Friday, June 26, 2015

The wisdom of the heart

Where do our ideas come from . . . ?
From our heads . . . ?

Yes, that's what I used to think.  But I've been fascinated to learn that the heart has been grossly under-valued.
Considerably more than a mere pump, it appears that the heart has its own intricate brain and nervous system.  The brain in the head isn't paramount, it's the heart that holds the more powerful intelligence.

Where did I learn this?  From the work of an American scientific body known as The Institute of HeartMath.
After years of study, the Institute has established conclusively that there's a heart domain and a mind domain.  The heart, they've concluded, is an information-processing body, sending important information to the brain.

This means that there are two domains in our energy system, two domains which, if we are to maximise our potential, need to work together.

As a general rule, wouldn't you agree that we, in the western world, ascribe the brain superiority over the heart . . . opting to put our trust in study, knowledge and proven facts?  We're inclined too mistrust a heart-based or intuitive response.
How interesting that it should have been scientifically proved that, in reality, the heart is dominant.

All of this came to mind the other day as I watched a deeply-moving film entitled, 'Honesty'.

"Honesty," says the poet David Whyte, who wrote the script, "is reached through the doorway of grief and loss . . . "  His commentary on this theme conveys its own powerful message, and forms an eloquent background to a succession of poignant faces.

Each face looks directly into the camera and registers a level of distress, but none of them speak.

What made me think of HeartMath's discoveries was the way in which, despite knowing nothing of their individual stories, I found myself resonating, at an emotional level, with each silent face.

The reasoning brain in the head had little to offer this succession of strangers.  The heart, however, made instant contact.

In a moment I'll give you a link to the film, which was conceived by its director, Mark Pellington.  I hope you can watch it.

If you do, you'll find that the people you see will vary greatly.  Some will be of a different age-group to your own, some of the opposite sex or a different colour . . .  but I'm confident that you'll find that none of this distracts from an immediate sense of total understanding.

Have you eight minutes to spare?  Then please click here and share this very moving experience.

In our troubled, media-obssessed world, mightn't it be a good idea to cut back on words and spend more time in silent, heart-based understanding?

It's just an idea . . . and perhaps it's my cue to stop speaking!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What's on the menu?

Hello, it's Chloe here.  Have you a moment to spare?

I really could do with a sympathetic ear to share some serious difficulties.
My Mum isn't around at the moment, so let me very quickly explain what I mean . . . I don't want to hurt her feelings.

My problem?  It's the very serious subject of food.
You know how important meals are to a highly energetic and discriminating Bengal Cat.  Not something to be considered lightly . . . most definitely not.
But my Mum just doesn't seem to understand, although I try very hard to explain.

First of all, let's take the turkey she likes to cook for me.
A slice of fresh turkey can be tasty, very tasty . . . I wouldn't argue with that.  And it's definitely an improvement on rather flavourless chicken.
But once you've had turkey for more than one or two days . . .  well, who'd want to even sniff it again for at least two weeks?
Cats' stomachs are delicate, they need change . . . constant change.

Then there's the vexed question of fish.
I like coley.  Coley is delicious.  But what does my Mum do?
She tells me that there's no coley in the shops and offers me plaice instead!

Have you ever tried plaice?  It's not in the least like coley.
Siamese cats might like it, Burmese cats might like it, but, believe you me, Bengals don't!
And, if my Mum can't find any coley, well . . . what about a slice or two of fresh duck?
As you can see, I know just where to go to find a duck!

Now, I agree that, very occasionally, I like to sample a mouthful of the cat food that comes in a packet . . . I think my Mum calls it Sheba.

It must be admitted that the jelly in those packets is really quite tasty.  But when I've licked off all the jelly . . . well, the meat that's left behind is really very dull and flavourless.

So I take the sensible course of action.
I ignore the meat, leave it in the dish, and  clean my whiskers.  Which means, of course, that I've only had the jelly and I'm still very hungry.

Then there's always that dry, crunchy cat-food . . . I think it's called IAMS.  True, it's crunchy . . . and, true, it's tasty.  
But would I want to find it in my breakfast bowl every morning?
Definitely not!

But really, wouldn't you agree that the important subject of my diet needs to be taken much more seriously?

A little more sensitivity is called for when it comes to the nuanced needs of a delicate palate.

So, please,  could you urge my Mum to refine her culinary skills and give me as varied a menu as possible?
The occasional soupcon of tomato soup, perhaps . . . or a few licks of cheese sauce . . . ?
It's a sure fact that, with the best will in the world, a cat can't live on a rainbow!

Hey . . . is that my Mum coming back . . . ?  Now, let's see what she's got for my lunch!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Homo United?

You probably noticed a news item that caught my attention the other day.
Amongst other things, it made me ponder on the fact that, despite all being 'homo sapiens', we often differ greatly from each other.

It was as though this news item related to three, very different species . . . each with its own needs, its own values, and its own distinct view of the world.

Let me explain . . .
The beautiful Greek island of Kos lies in the Mediterranean.
Justly famed as a holiday resort, it attracts those who love the sunshine, the beaches and the high-quality hotels.

With the severe economic problems currently afflicting Greece, the  country is heavily reliant on the income provided by the affluent holidaymakers . . . the hoteliers are under pressure.

Already, as you can see, we have two species on Kos:  let's call them 'homo relaxing' and 'homo struggling'.
So, what of the third?

The Mediterranean, as we know, is bordered by many countries.
Europe lies to the north and west, Africa to the south, whilst several Middle Eastern countries flank it on the east.

One of these Middle Eastern countries is Syria, and it's from the Syrian coast that terrorised and exhausted refugees take to small boats in search of freedom and safety . . . in places such as Kos.

Once having made the treacherous crossing, the Syrians struggle ashore in their hundreds, bedraggled, hungry and thankful.
For this third species, which we'll call 'homo homeless', Kos is a haven, a sanctuary . . . a place of refuge and opportunity after all they've suffered in their homeland.

And were do they land?
That's right . . . on the same secluded beaches where the affluent holiday-makers relax and apply their sun-tan lotion.

Any sympathy that the hoteliers of Kos might want to extend to these refugees is diluted by hard facts.  Desperate that their island should retain its attraction as a peaceful holiday resort, it's hard not to see these new arrivals as a financial disaster.

As for the holiday-makers . . . their initial compassion could all too soon be tempered by a sense of grievance.  After all, they'd worked long and hard to earn a peaceful break in the sun . . . and the travel  brochures made no mention of invading refugees.

Three different species, each with its own desires, dreams and agendas . . . three different species whose minds don't necessarily work in harmony.

Wouldn't you agree that this is a portrait in miniature of our current worldwide disunity?
Humanity vying in its aims and ambitions . . . humanity in conflict and competition, rather than working together in collaboration.

Surely, if we're to survive . . . by no means a certainty in the face of climate change, population explosion and persistent conflict . . .  it's time for us, as a species, to evolve beyond these divisions?

Collaboration can and does take place . . . just think about if for a moment.

In each human body thirty-four trillion diverse cells constantly collaborate in the greater interest of the whole.
The body would quickly cease to function if they didn't.
What's more, when choirs are in full voice the individual hearts of the singers are known to beat as one.

So, out of a mass of warring tribes, disconnected faiths and competitive economies, couldn't we aspire to become an integrated, wiser, and more compassionate species?

Might this be the time to move on from rapacious 'homo sapien' to enlightened 'homo united'?

It's just a thought . . .