With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Austerity cuts after greed by the elite brought us to our knees.
What we actually need is this:
As someone who has been struggling with chronic illness for years, I have learnt to be thankful for small things, no matter what they are. Being chronically ill can be very overwhelming and can actually take over your life, leaving you feeling down and even angry a lot of the time. Early on in my illness, someone told me that the best way she coped was to be thankful for the small things in life. She explained that gratitude had a way of helping her to cope with the daily struggles she faced because of her chronic illnesses.
As someone who has followed a pagan path since the age of 14, this was something that felt right for me too. I know many people with chronic illnesses feel really isolated and helpless and for me, I was looking for something to focus on that wasn’t all about the illnesses. People turn to prayer, people turn to meditation, people turn to support networks, people do what they can to cope the best way they can.
I am not religious and I often find that support groups can be overwhelming, if not fraught with power struggles and drama – not all are like this, I hasten to add. When I started showing gratitude for small things in life I started to feel less tense, more accepting of my illnesses, and more relaxed with my life as a whole. Gratitude allowed me to view life differently. Gone was the anger and bitterness that my body had failed me. Gone were the resentful feelings I had been harbouring towards people who weren’t sick.
I began to view everyday as a blessing. Whilst I was not brimming with vitality and good health, I was at least alive. By showing gratitude each day I actually began to see life from a more positive viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I feel like I am the biggest, grouchiest bear there is, but those days are less frequent now and I put it down to the power of positivity and practising gratitude.
I have found that there really is always something to be grateful for. It could be something as mundane as the weather not being so hot, or it could even be that the doctor’s surgery wasn’t so busy and I was seen fairly quickly, rather than having to wait for a long time. Gratitude doesn’t need to be based on materialistic things. Gratitude can be small and simple; a beautiful flower you can see, the sound of a child’s laughter, a sunny day, a decent night’s sleep, absolutely anything that makes you feel a little better about life.
And once you start feeling grateful for small blessings, more blessings start to manifest in your life, making you feel even more grateful. Of course, the simple things in life are as equally important as larger blessings, and once you begin this practice you soon learn that you are surrounded by blessings and miraculous things. Being grateful helps us remain positive and this can help reduce stress in our lives – totally a win-win situation.
Practicing being grateful does not mean you will turn into a peace-loving, dope-smoking hippy, 😉 there will still be things in life that annoy you, that challenge you, that upset you, etc, you’ll just feel more abe to deal with them, and that in itself is a blessing.
Some people like to keep a gratitude journal. This helps them to focus on the positive things in their lives, and also keep a record of what has made them feel grateful. Other people like to verbalise their gratitude, whether that be out loud to themselves, or whether they record what they are saying. There is no right or wrong way to practice being grateful, whatever works for you is right for you.
That old adage – sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me – was like a key phrase when I was at school. If you got called something unpleasant the teacher recited that at you. It’s still bandied about now and it really annoys me.
I think we are a lot more likely to call people out on their behaviour nowadays, especially bullies. But, with the advent of social media, bullies can get at their victims 24/7. Even when a person blocks someone who is bullying them, the bully can still carry on their disgusting behaviour by writing statuses about their victim.
I abhor bullying in any form. Bullying is not just physical. Bullying is also name calling, or forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do. Bullying can also be when someone deliberately excludes another from something in order to get the upper hand. Bullying can take on many forms, it isn’t just physical.
I really think we should be educating everyone that name calling is not acceptable and is a form of bullying.
As children we dance as often as we can. As we get older, into our teen years and early adulthood, we also dance as often as we can.
The older we get, the more responsibility we seem to amass and dancing often becomes something we only do at parties, or on a night out because life gets busy.
Recently, I was on a month long training course and we were encouraged to make dancing part of our day once more. The very first day I did this I felt stiff and strange. But then each day afterwards I found I was enjoying the activity and it certainly was helping to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.
The suggestion was to dance for the length of one song. The song should really be something uplifting. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to do this, it’s all about what works best for you.
Another course I recently did encouraged us to dance and listen to 3 songs, just random songs that appear on a playlist you have somewhere. This works especially well when you have an issue and need guidance to get unstuck, you use the time to move and listen to the lyrics as a way to releasing stuck energies and to help you find an answer to something you need help with – I also read this in a book so I’m really taking it on board 😁
You don’t have to be fit and heathy to dance. This type of dancing is for your own personal satisfaction and well being, it’s more about uplifting your mood than keeping fit, so, if you have reduced mobility, are confined to a wheelchair, or just not very fit, it doesn’t matter at all. You can do this sitting down, laying down, or you can throw your whole body into it. The important thing is to enjoy it for what it is; an exercise in soul loving, spiritual wellbeing.