In these weekly sharings, each of us appears on screen as a self-portrait ~ a likeness; sometimes animated, often unnervingly still ~ motionless. Are we there, present, at peace and calm within ourselves, or are we 'frozen' due to a personal mental event or just a fluctuating Wi-Fi signal?! And how exposed and vulnerable do we feel as we are on show like this? In everyday life, do we need to secrete ourselves behind more walls, fences and foliage, or can we live just as well or even better with a bit more exposure and contact with others? What are we trying to preserve and protect? When we're truly fed up and unhappy about things, should we tell people how we really feel? Sometimes this happens by itself, it just gets blurted out. Sometimes it happens accidentally when we have technical or personal communication ‘fails' and faux pas, or even deliberately when we throw caution to the wind, or not at all when we judge that it might be foolish or too risky to say or do anything ~ dangerous even. Wanting to get everything just perfect and right before anything can be started or appreciated and overlooking the amazing and mundane everyday things to be mindful of all around ~ that are perfect already. The insistent bonging of the clock at 7 and 8pm sounding from one of our gallery wall frames has become a feature of our get togethers… like a bell of mindfulness it marks the passage of time and mindful moments. There is also a continuity and interconnectedness to be aware of here, because the experiences we share and don't share ~ like the clock ticking and bonging ~ exist in every moment the whole week and not just now. If we remember to wind it of course! As we reflected, especially in quiet moments, thoughts can be seen to be like clouds that come and go ~ constantly changing ~ and this can be noticed observed and witnessed happening all the time. Even when like today, the sky is grey and overcast. Let’s go out in the rain! We shared. The blue tent perched in a tree ~ surreally ~ there one day and gone the next. The unseen ants that were revealed in mind marching endlessly on thousands of trees. The bird that joined us to share their presence with beautiful song. The unseen and then seen 'disgusting' person who was theatrically hawking, coughing and spitting whilst walking along a pavement. Two days running! The emotional, physical and mental torment of social distancing and isolation. Noticing, observing and witnessing all the pressures to achieve something during the enforced lockdown. Letting the feelings of being overwhelmed go and allowing oneself to settle and just be. Listening to the wisdom of a friend. Being or not being enslaved by to-do lists. Living next door to someone called 'me' ~ what would that be like? Making friends with me. The rats that now come into our gardens because we are currently making less waste for them to feed on elsewhere. Being disgusted by the perceived behaviour of others and with ourselves and yet never being sure what it means or what for. There will be clashes ~ clashes of culture. The habits we can choose to feed on or let go of. Being pissed off and coming to terms with it all... and not making it worse. Being mindful of opposites and having gratitude for differences.... Listening to the wisdom of the mindful mind. We listen mindfully. We each have our own stuff, and sharing as we do, can enrich and bring to life the portraits we paint of ourselves and others. When we listen. Thanks for bringing all your mindfulness to last night. I couldn’t write this without the direct experience of you. As the clock of the present moment shares its constant, "I'm still here!", bongs (you really had to be there, but even if you couldn't be, just so you know, it bonged anyway ~ as did the bird ~ singing joyfully to all of us…. as I expect it is in the rain right now).
See you next week if not before.