Tag Archives: Narnia

Year of Self Compassion #22 #bestfriend

In this year of Self Compassion I have been blessed with the continuation of much love and support from friends of many years and newer ones who have stepped into my inner sanctum offering kindness and witness time and time again. Wiping away tears, offering practical support, delivering flowers, gifting art, books and music, holding me in their prayer and heart. I have experienced random acts of kindness and received professional gifts of free tickets to events and invitations to participate in new ways with new communities. Colleagues have generously been patient with me and held spaces for me to fold and unfold. I have been offered distractions to remind me I have business acumen and wisdom on tap. I have friends who have offered me points to fly away, another willing to plan a holiday for me and yet another who consistently reminds me there are walks and nature just waiting for my footprints. There is kindness all around me and I am filled with gratitude.

Yet despite all this kindness, and even perhaps a bit of because of it, I am noticing the invitation that I have to be kind to myself and love myself in these times of grief. Noticing my own suffering is essential and it is something I am still learning. While self-care is in place it is still routine and not yet fully formed to be an expression of noticing my suffering and acting with kindness to that first and then following up with the care I would give to any of my friends. Partly I don’t always know what I need and can’t quite name it for myself, so my newest practice is if a friend offers me something I work out a way to say yes. That is how I come to be looking forward to two days in the Compassion Lab with Mary Freer this week. Being able to say yes to people who can make an educated guess about what I need, is a bridge helping me to work that out for myself.

In Interplay there is a practice of opening to the day that ends up with giving yourself a big hug and I want to do more of that as touch deprivation is real and I find I am embracing people more than ever before. No one much seems to mind, and I know the health benefits abound for everyone, touch is in slim supply in some of the settings I find myself in and in abundance in others, so overall I am probably getting enough hugs.

I am a bit like Christchurch in 2010 and 11 , having first had a massive earthquake leaving the shell of buildings behind and then all the after shocks to reconfigure the city. I too, need to work out what can be saved, what might need to stand as a magnificent ruin, what can be re-purposed, what needs to be cleared away – and mostly these decisions are cellular and still forming. The plasticity of the neuronal pathways like a giant traffic jam sometimes bumper to bumper and not quite moving forward although there is some evidence that a light has turned green about 5 kilometres up the road. Being kind to myself and being my own best friend in these moments requires my L plates to be on. I am in new territory and I am resistant to exploring. I don’t have a map and I right now I don’t want one. A friend would probably offer me a map, although a best friend would offer me tea to sit on the side of the road until I was ready to go and it is that inner best friend I need to channel. To recognise, really deeply notice the experience of suffering and offer myself the comfort of space and rest, deep rest.

For many years I used to say to others, after a loss, it is not the first six months that are the hardest, it is the second, when the reality sinks in, and the time when re-configurations start to take shape and search for meaning. Now I need to hear this advice for myself. I am hoping winter will have me holed up snug and warm to do some of this inner work in my own good company.

The transience of all times, good and difficult, all things pass and that is central to our human condition. It is inevitable and a lesson to be learnt over and over again. To be in the moment and accept the gift of that moment, is a life times work. As John O’Donohue reminds us the place where our ‘vanished days secretly gather is memory’. Bringing the kind light to my soul for healing and self-compassion til the night is gone.


The Lamp Post from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

by John Henry Newman 1833

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

The Rebellious Tambourine

Every time I go over a bump in the road there is the sound of zils. The tambourine in the back of the car surrounded by other percussion instruments has been sitting in a bucket all week.  The tambourine is such a happy instrument and heralds celebration to me. It gives a real energy boost to any soundtrack.  The tambourine is rebellious and refuses to be silent when I go over a bump in the road.

I love the joy and openness that a tambourine offers – everyone can play it and everyone recognises the sound.  You may even have your favourite tambourine song (I love the tambourine in Jet’s If You Want to be my Girl).

I am reminded of Miriam from the Old Testament. Aaron’s sister who grabbed her tambourine and all the women followed her across the parted Red Sea dancing.  Miriam the prophetess ready and willing confidently showed how she could lead and move people to a new place. It is a really exciting and challenging call and a wonderful image of women leading a community to a new land.  The tambourine is an invitation to a future of possibilities.

Each jingle and each jangle invites a new song to accompany us on the journey, over whatever Red Sea has been parted for you to dance through.  I am going to keep the tambourine in the car for a bit longer so that my journey can be accompanied by that soundtrack and invitation from Miriam.

Hildegard you were one the Miriams of your time!  Your music heralded a future to take us all time and time again to new places.  In our time I do wonder sometimes who are the women who lead us to new places and where might I find the tambourines shaking?

There is a whole lot of shaking going on right now in Australia.  Fear is the currency not courage; there has been a race to the bottom in politics and Aussies feel that they are about to be on a fiscal precipice and in fact we are amongst the most affluent in the world.

The season has turned to spring, but there are many hearts who have turned to the stone cold of winter and I grieve that very soon Jadis, the White Witch of Narnia will be making her home here for at least the next three years.  The White Witch is the complete antithesis of Miriam.

Miriam was Moses’ older sister and her young brother Aaron was the priest of the family – a fascinating trinity.  It is claimed that Miriam means bitterness and also rebellion.  The bitterness meaning gives way to the rebellion meaning. Firstly, Miriam was sad and bitter about the suffering of her people and from that place got the vision and courage to teach the women and lead her people across the parted waters.  She helped with the rebellion against the sadness and despair of her enslaved people. She helped them get their tambourines ready and to give them a good shake.  I can only imagine what a call to arms that might have been in that rebellion!

So as I feel sad and at times despairing as I will no doubt feel from time to time as, The White Witch comes to live in my Narnia, I will keep the tambourine in my car so that with every jingle, jangle, I will be invited to rebellion.

rockin' miriam

rockin’ miriam (Photo credit: tizzie)