From Paul Bell
Considering the focus of this newsletter I expect you think this is about healthy consumption or storage of food and drink. No, its about wisdom on the outside of the fridge. We have a list of what we feel are wise things to be mindful of hanging on our fridge door, and I admit that I often read a few and consider them. So here are some with considerations:
LET IT GO
My mother was an adopted child with a very low self esteem and, despite having some good situations in life, she could never let go of that feeling of not being loved by her birth parents. In her early seventies the rules around adoption in Britain changed and she was asked by the authorities if she would want to see her records. Concerned, she agreed.
A large box of letters arrived from her birth mother, explaining that within her family and their position it was impossible for her to keep a child born out of wedlock. She had been in hiding from her family in the countryside but after several months she had had to give my mother up to the adoption authorities. However, for years she continued to write to my mother explaining how much she loved and missed her but her letters were never passed on for 70 years. My mother’s heart changed and began to sing loudly. Small slights, massive hurts – there is a deep wisdom in just letting go. You can realize the work that you have to do on yourself when you catch yourself saying “I just can’t let that go!”
“THE MOST CERTAIN SIGN OF WISDOM IS CHEERFULNESS”
– Michel de Montaigne
Being cheerful does not just allow you to breeze through all kinds of challenges and dull normalities, it improves the experience with others around you. What is the point of being grumpy, heavy, dour? Admittedly, some people cannot take a cheerful person seriously but that is their problem. I have been stopped and ticketed by a cheerful cop and the exchange felt good. He was just doing his job so why couldn’t he be cheerful about it. I have been operated upon by cheerful surgeons, which boosted my confidence far more than a serious exchange. Of course, once you start the cheerful ball rolling it bounces through the gathering and can return even stronger.
LOVE IS A VERB
It’s all very well to tell someone that you love them using the divine phrases and tones, but to show them that you love them through your actions is stronger and more certain. Children pick up on this immediately. Adults would still like to believe the words even though the actions do not support them. Families, friends and communities thrive on the loving actions. Oh, I just read it on the fridge. I will empty the dishwasher and make my wife a cup of tea!
KNOWING IS NOT ENOUGH; WE MUST APPLY.
WILLING IS NOT ENOUGH; WE MUST DO.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Personally this one gives me a good nudge when I need it. However, on all the scales up to global, surely this is how we should behave and expect others to behave. At university in the early seventies we studied the problems of global warming, pollution, soil degradation etc, etc. As the chair of the geographical society I even gave my address questioning the use of all this knowledge if it does not lead to corrective action. This is not easy, even on a personal level, but it is a valuable aspiration to work towards.
We call the list on our fridge “10 serious things to consider”and I would encourage you to create your own list. They are not just cliches or noble intentions. They help create the fabric of your day – and who does not visit the fridge at least twice a day!
Paul Bell lives a life of both physical and mental adventures. He is passionate about education and has enjoyed teaching and challenging children in the outdoors, and helping large project and company teams raise their performance levels. He currently lives and adventures in the Canadian Rockies, sails the Pacific coast and finds life very exciting.