" Inner brightness ends up being a much better and longer-lasting alternative to evil than any war, anger, violence or ideology could ever be. All you have to is meet one such shining person and you know that he or she is surely the goal of humanity and the delight of God."
"Falling Upward - Spirituality for the two halves of life" Richard Rohr
I have learnt so much from our beautiful 7 days away.
Seven days away from all technology and to do lists.
Seven days without convenience!
Seven days away to breathe anew.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.Genisis 2.7
Over 7 days I learnt that all children (people) really need
... is trees, a stream, simple food, shelter, fire and loving company.
Our "cabin" was a tiny three bed bedsit.
Yet it didn't feel small.
Our "garden" was communal.
Families rambled through it.
Children rode their bikes.
Ducklings squabbled in puddles for breadcrumbs twice daily.
Squirrels scampered through the French doors fearlessly to steal sunflower seeds.
Even a hare gamboled by one morning.
Yet there was nothing but greenery and the freedom of the outdoors.
And it felt huge.
Maybe the future for us humans is this small, natural, communal, localized, simplified way of living.
Maybe it has to be.
Maybe this is a good thing.
I learnt that I do not miss technology, washing machines, tumble dryers, concrete, convenience or cars when I am without them.
I learnt that, in fact I would happily trade them all in.
I learnt that children will never be bored if given a little bit of water, some woodland, a few sticks, stones, mud and the company of other children.
They do not need toys.
Nature is the ultimate playground.
I also learned that a week in nature teaches a child more about life than 100 lessons in a schoolroom ever could.
I learnt that it is far easier to commune with our Creator when in direct and constant contact with His creation.
I grieved how the world is beginning to divide up.
Poor driven to cities as rich corporations take up more and more land for mineral resources, logging and intensive farming.
I learnt that having an afternoon and evening to myself is necessary only within a modern life context.
When surrounded by the deep peace of nature all cravings for "space", "my own thing" "time away from it all" fall away.
There is an agenda behind all that advertising and lack of fulfillment in our everyday, systematic, mundane work.
It keeps us in a state of spiritual want that disguises itself as hunger for more stuff, more money, more food etc...
When what we really need is less.
I learnt that I would happily live in a small dwelling, much smaller even that the one we currently abide in.
So long as I had two things besides.
Nature and community.
I have learnt that nothing is worth having unless it is shared.
I have learnt that each child is a sacred teacher.
I have also learnt that who I am is far more important than what I say.
We are not what we say or do as much as we are the energy we emanate.
We can emanate a life energy or death energy.
I have learnt that if we don't make the changes we believe in as individuals then the world will never change.
We are reflections of the wider world and the wider world is a reflection of us as individuals.
The pure integrity and love of a single person can move mountains.
I believe this.
The truth is that abundant consuming has become a vicious addictive cycle in the modern world.
Connecting to nature is a really important factor in breaking the cycle.
Even spiritual things have become tainted with commercialism.
So little seems untouched these days. Everything has a market. Everyone is a "brand."
Everything we are resonates.
We can't resist evil externally, we have to go within.
Our own peace will become the world's peace.
Our world is such an incredibly beautiful place.
We need to love it like a Mother, a Father, a Child.
It is the skin of our Creator.
His dream realized.
I went out into the woods by our cabin with Emmy one still and silent evening.
There was a path of golden sunlight through the ferns and foxgloves.
I don't think I have seen anything more beautiful in my life.
I saw God there.
In the light that touched my skin.
The light that gave life to the living greenness and the aged bark of the pines.
From the earth.
I was blessed.
While walking home I thought of how I need to seek blessings daily.
But not just seek them.
The secret is I have to give them out as soon as they touch me.
The true blessing is not simply in the seeking or the receiving but the giving away.
As Hannah gave Samuel, Abraham gave Issac, Jesus gave Himself.
We cannot hoard, or store blessing.
We have to let it all go.
Or it becomes valueless.
Beauty to ashes.
God is all about resurrection, restoration, renewal.
Nature tells us this story every year. It whispers, "there can be no Spring without the "Fall" of Autumn"
Blessings only live in giving.
Giving and receiving both require and open hand and an open heart.
To be loved and to love.
That is what makes a life.