The meaning of life

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To have a solid shelter, with heat that comes on with the flick of a switch, clean drinking water and hot running water with the turn of a tap, comfortable seating and sleeping areas, plenty of bedding and warm clothes, a washing machine…  These things are denied to many.  Even one thing off this list would represent enormous progress, even luxury, to some.  Many of us who have these things do not fully appreciate them.  Not only that, the progress and comfort they represent and provide becomes grossly extended.

One of the aspects of Marrakech that we  appreciated the most was the sense of timelessness.  The hotel we stayed in was decorated with traditional blue mosaic tiling.  The orange buildings looked as though they had always looked that way.  No one had decided that everything needed updating to fit the latest fashion in decor or architecture.

Contrast that with here in the UK, people changing their furniture before it has even worn out, painting the inside of their homes a different colour according to what’s in that season.  ‘Needs updating’ such a spurious phrase, that has helped give rise to the largely unnecessary industries of  producing new ‘kitchens’ and ‘bathrooms’ and the mind boggling range of paint colours on offer.  Once upon a time there would have been a very limited range of possibilities according to the natural materials and pigments available, simple whitewash, Suffolk pink, yellow ochre, depending on where one lived.

Of course, we need to have shelter for our physical bodies and engaging with the physical world is part of our experience.  But we got so distracted with making the home, not simply a comfortable shelter, but by over extending that need into the myriad of wallpaper options, carpet choices and superfluous decorations available that we have today.

We forgot that the other aspect of our existence, as well as being here and experiencing everything we experience, is to remember (or rather, to not forget) who we are.  But when people are not doing something to their homes, they are watching television.  And no one’s talking about this:  no one’s talking about finding out who you really are, because most people are just following the programming and running to a script.  You look around, everyone’s doing it, everyone’s getting a mortgage,  improving their home, working to pay the bills, making the best of things, not talking about anything.  Everyone’s doing it, so it must be okay.  But as I have quoted before from someone on the internet:  look at what the herd is doing, and do the opposite.

Someone my husband worked with asked him what we did as we don’t watch television.  My husband said, and he told me it actually felt weird to say it aloud, we actually spend a lot of time just talking.  His work colleague said, but you can talk with the television on.  But you can’t, you can’t have a really good conversation, one that can get all deep and meaningful, unless you turn the television off.

Nature abhors a vacuum, so as soon as you get rid of the television, the paint charts- just paint everything neutral or leave it as it is; get rid of the clutter and unnecessary possessions, the stuff…  Then awareness floods in instead.

There’s probably an optimum level of comfort.  If things are too hard, that takes so much time and energy that there’s no space for creativity.  If things get too comfortable, one can be lulled into a false sense of security.  Somehow by being too comfortable we become less aware: in our centrally heated comfort zone it’s easy to fall back to sleep.  A bit of ‘discomfort’ helps to keep us awake and alert.  We need to be kept on our toes.  We’re here for a physical experience, so to feel the change in temperature, to notice some physical effort, is not necessarily discomfort at all.

As I have said before, I am all about putting the theory into practice, otherwise, what’s the point of all this theorising?  So bearing in mind all that I have said above, how do I want to live?  What way of living do I think would be most beneficial for me, for the both of us, my husband and I?

Well I suppose it would be something like this:  something small- just an adequate size for what we need- so no room to accumulate ‘stuff’.  Something that gives us a simple life, with as few distractions as possible.  Something that feels a bit ‘off grid’ compared with being in a house.  So a boat:  just big enough for what we need, with solar panels but also has an electric hook up, gas hot water for washing up and shower, a woodburner.  The boat’s water tank is filled via connecting a hose pipe to a water tap a few feet along the bank.  A twin tub washing machine sits in a shed on the bank, is filled from the same tap and used outdoors on the bank, plugged into the boat via an extension lead.  Using a washing machine outdoors appeals to me in a back to nature way, and is still comfortable compared with hand washing one’s clothes in a river.  Plus there is a launderette up the road which might be a nice option in the winter.

Meet Kindred Spirit:

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Feel the fear and do it anyway*

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Choices are very scary.

I’ve spent the last week trying to recover my energies** whilst at the same time using them up on sorting the house out.  I’ve been concentrating on raising my frequency, eating well, eating vegetables from above ground, sleeping in separate beds, no sex at all, no alcohol etc.

Getting ready for new carpets coming and estate agents photographs a week from now.  It’s easy (for me) to get totally obsessive and exhausted, seeing more and more cleaning and painting that could be done whilst knowing that I can’t/won’t do it all.  At least this time I have stopped and rested at certain points, after I was tired and achey but before I was totally exhausted or in actual pain.  Some of it I’ve enjoyed, and certainly have enjoyed the results of, such as cleaning the windows (especially satisfying if not done very often!) and sometimes I have looked forward to doing things off the list with tomorrow’s new energy.

But then I got tired and had a meltdown over the skirting boards.  I realised I should have painted the skirting board before the carpet came.  When I did the painting mostly I just painted the walls and ignored the skirting boards.  Now, I see that they could do with being done.  Anyway, I did that room quickly with one coat and it is fine now, I know it only needs to look okay for the photos and then the buyers will paint over it all anyway.  But for a few hours I beat myself up: why didn’t I just do all the skirting boards at the same time as the walls.  Why didn’t I notice they needed doing before the carpet came?  Why do I prioritise the wrong tasks.  What’s wrong with me, I’m such an idiot.

My mum spent years thinking about it then a year seriously getting her house ready to sell.  In the last few weeks and months she worked on it from six am until midnight, DIY, painting, styling, as well as sorting out forty years of accumulated belongings.  She was almost seventy.  Then she moved into her new place and within a few months it’s all painted and perfectly styled.  I, meanwhile, find my shoulder aches from a couple of days of window and door cleaning, even with rests.  And as fast as one thing gets clean more stuff needs doing or the big stuff gets done but there’s still the ordinary stuff to do.  I get overwhelmed by DIY and big chores, always have.  Having a mother who excels at all that, who built her house herself, is a lot to live up to.  It’s impossible to live up to.  And then I remind myself that lots of people don’t do any of their own decorating.  They pay a professional, or they leave it undone because they work full time, because their free time is precious, or just because they don’t want to do it.

I’ve noticed that classic spaced out stressed feeling, which I haven’t felt for a while.  I dropped everything and went for a walk across the fields, because I remembered that being helpful.  I’ve also felt excited; wide awake and staying up late then lying in bed feeling wide awake and happy.  I haven’t felt this off balance for a while but I’ve been continuing on the path.  I told my boss and told my team at work today, to make it real.  Feeling a bit scared about everything, but totally sure about selling the house, totally sure about going travelling, and almost totally sure about buying a boat as a base/to live on when we come back.  Trying to raise frequency in order to make decisions from the best place- we are going to see the boat again on Saturday.

Maybe a boat will be better for me, less to clean? But you have to be really tidy or else in such a small space the mess looms much larger!  Neither of us are super tidy and will we really be any different anywhere else?

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I looked at boats, and found one that was ideal.  A boat is at least capsule, simple living and more unplugged than our current situation.

This whole thing started with the idea of going off to India, or travelling the world, but for me it’s not really about travelling per se, it’s about testing my long felt urge to trust-fall into the universe, to let go my fingertips from the cliff face and fall into the unknown.  Mainly, it is about freedom; about realising where I am, what I have, and therefore what I am able to do- with a bit of guts and imagination.  The thought of just going off for a while with no plan other than to go travelling and keep writing, is, well…  The thought triggers a thrilling, glittery feeling inside me.

It means that at least for a while, I could imagine/believe that this was my life, travelling and blogging.  And for a year or even two, I believe it can be.  But what next, what afterwards?  I could get a permanent job again, I could do temporary work.  We could somehow maybe build a life that splits between the two, periods in England earning money, periods in South East Asia.  I don’t want to have a life changing experience and then come back to the same life.

If we buy the boat we have something to come back to.  We can even live on it for a few weeks before we go, thereby bringing the future into the now and beginning our new life right now, rather than waiting until we get back.  It would also be taking action rather than just seeing what happens/leaving it up to our future selves to decide what it is we are going to do.  It’s lovely, in a great location and available now.  My reservations- people say don’t plan on top of plans; are we tying ourselves down, limiting our horizons, preventing as yet unknown opportunities from arising and being taken up, such buying a bar in Thailand or opening a cat sanctuary in Vietnam.  (I am not really going to do either if those two things).

I know I am fortunate to be able to be in this position but I am still finding it very scary.  Giving up a good job, giving up a nice house, for something smaller and as yet unknown, possibly a small boat; well I suppose it is because of the conditioning that this is difficult.  And I suppose that’s also why it would be good to do it..

 

Just when I think I have put the past behind me, I go round my mum’s yesterday and out of the blue she says, you remember x don’t you, he was convicted of the rape of two twelve year old girls and went to prison for two years.  I met him when I was fifteen, he was thirty, me and my best friend and my boyfriend, both older than me, used to go and see him, he used to invite us in to talk to him whilst he was in the bath.  We just thought it was funny/weird.  He also took arty photographs of us, clothed.  He was one of my mum’s lodgers when I was about sixteen.  When I was seventeen or eighteen and had left home and was living in a caravan, he came round.  I think he had tried to get me into bed before but I didn’t fancy him.  I thought he was too old.  Anyway, he came round during the day and got into bed with me and just touched me in one place, one square centimetre.  I did want him to stop but my body just let him do it, and I had an orgasm whilst not fancying him, not kissing, not cuddling, it felt very weird.

My mum said yesterday, he was in the house with you and your sister.  I said, I was older, and I am sure my sister would have said something.  She seemed happy with that.  One lodger used to pay for my sister’s horse riding lessons and take her out.  Another (the one from my flashbacks) did the same for me.  The 1970s were a very strange time.

*a book from the 1970s.  That decade wasn’t all bad.

**lots and lots of sex, and lots and lots of orgasms whilst on holiday

Remaking the past*

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I had my first tattoo on my 21st birthday, the main clump of three roses you can see on my arm.  The branch extending towards my back was done a bit later and never quite fitted with the original part.  The fish and the shell tattoo was done later still, a cover up on top of a woman’s hand with red nails holding a gun.  From a Die Cheerleader album cover as I remember it, although I can’t find it now, and also influenced by the book Dirty Weekend.  I disliked it almost immediately, and a friend designed the fish and shell design to get done as a cover up, although as you can see that didn’t look that great either.

I had accepted my tattoos and it never really crossed my mind to get them fixed.  I was always under the impression that removal was a big deal and cost thousands of pounds.  I had vaguely heard about lasering but had just assumed it was super expensive* and I didn’t think another cover up would be possible.  Then a few months ago I ended up in Factotum with a friend and one thing led to another.  After some research (you can spend many hours on the internet trapped in a tattoo vortex) and several consultations I decided to go with Emma Sailor at Factotum in Norwich.  She said she could do cover ups on the ones pictured above as they are but the one on my other arm, pictured below, would need some lasering; I have had one treatment done so far at Fading Time on the same premises.

This tattoo is from the Doughboys ‘Happy Accidents’ album.  I wasn’t a big fan of the band, I just liked the concept and the art; comedy and tragedy in the middle, the clock hands all twisted.

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Again, it didn’t actually look that great on my arm.  Twenty five years and one laser treatment later, this is what it looks like now:

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I am having one more laser treatment in December and then I will be getting a new tattoo over it in February.

Tattooing has moved on a lot since I had mine done in my twenties.  Tattooists now are real artists, and the thing I learned was to choose the right person for you and then let them do their stuff.  Roses work particularly well for cover ups because of all the petals and shading.  I had this done two days ago.  I have another appointment at the beginning of January to finish it, but I am so happy with how it looks that I couldn’t wait to share it!

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Whilst we were in Marrakech, I experimented with some DIY therapy re my ‘recovered memories’/flashbacks.  With my husband’s help, I went right back there.  It wasn’t that scary after all.  It was strangely liberating…  And I kind of enjoyed it.  I feel much better now.  Thank you for your advice and support, and for reading.

With metta

*The tattooists, when they ask each other about what tattoos they are working on say:  What are you making?  I love that.

**One treatment cost £50, took ten minutes and was completely bearable; there was a sign on the wall with a word on it and I stared at it, playing with the letters.  It will only need one more treatment to be able to be tattooed over.  I believe it can take 8-12 treatments to remove a tattoo completely, although sometimes there can be scarring.  Grey and black come up easiest, green is hardest, apparently.

 

 

 

 

 

Mission statement

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In Marrakech over breakfast, conscious of the need to maintain our focus and awareness, I asked my husband to explain what he would say if anyone asked him what we believed in and what we were doing.  I added things and kept asking questions and wrote it all down.  No one has actually asked me what I believe in or what my life’s focus is but now that I have it all written down on a paper napkin, where better to share it than here?

We believe: 

That this world is an illusion and the only thing that matters is finding out who you really are. 

Why are we dismantling our perfect life?

If life gets too safe, samey and routine, the mind begins to travel to the past and future (e.g. harking back to good experiences, looking forward to things to do after retirement) because there’s not enough going on in the present.  You get stuck, like quicksand, like cement:  if you don’t keep moving the matrix has you stuck.  You get yourself stuck in the matrix.  Mortgages, putting down roots, are potentially traps.  Keep moving, keep changing routine.

Plus, we are working on stripping away mental conditioning…  

Via behaviours e.g. learn to go out without wearing makeup, keep trying new things etc, and via wrapping the mind around ideas such as there is no time, there is no past, there is no future etc. etc.  It can help to try out different conspiracy theories:  if you can wrap your mind around the Earth being flat or Paul McCartney having been replaced in the 1960’s, even if just for the duration of the YouTube video, then you are training your mind to disbelieve.  Nothing is real, everything you’ve been told is a lie:  Lots of people say they agree with that statement but actually find it very difficult to put it into practice and begin disbelieving in everyday ‘facts.’

And all the time, through it all, be truthful.  Be truthful to yourself.  Deconstruct yourself in order to find out who you are.  Getting rid of clothes, possessions, house, is all part of that.  Stripping away everything, all the surface layers, until you are left with nothing but the truth of who you really are.

Really, all this is a full time job.

When we had finished, I read it aloud.  Good, my husband said.  Maybe I can use it as my resignation letter, I said.  Of course, the finer details, indeed any of it, may well be subject to change, as with everything I do, say and think, but for now, it is as good an ‘explanation’ as I/we can come up with.

P.S.

Actually, this is too important to be just a PostScript, I’ll give it a proper heading:

My intention

I am dismantling my home and I am leaving my job to go off travelling and blogging.

Marrakech

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I have just returned from four nights in Marrakech.  So beautiful, so nourishing.  The orange buildings, the limited advertising, the sense of history.  Seeing so many people in traditional dress.  The ancient music.  The palaces.  The alleyways, the shops and food stalls; pancakes and pomegranate juice, cane sugar and ginger.  Tailors’ shops with people at sewing machines, shops which were tiny dusty rooms with trays of eggs, sacks of spices.  People selling wares from little carts, or on the ground, or just walking.  Women selling homemade biscuits, children selling little packets of tissues, boys and men selling coffee from a huge kettle.

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Above it all the Koutoubia Mosque, its gardens orderly and peaceful, tended with sprinklers, all lush green grass, neat hedges and healthy fruit trees.  Standing in the square, hearing, feeling, the call to prayer from all directions.  I enjoyed dressing modestly, and it was also so nice to be in a country where alcohol isn’t the social norm.  It felt so safe, even in the alleyways after dark.  Welcome and safe, a new honeymoon.

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Outside a cafe on our last evening, me staring at an orange wall and thinking about how and when are we going to come back.                 What are you thinking about, my husband asked.                       Marrakech, I answered.
Well that’s a coincidence, he said, here we are, in Marrakech.                     It was one of those comments that tripped a switch and for a few minutes I felt we were both ‘there,’ in that place that I used to call being in the present moment.  That night I called it us both being at our highest frequency at the same time.  In those few moments I could believe that we had arrived in Marrakech simply by thinking about it, by thinking our way there.                                                                           How would that work, my husband asked, where would we really be? Where are we really anyway, I said.
So in those moments we are both at our highest frequency and maybe there are things we can do when we’re both there.  Maybe those things are so good they’d be worth giving up sex for, like being able to think yourself to different locations around the world.  I know, every trip begins with a thought, maybe this way cuts out all the bits between thought and being there.  Or maybe just by being really there (in the present moment) all the previous stuff falls away and is irrelevant, so that it feels as though we’ve both always been there and yet are also simultaneously sitting on the couch at home.  That’s as far as I was able to take it that night, although there is another level or slant on the situation, that we are really sitting somewhere else, outside of this matrix, and that’s where we actually are.
In bed that night just before sex, I thought what if that’s what we end up doing instead of sex: lying in bed travelling, creating our own reality. It’s another chicken and egg situation though, the only way to get to that high a frequency would be to give up sex; to give up sex we both need to believe in why we’re doing it, what the point is, etc.
We agreed to remind each other when we both feel ‘there’, in order to help us stay there, as when we go off onto the mundane, when one suddenly can’t hold the thought or denies all knowledge of what we were discussing, that is then that person, or both, dropping to a lower frequency, and it can appear as if the lights are on but no one’s home, or at least, that they are holding out on you.  So make it our mission to prioritise above all the raising of our individual frequencies and supporting each other to raise the other’s frequency, by keeping moving, staying neutral, staying in our now day, not getting emotional, questioning everything, reminding ourselves and each other…

Photographs:  First two are of El Badi Palace  The third one is our hotel.

No more potatoes

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One of my favourite lines from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is when Xander comments on what someone else is doing and is told not to be judgemental.  His reply, no, not judgy, observy, is both accurate and inspiring.  One of the ways we learn and grow is by looking at what other people are doing, but there is a fine line between judgy and observy.  I hope I’m just about staying on the correct side when I say that a lot of people who talk and write about the law of attraction and raising their frequency do so in the context of wanting success in life, be that in business, attracting a romantic partner, needing ready money or even just a parking space.  The focus is on raising their frequency in order to attract good things to them.  Although I agree that that works, for me it’s more the other way around.

For me right now the raising of the frequency is the thing.  Everything I do, everything that happens to me, is an opportunity for my frequency to rise (or to drop).  That’s my focus.

This (illusionary) world is there for us to interact with, to find out who we are through the way we respond and the actions we take.  The experiences are a vehicle rather than the thing itself.  Our mission here isn’t the actual achievements, the extraordinary and the everyday adventures; these are the how, rather than the what.  Our mission is to find out who we really are.

And who are you?  A powerful creator, the centre of your universe.  You were asleep, and now you are awake.

I had this perfect little snapshot earlier:  in bed in the spare/my room which is all cream and more or less clutter free, just a few essentials, a portable electric radiator, and my tablet propped up on two lilac yoga blocks, the opening credits of BoJack Horseman, all warm toffee and pink colours, like Neopolitan ice cream, that lovely woozy music, with BoJack the horse sitting up in bed, waking up…  A momentary snapshot of ‘yes’.  Yes, okay, yes, I created this.

So I can believe in my room.  Can I extend this to advice I have miraculously come across on WordPress, and the teachings of my awareness guru?  What if everything is there to tell us exactly what we need to hear?  What if all I need to do is face down the complexity of it all and distil it into something so simple (and so amazing) that it would trip a switch right now and the light would come on?

I think maybe we arrived here as adults, and were children only in a previous life.  What if all my childhood memories are just deja vu, memories leaking in from another life?  One night when we had just moved in my husband and I were sitting by the fireplace and I had this vision of us being old sitting there, or sitting there in a previous decade.  I looked at him and said, don’t you see, we’ve always been here.  So this time around we must do something different, and leave.

So I can give up potatoes and cutting my hair easily enough.  I can keep on working on staying in my now day and not being judgemental.  I can reduce and restrict the amount of sex and orgasms I have.  I can do all of that, with the intention of frequency raising.  One day maybe I will completely give up the low frequency activities, but right now just as I occasionally eat co op donuts (vegan) but overall believe myself to have a healthy diet, I still want to have the occasional wild night.

This is where I am right now.  The message that has been circling at the outer edges of my consciousness all week is this:  There are no rules, except those I set myself.

There are no rules, except those I set myself.

There’s just one tiny flaw in today’s, or rather yesterday’s revelations.  If everything is a creation of my own mind, that is at times hard to believe.  Like whilst watching the amazing, incredible, completely original show that is BoJack Horseman*, for example.  But it isn’t that I literally created everything out of my own mind, it is that I pulled it towards me.  I drew what I needed to me.  The teachings of my awareness guru.  Advice and insights from WordPress.  Like in The Field, all possibilities exist for us to then create our reality from.  But, and this is where we come back to the beginning again, as a happy by product of raising one’s frequency, good things do arrive.

And it doesn’t matter whether I’ve been walking and blogging like last weekend, or cleaning and decorating and overdoing it like during this week, or being laid up in bed with a cold watching Netflix like this weekend, it’s all me, it’s all life.  Learning has still gone on and progress has been maintained, even if I haven’t realised it until later.

*Shines a light on everything and shows just how f***ed up most media, consumer society etc is, not by being negative but by being a beacon of light.  Really interesting reading interviews with the show’s creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

Full disclosure

Firstly, I want to apologise for my last blog, which contained unsolicited advice thinly disguised as, well, a blog.  My intentions were good, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with.  From now on, stories/personal truth only.

I tend to operate on a boom and bust cycle.  Last weekend with its lots of writing, lots of getting stuff done, was followed by a crash.  It is normal for me to have creative-quiet-creative patterns of functioning and I generally accept this.  I say generally, because it is still not uncommon for me, during these quiet periods, to wonder if ‘it’ has gone forever and whether I will ever write anything again.  Sometimes, in a peaceful/philosophical moment, I wonder if this is something to aspire to, to get to a place where I have nothing left to say.

So I had that, plus I was fighting off a cold, plus I was engaged in the battle (even if a lot of it was only in my own head),  best described by the band Pulp:  ‘You’ve got to fight to the death for the right to live your life.’  Yes, I know that doesn’t actually make any literal sense, but I find the sentiment strengthening.  Probably connected with this, I was getting preoccupied and a bit anxious about ‘the future’.

I’d been all ‘hearth and home’;  thinking that all I had to do was practical stuff such as painting and cleaning, no ‘spiritual’ stuff.  I thought that all I needed to do was focus on sorting out the house and getting on a plane.  That is what I’m doing, but it’s not enough to sustain me.  I need to maintain my awareness of why I’m doing it.

I’m not just going travelling for the sake of it, to ‘have an adventure before it’s too late’ as I tell family/work people.  I am purposefully dismantling my current reality and stepping outside of everything known in order to raise my frequency and reset my life.  Reset my mind, and thereby my life.  Reset my life and thereby my mind.  It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing.

So I didn’t last all that long without a spiritual guru, returning yesterday evening and this morning to reconnect with the path, the tell-me-again-why-I-am-doing-all-this.  I heard everything I needed to:  that after a decisive action there is often a testing period (hence the fatigue, anxiety etc); plus lots of encouraging words and information that chimed with me and therefore reassured me.

On the other side of the week was today:  walking along, writing at the same time.  I reached the last page of my notebook today.  I don’t know if it means anything that this is what I wrote about there:

At the weekend I engaged in some lower frequency activities and whilst I was in bed with my husband I had a complete flashback, totally terrifying, of something that may or may not have happened to me as a child with one of my mum’s lodgers.  I explored this in my book How to find Heaven on Earth, although perhaps I didn’t do a good enough job.  My husband had told me, tell me if you get paranoid, and so I did.  Do you want to talk about it, he asked.  No, no, too scary- distract me, I said.  But what would have happened if I had?

I’ve been so smug about letting go of the past, all the decluttering, the way I’ve wrapped my head around the theory of there being no past; thinking that I don’t want or need memories, that all I want is awareness, and believing that awareness is all we need to sustain us, even in old age.  But the one thing I can’t get rid of is my own body.  In fact, it’s the only thing I need, along with clothing and shelter, food and water for it.  And so I can’t let go of the memories stored inside, or at least, not by decluttering anyway.

How on earth do you begin a dialogue/exploration/treatment of something like that?  Do I carry on having sex with my husband and hence experience the flashbacks/in order to experience the flashbacks and therefore be able to explore them in the moment?  That was clearly too terrifying.  Do I just carry on, let it feel what it feels- nice- or expect it to feel horrible- which it doesn’t, but I imagine that it would have hurt.  Every bit of my logical mind/conditioning would point to this.  So the idea of it feeling nice is the most terrifying of all.  It’s not even like I can ask anyone, hey, is it possible that it could have felt nice?  People would be horror struck.  I’m horror struck.  Was the other night just paranoia/a hallucination?  Was it a (missed) opportunity to do some radical trauma therapy?  How do I know if any of those memories are real?

Please don’t be afraid to share any observations you may have, I am totally at the limits of my powers here!  Any advice would be welcome.

With metta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons to be cheerful

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I don’t have a smart phone, I don’t read newspapers, I don’t look at any online news media.  This is fine when I am out of the house, I always carry a notebook (moleskine) and pen (pilot G2).  But what to do in the house, in those little bits of inbetween times, waiting for dinner to cook or a bath to run; or just wanting to do something diverting for a little while.  My husband has particular things he watches on youtube.  I, nowadays, have wordpress blogs.

I don’t want to get overwhelmed with too many blogs coming into my inbox, or end up spending too much time on the internet, so I am very discerning about who I follow.  I have got it down to a few that are all different and that I have chosen for different reasons:  writes beautifully about Japan, I want to go there now!  Has a great bio.  Describes Buddhism in action.  Teaches me about India.  Writes about writing.  And then there are the young women who are so smart, who write so well and so openly at the same time, about a whole range of subjects, some inside my experience, some not, who are putting their observations and opinions out there for us readers and writers to experience and learn about each others lives.

So it seems like such a shame when these same smart, funny, capable individuals report their sadnesses and struggles.  I want to offer unsolicited advice, words of encouragement; to be able to say something that might help.

I don’t know if that is possible though.  I don’t know if when I was sad and lonely, when I couldn’t see further than the fog in front of my face, when I didn’t even know I was on a path, let alone that that path would lead me from ‘There’ to ‘Here’, when I didn’t even know that ‘Here’ existed…  If someone had said to me, keep going, hang in there, it won’t always be like this, one day you’ll look back and find your life, and you, have changed beyond recognition, would it have helped?

I don’t know.  But I do know that on the other side of friction and difficulty is growth, and that it’s the strange world/society/life we live in, until we break out of it, that is often the problem, rather than the sensitive, creative individual that is struggling (although it is the individual who has to change things).

Who knows what is going to be the thing to trip the switch?  Meeting someone, taking up a practice, changing something, anything, that in turn triggers some kind of shift.

And in the meantime, there’s always cats!

Meet Fred (big, and extremely cuddly once he gets to know you)

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and Alfie (adventurous, sits outside the house making friends with all the passers by; one little girl calls him ‘Steve’.  Will sit on anybody’s lap if they sit down for two minutes).

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With metta.

Push where it moves

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I used to think this a lot when I was in the midst of searching for a ‘spiritual’ path and exploring ideas such as the law of attraction.  I used to think of finding the panel in the wall to push, or the right part of the bookcase to touch, to reveal a secret doorway or hidden room.  I also used to think of it in terms of go with the flow; if it’s coming easily, it’s the right path.  My husband says that if things are too hard then maybe you aren’t doing them the right way and would find it easier if you changed method.  This is the opposite of the ‘no pain, no gain; life is hard’ conditioning we are all subjected to.  But as one of the last bits of spiritual advice I listened to said:  look what the herd is doing and do the opposite.

But what does ‘push where it moves’ mean to me right now?  Because right now I don’t seem to have to push much at all.* I don’t even seem to have to ‘write’ anymore, it just comes.  And although I am not looking externally for signs and assistance (as I used to when I was first getting into all this stuff), they seem to be coming anyway:  coming out of the supermarket with no clue as to where I had parked the car, I see a shiny red car and remember walking past it on my way in.  Later the same day I park at the beach car park, look up and see a shiny red car parked next to me.  It had a parking ticket in the window facing me, which reminded me I needed to get one; I would certainly have forgot otherwise.  (The other week I parked at the train  station and although I remembered to buy a ticket, I left it in the machine and didn’t put it in my car.  Happily I did not get a penalty ticket.)

Maybe I don’t need to push where it moves anymore.  Maybe all I, or anyone, needs to do is to raise myself up to my highest vibration and let ‘it’/ the universe/me do the rest.  This is beautifully described here in an interview on Desert Island Discs with the violinist Nicola Benedetti.  This is such a great interview, I really recommmend listening to it, nothing to do with whether you know who she is or are into the music, it is just fascinating.  (I have written about this before in my book about my spiritual awakening, but this is what I was listening to on the day I drove to bathe in the North Norfolk sea in early January, as part of my commitment to the spiritual path.)

Also, although I wouldn’t have described it that way at the time, it is how I met my husband:  I had just done a swimathon which had meant ten weeks of training, towards the end swimming 160 lengths three times a week, so I was fit and healthy.  I was baking cakes all the time and writing women’s erotica.  I was going out all the time, including to weddings by myself, following the ‘never refuse an invitation’ advice, which meant, it was pre vegan days, eating a lot of pizza.  John told his friend about this new woman he had met who had brought him homemade cake and had her erotic stories for sale in Waterstones and his friend said, you might as well just marry her.

New motto:  All you have to do is nothing**

New little writerly rituals:  putting a song in and then listening to it as I proof read (not always successfully I know).

Anyway, for me now, ‘push where it moves’ means Jenga.  But why bother being gentle?  It’s going to fall anyway.  It’s really just about making something fall but other people taking the blame for it, or everyone making something fall but one person taking the fall.  And all the time you could just knock it down with one swipe of your hand anyway.  Or not build it in the first place.  Or build something else, a car, a house, a path.  Yes, a path:  straight or windy, zigzag, steep, broken…  But I don’t suppose that would make a very good Christmas game would it?

*Except to make myself do decorating/cleaning; of which I am proud to report that I have done two hours of today already, and so can happily justify being snuggled up in bed right now with the heater on, writing this ensconced in a pile of pillows and blankets.

**Except painting and cleaning, of course…

You say thank you just by being yourself

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Several years ago I had a student who had spent time in Japan.  During her placement with me she did some workshops including sushi making and calligraphy.  She taught us how to write our names in Japanese, as well as their Japanese meaning.  I did my husband’s name.  We had only just met and I was in the full throws of this new love and the associated spiritual awakening that had come with it.  So to say that I was happy when she told me that his name meant ‘God Has Given’, is an understatement.

I was so excited and pretty crazy when we first got together.  I used to go on and on about how amazing it was, how lucky, how can I say thank you, to him, to Him, to the Universe, the whole world…  John just used to say:  You say thank you just by being yourself.

In the film The Matrix the machines said that the first matrixes they made were perfect, lovely, but the people didn’t believe them.  They went mad, or kept trying to wake up.  People didn’t believe that such a perfect world was real, and so the machines had to put bad stuff in to make it like it is now.

Which maybe explains why we have things like this:* We have the technology to build soft crash barriers that absorb the shock of impact and save the lives and bodies of those people in the cars that crash into them…  but we don’t use them, we don’t implement the technology.

Is it because if everything was good (like it was, and is, in my world:  job, home, happiness etc), it would mean that people were happy, and not tired and sad.  So they would begin to look elsewhere…  begin to wake up…  begin to think, that’s nice, but is that it?

And ‘they’ can’t have us all selling up and liquidating and dropping out can they?  No energy harvesting would go on.  But it’s the only way:  ignore the car crashes and the tragedies, it’s all in your head anyway.  Create the life you want- not even by having to imagine it yourself…  but just by BEING YOURSELF.

I looked up the Japanese meaning of the name John, it said it doesn’t mean anything, it can’t, because it can’t translate.  I don’t care:  I don’t need to be told that God gave him to me, I know I couldn’t have imagined him myself.**

My mum said to me the other day, if John hadn’t met you he’d still be driving a bus (instead of doing a job he really enjoys).   Aside from the fact that John has had just as much of a postive effect on me in terms of career, it’s not those things that are ultimately important (except as signs and markers that the bigger stuff is going on).  And the bigger stuff, she doesn’t seem to notice.  I was like a baby compared with what I know now, suicidal, asleep, alone with just a bottomless need and capacity for Something More.  Now, every fibre of my being is taut, ready, alive:  Awake.  I know who I am, what this is, and most importantly, what I’m going to do about it.  But that’s not that easy to explain to your mum over a cup of tea is it?

*This is just one example out of millions; for every disease there is a plant to cure it.

**Or could I?!