This time yesterday we were enjoying being where we love to be most, down by the canal on "Elisa" our home on the water. This is where we can truly appreciate the simple things in life, where we feel really connected with the natural world and the rhythm and flow of it's changing seasons. For the first time, we were able to bring Bleu's lovely friend Elisa to visit her namesake and here they are enjoying the evening sunshine on the bow!
So here I am writing my third post, only my third post! That isn't for lack of desire or motivation, more a lack of quality time! This is something I am going to have to work on, IF I want to make this blog work!
So, although I haven't particuarly had too much time to devote to writing, I have given alot of thought to what I am hoping to achieve by keeping this blog. I have been unusually and suprisingly quiet at work during this last week, and during those times, I have done a little reasearch into what makes a popular blog and armed myself with some knowledge which I hope will inform my posts.
Personally, for me, the biggest challenge is going to be finding the time to devote the few hours I am going to need to make this interesting and entertaining! and I am going to need a few hours, because writing does not come naturally to me. I know what I want to write, but transferring it from my head onto the screen can take an infuriating amount of time, by which time, I tend to have got bored and distracted and loose my momentum!
The question however remains - WHY a blog which has the potential to be read by anyone, anywhere in the world, rather than my own personal journal which would remain my personal property, only to be read by others if I choose!
I have kept personal diarys. This was at a different time of my life however. A time when life was difficult. I don't read these diarys because they remind me of painful times. However, I believe it is useful to have written and kept these. Afterall, our memory is heavily edited, translating the past into beautifully lit and softly focused scenes. It's not that these scenes are not true, but they are not always an accurate reflection. Our brain protects us by excluding the painful memories. This is why the world is filled with remarkable individuals, who have survived traumatic experiences, but who go on to use those experiences to make a positive difference.
"If you have enough inner resources, you can live in isolation and not feel diminished by it"
Aung San Suu Kyi
Reminding ourselves of what we have experienced rather than avoiding and denying it, can spur us on to do something extrordinary.A diary is a corrective to our own editing process, thrusting all that untidy footage from the cutting room floor to under our nose!
This blog will be different from my diarys because it will be positive and I want to write about who and what inspires me, lifts my spirits, nourishes my soul and leads me forward.
It has taken a lifetime, but I now know that there is alot of truth in that saying:
"Every cloud has a silver Lining"
There is a lesson to be learnt from any experience, good or bad and if we can remain positive in difficult circumstances, we can change how we see ourselves, other people and the world. This enables us to move forward and helps us to avoid self pity which can be soul destroying and stops us achieving.
It's not easy to turn a negative thinking pattern into a positive one, but like everything, it takes a willingness to learn, patience and belief.
So............this post, so far has taken rather too long!. As the title would suggest, I want to write about the lovely weekend I have just spent, rather than musing on my reasons for writing a blog!......
A weekend consisting of entertaing kids, walking canines alongside the canal, and taking alot of pictures along the way!
Really we didn't have to do much entertaining, because, as you can see, the wildlife did that for us!
It has been 3 weeks since we were last by the canal. That time was on our honeymoon when we spent a few days quite different from the last two days becasue we didn't have any children and for the first time, we experienced the truly chilled way of life that the canal brings! However with two energetic young girls laughing and playing, the calm is slightly rippled!
Living on the water really connects you with the natural environment. I find myself completely absorbed by the tranquil, gentle, soothing serenity of the surroundings.
The Natural world is a source of solace, pleasure, delight, beauty and reassurance. I think it will become evident over the course of this blog, that our earth and all it's natural wonder and beauty has a huge impact on my life. Respecting our environment is one of the most important messages we can pass onto our future generations.
Our connection with nature is inherrant.
I worry that if the human race fail to love and respect our natural world, we may become out of kilter with it which would be a catastrophe and the assocciated emotional, spiritual and physical loss would be a disaster.
If we all live in a way that seeks to minimise the harm to the naural environment, we will find our true nature in harmony with our environment.
"Do as you will, as long as it harms none"
So over the past two days, we have taken lots of photos of all the beauty and wonder of our surroundings and enjoyed what felt like some of the last long summer evenings of 2011. The girls have fed ducks, swans, pigeons and fish and the dogs have enjoyed chasing said pigeons while Rob and I have once again been dreaming about the day when we won't have to come back to the bricks and mortar we currently call home, and can truly get back to basics and live on the canal.
The canal way of life is a simple and humble way with a big emphasis on community. The people we have met who both live, work and holiday on the canal are friendly and approachable and that, along with that closeness to nature is what makes it so appealing for us. Our faith in the human spirit is always strenghened when we are on the canal because that community feel is so strong and we always find that we are treated with the same values that we strive to live our own lives by; kindness and compassion. So this has been our dream for some time, to up sticks and move to the sticks as it were, but that is never as easy as it sounds when you have kids and dogs in tow! For a start, it would be a squeeze, but we have had so many other things to consider too.
Post Joyfest however, that dream has changed into something maybe abit more realistic for now. Another challenge. more goals for us, and the reality is, that the canal may not be a part of that at all. In fact we may have to part with our beloved Elisa, but....only time will tell......
"Live Simply, so that others may simply live"
We enjoyed a beautiful display of air balloons which kept us all amused for a couple of hours while they slowly made their way to wherever they were going. I have a simple camera so I couldn't do justice to the sight we saw, but it was quite something to see all these balls of colour over the church! The dogs obviously thought the aliens were coming because, far from being able to watch these graceful objects floating in the air in peace, this aerial event was accompanied by cacophony of barking and whining!