March 2013
Field Of  Merit Newsletter
Dear Friends,
I wonder if there is anybody who has not been affected by the white stuff these past days. Here at Throssel, where I’ve been for the past week, there have been blizzard conditions.  A couple of days ago a Met Office report described conditions as atrocious!  Well conditions are less challenging now and hopefully this is also the case for you too.
Rev. Alicia sent me an email a week or more ago letting me know she had sent the application for Field of Merit to become a registered charity. Now it is a matter of waiting for the application to be processed by the Charity Commission and hearing back from them. In every likelihood the application will be successful. So the paperwork part of the project is moving right along. Sometimes the moving is in our hands and sometimes it’s in the hands of others and that’s how things will progress.  We will be moving into the arena of applying for grants next and I can only imagine how it will be waiting to hear back from grant making bodies we apply to! But nothing good comes from getting ahead of oneself.
Come April 24th Adrienne Hodges and fellow walking companions will be starting the Merit Walk along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Adrienne now has a blog, The Merit Of Walking where we all can check-in to see how things are going each day and walk along together, in spirit, if not in practice.  Rev. Alicia and I will be in Pembrokeshire during the middle segment of the walk and intend to do at least one day with Adrienne and company.
This newsletter comes to you rather later in the month than normal. I don’t think the delay can be attributed to the atrocious weather conditions either. There are many contributing reasons however enough to say we like to aim to publish around the 20th of each month and hopefully we will be back on track next month.
In gassho,
Mugo and Alicia

New Bank Account
The new bank account for Field of Merit was opened at the end of February. The Appeal for Funds page on our website has been updated accordingly, which means that if you would like to make a donation to the project you can now write a cheque (in £sterling only please) to Field of Merit and post it to Rev. Alicia at Throssel, or you can use online banking to send a once-off or regular monthly donation - you can see our bank account details by clicking here. If you make a donation in this way we would love to get an email from you so that we can thank you. Once we have our charity registration we will be able to send you a Gift Aid Declaration to increase the value of your gift if you are a UK tax-payer and wish us to benefit from the Gift Aid scheme.
As mentioned above, the next big thing on our To Do list is raising funds, and if anyone out there has any help or advice you can offer we would be very glad to hear from you. One thing we would be interested in is re-designing our Appeal for Funds page on the website, so if you have that sort of experience do get in touch.


Water, water everywhere…..
By Mugo
There is a blackbird on the kitchen windowsill;  jet black against the brilliant white snow with bright yellow beak and distinctive yellow eye-liner. Exquisite! It’s not often one can observe a wild creature at such close quarters. But what is it doing there? As we watch, a fellow monk and I, we realize it is drinking! It’s pecking up the snow and then swallowing down the life-giving water it provides. This blackbird, like no doubt the entire bird population around these parts, is dealing with a life and death struggle for physical survival.  I immediately thought to put out pans of water but didn’t do that knowing in seconds the water would be frozen. Later I heard that the birds drink at a pond which has a pump to keep the water from freezing. The majority will do as the blackbird and grub for moisture. Clearly the survival instinct is strong in wild creatures and they are resourceful too. A deer was found within the well fortified garden nibbling the bushes. I saw rabbits attempting to climb up stone walls, repeatedly failing yet continuing on jumping.
Having lived through a most atrocious cold these past days I felt empathy with these creatures doing all they can to stay alive. It has felt at times that is precisely what I’ve been doing! That might sound overly dramatic however we all must know the press for survival that enters our very cells which has us get up and drink and eat and swallow remedies when we’d rather roll over. I’ve been that sick. I know of an elderly woman right now, alone in her home, who tells me via email she is wishy-washy about eating but is getting food down anyway. Please offer merit for her as she works through her health issues. Oh and merit for all those who are struggling, one way or another, human and animal + the birds of course.
I just looked up the dictionary definition of wishy-washy and find this:  Weak in willpower, courage or vitality. My sangha friend is most certainly not weak in these departments. Such qualities may be challenged at the moment and perhaps for the rest of her life however on a fundamental level, and despite appearances, she is strong. What we think and feel; be it feelings of being strong or weak, brightly alive or dying is not the whole picture. Not by any means. There is basic faith, rather like a subterranean river which is ever present. That’s what has kept me going this past week. Like the blackbird I’ve been drinking it in because when the chips are down that’s all that sustains. And that’s a very uplifting lesson for life generally.

Posts from the website just in case you missed them.

Thank you for reading thus far, please return for more. Your interest in what we propose is a support in itself and we are grateful for the expressions of support we have been receiving. Gradually the word is being spread; the field of merit is expanding.

Alicia and Mugo,

Copyright © 2013 Rev. Alicia, All rights reserved.

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