It has been five weeks now since I began at YMCA Wainui Park in the position of Catering Manager. My son drove me out there the day before I was due to start. As fate would have it we ran into a little difficulty on the way. An accident on the hill to Banks Peninsula meant traffic would be held up for two hours. We decided to take a back road. Though I later discovered the accident had had tragic consequences the choice to take this road less travelled seemed an inspired choice. The day was clear and we had views all round for miles stretching to the south and west.
Since then it has been full on. With groups requiring catering almost back to back. It has only been the last two or three weekends that I’ve been able to take a some time for myself . There have been moments of grace though. The quiet time first thing in the morning when I’m able to connect with the beauty of nature that surrounds me. The silence punctuated by bird song and the wind through the trees. I had a couple of friends visit yesterday and as I showed them around they commented that everywhere they looked both at Wainui and on their trip from Christchurch seemed picture perfect.
That is the way of nature. There is perfection as we look not only closely at the plants but also at the panoramas of the bigger picture. What is it within us that seems imperfect? Creation takes time on the physical plane. Each second, each minute, each hour, each day is a step towards a perfect life. And each moment can be perfect within itself if we are both mindful and heartful in whatever it is we are doing.
Rhythm is important. During those first five weeks the tempo was intense. And now, the season over, I am finding it difficult to find a new step. Last week it felt like a pause between songs. It was like coming away from The Who concert. From the raw power of the music to ordinary life outside the stadium. That inner space that had been moved by the intensity of the music had to rediscover the pace of the everyday. And the concert was only 2 hours long. I’ve been working with that intensity 9+ hours most days for 5 weeks with the odd days respite here and there.
I’m finding a new rhythm this week. Making to time to work on my blog. Allowing work in the kitchen to develop a new pace. In the past I discovered that coming in to a new environment required time to tune into the tempo of the place then once that happened the work began to flow and more of who I am came to the fore. This change from being super busy has had a similar effect.
Talk of rhythm and tempo brings to mind the oral traditions in the times before we had written language. I imagine that the bards, the keepers of the histories, had a highly developed sense of the musicality of words which enabled them to commit large amounts of their history to memory. And I’m sure that once they got into the flow of communicating to their fellow men what was simply information in lyric form the rhythm and tempo would take them beyond the mundane to flights of fancy and into a mystical realm where they would begin to add a mythological context to the histories.
In essence the mystical experience enabled the bards to experience their God-Self. The God within. I acknowledge we all carry the seed of the Divine within us. What is it that brings us closer to experience ourselves as divine? The ancients first attributed divinity to elements of nature, to their external reality. Over time the attributes became internalised governing aspects of themselves that are seen today as forms of intelligence and yet they were seen as being somehow governed by these “god” manifestations.
Howard Gardner describes seven attributes of multiple intelligence: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. These can be seen manifest in the characteristics of gods described not only by ancient cultures but also in the important personages of the Common Era – masters, saints, mystics, philosophers. Their inspiration derived from experience in nature, or by seeking the silence within.
It is this space that I feel close to as I look upon the view from the deck surrounded by nature’s beauty, experiencing the silence early in the morning or late at night and allowing that to nurture my soul. Although this encounter is more immediate in rural and wilderness areas I’ve found a deeper appreciation for those green areas within the city when I’ve visited on different occasions.
I’d love to share the photos I’ve taken over the past weeks as I’ve explored my surroundings and those I’ve snapped on visits to Christchurch. Unfortunately each time I go to load photos into the post the program closes. Its frustrating and rather than seeing the beauty that I bring to the page I hope you’ll take the time to encounter the divine beauty that is waiting for you wherever you are.