Making the most of a sunny day

Written by Suraj Shah.

Things change.
Day to day, things change.
Moment to moment, things change.

It’s almost the end of June, but recently the days have been mostly cold and wet.

Today’s an exception. It’s gorgeous. The sun is shining strong, the air is warm, and yet there is a slight cool breeze. Perfect.

Some say that Britain is experiencing a mini heatwave this weekend, and by Tuesday it will be cold and wet again. They say the forecast does not look good.

Perhaps that’s why, rather than hearing so many complaints about the heat, almost everyone is outdoors and making the most of this sunny Sunday:

  • birds are chirping.
  • flies are having a field day in the garden.
  • the occasional butterfly if fluttering by.
  • kids are riding their bikes.
  • neighbours are painting fences and moving lawns.

It seems that everyone is making the most of this sunny day, perhaps because they know it will not last.

Neighbours have washed and hung out their clothes and sheets since the early morning, capitalising on the warmth from the sun to dry their clothes.

Friends on Facebook report loading their cars up with their families and heading to Brighton to enjoy time at the beach, or the local park, or to meet their brothers and sisters who have invited them over for a barbecue.

You just can’t ask for better weather on a Sunday.

But it won’t last – the sun will go, the rains will come, happiness and fun will be replaced with misery and complaints.  It’s what the forecast says, and they never get it wrong, do they?

Even now as I sit here to write at the dining table, with the patio doors wide open to enjoy the bright sun and the warm air blended with the cool breeze, a jet aeroplane thunders through the skies above my head, making it’s way over to the local RAF base.  The peaceful sound of the birds chirping has been rocked by the roar of the jet.

Things change.  Day to day, things change.  Moment to moment, things change.

Knowing this is perhaps the reason we make the most of a sunny day.

(Photo courtesy of kooklanekookla)

Who is looking back at me?

Poem written by Suraj Shah.

… and why do I hold these things so dear?

Looking in the mirror, straight into my own eyes,
Dare I keep looking at myself, caught up in these toxic lies.
Who is looking back at me?  How long will he be here?
Who is he, really, and why is there so much fear?

Here today but gone tomorrow, we all know that,
We are reminded about it time and again, as a matter of fact.
Who is looking back at me?  How long will he be here?
Who is he, really, and when will it become clear?

Immersed in the changing, by what will be no more,
To save my soul, I must learn, to simply shut the door.
Who is looking back at me?  How long will he be here?
Who is he, really, and why do I hold these things so dear?

This body and it’s relationships, though permanent we think,
Is but no more than an illusion, will vanish within a blink!
Who is looking back at me?  How long will he be here?
Who is he, really, and how do I attend to what is near?

The indulgence of the body, the attachment to my and mine,
Releasing control gently, surrendering it to the divine.
Who is looking back at me?  How long will he be here?
“Who is he, really?” is the ultimate question to persevere.

Listen to the poem "Who is looking back at me?"

(Photo courtesy of kirainet)

Father’s shelter

Post written by Suraj Shah.

Father: one who provides, protects, and creates the environment for growth.

As young children in the playground at school, we would often boast “my daddy is the best!”

What makes your father the best?

When it comes to my dad, I certainly appreciate how he has always been our provider and protector. He has worked hard to keep a roof over our heads, whilst continuing to show his love through hugs and treats.

My earliest memory with dad was probably when I was 4 or 5 years old, when we were standing at the top of the staircase at our old house, and dad was teaching me how to tie my shoe laces. He did it with such care and patience.

A father’s shelter

Over the years, I remember dad for how he has:

  • taught my brother and I how to ride our bikes.
  • taught us how to put up lining paper and repaint the house.
  • taught us how to mow the lawn.
  • taught us how to swim.
  • helped us get onto our own two feet.

Even now, married and living in my own house, my dad recently guided me over the phone how to fix the overflowing toilet cistern. Previously I’d left it to dad to sort out issues to do with maintaining the house, but it’s a wonderful feeling to learn these DIY skills, whilst knowing that I can lean on dad if I need some guidance.

My father has certainly provided for us and protected us over the years, and even better, he has shown us how to become independent and even take care of those who depend on us.

Fear of losing dad

Within weeks of mum passing away in 2006, we had another death in the family.  On the day of mum’s uncle’s funeral, when the body was brought into the house and a pre-cremation ritual was taking place, I could see the sadness that the sons were facing at the loss of their father.

My dad was standing half way up the stairs, and at that moment, deep sorrow hit me.  I darted up the stairs, embraced dad and I started sobbing.  As tears flooded down my face, I held dad tighter and said “don’t leave so soon, I need you here”.  Fear of losing dad, a type of fear that I didn’t know I had, came to the surface, and I couldn’t stop sobbing.

Dad, having only recently lost his wife, did the best he could to comfort me.

Of course, I knew that anyone who is alive, will one day die.  I also knew that my father was not exempt from that.  So why did I sob so much?  Why did I fear the loss of my father? It was my attachment to dad.

Will dad always be around?

I take dad for granted.  I think he will always be around, will always be there to love me, to care for me, to protect me.

But going by how nature works, dad will not always be around.  One day he may face an accident, or he may die of natural causes, or he may change into someone I don’t recognise any more.  Anything could happen.

What would happen if I reduced my emotional attachment to my father?  Would I be free from pain if he is no longer around? I’m not talking about feeling numb, or loving him any less.  I’m talking about continuing to enhance the love I have for him, but minimise feelings of anger and emptiness that would arise from eventually losing him.

By taking the time to understand the true nature of reality, I would realise that my father, who was once born, will eventually die.  By thinking on this, I would learn to love my father, without being dependent on him being around. I would understand that a strong attachment to my dad is futile, but a bond of love without expectation, would help us have an enriching relationship for the time we have together.

So I continue to ask myself: “Should I reduce attachment to my father? Could I?  How?”

If your father is still with you, how would you answer this?  If your father is no longer around, what would you ask yourself?

(Photo courtesy of dariuszka)