Eleven Days of Noticing

Eleven Days of Noticing

Queen Elizabeth II is now resting in peace with her husband, mother, sister, and father. This celebration of life filled my senses for eleven days creating feelings and thoughts that had me go inward. My feelings confused me with contradictions about the role of monarchy throughout history and the ravages that colonization has wrought across the world. As an Australian, I grew up with cultural ties to the monarchy. I have gone back and forth between supporting and opposing it. What has been constant, however, is a fascination with the monarchy and, in particular, with the people who make up the current royals. They have been a feature of my entire life.  A seventy-year reign is a remarkably long time to be on the stage and on active duty.

Noticing my thoughts and feelings these last eleven days as the United Kingdom has processed the passing of the Queen, I have been fully aware of my own grief and sense of loss.  My reflections suggest that I'm grieving the passing of an era and that the world will be different without this woman as queen.  Weird.  I can't explain, and for someone who thinks they can deal with change, not-knowing and ambiguity, I am struck by my personal saddness at the passing of this era and all the Queen symbolized. I find I am choosing to focus on what is to be appreciated and valued about what I am noticing, including my own reactions.

In my reflections, keywords and concepts came to me and they are presented below in haiku form.  

As I watched the queues over ten days weaving Westminster:

Queues slowing
our progress
hastening our togetherness

Stillness from sorrow
Awakening to death
Celebration of life
Contradictions confound
feelings of compassion
life is short
Present moment acute
flashes of memories
heart is beating still
Dirt accumulates
brooms take action
dirt re-accumulates

As I watched the day of the funeral, these words came to me:

Gratitude in grief
Serving even in death
Faith everlasting
Continuity as legacy
Surrendering symbols of wealth and power
Compassion in gestures
Flowers flags trumpets drums
Cannons bells hooves
Choristers sermons bagpipes
Memories stories pride
Dignified joyous
Solemnity and celebration
Sunrises rainbows sunsets
Black hats flat hats furry hats
Brown eyes and blue eyes tears and smiles
Ritual family pets
Bowed heads devotion
Love tradition service

Photograph - Juergen Berkessel