Muse News Winter Solstice 2014 – An Editor’s Reflection

It’s a clear fine day for a mid winter reflection as I look out from my desk and view the first rays of light streaking red across the gleaming morning sky.

It makes me reflect on my Nan, whom I adored, and her reminding her grandchildren that in reality a ‘red sky at night was a shepherd’s delight and a ‘red sky in the morning could also mean a shepherd’s warning’.

She was born and grew up in the countryside and as I child I believed her wise words always.

As I grew older and embraced so many more aspects of human understanding I began to realise that she also often used the phrase metaphorically.

Just like stories in the ‘Bible’ are not meant to be a ‘reality’ but as an example for how we can make the right choices.

She was always urging us to use the red sky image when we spent contemplative moments in a quiet place, preferably one of beauty.

This was something she also deemed necessary when we had big decisions in life to make.

So that  you don’t get the wrong idea. My Nan lived modestly in a ‘worker’s cottage’ at Darlington in Sydney’, not a posh place to be.

However it was a place where her few possessions shone like new, a place where the dust didn’t dare to settle in case it encountered both her diligence and care, as her grandchildren grew to understand, she had for us.

When she had to make decisions she took herself to the Art gallery of Sydney and a walk in the ‘Gardens’.

My own contemplative beauty zone today is walking within the Royal Botanic Gardens at Melbourne and along the Yarra River.

It’s on mornings like these that Australia lives up to its tag of ‘the lucky country’.

But for how long I sometimes ask?

Is it really lucky, or is it that it only seems that way to us because our fathers and grandfathers were ‘good men who went to war’?

At some stage in our lives we all eventually arrive at a place where the pain of the past meets fear of the future. How do we choose the right path to tread then?

My own take on it is that whether the sun will continue to come up and out on a daily basis has everything to do with our attitude.

Keeping the cup half full has always been my aim, because I enjoy the prospect of it perhaps running over with good things now and then. It’s certainly not an everyday expectation, because life’s experience has taught me that is not reality.

Rather, I like to believe that if the light of love and life is to touch my soul then it will be because of my having the courage of my convictions and a philosophy of life to live by. There has to be a place to take a stand, and it means not giving in to tyranny and terror.

We need to connect the great ideas of culture with the problems we face every day and create a healing process in our world today.

Life can and will throw up lots of challenges and disappointments as we journey along its rocky way and by sharing experiences and stories we can win through.

The hope that those out there with evil in their hearts should yet know the joy of kindness, beauty and goodness, should always keep us all striving ever forward.

The dreadful events happening at the moment in Iraq should make us all pause for reflection; will it require yet more good men go to war…?

In August this year my eldest son will be married, a truly joyous occasion coming up for members of my family and friends.

‘My only advice has been in recommending Kahlil Gibran’s wise dissertation on love and marriage…Gibran was a man of the east who came to the west; he was a true genius, a man of words for all seasons…he said

”But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls”.

Lebanese born American poet, artist and philosopher Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) said ‘truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness’.

When I read his wonderful  book ‘The Prophet’, I often wonder just how one man ever reached such a pinnacle of understanding in the nature of human beings and, at such a young age.

His extraordinary insight into the wisdom of the ages will perhaps always remain a mystery, except for those perhaps who knew him and loved him well.

Gibran observed ‘When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

Likewise ‘when you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight’.

Our living, as he pointed out, ‘is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens’ and ‘pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding’

Yesterday he said, is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.

There are so many people in the world at the moment with seemingly no hope that any of their dreams could or would come true and real beauty is something they have ever known.

So perhaps if we all enjoy quieter moments around our own campfire this winter and share a meal with friends to discuss society and its modern moral dilemnas, rather than going out on the town, perhaps we would, and could give just a little more to others in need of our assistance.

Surely we only truly give when we give of ourselves? If we do then perhaps progress will certainly lie not in enhancing what is, but in advancing towards what will be.

If we choose not to help then perhaps coming generations will, as Gibran predicted, ‘learn equality from poverty, and love from woes’. ‘You would know the secret of death, he said…’But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?’

Perhaps wisdom is when we realize that in the great scheme of things, we really know nothing at all.

Carolyn McDowall, Editor Muse~News for The Culture Concept Circle.

Khalil Gibran – Quotes “The Prophet”.

Download: The Culture Concept Circle – Muse~News – Mid June – Winter Solstice 2014


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