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Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud: The Timeless Wisdom of Dr Maya Angelou

 

 

“I’ve had a lot of clouds. But I have had so many rainbows”

~ Dr Maya Angelou

I know this applies to me, particularly at the moment.  As a woman of a certain age, life currently swings between highs and lows.  I should say that there are plenty of ‘in between’ times, when life is calm and peaceful.  But every now and then, something I have come to know as Melancholy sneaks up on me, dragging me down to its level.  Happily, I am rarely in the grip of Melancholy for very long – sometimes only a few hours.  But while I am there, it can be difficult to see life in any way other than utterly hopeless.

It is of great comfort to me, therefore, to listen to the powerful wisdom of Dr Maya Angelou, as she reflects on her view of life:

“I don’t ever feel I have no help.  I’ve had rainbows in my clouds”

I love Dr Maya’s view that all those people who have ever been kind to her can be called on by her when she feels she needs help and support.  These are her ‘rainbows’, which she can gather around her in times of need.  I like being reminded that I also have plenty of rainbows on whom I can call when need be.

In return, counsels Dr Maya, we should work to provide this kind of support to others:

“And the thing to do…is prepare yourself, so that you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you;…may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do; may not dance your dances or speak your language.  But be a blessing to somebody.”

So, next time you find yourself in a cloud, dwell not on its size, weight or density.  Rather, look through the fog to the myriad rainbows which sparkle there for you.  Think of yourself as your own rainbow too – switch any negative self-talk to a voice of kind, loving support.

And, of course, find a way to be someone else’s rainbow too. 😊🌈

 

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Creative Insights: the hand-colourist

"The Colourist" (Copyright Loading Docs)
“The Colourist” (Copyright Loading Docs)

It intrigues me that, while I am carrying on with my daily life, there are billions of others doing the same thing, even though I have no idea who they are or what their lives are like.

Continue reading “Creative Insights: the hand-colourist”

The Destiny of the Self (or Well Done Rach!)

My sister, Rachel Brown MA
My sister, Rachel Brown MA

Last Tuesday, my family focused not on international affairs, but on the celebration of my sister’s impressive achievement – gaining an MA in Producing Film and Television at Bournemouth Unviersity.

Continue reading “The Destiny of the Self (or Well Done Rach!)”

We’re Not Alone

What does it mean to be human?  What does it mean for you to be human?

Can there be a single answer?  While you are thinking about it, why not watch this short video, which highlights the perspective of a number of people around the world.  They are all like you and me; none of them are like you or me.  We are all different and we are all the same. 🙂

 

It Is What It Is

 

Copyright tonibernhard.com
Copyright tonibernhard.com

Welcome to the start of another week.  What kind of plans do you have in store?  Are you able to embrace the thought of dealing with whatever comes your way?  Raring to go, full of joy for being alive and in the moment?

Or are you anxious about the days ahead? Stressed? Fearful?

The spiritual teacher Byron Katie says “You can argue with the way things are.   You’ll lose but only 100% of the time”.

It can be hard to accept what is in front of us with equanimity and a peaceful mind.  It is a simple concept, but not an easy one.  Yet we can get there in a split second.  We control our thoughts, not the other way round.  We can decide what to think about any event or situation.  We can choose acceptance over resistance.

To use a relatively trivial-sounding example, I have a residual fear of engaging with e-mails, as a result of a devastating experience at work a few years ago.  These days, I lead a blessed and happy life.  But when it comes to thinking about my in-box, I am consumed with anxiety about what might lurk there.  So I put off opening my mailbox for as long as possible.

Eventually, given the way the world works these days, I have to draw on those famous words by Susan Jeffers and ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.  Having taken a deep breath and opened my messages, what do I find?  A long list, not of horrors after all, but of stress-free items which I can handle perfectly well.  Once I can see the true content of my in-box, only then do I recognise that it is the muscle-memory of past times which has been controlling my thoughts and therefore my emotions, not the logic behind what is most likely to exist when I switch on the computer.

I am using the practice of acceptance to help me overcome this fear.  By taking a moment to recognise my present reality, and by relaxing into it, as Pema Chödrön puts it, I can engage with this aspect of my life with a calm, still presence, regardless of what shows up.

I hope this approach might also be useful for you, if and when you find yourself dealing with difficult or unexpected events.

There is no path to peace.  Peace is the path.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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