'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menory Lane; Inner Song

Okay, I couldn't resist marking the arrival of September, albeit a couple of days late. It is a month that holds nostalgia for so many and for a variety of reasons.  In the Northern half it has a lot to do with the school year and the childhood memories of clinging to the last few days of summer holidays. For those fortunate enough to have experienced country life it is remembered for harvest and for all of us it is the turning of the leaves from green to amber... or the springing forth of the fresh green of Spring for those living in the Down Under parts. 

For me there is some kind of deep stirring in this month. I was born in spring yet autumn has always held something meaningful for me; when I relocated to Australia, it was as if things had been set aright, for now my birthday was in my favourite season.

No. Favourite is too strong a description. Autumn is the season in which I most feel the pull of the earth, a connection not just with physical nature but also the more subtle, energetic part of the process that motors the universe. For reasons that I can perhaps never fully explain, autumn holds spiritual meaning for me. Which triggers another memory of a time before Australia which played a very significant part in my spiritual experience.

Iona Abbey (image from Google as my own few prints were badly damaged).

There was a UK-wide pilgrimage and conference, multi-denominational, of Sunday School teachers on the island of Iona.  September 1981.  There were limited spaces as accommodations at that time were in bunkhouses (I believe Iona has expanded greatly in this area) and amenities very basic indeed. Selection process began three months prior; I won a place.  This was to prove profound in a most incredible way...  Aside from the responsibility of representing three parishes on the Edinburgh South Side (whatever was learned had to be brought back and work-shopped with all the teachers who didn't go).

The arthritis had been 'tamed' with the herbal preparations, but by no means was I free and easy in movement.  Born under the sign of the Bull, however, there was an ability to keep on keeping on, even if that meant collapse for a couple of days in recovery once the goal was reached!

That determination was needed as we made our daily rounds of the island.  You see, it was part of the process to visit all the stations of St Columbus.  This is a round trip of less than five miles; but it is over field, up hill, down banking, across scree, through bogs... never mind meeting up with the chooks, sheep and cattle feeding on the seaweed thrown up on the rocky beaches. There was 5:30am prayer and contemplation; breakfast; round the stations (with all due observances); lunch; classes; then evening services. A light supper and then collapse by 11pm. It would be easy now to talk of the immense effect upon one's being when immersed wholly in spiritual pursuit. As deeply as I felt the call, it could be understood that this was significant enough.

However, there was another, greater part of that week which I would share with you now. Highly personal. Yet it was also very public as the event which took place did so in the evening service of the 6th night. 

It was the process of the evening service, at one point, for the leader to call upon any in the congregation to speak.  Even at 22 years of age one was very timid about such things. So imagine the shock of feeling words rising from within.  Then finding that many people are around you with their hands placed on your head and shoulders and you have no idea what just happened.

It is only possible to relate what others said happened.  Apparently the voice was strong and deep and did not speak English. Yet  all the people around me felt they were called to 'cover' me.

Be that whatever it was, as I left the abbey that night I realised I was completely pain free and without stiffness.  The final morning walk of the stations was joyful in a totally different way. (I stopped taking all forms of medication and did not require any further treatment for some six years.  There was a relapse at that point, though not serious and the herbal supplements plus avoiding certain foods held me good for a long time.)

Thus, when September comes round I remember this event with great warmth, though still with awe.  There have been other September memories, but they can wait for the telling.

The 'song' of joy from the Iona experience has lived long.

In keeping with the nostalgia, here is another song; proving my point that September holds sway on many lives...


  1. Our mom always thought that A. Williams song was SAD.
    We think the Abby is BEAUTIFUL.
    BUTT would NOT like the 5 mile walk.
    Now your time in OZ came creeping into this post... you called chickens... CHOOKS. hehehehe
    Glad that you love September.

  2. Stirring. It is good to remember and consider important points in our lives. Turnings.

  3. Clear to see why this is a time of year with special meaning for you. Iona is one place I've often thought of visiting but not yet done so. Did you ever go back?
    Cheers, Gail.

  4. What a very wonderful memory, I can understand how it makes this time of year so special!

  5. Yep. Turn of season inspires turn of phrase!

  6. The kind of profound, life-changing experience I don't think one could ever forget, Yam. Thank you for sharing it. Iona is one of those thin places conducive to such experience.

    I too am a Taurean who loves autumn at least as much as spring. :-)

  7. I thought I left a comment yesterday but don't see it, so maybe I forgot to click "publish.."
    Great post, thanks for directing me to it. What were you using for herbs on your arthritis? I have found Black Pepper oil helps. My H post is on healing, which you may enjoy. I love that you received this special blessing of healing. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Gail Park

    Making Life an Art


Inquiry and debate are encouraged.
For personal contact, please use the email box on the Wild YAM/Contact page.