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Letter to the editor: Avoid fear, practice soothing, enjoy nature’s bounty

Fear is a 4 letter word.
Between now and the upcoming election and beyond, I am working on avoiding the trap of fear, “What if . . .?”
Isaac Penington, an English Quaker who lived from 1616 to 1679, once wrote, “Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and notlaying accusations one against another; but praying one for another and helping one another up with a tender hand.”
I have placed that statement in my daily prayers. They help guide me and keep my heart open. Here are pieces of my daily prayers: Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over; full of grace; forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; we dissolve all negativity from our thoughts, from our actions, from our words, and from our bodies; and may the healing light of love fill the planet and all beings on it.
I also name people and situations that I intend to soothe: People in prisons and families of people in prisons; cities and countries at war and in conflict; our schools and our communities, here and everywhere around the world; children and their families, here and everywhere around the world; all people in mourning; all people who have killed; all children whose parents have died, whose mates have died; all parents whose children have died, whose mates have died; friends and family of all those who have been murdered or died in accidents; friends and family of all those who have done the murdering; all people in physical pain, emotional pain, and/or spiritual pain.
I also name these words since they are important aspects of living a full responsible life: Food. Water. Hope. Home. Health. Family. Self. Community. Compassion. Worthwhile work. Education. Joy. Beauty. Music. Love. Spiritual journey. Kindness. Respect. Dignity. Courage. Gratitude. Patience. Generosity. Forgiveness.
Consider doing something kind (another 4 letter word!!) for yourself or your neighbor, your family, your community or even for a stranger. Then maybe we can heal the anxiety awakened by fear.
I understand how being in nature can also be healing. In my daily prayers I say: All the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the animals, the plants, the trees, our air, our earth, and our water. I allow myself to realize our interdependence.
The Pulestons are family friends of my husband. Dennis Puleston, the father of the family, witnessed subsequent landings in Normandy after D-Day, 1944. Here is some of his writing 50 years later:
“I did get over there and saw the remarkable way in which all the necessary men and equipment were landed on open and often storm-battered beaches. … I remember being up in the dunes, somewhat exhausted, and figuratively catching my breath as the landing took place all around at a feverish pace. In the distance were the sounds of battle, but nearer at hand and directly overhead a skylark was singing in ecstasy. I was deeply moved by this one element of sanity in the whole mad business of war. That bird made me realize that someday all this would be over and I could enjoy birds again the way I had always wanted to. I have never forgotten that one small bird and the effect it had upon me.” (Dennis Puleston, “The Gull’s Way,” 1995, Vantage Press, New York, page153).
Dennis Puleston had the chance to live a full, rich life. He died when he was 95.
Patricia Heather-Lea
Bristol
 

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