Issue 766
This week's practice 

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Dear Friends,

I had the pleasure of staying with friends the other day.  They’re both artists who live in the Chiltern Hills. 

It’s an interesting journey.  After driving at speed down the M40 you turn off into a world of winding lanes and overhanging trees.  The M40 is designed to get you from A to B as quickly as possible.  The country roads appear to have something different in mind, there to provide you with a journey into another time.  They slow you down.  I don’t know what Arcadia was like, but the Chiltern Hills are I’m sure pretty close to what it must have been like.  These roads, although not quite green lanes in the technical sense, follow hollow roads worn down by time.  

Where our friends live is near the top of a steep sided valley in what used to be an inn there to provide for the drovers and carters after their steep climb.  It’s a beautiful place for sure, plenty of artistic inspiration.  As it says below, nature is never short of beauty, something we might appreciate if we are not always leaping ahead of ourselves, determined to get from A to B as fast as possible.

Last week I indulged myself by including a photo of my granddaughter.   It’s not surprising that she has a certain creative flair.  Her other grandparents are both writers. We had dinner with them recently and were presented with her grandfather’s latest book of poetry.  It certainly is an enjoyable read.  With green lanes in mind I thought I would include one his poems.  Take your time to enjoy it just as these winding ways demand.


Green Lanes

All this summer I’ve been walking green lanes,
half-forgotten cart tracks, pilgrim ways
fallen out of use.

I am no longer surprised
at the turns they take -
the way they rise to the hill’s brow

then seem to forget
where they’re heading
amble along the side of an old field

only to peter out in brambles
or vanish into a wood
among low green branches

And when the storm-rain
turns these paths into streams
their gaunt

flinty ribs break the surface,
rising again out of the mud
like old bones.

Patrick Early


With my best regards, William

PS If you would like to read the rest of Patrick's poems click on this link. 

Patrick Early. Patrick will be joining us on an Inspiration Day to be held on the 10th November.  More details to come.

This week's reflection


One of the great things about the world is that it is not short of beauty. There is more of a chance of being aware of this wandering along green lanes rather than dashing down a motorway.  Even every moment has its moment if we but look.  No, there is no shortage of beauty, but it can only be discovered when we become aware of its presence, and only fully appreciated when it is taken within.  Then, not only do we discover the beauty without, but we also tend the emotional ground of our own hearts by discovering that same beauty is to be discovered there in its fullness.    How else could we recognise the beauty without if we didn’t have it within us.  Harmony is our theme and taking time to become aware of the beauty that surrounds  is an effective way of finding our own inherent harmony.

Therefore, in a world of urgency when so much of our time is devoted to results, the inherent beauty of things - our own inherent beauty - is easily forgotten.  Our task is to reconnect with what surrounds us everywhere.


W.H.Davis concludes his poem: ‘Leisure’ with these lines:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare

There is no time to stand and stare whilst struggling to get somewhere, but beauty can strike us unaware all in an instant, no matter when or where.  There’s more chance of this happening, however, the more we cultivate an awareness of beauty by giving her time.
Cezanne was asked why he painted the same scene over and over again.  He replied that he wanted to enter ever more deeply into it, the connection was the real thing, the painting but the product.  This is giving beauty time and in the process tending the inner landscape, the landscape of the soul.

Find real quality of life by giving yourself time.  Come into the moment.  Connect with colour and form, light and space.  Let go of emotional confines, and consider beauty however it might manifest.

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Plato Forum

Expand Your World INNOVATION/COMMUNICATION/CREATIVE THINKING Sunday March 2nd 10am-5pm understand what life is asking of you. Tickets including tea and coffee available in advance from the office - 15