I havent been writing much lately or even feeling very conversational; not in a bad sense (far from it), I just haven’t. Its all felt quite perfect in ways I don’t want to make more solid than they want to be by trying to explain why even the very few things I have started to write have been left unpublished; left to drift away without wanting to crystallise into words on a page. Even the book I was set upon writing earlier this year seems to have dissolved into a puddle where the intention once was. Its felt like a creative void, a vacuum or holding space. I mentioned feeling like I was in such a void the other day and someone countered by sending a video making the point there is no such thing since all is energy (yes, I know); but then that’s the paradox out of which all new potential is birthed since its where the particle gives way to the wave (still existence…in a different form) and I see how I have inclined towards the wave lately. Semantics itself can become the hard left-brained substance of particle not wave; a place where we lose our grasp of what we are experiencing (or how to adequately express it…letting its essence slip away from us in the very attempt) since we struggle to find the right words to use without nailing our experience to the mast of an idea and I know I have felt, most strongly, that to write about my recent experiences (which have been profound) was to risk altering them unutterably…so I haven’t. Its all new territory yet I am finding it most persuasive and can only go with the way it feels, which is so much lighter than where I was.
So I’m not going to go deeply into why I haven’t been writing for any of my blogs for weeks after one of the most prolific writing phases of my life. Suffice to say, it feels like a version of my left hemisphere succumbing to some of the more fluid impulses of my right, or a case of choosing to experience the wave over the particle of my experience. Since this is something I feel strongly drawn to right now, I suspect my quiet-phase is likely to continue, even at the risk of my blog-writing losing momentum since I feel I must go with this new urge. There’s just one anecdote I do want to put out here in the very week of my six-year anniversary of this blog, which was started on 9th March 2011 and which is always a time when I publish something that feels appropriate to the milestone. Its message encapsulates the very essence of why I still bother to write at all; the kind of “alternate reality – shared” that I like to put out there to encourage others to notice these things in their own lives. So here it is…
I’ve been feeling pretty blissed-out actually and in a (I want to say “new” but that’s not strictly true…) much more broadly creative space than I’ve been in for a long time, playing with so-called work and life like I am a child again, making it all up as I go along and having fun with it all. Where I am actually reminds me very much of childhood (so, not “new” but perhaps mislaid); the way I used to wake up with a fizzing ambition to create something a little bizarre and would set about it in the most single-minded way using whatever was at my disposal, able to envision easily how one thing could be transformed into another and never once stopping to think why was I making this thing or what would others think. It was all done for me (not for accolade or any other external motivator) and was driven by such a powerful discharge of the essence of me wanting to make itself manifest in cardboard, bits of fabric and glue or whatever it was I was using today. I would become so absorbed in it, creating a mini-universe around this thing, as though I could easily climb into the folds of what I had just made and live inside there as my next-newest reality. Whether I was drawing, model-constructing or making a den out of bed-sheets, this essence of me drew me into itself utterly in a way that suspended all disbelief and made my choices manifest as easily as having the first impulse that drove its creation. I’ve been refinding that essence brimming up to the surface to be expressed again in recent weeks and also that I am not prepared to accept anything less than that unbridled childhood belief that all things are possible; I’m so done with all the self-inflicted compromises of adulthood and all the neysaying that keeps us so small.
I first identified that feeling as the most blissed-out, unbridled impulse of burgoning possibility when I was nine years old and the feeling never completely left me again, though it would become burried beneath life’s crud. Over all the years of my life, that feeling would sometimes flit up to the surface once again (so often at this time of the year) and I came to associate it closely with certain sensory cues that took me straight back to the first time that I recognised its vibe, back in ’78; to the point I would sometimes deliberately orchestrate those prompts or seek them out just to get the feeling started once again. All the cues of that, my most memorable childhood easter, when all the daffodils and jasmine, easter chicks, yellow ribbons, newly undurling leaves and golden sunlight made everything seem yellow, stayed inside me as my quick-fire way to refind this essence of Self that felt like it hit the target of me. In my yellow-suffused world, with afternoon sunlight pouring through my parents’ yellow curtains, I went deeply into my imagination and one of the few things to get through to me there was music. This became, perhaps, the most potent quantum messenger to myself of all, as I’ve written about before…
I have strong associations of music at this time of the year, from that first milestone which was the very first time that “adult” music really made its mark on me and became equated with this feeling that made me, somehow, feel more whole in myself, like hearing the music completed me or carried a reciprocal frequency to a clarion call my soul was throwing out to the ether. Right at the front of that musical bundle was Kate Bush’s Lionheart album which my sister, at the time, was playing to death, but there were a few others in the package; my quantum music (for that is what they have become to me) holding a vibration that I know I can draw upon when I need them to take me back to a certain holding space where I repair and refind myself. They could have been anything; perhaps they just happened to be there when I most needed them and I knew I could work with them, without becoming weary of them, across the whole of my life, as the messengers of myself. Maybe, at the surface of myself, I desperately needed to hear someone say I was “needed for the symphony” (Kate Bush “Symphony in Blue” 1978) but it went much deeper than that. However those musical prompts came about, they have become a potent instrument of my own evolution as they have served to carry quantum messages back and forth outside of time and event.
So strongly did the association of a particular handful of albums from that particular easter come through to me this year that, with the urge to listen to them, in the very same order that I used to, in a daffodil-sunny room, I found myself receiving the strongest sense that it was the “me” of now (sublime, fulfilled and joyful as I was feeling) that was sending back a message, through the music, to my childhood self! It felt as real as anything – the feeling of my current reality was what I had tuned into at the age of nine, like a forecast of the future (although it was really outside of time) calling me to it through sensory prompts. It took the essence of this reality, this me, this life I have created and all its inherent freedoms and joys, to lift the “me” of then out of her gloomy dark place…because that’s where I was until spring ’78, which was a turning point in my life for no other reason than I suddenly felt different about myself. March ’78 has long felt like a hallowed time to me since it was as though I was suddenly lifted up and carried out of the mire through the happy associations of music and creativity, of yellow petals and sunlight that have stayed with me strongly at this time of year ever since. How come they felt so loaded with meaning that they transformed me so utterly when I tuned into this sensory bundle; was I this thing that felt so good to my childhood Self?
In an epiphany that feels as strong as anything I have ever known about myself, I know now that this is quite true. The me of now, in my place of unfettered choices born of an attitude to life that has unhooked me from many of the mindsets that trick us into feeling imprisoned; and with my newly unbridled creativity, with new projects on the simmer that bring me joy without attachment and the freedom with which to pursue them in a supportive and beautiful environment filled with sunlight and flowers, had sent this package back “in time” as a taster. Like a search party sent to recover the frightened child that I was, the vibration of my current reality had, in a very real sense, rescued her. In exchange, that “me” had sent forwards their child-like curiosity and relentless urge to experiment, their unbridled, multi-disciplinary excitement and absolute disregard for the opinion of others so that I could infuse what I am doing here, which had previously felt stale and stuck (in the way that adult projects so often make themselves) into the newly expansive sea of possibility and expression that I am currently playing with as my life. We met each other “across time” and we both stood to gain so much from the encounter. It was as though timelines collapsed and these versions of myself, of very different “ages” and stages of biological development, were stood side-by side, co-creating together. This is where I have been these last weeks and it is so tangible in ways that are feeding my creativity, my daily rhythms, my playfulness, my health, my ability to shake off so many of the heavy shackles of what we call adult responsibility and start to experience life through the heart of a child again.
This morning, as I responded once again to an urge to listen to my “quantum” music whilst reading the trivial, light-hearted kind of book I had, I now admit, seldom allowed myself to pick up in recent years, and taking time to start my day slowly in the sunniest window of my house the feeling went much deeper. I realised that all the many times I had ever gathered this sublime feeling to me, like an armful of freshly picked flowers (especially at this time of the year), I had “posted” it to myself via the music and all the other sensory clues I have come to associate with that easter of 1978, which I knew the child I was back then would recognise since she responded so very strongly to them. They hit her like a tidal wave of joy; she woke up and noticed, she felt them summoning her forwards to somewhere…where? To here. Not a place but a frequency where she/I feel complete, feel intact, feel at our most whole and fully-integrated best. I sent that vibe “back” to the child-self who needed it most desperately so that she could feel her way “forwards” along the rescue rope of association towards her most liberated Self; which exists outside of time and is somewhere we get to meet everyday now; as often as we want to since there is no time-space to prevent us from doing so. She was given the heart to continue when she might otherwise have floundered on the rocky path that three-dimensional life was presenting to her at that time; where she felt such a missfit…but now something was calling her onwards and she could recognise it strongly since it was the very essence of herself saying “over here, this is a place where we get to thrive…in the physcal world”. Such is the world that I make manifest for myself today.
I see now how all of the times I ever felt this good about myself, this liberated, this creative and this loved (especially by myself), I had diligently wrapped up those feelings in a bundle of songs and flowers and sent that message back to myself as a frequency that I have been able to read “across time” to lift myself up out of any low-feeling predicament. Now that feeling has boomeranged back to me, here, expanded a million-fold, like all those wonderful-feeling selves have congregated as the “I” that I am fully aware that I am in this moment. Across so-called time, all those highest vibrating versions of me have now touched base, using music and a cacophony of juxtaposed visuals and feelings as their cue, and so an amalgam of my very best experiences, ostensibly spread out across many decades of linear time, have come together as one. As a nine-year old, without limiting belief systems in place, I felt that wave of sensations arrive and read their signal so fluently that it felt like a tsunami of joy that lifted me up and carried me out of what came before; it truly was a pivotal moment I have never forgotten. I see now how I have served as the rescue party of myself; am (once again, being without limiting belief systems) able to perceive how this is entirely possible in a reality that is not fenced-in by an insistence upon linear time; also that this non-linear reality has been both fully-functional and highly influential in my life (more so than some of the most sturdy-feeling plots unfolding in three-dimensional reality) for as long as I can remember.
If I hadn’t been able to register what I did at that juncture in my life as a wave of frequency that I found quite irresitable (and never forgot, once encountered…), things could have turned out very differently for me as I was rapidly losing confidence in myself and in life at that point but as that nine-year old, and on many more occassions later in life, that feeling came to rescue me out of a dire situation. Each time it swept in, it would carry me off to another reality, a more “real” reality in the sense that it was more authentically matched to the true essence of me rather than being conditional upon the way circumstance had manipulated me to feel about myself through a jumble of distorted belief systems.
Whenever it arose, this feeling kept me locked-on to myself at my very essence and I never felt more closely in contact with that aspect of Self, or freely expressive of it, than I do right now. It is far more persuasive to me than anything we might conventionally think of as duty or responsibility, those things we tell ourselves we ought to be doing, since I know that where it leads is exactly where my best outcomes can always be found. This is how we reap the experiences of many decades, yes even many lifetimes, as one entity and pluck out those aspects that resonate most closely with “who we really are” at our essence in order to fully enjoy the experience of being that, made manifest in human form. I guess you could say its how we get to find ourselves, to reunite who who we are at the soul level, way beyond time and space. The thick layer of crud that has built up all around us from the circumstances of our linear time experiences gets to dissolve and fall away as though it was never there at all, leaving behind the pristine essence of Self that has been holding it all together for so very long but which has often been so deeply buried that we hardly knew where to locate it or what it really looked like without all the conditioning and the stories. The feeling of undergoing this descaling process – letting life’s debris fall away – is quite wonderful and is its own best guide to where more of this wonderful feeling can be found since all we have to do is follow its thread.
With an ease we perhaps only ever got to sample before as children, who seldom doubt or question where such wonderful feelings lead, we get to know what that shining Self feels like in each moment of every day and I have been exploring such feelings all of these recent weeks; can tell you that, even in their shallowest waters and when they still come and goes intermittently like a gentle tide rhythmically rolling over you then withdrawing again, the feeling of them washing over you in waves is truly sublime and well-worth the coming and going (which is, after all, life). Having reunited with this life-source, this inspiration-source, this root of all joy and all meaning in my life, I have no intention of letting the feeling slip away again and can heartily recommend that you start to notice your own version of it.
If you are not already noticing their themes, perhaps your own clues lie a little burried under life’s clutter and noise but they are always prepared to be noticed just as soon as you step outside of the linear and notice those subtler impulses, perhaps even the sturdier rescue ropes, that have run like a timeless thread across the “story” of your life. These are the clues sent by you to yourself to get you exactly where you most want to be via waves of excitement, of passion or utter absorption into something you wanted to be doing for its own sake, with no outside agenda except for a feeling of joy that came with it; a feeling you have tried to return to, perhaps, but many of us lose its grip once childhood is over. These lifelines are likely to have manifested as the most liberated, inspired expressions of you registered as those times you have felt the most whole (without need of anything else to occur or present itself to complete you)…and they can be used to find your way back to aspects of Self that never really went anywhere but, rather, are here to be reclaimed and fully integrated into a more complete and joyful version of life from this point.
How do I find myself?
Having newly appraised how I have always been the rescue party of myself across all timelines, back and forth, what does this amalgam of many versions of me look like and how am I allowing it to express and make itself known, using the guidance system of my feelings and the experiences of everyday life?
Describing how I am, to a whole new level, managing to rediscover this unbroken thread of Self beneath all the clutter of life is such an abstract undertaking that I won’t go too deeply into as it will, obviously, vary for everyone. All I can do is give you some very basic clues as to the kind of things that came up for me as soon as I gave myself that carte blanche and asked “what do I REALLY want to do, no holds barred…in other words, if I was a kid again, how would I be spending my time?” (for its in that childhood version of Self that we so often rediscover our very essence).
For me, it has certainly included opening up to times in my life when I know I felt most at peace and at liberty to pursue my most creative urges, also free of almost all practical worldly concerns, and then using sensory prompts from those memories to revisit those times and some of their impulses. As I have gone into this more and more (just from simple acts like allowing myself to curl up with a light-hearted book in the middle of the day or doodling in a notebook without agenda…), I have had whole waves of sensation from childhood come back to me and, on the back of those waves, long-buried desires and aspirations have carried in on the wind. Thus, I have allowed myself to pursue whatever the passions were that consumed me at those times, however “childish’ they may seem to anyone of my own age (remember, no one else’s opinion matters when it comes to undertaking this important act of self-exploration…), including a willingness to dismantle all my own self-judgement and, yes, pride. These are just a few examples:
OK, for starters, at the beginning of the year I started to teach myself the piano…and not in a terribly prim way but by selecting the most fun and unconventional online course (I use Decplay) that I could find so that it more-closely resembles the playful, instinctive method I was using to try and self-teach myself to play tunes on my aunt’s piano every week when I was eight or nine years old. This – and the fact I allow myself to do this whenever the urge comes over me – has become one the biggest joys of my life, with no other agenda than to pursue it for my own enjoyment (which is considerable); and which is on top of my thrill at being able to turn out a half-decent attempt of the first part of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata already, amongst other things. When did I know I wanted to do this? I really didn’t until suddenly there it was and I didn’t question it or try and talk myself out of it but, without being hard on myself, tried different methods until I found the one that seemed to work for me. I have no grand scheme to become a concert pianist, to impress anyone or even to commit for a very long time; I simply intend to continue for as long as it brings me enjoyment. This has opened up my box for considering the possibility of other musical pursuits whereas (I realise) I had tended to assume I had missed the boat on all this at the end of childhood, when my lack of musical tuition or opportunity was certainly a point of frustration to me. A case of never say never…but do it for you, only for you!
Recently, I allowed myself (yes, me, the professional artist who ordinarily paints in oils) to order a large rainbow pack of children’s colour pens and do “colouring in” because I used to really absorb myself in doing this so much as a child so why not? Its not something I do often but it can be mildly diverting from time to time and the very fact of allowing it has been a massive breakthrough in what was an invisible wall around my creativity. I’ve also stopped making my blogging into such a chore (maybe you noticed, I haven’t been posting nearly as much…) and have dispensed with the last remnants of any strict time-keeping to my daily routines. A big one is that I have side-stepped my art practice away from the stuffy painterly approach that was already floundering by the end of last year (when I realised I had kept to the roughly the same painting and exhibiting routine for almost a decade) into designing fabric and a whole range of related products (from clothing to furniture), which offers me vastly more freedom to play around with my creativity. In fact, I am already reaping the benefit of this childlike approach to “what I do” as it has injected my art business with a whole new lease of life. Inherent in this new child-like, playful approach to my work is that I am using criteria such as joy, freedom and fairness as the most important benchmarks of my business – so when the first manufacturing model I considered turned out not to meet these criteria, I moved on until I found another manufacturing business with whom to work, offering me the kind of freedom and returns that I am am happy with. I know my nine year-old self would heartily approve of the shop and range of products that I have now set up (which remind me of the kind of things she loved to create…) and a child’s innate sense of fairness is no bad thing to use as our guide through business and life in general since many of us have taught ourselves to compromise way beyond what feels comfortable to us as we have matured.
For the first time in well over half a decade, I have allowed myself to read pulp fiction just for the fun of picking up a page-turner as a way of relaxing. (I was then forced to ask, had I really stopped myself from reading what I wanted just because I felt it was a waste of time or that I would rot my intelligence? Sad to say, yes!) Letting myself off the intellectual hook has felt like making a quantum leap in my own expansion and, now, I see how my insistence upon some sort of hierarchy of relaxation pursuits had been keeping me at arm’s length from the very freedom I claimed to be the exemplar of. Its true, not always having to be the intelligent grown up or guarding my academic persona (for fear that a small detour could result in me loosing some kudos, some brain cells or even the grip on my own evolution) has felt like such a break for freedom. In fact, I find I can duck and dive easily between some very diverse reading material (from the most trivial romantic fiction to quantum physics…) and get even more out of all of these as a result of the contrast; even finding bizarre synchronicities that tie them all together. Getting rid of fixed ideas as to what constitutes evolutionary behaviour has been a classic case of getting out of my own way, acknowledging that everything I experience (without classifying experiences “good” or “bad”) contributes to that process. I have to say, life feels all the richer for allowing more diverse experiences in and I have learned how to relax to a whole new level in recent weeks, which is paying dividends in terms of my health. (So, when was the last time I was this relaxed? Probably about four decades ago, back in the days when reading was so much fun…)
I’ve also been having fun with my clothes, my interiors, my lifestyle, my social life….choosing things from a far more playful place instead of driven by ingrained motivations that feel conditioned or maturity dictated (“you’re neary 50, you’re not meant to do that” – well, “pah!” to that). I’ve always loved to have fun with clothes and this is now fuelling my newly expanded business as fabric and product designer, which has lit me up in so many ways that span both my personal and business lives (which, itself, is a reconciliation that suggests my life is coming together to a whole new degree that looks like a left and right hemispherical, yin and yang party). I finally realise how I have so much unleashed potential in these areas and that they are all wanting to come on board and express themselves across the whole of my increasingly eclectic way of life.
Impossible not to notice is that I’ve been spending much more time outdoors, not just for walks or to do gardening (though I’ve been wanting to do that too) but to just sit with my feet in a river or wrapping up warm to read a book in the garden in the middle of the day when I might otherwise have felt I should be working. In fact this is the first springtime in a decade that I have had such a relaxed, unscheduled routine as I normally insist on making it my busiest time of year…well, not this year (and, so far, the sky hasn’t fallen in)! I’m still keeping busy – but in an entirely fluid way, following my urges. I’ve also been giving myself time off – LOADS of time off – from doing what I traditionally think I ought to be doing and letting all that entrained guilt fall by the wayside. I’ve been observing (and side-stepping!) all those entrained impulses to feel time-poor and all those other versions of lack-mentality that we tend to use to keep ourselves running in ever more dizzying circles of supposedly “too much to do” and “not enough time” to do them all; allowing life to move at a gentler, more organic pace and for some of that other stuff to just fall by the wayside as, frankly, trivial. I am now regularly experiencing waves of the most wonderful feelings that I recognise from childhood (like it was only yesterday…) but had not experienced in any sustained way for all those decades in between and it is tremendous to dispel the myth that they simply disappear when we become adults; what rubbish, it simply isn’t true and one of the things that makes us feel so unwell as adults is the insistence that we are meant to feel whatever this thing “mature” is and drop all so-called childish things. You’ll know you have finally dispelled that myth (and have reached a whole new place of healing) when you wake up feeling like the child you once were and that incredible rush of vitality, excitement and the simple joy of “life for life’s sake” come flooding in, which is probably the best tonic I can ever push in anyone’s direction; much more powerful than anything you can get on prescription!