a firm grounding beneath our feet. Perhaps it exists as a present reality, closer at hand than we might think.

Creation breathes out its beauty and begs us to receive it as soul food, as a nurturing balm to help us stay grounded and calm. Each time we pay attention to growing flowers and plants we get to observe how nature deals with its own seasons of alteration and loss.

In the tanka sequence poem below, I invite you to take a journey of the heart, a pause to consider what nature has to teach us now, what lies ahead, and how we are all connected to the past.

May you receive an awakening of hope and faith that will help ground you in the realest of realities. Namely that God is still in charge, and all things are somehow being worked out for good even as our lives feel shaken to the core.

reality - red and yellow begonias - Creation breathes out its beauty quote (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Reality

what is real
is the soil beneath our feet
solidity
earth grounds us, holds us fast
when all else trembles into dust

the imprints
markers of every man
woman and child
who ever lived and died
are seeded, left behind

the earth
holds all our memories
in its DNA
it doesn’t forget how we lived
breathed and walked this way

every acreage
in the changing landscape
holds a legacy
it will keep the faith for us
when we are lost, faithless

reality - garden - flowers - gate - every acreage in the changing landscape holds a legacy - (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

nature sings
an eternal siren song
we strain to listen
unaccustomed to its melody
the way it reverberates and speaks

our reality
is so often shaped by lust
fuelled by greed
hot desire can set us on fire
we lose what we have coveted

we don’t need
all that much to survive
we do need
the insight to understand
just how to live, grow and thrive

reality - bee - yellow flowers - we don't need all that much to survive (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

the natural world
provides all our necessities
all we need to live
enough resources to share
if we were generous and fair

the ethereal
the mystical, intangible
lies within our reach
it’s already invaded earth
promising us new life, new birth

our souls
rooted to earth’s reality
become whole
when they are connected
to Father, Son, Holy Spirit

God made
all that is sensed and found
he gave
his life to open our eyes
to the unlimited beyond
© joylenton

reality - garden - pond - leaves - our souls rooted to earth's reality become whole (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“The calm of a summer night
embodies Your peace, O Lord.
The beauty of a sunset
embodies Your truth, O Lord.
Everything in all creation
shouts the reality of You.”

Transformed by Love: Prayers and Reflections for All Seasons by Liz Babbs

melody: how it echoes through nature and life

“There’s a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart.” — Carlos Santana

Nature’s melody

I long to hear
the call of ancient sounds
from our primeval ancestry,
echoes of days
before our history scrawled
its way upon the page.

May birdsong beckon
me to a deeper
sense of belonging
and connectivity
to all sentient things.

May the swish
of sea washing waves
on sand become
a rhythmic melody,
like a heartbeat.

Let whispering wind
speak hushed words
I can only sense if I listen
mindfully, carefully,
with greater intent.

Let me allow
more space for creation’s song
to sing loud and long
repeatedly into my depleted
soul creativity.

May I ache for
understanding of nature’s
melody, while it breathes
and speaks soft
to every living
creature—and to me.
©joylenton

“Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasure to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.” — Alfred Billings Street

“I arise today through
The strength of heaven:
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendour of fire.
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.”
— Saint Patrick, an excerpt from his Breastplate Prayer

melody - excerpt from Saint Patrick's breastplate prayer @poetryjoy.com

Much evidence exists, anecdotal and otherwise, that spending time in nature is healing for body and soul. Forest bathing is being touted as a good thing, as is gardening, because nature has the ability to lift us out of our daily preoccupations and worries. It’s even been said to help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Listening to the sounds of nature is also beneficial and freely available to all. Because even in city life there are plants, trees, clouds, birds and sky.  Creation continually sings its melody to us, and we hear it if our ears are receptive enough to listen.

And if, like me, you cannot get out into a natural environment as much as you want to, the video below might help you feel like you are there, and possibly relax you as well. Because we could all use an extra bit of stress relief right now… 😊❤️🌿

melody - trees - leaves - sunlight - nature's melody poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

waves: seeing sacredness in everyday things

“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.” – Thomas Merton

A holy kind of noticing takes place when we view creation’s glory through a lens of faith and grace. Especially the minor things we might have otherwise overlooked. They begin to stand out for us as portents of promise, signs of beauty and praise, and messages of God’s love and grace. Will you pause a while to appreciate this with me?

waves - clouds - rural landscape - sky - trees - If we are to know life in all its fullness quote @poetryjoy.com

Sacred waves

Oh the calm, calm waves of sky
reaching out to me in scattered, skeined
arms of pale, muted grey cloud

singing out their love, revealing how
the deepest act of devotion
I might be capable of this day, this moment

maybe, is to simply watch and wonder,
pray, and absorb the gift they bring,
give thanks for my life, this offering.

Because here and now are the most
important moments I exist,
in which to sense a holy invitation

to see, touch and taste, to focus on
the divine aspects, the holy,
wholesome sacredness of this

oh so ordinary, fleeting, minor
moment when God chooses
to remind me of his presence,

and then to stretch out my fingertips,
to say yes, I will look, I will listen,
and I will receive your love and grace.

I will take this offering as a sign
of hope, and I will secure
it fast within my insecure heart,

to take out and examine again
on darker days, when light and joy
seem so very far away,

and I will recall the preciousness
of my soul’s brief noticing,
as a harbinger of light and spring.
© joylenton

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther

clouds: confessions of a not so secret cloud watcher

I love looking at clouds. Watching them drift and separate. Seeing them moving slowly or travelling at speed, while wearing dream-like, ethereal, cotton-wool threads, filled with glory from sun’s splendid rays or dressed in drab, dark robes of thunder and rain.

Clouds are entrancing however and whenever we choose to view them. Although you might think cloud watching is only possible for those who have day-dreamer hearts and look up as they walk along, or who, like me, are largely housebound and have time on their hands for staring out of windows.

But I don’t think that’s entirely true, because clouds are freely available for all of us. All we require is the incentive and interest to take a look. In doing so we might discover just how fascinating they are and how watching them helps relax and calm our mind and heart.

In looking at and considering the heavens (including clouds) we see ourselves in relation to their vastness and splendour with a different perspective, and are awed anew by God’s amazing love and concern for us.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.” – Psalm 8:3-5 (NIV)

Clouds

Clouds drift by with calm intention, knowing their position
and place in the heavens, while willing to be blown about
by the wind or be stilled and lulled with peaceful precision

There’s no pressure on them to be anything but what they are
as they move to the vagaries of the weather, splitting into soft
threads with wispy, cotton-wool edges or piled into heavy ridges

They look translucent as they dance in the changeable atmosphere
and bow down as if weighted with lead, become foggy and thick
as they take on a dense, dark and malevolent kind of character

Sunlight brings out their brilliant white, lacy virginal style when
it’s full and bright in daylight hours, then transmutes into a vivid
palette during sunrise and sunset, painted indigo, gold and red

Vastness of sky would be far less interesting to us if we didn’t
have such an eclectic scenario of clouds, altering before our eyes
in all their varied shapes and hues to inspire, intrigue and amuse
© joylenton

And one day , when the time is ripe, we will look up at the sky and see Jesus coming on the clouds of glory, ready to rule and reign in splendour.

“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” – Mark 13: 26 (NIV)

seeing by the light of a silvery moon

write31days-silvery-moon

 

I prefer subdued hues. Bright light doesn’t feature much in our house as I live with my mole-like tendencies. Others adjust – or offer a few seconds warning if they actually want enough light to see something properly.

It’s a hypersensitivity thing induced by having M.E, and it’s a personal preference when a world seems to shout for attention. I love deep and muted shades, softness and calm, though the world invades all too frequently with harshness, glare, noise and storm.

So I tend to want to lower the lights, dim things in my home, turn away from loud and fast and furious. Maybe that’s why I love clouds so much. They’re soft white fluffy pillows floating in azure seas, gilded golden layers revealing sunset’s splendour, or dark brooding heaviness waiting to rain refreshment on us.

My window watching and cloud gazing bring me joy. I could easily lose myself in them, desire to float serenely like they do. I also enjoy clouds when they’re stirred by wind’s breath, blown asunder at the onset of thunder, shredded by strong wind, torn into wispy cotton-wool threads on gentler days.

The moon also brings me joy. Each varied cratered face she shows is a marvel to behold. It doesn’t matter what stage she is at, if she’s displaying a crescent curve smile, suggestive half halo or full gleaming globe, they are all lovely in my eyes.

This poem grew out of observing a silvery moon…

Silvery moon

Sky hangs heavy with shades

of liquid milky-grey

as silvery moon swims and

bathes her benevolent gaze

upon a world melting

all too soon into fading

light while night usurps the day

©JoyLenton2016

Today, I invite you to spend some time looking out the window, or going outside. Take a while to breathe and enjoy the moment, to see and savour signs of creation’s beauty.

And if that seems impossible or invisible to you because of your less than salubrious surroundings, I understand the dilemma, I really do. Few of my photos get shared before being cropped and edited.

Maybe you could try to aim your gaze higher or zoom in on smaller things in the frame of your fixing. Keep looking, say a prayer and ask God to reveal what grace gifts lay literally at your feet, or out the window for you to view.

We journey deeper into joy whenever we can see creation’s beauty and become more appreciative of the world around us. Maybe it will stir gratitude, a prayer, a few whispers from God, a desire to try to capture something in words or via a lens. I’d love you to let me know what you discover, and how joy is unfolding for you.

write31days-silvery-moon-poem

 

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badge

Welcome to #day12  of #write31days – where we are discovering ways of  journeying into joy.

I so appreciate you being here, supporting and praying for me as I aim to write more frequently this month. 🙂

More than meets the eye

blue skies PJ file image

I had an outing today as I accompanied my husband to a hospital appointment.

There is always a silver lining to such excursions, fraught as they are with anxiety and stress (him), weakness and pain (me).

We didn’t have far to travel but it was enough to alter my perspective.

Four wall living can become my default mode once Winter sets in.

I aim to get out and about as much as I can manage in the warmer weather, despite protesting limbs and weariness setting in so quickly.

And I was glad of the opportunity to see a change of scenery.

So I took a few photos to file away as memory markers on gloomier days.

Saw an electricity pylon stretching metal arms to a cobalt sky like a praise song.

Watched the interplay of light falling as beams across the clouds, with hints of glory sneaking through.

Marvelled anew at the beautiful, creative display God puts on day after day.

Engaged in a spot of people-watching safe in the confines of the car and shared furtive glances of a waiting room.

The poem below was a result of a few seconds’ glimpse where my imagination pierced through to a woman’s soul.

For there is always more than meets the eye with everything and everyone we encounter.

‘Hidden core’

A pale blue sun-hat

sat deep upon her head

as she marched forward

with fast, determined tread

At odds with the autumnal

coat she loosely wore

reminiscent of tides,

ice-cream, sand and distant shores

Her eyes turned downward

as she pounded city streets

No betrayal of emotion

in her persistent, plodding feet

Yet in the corners

of her heart there washed

a sea of thoughts and words

inexplicable, unseen,

unvoiced and unheard

Just like each one of us

she had a hidden core

where pain and sorrow mingled

and joy sat at the door

A place of whispers, shouts,

an appalling weight of tears

A place of silence, doubts,

where she carried secret fears

©JoyLenton2014

hidden core PJ file pin image