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" The songs of our ancestors

are also the songs of our children "

The Druid Way


March 4th, 2013

sun tree

A guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving.

Each day there seems to be news of yet more cuts to our public services; the ongoing austerity measures  – on top of the poverty and hardship that many currently face – has me thinking a good deal about how to retain a sense of abundance and gratitude in such times of obvious lack. Retaining a sense of gratitude – remembering to be thankful for the little things – helps enormously but I have to admit to a cold, creeping fear when I think of the cuts and their potential impact.

I recognise beneath this fear my own terror of being plunged back into that dreaded place: barely scraping by; living in damp, cold, cramped spaces; not feeling safe or secure… I did it for many years and I know how easy it is to get stuck, and of how, once there, you can become an easy target for the prejudice and ill-judged assumptions of others.

There has been much talk about the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving poor’ in our media. I find the often simplistic evaluation of those that should be supported and those that shouldn’t, extremely uncomfortable. For those who have experienced poverty, they will know well how demoralizing and tough it can be. The notion that there are countless, feckless ‘scroungers’ receiving state benefits and living in undeserved luxury is the kind of tabloid myth that we’d do best to ignore. Living on the breadline brings with it a good deal of stress and worry; gnawing away at one’s trust in life and the faith that it will sustain us.

In the poorest moments of my past, I know I was in possession of things of extreme value and worth; things that poverty couldn’t touch: love, friendship and the desire to create. So why is my fear so great and my sense of trust so shaky? Mostly, regardless of where we find ourselves, we survive and live without perhaps realising the cost. It is when we experience a contrast – when we escape from chronic poverty or difficulty – that we are perhaps required to engage with the challenge to embrace our new, easier life, enjoying it without the fear of losing it. I have to admit, this is one I have struggled with, trying hard not to feel that the rug will inevitably be pulled out from beneath me. Now that money is once again tight in my own life, I have been searching for those inner resources that can uphold us, regardless of external circumstance.

I am sure many people are feeling similar thoughts at the moment. We can all make the decision to react as positively as possible to the difficulties that confront us but we are also subject to wider social and political forces that are beyond our control, and it is these that we somehow have to negotiate, balancing what we can change with what we can’t.

I believe in the fundamental goodness of life and of people, so trust is obviously the best horse to bet on. In times of fear and worry, I often turn to my childhood copy of The House at Pooh Corner by A.A Milne. I thought I would ask the book for guidance and open it randomly, here is the result:

The wind was against them now, and Piglet’s ears streamed behind him like banners as he fought his way along, and it seemed hours before he got them into the shelter of Hundred Acre Wood and they stood up straight again, to listen, a little nervously, to the roaring of the gale amongst the tree-tops.

“Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”

“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.

pooh and piglet 2

10 Responses to “Supposing”

  1. Dear Philip, I’m with Pooh.

    But I can’t help be very angry about the fact that this happening in a world where the 100 richest people own as much as the 1.2 billion poorest; somehow this is not a reassuring fact.

  2. Just wanted to say how much I appreciated your latest post. Things can seem so difficult at times can’t they, with gales blowing and trees falling (we have just lost my wife’s mother quite unexpectedly). Between that space of supposing the tree might fall down or it might not – that seems to be where the magic is doesn’t it? I must admit to feeling the need to nurture that space in myself at the moment…

    Thanks again

  3. That’s beautiful Phillip – just what I needed to hear – ” supposing it didn’t ” grounded optimism is always a winner! With thanks and love x

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thanks for everyone’s comments. Please note it was a guest post by Maria. In the subscriber email posting this for some reason got left out. It shows clearly on the website version.

  4. Where would we be without the real, original Pooh? I needed to hear this this morning. Thanks for this. I’m wondering if Maria is in the US? Or if Great Britain and the US are experiencing a peak of political insanity at the same moment?

  5. Thank you, Maria, for such a timely and resonant post. (And thank you, Philip, for often opening the blog to her voice.) Hope and wisdom are not at odds, though we do sometimes lose sight of this under an avalanche of worry. Great reminder. 🙂

  6. Aren’t we the sixth wealthiest nation in the world? (or is it the 4th?) Nobody should have to suffer such far of poverty these days.

    Found you on Lewes blogroll

    • Britain is in debt 900% of its GDP. The same as the Weimar republic in Germany between the wars. If interest rates were to rise, the British economy will come crashing down. Its actually in a worse state than Greece and Spain. You need to start thinking along the lines of, “What will happen if I go to the bank and its closed, or they won’t let me have my money.” Its coming, I don’t know why it hasn’t happened already. I suggest you look at some of the American survivalist sites.

  7. Thank you everyone for your kind comments. Paul, yes, that space between being a place of potential – I can really respond to that – a psychological fork in our mental/emotional road map and the direction/perspective we choose, shaping each new step we take (or don’t take).

    I love the Pooh books! I would like to see myself as Tigger – optimistic and bouncy about life :0) – but in truth I am a bit of a Piglet, a tad less brave than I would like to be! And occassionally a bit Eeyore :0)) But Pooh is a great thing to be and something I strive to find in myself – I truly believe there is a wise but childlike Pooh in all of us,and we would all benefit from connecting to that part of ourselves.

    I have a lovely Pooh bookmark which says ‘Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known’.

    Sometimes it can just mean holding on to the fact that everything passes; that change comes regardless of if we worry or not, and with that in mind, opening a little more to that elusive trust.

  8. Nobody should experience poverty in the world period. Wealth should not be in the banks. Wealth is life, earth, sea and the sky and all the goods the earth produces. Capitalists stole all these riches from us and now make us beg before their banks. That is the situation. It is not like poverty is some kind of evil ghost that came from nowhere. I know exactly where my money is. David Cameron has got it, George Osborne has got it, and all their banker friends have got it.

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