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Sonia Falaschi-Ray’s March Diary article February 26, 2018

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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In the film version of Absolutely Fabulous, Edina, (played by Jennifer Saunders) has run out of money while trying to maintain her glamorous lifestyle. We find her sitting cross-legged, eyes shut, humming Ommmm. When asked what she was doing, replied, “Mindlessness”.

Mindfulness, on the other hand, involves intentional thought and action. It includes being conscious of our thoughts and emotions as well as being spiritually alert and aware. To become more mindful, we may have to slow down and do less. There is a counselling concept of ‘planned neglect’, which entails making deliberate choices regarding things we will not do, or will postpone, releasing us from feelings of guilt over an unachievable ‘to do’ list.

The pre-Easter season of Lent is when Christians engage with spiritual mindfulness. Some give up a pleasure or habit, thereby having their thoughts drawn back to God as they repeatedly resist it. Others take up a new challenge.

Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, recently made the following suggestions. You may find a couple really resonate with you. Try them. Your Easter eggs may taste all the better as a result.

Do you want to fast this Lent?

Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from worries and trust in God. Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity. Fast from pressures and be prayerful. Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy. Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

Many blessings

Sonia 07747 844265

February Diary article by Ruth Pyke January 25, 2018

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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The plastic tide has hit our consciousness in a huge wave of awareness since the beginning of this year. Blue Planet (BBC) has shown plastic entangling sea creatures, preventing them from flying or swimming, and eventually killing them. Plastic is being ingested by fish, turtles and sea birds and it is littering the beaches and seas of the world. Politicians have begun to take notice and made promises to reduce our plastic footprint.

The way in which we treat our planet makes a difference to our health and well-being. Whether or not we see the world as created by God who saw it and said ‘It is good’, it is likely that most of us are disturbed by the scenes of plastic pollution in hedgerows, trees and roadsides.

Over the last year, I have been challenged and inspired by two Facebook groups which are striving to live with less, to recycle more and to cut down substantially on the plastics used in our homes. Just one or two actions can help – whether using paper bags instead of plastic, milk bottles instead of plastic containers, or to repair where possible instead of buying new. Others take containers to butchers to avoid their meat being wrapped in single use plastic. I hope that we might all do something as our contribution to a better world for our children and future generations.

In ancient times, the writers of the Psalms would also look at the stars and at the sea just as we do – and wonder at it. Over 2,500 years ago the writer of Psalm 104 wrote this hymn of wonder at God’s creation. It speaks of the stars and the heavens, the clouds and the winds. It sings of the springs which bring water to the earth to sustain and refresh all that is created, both plant life and animal, and finally he gazes at the sea. The words could be a commentary for the Blue Planet.

Yonder is the sea, great and wide

Creeping things innumerable are there,

Living things both small and great.

There go the ships and Leviathan* that you formed to sport in it.

On 14th February, Lent begins. Perhaps, inspired by the beauty of the world and by the Blue Planet, we could each think of one way in which we might reduce our plastic so that future generations have the same beauty to marvel at as did the Psalmist. Maybe our inspiration will be that of the Creator who loves our world and shares with us the joy of caring for it.

*A sea monster – a whale or a crocodile or maybe a dolphin.