Day 934



The custom of placing flowers on an alter is an ancient one. In the sixth century, Ikebana was founded in Kyoto as an offering to the Goddess of Mercy. Flower arranging contests were held at the imperial court where aristocrats and monks competed with each other at festivals.

In the early 16th century people tried to give a deeper meaning to the thoughts accompanying flower arranging. They wished to arrange rather than casually placing them in a vase. An earlier attitude of passive appreciation developed into a more deeply considered approach.

Rikka is the oldest style of Ikebana. Trees symbolise mountains while grasses and flowers suggest water. A natural landscape is expressed in a single vase. Indeed, all things in nature are reflected. In Rikka it is important to know the laws of nature through harmony of trees and plants.

It is my good fortune that I have the opportunity to be very intimate with Mother Nature in this concrete jungle of London. I have a teacher who is dedicated to passing this ancient tradition on to future generations. Her school has generated a number of teachers who inspire many people like me. Arranging flowers is like meditation in motion. The right brain can express itself to the fullest. The intuitive decision making, the textures, smells and colours of materials, the elegant shapes, the spatial organisation and the movement within bring peace and satisfaction. It is creative within a set of rules. It is aesthetically appealing to the subtle sensibilities. It is a gentle experience of being one with nature.

Maybe one day beauty will save the world.


Day 894

photo (10)

The sun, the moon and all the colours gathered up in the sky. The slanting light made the evening luminous . Each element did its magic and together, created a harmony. Children played freely and the motors of peak hour traffic moved noisily in the background. It didn’t seem to matter at all. The world went on with its business as usual while we sat still with our worlds that had vanished.

We gathered in this open green space sure to be met with compassion and understanding. Alan’s sister read the same poem, by Mary Elizabeth Frye that she’d read at his funeral:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

John’s brother, Fabio’s mum, Rene’s sister, Jake’s dad, Saleem’s mum, Ruth’s Mum, Clair’s mum, Saagar’s friends and so many more came along for a quite evening, being in nature, in the company of friends, with what is. The radiant faces in the pictures, the flowers, the candles held centerstage. Love flowed in abundance.

Each one of us, a rainbow in the other’s cloud.
Each one making loss a little more bearable.
Each one being with their own healing and offering hope.
One world. One people. One silence. One togetherness.

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud by Maya Angelou

Day 891

Top-notch lawyers, world famous comedians, glamorous musicians, householders, super-talented actors, mental health experts, nurses, educational psychologists, teachers, doctors, secretaries, students, the homeless and ordinary folk like you and me have been lost to suicide or have lost someone they love to it. Sadly, no one is immune.

By definition ‘vigil’ means an act of staying awake especially at night in order to be with a person who is very ill or dying or to make a protest, or to pray.  This will be the third vigil of its kind – an informal gathering of people coming together in a public place, to express love for those who have tragically departed, to cherish their memories, to sing and reflect, to enjoy being in the open on a spring evening with their thoughts and feelings.

Venue: Near the café at Hyde Park, Speaker’s corner. London
(Nearest Tube station: Marble Arch)
Date:  Thursday, 6th April 2017.
Time: 6.30 pm.

Please come along and bring a picture, a song, a memory, a candle, a wish, a blessing, a prayer, a poem, a refection, your silence or tears. Join up with those who understand – Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS).
You are not alone.



Day 884

“Hi. My name is Joe
And I work in a button factory
I’ve got a wife
3 kids
And one day my boss said to me
He said, “Joe?
…Got a minute?”
I said,”Yes.”
He said “Push the button
With your left hand

Repeat….right hand
….left foot
….right foot

It was like being a kid again. The Theatre workshop at the Dragon Café let loose my imagination and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I was part of a community full of great ideas, all of which were real in that room. Colourful currents of creative juices were flowing, intersecting and mingling within that sacred space. Every suggestion was validated, every feeling acknowledged. I felt safe and uplifted. For that one hour I could be anyone, anywhere with any story.

If I was an object, I would be one of a pair of 5 and a half inch long ear-rings with turquoise beads and feathers.

If I could change the world, I would say to you, please listen.

The interaction induced empathy. For a few minutes, each of our characters felt what it must be like to be in the other one’s shoes. We formed strong connections and had great fun.

I can see why Drama therapy works in schools, prisons, mental health centres, businesses and hospitals. It is an instrument for change, individual and social. It can help us work our way through a problem, discover some truths about ourselves, understand the meaning of images that resonate with us and explore and transcend unhealthy personal patterns of behaviour.

Saagar was a natural mimic and actor. Every time he auditioned, he bagged a good role. Predictably, he played one of the 3 wise men in his primary school nativity play. Then, he was Badger in Wind in the Willows. His last school play was Of Men and Mice in which he played the character of The Boss. He loved the team aspect of putting a production together. The last play he watched was ‘Book of Mormons’.

He was a star and still is.



Day 874


(A door in Zanzibar)

The blue door from ‘Notting Hill’ stuck
on the wall paper of my memory
eons ago.
The glue must be super-strong.

A rectangular passage into a special space.
Simple and warm, fun and messy,
Open and cozy with many possible cups of tea.
A refuge for troubled souls, a place for stories to unfold.

A semicircle of glass perched perfectly on top.
Long panes elegantly framing from top to toe.
The door sat in the centre like a king.
The slit of a smile in the middle welcomed guests
Like messages, notes, post and parcels in.

They said it was draught-proof.
Not too heavy, not too light.
Just right.
The coir mat outside often had a black cat sprawled on it, claiming ownness.
A few yards away a waist high metal gate
sang a little note every time it opened
and another, every time it closed.

A flower basket dancing on one side
with pink and white petunias, ivy and pine,
grabbed a chunk of the sunshine.

Whatever the world threw at us,
The blue door made okay.
It took us in its fold of laughter, healing and trust.

One day one of us left and never came back.
The blue door waits and waits. So does the cat.

Day 854


Hindu mythology speaks of gods and demons churning the great ocean to obtain nectar out of it to become immortal. A pot of poison emerges out of the great waters. The poison is so powerful that nobody can touch it. But Lord Shiva agrees to get rid of the poison by consuming it. He carefully holds the poison in his throat, which turns blue. On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, which is today, devotees show their gratitude to this deity for thus having saved the world. He is considered to be the rockstar of Gods! Through fasting, chanting and meditation, we realise the Shiva element within us.

Shiva is the name of a silent, unseen, benevolent energy that makes up the whole universe. The sun, moon and stars adorn him. Rivers of knowledge flow through him. The mythical snakes associated with him represent an alive and aware consciousness that is the universe. Under his right foot, he crushes ignorance. He is the Lord of Dissolution, the space that holds energy, the medium of existence, without a beginning or an end. He stands for truth and beauty.

His cosmic dance is the dance of creation where millions of species are generated and they are all one consciousness. The dance is an interplay between material and spiritual realms of creation. His mythical blue body signifies the infinite sky. The sound of his drum denotes the expanding and collapsing nature of the universe. The fire in his hand stands for the primordial energy of the universe.

He lives on Kailash, a place where there is only celebration. He also dwells on cremation grounds where there is only void.

Divinity is present in a void as well as in celebration.

Om Namah Shivaya!