Piece: momentary bliss. That brief connection when you look into a strangers eyes and you decide to embrace them instead of shake their hand. The instant joy of discovery: noticing strands of wool on a fence; finding a pristine pheasant’s feather for one’s hat; sitting in the dappled treed coolness out of the blazing midday summer sun; the delight upon turning a corner on a walk in the woods and coming upon a breathtaking vista; the split second that your eyes lock with the love you will one day marry; that feeling of reverence walking silently through an ancient forest of giants knowing with each step you walk the route of history who’s past contains the lives and stories of all those that had trodden the same path before; that transitory moment of peace.
Moments That Possess Us But Cannot Be Possessed
Life is a collection of countless moments. Little pieces of time that come together to form what we call a life. These moments are precious and priceless. They teach us not to hold onto them, because they are like trying to hold water in our hand. Instead, it is better to recognise these moments when they occur. To treasure them.
These are transitory moments that we can never possess but can possess us.
The Secret To Happiness
The secret to happiness is to allow yourself to be fully present. In these moments life gifts us with great abundance. It is almost that the more we give up possessing such moments we are showered in our trust.
Away With The Birds
These glimpses of sheer joy gift us with a sense of peace and tranquility. On Day Four of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem we stopped for lunch in Doddington. Sitting under the dappled shade of an old tree out of the fierce summer heatI allowed myself to melt away to the sounds of the birds that surrounded us.
Often it takes these quiet moments when we are not in conversation for our hearts to open up and be aware to the beauty that surrounds and abounds.
When we stop and allow our mind to slow down do we experience such bliss. Below is a recording of the sounds of birds singing as I sat resting and enjoying lunch.
Across the road was The Beheading of John The Baptist Church. I explored the church grounds and felt an overwhelming feeling of bliss. The church ground was surrounded by gravestones amongst the wildflowers and bumble bees. In an instant I was taken back to a moment as a child in Malta sitting in the blazing noonday sun revelling in the beauty of red posppies and other wild flowers ( which some may see as weeds).
I remember the sun beating down on me, joyfully bleeding. Sitting low and seeing bumblebees buzzing from flower to flower, enveloped by beauty in a vacant lot. Being midday my relatives were asleep having an afternoon siesta, and here I was king amongst the thistles and poppies.
Going To Pieces
Reminiscing past blissful moments can bring present joy. The danger comes is when we begin to live and embellish the past at the expense of the present. When we begin to see the sunny past as somewhat ‘better’ than our current life.
These pieces of time, when we are fully engaged are what make up a lived life. When we arrived at Canterbury, each pilgrim was taken up for the night by generous parishioners from St Paul’s Church in Canterbury. My hosts were Norman and Patsie. They were very accommodating hosts whose generosity I will long remember.
They had allowed me into a piece of their life and they were overjoyed when I called my wife to let her know that I was safe and they were able to connect with Heidi and get a glimpse into my life.
Norman decided to join us for an hour’s walk as we left Canterbury. As we walked we talked. We found that we had very much in common both in our lives, relationships with our spouse, and our philosophy in life. We discussed the beauty that can be found in the present moment. The beauty to be found in those glimpses of heaven that we are gifted with that no amount of riches could ever be traded for.
Norman recited the following poem by R. S. Thomas, a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who captured these moments or pieces that bring peace perfectly:
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Walk of Gratitude
After lunch on the Fourth Day of the pilgrimage we continued our journey through The Blean, an ancient forest who’s beauty astounded me. We walked in silence and as I looked around and up at the towering green giants that surrounded me I experienced moments of erupting bliss. My heart expanded, my eyes welled and my gratitude overwhelmed me surrounded by the beauty of nature. I was privileged to be here in this very moment walking through with people I have got to know and experiencing a journey others never will.
Peace is about creating a life that are made up of countless ‘pieces’. A masterpiece takes countless previous pieces of time to create mastery. Experience can teach us to have gratitude for what is present. Wisdom is an accumulation of experience and making sense of them.
The Secret to Eternal Youth
I think the greatest wisdom is to know that this life is short while you still have youth. To be grateful for every piece of your existence. To find peace through joy and delight in the moments that make up the masterpiece that is your life. To love with all your heart. To be grateful for the joy and wonder that abounds when we open our hearts to the now. To be grateful allows you to see life with constant fresh eyes. To not get lost in sameness and be blinded by time and apparent need to rush. To allow child-like curiosity to guide you, to keep you eternally young even in old age.
Thank you Norman for reminding me that we can never age in spirit when we allow ourselves to be lost in the peace and joy of the present moment.