Panier of Plenty

The Winds of Change

I took this feather as a sign. Wandering (half asleep) into the kitchen at 6am, I saw it fall past the window! I have been thinking about how marvellous the birds are here… not something I would have expected from life in the centre of town. Looking out to the skies above the ravine, with the Tins stream running below, there are multiple-levels of air traffic, all in harmony: the hirondelles or swallows in their hundreds (I think) circling, blue jays traversing, sparrows diving and flitting along tree tops, blackbirds feasting, pigeons visiting the chickens in their garden and much bigger species perched in the bare branches of the gum tree, opposite. I am unsure as to where this gift came from, but I have a suspect, sitting on the highest branch…

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Can you feel a stirring? A whispering that passes through every bough, as each leaf carries a message that calls to us from the breeze. If we learn to listen we can discern it, for when the wind talks it knows us by name.

Energy flows through the air – the ether – as the unseen worlds around us whip up to a frenzy, or gently flow through our lives without our detection. We only see the wind because of the effects present in the things around us. Nature comes alive with the dance of life while the cities we have built barely sway. Signs fluttering as the forces gather strength, and rubbish tumbling like the weeds of the desert. But there are other signs, true indicators of what is afoot when we become adept at recognising them.

The restlessness that makes us uneasy as we can feel something pending – energy building. Meteorologically we understand the accumulation of pressure – the highs and lows on our barometers indicating which way the outcome will go, as we ready ourselves for Nature’s show.

The element of surprise makes an entrance and weaves its way through our lives. As much as we like to think we can predict the weather based on measuring and monitoring averages and seasonal fluctuations, we can never quite tell what Nature has up her sleeve.

Anomalies are a regular occurrence, and events defying all logical analysis, more frequent. Baffling patterns are changing the way we evaluate the data previously thought of as infallible; twists and turns that spin off in a direction of their own – not creating a course that can be followed, but displaying behaviour as curious as the world that emerges when we tumble down the rabbit hole that acts as a portal between one reality and the next.

One, our daily existence, something we like to assert control over. A life that is given, that fits within a fixed set of boundaries or a paradigm where we get to know the rules and apply them in a logical fashion, to ensure that everything behaves in quite an ordinary way. We expect it to fall into line. We like security. We rely on the parameters we operate within to define the limits – to give us a framework, and create a set of clear standards and guidelines that govern our moves on the chessboard of life as we progress from square to square in an orderly contained manner.

Just as we’ve become accustomed to the weather fitting in to a nice neat little box, most of the time. As we’re ticking along, going about our business, and regulating our lives, it is comforting to know we can assert a degree of mastery over the elements of Nature.

We plan, and we prepare, we gather provisions and the appropriate protection to brave adverse conditions. As humans, we have learnt to weather the storms that shake our foundations. The disasters that uproot us only serve to add another layer to our resilient exteriors – for we must go on. Life always finds a way.

We survive. We rebuild our shattered lives, piecing together the fragments, and we continue. We endure. Like rocks we stand, shaped by the currents that roar around us, worn smooth by the flow that only travels in one direction – home – the great rivers that course to the ocean; from the source of the Nile through wetlands and cataracts, ever-seeking the whole body of water that it will merge with at the end of its long journey. And what a story it could tell.

Each drop off on its own adventure, having originated from the same source, yet having taken a different course. The cycles at work as Nature gathers the moisture from the land – moisture rising as condensation and clouds forming; bubbling, boiling, seething masses releasing their precious cargo drop by drop, falling back to Earth; its form changed, yet its substance the same.

The essence of life – the live-giving waters that enable all of life to emerge, to flourish and to grow, sustaining each and every living thing on our Earth as it returns to us from the Heavens as a deluge or inundation, or a light shower that barely touches our skin. The plants absorbing moisture; the earth, soaking up its beneficial liquids and drinking the nightly dew. Moisture as a bond, holding together the matter that would crumble to dust if it was deprived of the humidity that is contained in our atmosphere.

The air we breathe imbued with particles – infused with atoms and molecules and pollen and minute specs of bacteria and spores, all absorbed by our pores. The free radicals joining the elements necessary for our continued health as a ‘thriving species’, and pollution filling the air we breathe in mouthfuls as we gulp in the fumes of our modern civilised lives. Sheltering from the rain; hiding away from the natural forces that bring balance as they remedy any lack by providing an abundance that feeds all the systems dependent on Nature for their survival.

What part do we play in this process? Our air, conditioned? Our water, filtered? Our connection with Nature limited to our own back yards and weekends – unless we gravitate to Nature and answer the yearning within us for wide-open spaces and wilderness, and the sea that beckons? The sound of the waves that lull us to sleep, and the positive ions that charge us with energy as we inhale the fresh salty air that fills our lungs, and invigorates our senses.

Each drop in the ocean bathing away our troubles as we return to the waters that held us as we formed. The fluids that carried us between worlds sustaining our emerging life as it grew and gathered complexity, preparing for the passage from a watery existence to a realm of light and sound, and colour. The liquid now transformed to air – our support system severed, as we become self-contained intelligent organisms with every function engineered to ensure our survival.

Life begets life. Life supports and sustains all of the forms of life that exist, whether we recognise their existence or not. Life is self-perpetuating; it spirals in ever-increasing circles towards a state of wholeness or perfection, because this is its natural state.

A state of grace, of harmony, and of full and complete functioning, just as we would wish any part of our lives to live up to. For to function ‘fully’ we need to find balance and maintain our levels of energy that allow us to participate in life through activity – ‘being’ and ‘doing’, and going about our business as we spend each day creating our life anew.

All of our thoughts ‘coming into being’ as we send out our arrows of desire and reap the rewards of our musings, or find we must overcome the sorrows that call on our courage and fortitude, and only serve to make us stronger – to test our mettle – to contribute to our growing resolve to focus on what is most important to us.

When we find ourselves in crisis, everything in our lives is brought into question. We evaluate – we count our blessings and we rearrange our priorities to include more of the things that we love. We reach a point where we see our lives flash before us and realise just how precious each and every moment is.

We jump outside of our routines, for they are no longer possible, or important – our entire focus is on survival, or somehow winning through the conditions we find our self in and calling upon our inner resources to sustain us. The fellowship of man shines through as others rally around us and show their support. And our spirit comes to the fore as we call upon every ounce of our reserves to rise above any obstacles that lie in our path.

We find a way. We follow a new course, just as a river finds a way of flowing around blocks to its progress. Surely and steadily we come through and re-emerge. All of life passes through these cycles of death and renewal and instinctively carries on unperturbed – governed by a higher intelligence that instructs its regeneration, just as our bodies heal when we cut ourselves; instantly setting to work to bring back the harmony that has been disrupted.

For healing to occur, we know that all we need do is ‘take ourselves out of the way’. We rest, we get plenty of liquids and sleep, and before we know it we’re back on our feet as Nature takes care of the details. Modern medicine enables the conditions under which healing can occur, but it doesn’t physically orchestrate the process – everything within us is already programmed to respond to situations and acts automatically when triggered. Cells at the ready – armies lining up and building their ranks trying to hold their defences and stave off invasion.

Invisible battles waging that we’ll never be participate in, unlike the wars that we have with our emotions, weighing things up logically when our heart is trying to tell us it is not ‘in’ the direction we have chosen to pursue. Forcing ourselves to carry on, despite feeling deflated before we’ve begin if we’re not inspired by the tasks we’ve been nominated to perform. We’re adept at pushing ourselves on and at trying to makes ends meet, because if we surrender, we have to admit defeat.

We like to think of life as win-win scenarios. We know that perseverance eventually pays off, and that if we put enough work or effort into something, eventually we start to see results. We’re taught to measure our success by the satisfaction that comes in the form of money, born from the fruits of our labours as we realise our gain and in doing so, receive recognition from others that we have done well. Each victory brings a new sense of achievement and with it the validation that we seek as visible proof of our value as a ‘person worth knowing’.

Thus a standard is born that we must measure up to – there are levels we have to reach to gain acceptance. We are expected to display the visible means that support our rise up the social ladder so that we can be slotted into a particular niche or category and labelled accordingly.

A ‘gold digger’ or ‘social climber’ attracts different attention that someone who is recognised as ‘doing the hard yards’ without any shortcuts or calling on any favours. Life is meant to be competitive, and we expect to be weeded out as we strive to reach our goals, or fall by the wayside if we’re not prepared to fight to get ahead.

We’re taught to believe that struggle is part of our nature. That it is natural to have to accept disappointment and failure as inevitable. That ‘stuff happens’ – that just when we least expect it we are likely to get a nasty surprise to topple us from our cloud, and come down to Earth with a thud. We entertain ‘what ifs’. We put aside our savings for rainy days because we have learnt to take the ups and downs, and to ride the waves that lift us to a new high, only to send us crashing into a trough.

We like to think things won’t happen to us yet we are sure that they will – we ‘insure’ against it. We take risks; we dabble in our futures and regress to the mistakes of the past as we draw the lines around us that mark the borders of our comfort zone, depending on our experiences.

What about the sunny days? What do we have planned for the Sundays of our lives? The moments where we can loosen the reins and relax just long enough to get comfortable before we spring back into action, ready to take on the world. Alert, activated; our guard let down for a minute and our composure now regained as we continue to run towards our own demise.

The more effort we expend to keep up with our responsibilities the further we seem to be from our ideals – from the voice that calls us to a simple life. From the part of us that longs to lie there on the soft grass and to feel the warmth of the sunshine as we watch the clouds forming shapes in the sky – constantly on the move, dissolving and dispersing and re-emerging in the twinkling of an eye. Our mind, free to travel; our thoughts, spreading their wings. Our tired spirits lifted and our body completely at home on the Earth.

The sky, teeming with possibilities. The only sound a bee, flitting from flower to flower gathering nectar – collecting goodness – happily going about its work and pollinating the plants whose continuation is now secured. Contributing something. Adding to evolution. Part of the intricate web of life that is woven through all things as life sustains life.

What are our lives made of? What are we holding in place through our practices and what structures are supported through our actions?

Are we adapting to survival under ever-greater levels of stress? Do we believe it is natural to be so preoccupied with the pursuit of money so we can buy the things we know are necessary for our survival, that we’ve forgotten the goal that we are chasing, because we never seem to find the time or the energy to do anything but contribute to keeping the wheel turning as we stretch ourselves more thinly, in the hope that we will make up some of the distance we need to recover in order to complete ourselves – to finally reach a point where we can stop and catch our breath and acknowledge we have ‘made it’, without always wanting more?

For the search to be over, because we are found? Having realised we are quite content with everything just as it is, thank you very much, for life couldn’t be more perfect?

That is, until it rains on our parade. Until a little thing like the weather comes along and ruins our best dress, or huffs and puffs and blows our house down, no matter how secure we think we are. Double glazing and reinforced concrete not enough to withstand the elements when they are aroused to a fury and lash out without our provocation.

What have we done to deserve some of the things that occur in our lives, as we are left mopping up or sifting through the pieces that remain? Are we victims of circumstances beyond our control, or ‘Acts of God’ that defy definition in small print? Are we covered? Do we have enough protection in place to ensure that everything we have worked so hard to create is left intact, even if our lives are in tatters?

Our castles fortified, and our pockets deep, as we distribute our resources towards the maintenance of our dreams. Or perhaps that’s a stretch – a bit of a leap from the reality – because we’re still dreaming, but in the meantime we’ve settled for a watered-down version or second-best, because we’re accustomed to limiting our expectations, and therefore our levels of disappointment.

We’ve learnt to smooth things out. We prefer to remain on an even keel than to take our chances. We’re not heading for the peaks because we’re not prepared to plunge into something unknown – to charter previously undiscovered waters as we set out on a voyage that could lead us beyond the boundaries of the known world – to the New World.

We prefer certainty – the plain sailing that will carry us safely to a familiar shore. Something predictable, where we have some sort of guarantee that will help us to protect our interests and maintain our standing ­– to confirm our position and provide the bearings we need to navigate ourselves from one quest to another as we accumulate wealth and form allegiances, and gather intelligence to us that can be used to further our fortunes.

Constantly seeking to control our environments and to make others submit to our will, as we get what we think we want and then move on to tick the next box. Cutting through, carving our way, and moving mountains if we have to as we leave our wake.

The effects felt, the ripples eventually rolling in as waves impacting, as we stamp our mark unknowingly on everything around us. Energy gaining momentum and continuing long after we’re gone; having been set in motion by our thoughts, words, and actions – as a chain reaction – a series of events initiated by us that in turn create a snowballing effect as everything we touch turns to gold or conversely, manifests as a monster of our making.

The consequences clear when we can see the results of our actions, or when we get to experience the aftermath of certain choices and watch them playing out before our eyes.

We’re used to judging things by what we see, and we learn to modify our behaviour accordingly. We adjust to suit the situations we find ourselves in and continually adapt to new rules of engagement, or conditions that we find placed on us that change the parameters we can operate within.

We are masters of disguise when it comes to hiding our feelings and setting new tasks for ourselves to perform. Pushing ourselves on, we demand more than a pound of flesh when it comes to maintaining the appearance that ‘all is well in our world’ as we get on with the act of living.

Yet are we living a lie? Are we caught on the treadmill, or the meat in the sandwich between do or die?

The global climate is changing as consumerism tips the scales towards the production of more items deemed necessary if we are to find the key to happiness. We are assured that perfection is ours to purchase; we are able to buy back our youth, and claim vitality in an instant with a few vitamins.

Surely there is something on the shelf that will satisfy our cravings, and the promise of a new timesaving device to ease our load, and give us back the commodity we seem to be short of? The minutes left for pleasure, and for taking our leisure – the most precious seconds that remain with us forever as we witness magic in our relationships with others, and in our contact with the world.

The magnificent sunsets etched into our minds and the scenes that have stirred our soul, as we have witnessed the wonders of Nature and been charmed by the presence of something greater than us. A spectacular show as lightning illuminates the thunderous skies, waves crashing to shore while the wind howls during a mighty storm.

The opening of buds after the rain, the morning dew glistening like a carpet of crystals as we once again revel in the calm that follows the tempest. The lashing out is accompanied by a period of quiet reflection and our faith is renewed, for we are reassured that all adverse conditions soon pass, and we will always awaken to a new dawn.

The dawning of a new day that heralds a change. The old has been swept away. The air is as clear and as fresh as our mind when we have shed the pain of the past, and awoken to a new start. The slate is clean as we gather our wits about us and begin each moment as if it were our first, and last. Finding the eyes of wonder we had as a newborn child; exploring our environment for the first time, completely unafraid of what might ‘lie in store’ because we are too interested in what we are discovering in this very instant.

The moment we realise what is around us, is the moment we realise the world – as we recognise what has been with us all along.

Why would we dream of buying security, if we already feel secure? Why do we look for ways to earn our freedom, when we are as free as the wind that blows though our lives? Why do we invest in the future, when there is so much calling for our attention right now? How can we expect anything to improve our lives or complete us, if we are not broken? Why do we imagine we are victims, when we are the ones who hold the power over our ‘circumstances’, because we have choices?

We are here to exercise free will. We are automatically being guided back to Wholeness, to Oneness – to Unity as every experience in our life plays out and we refine our actions accordingly. Every part of our lives is perfection itself, playing its role in creation as we contribute our unique point of view to the immense Collective Vision that continues to evolve. Each drop in the ocean, equally important as it contributes to the whole. And our lives ‘ups and downs’, a wealth of experience continuously feeding the consciousness of life itself – contributing to the growing pool of energy that gathers momentum, and draws us home.

Home is where the heart is. As we draw our attention inwards, away from the distractions of the external world, we find the surety that can fill our lives. The sense of calm that will see us through any drama. And the voice that will protect our interests. No matter what storms may rage on Earth, our instincts will guide us, our intuition will ensure our safety, and Nature will continue to support our survival, as we become survivors.

The air we breathe as sweet as we can imagine it. The water that quenches our thirst, as pure as we will allow it to be when we focus our attention on it. And our food? Filled with all of the goodness of Nature if we sow the seeds that will ensure a bountiful harvest, the suns rays warming the Earth and brightening our days, as we welcome it.

A brighter future only a heartbeat away, as we begin to focus on what really matters. The wind whispering through the silver leaves – what more do we really need?

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This entry was published on June 11, 2015 at 2:55 pm. It’s filed under Alternative Medicine, Antipodean, Art, Catalan, Climate Change, Country Life, Country Living, Creative, Cultural Creative, Culture and Arts, Current Events, Environment, Europe, Ex Advertising Creative, Expat, Forest, France, French Culture, Garden, Healing, Health, La Vie Quotidienne, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Lifestyle, Living in France, Mediterranean, Nature, New Zealander in France, Philosophy, Photography, Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Summer, Thoughts, Tree-change, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “The Winds of Change

  1. peonyden on said:

    Hi Vivienne. I can assure you that feather comes from the wing of a Pigeon. Not the main flight feathers (Primaries, which are pointed) but the next group along the wing. So it is classed as a Secondary.

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