The smell of Malta after a hot summer’s day, when the light is soft and pink, the air is still, and the buildings rise up like luminous sand castles left behind at the beach, is distinctly special. For a brief time, it makes you forget the hot, challenging hours that went before it. It is the lover’s gift after feuds and tears; the smell of contentment, of peace. I start to remember myself again - my aspirations and purpose. I realise I have been lost in survival mode. What a power is heat to oppress the senses and mind! Here in this mellow respite I can breathe in the memories of the day and notice things again.
Of course, this time before night sets in is not just elemental. It is a space to create in our lives each day. Activity, duty, and circumstance fill up our diaries like an orchestra and sometimes it feels like the only silence comes in sleep. But carving out awake time for reflection each day is also very important. When I do that, I feel a sense of wellbeing and balance, as though I have regained consciousness. I am able to remember, think and plan without trying to multitask. And such an important practice really does need to be daily. We cannot be sustained on yesterday’s breakfast or newspaper.
I find that simply looking up at the sky has a very powerful effect too, and helps bring our attention away from the self and trivial matters. It is a literal and symbolic reorientation of one’s gaze. The sky is a gigantic, steady reminder that we are all actually quite small, but that we are part of a wholeness that is spectacular. The world doesn’t revolve around me and nor are the most important things in life deposited in my head alone. I am part of the universe, part of the human race, and I need to remember this in order to live harmoniously - internally and externally.
So, find your time. Find the moments in which you can re-centre, recalibrate and rediscover those elements of yourself that are so easily lost in the day to day changes and chances of this world. And if that time can be at sunset, all the more beautiful!