I have just added a new blog to my blogroll. It is Listening to the Tune in Dialogue by my friend Lisa Saffron. Lisa has been running dialogue sessions using the skills of compassionate listening for some time now and having attended a couple of her Jewish-Muslim sessions I can testify to how powerful these sessions can be. Compassionate communication is as much about listening to oneself as it is about listening to others and about being heard without judgement.
Lisa has also written a novel called Checkpoint which is about the meeting of a Palestinian and an Israeli family in tragic circumstances and how this experience changes lives.
Go across to Lisa’s blog and take a look.
Silence wraps around me like a fog filled night
it constrains, holds me tight, like a vice
I cannot fight
I seek the silence of tranquillity
the indwelling presence of love’s light
and words spoken silently
with the breath of compassion
calming the heart’s fright
It is August and many people are on holiday. Everything is quieter than usual; even the internet seems less busy. I feel the need for a holiday too. I miss Andalucia and it’s nearly a year since I was last there. I can’t go anywhere at present though because I am working hard to finish my MA by September. I have a dissertation to write which also involves field study. I am working on the role of memory in interfaith dialogue and looking specifically at Jews and Muslims ‘remembering’ the times they lived and worked together in Al-Andalus. So Andalucia (present day Al-Andalus) is never far from my thoughts. This topic will be expanded when I begin my doctoral research in September.
I was speaking to a Spanish friend on the phone last night and she said I wouldn’t want to go over there right now even if I had the time and money because it is so hot. Climate change is making itself noticeable in the Alpujarra Mountains as well. Summers have become shorter and hotter. In Al-Andalus of medieval times there was a tendency to build houses relatively high and to keep the streets quite narrow. This provided shade and a measure of relief from the heat in summer. They also used water in numerous water channels and fountains. The Court of Lions in the Alhambra in Granada is a wonderful example of this. On a hot day I find even the sound of trickling, bubbling, splashing water immensely refreshing. Well, to come back to where I am now, sitting at my laptop in Bristol, the sky grey, the air chilly, quite unusual for August, it certainly makes it easier to work on my dissertation. So, Alhamdulillah for all kinds of weather, rain and sun, wind and dust. What a beautiful planet this is in all its natural diversity!