Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Everything but an OFF switch!

Have you a moment to share a laugh?

Chloe's first Christmas produced a deluge of generous presents. Each one was greeted with wide-eyed enthusiasm and a thorough investigation of its potential. Amongst a wonderful variety of catnip toys and other gifts was a totally unexpected novelty - a battery-operated mouse.

Never having come across a battery-operated mouse, I studied the instruction sheet carefully. This was no simple rodent, it needed to be opened with a screwdriver in order to insert the batteries. I went in search of a screwdriver.
The base removed . . . the batteries inserted . . . and the base screwed firmly back into place . . . Chloe's mouse was ready for action.

What form would this action take? We soon found out!
Having woken from its trance, the activated mouse was not only mobile, it was also highly vocal! What was more, far from restricting itself to muted squeaks, it had aspirations to be a veritable diva.
As Chloe and I watched in startled amazement, it darted across the carpet to a lively accompaniment of high-pitched squeaks, purrs and chirrups! Yelling with excitement, Chloe dived after it! Sitting back on my heels on the floor, I burst out laughing.

Ten minutes later, with Chloe now thoroughly over-excited, it seemed the moment to switch off the noisy newcomer and let the situation calm down. Too late I discovered that the mouse had everything but an OFF switch!

Turning in desperation to the instruction sheet, I made a discovery. The mouse, I found to my surprise, was voice-activated . . . it was Chloe's enthusiastic miaows and my laughter that were keeping it on the move!
Have you ever found yourself in animated communication with a mechanical mouse? Believe you me, it's enough to get any human laughing, and any cat over-excited!

In search of a moment's peace, I plunged the toy deep inside one of the festive carrier-bags. Peace? From the noises coming through the silver paper, it seemed that there was nothing wrong with this mouse's ears!
Meanwhile, Chloe, upset by the disappearance of her new plaything, succeeded in turning it round inside the bag. With a loud, triumphant squeak, the mouse came rushing out again!
At this point I was laughing so helplessly that I could barely hold the camera.

There was only one thing left to do. An indignant, wriggling Chloe was put to rest in the bedroom and, as silently as I could, I carried the mouse (still in its bag) into the book-room. Here, I placed it on a top shelf and crept quietly away.

It will be invited to come down to play at regular intervals in the future, but, for the moment, the more peaceful catnip toys have come into their own.
What worries me a little is how loud the volume of sound would need to be to rouse the sleeping mouse into strident life?
Perhaps I'd better keep the radio and television at low volume . . . just in case!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In touch for Christmas

Have you a moment to spare for a little cogitation?

These thoughts were triggered by what I'm doing at the moment, sitting here typing to you - keeping in touch. I've also been sorting through Christmas cards. One of the many blessings of this season is the fact that, through cards and gifts, Christmas encourages us to keep in touch with friends and family.

Now, did you notice which common phrase was repeated in that last paragraph? Yes, that's right, the concept of keeping in touch.

I was thinking about this the other day, and also thinking how, out of all our five senses, the sense of touch is probably the one given the least thought and appreciation.
We are inclined to take our hands for granted. More often than not we look upon them as being purely functional . . . good for typing, gardening, engineering, what you will . . . but surely it is our hands that keep us in touch?
After all, it is my fingers that are talking to you now. When words are hard to come by it's the touch of an outstretched hand that can often speak more volubly and truthfully than any words.

By holding hands we communicate affection, by the touch of a hand we can offer solace or support. Feelings flow freely from the hand direct to the heart, without any confusing interruptions from the questioning mind.

And there is another important factor relating to hands. I'm no physicist, but I fully believe it to be true that, in essence, our physical bodies are composed of massed, vibrating energy. With our five senses we can acknowledge all other forms that vibrate at the same frequency, anything vibrating outside our range is unknown to us - a great blessing when you consider the number of mobile phone conversations that are swirling through the ether at any given moment, but a pity when it comes to the angels!
By what means does our individual energy communicate with the outside world? Through our presence, through our voices, and through the palms of our hands.

Don't take my word for this. Instead, may I suggest you try a simple experiment. Place your hands loosely in your lap, palms upwards, fingers gently outstretched. Pay attention to your palms . . . give it time . . . do you feel a tingling sensation? Now, close your fingers over your palms . . . has the tingling disappeared? Open your fingers . . . and I think you will find that the tingling sensation returns. The whole time your palms are open and receptive, so that tingling energy is noticeable.

What is it? I don't know. Call it the life-force, call it what you will. But it's as though our hands are transmitters . . . it is powerful . . . it is healing . . . it is good.
Do we sense this, I wonder, when we automatically stretch out our hands to someone in distress, or hold up our hands in praise?

Which brings us back to Christmas, the season of praise.
In every sense of the word, let's keep in touch this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wishing for a backbone

Have you a moment to mull over a statement I heard the other day?
It was made by Caroline Myss, the powerful writer and teacher:
"Today, in the Western world," she said, "we don't have backbones, we have wish-bones."

That phrase has stuck in my mind. Why? Because the truth of it hit me forcibly. How has our culture become so confused that all we can think of is not our blessings in the present, but what we wish for in the future - all those possessions or situations that we convince ourselves we need, the things that we tell ourselves we are entitled to?

Surely we have never been more privileged? For the majority, the necessities of daily life have never been more abundant. But where is our backbone on those isolated occasions when things go wrong? Rather than accepting some minor accident with stoicism, we look to see whom it is that we can sue for this totally undeserved mishap. We wish for compensation. Life, we feel, owes us a smooth passage.

A backbone offers support. It is strong, but flexible, the vital channel for information up and down the body. Like a tree it can bend with unexpected pressures, similarly it can right itself when these pressures are removed. It can stiffen to provide courage, and curl itself lovingly around those in need of protection. It draws in information from the toes and fingertips, and responds as the situation demands.

But a wish-bone? In order to activate a wish-bone it needs to be broken. What sort of support is that? And whilst we are concentrating on all that wishing, surely we are ignoring what we have already?
We would be so happy, we tell ourselves, if only we had a larger car . . . or that special holiday . . . or an extra bonus.
But what about the car that is already serving us so well? Or the picnic that we enjoyed the other day? And has there ever been a bonus that can actually buy happiness?

I'm reminded of the old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for in case you get it.'
Just think about it for a moment: are all those objects and situations that we think we need really worth the sacrifice of Western society's spinal column?

But there could be a solution.
This Christmas let's wish for the return of our backbone . . . and we don't need any outside help to make this wish comes true.