Thank you

Tags

,

This song used to be played in shavasana (the relaxation section) at the end of a yoga class I used to go to.  So it’s not surprising that for me it exemplifies peace.

Arriving home after work.  Not frenetic, not trying to push away, not pushing myself, much better able to settle into the moment.

Like most writers, I had rituals around writing:  clear and wipe the coffee table, unroll my yoga mat, fold it exactly in half, fold the rug exactly in half on top of that, matching the edges up neatly.  We have a newer laptop but I always worked on my old one and had to be patient while everything loaded.  I would save everything in a word document, email it to myself twice and then post it on wordpress.

Now, getting ready for travelling, I just type everything straight into wordpress on my tablet.  I’m getting the hang of doing typing on a small screen, and moving between windows.  It’s not so easy to copy links and insert pictures compared to using a laptop.  Not so easy, but I’ve done it.

I love the title of this blog, postcards from the present moment.  I used to have all these notebooks, drawers full of them.  Writing used to be so hard, an amorphous mass of notes that were written like a diary, live, then as I tried to rework them into a coherent narrative for a book they would flatten and die.  Not like blogging.  Blogging is live, right now, right up to date.

And if I change, if I contradict myself, if I change my mind…  If yesterday I thought this, and tomorrow I think that…  well then that just goes to show we are all the same, because that’s what we all do.

I used to have songs I’d listen to on a loop, my writing songs, on you tube, playing in another window whilst I was writing:

But it’s like the story of the cat on the pole:  (Once upon a time some monks found that they were disturbed whenever they meditated by a young cat that would smooch around them, so they decided that whenever they were going to meditate they would put it on a lead and tie it to a pole so it wouldn’t disturb them.  Over time, this became a ritual.   Eventually, the cat got old and died, and the monks ended up getting another cat, as everyone felt they couldn’t meditate properly without there being a cat tied to a pole.)  None of my writerly rituals are necessary, because I’ve never felt so flowy, written blogs so often and had ideas come so frequently, as now.

I want to say

thank you

to you

for reading.

If there is anything you want to ask me or anything you would like to suggest as a topic to explore together please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

With metta

Advertisements

As good as it gets?*

Tags

, , ,

wedding party 1

This is a photograph of me and my husband at our wedding party in 2013.**  The wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life, but really that is only helpful if it provides a foundation for now.  The best day of your life can be now, with special events serving as a reminder to have fun like that again.

Yesterday the cats woke me up, I was momentarily irritated until I saw that it was 8am.  I had gone to bed at 10pm so I had had loads of sleep.  I fed the cats, made a cup of tea and went back to bed with my tea and my tablet.  I looked up things about Thailand:  TEFL courses, animal sanctuaries, homeless westerners, women’s projects, ex pats, what to bring…   I ordered cute homemade baby clothes from Etsy for a work baby shower.  A man knocked at the door, a modern version of ‘any old iron’, and took the shell of the broken storage heater.  I answered the door with unbrushed hair and no bra.

I got up and ate breakfast:  a hot cross bun and a banana and more tea, then put on my painting clothes and the ipod and painted the skirting board, a second coat from the day before and a first coat on a new section.

I drank coffee.  I washed my face and got dressed.  I made a smoothie.  I went for a walk across the fields.  It was the tail end of the hurricane and it was very warm, warm enough for sunblock.

Whilst I was walking the idea and content of yesterday’s blog came to me.  I came home and called the council and asked for two new bins, ours are too small.  It was one of those jobs I’d thought I’d never get around to.  I wrote to a successful blogger to ask about a guest post.  I wrote my blog and posted it.

I painted the second coat of the new section.  I had a wash.  I went to the local grocery shop.  My husband came home from work.  We ate a late lunch together:  sos mix vegeburgers, butter beans, avocado, tomatoes.  More coffee.

We drove to Southwold and had a walk along the promenade.  It was very windy and the sea was rough but it was warm at the same time because of the hurricane.  We found a new cafe that was open late and had dinner there; the proprietor was extraordinarily chatty.

We drove home.   It was still only 7pm.  I made a couple of calls.  I did some yoga.  I looked up Russell Brand’s cafe.  I read some people’s blogs.  I was in bed by 11pm.

I had had plenty of time for everything.  I hadn’t felt rushed in any way.  I got ‘tasks’ done, I did exercise, I did writing and I had plenty of time for cuddling cats and messing about on the internet.  I felt relaxed and slow.  It felt as though there was no discernable difference between any of the things I did:  No, this is a chore; this is fun.  Everything just seemed to flow.

It’s on days like these that I really think, that’s it, I’ve cracked it.  I want to say thank you, or, well done, or just, ok, that was good.

*one of my favourite films

**We got married with no fuss, just two witnesses and the kids.  My husband’s family had a small party for us at their house.  I made the cake.

How to not have sex with your husband

Tags

, , , ,

 

Those of you that have read previous blogs will be aware that my husband and I have been experimenting with tearing ourselves away from wild and crazy sex and practising abstinence, karezza, or at least some measure of control.

Up until now this has largely taken the form of imposing rules on ourselves, not only about when and how much to have sex and orgasms, but also rules around behaviour, in order to ‘make it easier’.

Us being us, these rules fluctuate week to week and are frequently broken, but nonetheless, we have given it a go.  Things like no groping each other, no kissing, no spoon cuddling in bed, no getting naked, no looking at each other ‘like that’.

And then at the prescribed time, usually the weekend, we ‘switch it on’ or set ourselves free and turn, briefly, into sex maniacs again for 48 hours.  Well sometimes we do, sometimes we might be more restrained than that, but it is basically on or off.

And even though one of ‘our songs ‘ is called All Or Nothing, this approach didn’t actually work all that well for us.

Although we talked about it a lot, it wasn’t until we did things differently that we realised why, and more importantly, what might help it work in the future.

So the other night, we got into bed, it was the weekend but one of us had floated the idea of that not necessarily meaning we had to have sex, so neither of us were sure, although both were prepared to do it if the other one wanted to.  We ended up having a kiss and a cuddle and falling into a deep and refreshing sleep.

The next morning we woke up, kissed, cuddled and then talked:  my husband said, I feel like I am on the edge of a precipice.  I said, perhaps we should follow the American virgins* and only do it if we are really sure.  We also reflected on how nice it was, and how satisfying, to be intimate and affectionate, without having sex.  I realised then what I hadn’t liked about the ‘All Or Nothing’ approach:  the having to switch off and on my sexuality and my affection.  I want to be able to be warm and affectionate and to feel sexy and attractive, according to the mood and colour of the present moment, not the day on the calendar.  I think we can do this, and that a more natural approach will work better for us.

*This is in no way meant to offend any Americans, it was just me referring to True Love Waits and those kinds of movements, which we don’t really have, or don’t have to such an extent, in the UK.

 

No More Advice!

Tags

The thing about self improvement is to know when to stop.*

When I was into Buddhism I learned about the Worldly Winds of Praise and Blame and so I do try to take praise lightly, understanding that it is only of its moment.

The reference I got from my first job described me as ‘unfailingly friendly and helpful’.   At my appraisal a couple of weeks ago my manager said I had tackled every problem with a calm, assured approach.  Both these descriptions pleased me very much.  The first one is nice, if a bit Golden Retriever-ish, and the second, well, if before I aimed to please, more recently my main aim has been to remain calm.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but perhaps it was an inbetween stage, between wanting to please and how I feel right now.

I have felt in touch with the calm stillness within, but the past few days I’ve felt something else, something more solid.  A strength, a power.  So if before I valued feeling calm, now I value feeling strong.  ‘Be the boulder’ is a phrase that keeps popping into my mind.  And ‘Why feel good when you can feel really great?’

And part of this is taking a break from being told what to do, or even listening to suggestions of any kind (re the ‘spiritual path’, I’ll still take advice on car maintenance or Excel).  After all, I know what to do right now:  paint the skirting boards, paint the cubby hole.  Not only that, having been through a phase of exploring, listening to opinions on everything from cutting my hair to the energy in and out of cat stroking, I just feel I want a bit of space to explore this for myself.

In the past I have oscilated between what I have called theory and practice, or immersion and integration.  Falling off the path, getting back on it again.  Following new people, philosophies or practices to get me back on again, then wanting to go it alone again, falling off the path until a new person or philosophy sparks my interest…  You get the picture.  I don’t think I would fall back to sleep again now, but I suppose one can never be sure…

*This is the title of a blog, I didn’t read it so I don’t know if it’s a joke or not.  And although I kind of agree with the sentiment right now, I am sure I will be back on it again before too long.

 

Keep it in*

Tags

, , ,

EmilysQuotes.Com-terrifying-accept-oneself-be-yourself-self-love-C.G.-Jung1

I don’t feel amazing ALL THE TIME.  I am not in control of my thoughts all the time.  I just spent 48 hours plagued by a cocktail of shame, panic, anxiety and OCD type thoughts and all the time the phrase ‘your thoughts create your reality’ was playing in my mind like a threat, a warning, or at the very least, a taunt.

The trigger was an everyday event that could happen to anyone:  a decision you make, then afterwards wonder did I make a mistake?  Do I need to check on that?  Can I check on that?  If something goes wrong because of what I did…  Shame, and panic ensured.  So no, I’m not immune to difficulties.   Why did it happen?  Engaging in ‘low frequency activities’ probably didn’t help and was maybe even the entire cause.  However, coming up close against my own mind like that wasn’t an entirely wasted experience.  I saw my thoughts for what they were.  Unpleasant as it was, I knew what was going on.  And strangely enough, when after 48 hours I was able to check in and found, of course, that everything was absolutely fine, that my worst fears had not actually been realised, I didn’t actually feel that different.  Even through the 48 hours, I went to work, I stayed reasonably calm and positive and I kept in touch with my awareness, unpleasant though some aspects were.

More letting go of furniture and objects around the house.  Thinking of old people whose homes haven’t been decorated for years and who have had the same things around them for years.  As they do less outside the home, and spend more time in it, maybe the wallpaper, the furniture, the ornaments, maybe they all loom larger.  Because those things are given more attention and are all tied up with the memories they hold.  People say things are important because they hold our memories.  People say when they customise their homes they put something of themselves into it.  Yes, they do:  they put in energy from the present moment.  Just having things takes your energy, either if you believe in things being created by your own mind; or else via the emotional resonance of the object; or just simply by the energy involved in dusting, cleaning and noticing it.

So if you didn’t have those things, that same energy would remain in you (or go back into you if you get rid of the things and cut ties to them).  Let’s think about it for a moment:  where would you rather your life force, your energy, resided; inside you, to make you as strong, as powerful and as full of energy as possible, or in an old starburst clock?

Is this why people get old?  Not only do they stop moving, they also let their energy drain out into things, houses, wallpaper, curtains…

In the garden today, noticing the stone white goose the old person left behind, the earthenware pots… I fell in love so easily, I loved it just as it was, I didn’t want to change a thing.  Yet today, pulling up the vegetables, much of them planted and left untended and uneaten, I’m okay, I’m ready to leave.  As if, that was nice, or, that was strange, but it’s over now.  I thought about work:  I’m leaving before I go insane.  Or perhaps I am insane, that’s why I am leaving.  I’ve been doing this fairly conventional job for twenty years- I have no friends at work, no ‘people’; I get anxious every morning before work, even after all this time.  Why?  Why have I been doing this to myself?  Until recently, I thought I was happy there.  As Jung says:

Jung 1

 

*As in energy- don’t put it into Things.  As in sex- keep it in your pants.  As in don’t- sometimes it’s best to share what’s going on.

 

 

 

I just feel amazing all the time*

Tags

, , ,

https://youtu.be/WANNqr-vcx0

Slowing down… a weekend and then another evening to myself with no plans and nothing particular to do…  Even trying to move slowly.  Making coffee slowly.  Making my NutriBullet smoothie slowly.  Realising how much I rush usually.  How my default speed is rush.  Why am I rushing?  There’s nothing I have to do.  Even typing that gives me a little thrill.  As an occupational therapist, obsessed with human occupation and activity; the balance between work, rest and play; make the most of every day a motto:  to do nothing, to have nothing to do, seems deliciously rebellious.

I read a post on the internet forum Out of Mind about how stress is a matrix weapon.  Yes, and so is being busy all the time and rushing about.  Always rushing from one task to the next, always thinking about what is next.  Berating oneself for the things not done or thinking that one should be doing something else…

Why do I do it?  To burn calories?  So that people don’t think I’m lazy?  But there’s only the cats here?!  (Mind you, in the timeless otherworldly stillness of the present moment, I almost put the NutriBullet on with no liquid in it, which could have resulted in a minor kitchen disaster)

In The Walking Dead the people sometimes cover themselves in zombie blood and guts and are then able, as long as they move slowly and calmly, to walk through herds of zombies without attracting any attention at all, let alone getting eaten.  I find this to be a useful metaphor for going about daily life:  control thoughts, control emotions, no matter what happens, thereby making you impervious to anything that gets thrown at you and preventing your energy from being drained.  It helps to stay below the radar:  no flower painted hippy vehicles, no dreads, no ferrets on leads, nothing to draw attention or drama.  Even extending to little things like getting reports done ahead of time to prevent a stressful last minute rush and shopping for Oil of Olay before it runs out.  Anything to help life run smoothly.

The stay neutral philosophy is where it all parts company from the ‘love everyone’ philosophy.  It’s not about loving everyone and having your energy leak out all over the place.  It’s about being a self contained little avatar who keeps her feet on the ground (even though there is no ground), stays upright (even though there is no ‘up’ or ‘down’) and puts her best foot forward, even though there is no best, no forward, and no back.

As everything falls away, as everything goes around in a loop, as everything goes to hell in a handcart, can you stay calm and neutral?  In the little pocket of stillness that arrives with the doing of one thing at a time and only that, and thinking of nothing else…  can you let it expand?  Can you begin to slowly move and find you can take it with you?  Can you maintain it, even whilst you change position?

One has to have space in order to go up another rung.  To rest for a bit, almost bored, until inspiration strikes again, a new conversation, a thought is sparked: and awareness spirals up another level.

I used to be so unhappy, it’s hard to even describe it now.  Now, my life is a rose-petal-strewn-fantasy-fairyland of joy in comparison.  On Friday evening a friend came round, spontaneously.  I made it to the off licence just before it closed and we all drank wine and ate left over Chinese food (I believe this is called ‘scruffy hospitality’).  The next morning (yesterday), I woke up slightly hung over, my husband and I decided on impulse to drive to Norwich and go to the vegan market stall for breakfast.  I washed my face but otherwise went out in more or less last night’s clothes and yoga pants and after getting a miraculous parking space we headed for breakfast.

I was slightly insulated from the night before, but also, I believe, doing better having had my quiet space as described above.  I usually find the city so draining, all the people, the obscene shopping etc, but yesterday, as we walked along the high street, my husband said, have you ever noticed how sometimes the city is so quiet, like there’s little pockets where no one is speaking?  I wondered if we could turn down the volume of the crowds with intention, but like with tinnitus, its best not to give sounds attention if you don’t want them to amplify, and hope instead to create a little pocket of stillness around us.  So as we walked though Chappelfield Shopping Mall at midday on a Saturday, I walked slowly and calmly, all my attention on me and my husband (and the vegan breakfast that awaited us).  I didn’t look at anyone, I didn’t think, oh she’s pretty, or, I love her outfit, or, why can’t I look like  that, oh I probably look too scruffy to be out, they probably think I look like crap, oh my God, there’s too many people.  I didn’t think any of those things, and I walked through the mall, twice, without feeling any significant drop of energy.  Okay, on the way back I felt a little tired, but, like the zombie-blood-and-guts-shield-method, maybe it only lasts a certain amount of time.

Afterwards we went to Tofurei the wonderful vegan deli  and bought sausage rolls, a cheeseburger, three different types of cakes, ice cream, and white chocolate hot chocolate (which is about the closest thing to food and drink heaven I know).  No painting, housework or any responsible tasks whatsoever were going to get done yesterday, the centrepiece of a rare weekend off together.

*Vegan snooker player

Six Impossible Things before Breakfast

Tags

,

Image result for alice in wonderland

Six Impossible Things before Breakfast

There is a sound scientific/academic angle to believing impossible things, described well here, however my personal favourite is Alice reciting a list of impossible things she believes in, in order to help her believe in herself.

These are mine…

One, there is no such thing as Time.  Two, there is no Past.  Three, there is no Future.  Four, there is only Now.  Five, This World is an Illusion.  Six, this is a Mind Game.

We live in a linear society, everything revolves around ‘time’ even from an early age, learning to tell the time, awareness of the seasons, the different holidays, birthdays and so on.  The idea that everything ‘ages’; that the past is conceptualised almost like a place you could go and visit if you had a time machine and that the future is somewhere we ‘get to’.

These ideas both limit us and also prevent us being afraid, because the idea that there is nothing else, no past, no future, no house, no furniture, just us and our thoughts in the present moment, like being balanced on a pin head in a sea of oblivion… could be a scary thought.

So as one realises, or tries to realise, that there is no time, no past, no future, the thing to grasp onto is the information that It Is Only Ever Now.  Bringing the present moment into sharper focus, becoming conscious of your thoughts, your conversations, your body, even the temperature, the breeze on your skin, has the capacity to brighten and strengthen the present moment…  And also to stretch it… and by stretching it, you begin to believe in it, and the ideas of past and future and time really do begin to fall away and become irrelevant.

This world is an illusion:  take it apart, look for chinks, or just accept it.  It doesn’t mean it’s not important, just because it’s made of consciousness not bricks and mortar (whatever they are).

This is a mind game:  all of the above, synthesised, plus control emotions, stay neutral, control thoughts.  Practice observing.  Practice creating.  Don’t overcomplicate things.  As my lovely psychologist friend at work says:  Approach complexity with simplicity. 

 

How sane do you need to be?

“There is only one kind of person, Phaedrus said, who accepts or rejects the mythos in which he lives.  And the definition of that person, when he has rejected the mythos, Phaedrus said, is ‘insane’.  To go outside the mythos is to become insane.” Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

Obviously, I have to believe that isn’t true, even though it sounds scarily believable.  Hasn’t there always been ‘insane’ people, and they can’t all be people who have ‘woken up’ and then been prescribed as insane by society.  In fact, accepting this world wholesale and believing there’s nothing else, that this is all there is; surely that would be the thing to drive a person insane, not the realisation of truth.

Yes, at times, under certain conditions, it can come on too strong/be too much information at once/jump ahead too fast and be too much to absorb without being frightened.  But with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and a mix of esoteric exploration/ discussion and everyday activities such as cleaning, walking, light socialising and watching Netflix, it comes on at a pace that is manageable.

I used to always say, well, I’m still holding down a full time professional job, so I must be okay.  What will I say when I’m not?  I’ve always thought that a person must have to be very sane to be able to do that, as opposed to how sane you’d need to be to go backpacking around India, for example.  But I might have got this mixed up:  doing a full time job where most of my emotional, mental and even spiritual energy is given over to ‘The Man’ i.e. a multimillion pound company, instead of being spent on myself, well maybe that isn’t all that sane.  And to go travelling, I’m guessing being fairly intact mentally would be helpful.  Then again, how sane do any of us need to be?  I remember having a conversation with my sister in law about how we’d never felt like proper grownups; she said, well, we pay the bills, how much more grown up to we need to be?  As long as you’re sane enough not to get detained under the Mental Health Act then that’ll probably do.

 

Notes from the frontline

On the train to London this week, asleep/writing, I suddenly noticed some animation and looked up: a man had got on the train with a ferret on a lead.  He walked the length of the carriage; a woman flinched, he said don’t worry, she won’t hurt you; the conductor commented how it was a first, people started talking to each other.  But no one wanted to touch it, and the man actually walked all the way back again, saying, well, if no one wants to say hello, we’ll go and find a quiet corner.  At one time, I might have petted it, said hello, but the ‘look at me, look at me’ nature of the event, and even the man himself, just made me withdraw.  Even work is getting like this:  more interesting, as if it’s trying to grab hold of my attention; just as I think it’s on a never ending loop, it’ll chuck out something original.

On the train and the tube were adverts encouraging people to eat more potatoes.  I wondered vaguely if this is because ‘they’ are worried that people are waking up.  (Eating vegetables that grow below ground is supposed to ground you and slow down spiritual awakening- handy if it’s going too fast).  Likewise the new teeth cleaning advice not to rinse (gross!) in order to keep the fluoride on your teeth for longer.

Haven’t I been dreaming of a white room, silence and simplicity?*

Tags

, , ,

Everything you see, hear and do in ‘the matrix’ is an opportunity for you to ‘wake up’ or for you to increase your awareness.

And everything you see, hear and do in the matrix also has the potential to suck you right back into it emotionally, mentally, psychologically and even physically.  The most obvious example is 9/11, but it applies to everything: signs you see, people you meet, interactions you have.

My personal one is animal cruelty.** I use it as a mindfulness bell to remind me that none of this is real.  Because how could such horror be real?  That said, even if it is an illusion, I still don’t want any part of the hurting of the animals.  I don’t play video games but if I did, I wouldn’t be raping and killing in GTA.  Remembering this isn’t real helps me cope emotionally on a personal level, as well as stopping me getting involved on a matrix level e.g. giving it any more attention than it already has.  (This morning on the way to work I passed a truck carrying chickens two or three to a crate, and another truck full of pigs.  We all know where they were going and exactly what was going to happen to them when they got there.)

On a more personal level, hiding from one’s own blood or dreading one’s period which comes without fail every month does seem like a bit of a matrix trap/waste of energy.  I recently got converted to the idea of the moon cup (like a small silicone eggcup that collects the blood) and cloth sanitary pads, which are often handmade and sold by individual women on Etsy.  As well as the benefits of giving up putting bleached fibres inside oneself; the environmental considerations; the live-simply ethos of it, it was also the physical experience of getting up close and personal with what is only my own blood after all.  And realising, hey, maybe it’s not surprising I feel tired after my period, that’s a lot of blood , a whole cup in three hours, maybe I should take on some extra iron…

I reduced my pension contributions to the minimum allowed.  At the same time I called and cancelled two life insurance policies, putting into practice the hard-to-believe-belief that it is only ever now.  Things like life insurance policies come from a place of fear and worry and projection about the future; they add another layer of complexity to finances and life and letting go of them is another step towards freedom.  As soon as I had made all these calls, I looked at the clock:  10:10.

Compared to committing suicide, which is an option that everyone is always aware of, what I am doing isn’t really all that frightening or radical.  Or to lighten things a little, compare it to Regi Perrin faking his death to get away from his stiflingly boring existence or Robert De Niro’s character in Heat: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

Just as I had finished my last blog and was feeling rather smug about all the de-cluttering and letting go I’d been doing, I lost my dearly beloved yoga mat.  Bought for me this birthday by my lovely team at work:  purple, sumptuously thick so I don’t need a blanket under my knees, not stained so I could take it to classes without being ashamed, and with its own smart black carry case.  Anyway, I’d been thinking about what to do with all the yoga mats (I’m also really fond of my old ones).  I was packing up the car early one morning, ready to go and stay at my mum’s, and must have put it down near the car.  I realised later that it wasn’t at my mum’s or at home, and then I remembered that it was bin day…  My first thought was, well at least that takes care of that, I don’t have to sort out what I’m going to do with it.  Even if later I did have a few wistful feelings…

The lesson is, appreciate things, use things while you have them.  I didn’t always use my mat even at home, saving it for classes and using my old thin one.  I chucked out my warm-but-ugly-on-me charity shop fleeces and now I recklessly wear my three nice Oliver Bonas jumpers at weekends, not keeping them only for work as I had bought them for.  Let them be used, let them wear out. (I do wear old things to sit and watch Netflix and cuddle the cats though, that’s only practical.)

*The living room, once delicious red, lit with vintage lamps, is now a ‘neutralised’ off white, ready for renting.

** I don’t just mean sad donkey pictures on facebook, I mean the piteous cows and calves of the dairy industry and the fact that people actually think it’s normal to eat animals and birds.

Escape the Matrix

Tags

,

gla5c

Escape the Matrix

Everyone’s* talking about escaping the matrix and since that is essentially what this blog is (now) about, I’d better explain what that means to me.  This blog is me documenting my practical application of this idea.  If my blog was previously the practical application of becoming ‘spiritually awake’, now it’s the practical application of ok, I believe it’s a matrix, now I’m going to set about tearing it down brick by brick.

What does it mean, or, what’s the practical application of:

  1. You realise/know/agree with people who say, that this is all a dream/illusion/creation of our minds/holographic universe/computer programme (pick the one that works for you)
  2. You want to get out/free your mind (and thereby change your life)

*Not strictly true: no one talks about it where I work, but it is all over YouTube.

I recently spent a weekend sorting out all my old photographs.  ‘Good luck with that’, my friend Jane said when I told her what I was planning to do.  She was right, it was hard.  All the old tattered colour-bled albums, the kooky photo frames I used to collect, the wallets of photographs that had never been sorted.  Sitting on the floor of the spare room for the best part of two days, back aching, surrounded by piles and piles of photographs, and the past, thirty years of memories, people, the emotion of looking at all the baby pictures, that past life…  The task itself was hard too and I felt stagnant in the middle and almost defeated when I realised I had missed a couple of piles and had to go back.

Seeing the past fly by, the bits I could just put in the bin, my farewell lunch of my first job, me with a bouquet.  A night out with friends I don’t see any more.  Me at seventeen, bottle feeding a kitten, at fifteen, looking radiantly happy surrounded by cats on a visit to a cat sanctuary.  I’ve always been the same…  Or at least, I still love cats, even if everything else has changed beyond recognition.

At the end, all the empty albums and photo frames in a huge pile, the unsalvageable ones went in the bin, the okay ones to the charity shop.  Even the albums themselves had attachments for me.  The fruits of my labours:  two brand new albums of family photographs.  I got in the car and drove to the charity shop just in time to drop off the old albums and photo frames and then to my son’s house to give him the new albums to have/take care of.

Driving home that evening, yes partly the feeling of a big task completed, but the leaving the photo albums, which had sat under my bed in dusty boxes, a huge and un faceable task for so long, and now, all done, three wastepaper bins of photographs thrown out without a backward glance…  It made me so light, gave me such a burst of energy, like nuclear fusion or the big bang, that I went home and went for an hour long walk across the fields, then moved two wheelbarrow loads of bricks and washed the kitchen floor (a rare occurrence), and stayed up hyper and not hungry, til 1am, couldn’t wind down.  A burst of almost manic energy that was so startling to me, and that gave me all the proof I needed, as if I needed any, that this theory really is true, that de cluttering/letting go really does do something.

I’ve also, in several waves, as I found this really hard as well, got rid of sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers.  I would never have believed** attachments to these could be so strong, maybe it’s the memories of all those nights, babies, sick children, those things have been everywhere with you, seen everything.

**so close to beloved that when I made a mistake the spell check originally corrected it as such.

Other stuff: my great grandmother’s mother of pearl octagon shaped little coffee table; a little inlaid box my father brought me back from Egypt when I was a child; paua shells picked up from the beach in New Zealand; all jewellery (including grandmother’s and mother’s) bar the rings, bangles and stud earrings that I wear every day and one pair of gold sparkly earrings for the weekends.  All my old vintage clothes and evening bags; my wedding dress; my wedding party dress; my grandmother’s crockery, baking tins and kitchen scales.  Every single one of my books, and believe me, I once loved those books.  Our lovely red sitting room, the scene of so much fun, so much enjoyed.  All my old childhood books and most of my son’s, just a few set aside for him.

Old phone numbers.  My career: I’ve just gone down to four days a week, beginning the process of letting go of twenty years of conditioning.  All news media.  The Archers.  Radio 4:  There was once a radio comedy sketch of what The Archers sounds like to people who don’t listen to it regularly, with a pastiche of Tom going on about his sausages, Ruth worrying about the cows, Alistair getting called out to a lame horse…  Well this is what Radio 4 sounded like to me the last time I listened to it, like a pastiche of Radio 4:  the comedy sketch show making an I’m-sure-I’ve-heard-this-before joke about what good is NASA, they haven’t even found the Clangers.   The Today programme presenters- the gruff interrogator, so good at what he does but always, always the same, doesn’t he ever get bored of playing devil’s advocate, of being that hard?  My husband read out a thing from an ‘escape the matrix’ website about giving up news media, it said, I can tell you what the news will be for the next ten years, wars, natural disaster, terrorism, murders, sex offences…

 

My husband said he would do the stationery drawer.  I was pleased; there’s probably a couple of things I am attached to, a small calculator I’ve had for as long as I can remember, a scented eraser in a box, but I haven’t been in there for ages and could let go of it all, although I’d find it easier if someone else did it.  He said, there’s all this stuff in there that we keep because we live in a house and we’ve got cupboards and drawers, things like hole punches and staplers, but I can’t remember the last time I used a hole punch or a stapler at home.  He’s right, me neither.

 

 

Tabula Rasa

Tags

,

Tabula Rasa

We didn’t ‘forget’, we chose to come down as babies, our minds a blank slate (tabula rasa), with the information stored deep inside, inaccessible until we got older and became conscious.  Maybe previous rounds were so easy that we got out too early and didn’t get to experience a whole life, as at five years old we realised who we were and said okay beam me up and the sky split open and we went back, or whatever it is that happens.

This life time, this world, being given senses, and beginning with the experience of birth, such a huge physical experience, and then all the different sights, sensations, all the different foods…  So that we became embedded into the physical world, and thought that it was real.

And so we explored various different explanations, all rooted in the physical world.  Science, slowly, bit by bit, gave us explanations and we believed them.  (If it was all presented from scratch now, in one go, we’d never believe it.  What, all this, came from a rock/dust?!  We came from monkeys???!!!)

Religion:  We thought it was someone more powerful than us because in this physical world we aren’t very powerful.  Compared to the sun, or nature, we aren’t very strong; we can’t pick up boulders.  And because we’re so wedded to the physical, via our built in senses, we measure the power of things by their physical properties and so quite understandably don’t jump to the conclusion that we are the powerful creators.

But once you realise it’s a mind game, and that you and only you can know and control your own mind, then it’s a different story.  Then you realise, of course:  I am the most powerful force in this universe.

 

Walking through the little town where I live this evening, looking at all the houses, all the rooms, all the books on the bookshelves, the level of detail, like Sims…  Impossible to make all that, it’s got to be invented out of consciousness, made in our imagination not built physically.

I don’t believe books are really made in factories like we are told.  If that were true that’s all we’d be doing (and there’s not as many people as we’re told* and most of them aren’t real and can’t actually make stuff).  John, not quite with me said, but factories exist, I’ve worked in one.  Me:  it only existed while you worked in it.  And as for the so called miracle of chance of the sun being exactly the right distance from the earth for life, and plants, and plants growing and we eat them; it’s all just a story, detail written in.  You could probably get to the point where you didn’t need to eat, after all we aren’t real, none of this is real, it’s a dream, and you don’t need to eat in a dream do you?

 

I still needed to paint the kitchen though, I never worked out how to get around that.  But even that was all a mind game really.  A couple of times I felt almost defeated by it:  the thirty years of grease to wash off, the endless little bits that needed filling, almost forgetting about behind the washing machine and under the cupboards, coming home tired after work and having to paint.  But pushing on through to the other side is as much about following through on the practical tasks that need doing as it is about setting my intention and opening my mind to alternative possibilities; they are two sides of the same coin, one supports the other.

 

*My current reckoning is that the real population is actually 10-30% of the figures we are told, and that history is around 700 years old, but like all my beliefs, I am open to this changing.