The picture above is where I spent the first eight years of my life, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, on the South East Coast of Ireland.
It's taken from behind the pier and shows the Saltee Islands, one being three miles out, the other one five miles out.
Before I came across this photograph, I had had this picture in my mind for over forty years. It epitomised everything I associated with that place, an idyllic youth, heart-filled memories, the power and the majesty of the sea, exhilarating and sometimes terrifying experiences of the storms, the winds, the mighty force of Nature, and how the people of that village lived with it all, the triumphs and the tragedies.
So, you can imagine what putting that picture onto the screen of my mind did when I was in strange places, among unknown people, struggling with new customs.
It grounded me, the very memory of it, reminded me that there is a place, and others, where there is calm, known qualities, familiar faces and voices and that they're still there, and always will be, in one form or another.
That powerful memory kept the strange and the unknown in perspective. It reminded me that where ever I was in the world, that that place still existed and that I still had the ties, the knowledge, and that association in my life.
This knowledge put a perspective on the new place I was in, seeing it as another version of the Human element in life. It lent a familiarity to it that allowed me get a feel for it. It also reminded me that people are people are people, the world over, and in spite of the differences in custom, religion, and beliefs, the people are the same.
The difference is in the customs and habits. The human response and loyalty to these is universally the same.
The more you practise Mindful Awareness exercises, the more easily you will begin to gain a strong influence over the thoughts, pictures, imaginings you allow in your mind.
And there is the significant word, 'allow', because we can choose what we think about, how we think about it, and therefore exert an effect on our own feelings and actions.
We can install any thought in our minds.
We can remove any thought from our minds.
May peace be with you.