Y is for Yearning

April 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Experiences, Family History, Mental Health, Philosophy, Ways of Living | 10 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

 

 

I yearn for mountains

Yearning: noun: an intense or overpowering longing, desire, or need; craving (Collins English Dictionary)

 

I think we all, at times, yearn for something – a person, a place, a possession, a better life, more of something, to change the world. What we yearn for might be, or seem to be completely unrealistic, unattainable, or it may be something that just might be possible, given the right circumstances.

 

I have a dream

 

It is what we do with that yearning, I believe, that demonstrates to a large extent who and what we are.

One person has a desire for something and sets out to get it. He works towards it with all of his energy until he creates the right circumstances for the achievement of his desire.

My father was a man like this. Throughout his life, he strove to overcome the things that held him back from what he wanted. He yearned for a life free from the restrictions of the English social class system, for a land where there was freedom and opportunity. He tried for seven years before his application to emigrate to Australia was approved. He didn’t give up his dream, but did whatever he could to create the circumstances for it to happen.

 

Yearning -progress

 

Another person might think he yearns for something, but doesn’t put in a great deal of effort to attain it. He waits until things come together to make it happen, for something to “turn up”. That happens rarely of course, and one has to question the strength of a desire that is not worked towards. It to be appears to be more like “I’ll take it if it comes along, but I can’t be bothered to put in the effort myself”. It’s an airy wish, not a real desire.

Then there is the one whose yearnings for something or somewhere else is strong, but they can see no way for it to happen. He becomes discouraged, yet still dwells in that impossibility want, unable to see the possibilities in the life he could be leading in the present. He yearns for a past or a place where he believed he was once happy. That is nostalgia. It is unreality.

 

Nostalgia

 

That was my mother, especially when things weren’t going well in life – financially, health-wise, or when undergoing some other difficulty. Her yearning was to go back to the place where she was born and grew up; where she’d met my father and where her first four children were also born. But financially it always seemed impossible.

In the mid-1970s, my father received an unexpected bequest from a deceased aunt. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to allow them to go back to Oswaldtwistle. They took a six-week holiday and travelled through Lancashire and Yorkshire as well. When the train from London arrived at Oswaldtwistle station and they got out, Mum looked around. She saw the dank, black-sooted stone buildings, the drizzle and the grey skies, and turned to Dad. “I want to go back home,” she said.

 

You can't go back

 

Returning after twenty years, she’d discovered it was not the place she remembered. Distance had sentimentalised the place and made it rosy. She only then realised how different and how much better was the clean, bright and sunny place they lived in Australia to this dreary and closed-in place she has focussed so much of her energy on. Her constant yearning had been completely misplaced.

 

There is no past we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternally new now that builds and creates itself out of the best as the past withdraws.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

My life-long yearning to write was impossible until I simply began to write. Now I am doing what I always wanted to do.

Yearning has both positive and negative aspects to it. We are much better off if we work towards our dreams of a better future, whatever we see it to be. To yearn for something in the past, something that is impossible to have, will often taint the present and destroy the future.

 

make a new beginning

 

Have you ever felt a yearning for something, to be someone or something else? How have you responded to it?

 

© Linda Visman  29.04.2014  (698 words)

 

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Some More Small Stones

January 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Mental Health, Nature | 2 Comments
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Here are four more of my Small Stones.

I intend to write a proper blog post tomorrow.

 

9. Sharing

At a holiday plaza today, Sunday, a sea breeze cools the sun’s summer heat.

People stroll in ones and twos, but mainly in family groups. 

Children squeal with delight as they splash in the fountains.

At alfresco tables, people dine: 

head-scarfed Muslim women, their husbands and children share a meal of fish and chips;

a Japanese family of three generations also tuck into the same fare;

Southern Europeans and Scandinavians enjoy hamburgers, with soft drink or coffee;

we white Australians relish our lunch of doner kebabs.

We share what we like, what we enjoy from other cultures –

the good things don’t have to be foisted upon us.

Can we not agree to disagree on those things that divide us?

 

10. Acceptance

Ninety-year-old man,

active and independent all his life,

must now accept assistance

in even intimate activities,

because he knows

it is the only way he can remain

living in the home he built himself

almost sixty years ago.

 

11a. Dreams – Crushed Stone

She looks into her mind to watch the thoughts

that flit and circle and wander aimlessly

changing, running together,

like the soft amorphous globs in a lava lamp.

She finally sleeps, and falls into dreams

that come from nowhere and go nowhere;

mares of the night that offer only

frustration and hopelessness,

that echo with futility and despair.

Awakening, she cries out in anger

against these dreams that seem to be

more horribly real that reality.

But at least she awakes.

 

11b Tidy

My desk is tidy at last, after being in a mess for two months.

Today I cleared it and threw out the rubbish.

The rest, I have put into order, so that I can find what I want and what I need for my writing and my work.

I hope I can soon throw out the rubbish in my mind;

the dreams that have recently reflected its turmoil.

 

12. Flying Foxes

Thousands of flying foxes (many people call them bats)

hang from the trees beside the Parramatta River.

From them comes a constant chittering, even though they are supposed to be sleeping.

What are they saying?

Are they talking in their sleep?

I wonder what flying foxes dream about.

 

© Linda Visman

 

Dream On!

May 24, 2010 at 3:36 am | Posted in Psychology | 4 Comments
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The word ‘dream’ can mean many things, perhaps the images created during a waking reverie (daydreaming), wishful think (‘holding on to a dream’), or beauty too good for reality (‘a dream walking’). The original meaning, of course, is the succession of images and ideas that play in the mind during sleep. According to what I have read, everyone appears to dream, even though not everyone will remember having done so.

Some people say they don’t dream at all, but what really happens is that they don’t remember them. Possibly, the dreams were bland, unexciting or non-threatening and made no impact. You are also more likely to remember a dream if you wake up in the middle of it. Other people say they dream almost every night, spectacular epic adventures in cinemascope and full colour. I have had one or two tame versions of those. Still others only remember bits and pieces of dreams, and most of what they do remember makes no real sense. They are the ones I usually have. Sometimes, I don’t remember the previous night’s dream until I get into bed the next night – situational memory, I suppose.

To me, the images and ideas that appear in dreams are like little children let out of school, or balloons or birds released at a celebration, or even a myriad of bugs or tadpoles, hatching and wriggling their way to all parts of the pond (the psyche). Some will say dreams are aspects of the inner self let loose from conscious control, and that they have deep meaning. If you want to get an idea on how many people believe that dreams can be interpreted, just do a Google search.

After lots of study, scientists still don’t know where dreams come from, what their purpose is, or even which part or parts of the brain are involved. Theories abound, depending on which aspect of psychology is the preferred basis of study. However, many theories see dreams as being a tool to aid problem-solving, or a working out of deep-seated feelings, often negative ones. Even dogs and birds dream. Perhaps dreams are no more than neurological discharges in the brain that randomly stimulate the image or memory centres. So much for them being a reflection of our superior consciousness, or a doorway to the future!

Apparently, most dreams are one-offs. However lots of people do have recurring dreams; I know I have had them. For about twenty years or so, I had two dreams that recurred at irregular intervals; both involved water and my children. In one, I would find one or more of them drowned at the bottom of a swimming pool. In the other, we would be picnicking below a dam wall that suddenly burst. It’s probable these dreams reflected my fear of losing the kids. I haven’t had them – the dreams, that is – for some years now, thank goodness.

One day, we may discover the physiological and psychological, even spiritual, origins and meaning of dreams. I am not so sure though, that I’d want to be told that dreams really do represent aspects of ourselves that we usually repress, or that they can reliably predict the future. That’s just too scary!

(c) Linda Visman 24th May, 2010

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