009 It's as simple as feeding the ducks
Quiet contemplations after a symbolic week of change
5 Things to Draw On This Week
I’m in a very reflective mood after the death of our dear Queenie. Royalist or not, it’s no denying she was an incredible woman! Her devotion and service were an inspiration. So, to be honest, I feel very sad. After Brexit, COVID, the energy and climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, I feel I’ve personally lost the only symbolic constant I’ve only known in my lifetime.
But as always, I’m hopeful! That the rainbow which appeared above Windsor Castle as the Union Jack flag was lowered to half-mast for the announcement of the Queen’s passing, is perhaps a symbol that more uplifting times are on their way.
As we celebrate The Queen’s reign and service while welcoming a new King, I hope her life acts as an inspiration for how we could live ours. One of dignity, wisdom and humour in the face of opposition and division that feels all too present in our newsfeeds.
As always, I seek solace in my own rituals, sketchbook and hearing the laughter and enjoying the warm hugs from of my family.
This week, let’s keep our rituals simple and reflect with gratitude and grace :)
1. Words To Inspire - Unknown (Sorry!)
This poem came to me - well, I’m not sure from where! I keep a digital notebook of poems, prose and quotes that catch my eye. This was recorded in there, but I have rather absent-mindedly forgotten to write the source of it down. Apologies to the original author - I love your work!
Hello, I don't know everything about you, but I know what you are not. You are not your job title. You are not how many friends or followers' you have. You are not what you wear. You are not just your religion. You are not only the color of your skin. You are not your parents. You are not who you were as a child. You are not your test scores or your achievements. You are not the words others use to describe you. You are not your thoughts, You aren't even what you see in the mirror. There are no words for you. You are. And that is enough. love from Me
2. Music To Meditate To: Saudade by Ólafur Arnalds
Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and producer Ólafur Arnalds knows how to pen the perfect meditation piece. This rolling track of piano loops and ambient sounds is perfect for playing alongside the creative prompt below. (Amazing to think Arnalds is a former drummer for a metal band called Fighting S**t, among others!)
Relax and enjoy :)
3. Weekly Creative Prompt
I want to keep it simple this week. So my friends, grab a cuppa, sit somewhere quiet with a pen and paper and answer this question:
If you could only have the things that you are grateful for today, what would you wake up with tomorrow?
4. Podcast Recommendation: John Butler on Slo-Mo
There’s no book recommendation this week. Instead, I invite you to watch (or listen) to this interview with John Butler. John Butler, now in his eighties, has been practising meditation for nearly sixty years and is a self-proclaimed 'little boy with a grey beard’. I discovered him via the Slo-Mo podcast, so I thought it only right and proper to introduce him to you via Mo Gawdat as well.
I was out walking in the woods, on one of my daily restorative walks as I listened to John speak. A smile broadened across my face as I absorbed his no-nonsense common sense, yet extremely profound words.
He speaks in the voice of a typical English gentleman of his years - it’s a way of speaking that makes me proud to be English, actually! Down to earth and with a twist of humour.
In this interview, he made me rethink my relationship with meditation and confirmed my feelings and passion for using art to lean into contemplation. After all, meditation can be as simple as ‘feeding the ducks’.
5. And Finally…A Quote to Live By
Another amazing woman who passed away this year was the beautiful but all too young, Deborah James - a journalist, educator, podcast host and charity campaigner known as ‘bowel babe’.
Deborah campaigned selflessly and used her experience to break down the barriers around bowel cancer awareness. Another incredible woman!
When someone dies so young (she was only forty), you can’t help but be reminded about the fragility of life and cherish every moment.
I now live by this quote:
“Take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope.”
- Deborah James
Before you go, this week, I shared the first few pages of my new mini sketchbook challenge if you fancy a peak over on Instagram. Next time, I’m thinking about a book on mushrooms, what do you think?!
If you enjoyed this and know someone who might appreciate it, consider sharing :)
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