Scenes from some weekends in July.
I’m thankful that I can be thankful, that I have things to be thankful for.
Today’s gratitude: Quality, restful weekends. Time to spend with myself, family and friends. Time to do what recharges me. When I look at pictures like these I’m reminded that I am fortunate enough to afford an evening to walk by the River, to be in the mood to enjoy the sunset and clouds and the cooler air, to admire the intricate patterns formed by the branches of trees.
I’m thankful that I am able to be thankful.
At a session one evening, we did something called a Music Collage. The process involves participants choosing a theme, actively listening to a recorded piece of music, selecting images from a range of pictures to fit the theme, depending on how they interpret and think about it, and sharing which aspects of their collage stood out the most for them.
The theme we chose was Movement vs Stillness, and the music selected was Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, 1st movement.
“The person on the wheelchair… because it seems like he is still, but at the same time I realised the wheelchair is also about movement.. and I realise… it’s all about perspective. There is no full movement or full stillness. It is all how you look at it.”
“I feel that my collage represents my… character. Like, sometimes I can be really active and loud and outgoing, but other times I will just be quiet and still. So there is no picture that stands out for me.”
“I feel like the music was describing something bad about to happen. So I chose the picture of this crab… the music is describing the journey of the crab as it’s about to be killed and cooked and eaten… from movement to stillness..”
Through their insights and sharing, I have got to know this group of people over the past 2 months. Their personalities, sense of humour, quirks and what means the most to them. And with the time that has flown by, we are also on the brink of parting ways. It has been a blessing to be with them on this journey, one I will always be thankful for.
After spending 5 days in Melbourne, where it dropped to 7 degrees in the nights and mornings, I was looking forward to returning to the warmth of Sydney, where at least autumn temperatures are supposed to be warmer.
Unfortunately, nature seemed to have other plans for us, as the state of New South Wales was hit by one of the worst storm winds in decades, causing over 200 000 homes to lose power, deaths, and traffic disturbances.
Here in the valley below the Blue Mountains, the most inconvenience we have suffered is the loss of hot water and heat. That’s all. I know people could go on about how freezing cold our water is (as if the weather isn’t cold enough) and how we’re shivering under our blankets at night because our heaters aren’t working, but if we just look at the people who have had to evacuate because of the floods and storm, we are so much more fortunate. On top of that, the accommodations office actually took the trouble to assign us alternative rooms for sleeping and bathing (I took the bathing option, just not the sleeping one). I surprised myself by feeling gratitude for all that has been arranged, instead of feeling like a victim of circumstances. All that mindfulness practice must be more useful that I thought possible. More incentive to strive on.
Today the skies and winds are calmer, and we finally see the sun. But the homes without electricity are estimated to go on without for another week, until the affected infrastructures are repaired. The roads and tracks which have been damaged will take time to repair. The lives which have been lost will never be recovered. Praying and thinking deeply for all those who are going through difficult times.
Thank you, 2014.
I had been anticipating your arrival for the longest time, especially ever since my plans for further studies were initially postponed, then gradually confirmed.
You gave me the chance to learn how to adapt in a foreign land, away from family and friends. You gave me time to know myself better, to go deeper in ways I never had the chance or time to go before. To find my inner silence and become comfortable with it. To think about things from different perspectives. To go beyond my musical comfort zones and push myself to improve in various ways. To pursue what I’ve always wanted.
Thanks to you, I feel empowered with gratitude for many more things and with the knowledge that I have a choice in my life.
I hope that I will be able to use what you have given me and give back to the world around me. You will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you and goodbye, 2014!