Sunday, 18 June 2017

A quiet contemplation of the importance of hopes and dreams

Two of my favourite drinks couldn’t be more different. Lagavulin is a fine malt whisky from the Islay region of Scotland. It has an intense peaty smokey rich taste that is mellow and powerful on the nose and tongue. I’ve yet to taste the 37 year old, but the 16 year old and double matured malts are very, very good. My other favourite drink is the ‘widow champagne’, Veuve Clicquot, a champagne that dances on the tongue. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, to give her full name, became a widow at the age of just 27. She took over her husband’s winemaking business and turned the ‘widow champagne’ into one of the worlds most successful ‘maisons de champagne’.

These are not drinks to be hurried in their drinking. If you want a flirty, quick fun drink, then maybe stick to pouring a glass or 2 of blended whisky or prosecco. Lagavulin and Veuve Clicquot need time, the right place and the right frame of mind to appreciate their flavours and the feelings that are evoked as each is sipped. They are drinks to contemplate with. They are drinks that can be shared with others in silence. No words needed, the quiet is welcomed, and it’s where dreams and thoughts can be shared in togetherness.

Difficult to do in our busy lives – which I guess is why we have blended whisky and prosecco. As regular readers of this blog will know, my life recently has not been quite as busy as it once was. I have lots more time in my waking day at present. Indeed, last week at my therapy session I was offered and accepted an acupuncture session. Laying on the couch, I’m sure that as every needle was inserted my mind and body slowed down a little further. When I was finally left alone, I felt so relaxed and at peace, and it was a feeling difficult to describe in words. It was a different type of contemplation time.

This experience was in absolute and total contrast to my feelings on waking up on Thursday morning to the news of the Grenfell fire in London. Again my feelings were also difficult to put into words. The absolute devastating impact of the fire on all those involved was and remains almost too much to comprehend. The loss of life, the injuries, all those who have now lost their homes, histories, and way of life, and their dreams of a future. Each of their personal and shared experiences I find so hard to understand and can’t even begin to know what such a loss must feel like. I watched with shame and hurt the accusations and recriminations so loudly being made, but I think I understood those who expressed their anger, hopelessness and frustration at what had happened. 

I watched with pride the magnificent response being made by communities around the tower block, and I am sure the authorities will do all that they can to find people new homes and provide financial support. Clearly many people, victims, professionals, and the communities they come from will need help in coming to terms with what has happened. And last week, as I sat on my mindfulness beach, I felt both impotent and sad that there was so little I could do to help those impacted by this tragedy. 

I have reached out in my thoughts and prayers, and instead of buying more Veuve Clicquot this week, I have sent the money to the Grenfell Fire relief fund – but this didn’t feel like much of a response to me. It felt very inadequate compared to the massive support I have received from friends and family over my recent mental health problems. Maybe there isn’t more I can do right now. I can keep those affected in my thoughts and prayers, and hope that in the future they will find the strength and have the opportunities to rebuild their dreams and lives.