The Little Green Bow

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“Please take a little green bow, and pin it on your name tag” said the lady at the registration table at the workshop on mental health, that was taking place at a church in the heart of a little village in Durban North.  “What’s the bow for ?” I heard someone say, and realised that not everyone knows that the little green bow has become significant with mental health, and October is the designated month for mental health at the World Health Organisation at the United Nations.

For the past 20 years or so I have been interested in mental health, and have picked up my ears, and availed myself of many occasions to find out all that I can on this very complex subject.   The mind is an incredible place.  That needs to be said again  – The mind is an incredible place !

The time I spent at the workshop, presented by a Methodist minister, who himself has a keen passion for mental health, and the role of the Church’s healing ministry, and of spirituality,  in the condition of the mind – set me afresh to revisit some of the ground I have randomly covered over the last twenty years.
Having been dumped into the arena of mental health, having to either sink or swim awoke in me a leaning toward wholeness, and not succumbing to a defeatist mindset.
But it was going to be a very long slow walk of discovery with no quick-fix answers.  And, as yet, I have not arrived at any clear-cut and final conclusion, after all the mind is a very vast place !!   But along the way, as in any other way of life, it is often good to take a moment, to stop and pause and reflect.  To recap, to summaries, maybe even consolidate some of the ideas that have formed along the way.     This is one such moment.

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When confronted with Schizophrenia in the family, all those years ago, with its vicious onslaught of  psychosis, and the unknown, my first response was to ask the Church for help.   I thought, as the Church, with all its wisdom, knowledge and mystery of the Spiritual Realm, would be the first port of call,  and would be able to help me in my dilemma.   Wisely the Church referred me to take the medical route, and consult a doctor.   Which I did, who referred me to a Psychiatrist, who referred me to a medical clinic with a psychiatric ward.  There began the journey with psychiatry, psychology and pharmacology.

I took the route of Psychiatry, and followed the names recommended to me, I sought out psychologist who would take a spiritual approach to mental illness.  Visited  a clinical  psychologist who recommended another psychiatric clinic.   Eventually was told by a very good psychiatrist that a behavioural cognitive approach was needed – and an authoritarian regime implemented.  And I had to apply this approach, which was beyond me because, although I can at times be firm and adamant, am not an authoritarian.
Then, rather desperately, it was decided to try a Christian Rehab Centre in the middle of nowhere, where  periods of strict routine, work ethic, counselling and spiritual input would be a recommended therapy to look for better results.   There were many tears,  but also a slight breakthrough, when responsibility was taken on to some degree.  A key to the healing process –  responsibility !

The crisis in the family, became my dilemma and this in turn set me on a quest, with no road map.  I visited support groups, joined support groups and read all that I could lay my hands on to get to know my enemy !  But with good psychiatry which oversaw the essential medication, and compliance aspects, a plateau was reached where I went on cruise control.   Still curious and asking my questions of God, I latched onto the scriptures in the Bible,  held on tightly, and kept my ears and eyes open to any ministry that spoke of healing and deliverance from mental illness.

Psychology, and psychologists became a growing interest, and were visited until  the subject was mined, but not fully sufficient to answer my questions.
Slowly the tide turned my mind from mental illness to mental health  –  and so too my approach to life in general. A change of perspective can open a whole new spectrum on life,  going from negative to positive is quite a transforming leap.   And I was strengthened !

The foundation of my search was, and still is to this day, God’s Word the Bible, with its richness toward human development,  for our growth and attainment, our comfort in the hard places of life, our guidance when the way forward is blurred and most precious of all, the  unfathomable wisdom and knowledge pertaining to God Himself, and to my life.

The Neural Route.
Dr Caroline Leaf’s books brought an interesting insight to my mind, with her research of the Brain – the domain of the mind.   She writes with such simplicity that I could grasp some of the concepts, and was astounded at the application of the Word of God to the fundamentals of these concepts.  Just re-iterating that God is a good God, and that we are made in His image, and that is a good thing !  We are wired for love and for goodness, that is how our brain has been designed – and how it works.   But it is what we choose to think and feel, whether the positive – the truth, or the negative – the lie that determines our behaviour, that determines our lives.  She describes in biological terms how the thought life operates – from impulse, to protein to thought structure, to memory.  And how important it is to be aware of our thought life, to embrace good thoughts and dismiss the bad ones.  So important!
Her recent book  The Perfect You, describes the “finger-print” of the mind, and how the seven pillars of thought, which for me,  lines up with the seven intelligences of Intrapersonal –  introspection,    Interpersonal – relational,  Mathematical – logic analytical,  Linguistic – words, language,  Music,   Kinetic – movement  and Visual/spacial – organisational, perception and colour. – all these in one of her first books  Who Switched off my Brain.  How we operate in the seven pillars, or seven zones in our brain make us unique, like our own finger print !  It also reflects our gifts and our strengths, and how we should capitalise, and focus our education on these, and not always have academia imposed upon us.  Simply put that is what I gleaned from her books, and can’t help but to marvel when I look at the Brain, through her eyes, and see how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made !  The Psalms also declares this in Psalm 130:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Marvelous are Your works.

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Always keeping an eye open for new information on schizophrenia I came across some recent blogs that offer more exploration on the subject.  Refer :   venitism.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/inside-schizophrenia/

I quote some snippets from the article.

“Wiring is frayed in more than just one region, according to a new international study – the largest analysis ever of white matter among people with a psychiatric disorder.”

” Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain’s entire communication system.
The study sets the stage for future research on the debilitating mental illness that, according to the World Health Organisation, affects more than 21 million people worldwide.”

“The researches found that poorly insulated brain wiring was most evident in the corpus callosum, which allows for communication between the brain hemispheres, and in the frontal portion of the corona radiata, a key structure for information processing. “

and further on…

 “Scientists analyzed the data of 1,963 people with schizophrenia and compared them to 2,359 similar healthy people from Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa an North America.  Earlier studies typically included up to 100 people with schizophrenia, Jahanshad said.
The big data project was integrated from 29 different international studies by the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) network, a global consortium headed by Paul Thompson at the Keck School of Medicine.

ENIGMA has published the largest neuroimaging studies of autism, major depression and bipolar disorder using brain scans of more than 20,000 people, said Thompson, associate director of Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute.

The researches examined data from diffusion tensor imaging, a form of MRI that measures the movement of water molecules in the white matter of the brain.  These scans allow scientists to locate problem areas in the brain’s normally insulated communication system.

The study paves the path for more focused scientific inquiry.   A next step could be to seek what causes these abnormalities in white matter.   Schizophrenia is partly hereditary, so perhaps specific genes promote the disorder via slight alterations in brain wiring, Kelly said ”

USC has researches across disciplines seeking to prevent or treat neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.”  “

 

In another blog :  discovermagazine.com/2017/janfeb/55-schizophrenia-genetic-spark

” A team led by  geneticist  Steven McCarroll of the Broad Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass; combed through genetic info from about 29,000 schizophrenia cases,  36,000 controls and 700 brain samples from deceased patients.
McCarroll found that patients who had a certain C4 gene were more likely to inherit the disease.   In healthy brains, the gene helps prune unnecessary connections between cells.  But when it runs amok, as it does in schizophrenia, the process destroys healthy brain tissue.
C4’s involvement might also explain why schizophrenia arise during the late teens into the 20’s.   It’s a period in human development in which brain circuits change and re-organise and … vulnerabilities to many neuropsychiatric illnesses emerge”

It is comforting for me to know that there is indeed further research been done on psychiatric disorders, and that scientific curiosity and continued inquiry is being made into this very complex disease.

Well,  this all popped up before the Mental health workshop at the Methodist Church, so I went well fired up to learn more.  Being Church, of course brings one to the brink of the Spiritual dimension of healing and deliverance from mental illness. A whole new field of seeking and finding.    And that door has yet to be knocked on to open up wider to the mysteries of the mind.
However, in this sphere of inquiry there are no formulas or equations or quotas or logical answers.  It is a question of trust, faith and patience, to allow God to do His work as He sees fit.  He is in control, knows all things, and He has a purpose in all that happens …..  and He works in mysterious ways.   One day His purposes will be revealed to those who are seeking answers, understanding and healing.
Because the Word of God says in Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 

So, perhaps this side of Heaven, I will not know all there is to  know about mental illness,
its madness, its reasons and its cures.   Until then I will continue to apply the Scripture of  Romans  12:2
 And do not be conformed to this world, but  be  transformed  by  the  renewing  of  your  mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

But…., one day when I enter the Pearly Gates I’m heading straight for the Hall of Inquiries and when I find the writings on schizophrenia, maybe even this little blog post will be there too, who knows?   Then I will give it a wrap, ….. and put a little green bow on it !!
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Happy thoughts for good mental health  People !

three butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Art of Art

 

“What is Art ?  –  or what, would you say, is the definition of Art,” I asked my daughter who has her own little Art school for pre-schoolers.   It is quite a question and I suspect that there is no correct answer, as Art plays such a part in the human condition.   It did however put me on a track of thought that wanted to explore the subject of Art, just a little.

These are some of the colourful artworks of  the pupils at the Sticky Fingers Art School .

You can see more Kids Art and happy faces at the Sticky-Fingers Art School at
Facebook : Sticky-Fingers.

Kids Art is important.  I learnt that the practise of Art can be fundamental to a child’s development, and exposing them to Art can help them in various ways.  But apart from that it will undeniably bring  smiles to their faces, as you can see from these photos.

The Writer on this Blog :  proverbs31woman.org/2016/09/06/watercolor-painting–toddler/#more-2524
says :
Afterall, Art is simply the meeting of all our senses at that point when it was being done”

She goes on and gives insight to the benefits of teaching kids in watercolours :
“Introduce them to the world of colour;  gives more concrete ideas about blending (primary) colours in order to produce a new (secondary) colour.  Can teach a toddler about emotions and the colour associated with them.   We can better understand the toddler’s feelings just by looking at their artwork.  Enhances parts of their brains that handle creativity;  may also enhance their problem solving skills;  and Art can build a child’s confidence.”

So Kids Art is important – and it makes them happy !

I have been surfing the blogosphere at WordPress, dropping in on Art blogs, and been amazed at some of the Art out there.  I found the Brandon Knoll  blog with his interesting creative work, linked with modern technology.    You may want to visit his blog and see his work on   https://chaoticshapes.com/portfolio-2/     Just imagine the diligence and patience he must exercise to do his kind of artwork.  And he takes his blog audience with him in the colouring-in process, as he encourages his followers to use their imagination and guess what’s coming out of his drawings.

Leopard
Leopard

 

Macaw
Macaw

Of course we get to the fine arts students who, to my mind do the “real” art stuff.  Those finely trained professionals who make a living out of their creativity.   This may well be the heart of Art.   Yet some of the master artists of their times, who painted with their very souls, seemingly only received recognition many years after they had gone.  Some even died paupers, and yet now their art works fetch astronomical prices.

Taking a glimpse over the history of Art, it reveals that Artists influence the times that they live in, their history-spaces so to speak, which may lead one to think that they are the subliminal influencers of their times, expressed through their artwork.

The Renaissance Period with  Leonardo da Vinci and others;  setting the way of Western art.

Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci’s   Mona Lisa

 

Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

The Impressionists with Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and others;   painting their perceptions before nature.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet’s  Sunrise

 

Van Gogh's Tulip fields
Van Gogh’s  Bulb Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realism with Millet and others, celebrating the  working-class and peasants.

Millet Painting the Gleaners
Millet’s  The Gleaners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surrealism :  Pablo Picasso – ridiculous art, painting dreams and exploring the unconscious mind.

And so on.

Apart from its expression and beauty Art can also be functional.
Art and Science :
 In an article on Longreads Sept 2016   on Space Art….      … “Bill Hartman, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in  Tucson,… sees his artistic role as that of a synthesizer, blending a  mass of disparate and highly specialised astronomical data into a more complete whole.     This is often necessary in a field that wallows in minutiae at the expense of the big picture.

Art has long been used to clarify science, and vice versa

He says, ” Leonardo da Vinci sketched waves to learn about wave motion, but dissected bodies so he could paint better portraits.
Space Art, for all the ostensible benefits of art and science working together, artists have found themselves being squeezed out of the field of astronomy, just as they had out of the life sciences in the 19th century. “

Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words !

Art and Psychology :
This quoted from a blog called Everyone Means  Something
https://phulme.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/genius-22-as-inspiration

“Surrealism…challenged fundamental premise about Art and creativity, shifting the focus from the conscious to unconscious processes introducing the role of chance in the role of the creative process, and treating that process as not merely aesthetic but political social and metaphysical”

Surrealism is crazy art, but is not our world a little crazy ?   And for those artists who have become a little ‘unhinged and unhooked’, may well be the ones who have something to show those who live in the normal world.

Starry Night

And as October is Mental Health Month, let us take a moment and salute Vincent van Gogh, who painted his famous Starry Night from an asylum room.

Well, Art, in one way or another, must have an important part to play in the forming of our personalities.  Therapists often use art to understand what is going on in the minds of their patients – perhaps because art is an expression of what we feel deep on the inside,  – even reflects what is going on outside of us, –  and often in our natural environment.            Perhaps Art is the view from the room on the inside of us.

God's hand

Art and God:
I quote from Alan Webster’s QT 24.11.16

“When we tap into God’s creative power, like in an artesian well, there is then a rush of creativity that we can draw from to express our own creativity.”

 

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This is my Art, now keep the words of  Leonardo da Vinci  in mind, when he said :  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” !!  It’s the closest I can get to painting a straight line, (chuckle !) …. and its called “Distance”

Classifying Art is of course the right way to go to get the most from Art and for that we do need to appreciate the history of art.  And there is that, but, what about the little Kids Art, what about the new tech artist, and the daring dabblers with paints and brushes who do art for the fun of Art ?

For what is Art ?
Is it merely a fun exploration of our creativity, or the technique we apply, or does it become good art when emotion is expressed through colours, shapes and forms, creating a thing of beauty for others to see and appreciate.  I’d say all of these.
For the narcissist Art may merely be an expression of oneself, an extension of oneself, a recognition of oneself, a determination even a demand to be oneself.
But at heart Art is a soul thing – an artistic enquiring soul reaching deep into the creative processes to express some kind of truth or beauty, and done in the right spirit will want to share that beauty for others to see and appreciate too.

To my mind the art of Art is Art when it becomes an expression that releases the emotions, to both the artist  and  to the viewer.  To express and reflect the perceptions the intuitions and the imagination into an explosion of visual creativity.

Art is Art when it gives and takes to become a thing of beauty,  –  and,   “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” 

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.
Psalm 50:2

three butterflies

 

God said No

 The colourful little sticker says :

“Casual Day Celebrate Diversity with Persons with Disabilities”  

Butterfly SA

The purpose of the sticker serves as a motivation for the South African
public to be aware of those with disabilities, and the many kind-hearted charities that work hard to ease the life of those who know and live with disabilities.

So on the first day of September you will be excused for wearing your “takkies” to work, as long as you display the sticker you bought to support those Disabled among us.   A lovely fun gesture, that knits community together.

I remember watching the TV broadcast on the Para Olympic Games held in London in 2012.    Among the nations of the world there is none that can hold pageantry like the English.    It was  a magnificent display of courage and of hope to see those with Disabilities reach for their dreams.

Hope is intrinsic to human beings.   God has designed us that way.  He has built into each one of us faith hope and love.  And when life happens, to some harshly, to others not so much, and when things don’t work out the way we had planned , we are still left with hope.  There is always hope, that helps us to carry on regardless.   And this is what we are given by those with Disabilities.   They are hope-carriers.

They are a very costly gift to humanity.

Observing those with disabilities brings us to the threshold of suffering, and the age-old question arises “why does a good, loving God allow suffering ?”

broken glass

Just for today,  I hope we can pause, and remember those with Disabilities in our own families, in our communities, see them through new eyes, and be a little kinder to them.
The following little writing was sent to me, and I am passing it on to you.  Unfortunately I cannot acknowledge the writer as I do not have a name.  When I read it, it brought to me a smile and a tear, all at the same time….. and perhaps too a little more understanding.

GOD  SAID  NO !

I asked God to take away my habit,
God said, No it is not for Me to take it away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole
God said, No his spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience,
God said, No patience is the by-product of tribulations, it isn’t granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness,
God said, No, suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.
I asked God to  make my spirit grow,
God said, No you must grow your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
God said,  Ahh,  finally you have the idea.
This day is yours, don’t throw it away.
God bless you.
broken mug

 

Beautiful Bougainvillea

The blooming season has started.  Spring has come before Spring should be here !! Everywhere I look I see splashes of colour that lift my sagging soul.

Outside my bedroom window the Bougainvillea has been blooming  for sometime. Splashing out with tangerine petals that turn a bright pink as they mature , just plain showing off !  But it is beautiful, and just stands there in all its glory for me to enjoy.

Then around the corner into the back yard are three beautiful Bougainvillea.  One a bright cerise pink, planted about three years ago, so it’s a strong plant. The other one, a soft soft creamy pink, a “youngling” struggling to be magnificent too  !

Then there’s the little beautiful bush Bougainvillea, blooming in its softer shade of ‘petunia-pink’ – planted in memory of a dear sister who passed away last year.

When I look out my kitchen window, pass the wash-line, the tall wall and the hedge, my eye follows toward the sky. Over the road, on the high ridge are very tall trees, where the hadedahs have an over night resting place.  And monkeys often take up a view-point of the humans below, hoping to catch a whiff of what’s for rummaging.

But climbing upon the tall trees are two shades of beautiful Bougainvillea vines, one a magenta pink and the other a reddish pink. Sparsely spread they just make such a statement for the power of colour in the vivid green of the leafy trees.  A little out of place, but relentless in their climb for their beauty to be seen  – just for me from my kitchen window, I’d like to think !

Beautiful Bougainvillea everywhere to behold !  But now is the season to feast the eye on what God’s handiwork has created in the realm of nature, if we would just but stop and look and see His glory revealed.  Seasons come and go, as do the colourful petals of the Bougainvillea plant.   Soon they will be strained, stressed and stale, but never really die, as some plants do, and then !  –  and then comes the magnificent re-growth, the re-bloom.  I do like their never-die attitude.

The beautiful Bougainvillea, a beauty to behold, bringing colour and joy and heralding in Spring …… and so a new season begins.

When one speaks of seasons one is speaking of change.  Change is inevitable, but I am reminded of one constant, found in the Book of
Isaiah 40:8 :

The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

 

Living in the Slow Lane has its benefits.  It means taking your time, going where you will, and some days can be filled with random encounters – some of which are co-incidences and some of which are God-incidences, and then having the time to digest which is which.   Such is life in the Slow Lane.

Life is full of transitions.  I have come to accept that I now live in a solitude cottage, in the slow lane, in the area of random encounters.  And it is an exciting place to be, if you have eyes that see and ears that hear.

Just the other day I went up the hill to the big grocery store to do a bit of shopping.  I noticed the pop-up stall of the Sunfield Home School that was having a fund-raising event.  I remembered a friend who had a son with a disability who was in the home.  Thought I’d linger, but changed my mind and went on to do some leisurely shopping.

But coming out of the store I thought I heard a voice calling to me, and when I turned there was a young man urging me to buy a sticker for Casual Day.   I could see that he was disabled, yet so polite, so charming, so earnest, that I was hooked.  He escorted me to the till table and said he would reserve a sticker for me, but I could also make a donation into the big box on the table, or “if you like take a stroll around the table and buy some of the handwork made by the students”   ….  so polite, and no pressure !   I said that I liked to shop and will take a stroll around the table.  I picked up a few trinkets and came back to the till table, where a young girl with an absolute winning smile, was ready to take my money.   But Mr Marketing Entrepreneur was waiting for me with the reserved sticker.   I said “what must I do with the sticker?”   He said on the 1st of September I could wear casual clothes and then put on the sticker.   The Principal of the school was at my elbow and he explained Casual Day to me, as I obviously did not know when, or anything else about Casual Day.

Casual Day is a day when you may donate money to a disability charity, get a sticker, wear casual clothes, and so become aware of the World of Disabilities.   Enlightened, I paid the girl with the winning smile for the sticker, my trinkets  and gave Mr Marketing Entrepreneur the change to put in the Donation Box.  He was delighted, as was the Principal, who immediately put my name on their data base.

Marketing well done, they had caught a fat fish.   But the kind Principal at my elbow, told me more about the Home School and their work.   As their School was in a country environment I asked if they had a vegetable garden.  And indeed they do, and a veggie tunnel too.   Way to go !
When I mentioned that Mr Marketing Entrepreneur, who I saw was listening,  had  such an air of charm and confidence,  I had to turn to him to say  ” You are a Super Star.”  If I thought that the words were going to make an impression I was wrong.  He immediately deflected the compliment to the girl with the winning smile at the till table, and said “And what about her ?”   I looked in her direction and said  “You too are such a Super Star”, …. and was quickly rewarded with that winning smile.

As I turned to walk off I heard the Principal say,  give her a Sunfield sticker, and Mr Marketing Entrepreneur came over and pressed a tiny white sticker on my blouse that said  ‘Sunfield Home School thanks you’.  And he gave me a quick hug.  Wow !  I walked away feeling I had been in the company of angels.

I am quite sure that there were angels standing by that pop-up stall, even if they were in the form of the Principal or Carers.  At every turn there was someone who explained either the sale goods or the aims of the School.   The students were not left on their own to man their stall.  The support team was on the spot to assist.
But I suspect that there were other angels too – those of a heavenly feathery kind, for I had felt the light feathery brush of an angel wing as I walked away.   A random encounter, and a God-incident indeed !

Slow Fast Lane

The World of Disabilities is not often seen in the Fast Lane.  It is far to busy, to fast and to insensitive there. But those who have been on the fringes of the World of Disabilities would agree with a quote from the  educators of the Sunfield Home School :

“recognise that the disabled learners have more abilities than disabilities” 

So for one brief moment of the year, the first day of September, remember the Disabled, dress casual and wear a sticker that may just say  “but there for the grace of God go I.”

 

angel feather

 

 

 

 

 

LOST AND FOUND

 

memory desert

Do you know how sometimes you cherish something, neatly tuck it into the folds of your memory, and then overtime it gets lost ?   Something triggers and a  gentle flutter lets you know, although vague, its still in there somewhere.
That’s what happened to me recently when someone wrote of a poem I learnt at school many years ago….something about an Arab (?) – and a tribe !!  So I went searching and found it again, that special poem I had tucked into my memory as a keepsake to cherish.
Joy !   You know the feeling you get when you find your misplaced keys, just magnify that by 10 !   It was as if someone had struck a resonant cord on a big bass guitar that vibrated through my soul, sheer delight!

The poem was written by Leigh Hunt in the 1800’s and not regarded as any great literary feat of the time yet here it is, 200 or so years later still giving insight and delight.  That surely must be a mark of the extraordinary ?

Little snippets about the poet., –  from http://www.poetryfoundation.org

   Leigh Hunt was a centre figure of the Romantic movement in England in the 19th century but he was not, as he wished to be and knew the was not, one of its great poets.
He was a master of mood and atmosphere.   Rather than having depth and passion, his poetry is imbued with the spirit of cheerfulness, which make it pleasant but not great.
He devoted his entire life to literature, writing several volumes of poetry, many essays a handful of plays and a novel, as well as making other literary contributions as a critic, editor and encourage of young writers.

Abou Ben Adhem first published in 1838 is a simple poem bearing the theme that to love man is the same as to love God.  It also includes the line used as Hunts epitaph.  “Write me as one who loves his fellow man”

 

 

Here for you to enjoy is the poem that I had lost, and now is found, and speaks so simply, yet so profoundly on the priorities of a life well lived.  Like me, I hope it will settle your soul and let you know that in spite of everything going on around us, all is well.

ABOU BEN ADHEM

Abou Ben Adem, (may his tribe increase),
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” – The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord”
“And is mine one?” said Abou  “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel.  
Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerily still, and said, “I pray thee, then, 
Write me as one that loves his fellow man”

The angel wrote, and vanished.   The next night 
It came again with a great wakening light
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo ! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.