Thursday, January 06, 2022

Little Gidding, Pete Greig , and Mental Health


My friends all know that I love Poetry. 

We had a huge cull of books when we moved back into the cottage 10 years ago , and left a room which was furnished from floor to ceiling with bespoke  bookshelves made by the craftsman  Malcolm Johnson .Colin loaded up Mother's sholley with books several times a day and walked to the Charity Shops with the load until we were advised they could not receive any more. I kept all my Poetry books, most shelf space now after my Botany books.

Little Gidding is my Adlesdrop place, as I did pass through it unwontedly on the way to Yorkshire from London avoiding motorways. I always knew it had been  a religious community of the strict High Anglican sort , but not having ever read the Four Quartets  that pleasure was  to come.  Pete Greig always surprises me with his rhetoric , his writings and his vision,and I value his contribution to the stability of my mental health. He writes on 4th Jan


 Reading today's headlines, I'm reminded of a line from T.S. Eliot, who died on this day in 1965: ‘Christ is the still point of the turning world' .....

it has become my necessary daily practice simply to sit in silence and stillness each morning for a few minutes,......

But I believe that God’s quiet invitation to each one of us at the start of this year is this: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10). We know ‘of’ God through the bible but we actually know him through the practice of silence, stillness and solitude. Good doctrine is dead without doxology. This was something I experienced deeply and cumulatively during my three week solitary pilgrimage from Iona to Lindisfarne in October. ..............

in 'Little Gidding' - a poem named after a small monastic community - T.S. Eliot captures and conveys the spirit of precisely this kind of silent praying;
'You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.
And prayer is more
Than an order of words,
the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind,
or the sound of the voice praying'

For two years now I have been doing LECTIO 365 , a free app on my mobile . I don't read it, I sit quietly after my initial quiet sit , and I listen. Since Colin has been more himself and able to listen , we have done the evening Lectio too , and listen together , like doing the Compline of the Daily Office.My friend Tara first told me of it, and my friend Pam further up my road, and I have told many friends of it.
Throughout lockdown and to this dayI have also been in a parallel world as reluctant carer to infirm beloved. THIS life is dominated by the truly boring tasks in life , and may be accompanied sometimes by the temptation to run away, to cry, to moan, to cook and eat ready meals, to wear the same clothes for a week, and to feel sorry for myself. I want to .. I want to.... and even if all the Art Galleries and days of sunshine, and Beautiful music and meals out were possible , I would still be completely out of my comfort zone , my head space would still be in need of still ness, balm and thankfulness. I now appreciate that Brother Lawrence worshipped during the washing of pots, and just how saintly are those who can truly live and not count the cost. For me I am with Pete Greig, and find stillness does wonders.The busiest of days need the stillness first for me.

I Wrote in a previous post, the one that has had the most hits [ from the data] that Gardening had kept me sane. Five years on I still cling on to my sanctuary that is my allotment, but things have changed there too, as the fast daily walks to the mile away plot are no longer practical as my HIP is paining and I cant walk fast at all , so my cardio work out is missing from my routine. I cant be bothered to do sit ups or any other exercise, its as much as I can do to walk to the chemist for beloveds prescriptions. BUT I can take the car and I can still do my no dig gardening with joy and satisfaction and am planning my rotations and my potato order.
Last year I grew LOOFAHS and got seeds for the whole of Filey for this year seemingly. Our Christmas lunch at Kiaora included Red Cabbage from the plot cooked with apples and onions also from the plot. I am still picking Broccoli and Chard and my rare Echiums are still alive , just.

It warms my heart that I am not the only person to have heard of and employ 'no dig' and my joy will be complete when Mike and the rest of the Allotment association buy NO Peat compost for the site SHOP.

Some Sunshine please now O Creator of it!
May you all enjoy GOOD MENTAL HEALTH this year.