Matrix Revelations


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On Saturday morning I was the body for my husband giving a massage lesson (I know, it’s a hard life…)  As I listened to him patiently and professionally deliver a one hour comprehensive introduction lesson to a complete beginner, that was pitched just right, that created just the right atmosphere, and that in the time available, did everything it could; I reflected that wow, we know stuff.  We know stuff because we have been around for a while, learning stuff.  Because we are older.

I have spent such a lot of time thinking about what I don’t know and what I can’t do, that this weekend it was really nice to spend a bit of time thinking about what I do know and what I can do.   I used to think I wasn’t very well read because I compared myself with Oxbridge educated Guardian journalists.  But the other day I casually mentioned Rebecca (by Daphne Du Maurier, a book and films) in a big work meeting and no one had heard of it.  No one.  I was surprised; I didn’t think any less of the people, I just thought, okay, my reality is different to what I thought.

At work on Friday, someone was talking about starting yoga, and about how the teacher had talked to them about the chakras.  I found myself talking a bit about them, and sending a link to a page so she could learn more.  I don’t really do spiritual/chakra stuff anymore, but for a while I was pretty into it.  Focusing on the different chakra points, their colours, their corresponding mental, psychological and physical aspects, is a very powerful tool for self healing and development.  I used to think:  Root Chakra (red) safety, security; Sacral Chakra (orange) drives, creativity; Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow) emotions; Heart Chakra (green) love; Throat Chakra (blue) self expression, communication with myself and others; Third Eye Chakra (indigo) direction and seeing my path; Crown Chakra (violet white) connection with above.

So I thought, be proud of what you know, not sad re getting old.

Of course, there are loads of things I don’t know, loads of things I haven’t learned, loads of things I have refused to learn, e.g. DIY and reverse parking.   I feel totally okay about that.  The longer you live the more things you find out about or hear about, so the list of things you don’t know how to do keeps on growing, even as you keep learning, because you can’t learn how to do everything you come across.  You have to specialise.  (Rather than feel bad about the things you don’t know about.)  Knowing things, being good at things, takes time, energy and devotion.  (I want to learn a bit of Hindi.  So far I know about 5 words, and that’s only if I keep looking at them every day.)

I thought about what’s good about getting older, which is actually what’s good about me as I get older.  And as I am older, I could just simplify that to say:  What’s good about me.  (Making this list was nice.  I recommend it as an exercise in compassion and a little pick me up!):

What’s good about me

I have no inhibitions about my body

Yesterday I stripped off in front of someone I have only just met and lay on the massage table feeling fine with nothing on except my knickers.

I am sexually liberated 

I had kind of a thing recently with a woman, and we can see each other and it is all fine, no issues.

I can say what I want in bed.

(in both senses of the meaning)

Sex just keeps on getting better and better.

That’s what no one tells twenty somethings.  If you are in a loving communicating relationship, sex just keeps on getting better and better, in new and surprising ways!

I know:  your art is the most important thing

More important than alcohol, socialising, FOMO, peer pressure, or any other ephemeral distractions.  Your art is what makes you you.  By honouring your art, you honour yourself.  By spending time with your art, you spend time with yourself.  By getting to know your art you get to know yourself.

I understand:  ‘The matrix’ is really just your own thoughts limiting you  

Re bands and art, you have to want it, and you have to stick with it, for ever if need be, enjoying the process not just aiming for the rewards of fame etc.  If you are in a band you either all have to want it, or you have to be single minded enough to drive it yourself with interchangeable musicians.

It is a myth that it is too hard to make it.  Like Charlie Higson said about writing, there’s no magic trick or secret doorway, if you are good you will be picked up.  There’s so few people who can stick at anything, look at new year’s resolutions, diets, exercise regimes.  All you have to do is stick at it, and want it, want it enough to stick at it (1% inspiration, 99% perspiration), despite all the matrix pressure to ‘be realistic’, etc etc.

In fact the only thing people can stick at is what the matrix wants them to stick at, the everyday drudgery, the oh hi, another day another dollar, oh well, maybe I will win the lottery, soon be the weekend, I have a holiday to to look forward to, or oh look a charity jeans day or a Christmas jumper day, just enough to make it seem not too bad and everyone’s doing it so it must be okay right?

And every now and again they’ll scare you, a round of redundancies, or a crisis that causes stress so you take the whole thing even more seriously, you stay late, you give up the hobby class and exercise routine, or worse you never eat or sleep properly, you’re always at work, always unhealthy…  and for what, not for personal freedom that’s for sure.

So the lesson is:  Look at what the herd is doing and do the opposite.  Look at what the herd believes and believe the opposite.  As Jon Rappoport says, in this consensus reality we live in, the limits we see there aren’t real.  I can be a writer.  I am a writer.  Or rather, I am a ………  as yet to be labelled……..  and I document it on my blog.  But let’s get away from labels altogether.  If we aren’t labelling, if we aren’t preoccupied with what people do for a living (the herd again), then we don’t need to say anything.  I can just say, in answer to  what do you do, I am a human, I live.  (And I document it on my blog)

I have set up an Instagram account for when I am away followingthebrownrabbit


Thank you very much for reading.


The Gift of Freedom


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This Valentine’s my husband gave me something far more useful than flowers.

I could wallow forever in the dirty water where the fish won’t go.  I could never get up again.  I could say to myself, how can I live.  I could rake over and over the past, looking for a possible way things could have been made different.  I could cry forever and it wouldn’t change a thing.

I did everything I was able to do at the time.  I remember us both going to the dentist in New Zealand and me buying us electric toothbrushes to use out there as we’d left ours in the UK.  He was fifteen.  Everything was okay then, teeth wise.  But not long after, I stopped being able to make him do anything he didn’t want to do.

Since he’s been an adult, I have watched his teeth deteriorate, and no amount of encouragement from anyone in the family was able to persuade him to go to the dentist.  Realising nothing I said made any difference, for the last few years I have stopped saying anything in case it actually makes him even less likely to go, and also because I don’t want to spoil the times we have together.  But every now and again I’d think, am I being remiss, am I copping out, am I wasting opportunities…  all the time they are getting worse and worse, and I am not saying anything.

But of course he has mirrors, and eyes.  And as I write this I’m thinking, Oh my God, did we do this?  Did we make him dig his heels in more by trying to encourage him to visit the dentist?  But would a person really do that to themselves, not brush their teeth, not go to the dentist, just to be oppositional to their family?

I don’t talk about any of this to anyone but the night before Valentine’s Day my son messaged my husband and said he was finally ready to go through with the required treatment.  This will involve sedation, anaesthetic, and because things are so very far gone, implants.  So I ended up talking (and crying) about it until way past my bedtime and the conclusion I arrived at was that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever I can do.  A person needs to psych themselves up to face dentistry, blood tests or open heart surgery themselves, no one else can do it for them.  They need to be brave and they need to be a grown up.  My son is 28 years old and anxiety or no anxiety, the only thing I can do is think of him as an adult who is capable of facing this.

It is time for it to cease being my problem.

The next morning I felt a little better, like the day after an argument has blown over, still a little fragile, but recovering.  I still have CDs to go through so I put on The Jesus and Mary Chain album Stoned and Dethroned.  Track one is above.  It felt like the first day of the rest of my life.

Today, in an ironic twist I went to the dentist, which meant I got to sleep in and go into work late.  I came out into the warm sunshine and felt… happy.  I bought a birthday card and a box of vegan chocolates for my step grandma, and new spare cat name tags as they keep losing theirs.  Getting these things off my list and not having them to do on Saturday when we are already busy gave me a sense of elation out of all proportion.

Walking back through the town, thinking, yes, the post office, the chocolate shop, the pet shop, the cute alleyway, yes, they are all nice, just as dressing nicely for work is nice, but, it isn’t everything.  It should have been easier to walk away from our last place which was not pretty and was boring, but it’s been being in this lovely place that has inspired and propelled us to give up everything.  Is it because we needed to be happy in order to be able to dream, whereas before we were just surviving?

We have both been unwell for what seems like ages, colds etc, plus last-minute wobbles re vaccinations/not, water purification options, malaria, plus a long to do list, a house to clear and work to finish.

But as I said to my husband, I’d feel really good right now if I wasn’t feeling ill.  I had my bloods done and my doctor put my thyroxine up, which feels like it did when I first went on it, like the clouds clearing after a storm, everything shiny, wide awake, excited.

I said re our to do list, it seems as though simplifying our life is actually really complicated.  That’s because the matrix doesn’t want you to do it, my husband said.  The matrix wants everyone hooked into the complexity of everything, that is why it makes unhooking yourself feel so difficult.

See you on the other side.

I have set up an instagram account for when we are travelling followingthebrownrabbit


Thank you for reading.


How to deal with shame


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How to deal with shame

Whatever else you do, however hard you work on moving forward, your subconscious beliefs about shame and guilt can hold you back.  Internal as well as external work is needed.  That said, releasing shame can just as easily involve practical exercises as well as deep reflections.

I only realised I was working on ‘releasing shame’ when I found myself taking and sharing pictures of my messy kitchen.  At the same time I discovered the blog Educated Unemployed Indian.  This blogger wrote about their realisation that they needed to put their own advice into practice before blogging about it.  In this way, WordPress has once again shown itself to be an interesting source of support to me.

After much supportive discussion over email (with another blogger I met on WordPress), I finally decided to share my blog with all my friends and anyone else who seems interested, with the exception of family members.

I have expressed feelings and emotions within my family, as detailed in my previous post.  It might have only merited a sentence of my post but it was a significant event within my life.

I have begun to act differently.  I have processed some difficult aspects of my family experience.  I have been brave enough to be honest with myself, even though, especially though, that means uncovering and looking at the less likeable aspects of myself.  In order to do all this, or rather as part of doing all this, I have overcome blocks.  I have overcome some of the effects of shame (reticence, self-doubt, emotions being too overwhelming, emotions being shut off) and that in turn has helped me overcome and release the shame itself.

Why bother?

Here I will document the positive effects, noticeable even after the first day or two.

A release of creative energy:  new ideas!  With less shame taking up space inside me, I find I can do more.

Increased sense of humour, increased ability both to find things funny and to make things funny.  Me and my husband laughing and laughing about my ‘food blog’ pictures.  Him saying apropos of nothing, ‘So last night I was doing some numerology’ and us both finding this hysterical for some reason (I think it just illustrated the randomness of our lives together).

Increased motivation, less energy spent on shame or worry about whether or not to clean the car, meant time and energy to spend on sorting out CDs.  Do it or don’t do it, but don’t beat yourself up.  I can live with a dirty car, so I have decided not to worry about it.  Other things, I feel much better for doing such as booking an eye test and asking the doctors for a travel prescription.

More confidence.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the simplest of things.  Having miscalculated the maths re the cat food, I realised I would need to deliver some more before my next scheduled visit.  I’m such an idiot!  Why am I so stupid?!  I said.  Why so harsh re something so easily  fixed?  I was reminded of my manager in New Zealand who could cope with any amount of emergency mental health issues, suicidal clients, AWOL clients, arrested clients, but run up a big phone bill and he’d have a meltdown.

I put it off until the last day of my long weekend then forced myself out of my hermit state.  I tend to put things off that involve phoning people, driving and parking if I am feeling anxious.  I arranged it so I didn’t need to leave the house until 1 o’clock, thereby giving myself time for tea in bed, breakfast and blogging, time for me, before going out to buy and deliver the cat food.  I noticed as I drove there, as I parked, and as I stayed and had a cup of tea:  This feels easy.

This is life


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So, family…  I have been processing some family/me stuff.  My son had some personal/life problems recently and called up my husband who went and supported him.  When I got home from work my husband told me all about it and said, you just need to phone him up and tell him you love him and that you are proud of him.  So I did (when I am out of my depth and don’t know what to do my husband gives good advice).

Then on Saturday we went to see a show that my son had curated and exhibited in.  All the artists have mental health problems.  My husband is at ease at these events, talking to the people from Rethink who sponsored the event and knowing just the right thing to say about my son’s work.  I think the work is good and I say so.  I know he has worked hard and that he’s come a long way and I recognise his achievements.

But I feel like I am expected to say more and that whatever I say isn’t enough.  I dislike the feeling of pressure on me, the fact that what I say is so weighted, so that my words seem to sound awkward.  I am not good at dealing with this stuff.  Why does it matter so much what I think, I’m just a human being, I don’t mean anything.   That’s not for you to say, you are his mother.  It’s for the child to come to that realisation themselves.  In the meantime, just be a parent, act the role, do what’s needed.  Sometimes you just have to give people what they need, and he just needs praise off his mum.  Why is it so hard to do that?  I noticed my mum was much less forthcoming than me; I was chatty, I gave out praise, even though I wasn’t as at ease as my husband.  On the way home we talked and talked until I worked out why I feel uncomfortable at these events.

The people from Rethink might judge me as a bad mother because my son has mental health problems.  He might even have spoken about the tumultuous teenage years and said critical things about me.  But mainly it’s this:

The whole event revolves around having mental health problems.  Everyone’s talking about it, it’s right there.  And there on the wall is a series of three of my son’s paintings.  Yes they are very good.  As my husband said you could see them in a gallery and you wouldn’t think they were out of place.

But they are unsettling/distressing.  The paragraph of text beside them explains that they are all about living with a mental health problem and what that feels like.  That’s fine when it is someone else.  But when it is your own child you are looking at something no parent wants to see.

Yes of course the exhibition is a great achievement, as are the paintings, but it means coming face to face with my child’s suffering.  I think this is even worse for my mum, because I think in some ways grandparents can get even more upset.  I noticed she didn’t even read the text.  I read it, to be polite and supportive, but it was sad.  And as the artist’s mother, it was really sad.

This post isn’t about self pity, it’s about playing detective.  So that’s why it’s hard, because it’s upsetting.  I am expected to give praise and be happy about his achievements, which I do and I am, whilst experiencing distress from having to literally look at his mental suffering.

So that all makes sense now.

That’s why it was so nice going round to his place the week before the exhibition.  He answered the door in a paint splattered t-shirt and a lungi, and showed me into the sitting room.  He and his girlfriend were working on several huge canvasses, sheets spread over the carpet, creating a makeshift studio.  It reminded me of the places I lived in during the late 80s.  For a moment, everything just looked exactly the way I would have wanted.

I am very pleased and amazed he got into art school, with no prior qualifications, it is a towering achievement.  But what I am most pleased about, even though it hasn’t been easy for him or us, is that he has followed his path.  Despite pressure from everyone, including me in the past, he has resolutely devoted himself to being an artist.


Thank you for reading.

Living the Dream


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‘I’m doing something for the first time,’ I said to my husband, ‘Guess what it is.’

‘You’re stewing apples,’ he said.

‘It’s not so much what I am actually doing, it’s about what I am doing.’  I said.

It was Friday morning and I was making something from a recipe that I had just read in a post on the internet.  I read it, and I thought, we have apples, we have oats, we have apple juice.  I can do it.  I can do it right now.

I have never done this before.  Funnily enough, a few days ago, I had been thinking that I did want to start doing this.  Lisa Anniesette posts some lovely looking recipes, but I have never once tried making them.  I don’t know what’s stopping me from actually trying to make Lisa’s or anyone else’s recipes.  Am I intimidated because the food looks so lovely, the photographs make everything look so glamorous, so that I somehow think that it isn’t for me?  Am I waiting for some mythical time in the future when I become the kind of person who makes things like that?  Or am I just too lazy to go and shop specially/shop for new things?  This is no one’s issue but my own but I decided that I wanted this to change.

Anyway, on Friday morning after writing the draft of my previous post, I was catching up on Behcets and Borderline posts, having realised that she hadn’t gone quiet, I hadn’t actually been following her, and I came across one with a recipe in.  No photo, just a recipe tacked quietly onto the end of a personal blog, with a little note saying, if you do try it, let me know how you get on.  Those few little words gave me all the encouragement I needed.

Of course food posts look nice, otherwise we wouldn’t want to make whatever it was.  (This isn’t a food post by the way.)  But no one ever puts pictures of themselves sobbing on Facebook (not usually anyway) and they don’t tend to post pictures of their houses looking a mess.

This is what my kitchen actually looked like on Friday morning when I came downstairs and started making the apple oaty breakfast:




See, no shame.  My friend and I used to joke about sending a realistic round robin letter (you know those Christmas letters people send out to everyone that only have the good things), about our kids truanting from school and getting arrested.

A few weeks ago a friend was telling me about a recently separated man she had just met.  He showed her pictures of the inside of his wife’s fridge, to show what a slob she was.  I thought, wow, that’s mean, I’d hate it if someone did that to me.  It seemed so personal.  Isn’t it a kind of slut shaming, but about housekeeping?  But then I thought, why should the woman be ashamed if the fridge is dirty?  Why her and not the man, and why feel ashamed, I mean, it’s only a dirty fridge, you haven’t hit a dog whilst speeding.

I had a day off on Friday and so did my husband.  Breakfast, cold left over Indian takeaway (my favourite) followed by the hot apple oaty breakfast which was very nice, even better cold the next day (today).  My husband played my favourite songs on the ipod.  Then we wrapped up warm and went to Lowestoft, had a walk on the beautiful beach and then went to the lovely new vegan deli VeGee to eat, drink and warm up.  A well dressed, well to do woman customer looked me up and down, looking at my clothes.  I really wanted to say to her, it’s okay, none of that stuff matters.  I didn’t mind at all.  Then home, a bit of yoga, then more quality time with my husband:  we watched (the original) Bladerunner:  The Director’s Cut* followed by BoJack Horseman.  It was one of the nicest days I have ever had.

This is what we listened to in the car, parked up, watching a seagull dancing on the ground and eating worms.  (The seagull, not us, we’re vegans)

* They implanted the replicants (conscious, emotion feeling ‘robots’ that the humans had built and enslaved) with a memory stream containing a history, a family, so that they’d be easier to control.  Spooky, huh?


Thank you for reading.

How to write a blog


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I was talking with the lovely J at work about her starting a blog.  ‘It’s just the getting started’, she said, ‘When you’re faced with that blank page, how to start it…’

So I thought I’d write something about how I write.

Trust the process

Trust your own process, that is.  Like child raising, like life, another person’s advice can only take you so far.  You have to find your own way of doing it.  The most important thing is getting started.  Or rather, the most important thing is to start.

What to write about

Or, overcoming the fear of the blank page.  Things I suggested to J:  Use photographs.  Start with a photograph and write a few lines about it.  Take or find a photograph of a piece of furniture that you have restored and write about how you did it, or tell the story behind that piece of furniture.  If you see a skirt or an outfit you like, get a picture and write about it.  Make a note or take a photograph of any ideas you have or inspirations you see.  The more you do this, the more ideas will come.

Find your schedule

Lots of people blog every day, even multiple times a day.  I totally understand why that would be an attractive discipline/ strategy to have.  But for me personally I’d end up getting obsessed, exhausted and resentful about writing every day whether I felt like it, whether I had time or not.  (I realise people probably line up posts and schedule them.)  I also get that it means your post is more often in the WordPress Reader so more people are likely to see it, hence more followers.

However, I limit the number of daily bloggers I follow.  I just don’t need that much stuff to read, and I like to have a variety.  Some people who only post once a week or so, I am excited when a post from them pops up, it never becomes a chore to keep up and it doesn’t clog up my reader with more than I can manage to read.

Niche or not?

Back to J.  She wants to write a lifestyle/fashion blog, but more aimed at an older demographic.  I relayed some things I had learned from a post I read about whether to be niche or not, and the general feeling was that (again, like child rearing, like life) you might start your blog as one thing but find yourself wanting to write about something else one day, so it might be best not to impose rigid ideas or limits as you then might have a wobble when you feel like you are going off message.  The post also said that most readers prefer blogs where the blogger writes about everything and doesn’t just stick to a niche topic.

Be yourself (everyone else is taken)*

*Oscar Wilde

The most important message to stick with is to be true to yourself.  That’s the coherent thread that hangs all the posts of a person’s blog together, even if each one of their posts is different from the other.  Authenticity is all.  I love it when I feel that a blogger is really just being themselves.  To borrow a point from another blog about other bloggers, I don’t mind if I don’t agree with them or if they talk about things I am not interested in.  If they are authentically writing about their experiences, thoughts and ideas, and I like them as a person, then I will keep on reading.

Every post is different

Each of my last three posts was made differently.

For Update, I was aware that I hadn’t posted for two weeks.  Anxious thoughts circled in my mind.  Should I just write something?  Should I make myself a rule re writing more regularly?  Does not writing every day mean that I don’t take this blog and my writing seriously?  Do I want this blog and writing to become something, or not? What message am I sending to the universe, and myself, about my committment?

I batted back these thoughts.  I will not post unless I have something to say, and that something turns into something I am happy with.  But one afternoon, my husband was at work.  I was restless, ever so slightly unsettled, and ever so slightly bored, well as close to bored as I ever get.

So I got into bed, made myself comfy and cosy, and picked up my tablet.  It wasn’t like I had some brilliant idea or point to start with.  My head had been spinning about all the things we’d been doing.  I could just write kind of an update, I thought.  Maybe people want to know the cats are okay (or that I’m okay about the cats, and aren’t still crying about them).  My mum had sent me a photograph of one of the cats.  I had my new tattoos.  And so I started writing.  It made itself into something along the way.  When I had finished, not only was I pleased with what I had written, I also felt a whole lot better in myself.

For the Matrix post, the starting point was my friend’s email.  It was so good, I wanted to put it out there.  It explained things so well, but in a different way to how I do.  So I pasted that in, added a few notes and saved it.  I knew I needed to have my own material in it as well so that it wasn’t just a repost of his words.  Over the next few days, thoughts and ideas came and I scribbled them down in different places:  in my diary, on a To Do list, on my India packing list, on a paper bag on top of the pile at the bottom of the stairs.  I often do this, I can tolerate my notes being scattered across lots of different pieces of paper.  Until I can’t.  On Thursday I spent the evening with my husband then he went to bed and I thought, I’ll just gather all the pieces of paper and type the scribbles into the draft, just so that everything’s in one place, I can finish it properly tomorrow.  But I got into it and even though I hadn’t really felt like it I sat down and finished the post, which had become a long, muddled draft, and needed work, almost four hours worth as it turned out.  Proof reading was done between one and two am on Friday morning, so I am sorry if there are mistakes. (I don’t think there are.  Two things are mentioned twice, but that was deliberate.  It breaks normal rules re writing, but you know what they say about rules, and I really wanted to make sure I made my point.)

Like leaving a trail to follow, like giving yourself hooks, clues and rewards, which I actually don’t do almost as much as I now think it would be a good idea to, the pieces of paper chaos is a method.  I get my ideas down, they are not lost, whether I have them on the drive to work and scribble them in my diary in the car park before I rush into work, or in the two minutes waiting for the kettle to boil, or on the drive home, hence scribbles on the paper bag at the bottom of the stairs, captured before I even take my shoes off and go inside the house properly.

For this blog, I just woke up on Friday morning and almost straight away started having ideas.  I crept downstairs and got my tablet, put off my husband when he called me, pretending I was still sleepy, which I was, but I didn’t want to lose the ideas which were coming thick and fast.  About J, about my writing process, my thoughts and opinions as a reader.  Most of this blog was written in one draft in bed during that session, with a couple of additions that I scribbled on a notepad over breakfast.  Today was just editing.

Timing and scheduling

I’m more art than science.  When I first started blogging in 2014 a friend and fellow blogger asked me what time I posted.  ‘It tends to be on a Sunday afternoon’, I said, ‘when my husband is taking the kids back to London and I have the house to myself.’

‘That’s absolutely the worst time’, she said.

‘Well that’s what time I write it’, I said.

‘You can schedule them to post at a better time’, she said.  I have done that a couple of times when I first started regularly blogging again in summer 2017, but nowadays, when they are written, they are posted.  Yes, I do believe timing is everything and for me, whether it’s sensible or not, when it’s finished that is the time to post it.

Re technology

The past couple of  months I’ve been training myself to write blogs purely on my tablet (Samsung Galaxy), ready for going travelling. However, when I was writing an article, I started using the laptop again, and realised how much easier it was.  Then a fellow blogger wrote a post about getting a Chromebook My husband had already suggested that I get one of those, having kindly spent some time researching the best laptops for travelling bloggers, and now I am fully decided that that is what I will buy to take travelling.  I will take my tablet as well as a back up and because it takes good photographs.

Making connections

Everyone says WordPress and blogging is all about making connections with fellow bloggers and readers.  It is, but where to start?  When you go to search and it says, ‘Search billions of WordPress posts’, it can be a little daunting.  I can’t remember how I discovered all the different people who I follow.  The only words I ever remember typing into the search box are ‘veganism’ and ‘menstruation’.  As with the rest of the internet, one thing leads to another and eventually you come across people you are interested in.  I also only ever follow people I am genuinely interested in reading the posts of, and I only comment or press the like button of a post if I really do.  I just feel that the writing and my interactions with fellow readers and bloggers need to be genuine.  I kind of feel that if I stick to that I won’t go too far wrong.

Get to know and trust YOUR creative process

My ex boyfriend used to say that even if he knew the song in his head or half composed on his guitar wasn’t that good, he’d still finish it, ‘to keep the channel open’ he said.

I always have plenty to say, or rather, I don’t open a blank page until I do.  So there may be a gap of two weeks or more between posts.  During a recent two week gap my husband innocently commented that I hadn’t posted for a while, only to be met with me defensively explaining all the other things I had been doing instead.  ‘I wasn’t criticising’, he said.  It wasn’t his fault, I need to trust my own process so completely that I don’t feel even a flicker of anxiety if I don’t post anything for a couple of weeks.

Likewise, when they come, I need to write them down.  Which is why on Thursday night I went to bed at 2am, and why I started writing at 7.45 am Friday morning.

When I get like that, blogging at 2am, up with ideas at 7.45, I need to make the most of it.  In the past, I might have worried that I was going manic, not because I might actually go manic in the pure sense, but because I used to worry about everything.  What if the ideas don’t stop coming, what if I can’t do anything else?  But I know it’s not always going to be like that, which is reassuring because I can’t be writing at 2am and 7:45am every day. (Not right now anyway)

But then when it stops and I go two weeks without having any urges or urgent ideas to write about, I worry that it has gone forever and that I might never write again.

Well I used to anyway.  Right now, I trust the process.  I’m still conflicted about what it all means, what is the goal, what is the point, but I think it’s best not to dwell on any of those things and just write.


Thank you very much for reading.


Escape The Matrix Part 2




This could be viewed as a metaphor; on the other side of fear, or the reward for facing fear, is enlightenment.

Black Mirror Series 4 Episode 3 scared me for a couple of days, but I still went back and watched Episode 4.  I am so glad I did.

Episode 4 just blew my mind, again.  How many times can a mind be blown and still go on functioning?  I suppose I will find out…

My husband said, they don’t have any friends, it’s all about being in relationships.  That is always something I’ve been against, the idea of being lost in a relationship; it’s also a big part of my conditioning from my mother to be independent and not to set great store by romantic relationships and men in general.

But it turned out that only the two of them were real, and everyone else was just programming.

For me to more fully commit to the idea of it being total, total trust, just us and purely us, would smash some sizeable holes in the matrix.  You have to Believe-Act-Believe to keep on rising up through the levels of awareness.  The feeling:  no rush, infinite- we set it up to feel rushy and as if time is short because really time is infinite, that’s the trick!  None of it is real.  EVERYTHING we’ve been told is a lie:  No wonder he’s never in a hurry…  Mission:  To help each other with things the other finds hard and we find easy to smooth the way.  Deal with stuff calmly, as it arises.

The last time I felt like this, that night in a hotel room in London, I got scared (just us)  (just me, even scarier!).  Why would you be scared, you just would Be, that would be your reality.  We’d have to make up stuff to stop being bored.  No point other than that.

Why now?  It would have been so hard to keep it up all those years- all through twenties, thirties, forties, without succumbing, and now- it’s better.  We are middle aged.  We are invisible, no need to be cool, no makeup, who cares, I will go out in any old thing, immune, low profile, not distracted by sex, except with husband.  So why now, why so late?  Everything before was training.

What about when you get old, what about savings, what about this what about that.  What about your family what about your commitments.  Well what if, like in Black Mirror, none of it is true, none of it is real.  What if, in the immortal words of The Matrix, everything you’ve ever been told is a lie?

This spacey awareness is already dissipating, but no matter.  It is action that is mainly needed anyway, rather than thoughts.  I feel this was just to show me/us that we’d ‘levelled up’; that we’d passed the recent tests of fear, stress, vomiting bug and been rewarded with a new level of awareness.  All we have to do is keep on smashing it down with a sledgehammer, keep on tearing it up by the roots.  (I don’t know what this metaphor of mine looks like, but that’s the action required.)  I’d already decided to burn all my certificates.  I knew that it went against everything, that no one would think it was a good idea, and yet I knew it was needed.  Tonight’s feeling validated that.  No half measures.  It’s no good watching stuff like The Matrix and Black Mirror and going, oh that’s interesting, that sounds true, and then not acting like it/on it.  It gets more believable, becomes more true, the more you act on it.  Like how a cat gets softer the more you stroke it.  You have to take practical steps.

What’s next:

Tear Down the Matrix:

  1. Burn degree certificate, CPD folders, A level Certificate, registration card, membership card
  2. Share blog with everyone*, don’t care, no shame
  3. Be sure, be steadfast
  4. Use blog to document, to remind me, and to have fun!

*with the exception of family members

But please don’t think I’m some kind of cool beacon of awareness.  Only a couple of days ago I was completely undone by a long, cranky work meeting that lasted from 09.30- 14.15.  Despite my best intentions, I got totally involved in it:  I had many urges to contribute, I felt disappointed when I wasn’t able to (there was no way of speaking without interrupting and then the Chair moved the agenda on).  I felt hurt and annoyed when someone disagreed with me and said something that I knew wasn’t true.  I had the allotted fifteen minute break for lunch taken up by my manager asking me to find and print health and safety policies.  No stretching of legs, no sunshine, not even for five minutes, not even for two minutes.

I’ve noticed that as my leaving date has got closer, when people ask me what I’m doing I’ve begun to answer more openly and in less socially acceptable ways.

I’ve started saying things like, we’re selling our three bed house and buying a narrow boat to reduce overheads so we don’t have to work so much.  I’ve done the career thing but now I can leave it.  I don’t care about what to say if people ask me what I do.  I’m going to burn my degree certificate and registration card.  I’m going to do cleaning.  It’s (travelling around SE Asia) the only solution I could think of that would enable me to stop doing this.  I should never have done this job, it’s been too much for me.  It’s either leave, or go mad, or kill myself.

Whereas, I’m going travelling, yes, isn’t it exciting, would probably have sufficed.

And I am sure it is definitely not socially acceptable to say, I am Escaping The Matrix.  No really, this whole thing is about me pursuing in earnest the idea of Escaping The Matrix.  You know, Freeing My Mind.  I’m going to write a blog about it, in fact I already do, you can read it if you want.

I am very excited about leaving work and can barely keep up the ‘I’m a professional’ act.  All that energy I use at work will be mine, all this preparation…  like a coiled spring, I can already feel it, my personal creative energy source.

Other people are talking about things with me, one with a four year plan to extricate  herself, others realising our workplace is untenable and looking for different jobs.  People talking to me is nice.  Me talking to them is nice.  Realising no one is themselves at work, not really.  This idea of professionalism, a made up concept; we dress and act at least somewhat not like our real selves, and it stops us connecting at a deeper level.  (You can see why that and the constant feed of sensational, judgemental and scary news stories to witter about around the water cooler helps The Man…)

I just can’t do it anymore.  All I want from any future work is the opportunity to be myself.  I mean, I’m friendly, honest, kind and I don’t swear hardly at all, so surely it should be  pretty easy for me to do something  like house cleaning or home help and just be me?

I haven’t been me for so long- twenty years or more- that it’s going to take a bit of practice.  I automatically go along with people.  My step-grandma was a teacher here, shall we walk , shall we go through here, and me all yes, yes, all cheery.  ‘You don’t have to say yes you know’, she said, but I thought about it and I did want to do it, I wanted a walk and anyway, she’s having the cats, it’s no big deal.  But the ability to notice when I am doing something I don’t want to do and then deciding do I want to do it for some meta reason or not, and am I being myself.  Do I start conversations about my own topics?  When I disagree with what is being said do I say anything aloud?  I have had twenty years of brainwashing, of not feeling like I was good enough, of feeling that I had to pretend, hide, and over-compensate:  Twenty years of pretending, hiding and over-compensating.  From wearing stretchy bandages over my  tattoos at my very first job (we had a short sleeved uniform), to not knowing who I am anymore.

I mentioned to someone at work about having a blog and she said, ‘Let me know the details and I’ll follow you’.

‘It’s a personal journey type thing, about how I managed to do this,’ I said.  She said, ‘I’ve got to keep going a bit longer, I’m still too conditioned.’ (She’d mentioned ‘conditioning’ to me before, the only person at work I have ever heard say that word).

‘Watch The Matrix, that will help,’ I said.

‘I did, I didn’t understand it.’

‘Nor did I when I first watched it, but then I watched it again and it blew my mind.’  (not for the first or the last time as I think I’ve already established).

So in a way, if this blog is for anyone, it’s for her.  If it’s for anyone, it’s for people on the cusp of waking up.  I’m not meant to try to wake people up, at least, I’m not meant to go around trying to wake up individuals in person.  But just putting something out there, for people to find if they are looking, I feel like that’s okay.

And in a lovely demonstration of universal reciprocity, I had this email from my friend David Walker.  It feels so good to have another person understand and validate our choices:

What you’re both about to do, I believe, in our consumer-stuff-mad western world, is one of the most difficult things that anyone can undertake.

Our whole society is now designed to keep people working and spending all their money on mortgages, loans, credit cards, utilities and lots and lots of stuff.  It’s the actual foundation of our entire economic system and we are literally being brainwashed to believe that there is no other reality 

It is really a fucking matrix. And it’s really difficult to escape from it.

You need a lot of strength to just be able to firstly make that mental leap, followed by the actual physical actions required to make it a reality.


Thank you for reading.

Sunshine Blogger Award


Sunshine Blogger Award


Thank you very much to Matt of Matt’s Views for nominating me.  Matt is cheerful and positive whilst being open and honest about his own struggles.  He writes in a way that is refreshing and helpful.  He also writes about all sorts of other topics as well.  (I learned all I know about Bitcoin and other such things from him.)

For those of you who don’t know the purpose of the Sunshine Blogger Award, it is given to a blogger that is inspirational through their positivity and creativity in the blogging community (again, thank you so much Matt, I am so touched that you thought of me!).


  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions.
  3. Nominate bloggers to receive the award
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.


Here are my questions and answers:

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Oh, meeting people on WordPress and how lovely it is here, no trolls or anything like that.  I can write about everything and feel so safe.  I’ve made real connections including with two people that I actually plan to meet up with IRL.  It has also solved my problem of what to do whilst waiting for the water to boil or a bath to run (since I don’t read news media or do fb)- now I read blogs, and they are so much better!

Why did you start blogging?

It was such a relief from trying to write books.  Trying to get my amorphous mass of diary style notebook entries into a coherent narrative was such hard work, and my previously fresh live writing would flatten and die.  Blogging is the opposite of that.  I love, love love it!  My early blogs (2014) read as if I’m not telling you everything, because at the same time I’m writing a book.  Which is either published on the blog or linked from it to Amazon where it is for sale really cheap (see my About page for details re how to read my books on the blog/get on Amazon).  So I did tell you everything eventually but nowadays I just tell you everything in the blog and don’t keep anything ‘back’ to write anywhere else.  I mean, I have recently written an article to submit to New Philosopher, about stuff, consumerism and objects, but most of the material and ideas were presented on the blog first.  In the future I intend to submit travel articles, competition entries, etc, but the blog will always have the best of me, the absolute truth, not clipped or caged.

What is your favourite way to relax? 

Eating snacks, going for a walk, doing some yoga stretches, time alone, writing.

What inspires / motivates you?

Writing, ideas, writing, talking with my husband about ideas, writing.

If you could do anything right now, would it be to go to someone or to go somewhere and why?

I am going to cheat and say both- go to Japan to see my new friend and fellow blogger that I met on WordPress!  Because she wrote so beautifully about Japan and because we have connected as writers and as people.

What is your favourite music?

If you run into me as I’m dying at the side of the road, please, I beg you, play me this.  I fell in love with this in 1985 aged fifteen and my love has never faltered.


A guilty pleasure.  Actually I’m not even guilty.  She’s okay right?  And absolutely the most amazing thing to watch under the influence.  I super impressed my husband with my music/video choice that night!


Top 3 Favourite Bloggers? 

SMUT. and Self-Esteem

Deeply insightful, creative, sensitive.  SMUT blogs about everyday incidents and reflects upon how they affect her.  She offers strategies for dealing with anxiety based on her personal experience and recovery and provides candid stories that explain how her past has affected her and how she has learned to understand herself more.  She’s also a trainee pharmacy technician and a musician.  Smart, capable, awesome.

The Cupcake Witch

Such a good writer.  So very, very smart.  Writes about everything.  Just read.

Damn Girl.  Get Your Shit Together.

I have only just discovered this person via The Cupcake Witch.  Her brief accounts of her childhood are enough to make you weep, feel pity, want to do something for her….  But she has her shit together and not only that, here she is, helping us, which is incredibly generous of her.  What can we do in return?  Read, follow, and be awed.

She offers perfectly pitched, deadly accurate advice in a way that is warm, incisive and very funny, from looking after yourself properly when you have a cold (use balsam/balm tissues from the very start- yes, yes!) to motivating yourself to clean the house.

Damn Girl…. knows that an inspirational fridge magnet is actually going to do fuck all for you, but cleaning out the fridge will make you feel better.  (Okay maybe that’s going a bit too far; I rarely clean my fridge out, but doing the dishes and having a tidy up will definitely help.)  She helped me summon the motivation to clean the bathroom and vacuum the carpet last weekend when the house was a mess and I didn’t much feel like doing it.  (And I didn’t even know I was in need of any help, but that is her whole point.  We need her, we just didn’t realise it before.)  If I could only read one thing forever and ever, it would be her blog.  She is amazing.  I am begging you to go and see her.  (Oh and thank you so much Cupcake Witch for doing your post recommending her.)

Where are you from?

Norfolk, in England.

What is your biggest passion?


What are you most excited for in 2018? 

Leaving my job and going off travelling.

What is your dream job? 

A bit of writing and a bit of cleaning- deep ‘extreme cleans’ or light, helping older persons with cleaning, shopping etc, I don’t mind.

My Nominations

Andiamo Bambino

Narrow boat dwellers, travellers, minimalist adventurers.

Ann Coleman

Ann is warm, funny and honest.  She talks about everyday things that people don’t usually discuss, such as what it’s like the first time you have to take care of your parent, and how you only find out that you can do it when you do it, and what that feels like.  Ann also talks about her home cleaning habits, see the post I have linked to, which really made me laugh.  She is a self confessed clean freak but I just know she’s not judging any of us, she’s far too nice.

Bethany K

Such beautiful photographs, it is as if a real window opens up on my computer and there is a bird, a butterfly.  Bethany practices mindfulness every day and despite having many personal challenges she is a positive inspiration every day.  And I think she’s a vegan, so she’s really kind to all living creatures.

The Cupcake Witch

One of my Top 3 favourite bloggers.

Lisa Anniesette

I like Lisa’s blog because she writes about lots of different things.  I have linked to a very interesting piece she wrote about a book she got out of the library.  Also she is a vegan and posts nice recipes.

Paul Green at Mindfumps

So funny, so talented, and with such an engaging, kind and warm personality.

One Black Tree

Currently living in Tokyo far from home.  The post I have linked to is an absolutely beautiful description of Tokyo, as soon as I read it I said that’s it, I have to go.  She is also incredibly brave, she wrote about losing her indoor shoes with no money to buy any more, and about being left without access to all her money for three days with barely enough food and not speaking fluent Japanese, yet she stayed calm and aware, and wrote about it for us.

Sam, Living!

Always cheerful, super hardworking both work work and blogging, with a lovely attitude towards people and the world.  Currently in Sydney, Australia.

SMUT. and Self-Esteem

One of my Top 3 favourite bloggers.


Very helpful in depth articles, the one I have linked to is about what to do if you feel overwhelmed.  Also posts nice vegan recipes.


Nominees, if you want to do this, use the questions I answered above, but I am changing the last question, from What is your dream job? to Describe your dream day.


Thank you very much for reading.



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This is Alfie the cat, sitting in a sunny spot on top of the shed in the garden of his new home.  We can’t take the cats travelling with us.


So, dismantling your home is stressful.  Selling a house is stressful, with  last minute things such as electrical safety tests, extra expenses, and we won’t even know it’s really happening until contracts are exchanged, which could be weeks away.  But the buyer has been round, she brought her kids, they ate Foxes Party Rings (vegan) and picked out their bedrooms, and their mum and I vowed not to pull out.

I’m working out my notice and in true me style trying to cram as much in as possible.  I’ve even got a student right up until I leave, but luckily she is awesome.  I want to enjoy it as it’s my last hurrah, but I don’t want to enjoy it too much as I intend to literally burn my career and never go back to it once I leave.  So when stuff happens that I don’t like such as stressful things I have to deal with, I feel pleased in a way because I can say, well that’s to remind me why I don’t want to do this anymore.  (I am perverse, I know.)  And there’s been matrix tests, you could call them, such as a new IT system installed so that I was locked out of my computer for a week.  Or was it just a good opportunity to take my foot off the gas and empty out my filing cabinets, which had to be done at some point?

Outside of work, an uncancelled insurance policy took £700 out of my account, we got it back but not before we’d spent several hours applying for an overdraft extension and a credit card (both declined), extending the credit union loan and getting a payday loan to survive January.  But we sorted it all out without panicking.

I got ill, me, who never gets ill, actually sick with a vomiting bug and two days off work.  Both feeling super stressed but not sure why, just the move, the process.

And of course we’ve been ‘planning our trip’.  We are actually getting out of the living room and going on an actual trip, involving flights and visas and cards and travellers cheques and slinging a load of first aid supplies and a few clothes into a small-medium sized backpack and going off to see the actual world!  Our main preoccupation has been how to avoid the super hot heat and although our plans have changed multiple times, and probably will again, we currently have a rough plan sketched out.  Firstly, go straight to India as soon as we can.


In other news:

Here are my newly healed tattoos which complete the (mainly cover up) work on my left arm.

The white rabbit is inspired by The Matrix film, which is twenty years old next year.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.  If you have seen it, I recommend watching it again.  Just a peony to go on my right arm to cover the old tattoo there and I am all set!

In cultural news:

We at last finished watching Walking Dead, so are up to date with that.  I was ill and so watching it made me feel better, my husband wasn’t ill so watching it made him feel worse.  I don’t know why we do it to ourselves but we’ve invested so much time and energy in it that it seems a shame to just stop watching, even if it isn’t exactly enjoyable.

Also re watched for the umpteenth time the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, watched three episodes of the fantastic Black Mirror, and because Black Mirror was a bit scary, an episode of BoJack afterwards.  (I’ve been ill.)

Blogging, I’ve been having so much fun reading people’s blogs, just spending a couple of hours reading people’s old posts.  So much better than tv, newspapers or magazines.  Actually, a million times better than magazines.  I have been introduced to someone new to follow, and someone else I’ve just spent time reading her old posts.  I just have so much respect for the people whose blogs I read, for their honesty, bravery, authenticity, and for giving me the privilege of being shown into their worlds.

And writing.  How many times must a lesson be repeated until it is learned?  Writing makes me feel better.


Thank you very much for reading.



An object cannot compete with an experience


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I finished work and walked to my car.  For a few moments I sat in the driver’s seat with the door still open, feeling the fresh evening air, aware of the big tree nearby and the fields surrounding me.  I felt the pull of the outdoors, a longing to stay there a little longer.  But I also wanted to get away from work so I drove home, still feeling torn, wistful for the cool air, the big tree.

I decided it would be a disservice to myself and to my husband to arrive home not feeling right, so I parked outside town and went for a walk.  (Previously I had written off the idea of going for a walk after work when it is dark, except for around the town.  In the summer I sometimes go for a walk across the fields after work, and of course even in winter I can do this on my days off.)  I walked out of town along a footpath and down little lanes and roads, a circular route that we often do in the daytime but that I have never done in darkness.  I stopped to hug a tree, feeling its body against my belly and resting my cheek against its bark.  It was such a little thing, but it made such a difference, doing something different and realising I can have a proper walk after work even in wintertime.

So the next day I thought, that was so good, I’ll do that again.  Likewise, with doing a good yoga session, not eating late, and continuing writing an article, I made plans for the evening based on the previous evening.  But when the end of the working day came, I was tired and hungry, and it was raining.  I didn’t feel like going for a walk.  I went to the fish and chip shop and bought chips.  At home, I ate a whole portion of chips, followed by two vegan ‘magnums’ (from Morrisons).  Too full of food to do yoga now, so I sit down and write my article.

Yesterday it felt easy but today it feels hard.  I feel in a funk.  I’ve also got the bathroom to clean, as someone is coming round tomorrow, and duvet covers to change.  I think, should I do all that now, and come back to writing later, should I stop altogether for today.  Because writing is the most important activity, I keep writing and I do break through to a place where the work feels like its going well and I am back, enthused.  I clean the bathroom, change the duvets, then, breaking more of yesterday’s rules re don’t eat late or stay up late, I eat a plate of nuts and sultanas, have a cup of tea and stay up writing.  When I eventually feel like it I do plenty of yoga and really enjoy it and feel good afterwards.  Everything gets done, I feel good and apart from the early part of the evening, I enjoyed the whole thing.

Trust the process…  I don’t want to not enjoy my evening; enjoying the evening is more important than completing a manuscript; the two are interconnected; I want to enjoy the evening at the time of living it, not just afterwards in retrospect based on what I have achieved.

I can assist The Process by altering the order of tasks, by eating snacks (trail mix seems to be the thing to sustain me through an evening of writing, even though the little pieces of coconut are impractical and messy).

Learning to play the evening, not like a game, but maybe like a musical instrument, or like making something out of words…

Managing the dialectics of making and following through on plans versus doing what you feel like at the time.  Every day is a day to both make and rip up the plan.

Because, what is more important?  To enjoy the evening or to get things done?  Same re life.  Maybe by being a bit aware and a bit flexible, it’s possible to do both.


A little over a year ago I took ketamine for the first time and experienced the falling away of everything.  I knew that the carpet was red and we had a woodburner, but those things were very far away.  Lying curled up on the sofa, unable to move.  In the centre of a sensation of nothingness/awareness that at the time I conceptualised as being like one bubble within a sheet of bubble wrap.  Nothing physical was left, only feelings.  Lying curled up on the sofa with my husband, I said:  This is what love feels like.

Since then, we discovered the person I have referred to in previous posts as my ‘awareness advisor’.  From there we realised that beyond all emotions, beyond love even is awareness, and made that the goal.  Whilst raising our awareness we also explored the ideas around why we are here, what is the world, what is the real truth, and so on.  The central idea is that we are living in some kind of generated reality, some may call it a computer simulation, some may call it a dream.  Right now, I can believe that this world is a creation.

(If I were going to label myself, I could call myself a vegan, a minimalist, a hippy, an atheist, a creationist.  But it’s probably best not to, as I doubt there’s a club for me to fit into).

A creation made out of my thoughts, and/or the creation of mine and others’ thoughts.  At the height of being deep into all this theorising, I did spend some time contemplating everything being a creation of my thoughts, meaning, everything is in my head.  Everything, even all the people I know.  Now, when trying to embed a theory or wrap your mind around a strange new idea, it is useful to be completely immersed in it.  This particular belief is also really handy for dealing with difficult people, and for encouraging oneself to look inside at ones thoughts, responsibility and actions.  It can create more of a sense of personal agency, and that’s useful.  It also helped me conceptualise my reality.

But, then here’s the thing:  life is a richer experience when you regard it as real (even if you don’t believe it is).  Riding these two opposing horses is I suppose what it’s all about for me right now.

And so by being really there within an activity or when with a person, it’s possible to engage completely, to have an experience to cherish and value whilst at the same time maintaining an underlying belief that one is living in a dream of one’s own creation.  Because if that’s true, one has the agency to make each person to person and activity experience even richer.

But beliefs are objects too and it seems that as we declutter our possessions our beliefs seem to fall away too.

My husband saying that right now he does not believe in anything.  Although it felt true, he felt disconnected and unsettled for a few days.

The ketamine experience, me desperately trying to hold onto the red carpet and the woodburner.  If all we are left with is nothing, no possessions, no beliefs, what do we hold onto?