On a recent trip to the Italian island of Sardinia, we made the grave error of taking two small children on a sight-seeing trip to the medieval walled town of Alghero. After a couple of hours of struggling and family arguments, it was 5pm; the heat was unbearable, the narrow cobbled lanes hard to navigate and the restaurants shut for another two hours. To create a distraction and in a desperate attempt to escape the sun, I spontaneously pulled the two girls into the Cathedral of Santa Maria Immacolata. Covered in scaffolding, it looked pretty unimpressive from the exterior, but inside, we entered another world: suddenly all was cool, marbled, and still. In a side chapel, a priest murmured Mass to a small congregation, there were candles dotted around, and everywhere paintings and carvings of the Madonna and Child. As we basked in the relief that the change in atmosphere brought, I noticed one of the statues, tucked in an alcove to the left of one of the many images of Mary:
Her left arm supports a nursing child, whilst with her right she reaches to touch the head of a toddler clamouring for her attention. A moment in time that was no doubt chaotic and stressful is immortalised here in the stillness of stone. For me, the sculpture captures a great truth about nursing; no matter how busy or fraught our circumstances, it forces us to pause, it brings a change in energy, an altered state, it is the still point of a turning world. We move as from a hot street to a cool cathedral, as from the hustle and bustle of life to the mindfulness of meditation - through breastfeeding, we discover the art of stillness.
Through return to simple living comes control of desires. In control of desires Stillness is attained. In stillness the world is restored - Lao Tzu
Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump - Auguste Rodin
and here's one to make you smile from London Zoo:
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