During her traditional Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth II addressed the significance of striving to achieve a balance between action and reflection, succinctly acknowledging that in today’s world there are so many distractions that it is “easy to forget to pause and take stock, be it through contemplation, prayer or even keeping a diary.” (If you’re interested, read the transcript here)
Her Majesty concluded her greeting by saying, “In the year ahead, I hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection…. For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love as we strive daily to become better people… this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.”
When I was writing Arriving: 1909–1919, I came to believe that many of my characters were very reflective, if not intuitive—perhaps because they were so in touch with nature and God. On my latest western tour, during a signing in Regina, I was approached by a reader who shared that she enjoyed Thriving: 1920–1939, but she “loved the first book of my Understanding Ursula trilogy for its pace and simplicity—before reality hit with the world growing up and losing its innocence.”
Having been raised on a farm without any of our modern conveniences, I for one do not have any desire to go back to the turn of the last century and to cope with the trials, tribulations, and hardships faced by our pioneers on the prairies. Certainly for the most part, I endorse the advancements and progress of our current age. Still, there is much to be said for the spirit of cooperativeness, the values, and the connectedness of our early settlers.
In our fast-paced electronic world, I wonder if our society is losing its human connection and, more profoundly, its relationship with God and nature. We now have so many gadgets that a walk in the woods is prosaic; a meal without everyone at the table texting on their smart phones unusual; and a time for reflection, meditation, and prayer a forgotten activity of the past.
As much as I have enjoyed becoming a published author, and meeting a host of my readers during appearances over the past two years, I have sorely missed my reclusiveness, my time for walking and writing, and in particular, for savouring my memories. In addition, given the interminable business and accounting requirements in my new life as an author, I have often felt as though I was losing the balance between doing and being. I need time to introspect, to listen to my inner voice, and to be in touch with me before I can be inspired, creative, and receptive to my muse.
One of my many reasons for returning to the rustic charm of Costa Rica on an annual basis is for the opportunity to be me—to reminisce, to rejuvenate my mind, and to restore my soul. This beautiful country with its warm, friendly, and appreciative people invariably carries me back in time to my grandparents’ homestead, to my roots where I feel grounded and centered.
A quote that I like (but apparently is not Einstein’s (see http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/09/18/intuitive-mind/) says this: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”