A friend of mine asked me if I had read a couple of books by Michael Mayne. She has gone away on leave for a week hopefully to recharge her batteries. She had taken one of them away with her to “dip into”. The answer was no, I had not heard of him. As she had said that I may enjoy them I googled him. I was surprised to find he was a priest. A former Dean of Westminster Abbey.
One of them was entitled The Sunrise of Wonder. Simply reading a synopsis on Abebooks (my go to bookseller) it describes the book as “a collection of thoughts and recommendations for a more fruitful and spiritual life. In these letters he celebrates life and tells of the beauty to be discovered in the world of art, music, prayer and nature. There is no moralising just an offering of his inspiration”. From the back cover “it is a passionate plea to the reader to pass through their one earthly life with a trained and watchful eye…..this keenly argued book confronts today’s fashionable cynicism and despair…” Written in 1995, I suspect it is still relevant now, if not more so.
I have been reflecting too over the last year. I expect many people have with the enforced reduction in socialising, having to change the way in which we lead our lives. For me in particular moving through transition and growing towards being my authentic self has meant I have been able to let go of various props that seemed important, that framed how I thought about life. In particular I have become much more aware of nature. The simplicity and the complexities of nature. A really simple source of joy, yes joy, is the burgeoning avocado plant on the kitchen window sill grown from its pip. Noticing the bird life which ventures into the garden and when I am out on walks.
I know I have a reluctance to embrace the Church of England as a result of some unfortunate experiences pre-teen / early teens, yet I also feel a real spiritual connection too. I was educated at Cathedral School, attending and singing in the Cathedral every day. There is something mystical, magical that touches my core. When visiting Durham Cathedral I was moved to tears just being there, feeling it. I seek out ways to connect with spirituality and have done so for most of my life…some more successfully than others, engaging with new wave psychologies, physical disciplines, meditation. It will be interesting to read Michael Mayne’s take on a more traditional view and how it fits with present times. It seems to me the Church of England is very reluctant to openly accept trans persons into their flock. There are exceptions and my experience is that acceptance tends to come from individuals rather than the established church.
The friends I have written about before in this blog are looking to move away to live “off grid” so they can live life on their own terms. There is a real attraction to that getting off the hamster wheel and being able to appreciate life around one.
I will look forward to having a read when the book arrives.