Today, two simple events in my life linked themselves in a most surprising way.
This morning I was moving through my Twitter account and checked out someone who had started following me. I always do this simply from curiosity, and if I enjoy their tweets and the things they are sharing then I follow them back. One of the things I most love about social media is the weird and wonderful mix of people you come into contact with, and the way ideas and experiences can strike a chord and connect you to people the other side of the world who you are unlikely ever to meet. In this way I have found amazing links with fellow writers and with the fantastically supportive community of carers.
On this occasion the person I checked out was a photographer and artist from Ireland. His name is Robert Bohan and you can look at his work on his website: http://www.robertbohanphotography.com or find him on Twitter @robertbohan. I clicked on a link in his twitter feed and it took me to an interview he did with Readymag, and a series of his amazing and colourful drawings/paintings. I just loved them. I loved the simplicity, and vibrant colours, and the way the human form is woven into colourful, graphic, abstracted images.
I ‘followed’ Robert Bohan, but I also shared his tweet and something else that connected with me – the way that experiencing problems with eyesight can draw people into a joyful colourful world. Robert Bohan, in his interview, describes how losing the sight in his left eye brought him back to drawing and painting, and how it results in him being drawn to ‘bright pulsing emotional pigments’. I have a friend who also paints in amazing and vibrant colours. I once shared with him how much I loved this aspect of his work and he told me this was because he is colour-blind.
This afternoon I was at my Centering Prayer group – a small group of local people lead by a Ffriend of mine. (Ffriend is a Quakerly way of addressing someone both as a Friend (a Quaker) and a friend in the traditional sense. It is one of many unusual and quaint Quakerly words. One Quaker Meeting even has an online ‘Quaker Jargon Buster’ – a much needed resource for the uninitiated!). The Centering Prayer group is ecumenical, and we come from a broad mix of Christian traditions. We meet fortnightly to meditate and to learn more about different approaches to this, whilst encouraging each other to practice regularly at home. This is something I need – I love meditation and contemplative prayer, but the discipline of doing it regularly doesn’t come easily to a busy and buzzy person like me.
Today, the group tried out the approach to Christian Meditation as described by John Main. I used the recommended word of ‘maranatha’, meaning ‘come Lord’, during my meditation, and found a wonderful deep space of peace. Afterwards, as we discussed some ideas, I felt drawn to share my morning experience of being moved by Robert Bohan’s work, and the unexpected connections I am finding and appreciating through social media. The key in both experiences, we felt, is being open to things. We were given some quotes from John Main who perfectly encapsulated this: ‘Our experience of this silence is one of expansion as our spirit opens up into infinite realms of being.’ Regular meditation has, for me, also ‘opened’ me up to the joys of everyday connections – with nature, with my surroundings, and with complete strangers in the twittersphere.
John Main again: ‘The ultimate end of meditation is communion. Not only do we discover our own oneness but we discover our oneness with the All and with all.’
No less than three blog-writing sessions between 3 and 5am in the morning in the last week! Why does inspiration always strike in the middle of the night?
Discovering the free Archeology NOW lectures run at Lakeside Arts Centre by the University of Nottingham Museum. I learnt all about the little known Roman small town of Segelocum, which was located at what is now Littleborough between Lincoln and Doncaster, and was able to handle beautiful Roman pottery that had been found there.
© Anne de Gruchy 2015