Taking Time To Listen

An elderly woman calls her country’s emergency hotline. Her 95-year-old husband is suffering from “complications”, she informs the operator.

But when police show up on her doorstep, they discover the man was not in need of medical attention at all. The couple was just so lonely they fabricated the story out of desperation for someone to talk to. So the cops did what anybody with a heart and a pulse would do; they sat with the couple “for a brew and a chat“.

This true story out of the UK is a bittersweet tale that betrays a widespread but largely hidden social tragedy; we are failing our elderly.

A 2013 survey by Australian community care franchise Just Better Care found that loneliness and social isolation was the primary concern of elderly people living at home, eclipsing financial worries, lack of independence, and loss of mobility.

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Regenerating Hestia’s Hearth

Hestia (and her counterpart, the Roman Goddess Vesta) were viewed as the “complete” goddess, the goddess who was whole, “one complete within herself”. Fittingly, the circle was her symbol.

BrokenBowl

Hestia’s Hearth was first created in 2009 when the Soul Food Cafe was still operating as a virtual writing/art group. The archives contain all the posts that members of this site posted at the time.

Consecutive loss silenced me and Soul Food has lain fallow since late 2010! Soul Food and collaborative, virtual retreats such as The Temple of SolaceRiversleigh Manor, the Lemurian Abbey, the Gypsy Camp and the Hearth disappeared into the mists.

Hestia has been calling my name, gently suggesting that I have been with Hel for long enough, reminding me that these places provided sanctuary, that they are life affirming and that they still welcome me and offer sanctuary! It’s a choice to want to heal those hurts that broke me at one point in time. As I restore myself… I emerge  stronger, ready to take on life once again.

Welcome to Hestia’s Hearth, a site designed to promote the virtues of calm, security, stability,  mildness, gentleness, forgiveness,  serenity,  and, above all else the state of being centered.

Heather Blakey

December 26, 2015

On Bullet Holes and Uninhabited Spaces

Creative Foraging

Looking back, over a twenty five year time span, it can feel like there are more empty parts of me than there are that are occupied.

It has felt like my body was caught in a war zone and that what is left is holes and empty spaces that still remain unoccupied!

Some of the empty spaces seem apartment sized.

Multiple loss is the hole/apartment sized space generator!

Life can shrink as you spend your time looking at the holes!

You can find yourself hole obsessed and focusing on the negative space.

At 60 it felt daunting that so many things that had been an essential part of me, were emptied, leaving holes and big spaces.

It is tough to rebuild.

The good news is that rebuilding can be done.

However, the bullet holes remain a permanent feature, a reminder!

Facing another, admittedly smaller, bullet hole I ponder on my…

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Insights into Loss and Grief

After facing one death of a significant other after another, and another, words stuck well below my throat. I was silenced and spent many years lying fallow. Time, adjustment, resettling and reading articles like these have helped to finally break the silence.

Most of us live in parts of the country where there is a distinct change of seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall each have their own unique qualities. Grieving is also like the seasons – there are a variety of events that we experience as we grieve, much as we experience a series of events as the seasons change.

So, as we explore these seasons of grief, let us turn our reflections to the power of these seasons of grief – pre-grief, a time to grieve, a time to heal and renewal.
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Sometimes when I can’t sleep I walk through my grandparents’ old house in my head. I sit in the breakfast nook and watch as my grandmother shakes from a jar the handful of raw almonds she would eat each morning. Or I watch myself – I’m six and wearing a dress Grandma crocheted for me – pester her for the liquorice allsorts she always kept at the back of a cupboard.
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Summer’s here and Canada-wide, tomatoes are in the ground, mine included.

I live alone now, and at 61 years of age, I have little need for all the food I gr ow. But I do love my own produce, my pesto made with home-grown garlic and basil, which lasts me into the following summer.

I have been thinking of my connection to the land, of closely observing the daily, seasonal and yearly changes that occur. I like that every day something is happening: Another rhododendron opening its buds, the daffodils dying back, the asparagus poking out of the ground, the hummingbird flying past to the flowering red currant, beetles mating.
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Crow country

There is an undeniable sadness to Ireland.  The history of the country is mired in despair.  Littered across landscape are the ruins of celtic Christian abbeys,  Norman castles, famine houses abandoned in the 1840s and more recent homes left during times of trouble.

                   

I spent  the month of May, 2011 out in the desolate uplands that mark the border between County Kerry and County Cork.  Day after day crows swept across the windswept hills, their mournful, lonely cry echoing across the wilderness.  Photographing the landscape became a way for me to connect with the spirit of the place.

It is hard to describe how I felt during this time.  The landscape over there has a power, a potency and an energy  that speaks of ancient despair and grief but also of  something far deeper –there is a sense that the land is inhabited by a spirit as old as time – a vast and essentially unknowable spirit that transcends the limitations of human life spans.  The ancient goddess Sheela still lives amongst the craggy rocks and misty mountains. The plaintive cry of the crows wheeling in the wind echo her cry.

Historically Ireland is a place people leave.  This exodus continues today as the global economic crisis bites deeply into the Irish economy.  Young people leave for America and Australia  as soon they graduate.  Others wish they could go. My own daughter is among them.  Her vengeful ex-husband will not sign the papers for the children to come to Australia.

I pray for Ireland and all her people.

The Soul Rests Eternal

“… the landscape that emerges through my music is rather like the misty dawn of a new day; a day not yet ripened by the sun, but one that shows the promise of a warmer future – a way through the emotional morass.”

Take the time to read the delightful new interview in the Salon du Muse at the Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey, web mistress of  Soul Food, takes the time to interview British composer, Mike Sheppard. This interview explores spirit and soul and shines some light on the path for those suffering from bereavement.