The HOPE list #6

Bite-sized hopelets to warm your soul. With a simple pleasure eternal, a 2000 year old journal, a 50 year old album, and an everyday inspiration.

The year is half-done. And often in this just-too-far-in-the-distance month, so was I. But each time my head drooped into my hands, I perked up, lifted by a gift, unknowingly bestowed by a spirit of humanity.

I share a few here. I hope they comfort and inspire.

1.       Browsing bookshops by Simple Pleasures

The bookshops are open again and so is my book-discovering heart. I love to happen upon a new book that I decide to read on a whim. I can’t do this virtually – the online experience gives too much and not enough. Too much choice, too many reviews that I don’t want to pay attention to but can’t help myself. Not enough on how the book will feel in my hand, or the small details that make me want to spend time with the author.  

I feel safe in a bookshop. Unpressured. Unseen. No one offers to help you, no one cares how long you are there, or if you buy anything. Whatever my mood when I enter, I leave centered, and cosseted.

2.       Journaling by Marcus Aurelius

Whilst browsing I happened upon a translation of Meditations by Gregory Hays. Meditations is a self-help journal Roman Emperor style. What is striking is how universal and unaffected by time these richly varied private reflections are.

I had read a different translation, many years ago, and found it worthy but turgid. The stoic philosophy it espouses calls to me, but I never re-read it. Now I realise it was the translation, not the text that I couldn’t relate to. I found this version humane, wise, compassionate; a heartening, encouraging personal tale of the quest to live your best life.

I journal more-or-less daily. I would defy anyone, including myself, to ‘translate’ my scribblings into anything of worth or interest. But it is the act of journaling, rather than the substance that is important. Another simple pleasure and an essential one (for me).

3.       Everyday commitment by Pharmacy Declares

One of the joys of building a programme on Sustainable Healthcare is being immersed in the passion and energy of trailblazing changemakers determined that healthcare can be good for us and good for our planet. This month I was repeatedly inspired by the unfailing, unflailing commitment of a group of ‘climate conscious’ pharmacy professionals, who have self-convened themselves into an organisation to declare a climate emergency, and demand and drive action.

If all of us step up and take action towards the things that matter to us, we will build the world we need. Thank you Pharmacy Declares!.

4.       Doing it her way, always by Joni Mitchell

Recently, I wrote about the covert, yet powerful influence Joni Mitchell has had on my music. This week, she was in my mind again because her seminal album Blue, is fifty years old. Wow. Blue is timeless, a universally acclaimed classic. And yet, as Joni wryly notes in her message below, it didn’t start that way…..

There are few things I find more inspiring than someone doing it their way, whatever the reception, whatever the consequences. Even if I disagree with the thing ‘being done’ I still respect the integrity of the doing.  

Without such bravery and integrity, we would not have such beauty as Blue.

That’s all from June. Have a hopeful July.

Yours hopefully,

Nazneen xxx

Yours Hopefully is an experiment in living hopefully. With music and musings, from a singer-songwriter-scientist. Why not subscribe and get a post every Sunday in your inbox?