Music is a great part of my life. Granddad was a piano tuner, Mum played piano and could read music and she and Dad sang in a Choral Society with my aunt! My childhood memories are of being dragged along to The Creation or some such religious offering which dragged on and on and I just wanted to go home! However, I loved the Christmas concert and singing all the carols.
Today I also sing in a choir but not like the one Mum and Dad did. We sing folk, pop, world and such and we get to have a backing band for some songs (ah! my dream of singing with a band finally arrived!!). I taught myself to play guitar to a fairish standard but I don’t read music and we learn everything in choir without word sheets (usually). From my parents I have inherited a good ear for music and can harmonise naturally once I know the melody line. I know I am lucky. My kids like music but neither would stick to the guitar and had no interest in any other instrument, though I did think my youngest might make a good dancer as he has natural rhythm. The range of music I like has expanded over the years and also includes a few of those dreaded classical pieces from the past! I enjoy classical orchestral music, rock, 80’s music, trance and now some rap and R&B. Religious music for me is some worship, celtic, and contemporary.
Below is a album I have in my collection featuring poetry and music which I love. There is one poem which always makes me cry and a song I wish never ended. Guess which ones? Enjoy.
Evening in the Zen Zone!
Having no real quiet area that is totally mine in the house I am claiming a part of the garden. It came to me the other day while sitting in my spot at the bottom of the garden by the shed. It has always been where I sit in the heat of summer to read or sometimes write letters. It is shaded by a blackberry bush and buddleias. So on Saturday we cleared away the rubbish and I bought some plants from B&Q. It’s a start. My son calls it my ‘Zen Zone’! It is a work in progress – I have made my mark on it and already I feel relaxed when I sit there.
Stained Glass Window, Chichester Cathedral
I’ve always loved those personality type quizes that tell you who you are. Then two years agao I came across Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and attended two seminars at Waverley Abbey. I have spoken elsewhere in this blog about that but I want to revisit it as I have just finished reading Personality and Prayer by Ruth Fowke (available from www.cwr.org.uk). I realise now that I already possess this book when it was published by Eagle as part of a set of four on ‘Exploring Prayer’. I actually had all four but only kept three (can’t remember what the fourth was about but I obviously didn’t feel I would be reading it again and now knowing a bit about personaility traits that could be because it didn’t appeal to a certain aspect in my make-up!).
Anyway, having read the book (for a second time) I then dug out all the stuff from the siminars to check it out because I was a bit confused between the Chapter on people who are sensing and those intuitives (the category I fall into). I felt from reading the book that I had lots of ‘sensing’ traits but having been through all the paperwork (like the ‘thinker/anayliser” I also am) I can see a conflict between what I want to achieve and the way I try to adjust. The more I read the more things started to ring true. I love exploring new ways of finding God. It’s like I am always searching (and partly this is what this blog is about). God seems so far off at times and I feel my faith is not as strong as it was. I can actually pinpoint the moment doubts started to creep in. I took a course in Bibical and Theological Studies with Southwark Diocese. This should have helped but I found more questions than answers and all that has been rolling around inside my head since. After that course I wanted to get away from the academic stuff and explore the spiritual side. I always felt that I should be reading Bible Reading Notes and have a set time, place etc. and though I want to do this I get bored so I switch to different Bible Reading Notes but I get lazy and though I go through them I find they don’t work again. I am constantly experimenting so I am definitely an ‘intuitive’. I have tried meditation, a sort of taster, but I don’t think it is really for me but I do like quiet times and being on my own, I do like some routine and I am weird because change unsettles me but then I enjoy it! I like tradition and I like modern. The most spontaneous thing I have ever done (that I remember) is on my first visit to a retreat house near a beach. I walked into the sea and starting praising God. It was wonderful. Yet I hate it when I am in a group and people pray out loud. I cringe and am silent. I’d love to be able to do that but I can’t. When I am the only one not taking part I feel people are judging me so I avoid situations where I think that might happen.
The book offers some nice little ideas to the different personalites with features on the types of prayer for that ‘trait’, points to ponder, pitfalls to avoid and prayer exercises and how to cultivate or explore the side you are not so familiar with from other personality types.
Personality and Prayer is a small book (only 96 pages) and I read it in a couple of days but there is much to return to and try out even if you have never come across Myers-Briggs because it is all explained. There is some crossover between types, no one is ever totally without other aspects but if you have struggled with prayer because you feel you should do it one way and can’t, this will be very helpful.
The Olympic Stadium, Stratford
I think we are all suffering from Olympic overload right now! Not a bad thing, of course. I love sport, especially football and athletics but actually there are few sports I won’t watch. With the Olympics I’ve got into handball and volleyball, the diving and I’ve always loved watching the swimming and gymnastics. I tried to get tickets for tennis but was unsuccessful but I finally got tickets to Wembley and for womens hockey at the Olympic Park. So not only have I been to both places this week and had a lovely experience, but I am going to the Park again later today for the final time (more womens’ hockey). The TV is on 24/7 but the other day I just had to get out to do something normal, even if it was only food shopping!
I’ve never liked the TV on during the day but this is exceptional and it’s hard to switch if off with so much splendid action but I am missing time on my own. Add to that we have a friend on my son’s staying this week so my son is sleeping on the settee in the lounge. My morning quiet time has gone too. There is nowhere to escape to, no time I get on my own at home, but next week I will get my time back and boy am I looking forward to that!
Time on my own is vital. It’s like music, if I don’t get a shot a day, I really miss it. Not had any music either so it’s a wonder I am not climing the walls! But because I love sport so much it is keeping me going, but the stirrings to be alone are there and I’m hanging on. Come Monday I shall (I hope) have my quiet time back before the TV goes on!
(I’d just like to give praise for the Olympic volunteers, or ‘games makers’. They are doing a fantastic job, always cheerful and helpful. There are so many of them, no one can say the Olympics aren’t organised well. When I arrived at the Olympic Park I got quite emotional. These games have to be one of the highlights of my life. I’ve been waiting for this since we knew the UK was hosting them. I am not disappointed!)