The Teaching Autobiography, Contents: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
The Formation Of The Third Circle
It is interesting to look back and see the circumstances that rose one after another, to draw those who formed the third circle to move to Western Bay. Some of these were due to war and most were extraneous to the circle but it remains a fact that all those that were a part of the third circle were brought into this area.
The magnet for me was some land owned by the Bodley family with two cottages on it, one on the beach and the other, two paddocks inland from it. Their uncle had another house near by and the Bodley family from their earliest days spent most of their holidays either with him, or in the cottage by the beach. They loved the place and all of them liked to forgather there when they could. Pamela, the youngest of the Bodleys, who was left the most lonely at her mother's death, suggested that I should settle in one of these cottages. They had all felt the break caused by John's second marriage and now they thought if I would settle there, it might still remain a focal point for their holidays. John seconded the proposal but was insistent that he would not persuade me, lest I should find it too lonely, yet let me see quite plainly that he hoped I would. I consulted each member of the family and all were enthusiastic about the idea, whilst I myself was beginning to long for a home of my own and more especially for a garden. It was hard to leave Susan but in some way I felt it would be better for her and I knew there would be a real compensation in providing a permanent home for her to come to. In fact my family also approved of the idea.
So I came to Longview where I have spent the last eighteen years. It is the cottage across the paddocks, so named because you can see the lighthouse at the end of the spit twinkling away in the distance at night. The Bodleys never lived in it themselves and it was the most suitable for me. It is sheltered by a bank from the prevailing westerly winds and is warm and sunny in winter. It has about half an acre of garden and across the paddock I can both hear and see the sea. It is more than half a mile from the nearest farmhouse were I get my milk. I brought with me a few pieces of furniture, mostly my own old family stuff, also my pictures and a couple of beds from my old home. I could not bring much without leaving Anthony short of things he needed. So I bought the rest and for the first time learnt what a lot brooms, pots and pans cost. This cottage has a fair sized sitting room with North and East windows; my bedroom behind it; a smaller but attractive sunny kitchen also facing North, with an odd room useful for storing junk between it and another bedroom. There was a treasure, in the shape of a wide back porch leading into the garden, with two large shelved fly proof cupboards at the South end. Also an odd shed or two. I was lucky in being able to install electricity which balanced some other rather primitive conditions.
I shall never forget the first evening when, having left the Recorder strong and well again, I was left here by myself except for Michael and Gabriel, feeling tired and rather lonely. I sat down and looked through the kitchen window with its view of rough paddock and sea. On the edge of the beach was the other cottage under its fir tree, silhouetted against the fading sky. Then whilst I watched out of the sea rose a huge red gold penny, the full moon, and somehow I felt it was going to be all right. Now after eighteen years I know it was.
A week later Paul and Elizabeth joined me for their Christmas holidays and Elspeth had her first birthday here. In the next few years fate and the war got busy. First Margaret, perhaps the most devoted of the Bodleys to this place, settled in the other cottage when her husband too was called up. Then John, his separation obtained, had a chance of a practice at Sandypoint, a village about ten miles from here. He took it and Jean continued to keep house for him there till the war was over and her husband returned home. A little later the Recorder let her house in Plymouth for two years and with Joanna settled in the same village. Later still 'the Wind', Paul's mother and her husband retired to a cottage about fifteen miles from here on the eastern side of the bay. 'The Brush' a close friend of Margaret who often stayed with her, eventually built a cottage not far from Paul's mother. After I had been here for about a year Paul was mobilised. He had volunteered early in the war but had been turned down as useless for any active front on account of his eyesight. When he left Kaituna Elizabeth and her two children, Elspeth now just over two and Hamish seven months, joined me here and stayed for nearly four years, till the war was over and Paul set free again. Thus all the pawns were moved into place.
Before John left the South to settle in Sandypoint I was spending a few days with the Recorder and the Wind, at a lake. It was during a picnic one afternoon that I had one of my rare foreshadowings of danger. We were lying round lazing when I again became aware of a dark bank of threatening clouds. It is a queer thing but on the two occasions when I had a foreshadowing of danger, both of which later proved to be cancer, the threat appeared each time as a dark bank of purple clouds. I was disturbed because I mind the shadow more than the substance. I told them of it but could do nothing about it. Some days later when we were back in our homes John told the Recorder and the Wind who was still with her, that he had cancer. The Recorder has always been interested in faith healing and she laid her hands on him. They both wrote to me saying that although they were naturally distressed at the news, they felt hopeful and passed him on to me, expecting that all would be well. In one sense I was relieved to have a concrete fact to deal with and not an unknown threat but I was also exasperated. It was obvious to me that the three of them were, with faith and hope, looking for me to take over and do something with him as I had with the Mother. But my way is not faith healing but an intricate interweaving of the pattern of those concerned. I was aware of this by then, although perhaps not consciously aware that the way we kept our patterns controlled events. I have no particular faith in the power of my hands or touch but in the face of that hopeful expectancy there was nothing else to do but take it up again and hope for some instructions. That was the cause of my week ends with John, he would fetch me late on Fridays and return me early on Mondays.
Jean's second child was born soon after her husband left for the front, so I was able to give her a hand. We used to continue our sittings up there and Jean came and grew to like them. I lived a busy active life in those days, concerned with his and later with my own grandchildren. After a few years the circle grew and it was in this period that 'Harmony' and 'the Link' joined. Later it was held at Longview because it became more central.
The year or so after John settled at Sandypoint was a good period. For a little while then Nicholas was on leave and it meant so much to John to have his family round him and to be free of his entanglement, so that he was sincerely thankful. His health definitely and markedly improved and everyone was hopeful. Seeing that at that time it made no great impression on me, I don't know why I remember so vividly the spot where walking along the beach John had said to me: "I really believe I am getting better. I think that is now certain but I have had to take morphia for this thing in the past. Now I believe that is not necessary but I wonder how easy it will be to give it up." For a minute I was startled and then replied cheerfully, "Well you just must." How little I realised then, that the key to the whole problem lay in that remark. Once, months later, I asked him if that difficulty was overcome. He replied in the affirmative. For years after that I gave it no further thought. Was that blindness of mine a stupidity? an error? I am not sure but I think not. It seems to me it had to be a personal conflict. There would have been no value in it for him if it had stemmed from me. I think this is a genuine conclusion, not wishful thinking. I am not speaking from a medical point of view but from our own angle. I realise now that a possible way of healing was closed by the continued use of morphia.
This is no condemnation of John. The possibility of overcoming disease by the power of the mind is, I am perfectly certain, latent in all of us. But our ignorance of the conditions that lead to the use of that power make its application rare. I know now there was a prolonged struggle of the conflict none of us can judge. In the early stages I did get a few directions which helped but I am afraid only temporarily. The crux lay in that struggle.
In these early years the circle settled down to regular weekly meetings, widened to include the younger members of our families, also the Brush. The Teaching came through steadily. After the war was over, Paul obtained the school here and Margaret and her husband bought a sheep run on the Eastern side of this bay and so we all settled down.
After six years there came another break in my own life. I heard from Michael that Anthony was suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. It had only just been diagnosed. I remembered his horror of hospitals and knew without doubt that I must go and look after him. It was not very easy because I did not know what attitude he would take. When the war broke out Susan gave up her work, feeling it was not a war effort and had trained as a nurse. She was home on leave now and we discussed it together. She was willing to go and nurse her father but I would not hear of it. Finally it was arranged that Anthony should go to hospital for two weeks, nominally for special treatment but also to allow us to give his house a thorough cleaning. That was Susan's stipulation, that and a promise to follow her instructions in the necessary hygiene. I interviewed Anthony's doctor who said unless he remained in hospital it was essential he should have someone to look after him. He told me both lungs were affected and that his throat, which worried him most, was a secondary infection. He was insistent that there was no hope of recovery and added he did not think he would live more than six months. He also gave me this invaluable advice: "Let him eat what he likes, drink what he likes and do what he likes. Nothing can make any difference now and you may as well make him as comfortable and happy as possible." A most helpful doctor.
Whilst he was in hospital Susan saw Anthony and told him of my intention. He objected a little at first, I think on the grounds of being dependent on me but Susan made it clear that the alternative was to remain in hospital. She also told him that in order to come in, I had to have Gabriel destroyed. Gabriel at one time had been nearly killed by a wild cat. After that experience he was always nervous and timid, a gentle cat not happy unless with me. Michael on the other hand was a bit of a buccaneer and I knew he would settle with Elizabeth until I returned. Anthony, of all people, understood what that had cost and Susan said after hearing of it, he made no further objection to my looking after him.
So we came together again. When Anthony joined me he was like a school boy set free, he was so pleased to leave the hospital. He disliked being constrained to live a routine other than his own and the last straw was to be dependent on women, although I doubt if he gave any indication of that, for he had beautiful manners. He said I had not changed much which was wishful thinking as I looked older and had put on weight. Without saying much, he showed me he was glad I had come. For this I was thankful, only wretched that I could not feel the same. I was homesick and felt an alien in his house. Now I was there he did not go out any more. We quickly settled into a routine. He liked to do all he could for himself and at first cooked a little for himself, for since they gave him cocaine to paint his throat he was able to enjoy solids for a while. He read most of the time and twice a week sent me into Plymouth for books. It was when I returned from one of these trips and found he had used the occasion to do his own washing, that we had our first wrangle. I was sure the effort had exhausted him and asked him to leave it to me but he only got obstinate and finally irritable. Then I remembered what the doctor had said and left him alone. I did not know till later that he deliberately hung on to doing his own washing and making his own bed as long as possible for he knew, what I did not, that they were two of the most infectious jobs.
After four months, there was something I needed from home and I asked Anthony if he would mind if I went back for a short week end. He not only agreed but said it was a good idea and suggested I should do it once a month. The first time he was pleased when I got back and equally pleased at the way he had managed for himself but when I went the next month it was very different on my return. He said he did not know what had happened but suddenly felt bad and very exhausted. I persuaded him to let me send for his doctor. There was an examination and after it the doctor used some medical term about his heart that I did not know but Anthony did. It made him look up and after a minute he said: "Well, if that is so, it is the end." He was silent a minute and then thanked the doctor and courteously turned the conversation to some general subject. When we were left alone he said to me: "Now we will discuss a disagreeable subject and finish with it. I wish to be cremated." He gave me a characteristic glance and added: "If you had died first I should have had you cremated." I smiled and said: "That would have been all right." He went on, "I am afraid there is not much to leave but I have never altered the will I made when we were married, so you will be in charge of what there is." I asked if there was anything he would like done and he replied, he would like our only boy to have the silver inkstand and with that the conversation was closed.
The inkstand was a heavy one, inscribed, containing two ink bottles, the only reminder of years of work in the Consulate under the Foreign Office. No! I forgot, it was suggested at his retirement he might receive a K. to his C.B.E. which with my most willing consent he declined.
I think he must have known from the beginning he would not recover yet he wanted to live as long as possible and somehow, enjoyed the life he had with all its pain and discomfort. With his opinions death could not be welcomed but he never gave any sign of dread. He kept his feet till the day he died and it was my growing admiration for his very splendid courage that made those months bearable.
The day he died he did not get up and with a sinking heart I saw his night milk untouched. I went in to see if I could make the early cup of tea he always had but he couldn't take it and said he felt ghastly. I got a nurse to give him an injection of morphia, the first he would consent to take and after that he dozed. Once, when I went in he seemed confused, troubled because he had not got up. I'm afraid I lied and told him it was still quite early, he had so dreaded being bed ridden. I asked him if it disturbed him my coming in and out. He answered, "No I like it but not to stay." Nevertheless at about 2 pm. I took in some sewing to sit with him. Presently he said: "Ought you not to go out?" So I replied decidedly, "No, I must get this finished." After a long while he spoke again. "It's nice really to have you there, it is not so lonely." This was more than I could bear and I got up and moved over to the window to hide my tears saying: "God help you, my darling." After a minute or two I turned back, his face was altered, he looked content and after a short while he died.