Processing cellular nostalgia: evolving our lag points in order to leap

I shot up from a dream and suddenly knew I had to go to Oxford’s Natural History Museum, though I didn’t even know if there was one, strictly speaking, having never been there (and I’m not generally a fan of museum “energy” so it wasn’t a typical impulse). The urge to go to Oxford that weekend grew…I tried on other places but it had to be there, according to my intuition, and so I began to prickle with curiosity.

It did have a Natural History Museum, of course, but I was surprised to find it was such a temple to the Pre-Raphaelites, so close to where I live (I’m a lifelong PR fan), when I had been so unaware of it for so long. One glance at the building, online, and I was eager to find out more about its creators, though this was harder to do as the museum’s own website was vague bar a reference to Ruskin as inspiration (it turned out, the astonishing carvings were carried out by two Irish brothers and a nephew, James and John O’Shea, and their nephew Edward Whelan under Deane & Woodward architects of Dublin). Perhaps its nose was pushed out of joint when caricatures of their Victorian forebears were, apparently, carved into some of the animal reliefs when those three artisans weren’t fully paid for their work.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe free-hand carvings on all the capitals of the pillars, inspired by nature, looked so astonishing in the few pictures I found that I began to salivate at the idea of going there (click my image, left, for my full album of pictures, the carvings really are astonishing). Yet, when I got there, I seemed to be the only person that was looking above her head in that space; yes, a few people followed my camera lens as if to question “what’s she staring at” but, to the majority of the crowds bustling around the place on a busy Saturday afternoon, it was as though the building was merely a container, thus invisible…how odd given I was sent to seventh heaven by what I was seeing up high in the ceiling spaces.

Screenshot 2020-02-27 at 10.35.35So, yes, when I saw the website I could see straightaway why I was drawn to this place but I was also attracted strongly by the current exhibit entitled First Animals on the precambrian era 540 million years ago; knowing straightaway, from the compelling visuals as left (click image for an animated 360 degree video to explore the sea bed), that this held some sort of personal relevance to me; mysterious era though it is. Note, these visuals are what we think we know about the Cambrian era, not what came before, which is what fixates me (the mysterious subject of the exhibition that drew me there), about which little is known due to lack of solid evidence and yet somehow I knew I had something personal to add to this void; the kind of knowing that is frowned upon since it cannot be proved and so I wanted to crystallise this for myself; to bring it to the surface with the museum’s help via any jolts to my recollection it could help me to trigger.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I got there, of course, I found all the usual taxidermy by the spade load, surrounded by a stone homage to all the usual “men of science” but it all felt so lop-sided; a definitively male angle on the world, collected, stuffed, pinned, categorised, analysed, labeled, dowsed in formaldyhyde and locked away in a tight-fitting set of theories or glass cases. Yet towering above my head was a stone and steel cathedral, this is what really held my attention from the moment I turned the corner into Museum Road. The exterior reminded me so strongly of Southall Minster (a favourite place of childhood); another…real, not revival in that case…Gothic space with equally astonishing, this time medieval, carvings paying homage to Nature…and some of the best I ever saw. There was a clear lineage across several hundred years to be noticed here; at least when it came to the building embellishments but the difference was this…Southall was built to house the unfathomable, this one was built to house “what men know” and therein lay a great void across the centuries of human preoccupations.

This “cathedral”, as well as a stunningly intricate glass and steel ceiling with intricate patterns of foliage decorating the joists, had rows and rows of pillars made of different coloured marble topped by sandstone actually labelled (how science loves to label things…) as being from different corners of the British Isles, carved with the most exquisite details of nature. These, too, were meant to be labelled, I read, but funding dried up before it happened…thank goodness. Like man-made fossils, these fragilities were held there, frozen in stone, as though to preserve them for all posterity; perhaps some eminent Victorian sensed that they should do this before it was too late and all was changed in some giant evolutionary scramble of species. My whole feeling from this visit was that we are on a wheel about to turn. Stickers on cases of bird and other species, announcing extinction levels, were more red than green and I couldn’t help feeling that, with one tiny push, we would become a very different bundle of creatures living on the same spinning rock…a complete change of guard, physically speaking, as has happened before…because the world, as it is about to become, may not be a home for any of us, as we stand, with our current physical attributes and the way things are headed. Yet, on this day, there was no sadness in my observation, I noticed, because today I was into a different groove, viewing a vaster picture…not that self-interested “man’s world must be preserved intact and at all costs” control-freakiness that likes to lock things up just as they are, whether in stone, display cases or unshakable theories.

Because the Precambrian era exhibit did indeed have something for me; perhaps oddly more so because I walked it in reverse (an “accident” of the fact I come at it from the top right gallery…what a potent metaphor I now find in that; I approach the exhibit via my right hemisphere). This building was the venue of the Great Debate in 1860; the question of evolution which, of course, they are never going to reach the conclusion of if they just keep going at it with the hammers and tongs of logic, empirical science and their guardedly blinkered scientific minds. That mystery or “debate” continues to have the last laugh (and there will always be mystery in the universe…this is, after all, the ever elusive feminine aspect that we’re speaking about here) because no one can quite pinpoint why the Cambrian diversification explosion (whereby earth’s species suddenly multiplied and complexified in terms of physical and other features and variety, becoming the basis for the species we have today) even happened; why did simple, soft celled sea creatures straddled somewhere between plant and animal so suddenly evolve into the bilateral, multi-limbed creatures that became our ancestors? To me, it seemed so obvious they were missing a crucial point, as their theories trailed off into vague speculation about alterations in climate etc. on the informationals. No one invited Dr Carl Johan Calleman to add his quantum holographic viewpoint into the conversation (from “The Nine Waves of Creation” –  that extraordinary book I often refer to) but he was there in my head. Regarded as a momentum of the 2nd wave of evolution in action, corresponding as it does with one of its first peaks…always the most change-making in every wave…the quantum trigger to this event seemed so obvious to me as the missing link in this whole conversation…indeed, the whole museum with its emphatically empirical tilt.

Because what about the unfathomable feminine aspect…the esoteric, mystic, inexplicable, unmeasurable, extrasensory, multidimensional, quantum holographic influence that plays her powerful part in all this so-called “history” too? What about the wave of energy that potentially came in from a sentient universe and initiated this change (as has happened countless other demonstrable times in our collective story, triggering otherwise bizarre leaps which men like to think they can explain away with “logical” evidence whilst missing the potential for an underlying quantum impulse)? How quickly does our jigsaw puzzle fall into place then?

The same as now; when we witness, with panic stricken eyes, all that is playing out in a world as “spun out of control” as it seems. Seen that lopsided way, all is going wrong but bring in the realisation of a wave that is evolutionary and perpetually life-affirming and where do we get? It’s a far clearer, more comfortable, much more balanced, picture….or it could be if we worked with it somewhat, heeding its clues.

Through that viewpoint we get to “all is perfect, all is right on time, all as it should be”, an evolution that is scheduled though we are its nondeterministic instruments causing it with our entirely free will choices (oh yes, the paradox is always there when the feminine is on board). We get a massive correction as the other side of the equation gets to play her part in it all again, enabling things to “add up” in a way that defies statistics and forecasts, taking her seat at the table, joining the boys in their insistence upon theories that are fixed…to say to them “ahem, what about surprise, about quantum, about envisioning highest potential then attracting it with our focus, about remembering who we are and how we are all connected, about flow and about impulse, about beauty and love?”

There was something else for me in the Precambrian era and I knew it would be in there…something about a nervous system that reminds me more of my own than what I see in other less-sensitive, less bizarrely “physically challenged” people around me. Its something that I noticed when I was in such hyper-sensitive pain a few years ago that I began to research lions mane mushrooms and discovered that this offers powerful healing for the over-wrought human nervous system (the myelin sheath in particular); and that it looks a lot like a sea anemone which, in the way that Nature often heals by leaving the visual clue in the antidote, felt important. It turned out, we evolved our own complex nervous system from the simplistic version we see today in that sea anemone and I developed a theory that this link with our earliest ancestors was key. Here was a clue to my own responsiveness to subtle sensory data (in a way that is problematic in the modern world).

Something in me, deep-deep down in the subconsciousness of my autonomic functioning, always seemed to want to  gravitate  “back” to be being that simple, flowing yet highly responsive creature immersed in the currents of an endlessly fluid sea bed (though this is no easy way to be in the world as it currently is…). I suspect there has been a long-running nostalgia in my cells harking black to a unilateral version of my physicality and I find it, also, in the way my beyond-hemispherical autism-and-synethesia-informed sensory processing works, the way my body goes suddenly soft with bursts of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (and falls back on other versions of “strength” to what are considered typical or appropriate for “survival”), how it stores and grips-on to everything that it considers may ever be remotely harmful or useful “just incase”. I find it in my mitochondrial dysfunction that frequently defers to anaerobic methods that cause oxygen depletion when I exercise, thus intense bouts of muscle pain, and the way my vision seems to be the least utilised of my sensory skills (just as smell, vibration, and touch were the only ways that Precambrian creatures interfaced with their world), the way I struggle-so with a dualistic world fixated upon pushing and pulling, competing and striving, because I really don’t resonate with that means of motivating “life” since I would rather pursue love and joy than struggle and survival. But why is my body so nostalgic for that “less-evolved” era and how had this, actually led me, towards a sense of being bombarded by an environment that feels highly toxic to me, as though I’m stranded outside of my time?

I found my clue in some questions raised by the exhibit. The theory goes that these simple, almost plant-like, creatures of the Precambrian era “suddenly” made their evolutionary leap 540 million years ago in response to the new availability of minerals in sea water, perhaps because the rising levels of the oceans washed them into the water from the surface, an occurrence triggered by some as-yet baffling “outside event” (I refer the question back to Dr Carl’s theory…he has some answers) but why did these creatures respond in this way? Was it because they were delirious to have access to new chemicals that enabled them to evolve some interesting new physical features to make life more fun (a happy, life-affirming reason to evolve)? Or, was it because they felt under threat from the onslaught of new chemicals in their environment and so they responded by forming new mineral structures to store them away in, to try and keep themselves safe from the bombardment; mineral structures that ended up looking a lot like skeletons and shells and teeth and other organs and limbs that gave the evolutionary advantage (so, a fear or crisis-based reason to evolve)?

The paradox is probably that it is both and still can be, for all of us “here” in present time as we are; since that self-same choicepoint lies inside our own cells, constantly waiting for a clear response!

Because, as I regard it, we all harbour our Precambrian selves within our current cell structures  and can re-sit the testing point of that evolutionary breakthrough point, time and time again, in the sense that we can indeed alter our reality, especially our health, on a pinhead, based on what we believe about the world…do we live in ways that are life-affirming or fear-based? This is something I have realised for a very long time but this new layer of understanding, that my cells are potentially “nostalgic” for an earlier format of their existence (in essence, for a time when there was little or no need to confront such a choice…so, an easier kind-of existence), has added a potent new layer of understanding for me. I’ve never been a big fan of choices and, at the core of it, its that I feel uncomfortable with the idea that a choice suggest something is “wrong”, which is a misfit in my set of ideals. I would much rather exist in a world where it is assumed that all is right so perhaps that’s what the Precambrian seas held in memory for me; a simpler, more harmonious, shrug-shoulders “don’t worry, be happy” kind-of-a world. The frustrating thing is, most of the rest of the world isn’t playing along any more…

The thing is, our feminine experience of life (that again…) is non-linear; we are our earliest formations simultaneous to the modern versions we see standing before us in the mirror, at some level; albeit at a layer that is hidden from physical view. In our DNA coding, we are all we have ever been and could be, some of it realised, some tucked away, some as yet to be activated, but when things aren’t going so well and we defer to some other version of self that feels historic, there are questions to be asked; what is it that we so-nostalgically crave about that earlier experience, what does it offer that we now believe we lack? Is it the sheer fact of simplicity or is it the absence of predators, of duality or stress? Why do we ever crave winding the clock back; can we glean that same “thinking” going on in our biology? If we find ourselves craving a life on the deep ocean bed as though it is a home we once lost, how is this playing out in our present-day health; our Ehlers Danlos, our autoimmunities, our hyper-sensitivities and allergies, our cellular dysfunctions, our Alzheimers, our cancers, our depressions and sense of not belonging here, our inability to hold onto recovery phases for very long before reverting or relapsing, or even as the unfeasible amount of water that is unleashing in some of our landscapes at the present time? What are we manifesting with this subliminal fixation?

The thing is, if those Precambrian life forms experienced the new influx of chemicals released into their environment as “toxic” and yet we, in hindsight, can regard what happened next as a giant evolutionary burst, what does that say about where we are today? My entire environment comes across as toxic when I am at my low-points; yet I never doubt for a moment that this exposure has fuelled a giant leap in my self-awareness and personal growth. So, I have the self-awareness and over-view that creatures of the Precambrian era lacked…that’s evolution for you…though we are at much the same point; a giant leap in our story.

Either way of looking at it, in the flip-phase of the Cambrian era, it led to their evolution, into bilateral creatures, now with more than just two layers of simply organised cells (skin and gut) into three layers to become triploblastic, that third part branching off into organs to process toxins and sift out nutrients, etc. Bodies began to organise into the left and right hemispheres that we have today (we could say, the feminine and now, also, the masculine “sides” claiming their space, henceforth to “move us along” by pushing and pulling towards and against each other in a dialogue that is meant to be collaborative and healthy…a polarity held in balance). Under that masculine influence, all these hard mineral structures began to form to make bodies more interesting…in fact, an entire stockpile of armoury appeared in a long running arms war as life became all about survival of the one with the biggest teeth, strongest jaw, fastest legs; an unfortunate byproduct of this evolutionary leap and yet a crucial one in all the following stages of our development. The rest, as they say is history….and what a long-slog it has been to get here.

Is this why such cellular nostalgia exists for me and those who, like me, have access to the multi-stage evolutionary data in their DNA and can thus recall an earlier format, albeit subconsciously; perhaps, because we have done the deep inner probing for a very long time, or perhaps because we are simply wired that way (an autistic trait…) to pay more attention to the inner environment of our bodies and our subjective experiences than the outer distractions of the world? Perhaps as some of us become more clear about our coding, ready for an evolutionary upshift, we also get to “see” our gene journey backwards, like moving to a new house will unearth all those old photos and trinkets of an earlier time, stored up in the cupboard but newly shown light of day, stirring up mixed emotions, even attachments that we thought we had done with. We get to feel into where we have been…prior to making the leap, and it can unground us, just as we are prepared to move forwards; causing a wobble in our sense of direction and a niggle that tries to tell us “backwards” is really where it is at. Which is an easy mistake to make since we are, indeed headed towards increased simplicity, going forwards, but its not the un-knowing simplicity that we began from at the start of evolution but, rather, the return to simplicity that comes from achieving another three-way split (as our ancestors split their cells into three groups to become triploblastic)…only we are doing it in our consciousness!

The three-way split; this topic has been everywhere in my thoughts lately, manifesting at every level of my experience as I seem to newly come at life from a whole other perspective, with a fuller hand of cards. Because as we evolve into this phase, we become the living trinity or Divine Trine (the ancient symbol we known as the Celtic triquetra or triskele/triskelion or we can think of these three parts as “thirty-three and a third” each); the first two parts being the masculine and feminine, day (sun) and night (moon), consciousness and sub/super-consciousness, left and right hemispheres of the brain, matter and antimatter, magnetic and electric…etc. We have worked with these first two parts for some considerable time now, and some of us are really “getting the hang of it” at last. Once these pairings truly work together in what we can regard as a divine marriage or alchemical union, something else happens…

We then add on the capstone to the triangle; the objectivity that overseas it all, that can glean the bigger picture even as the muddle of circumstances unfold, that can remain in neutral even under pressure, that realises that “all is on track” and so does not tumble into the  kind of panic or fear that clouds judgement, in fact this is the non-judgmental quality that ameliorates situations between “opposing” parties or issues that would normally become tricky and overloaded with meaning…and so on. The acquisition of this third part returns us to a kind of simplicity, a neutrality, a purity that we lost along the way; but that’s not to say we go backwards (if we are to continue using linear terms for sake of understanding it, in the context of evolution), but that we go “back to the future” as the saying goes, only this is an evolved version, an upgrade, incorporating (as in, to reunite) all that we have picked up along the way. In other words, we do indeed return to source…only, this is a version of source that has become self-aware of all that it is (whereas it started out not knowing what it was) and is fine with all that.

Split into just two parts, the world as it is seems all-but worn out; the wearisome dualistic battle ground that seems to throw up no useful or long-lasting solutions for any of us any more. We have, seemingly, reached a grande “stuck point” made up of either one side pitted against the other ground into deadlock, or the kind of unenamoured all-inclusiveness and compromise that feels like political correctness gone mad; because true harmony cannot be legislated,  it needs to come from direct experience of unity consciousness and love (both natural by-products of acquiring the third part of the trinity, since you cannot be aware of how everything is connected and yet maintain ideas of separation). We may even grasp the idea of a trinity with our minds, walking the talk in our behaviours as best we can and yet still not feel it in our bodies due to a core resistance going on in our cells to being here now (as described above)…in a world where so much still operates according to a dualistic perspective; which can become incredibly wearisome for those of us who operate though our feeling senses more so than our eyes and logical brains. This absence of trinity inside the cells of the body, even when the mind and heart say go ahead, can manifest as stuck health issues that seem to contradict the higher frequency of our thinking; because our cells still don’t want to be here as things currently are, finding it so challenging to function in this current environment….thus, judging it all as wrong. Perhaps this is why my physical body has become so weary of “bilateral” reality, wanting to abstain, to wind the clock back, to go back to what came from before..back to the soft flow, the gentle, information filled currents where awareness of self and other was a fuzzy line and no need to take anybody on.

Yet winding things “backwards” isn’t the only way; there is always that option to leap things “forwards” towards another simplification, which is really the evolutionary imperative…we are all called to progress “forwards” by how tough things are right now, if we are to stay embodied and not continue to rub against our binary times and so “forwards” offers us that potential, always.

These two alternate versions of reality, past and future (neither of them strictly binary because of the third element…) may look similar and yet they are not quite the same…since we started as unilateral, became bilateral but what about trilateral, which is surely next? The idea of the divine trinity has been a nice idea for thousands of years but, these days, its a very tangible option, in a physical sense as well as an esoteric one; one that has become all the more real for me as I have learned to move my body in a whole new way using Nordic walking methods, which is more than the sum of its two parts when it comes to achieving a sense of something overarching being activated from the movement, deep instead the cells, that goes beyond the two hemispheres, awakening a third level of my physicality that lay dormant. This kind of method (a behavioural method that stimulates new experiences) is how we activate disused codes in our DNA; this is epigenetics in action. So, backwards, or forwards, where do we go? Herein lies all of our conundrums, whatever our stuck-point in life; since it is all a matter of interpretation and choice!

Yes times are very very hard right now, no denying it, but this situation is no more fixed than Nature (that is, real Nature…not carvings “fossilised” into stone) is ever fixed. So, what are we hankering for, deep deep down; and can we only find it in “the past” or can we imagine that it lies there waiting for us, but much improved, in our “future”; as a caterpillar imagines that, one day, it will have wings though it hardly knows what they are for…manifesting them thus? Instead of letting things slide backwards, can we dare to jump forwards into the unknown? Do we wind back to a less-evolved state that feels “easier” because it challenged us less (a crash back to the beginning…surely a very real card on the table for the entire planet right now) or do we make that giant leap forwards towards our destiny? The state of our physical health can tell us a great deal about where we are in that dilemma, even long after we have mentally grasped the opportunity of a forward momentum. Even the slightest hint of lag towards the earlier format can scramble our cells…which are left wondering “who do we listen to, how do we function, what do we do next?” On a recovery trajectory, we cant afford to have such a wobble; we need to be decisive and have faith!

So amidst these evolutionary pondering, I find the state of my own cellular conundrum sitting there staring me in the face, dressed up as my ceaseless health challenges, which seem to contradict where I have got to with my heart and mind; yes, too much nostalgia can be a very disorienting thing…not least at the cellular level (where 3D life begins). Having identified this urge to crystallise something nostalgic, to carve it in stone as though to preserve it forever (…making it into my own living museum…) I now realise that to hanker backwards is clearly not the answer; though we may learn a great deal from the past’s perspective. Yes, we can learn a great deal by reviewing but to hold experiences in stone, or in formaldehyde, or in glass, or on film or indeed any other immobile substance is to turn it into a museum, or art, or nostalgia…all creditable in their way…but that’s not real life.  Just realising this, making this choicepoint conscious, is to communicate with your own DNA and make a sizeable leap; announcing “my life is dynamic and it needs to be daring, to not rely so heavily on the parameters of the past; it requires that free-form permission from me to just leap forwards into the unknown so let’s do that very thing, unreservedly”. This is what it feels like to bring the feminine aspect on board at the cellular level; and I’m feeling it becoming activated more than ever since the experiences I’ve described.

Screenshot 2020-02-28 at 12.09.24Ways we can help ourselves do this are to visualise the trinity, perhaps using the symbol of the triquetra or triskele as a focal point for meditation, even wearing it as I have done for quite some time. In our daily situations, we can practice viewing things from that third angle; pulled back somewhat from the drama and taking the neutral yet curious overview even before we decide how to step back in and make a choice, as is a condition of life. I suspect that working with the breath is key when there is any cellular lag going on; to the degree that, quite literally, re-learning how to breathe through one or two daily exercises is an important facet of bringing your cells into alignment with your desire to evolve forwards (I’m using the Wim Hoff method on youtube and find it very potent). Working with the nine waves (as per Calleman’s theory) as I do, I have newly discovered a more proactive method of doing just that, bearing in mind that the evolutionary wave impulse is not strictly linear, though it “looks” like that when we analyse each wave’s on-and-off phases on the history time charts…but this is, in effect, just an example of the wave turning into particle so we can better grasp it against the ruler of history whereas the quantum impulse itself is not time-barred nor conditional but always there in full availability.  So, in essence, the holographic impulse that informs our evolution is “outside of time”, thus we now have access to all the nine wave, simultaneously, inside ourselves, in this now moment, fully connected to them as required, via our DNA (which is also responsive to those waves), activated by our focus. I had long wondered “why nine waves” and “why does it stop there” but, of course, nine is a sacred number and it doesn’t stop there. What came to me, powerfully, is that the progression of nine (in no particular oder) continues, on repeat…within each of us (carrying, as we do, the continuous lineage of all of our previous and future evolutions inside our cells). We become the masters that then work with the inner nine waves to evolve ourselves as a planet has evolved around us.

So, my exercise is, if we can imagine all nine waves that have now been activated since 2011 (as Calleman’s theory asserts) as nine strands of golden thread in our hand, all brought together as one so that their peaks and troughs synchronise…never mind about differences in timescale…and then affirm that we are in full alignment with the highest potential of each of those waves, as we are now, I sense we can create (even recreate) our own genetic history in the quantum field in order to iron out any foibles left over from trauma and other hangups that cause evolutionary lag and gathering all the most useful facets of each wave’s particular focus. In my experience, we can then bring up…in order to rework them…particular themes in our lives that we can transform; not through trying so very hard but by observing what now, newly, plays out (the way this second wave theme came up for me this last week is an example; I played witness and I learned a great deal to inform my next evolution). Thus we don’t have to grapple with “physics” or “history” or “biology” or “putting things right”, we simply defer to that part of ourselves where everything is already right on track and remember that we are so powerful (and masterful from all our gathered evolutions) that our focus can really do this stuff.  Put it this way, when I work like this, the sense of overwhelming peace and of teeming life force that floods my cells is powerful and tangible, if potentially ungrounding so you need to factor in recalibration time and space afterwards as you return to your physical timeline, although this too will have potentially moved sideways into a life-affirmative, healing trajectory (yes, bit by bit and with diligence, we can take these quantum sidesteps that defy medical logic). I don’t know (or need to know) what I’m doing fully but I can feel its the right thing for me to do and that its informing a shift in my experiences, yes even at the ever-lagging physical level.

Because, individually and collectively, we really do need to make that leap into the dark, into the mysterious, the mystical, the unfathomable, the unfeasible, the hard-to-pin down or predict, the quantum and the surprise element, the non-linearity…that feminine part of ourselves and of our experience of life. We can’t just hold on to what is so-called “known” and thus deemed “safe”on a rigidly linear timeline and expect to get out of this hole or even continue as things are; because to do so is to stifle our own potential which, being counter to Nature, will eventually force a shift towards unification one way or another…meaning, if it cant seem to progress forwards, it may well revert us backwards, towards an earlier format of “unity” (a return to source, as-in to dissolve back into the sands of the sea bed). In each of our personal evolutions and in our collective one, this same rule-of-thumb applies; by the natural momentum of the universe, we are invited to progress forwards (yet, by that same token, are equally faced with this dalliance backwards…the cellular glance over the shoulder). If we dare to take that leap, this cannot ever look “just the same” as our yesterdays, nor can it come from a place of perpetual separation mentality and imbalance (our distorted binary reality); something has to give. Indeed, to move forwards, we emphatically need both binary parties on board, in balance, fully polarised and then….ting…the shining third part appears, as if by magic!

And so we leap…

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The final push

I was watching one of those scenes in a drama last night where the girl is going through labour, it feels like she’s giving birth to a watermelon, she’s in such pain and angry with the guy, everyone says she can do it…she does…and there is a great deal of relief and joy.

When I wake in these mid February mornings (I realised today) it always feels somewhat like that and has for years. I’ve talked many times before about the “quickening” in the pulse of electricity that I discern in my nervous system in mid to late January, as Nature wakes up and starts to stir, like a very fine electrical current running through everything. This can trigger my finely tuned sensors after the slumber of the preceding months but its always February that floors me the most; even when, as is happening this year, I insist that it doesn’t. It affects my body profoundly, even when it’s inconvenient because I have places to go. Yesterday felt as though the ground beneath my feet was running a high-voltage energy through my entire body and today I was taking the hit.

Even the shock factor of opening my eyes and being suddenly awake, today, seemed to push too much charge though the over-fine cables of my nerves; as though the pain of landing in the body was enough to burn out the entire fuse board. I knew the pain well…but I couldn’t be having any of it. I had somewhere to be and it felt important to me so I had to push through. I drew on emergency reserves and head off to the shower…

Why haven’t I pushed through like this before? Why don’t I normally risk it? Because it doesn’t, generally, feel like the last push…its as though I always have to hold something in reserve for other times ahead, incase this finishes me. Yet I know from previous Februaries that it usually is the past push…for now. March is generally better. March typically feels like I’m cradling the babe of my improved health in my arms, in golden sunlight and all congratulations. March is where the life of my year begins.

It struck me, in the shower, that this is where we are all at right now. We are sweaty, we are angry, we don’t even know how we will get this thing through; logically, it doesn’t make sense…too big, yes a watermelon to be passed. Like me, we are angry at the sun for making it happen…why was this started, how can we ever get it out without wholesale destruction? This thing is way too massive…a whole new kind of world is the size of many watermelons…so how oh how can we ever do that.

Yet, somehow, like every mother in every labour, we will do it. Of course, there’s the chance of stillbirth, of self-destruction in the process, but the odds are in our favour. The one thing we can be sure of is that it will feel like we can’t until the very last moment…yet our anger and frustration can so quickly turn to radiance and joy and unspeakable awe if we make that final push.

How can we ever know it’s the final push? We never can…and there will, still, always be more final pushes (this is life!) but we can assume it’s the final push for now if this amount of momentum has built. I spoke about the importance of momentum just yesterday, in my other blog; that crucial ingredient, the run-up to the most important of paradigm shifts. The thing that carries us through is faith. We have no precedent; not even when a mother has given birth to half a dozen children does she have precedent, since each one is entirely different. But we have a feeling and we all (when we tune into deepest intuition) know just when to push to make the difference.

In my life, that time is here. Perhaps I was right, in those other years, not to go so hard on myself at this tricky time of the year. Perhaps those were just the contractions that prepared me for recognising this highly-keyed sensitivity that tells me things are about to change. Perhaps many of us have become so-tuned in recent years. Women, especially, have refound the earth-instinct that connects them to the rhythms of a birthing planet in a sentient universe, whether or not they have ever had an actual baby in this lifetime. As the cliché goes, we just know when it’s time.

So I feel its time right now; time for me, time for all of us and though it may be hot hot and sweaty on the birthing table, though (in fact) we would rather get down to the ground to indecorously crouch and wail and gnash our teeth, we somehow know its all beautiful and it will be fine. We just have to trust and push through.

A version of that is what I’ve done today and somehow I am upright for my “thing” that I so wanted to do. Other years would have found me prostrate on the sofa for a day, feeling so much pain and overwhelming sensation as I did when I woke up but, instead, I’ve stood under flowing water, bashed out this post and am off to make myself a juice and get out the door. So, things are not the same this time around the cycle. Things may look the same but, where Mother Earth is concerned, they are often powerfully different in ways that only the most tuned-in will discern. Enough of us are doing that, right now, to give us the signal.

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Reeling in the higher vibes

When I was a child, long before the term “neurodiverse” became part of my vocabulary, I never seemed to so readily accept assurances of safety or the fixed parameters of experience that I was taught as did my age-peers. So it was as though I was always pre-wired to push my sensory awareness further, to go experientially beyond the edges of what I was told, seeking my own outer clarification and safeguards; other more reliable, far broader and much more inclusive perimeter boundaries, or, the sense of a much bigger safety shell enclosing me than what was on offer. I did this in order to feel that my world was better organised and more generally safe that it seemed (which wasn’t very, in my opinion, as a highly sensitive child…), and to know who I was in this great-big experiential picture. The common idea that safety relied on smallness, limitation and closeness-to-one’s-own-chest seemed bizarre and untrustworthy information; there had to be more coherence “out there” than I was being told, thus I had to search for it.

So, from my earliest memories, it was as though I was gathering data in support of an ultimate security or guarantee of coherence “out there somewhere”; something beyond all the contradictions I discerned in my environment (which were far from reassuring…) and, though this continued to elude me, I kept on feeling and feeling into my broadest environment, beyond the normal limits, seeking and gathering its clues, its rhythms and patterns…you could say its frequencies. In hindsight, this could look a lot like an impossible life of high sensitivity…a foible or a flaw whereby I feel too much and experience sensory overwhelm in certain quite typical situations but, to me, it is entirely normal and just my way.

Its been suggested that I feel too much because my aura is shot full of holes but I no longer hold with that; not in my case, though this could be so for others who have lived through a lot of trauma. Perhaps its because I sense its less a case that “life” has harmed my aura than that I made all the holes in it myself, with a metaphorical pair of scissors…reaching out for the kind of extreme sensory experiences that I thought might eventually get me to an outer perimeter reality that felt more solid, more whole, more real, coherent and resonant thus much more obviously orchestrated by divine influence than anything very close to me seemed to suggest (I have never really understood this world the way it is “made”).

From the outset, it was as though I didn’t ever want to take anybody else’s say-so as concrete truth and I didn’t want anything to obscure my view of those farthest reaches of understanding which, I hoped, would one day bring me such clarity and peace. I was reaching and reaching out for some sort of overarching sense and purpose to life from the moment I developed curiosity about the world and, to do this, I needed to be rid of all the tight-fitting armoury that most neurotypicals seem to wear; all those layers of belief-paradigm that lock them so tightly and unquestioningly “in”, unless they hit a major snag in the road…the kind of trauma that breaks them open. Traumas came for me too but they simply woke me from self-induced slumbers that resulted from my efforts to seem more neurotypical, to fit in; returning me to myself as before, with added maturity.

So, as I said, I seem to have taken a pair of scissors to my accumulated protective layers and then left them all to fall into rags (I’ve never liked the idea of having to shield myself from the world; it feels self-limiting). At times, it was as through I dragged myself through traumas to wear those layers away. That way, I would be forced to make better sense of my material world; to keep on trying to piece together all the good bits that could make this reality seem more purposeful, more coherent, more beautiful although….yes…it certainly doesn’t make life easy and it requires that I keep searching and still searching for those widest outer parameters that everyone else seems to take as given, though they seem to be so bizarrely content with their limits set at arm’s length, a poor-man’s reality, whilst I was searching for some ultimate blueprint. Even when I find something solid to hold onto (or to hold onto me…) I have this tendency to question it, to pick it all into holes again, just to be sure…since I know there is no endpoint to this journey; the whole of this life is the journey and only part of it at that. At times, this sensory search of mine left me ungrounded, unattached to life…and this only left me more vulnerable to invasive sensitivities as my nervous system geared itself to the biggest picture possible, which was all too keyed-up and alert for this highly overstimulating world.

Yet, I now realise, sometimes we have to declare that we like where we have landed and to stop for long enough for what we have found to become the new edges to our reality…and to work at that, to make our mark in manifest reality, through the exercise of choice. In other words, we have to land and make a home here…if we really want to; using the blueprint of our broadest outer limits, our most idealistic sense of self, to draft a comfortable and beautiful design for our everyday lives; a world made up of structure and rhythms, of patterns and rituals that feel resonant with our highest frequencies even if they are smaller, by design, to fit our human selves.

In this way, I get to usefully supply my own chosen rhythms and routines to life, as is so very necessary for my human nervous system to make a comfortable home here; made out of good things, happy thoughts, optimism, joy and laughter, physical fitness, making music together, the kind of structure that supports my life and a timetable of activities I want to take part in, which nurtures my sense of having a place in the world. Too much flux, too much marshmallow-like softness is my nemesis since my pattern-seeking nervous system will then tend to default towards lower frequency patterns, toxic ones, that only make life more difficult to navigate; a catch twenty-two. Yes, I have recently come to realise that I do better with structure and routine in my life; with (to a point) busy-ness and activity in place, so long as it is inspired by the qualities listed above. When I do this, I feel less over-stimulated, less over-sensitive…paradoxically…since I am honing my experience into a higher design of my own making. I also feel, so compellingly, that it’s high time I gave my attention to this; that it’s time to learn how to live my human life better, by design and not always have my head so far up in the clouds. Perhaps this is the case for a great many of us that have led ungrounded, more broadly preoccupied, lives so far, so that we can play our part in the shaping of this physical reality, directly and by example…its all important.

The way forwards, therefore, is to do just what I have done this year and push through the initial discomfort of “going out” into the positive yet, initially, overstimulating rhythms of life much more often; yes, to a routine that largely overrides thought processes and sensory variables (because I am now committed to take part). Doing so little that my unstructured life becomes a target for sensory overwhelm once again, by subtle environmental awarenesses that pass other people but which I can’t help noticing because of how I am “wired”, is not a long-term option for me, going forwards, for all it has served me well as I did the deep inner work that gained me this high degree of self-awareness. It was as though I put on the diving belt for all those years and did the deep plunge to find the pearl of myself, almost running out of oxygen towards the end…but now I must resurface to all the excessive colours and sounds of life up here on the surface, using what I know to make it better. When I join in, I am no longer the watcher on the edge and so I aclimatise more, which is what it takes to live a more grounded life.

What I describe isn’t for everyone of course; I am speaking out loud an entirely neurodiverse perspective which is, as ever (I do realise) quite contrary to most typical viewpoints, nor does this make my blog a self-help guide for the majority. Pulling back from life’s routines might be the very breakthrough point for a neurotypical needing to experience the epiphany that there is much more to life than the material things that have been their safe domain for so long. For those of us that are neurodiverse, I suspect, we are born with a much broader awareness of very much more than the material world “switched on” as our default setting at birth and so we have to, gradually, come to befriend that world by seeking out the positive patterns that most closely reflect the sacred geometry of a universe we already know is out there, if obscured by the heavy curtain of the pantomime reality that “seems” to be the majority-shared fixation on planet earth.

Ironically (though we lack them) us neurodiverse types need our patterns and orchestrations more so than most people, in fact we crave them because they remind us of the cosmic home we came from (and which we never fully left behind). In my case, I know I even crave excitement, stimulation, things to get busy and enthusiastic about….but, first, we have to learn to create filters because, down here in the 3D world, not all patterns and stimulants are so very great or healthy and, being a-typical, we are the ones left with the personal responsibility of shape-sorting our fixations; it doesn’t happen for us automatically, in early childhood (via examples shown) or beforehand (genetically) due to synaptic pruning…rather, we are the ones stood holding the shears.

Is this version of neurodiversity an evolutionary impulse rather than a so-called flaw in human “wiring”? I would say so, since those with it innately reach beyond the limits of the current paradigm in search of higher frequencies of organisation in the universe; which surely do exist (Carl Johan Calleman, PhD makes a compelling case for this in his book “The Nine Waves of Creation”; a book that was like a lightbulb going on in my own experiences). Indeed, as he states in that book “it is is known from the science of cymatics that wave frequencies can organise matter in accordance with geometric patterns”; but first, those frequencies have to penetrate people’s rigid armoury of belief systems…or, if they are without such neurotypicality, perhaps those individuals lie in wait for such evolutionary cues and are receptive to them sooner and more immersively, affecting their experience of life in certain key ways which may seem bizarre or hyper-sensitive by comparison with what is typical, but that’s not to say they are “wrong”…just different (story of my life).

So in a world where all the waking-up people are learning to let go, to release the mind, to go soft enough to turn their experience back towards flux and non-association, it feels as though I am (not for the first time, as always the contrarian) passing along the very same road in the other direction. Yes, I walk the other away from the overwhelming flux of too many sensations that is my default setting towards a golden structure of my choosing; a sensory cacophony conducted into the beautiful music of a life well organised by me, its many-instrumented orchestra made up of self-curated “things”, be those the pleasing clothes and objects that fill my world according to a passion for beauty and form, to the enjoyable structures of my daily activities, to the way that I turn those habits that best support my health and wellbeing into the ingrained rituals that ensure I don’t let them fall by the wayside when I become more busy. Though I’ve tended to shun habitual behaviours, I have come to realise that structure and routine are my friends…and always have been; but it’s only now that I admit it so wholeheartedly.

Gold FishThis is not a case of slipping back into three-dimensional materialism but of coming to realise that material things aren’t inherently bad; that they can be infused and informed by golden intentions in order to transform the everyday world we all share and make it a much closer fit for those seeking a more divine sense of what life is all about. That divine reality doesn’t have to be left “out there” somewhere in the ether; because, those of us that are tuned to it, who have spent our whole lives feeling for it, with our red-raw and over-worked yet tirelessly exploring nerves, can now reel it in closer to ourselves as our physical reality; can turn it into the beautiful architecture of our daily lives, using what we have already learned (which has been the specialism of our whole lives) about the blueprint. In a sense, we hook onto those elusive good feelings, or higher frequencies, from the ether like so many golden fish…and we bring them into land. This reeling-in process is just so important in these times, as we (necessarily) shift from survival mentality into mindfully living in harmony with each other and with nature. We all know how to do these things, though we forgot, but the information is still out there, waiting for us to reach out to it, beyond the narrow husks of our fear-and-pain-driven lives and then, like the great artists we have always been (though we have so long denied it), we turn it into the fabric of our world.

Excerpt adapted from Choosing My Edges on Living Whole – read full post, which covers a lot more angles of this topic, here.

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All or nothing

Yesterday I shared, in my other blog, about the crazy month I’ve had of “coming out of my shell” in a way that sounds quite extraordinary given what a withdrawn, introverted life I had been leading beforehand. It’s been wonderful and has set so many positive things in motion; things that seemed out of reach before.

As I write this, I find myself at a hiatus in this new energy flow; a kind of nervous exhaustion that has held up the “stop sign”, so I have stopped for a day or so (though the urge to write is stronger than ever, as I take review of my experiences). My body has defaulted back to its usual mechanism (hey, its still early days…) to slow me down, being exhaustion and pain and so I am pulling back for a while, which is useful for some appraisal of all that’s been happening.

What I wrote about yesterday on Living Whole was this theme of propulsion that seemed to be emanating from me as though, once I started to commit to trying new things, I became a yes person extraordinaire, welcoming newness left and right of me, on and on, every day for that whole period of time that began in early January…like a running start to the new decade (and solar cycle).

What I’m noticing across many layers, looking back, is how I don’t seem to have a middle ground, For me, I’m either all off or all on (and, for years, I was all off…) so that, once I open the floodgates, I simply come pouring out. I can relate this to my Asperger’s as its that thing they call “lack of social appropriateness” (by comparing it, unfavourably as ever, with what is considered neurotypical…which is all about knowing how to live to social “rules”) though I would cast it in quite a different light.

This way of being can be great, it can be enthusiastic, exciting, life-altering, enlightening and paradigm changing in very quick time, if sometimes exhausting, and can wholeheartedly take me (and those around me) to places that seem wild with potential by comparison with what came before. I just want to make clear, I’m not talking about wild behaviour per se…I’m not partying here, or running around with dirt on my face, tipping tables over…I’m just being authentic me, without masks, social pretences, alternate agendas or falsity. This, for most people, is more wild than they can easily take hold of and it pushes everyone’s boundaries when you dare to be it; cutting through all the stance taking, the guardedness and the assumption that other people are out to get you and diving straight into deep, authentic, out-of-the-box thinking and heart-centred chat about, well, anything.

I also know it can be too much for some people.

As ever I did (and I know I picked up on this as a child), I can see in the eyes and behaviours of some people that they simply don’t know what to make of me. Suspicion arrises as to why I am so genuine, so earnest, so enthusiastic, so willing to share, so open and honest, so prepared to talk about subjects others dance around or lock away. That label “weird” is too easily applied and people that can’t make head or tail of me, and who cant be bothered to try, simply avoid.

For years, I made it easy by pulling back from life myself, until even those few niche friendships I had became a little thin on the ground and my enthusiasms were channelled elsewhere, into non-relationship endeavours such as art (though that is a relationship medium of another kind) and my own spiritual growth through my relationship with the divine. In that quarter, I found there was no issue with me being all or nothing. Meanwhile, in my human portion, it’s as though I had to leave myself in the “off” position most of the time; a state I have come to equate with holding so much rigidity and pain in the body. Its as though, as a child and young person, I failed to assimilate the social mores that keep most people so well held-in, like they are wearing behavioural corsets (because I just couldn’t relate to them…blame my Asperger’s…and couldn’t bare to fake it any longer) so I resorted to the body to become my “off” position…an understanding that has informed my healing journey more than I can say.

All or nothingSo, my life settings are relatively simple: I am either the tap that stopped working or the faucet that comes on so fully it splashes water over the edge to the basin and all over the floor. In this life-affirming phase of life, I am wanting the latter.

Because, for me, that’s what life feels all about…a sensation and exploration party. For the rest of the world, this is the domain of great fear. They seem to bind themselves up in so many ropes and ties of social and other rules designed to prevent disclosure of anything too deep or too personal to “others”; then they trade and they barter small portions of themselves if they feel they need to in exchange for something they need, but mostly they guard what is “theirs” like their life depends in it. Then they dig themselves into great trenches of reservation and form cliques to stand up against anyone that wields more openness in case its contagious.

Over the last few weeks, of course, Ive met many people….far more than I normally get to do and have made friends out of a handful of those that I see on a regular basis. One of these kept saying to me how she felt like she had known me forever. She told she didn’t like people at all, though ironically she works with them and seems to be a people person, and that she won’t touch or hug them ever…though by the end she really wanted to hug me. I seemed to open her up with my own openness so that, as I say, she felt like we were very old friends and couldn’t fathom why this was, not being party to a multi-life perspective (I felt into that topic…and her raised eyebrow told me I had now activated the “weird” alarm).

What I suspect such a feeling of pronounced familiarity is, when I meet someone (and its happened many times) is the fact that I go into new friendship as open and honest as if I have known someone for years. Instantly. Because if I’ve got as far as being with them for coffee, then I am also prepared to trust them enough to share far more than (by conventional standards) “I probably should” and, at the time, this puts them at ease…enough to share things with me that they don’t normally share with many or any others. This can leave them feeling, temporarily, so liberated, even delirious with joy or excitement and enthusiasm at the higher-vibe conversation they have taken part in, like taking to the air above ordinary chit-chat into a sky full of possibilities. That is, until they have time to review what just happened and they start to worry about it; wondering, what’s the catch? Once “reason” kicks in again, they often clamp themselves shut, even harder than ever, regretting what they said, worrying why they told me and now suspicious of whatever this power was in me that got them to disclose their innermost secrets with such casual familiarity.

Once, years ago, this happened with a woman I met dog walking who invited me home for coffee because we were having such a great no-holds-barred conversations including a certain amount of confessional on both sides. Seven hours later, we were like long lost friends, reunited at last…until she must have panicked, and frozen, afterwards and was very different the next time we met. A version of this (not so dramatic) has happened with this woman from the other week. Its as though they suspect I have cast a sort of spell over them; some sort of beguilement that, temporarily, caused them to let go of their reserve and the boundaries of their thinking and, without the confidentiality clause that would perhaps only ever have them saying this stuff to a therapist, they were now undone with fear since, after all, I was a perfect stranger until that point. Really, some beautiful nuggets of mutual understanding had occurred; dazzling and liberating and beyond ordinary thought but it wasn’t me doing this; it was the pair of us alchemising it in each other. So what they found in there was really theirs but stuff they don’t normally look at it; which alarms them…to find secrets that are fantastical and chock-full of possibility inside their own consciousness, hidden by all the furniture of their everyday paradigm. It daunts them and so they flee.

Typically, they then withdraw or rebuff me with sarcasm, flippancy, brevity or the obvious preference to talk to me only when other people are around and other subtle signs of discomfort that tell me “I’m not sure about you anymore….I’d like to take advantage of my cooling off period to reconsider”. But then they see you doing magic with some other person and, suddenly, they want to join in again…and so the dance goes on; some of these relationships take off into new turf, others seems to stagnate and yet seeds get planted in more amenable soil, these days, than they used to. Back at school, in darker days, some of these glorious beginnings based on complete openness are exactly what turned into the sourest of relationships because the more that person had relaxed their thinking and spilled personal beans to me, the more they then felt they then had to turn themselves inside out with rebuffing behaviours to get out of this fear they had put themselves at some sort of disadvantage, building up great walls of resistance that could turn unpleasant, though they were always entirely unnecessary…I never wanted to harm anyone and only sought heart-centred friendships. Thankfully, most adults don’t go to such lengths but I still notice the trend.

The thing is, what they don’t get is, they haven’t risked anything….not with me. Telling me something isn’t to find it turned against them as “weapon” at some future date, or to be laughed at behind their backs, or to be thought of any less. What they see is what they get, no pretences. I’m a very simple equation, I just want to get down to the business of being true friends with someone, sharing what we know, what we experience, what we speculate about life, together. In fact, I long for that beautiful sharing party, to make double the kind of machinations that go on in my own crazy consciousness, with another being so we can have some fun doubling up…but, other than with my husband, my online friend and some of the readers of this blog, I struggle to find this kind of open, unlimited friendship in reality and it is all kept strictly to the rules of the game of “being social” as determined by a mindset that is completely alien to me.

Yesterday, I met with a woman for the first time that I “ought” to have been a match with, chosen because she was at least tuned into to the spiritual reality that is absolutely my starting premise for all angles on life. It can get very hard to open up fully to people who don’t share this spiritual angle because you find yourself having to qualify things in terms they understand, which skirt around this (to me) obvious fundamental that all things are connected and that we are all aspects of divine source having a unique experience, playing a game of separation in order to learn something about ourselves. In other words, I can see its a game (and sometimes just really long to push the game aside and get real with another person…) whereas most others I meet take it all very seriously, from within the paradigm, sticking to the separation based rules. So how do I ever get to live my own truth if people won’t join me there? Yes, it can be done and I find my spiritual persona informs the way I handle situations that, quite often, impact people in positive ways without them having to “go there” with me (to a place they feel too uncomfortable to go…since it involves thinking outside the box they call home) but its not the same as the kind of conversation that starts from that premise as the foundation to all else. It can feel like you are always having to make things seem smaller or more accidental than they really are, just so other people can relate at all…and it gets wearisome.

So I was hopeful of this conversation with the woman I met but what I found was a version of what I find is very typical around “spiritual” women of a certain age. I learned, pretty quickly, that she is adverse to people (her “only allergy”), to the point she no longer engages with clients except through Skype and has to pretty much dowse herself in flower essences afterward any engagements in order to cleanse herself of their energy. Even as we sat there at the table, I could feel her building her barriers against me, drawing her fixed conclusions, guarding her particular viewpoints as “the way” though I felt no such need to defend mine, rebuffing me with her energy shield though her words sounded interested enough. Its a sad, but true, state of affairs that you can find a lot of this going on in “spiritual” circles and its no more than another version of what I found with my other new, non-spiritual, friend.

In fact, people not liking people is a really big problem in this world but when it exists so dominantly amongst females, in a world that is meant to be returning to its feminine values, this strikes me as quite disconcerting. Even amongst women who talk of feminine archetypes like they are all they can think about, I find this air of deepest suspicion clouding everything…and little action going on where the words lead.

Whereas me, having been tucked away for so long, am…as I said…this waterfall just wanting to fall, unreservedly, in order to break new ground. I long to splash and play, sparkle and pour, to glimmer in sunlight, to make a formidable sound, to be all that I am…around others doing likewise.

It’s a conundrum of our times; and another a-typical versus neurotypical locking point. People say they want more freedom, more flow, more organic healing, more natural rhythms and to live lives trusting in Nature again and yet they litter this wishful landscape with “excepts…” and “yeah buts” and other such safeguarding conditions. They want it just a little bit but not all of the time and, as soon as thy don’t feel safe, as soon as they have to give up part of themselves to the daylight, they recoil back into all the same old fear mechanisms and structures of separation.

What if the Earth herself is feeling like me? What if she just wants to turn on the tap as far as it will go and let flow without someone always coming in to say they can only allow this to happen a little bit, to a certain budget, in a certain place or certain way, to a certain set of conditions, such as Nature can go wild in a patch or a park just so long as she doesn’t interfere with any man-made structures. What if all of that is missing the point that Nature has all the solutions and can lead us to them, if we will just listen and stop trying to tailor Nature to our ways; not because she is some kind of know-it-all but because she will remind us that we are all part of Nature…we just forgot?

What if she wishes that, instead of being made to contain and restrain her, those manmade structures were made to better support her in doing what she could do to help, which would be to allow her to lead the way to how we go about healing all the ills on this planet, new outside-the-box ways, rather than people always thinking they know best, wanting to make her influence neat and tidy or conditional to this or to that.

What if the only way we get to heal this planet is to trust that Nature knows stuff we need to hear and that, when we take down our fear structures, these remedies will organically appear though our innate connection with the Earth and the ideas this will inspire in the hearts of innovators who could do all we need to do in a jiffy?

What if we all really meant it when we said we wanted peace and love and unconditionality on Earth; and to live like that, unreservedly. The thing is, to make the feminine aspect conditional is a contradiction in terms, so do we want more of its affect in our world or not?

So, painful though it can seem, perhaps people like me are daring to model these things when we go “out there” being unreservedly ourselves, however much of a barrage we are confronted with as people react in their different ways. Sometimes, we will get though, in surprising places…as I already have. In subtle but powerful ways, we are influencing things, just by being us.

When I meet new people, this time around, I am just me and this is what has changed quite significantly from the last time I was “out there”. If I sense a really strong non-resonance, the only other other way for me to be is to be “off”, in which case I will go quiet. and pull back But if there’s a chance I might connect, I’m there…me as I am, saying it how I feel, genuine and interested, fun and irreverent, handling things that come up as organically as I know how. What I really struggle with is those people who have no humour, no love light, no evidence of even buried joy hidden away somewhere wanting to come up or who seem to want to snuff our everyone else’s. I will feel for it but, if the response is utterly flat, I quickly lose energy around that person and I have to move on; as I have already done with one person I have met. This is as much to do with self-care (topic of my other post) as for the fact I feel no point where resonance doesn’t exist. This too I have learned since last time.

All I really want…all I have ever really wanted (looking back across my whole life)…is to love unconditionally. It’s a hard thing to model in this world, set up as it is but I’m prepared to keep on trucking, in my own inimitable fashion. A few people might get dowsed by my effect as I enter their space, so I apologise for the so-called flaw in my overzealous faucet, I really don’t see the point in all those half-measures for turning the flow up and down more, positioning it half-heartedly, which sends confusing messages and leaves everyone having to work out what they are really dealing with. Of course, I’m working on my sensitivity around appropriate situations and timing, and I have to make sure I don’t wear myself out but, if Im going to “come out” amongst people, then here I am.

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The unmistakable lightening of days

Let me take you on a walk through a city; am impromptu Imbolc ceremony with a difference. No green pasture this, no village tree surrounded by fields…but, rather, pavements cracked with gold that speak of new beginnings. As ever, my story is straight from real life, its long, its detailed…but no detail is ever superfluous in the rich tapestry of subtle experiences that emerge to make such sense, and draw such hope, out of the ordinary and mundane. Come and spend Imbolc with me…in London, to explore some extraordinary reasons why I came home feeling “everything is going just fine” (not what you hear very often these days). I could try to break this into smaller portions or bullet points but it would really make no sense without the full account I’m about to give you, so settle in.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 17.43.52First let me explain something about myself as a highly-sensitive type. There is something about the lengthening days around Imbolc, the sun “holy day” half way between winter solstice and spring equinox (the first day of spring) that I experience more viscerally than those other sun days (though I feel them all in their ways)…as a fine electric current coming up through my core and into my skin, fizzing in and pulsing away to my finger tips and all my other sensory organs. At times, it also feels like an urgent “shock” or a series of pulses, like when you touch a socket with wet hands, as though designed to defibrillate the nervous system back to life after the stupor of winter. I first noticed these effects years ago, even before I gave much through to pagan calendar days, but once I put it all together with what I observe happening in Nature at this time, it all made so much sense.

Because not only do I feel these effects in myself but I notice them manifesting in nature, as shoots suddenly starting to push up from the soil, accelerating their growth, and birds becoming louder and more animated, suddenly. All around, there’s a distinct quickening in Nature at this time of year, as though an alarm bell has sounded, a signal given. Since I first began to perceive these currents of energy “spark” from the ground into my own nervous system, I’ve wondered “is this it?”, is this what Nature feels as its trumpet call to get going, even when the weather is chill and the days still just as overcast with grey? So, not a visual cue but a felt one, a shock of electricity that finely tuned nerves pick up on and can’t fail to dance to? Because I have been like that, especially this year; dancing myself up out of long hibernation to start a new tempo of life for myself (which has been the running theme of posts in my other blog lately); as though this year is the springtime of all springtimes.

Noticing this has only sharpened my awareness of other signal calls through the subtle nerves of the body; clues to other cycles turning, other calls to awaken…and there is much awakening going on right now, in my view. If you happen to track the rhythms of the Schumann resonance (earth pulse), topic of many online conversations, that has been most interesting lately; and I feel that too, before I even check the charts. Its as though there is an all encompassing signal radiating up from the core of the earth, to all of us to wake up and I notice its effect, a little more keenly, year on year even when the signs of it might be hard to perceive at surface level from “what is going on”. Whether Imbolc means “in the belly” or “budding”, as two suggestions are, the theme of it is pretty clear and its as though we are undergoing the Imbolc of all Imbolcs on some larger cycle right now (see my last post for more on the new sun cycle that is just starting); a gestation reaching its next most natural stage and, like that point when labour begins, (as every mother knows) there can be no change of heart, no avoidance of the inevitable. This thing has got too big now and has to “out”!

For the first few years that I consciously noticed this effect in myself, as actual electric nerve pulses up through my feet and legs (which happened the first spring after I become noticeably electrosensitive to manmade things…I was now super-vigilant to such pulses from all the pain I had been in for months) it was, quite literally, another source of pain and of, ironically, the kind of chronic fatigue that sent me straight back to my sofa again, curled in a ball. That same year, I tried to go to London overnight in February on a fairly spontaneous whim and managed just one day there out of the planned two, unable to sleep at all in our lovely last-minute hotel room and so fatigued the next day that I hardly moved for hours once I got home. As I’d walked the city streets, that Saturday afternoon, it was as though electric shocks were coming up through the pavement cracks, pulsing through my legs from foot to hip until I could hardly walk, it was agonising. That was the first time I got the actual sense “something is coming up at me from under the ground” and I will never forget it, though I have changed my interpretation of it.

A version of the same thing has happened every year since, though I have managed to get my man-triggered electrosensitivity mostly under control (through lifestyle changes and limited exposures). Whatever my progress in this regard, early February has remained the most eventful for the return of pulsing nerve pain and the kind of deep fatigue that comes with it, to the point I became almost reluctant to make any plans around this time of year…at least, not until March, when things suddenly pick up for me around the time of the Spring Equinox, my favourite time of year. These cycles have been pretty consistent for me, for the longest time.

Yet Imbolc is important to me and I like to mark these sun occasions “somewhere special” so I had pretty much decided to spend this year at Glastonbury as we (almost) did last year…well, we were only “out” by a few days due to a logistical hitch and, in hindsight, a very good job too as I was flat-out fatigued and in pain as ever for those few days…you see the trend.

However, this year, fate took a funny twist as tickets came up for a concert I really…I mean, really…wanted to go to and it was at Chalk Farm near Camden in London, over the actual Imbolc weekend. By that point, I was already starting to feel some sort of new potential in the air as we approached 2020; I was feeling daring and quite determined something new was afoot, that this was no time for trimming life back to old fears, so I was prepared to challenge myself regardless. So I took the gauntlet and bought the tickets anyway, yes in spite of my very logical reservations, booking a room on Airbnb to stay the night near the venue.

Perhaps it was because I still had Glastonbury in my mind but something told me I wanted to be on a hill on this Imbolc trip to London; that this would make it all alright, and so I was thrilled to find what was described as a lovely room in someone’s house on Primrose Hill, which I had never been to but I sensed it was a good place for me to be, north of the Royal oddity that is Regents Park, very close to my favourite and quite ancient little church of Old Saint Pancras. I already knew that the Primrose Hill location had associations with pagan gatherings and, well, who knows, maybe I was supposed to unearth that same feeling of sacredness in urban London that I always experience on Glastonbury’s green Tor; perhaps that was the very paradox awaiting me.

455-bBut then the host cancelled due to a a hospital summons (I knew this was the reason immediately I got the notification, even before her email followed to explain) and so I looked for last minute hotels, finding one with great reviews directly opposite the music venue (oddly, since I hadn’t come across it when I first looked for accommodation, though I had really tried to get something nearby). It turned out to be just perfect; we really liked the room and, being high up on the top floor, we had a quieter night there than we often get at home; how ironic for the centre of the city. What’s more (so far so good) nothing I was experiencing was too overwhelming for me and the concert, which was in an incredible venue “in the Silbury
round”, like an ancient pantheon, complete with domed ceiling, from before the era when the obsession with straight-sided buildings took over (The Roundhouse is an old railway turning shed with typical Victorian elaborations when it comes to internal beams), was superb. Did I mention it was Anais Mitchell…look her up if you don’t already know her (last Feb we were in London seeing her stunning stage show Hadestown) and, well in an oddly thematic way, she was heavily pregnant as she performed but that (as her band members commented) didn’t stop her doing anything…at all. I loved this building or, what was it more like…an ovum or a giant egg, glowing with multicoloured lights on the inside. It reminded me, somehow, of Silbury Hill at Avebury (another place we’ve tended to spend Imbolc) only, whereas that is moated by water when the rains have been heavy enough, as they often are at this time of year, this one was moated by pedestrians and visitors, busy roads and railway track; all the current and flow of city life.


Primrose Hill and Chalk Farm…as was.

It made me smile that we were situated at Chalk Farm, so named as it was once a settlement (derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Chaldecot’ which means ‘cold cottage’ or ‘cold shelter’), so no chalk under foot exactly but, at some subliminal level, it made me feel like I was staying on the Ridgeway or some other chalky hillside, not on a grimy road in London next to a tube station. I also felt as though I was tuning into the place as it once was, or at least the soil beneath my feet, as much if not more so than the present day veneer of traffic and kebab shops and, honestly, I liked the place a lot; it had such a good feel to it.

Because whenever I go to London, its as though I experience its layers (of which there are many) in parallel across a bandwidth of time from the present all the way back to the very ancient times when the earliest humans settled it and worked with the landscape in ways we so conveniently forget about now. Back in the days when we felt the soil beneath our feet, when we noticed the springing and flowing of water instead of marshalling and forcing it into canals and down sewers to suit ourselves, as well as all the telluric energy lines plus all the subtle and variable energy attributes of each location, rather than colonising every square inch of it for maximum “real estate” profit.

IMG_3202As I looked out of our hotel window at the endless scaffolding still populated by hard-hatted workmen, though it was now Saturday, my night-time reveries about sacred hills beneath the sprawl, led by what I felt coming up at me from the actual ground of the place, seemed to grow faint and retreat to the edges of my consciousness again, yet they never completely left me throughout the day, as we wove our way through the crowds of Camden market and jostled with the collective push towards the tube. Our first call, even before breakfast…we happened upon a Vagina Museum which, far from being crass, was full of thought provoking information (the quiz quickly flagged up how little we knew in terms of labelling female biology) and seemed to leave quite an impression upon everyone IMG_3209who happened to be there at the time. If some of the images on products, such as bags and mugs, in the shop were provocative for visitors passing through then perhaps this was the sign that this particular conversation is well overdue; when did we become so furtive about our female body parts? The museum was started by a group of women volunteers in response to the fact that there was no other such thing in the world at that point, which is bizarre when you think about it…how stoutly we all ignore the very thing we all birth from. Somehow, it seemed right on-theme for the day. Yes, we were in the heart of the capital on Imbolc and there was nothing in me that suggested I was in the wrong place. As ever in London, our schedule, as such, fell apart to become this organically led thing, according to what we were attracted to, where we wanted to stop and spend more time, and it was as though the streets were paved with gold…a yellow brick road leading us to where we were meant to be.

And, after all my planning, we were not on a hill but straddled between two of them that first night; with Primrose Hill to the south and Hampstead Heath to the north. There felt like some meaning to being on this dot-to-dot line of high points that pointed towards the epicentre and it formulated itself into a new desire, to join the dots with my feet. By that point, we had grabbed the opportunity to stay an extra night (thanks to our dog sitter) and booked an Airbnb for Saturday night. The decision to stay the extra night was quite spontaneous on my part and I had already acted on it during the half-hour it took out train to get to Paddington, booking the room from my phone. Wait a minute, did I say spontaneous? Who, me? Yet when those of us who are never normally spontaneous get these sudden strong urges, a pulse of intuition that makes itself so very clear, it makes us sit up and take notice, so I could tell something interesting was afoot and I had to follow it.

And the choice of where to extend our stay seemed quite obvious to me when I was scouring the numerous options; it was clearly meant to be Hampstead…that other hill due north of the one originally planned. If Primrose Hill, it turns out, has a long “modern” association with Druids going back more than a couple of centuries, then its also worth noting that the Council of British Druid Orders was inaugurated on the Summer Solstice, on Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, in 1994 since which the annual ceremony has always taken place on one of those two hills or the other. Ross Nichols, in “The Book of Druidry”, states that Parliament Hill was once marked by the ditches and ramparts of a Bronze Age camp (implied to have been in evidence not so many generations back) which, in his opinion, would have been ineffectual as defences so they must have served as a sacred enclosure. I was drawn to these places before reading any of these quips by the way (I am only reading about the ramparts now as I write this post). Apparently Parliament Hill was previously known as Lan Din, meaning “sacred high eminence” or (as Christopher E Street in his book “London’s Ley Lines” proposes) ““high place of the gods” relative to the whole area” (he lists parliament Hill as a node on what he refers to as the Parliament Hill ley line made up of a series of other key landmarks and hills (including Alexandra Palace which I visited early last Spring…), extending north east to Enfield as part of an “Earth Star” formation of lay lines emanating from the very centre of London). Another article on London’s Celtic Heritage states: “ A ley line between here and the White Hill in the Tower of London is to them the Midsummer’s day azimuth – the line in which the sun rises on Midsummer’s day”. None of this surprises me in the least, nor does the fact my sister just told me she “happened” to visit the Tower of London (a place I find so heavy place…the overlaying effect of history) just yesterday on a rare trip to London, within forty eight hours of me being on Hampstead Heath.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 19.46.55I had been wanting to explore Hampstead for ages and felt oddly drawn to it (I used to have a travel poster with its name brandished on my wall as a teenager).  I really loved it the one and a half times I went there in my twenties, the half being a flying visit over night, spent down the pub and sleeping on a friend’s floor but, that other time, I just wandered its streets and sat in cafes all day, loving the feeling of it, lapping it all up. Both times, I declared I would be back yet this somehow went on hold for the longest time. One of my closest uni friends moved there and I never tracked him down but the desire to do so has hovered in the back of my mind for nearly thirty years. Every time I’ve watched a film set there (and quite a lot are…) I’ve felt such a tug and promised I would get back for more thorough exploration soon but never did, until now.

This was clearly the right time and, though we had no idea what the exact location of the accommodation was until the booking was confirmed, it couldn’t have been more perfect, or central, since we were tucked right behind the High Street in a beautifully converted set of serviced apartments down a picturesque side street with cafes and quirky shops all around. There’s a reason Hampstead is still referred to as a village, its like a haven from the urban sprawl and has quite a different energy, almost as though the subliminal shrillness of urban chaos switches off as soon as you enter the zone (or, its pollution gets absorbed by all the green spaces). In fact, if Hampstead’s layout looks like a triangle, we were situated at the very centre of its pyramid, in the very point of its arrow, pointing due north to the green expanse of the Heath, which is where I really longed to go, having never got there before.

The feeling of being “like home” from the moment we arrived, with no surprises and a perfectly positioned cafe next door serving my quirky kind of food, felt like a clue I was onto something. The first thing I noticed was the BT tower in direct view from the window; we were on an uninterrupted line south to the very heart of the city (a similar direction of view to what the ancient folk must have looked along from the top of the heath when only fields and occasional settlements punctuated the panorama).

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 12.58.01Then, over my side of the bed, offset by a shelf over the other, was the unmistakable face of Elizabeth Siddal, one of the unmistakable Rossetti redhead artworks I so love; so similar to the one I always had on my wall at the zenith of my long-running passion for the Pre-Raphaelites. This one is clutching a bunch of the yellow lilies so typical around English ponds (the one near my house sprouted a whole crop of them after work was, finally, done to clear it of  years of overgrowth and human trash) and, in her hair the seven sisters of the Pleiades…only, one is obscured behind her head (presumed to make reference to the one sister that fell in love with mortal man, with all his inherent flaws, thus her light was “put out”… Siddall, Rossetti’s wife, had recently died from an overdose). Redheads, it seems, were not having their best day in the era of the Victorians; once you look beyond the immortal gloss of just so many paintings of them hung in galleries, the back-stories were often gloomy and a far cry from the redheadedness we associate with the earth-connected females of the past…

IMG_3300Yet, on this particular day, being also known as Brigid’s day, the red-haired woman hung above the bed only made me smile at the synchronicity, not least because of the three-way connection with another redhead I had been obsessing about.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 16.37.14

The Celtic goddess Brigid

I had spent the night before, in the dark of our hotel room after the concert, avidly researching the location of Boudicca’s grave, which I knew was rumoured to be on Hampstead Heath (except by those who state she is buried beneath platform 9 at Kings Cross Station…). The high-up Heath is said to be where she used to camp her army before sweeping down into the basin of London across the river Fleet (subject of my earlier writing; more on that below) close to where Kings Cross railway station now stands, to take on the Romans. As soon as I had intuited I wanted to stay in Hampstead on Imbolc, it came to me that this was something to do with her and some message she had to deliver to me. Strong-minded, redheaded female icons were with obviously going to accompany me on this adventure and, with my curiosity piqued, I set about observing what unfolded next.

Boudicca (or Boudicea to some), the warrior queen who led an uprising against the colonising Romans in AD60…our first documented European invaders: what do we think of when we conjure the name? I allowed myself to go off on a ramble on this topic, from all I felt I knew at the start of my weekend, without sensor, and here it is for the next few paragraphs…

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The Victorian statue of Boudicca at Westminster…claimed for the empire.

I can’t help noticing there is an aura of ridicule or sneeriness connected to her; a socio-cultural hint of disapproval for fierce women of her ilk with wild hair and grubby faces, those who bare teeth when they’re angry and who act in an unladylike manner (how she is so often depicted); yes, she probably swore and said what she meant too, good gracious! Perhaps the “moral” Victorian’s instigated this disapproving stance, though she also enjoyed a resurgence of popularity during their era of “Rule Britannia”; those same Victorians commissioned a bronze statue of Boudicca and her daughters fiercely charging on a chariot with two horses, turning her into a national treasure and symbol of empire and, perhaps, missing the very point of what motivated her in the process, as they had a way of doing. I thought back to Rossetti’s “thing” for redheads and couldn’t help comparing this bronze tableau of Boudicca with the kind of redheads that had been reduced to becoming rather bored and emotionally stifled artists’ muses by the time the Victorians were around…not a way of life Boudicca would have related to!

Yet the Romans, and pretty much every era since, has disapproved of such feisty and opinionated behaviour from females, conveniently overlooking the fact that, in Boudicca’s time, this wasn’t so very abnormal. In Etruscan society, for instance (see my post on visiting Volterra last year for more on this), women are known to have lounged about naked, drank beer, openly brought up their children of unknown male parentage without a flinch of shame, taken a much more equal and involved part in marriage and community decisions and, heavens, carried weaponry. In fact, in an article I just happened upon(“Oops! Etruscan Warrior Really, a Princess” on Live Science) about the misidentification of the gender of bodies in graves due to the presence of weapons and jewellery, this trend of interpreting history through the eyes of “modern” values is exposed for the major pitfall that it is since, in this case, the warrior occupant of the grave with the spear turns out to be female, “oops”.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 12.15.27So, Boudicca was probably not such an anomaly in her times; albeit a female leader with incredible amounts of determination and courage. When third century historian Cassius Dio described her speaking to a throng of 120,000 people, this tall figure “most terrifying” with fierce eyes, grasping a spear, and with a mass of “tawny” hair falling to her hips, he was probably not far wrong. For a longer account of her campaign, her victories…which were considerable…and her demise (shrouded in mystery though that is), I recommend the link to this article on Ancient Origins.  This woman was a warrior and she meant business; because there was a great deal at stake and she knew it. A lot of water would pass under the bridge before what was about happen would get even close to reversal…this was a man’s world that was coming.

If we are impressed by her then perhaps we should be; she was prepared to stand up to the bullies who were messing with the liberties of her people and their chosen way of life. The sense I get is that, when women fought (which they clearly did), they did so over pressing matters, not matters of greed, control or hurt pride. On this note, and as a measure of just how out-of-hand the use of weaponry has become across the two millennia since Boudicca addressed the throng, both Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill went on to became well known spots for duelling, that most absurd of methods for settling an argument between men; a practice that no pair of women has (to my knowledge) ever engaged in!

So, more recent ideas of what kind of behaviour “befits” the female of the species have probably cast a shadow over someone who should be regarded, more accurately, as a heroine amongst advocates of freedom. Though, perhaps it is, really, a far more malevolent thing that has actually cast the deepest shadow over her in our national association box; that very same train of association that put women back in their box for the last couple of thousand years by stirring up a deep-seated “moral” disapproval, even amongst women themselves, for those women considered to be too feisty, opinionated or even good at what that do (planting in every girl’s heart such fear that, if they headed that route themselves, nobody would be their friend any more…rather, they would be sidelined, alienated, even burned). Meanwhile, with all that additional pressure applied to the lid of the female casket, in which she was now firmly “put away” for the duration, the distorted masculine aspect remained at liberty to run amok in the world for the next several hundred years, since most women were now too afraid to bear witness or call to account what they saw happening every day for fear of being shunned, pilloried or worse.


Mary Magdalene by Cassandra Barney

This was the very same thing that chased women out of the church, thus out of the centre of communal-spiritual life (they played an active part as priests and spiritual teachers for the first three centuries of Christianity and for very long periods of time prior to that…) and made a prostitute out of red-headed Mary Magdalene, consort to Jesus. Through this conspiracy of silence and fear, women themselves have become the defenders of twisted-masculine ideals of how the world should be run, many of them turning on each other, with their claws out (or, most often, via passive aggressive means), throughout all their schooling years and on into all the various communal and corporate “hubs” of life as adults. In fact, wherever competition, power or control are the prime motivators, significant numbers of women have tended to forget who they are and what they are about and it is only in the last decade or so that we have begun to, collectively, wake up from that stupor to reclaim a more genuine sense of sisterhood, along with the undistorted feminine traits we left behind somewhere in history (which, yes, include more than a smidgeon of feistiness and opinion). Of course, feminine traits are universal to us all (men or women alike) and extend far beyond gender labels, yet women as mothers, sisters, daughters etc. remain the prime role models we use to familiarise ourselves with the traits “in action”; our behaviours in these roles setting the cultural trends for the next generation. So, if Boudicca was to join your community or office hub today, how would she fare? Would she be part of the in-set or would she be the passively excluded dreadlocked female with stubby nails that nobody wants to sit close to or add into their WhatsApp chat circle, hmm?

Whatever it is that she represents, I have always felt quite the opposite to the sneer-factor…rather, so much compassion and awe, such connection with her; this feisty woman who took on the Roman invaders and dared to do what it took to at least try to send them on their way, leaving her story behind as a package wrapped in fuzzy layers of history for future women to pick up again by some other means than via history books (since they are so notoriously unreliable when it comes to female heroines). Rather, we find her via a sense of such deep-seated relatability, an inexplicable resonance in our cells, when we recognise her as that part of ourselves that dares to speak out when something is clearly “off”, that is prepared to be unpopular for a good cause, that risks life and limb, or at least personal comfort, for the higher values of community and family and the right of all to sleep safe in their beds at night, untampered with by physical, or metaphorical, marauders.

She dared to stand for independence; and this too is a problematic word these days for, in our unique times, it has come to stand for particular sides of arguments that some of us don’t necessarily stand for (or care too much about) when we say “independence”; for instance, becoming entangled with concepts like Brexit. This, interestingly enough, had “occurred” at 11pm on Friday evening when I was barely out of my seat at The Roundhouse amidst people who had looked universally jaded by the idea when it was referred to by the artist we had gone to see, who offered condolences met by a somber silence, prior to the finale and a standing ovation that was what we were most likely doing as the non-existent bell peeled the transition (a very good way to spend it). If you want to be independent of perceived invaders these days, in the UK, you are presumed to be a Brexitier and yet, in assuming that association, we loose the thread of a far more subtle argument around what independence really is; one that says that we each have the right to claim our uniqueness and sovereign independence from others “in our own personal domain”, be that our inner landscape or the one we make our home in. This is very different to the political argument that would like to see entire borders closed and all “alien” people and ideas kept out (which, in the end, are political ideals that encroach even more invasively upon the individual preferences of those living under their jurisdiction, who are held captive by the limitation of exposures thus enforced upon them)…but don’t get me started!

What I speak of here is a concept much more fundamental than politics adequately represent anymore; the right to be the determinant of your own life choices, preferences and ideas, independent of marauders (which, as I said, can come in many forms, including, yes, political structures that dictate but, equally, pharmaceutical pressure groups, chemicals added to food and water or pumped into the air, electro-magnetic frequencies that enter our houses and bodies, cameras that capture every movement we make, satellites that launch in such vast number, ready to beam manmade crap into our homes and spy on us, that it mean we can no longer see the stars as we once did, dubious syllabuses enforced in schools, “authorities” that fail to protect nature spots or sell them off for profit, etc). Standing up to such interference is very much a feminine trait, having little or nothing to do with a desire to compete, to argue the toss over “borders” or “ownership” or be the one “in power” and much more to do with safeguarding sovereignty of the body and soul, and of the land (and the air) we all share; the right to choose how we live, how we worship, what medications we and our children take, what we eat, drink and imbibe through the air, who and what gets to influence our children as they are growing up, and so on. I sense these kinds of concerns are not so very dissimilar to those that were primary to Boudicca and her tribe and its unfortunate that she has got caught up in broader and more modern, fixations of “independence” that people now regard, almost exclusively, through political eyes, filtered as they are by a dominantly masculine world viewpoint.

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“This is a Bronze Age site that could go back to 1,000bc. We want to keep it in good nick. You could do it with tools – but which would you rather see as you walk across here, strimmers or sheep?” John Beyer of The Heath and Hampstead Society.

I happened upon an article that same evening I was researching the location of Boudicca’s grave, written by an American, in which she was endeavouring to compare three distinct things: Brexit, the non-validity (in her view) of the popular “story” that Boudicca is buried in a tumulus known as Boudicca’s Mount north of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, where popular legend has it that she was slain whilst making her last stand against Roman invaders, and an experiment to reintroduce grazing livestock onto the Heath (specifically, sheep onto Boudicca’s Mount, to keep the vegetation in check). This writer was likening Boris Johnson to Boudicca in the way he is prepared to lead “his” people through a process of self-destruction in the name of independence from Europe. Yes Boudicca, in the process of taking on the Romans, led huge numbers of people to their deaths and razed London (already a thriving metropolis at that point) to the the ground rather than let the Roman’s claim the city as it was but the two things are really not the same, nor from the same motivation (and likening her to Johnson has got to be the ultimate slur upon her). The exercise with the sheep seems to have been included as a hint towards a trend of romanticising the past at the expense of the present; especially if that past has nothing much in it that deserves to be romanticised. This leads to her account of how, when Boudicca’s mount was excavated by the Victorians, to a sizeable crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, no bodies were retrieved thus, she implies, the whole legend seems to be on an unsteady footing. In other words, she seems to have decided we Brits have got a little carried away in our sense of national identity, rooted in what she considered to be a romanticised past…

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 17.31.26I would agree that romanticising the past as a reason to claim “greatness” based on dubious moments of glory that have been embellished by time is not a good reason to pursue national independence in times that should be more about cohesiveness and “joining in” as one giant collaboration focused upon making the world a far better place (something I would dearly love to see; though it has yet to happen via any political format in existence…). The past isn’t there to be idolised for being exactly what it was (we have come a very long way since what happened even yesterday) but to be learned from; especially when we notice running themes and important qualities that have been sidelined along the way. What is being missed here is that the concept of “greatness” and of “nationality” being bandied around these days is not one Boudicca or her people would have related to; she was not worrying about her place in the world or her prowess as a great leader but about her people and their way of life, determined by traditions relating to the practical requirements, social conscience and spiritual beliefs of the community in partnership with the land on which they had lived for generations and which was part of them; which is a much-more feminine way of looking at things than most modern people can relate to. Her priority would have been safeguarding a world in which women and children could be safe, where equality and respect between sexes and age groups was core to societal structures and where the wellbeing of all is the guiding principle (not the enrichment of the few; a way of life that would, no doubt, have been “catching on”amongst the men since the Romans begin colonising Britain some twenty years earlier).

In a nutshell, she refused to assimilate with ways of behaving that were not resonant to her or her people, especially the abuse. She was calling to account behaviours that were not consistent with the values of those people; another key female role in the balance of all things (yet how often have we been silenced in the process). And yes, she was really pissed-off and thus “wild”; let’s not forget that when Boudicca took on the Romans she was was a woman that had been forced to her limits; one who had been publicly flogged and seen her two daughters raped to “put them in their place” after her husband presumed to share his territories between those two two daughters as well as the Roman Emperor Nero when he died (which turned out to be less of a diplomatic decision than he thought given Nero wasn’t a very nice, or honourable, man). After those abuses, she refused to make small what she had just been through (as we women have been entrained to do for all the intervening years; that is, taught to shrug it off as “normal” to be abused at least once in our lifetime as a female, as goes the mindset…an expectation I even heard being regurgitated in a contemporary TV program just the other day.)

Metoo-CreativeIn her way, Boudicca was the Me Too movement of her generation and she was out for masculine apology and amends on a grand scale; because she could sense what was coming (and it came flooding in across all our boundaries for the next two thousand years) so she was trying, so fiercely, to stop its tidal wave. We have all (both men and women) been invaded by distorted masculine ideals for all of the intervening time and she was the one prepared to stand on a hillside and cry “stop” for all she was worth. As their leader, she called upon the Iceni tribe and its allies for “unity against tyranny” and this is a classic “feminine perspective” cry in a world where tyranny takes many forms. In her essence, I find part of myself and part of all fierce womanhood as an archetype and I realised, once the synchronicity with Imbolc had occurred to me, that I was in exactly the right place for spending this day, this time around. I wanted to feel the Earth pulse beneath my feet, wanted to respond to it and, above all, wanted to be reminded of all these fierce and feisty “lets take action” feminine qualities. Women may be most closely connected to the Earth, the great matriarch, but that’s not to say we lie passively back and watch anything and everything happen all around us, sad but uninvolved, like some hapless maiden in distress; we get to express and take part in the direction-making process, and to holler when things are being taken down the wrong track!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs it happened, the day of Imbolc itself was a day of settling in to where we were staying and we didn’t head out onto the Heath to “find Boudica” (my plan…not sure it was high in my husband’s thoughts) until the Sunday, though I could somehow sense my proximity with everything to do with her. The change in our plans (not to walk too far on Saturday) happened organically, because I was suddenly swept-off-my feet tired, yet it was OK; by the time we got to the Heath the next day, I was able to discern a trail of others who had been doing their Imbolc ceremonies the day before and it was as though I needed to find my feet in Hampstead before I was ready to go “up there”.


Magnificent tree dominating the view right outside our apartment.

Meanwhile, synchronicities abounded the whole time we were in Hampstead village that afternoon, in ways both subtle and less so. A hub of the arts, literary and music associations, there were two quirky music events to our taste that we could have attended that night, had we been quicker about the tickets…its rare that circumstances so closely match our unusual taste. Once considered a spa after the water from a spring was discovered to have healing properties, the road names all around the “village” allude to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApilgrims, wells and flasks (for carrying water?) so, you could say, there’s a watery theme (interesting for reasons I will come back to later). Of course, its an affluent area and a veritable who’s-who of literary types and other well known names who have lived there so the mixture of Georgian into Edwardian and onto the occasional high modern architecture is very much to “my style” (and had me a little green with envy at times). Oh, and the trees….everywhere we went, day and night, the trees were just the most astonishing, mature beauties that I had to keep stopping to engage with; quite fixated by them, as though we had landed in a strange land full of beautiful tall “people”, many of them adorned with fairy lights. TreesThen, one of the things I could hardly wrap my head around was just how quiet the streets were at night; we walked back and forth to our dinner and it reminded me of walking to the harbour and back every evening in a village in Suffolk last year; just the same as then, we were strolling beneath old fashioned lamp lights, peeking into nineteenth century shuttered windows and cottage-style gardens and literally nobody passing us by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYet in the daytime, everything was lively. Quirkily dressed women filled cafes and juice bars, many of them happy to sit alone, unruffled by their solitude (whereas woman seem to hate doing this back home…or so they keep telling me lately, though I quite like it), but Sunday was clearly the day for guys with kids to be out pushing those prams or entertaining them over cake while mum did other things. Perhaps all the women were indulging in a bit of self-care; there’s quite the renaissance of plant based food, yoga and mindfulness going on in London generally but this corner turned out to be a hotspot. On noticeboards and in windows, we clocked mindfulness retreats, women’s circles, labyrinth workshops and all kinds of interesting gatherings pointing towards this sense of “remembering in order to reboot” that I allude to in this post; and eager willingness to do the necessary work to get ourselves there, which is much more behind the scenes back home. Perhaps not such a surprise in this capital hotspot; a great deal has been shaken up to the surface and exposed, over the last decade, and some of these old wounds have felt traumatic all over again as they have been invited to heal more fully (a version of which I experienced for myself mid decade), but this only tends to lead into a demand for more therapies, more workshops, more mindfulness practices. Now, we are ready for something else to happen; a graduation of sorts and I could feel that happening in this place; a lightness and a preparedness for “new” hanging in the air like the buzz of a spring day in a field of daffodils.

Because many women have become stronger and, yes, lighter though the exposure of what was once hidden in their pasts (often, for many lifetimes or generations), where their minds had allowed them to be tricked into a furtive kind of shame where compassion should really have been. Many of them have done the work to replace shame with that necessary compassion and with self-love, acceptance, honour, recognition, release, remembrance, empowerment, understanding and much more. Now is the settling-in of those times; the embedding of the seed in the nutrient rich soil of what once seemed to be dark and heavy with old traumas but which now, having mulched down like a good layer of compost, serves as marvellous food for the seedling. As we turn the corner into the new decade, there’s this feeling that we are getting down to business again, so the seedling can grow, and I could feel it more here…because there were more people and far less sense of being so isolated in doing it.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 18.02.29Many of us have come to realise we carry such a seed within us and, whereas we once used to feel pain and heat goading us around those harsh times that are, really, just trying to help us, to urge us, to feel more and to dare to grow beyond our long-held safety boundaries, we are now welcoming those same electric currents into our experience because we realise it is the same spark that encourages birds to sing and leaves to unfurl, the shoot to grow up above the level of the soil, since we are back in sync with the natural pattern of all life. How do we know it’s alright now to surrender to the spark? Because we just know it, in the way that Nature takes care of for us, signalling it to us and us somehow knowing we can trust that signal…like a shoot just knows when to grow… without the need for words or conscious thoughts, at the beginning of every new cycle. Its about having innate trust in Nature; and we all find we have it, inbuilt, once we reach down into the part of us that remembers this. I guess you could also call it intutition. And where there are more people likely to have “done the work” to get there, you can feel it happening more readily than in the kind of isolation I have been in for years. Perhaps the combination of especially pressured lives with access to Nature is a special mix of ingredients for people in parts of the city that are like this; full of trees and with the Heath to walk out on whenever fresh air and birdsong is needed. Perhaps it’s a special cocktail that hastens personal growth for a lot of people, all at once.

When you’ve been out of touch with the seasons and circadian cycles for a long time, their reinstatement can come as a shock (for some mores than others…depending on how extra-sensitive you are), which is a measure of how hard you have been working to suppress your connection to Nature for years, probably because it didn’t work with some corporate office routine or whatever state of disconnect and/or survival pattern you had got yourself into. Once you get over that initial shock, there are treasures to be explored via the reconnection with Earth, which can only ever be a good thing because, when we get back in sync, it works to harmonise our bodies and keep us grounded. A temporary pitfall is that, the more sensitive we become to Nature after a period of disconnect, the more we start to notice “counter-nature” in the form of additives, processed ingredients, manmade EMFs and so on but, in the longer run, our earth connection helps us to mitigate the risks of those exposures…we just have to get through that period of unpleasantness, where sensitivity to the one thing increases our sensitivity to the other, for at least a time.

So, in the interim, it can feel as though there are a lot of people, perhaps especially in cities, struggling with sensitivities and intolerances, their life only getting more complicated as they have to adapt to cope. Perhaps thats why it’s so easy to be gluten free in London; because I find it refreshingly easy to eat my way around as there are just so many places geared for food intolerances of all varieties and for those on special diets which, really here, aren’t that very special; in fact, my (at home, peculiar) way of eating, as a gluten free vegan, is suddenly no oddity at all!

IMG_3497So, everywhere we went, we found “our food” easily in a way that it is so hard to do back home. Right next to our apartment, there were juices, energy balls, chaga coffees and turmeric lattes, not to mention great salads and roast veggies galore. We hopped a short distance on the overground to eat Wild on a Saturday night in our favourite restaurant (Wild Food Cafe) and it was so good…given what I’ve been writing here…to see just how popular wildness is becoming in the context of more Earth-connected eating and living; I just bought the fantastic book written by the restaurant owners, which talks in detail about working with food in close sync with the cycles of the year and so much more that is topical here. Even my preferred brand of GF bread (normally an online purchase because its nowhere to be found in shops) was available to buy straight from the cafe next-door. To feel so assimilated with the rudiments of life before I even got to this place (if not in terms of the required income bracket to make it permanent…that good ol’ masculine-themed spanner in the works) was a marvellous thing for a couple of days!

More synchronicities; we passed the local church, a unitarian (the most resonant type of church I have ever come across, being inclusive of all approaches to the divine), where they had just celebrated Imbolc, according to the noticeboard (you really don’t see that in any churches near where I live) . There I discovered three Burne-Jones windows, the very ones replicated in my kitchen – Faith, Charity and Hope – as well as a William Morris window and a plaque to one time congregant, Helen Allingham…my favourite artist when I was very young (check out her bluebell woods, they were one of the first things to inspire me to paint); these are my peeps!

Hampstead HeathIf disconnect from ourselves really was orchestrated all those many eons ago, to keep the feminine aspect underground, then now I sense we are at the point of reconnecting with the life pulse again; which is to reconnect with the kundalini energy that we feel rising through the soles of our feet, the heat rising up our spines, the electric tingle in our fingers wanting to grasp onto new experiences and to really feel life again, as we dare to embrace and dance with life as we once did, a long time ago. Whether it’s through yoga, spiritual pursuits, drinking juices in cafes, saying “hi” to a familiar face in a shop, taking the kids out into the woods to explore or jogging in the park, its happening in the city (and is certainly happening in Hampstead). The Heath itself is this tremendous resource, astonishing in the middle of a city (even one that is well served with “parks”…the paths here were no neatly gravelled arrangement with trimmed edges and marigolds lined up with military precision; we almost immediately regretted not bringing walking boots). It was like “real” countryside, rugged and a little bit wild in places yet no countryside I have ever been to was ever so populated on a fairly fresh early spring day. There were just so many people out on that Heath, even under a slate grey sky, that it could have been a downtown shopping mall (though infinitely more pleasant); making its muddy pathways properly crowded at times, but in a nice way. I liked the feeling of community (in the true sense of the word since we were all in communion with each other and with all of Nature, as in sharing the “vibe”) as we sipped tea in an over-packed outdoor area with a handful of pop-up refreshment stalls and more than a handful of four legged comedy acts sniffing at the food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was even a bird and tree watching group gathering a lot of interest by one of the ponds (and we made quite a few bird sightings ourselves) and just so many people walking their dogs of all sizes, young people, families, couples, the whole range of ages and demographic, all of them engaged with being outdoors in a way that is uniquely London, in my experience (our usual walks are never like this at the weekends; people mostly keep their heads down or act like you aren’t there, walking past them, back home). Maybe it takes city life for busy people to really appreciate Nature, by contrast, and I’m happy to report that both wild and human life on the Heath felt healthy, reassuring me that things are going to be alright; collectively we are getting somewhere important together and I’m heartened by what I have encountered this weekend. Perhaps this particular hill was feeling it too; perhaps, in its own terms, some things (important ones) are getting back to how they were…a long long time ago, when its influence poured down the basin into the city hub nestled in the Thames valley below. Perhaps Hampstead Heath is a font shooting good vibes into the air over the whole urban sprawl.

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 11.47.28

The River Fleet as once was, next to Old St Pancras, one of earliest Christianised sacred sites in England.

On that theme, here was another major synchronicity, for me at any rate. Was that the name “Fleet” I saw on a street name? It turns out, the various ponds on the Heath are fed by the two headsprings of the river Fleet, a river I feel just so connected to whenever I go to London (having tracked and traced its various brief appearances within the urban sprawl, which involves having to be prepared to crouch to listen to water beneath manhole covers…this article will give you some idea where to find it), and I always pay homage to its exit point into the Thames at Blackfriars when I pass there), which I wrote about in the footnote of my post Layers in the Landscape – Part One a few years ago. Once a major tributary and thriving waterway dotted with sacred wells where pilgrims would take the waters, not to mention all the usual trappings of river-life…water vessels and bridges…as you would expect, this river was forced underground by the ever-encroaching swell of buildings and its constant pollution by tanners and butchers backing onto it, then finally covered over for most of its length to be turned into a sewer that tips out into the river Thames near the Blackfriars Bridge (close to St Paul’s cathedral, once the site of a temple to Diana). These days, it is pretty much only remembered as its namesake street – Fleet Street – famous for its “gutter press”, which says it all. You can glean the not so subtle metaphor here; like the feminine aspect itself, this sparkling source of water to the city was, quite literally, shut up, pushed down, forced underground and out of sight, now thoroughly sullied by unreliable words and the filthy byproducts of industrialised life.

At the pond

A collection of essays about swimming at The Pond by writers Esther Freud, Lou Stoppard, Margaret Drabble, Sharlene Teo and Nell Frizzell.

Yet here, in a series of manmade ponds, created in the 17th and 18th centuries as a water resource for the local population, I had found the source of the river Fleet in its healthiest state which, in a metaphorical sense, felt a bit like I had wound myself back to my own healthiest state, high up above the abuses inflicted by history. These ponds are a thriving resource, not only as a nature reserve but as a collection of outdoor swimming pools, one for men, one for women and one mixed. I recently came across the women’s pool featured in the comedy film “Finding Your Feet” – now one of my favourites – in which one of the main characters regular swims there, which piqued my curiosity, having not known it existed until then – what, really, fresh water clean enough for swimming in London?  I was astonished but impressed, which led me to look into it more. Not only all this but I find these watering holes are the spur of quite a bit of local controversy and feistiness, including a local movement called the Dam Nonsense campaign in opposition to proposals to close the pools for “a very extended time” to improve the design of the dams to prevent a flooding disaster which, should it ever happen (which has been calculated to be a likely chance of about one in 40,000 years…) might cause serious harm to local residents. I’m glad to find that this particular feminine trait is alive and well on the Heath (I refer not to the gender of campaigners here but to their spirit), prepared to call-out bureaucratic stupidity and stir the pot when outside interference is at large!

I have to say more about this swimming thing: can you sense the pure magic happening here? I almost feel like saying its the key piece of alchemy taking place in London today and, like the river Fleet once fed the city with holy water, these women are feeding it with amazing vibes. Since getting home, I’ve started to read the book (above) and its delicious before bedtime because, though I struggle to imagine I will ever be able to wild swim in winter given the shock factor to nerves which, in my case, over-react at anything below a comfortable twenty degrees (though I never say never), these women are taking me into their watery otherworld in my sleep. The potential for this entirely visceral thing to be conveyed from one person to another, ignoring the boundaries of body and skin, through the sharing of experiences via delicious and bizarrely relatable sensory descriptions (given I have never swum wild), is all part of this; it’s another “woman thing” and is why the compiling of the book is a genius idea; it needed to happen (and I recommend it). Here are some pearls from its depths (from Esther Fraud, Lou Stoppard and Toby Brothers…which is as far as I’ve read so far):

“When we meet we laugh and congratulate ourselves and remind each other to wipe the mud beard off our chins. And we need to be reminded because when you riseup out out of he velvety water you feel so powerful thats its possible to forget to look in the mirror for the rest of the day.” EF

“Here, my sense of myself was altered, the cold too shocking to focus on sorrow and confusion when the useful thing was courage, and when my heart had steadied, and I realised I was not actually going to die, the exhilaration hit me and I felt dizzyingly grateful to be alive.” EF

“Winter swimmings are there to be alone, together.” LS

“Its never the same, but it’s always beautiful. It’s a welcoming space, it recognises the struggle, the discrimination many women face in life. The Pond can support you through crises. It helped me with the death of my parents.  And with menopause, all the mood changes.” LS

“There is something about being in really cold water where you do strip off the shields that we build. You make yourself more vulnerable and so then being able to talk about things that are close or hard is easy.” TB

“If you can hurl yourself into a freezing pond, you can likely do anything you think.” LS

“Our culture deals so badly with ageing and the pond community is full of these shining Oder women.” TB

All sorts of women go there (many more so in the summer but as many as fifty, strike out every day in rain, hail and ice and the numbers have vastly increased in the last 10 years!) including young mothers, suited business women, octogenarians, famous people. Katherine Hepburn apparently used the pool and brought a tin of biscuits for the lifeguards though, I also read, most visitors from Europe or America seem to think its an oddly eccentric English thing to do in an actual pond (no hard sides and plenty of ducks, fish and eels) so they keep away after September. But just imagine it, the sheer potency; the great leveller and pot stirrer of this natural pool set in “a perfect green grotto” (TB) with its velvety brown water that dissolves away the limbs and washes troubling thoughts away; what are we remembering about ourselves in there, something ancient and important, courtesy of all these women? We are remembering how to be together in harmony, yet separate and sovereign, in ways that are crucial for the longevity of our world!

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 11.52.07

Crossed in love: Hugh Grant’s character standing pretty much in the source of the River Fleet, poised to misunderstand something his female co-lead says…but it all works out in the end!

And all this coming from the waters of the Fleet, whose business is clearly not done in this city. Yet, beautiful irony, the Fleet bubbles up from the ground so inauspiciously and without fanfare that, it turns out, I actually stepped over it (as I said before, not being equipped with my boots…something I was already regretting) where it emerges just south west of Kenwood House at the top of the Heath. This enthusiastic ribbon of water was heading down hill, quite determinedly, to join the Concert Pond below (once the backdrop to a scene involving Hue Grant and Julia Roberts in the popular film “Notting Hill” in which a misunderstanding arises due to him overhearing something she says and misinterpreting it out of context…perhaps no more fitting a tableau for the point where this river-emblem of the feminine comes up from the ground, being the long-running “story” of many centuries of miscommunication between the sexes). It seems, I had found the very source of my most emblematic river…and wasn’t even aware of it at the time, though I did send a smile its way as I made my hop to the other side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABack to Boudicca’s mound; that first night I tuned into it, what was my reading? I felt her energy in suspended animation under the green earth, with, I had already read, a copse of trees and bushes that they say self-seeded there; though what I imagined was more like a collection of tall tree-sentries keeping watch (I hadn’t seen it pictured but this was much closer to what I found when I got there; though I hadn’t imagined the railings I discovered had been put around it). As a focal point for anyone who cares a jot, what does it matter if she’s not actually “in” there (I noticed quite a few people take a moment at those railings…); this mount is a portal of sorts to her energy and I sensed she was waiting for just the right time to emerge from her earth sanctuary…and that the moment is almost upon us now. When it happens, I sense a further layer of energetic shift and a transformation hastening to life, right beneath our feet.

It may sound odd, coming from someone who is usually crowd adverse, but London has always seemed like a sacred landscape to me, ever since I first went there as a girl. It’s as though I experience it in layers, the “then”, the “now” and the “future”, which I regard as surprisingly light filled. The first and the latter have a linkage with each other that sends a current though what I see happening now, with my 3D senses, as though they have more in common with each other than what is currently manifested and yet they are informing it, bringing back into alignment…slowly but surely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis other layer of experience that I’m party to is like a parallel dimension where things happen for different reasons than the obvious and glow with some sort of golden energy that informs what is happening in my “now” reality to make better sense of it in some much more coherent picture of “events”. I find synchronicity and deeper layers of meaning and metaphor everywhere I go, tuning into patterns and rhythms and place-juxtapositions to glean why this place is like this, why that one has remained like that; such as whether they have stalwartly held onto their green spaces in spite of the ever-pressing forces of commerce and greed (Boudica’s heath is like that…it has been “saved” from development many times over) or whether it has attracted hordes of people (purportedly) because there is a concert hall or a market there yet I usually sense a common thread with some prior use, many eons ago which acts like a magnet tug from beneath the ground (the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm felt like that; it has become quite a hub for encouraging the performing arts for talented young people of all backgrounds, one of whom was the support act for our concert). Also the places that repel, that seem low vibe, that attract unpleasantness; they just feel like the patterns that tell a deeper story of distortion and held-trauma in the body tissues of a city that is only just into its adolescence as we speak; so, as yet to mature into its truly golden age.

Imagine my astonishment, a few years back, when I learned that poet and artist William Blake also regarded London as a golden city, in spite of how heinously bleak and grimy, industrialised and impoverished so much of it was in his day (two hundred years ago). Yet, through his extra-sensory perception, which took him outside of the experience of linear time, he gleaned a golden city, what he called his “Jerusalem” (not in a typical religious sense; he was spiritual rather than religious); the eternal city. He hints at the alchemy of the blackening process, whereby life is turned to “weakness” and “woe”, on the way to transforming into the golden city that lies there, for the moment, out of sight. Bringing such a “city” forward into our reality takes not the bricks and mortar kind of building that would design a futuristic city made of gold but, rather, the cleansing of the extra senses we all have that would allow us to see it is already there, held in pro forma and then gravitating towards it, as a shoot gravitates towards the sun, only to find it revealed to have been there all along:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite”.

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Cover of Christopher E Street’s remarkable book “London Leylines”.

Very hard times, survived and transformed through the power of higher understanding, can do that to a person; as though the landscape reveals what was already there, never actually absent…only we couldn’t perceive it until now. This, in a nutshell, is what happened to me over the last solar cycle and now I “see” so much that I was oblivious to me before, especially in a place as thick with layered meanings, to the broader senses, as London. As this happens, you start to glean hidden patterns in the landscape, via certain landmarks and trends and coincidences of human behaviour that take form before your very eyes in such a thickly populated place; which, to me, is like looking down at iron-filings that move to the shifting of a magnet manipulated under the table, making sense of what might otherwise be perceived as meaningless chaos via an inner force that informs it to be that way (the Earth influences us all with such a force). These patterns form everywhere there is human life, only they become far more discernible where there are many people crowded together and over countless generations of life, repeating similar themes in their behaviours in particular places where a lot “happens”. This is how leyline expert Christopher E Street (referred to above) has managed to notice the pattern of certain landmarks in London that, in his opinion, form an Earth Star. Even where buildings and land usage have been removed and replaced by new ones, similar patterns have been found to play out. Why? As described by John Mitchell, author of “City of Revelation” in his forward to Street’s book:

“London is the creation of thousands of different builders and architects, working over many centuries. Their common humanity has exposed them to a common influence, and thus together they have created a pattern of which not a single one of them many have been conscious…It is indubitably a dream pattern, detached from the mundane reality and far transcending both the imagination and the capacity of any town-planning department”.

What were they responding to; what do we all respond to as we walk those crowded streets and decide to congregate here, not to go there, to live healthy and well-connected, thriving kind-of lives around a particular “village” centre (now a suburb of a massive city) when a mile down the road feels quite different so that you wouldn’t want to be out there late at night? What are we responding to beneath our feet, without giving it a second thought? Some of us, of course, do start to notice this effect…and we ponder about it, even though its ultimate meaning still eludes us (except that it gives a sense of higher purpose to even the most chaotic of events).

Since he was a child, Blake had visions which only became more intense in his adult life. One of these, when he was no more than ten, happened at Peckham Rye, by Dulwich Hill, when he saw a tree filled with angels.

These visions led to the well known words:

The fields from Islington to Marybone,
To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s Wood,
Were builded over with pillars of gold,
And there Jerusalem’s pillars stood.
Her little ones ran on the fields,
The Lamb of God among them seen
And fair Jerusalem his bride,
Among the little meadows green.
Pancras & Kentish Town repose
Among her golden pillars high,
Among her golden arches which
Shine upon the starry sky.
The Jews-Harp House & the Green Man,
The ponds where boys to bathe delight,
The fields of cows by Willan’s farm,
Shine in Jerusalem’s pleasant sight.
She walks upon our meadows green,
The Lamb of God walks by her side,
And every English child is seen
Children of Jesus & his Bride,
Forgiving trespasses and sins,
Lest Babylon with cruel Og,
With moral & self-righteous law
Should crucify in Satan’s synagogue!”

Screenshot 2020-02-05 at 11.16.24Jerusalem, note, is the earthly “bride” of the divine (and the long-obscured fact that Jesus also had a bride is also alluded to, see my reference above to red-headed Mary Magdalene, also Bride = Brigid, that other earth-hued feminine archetype; earthly not as in less than but because the feminine aspect is inherently earth-connected). This place Blake refers to is heaven on earth, as above so below, the spiritual aspect made manifest!

The fact that Blake saw London as a heavenly city filled with angels and gold suggests he was a visionary and, in that sense, so am I; not through ideas I have with my mind but actual perceptions which I pick up on, beyond the five sensory limitations of conventional, linear, experience, via some sort of visual sense (which strives to interpret much subtler senses as images in my mind) closely associated with my autism. Since I have fully opened up to those, over the last decade or so, my experiences have become so much more interesting and multilayered; especially in London so I always know I am in for an interesting time there…hence my constant, sometime surprising, determination to go there, for all the discomfort its overstimulation can generate. Yes, even when the sensations are unpleasant or physically uncomfortable, they tell me things that a big part of me is desperately curious to know about!

IMG_3183For instance, when I am on an underground train or station platform…but more so on the Northern Line, which goes especially deep… I feel the nerve pulsations that I have come to “read” in everyday life but especially at this time of year, like those electric shocks running sharply though my feet and legs that I began by talking about above, only they are much exaggerated underground and I almost feel almost suffocated or at least pressed to reach reach reach…back up into daylight, to get to the top of the escalator or lift and out onto the surface again as soon as I can. I don’t even notice this effect in the other months but, ever since the fateful trip to London in February four years ago, I have noticed it every time (and, chance would have it, something always seems to bring me to London at this particular time of the year). It’s not the electric lines that the train run on; the overground, also used on this trip, felt fine to me, with none of the stabbing electrical pulses or feeling of needing to get back into the outside air. Its the same feeling that is making me stir-crazy so far this year; I can’t seem to sit still anymore!

Yet when I make it alright; when I allow that it is simply natural to notice this effect when underground at the Imbolc time of year, it doesn’t alarm me any more (I also keep in mind that my actual spiritual awakening, my lynchpin experience of unity consciousness that altered my entire perspective of life via an experience that some people would call “a funny turn”, occurred whilst on a tube train crossing the centre point of London in 2011, as written about many times before). Its easy, and very human, to swing in and out of fear as we get used to these “new” potential interpretations of “odd experiences” in our lives and so have I but, lately, I have re-found the sense of  “I can trust what I’m experiencing” and also I just somehow know “its all going to be alright; whatever happens, since its all by design” (and even though we’ve still got a lot of work to do to get this reality out of a fix). So, I have responded to sensations quite differently on this trip and it’s been alright, plus I’m not especially depleted by it….just a little extra tired for a few days now I’m back home; hardly surprising given I walked for four solid hours on the Heath and with all that pavement pounding (who is this new super-energised me?). So, do seeds feel these electrical impulses and the sudden intense pressure of being underground too, coming at them as a clear signal from Nature that tells them to break through the shell, urging them to press their growth upwards “that way, that way” towards the sun? Am I being the seed that’s exploding into life?

This year, I feel the additional link between the potency of Imbolc and the beginning of a whole new solar cycle (an eleven year thing), not to mention the cycle of ages (we are due a massive turnabout or priorities, to get the world back into balance); we have all been compressed for far too long, like the pregnancy that never gestates. For me, in my health, it has felt as though I have been labouring under the longest ever pregnancy, waiting and waiting for something to birth until this point…and now it is here. Now I am feeling some relief, though I know I am still only at the stage of the waters breaking and there’s still a stage to get through but at least its happening. Now I am making some significant changes in my life, as though thrusting my hand through the crust of the Earth to take hold of some things that are evidence of new life in my daily routines (I’ve been writing about what forms this is taking, the new activities I’ve become involved in, on my other blog). The Imbolc sun transition declares loud and clear to all of Nature in the northern hemisphere that “its time” which then sends a current up from the earth that sets thing in motion and we are at that point now; only on a much grander scale, whether we register the spark in our bodies yet or not. We can’t side-step it; its here to awaken everyone!

All of this ties into something else that happened to me recently. At the start of the year my daughter and I had an incredibly powerful conversation that catalysed us both in ways that have powerfully altered each of our trajectories…no exaggeration (we compare notes every few days). In that conversation, she said to me that she missed who I used to be before health made me so quiet and zen-like I seemed to almost disappear. She said she missed my fire, my inner strength, my sheer determination that is like no other she has ever encountered, even my feistiness, my ballsiness, my roar; that these are all qualities she looked up to when she was little, wanting to be “like that” when she grew up. Hearing this really jolted me because I do know I was like that when I was a single parent, doing all I could to survive for the two of us, but have become less and less so with each passing year, the more I pursued spirituality and worked on healing through deep inner calm. In my case, I wasn’t making myself “nice” to please anyone else but to keep my own health steady and to pull back from the aspects of life that I found harsh and overstimulating. A shift has taken place since our conversation and I feel as though my torch has been lit again, inspired by my daughter’s words.

Helen WhiteHere’s the goosebump part; this conversation with my daughter took place on 6th January at the very start of a decade that has felt “auspiciously new” in theme since the very moment it appeared on the horizon. The last time I felt like this was exactly thirty years ago, at the start of 1990 when I was just so optimistic and excited about the new decade that I could hardly be contained, though I had no idea why, yet on the 6th January that year, after a wonderful New Year (spent in the centre of London…) I met her genetic father and he spent the next 13 years insisting I put my flame away, that I lock it down, dowse it, hide and abhor it since, according to him, everything about my determination, my feistiness, my creativity and my opinions made me “embarrassing” and “undesirable” to be with (that old story). Yet, exactly to the day three decades later, the offspring of that union (who has unfailing made everything about it seem worthwhile and “by higher design”, since she was obviously meant to be born) told me that she loves and appreciates these very qualities about me more than any others…and needs them in her life!

Honestly, I think we all need them in our lives; the whole planet needs women with fire in their bellies and men would do well to rebalance by healing the feminine part of themselves that will keep their other motivations in check. Lately, I have encountered so many guys who have activated this part of themselves…they increase in number all the time…and its beautiful to behold: they give me such hope that we will all be just fine.

I think a lot of us women bottle up our fire like this for one of a variety of reasons. We do it to be “ladylike”, to be polite, to keep the peace and live up others expectations, to play by societal and corporate, even religious and familial, rules. We do it because we are afraid of what we will unleash, who me might inadvertently hurt, or even because we are afraid that it might be us that takes the hit, from the inside. I know I became afraid that my own body-system couldn’t cope with any more fire running through it; convinced that I was already so burned-out that one more spark would finish me off, like a straw dolly left too close to the hearth. Like bags of dry straw, we think we are a fire-hazard to be around…yet this is only so if we don’t water our lives with the ceaseless flow of earth connection and self-belief that keeps us mindful of who we really are (not what outside forces tell us we are meant to be).

Life dries us out; corporate jobs and family expectations dry us out, health issues and politics (on all scales) and lack of emotional support systems amongst people we should be able to turn to (women thrive in supportive community yet even these have become competitive and agenda driven) dry us out until we become wisened old sticks that fear our own spark.

Or, the alternative is, we get back into the flow of the things we truly enjoy (and get ourselves out of abrasive structures that make us feel so alienated by our one lives, including “jobs” that drain the lifeblood from us). Doing this keeps us hydrated on the inside, and then we start to notice how the flame that we feel tickle the soles of our feet or rising in our belly, climbing up our spine like a hot flush, melting our heart on the way past so that, suddenly, we find ourselves springing tears at the slightest things; that same heat that sometimes floods into our head like a migraine because it comes in so thick and fast, overwhelming us, initially…all of this is just the spark of life that is wanting to resuscitate us. It’s trying to remind us of what we are truly capable of, and that we are connected to the Earth; that she has our back. These sensations are the very same things women complain about…aches, pains, headaches, acid stomachs, unruly emotions…only, given a vastly different interpretation.

Now, when I feel the hot flush coming over me, I pause to be present with it, allowing myself to feel every cell bathed in its life-giving heat and I thank the universe for allowing me to be a vessel of such a powerful life-force for yet another day. So it comes up up up and out of me like a fountain and flushes my cells with the very healing force I have longed for and, moments later, I’m back on my feet again, only stronger and more radiant than I was; I dare you, try it. As well as healing power and rejuvenation, my spark then comes up in me as the flush of love and of gratitude, as warmth towards strangers, as energy connection with Nature and all the patterns of the universe, as laughter and the desire to sing and have fun. We have been told for so long that fierce women are destructive; that, unleashed, we are to blame for all manner of ill-fated outcomes that we forget to believe in these things but now is the time to feel their evidence, as us. The same way a tree must register the lengthening of days and the movement of new electrical currents up its roots and into its branches as the signal to unfurl its new growth at the start of yet another cycle (pushing the old one behind it; now done with all that…a tree doesn’t dwell on last year). We are at that same point. This is the power of the Imbolc transition; we experience it as us…coursing through our veins…whatever hillside, or valley, we happen to be standing on when it occurs, since it is everywhere.

Its time to get over our fear of fire; it is core to everything just as is it core to the Earth. We don’t make fire when we rub two sticks together, it doesn’t come “from outside” of our reality to harm us deliberately; rather, it is always there, held in potential and we merely summon it through our actions…sometimes too much, other times way too little. Women have been caught in an epidemic of fear around fire that has resulted in much too little inner spark going on, for a very long time.

When a woman stops fearing her inner flame, she ignites with new passions that might once have frightened her (product of her conditioned fears) but the effect isn’t to get burned. Once her flame is lit, she is now part of the solution that she has been seeking for just so long (probably from outside sources). In fact, nobody gets to burn us once we light our own match; only, this isn’t the self destruction we’ve been conditioned to believe it would be…its a transformation, into pure gold.

So, when you’re honest with yourself and not in earshot of people telling you otherwise, do you feel the lightening of days? It’s subtle but its there. Not just the arrival of spring as days get longer in the Northern hemisphere but something else; the same but bigger. Perhaps it’s the effect of so many people lighting their own taper; daring to invoke the flame.

Like I’ve written about in my previous post, we are at the start of a brand new sun cycle which (it so turns out) has been frothing like a cappuccino over the last couple of days, trying to produce what looks like a more substantial sunspot than it has so far produced (since typing that, a Cycle 25 related solar wind seems to have unleashed, headed our way). When we set about making the subtle alterations in ourselves and our reactions to things that instigate the kind of change that, in the long view (looking back in hindsight), seems momentous, it can feel a bit like that; a lot of froth and no action but these subtle shifts are important and we are not making too much of them when we notice them as they occur.

Being the kind of person who spends all her time picking up on subtleties relating to my particular way of interfacing with the world (rather than becoming distracted with what other people are doing, saying and fixating on, en masse), this comes easily to me and, in the pattern of those subtleties I find many reasons to hope for a brighter, perhaps golden, future; perhaps one you can start to notice too….and then things get easier; optimism and a sense of direction come back into play and these fuel us like no other source of energy. The more optimistic we are….just knowing, somehow, that everything is going to be alright…the more, paradoxically, we are able to draw the strength to fight for what is so important to us; and we need to play that part too.

What am I really getting so excited about here? Certainly, I have just had one of the best weekends I can ever remember, honestly, a real high point in my life, leaving me humming with a higher-vibration that has had me writing (and tweaking) this lengthy post for three days now as I unpackage all its gifts. All of this from a short city break, though there were no Alps, there was no spa hotel nor flight to an exotic location; astonishing when you think about it but then not really when I think back to some other astonishing times that have unfolded for me via London’s hidden landscape of “clues”. So, I “just” had a good weekend in a nice part of London? No, it’s much more than that. I’m a sensitive who operates more through her finer senses than though her logical brain and, because of my extremely pulled-back life, I sometimes struggle to gain a sense of whether I’m the only one going through these evolutions to become clearer, lighter and more in tune with the cycles of life and the earth beneath my feet (however many layers of paving there may be)…or are there more of us? In fact, are there countless numbers of us responding to the pulse of something new transitioning? Having sensed the upturn in one small corner of the city, I’m overwhelmed with the sense that, if its happening there it must be happening everywhere….at grass roots, things simply don’t feel heavy to the core like they used to do, even if people are quite slow to notice, and appreciate, this.

Oh, and the more optimistic we are, by the way, the more (again paradoxically) we feel able to laugh, to sing, to seek lighthearted experiences and community with others, spontaneous times and playfulness, kindness and community, exploration and beauty and…well, you get the picture. These very motivations have lit my taper, this year, leading me towards the very experiences that inform me the best and which UPLIFT me even more, so that I can feel myself launch with all-new enthusiasm for life, like a rocket taking off. The inner work is what makes the shift happen; and then the reality manifests to fit the expectation (you could say, we create what we expect). It’s a very different trajectory to those who have fallen into the doom and gloom rut, but it’s as real as we make it for ourselves. As Blake said, we see the gold just as soon as we cleanse our perception…and that part is up to each of us.

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Cycles of the sun

Did you know we are in the all-important phase between two solar cycles, where those cycles, as it were, overlap over the phase known as solar minimum, during which the new cycle is already starting to assert itself? These remind us, in the large scale, that the meeting point of life cycles can be extremely potent in terms of our personal growth, providing so much contrast, as they do.

Each overlapping pair of experience cycles in life, however mundane, presents an opportunity to up-cycle to a new level of experience and we choose this just as soon as we stop trying to enforce what the new cycle will look like in advance (which creates a repeat…and then stagnation). Nature abhors stagnation so will keep pushing those transition phases hard to help you to choose the new; for goodness sakes, dare to choose something different this time. When we reach for that higher level of the circle, it becomes an up-cycle or, more accurately, a spiral; and its how we evolve!

So how do we know we are affected by the cycles of the sun and are some people more tuned into these than others?

According Dr Judith Orloff, author of The Empath’s Survival Guide:

“If you are [an Earth] empath, what happens to the earth is intimately connected to your body. The beauty and health of the earth nourishes and sustains you. The ocean and tides affect everyone, but especially you. You are sensitive to changes in the weather and daylight. Earth empaths may be more prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, becoming depressed in the winter when the days are shorter or darker.

Earth empaths may also be sensitive to solar flares. These magnetic storms on the sun affect the magnetic fields around the earth as well as around our bodies. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornados seem to occur after intense solar activity. During these periods, you may experience headaches, mood swings, anxiety, or heart palpitations. Studies* have shown an association between solar flares and increased depression, anxiety, suicides, and episodes of bipolar disorder. Revolutions, riots, and unrest across the globe are also associated with solar flares. Remember, the sun is responsible for life on earth, so when it goes through changes, we feel it ninety-three million miles away. This experience is amplified for empaths”.

Once you have become that familiar with the solar patterns, on such an intimate basis (“as” your own life), you may find that you have also be working with solar cycles as a means to accelerate your own evolution across phases of alternating focus lasting ten to eleven years (so, roughly a decade…very easy to pass off as “just” a “decade thing”). These alternating themes, like an alternating electricity current passing through our consciousness, present opportunities to examine life from a whole new angle with each cycle, peaking with solar maximum and softening down into solar minimum, which is what I feel has been happening to me over and over again. The transition phase my feel bumpy, uncertain or triggering yet something in us is urging us to reach for an alternate experience to what has become our norm over the last few years. So, has your life dramatically switched gear, objective or angle of viewpoint in distinct phases of about a decade long all your life? Not necessarily to discount all you experienced or learned before but to integrate it with its opposite factor, to stretch it into a new place of cohesiveness and reconciliation? I know mine has. If you can say the same and feel as though you are in the quagmire of a new yet deeply uncertain phase right now then maybe you are an Earth empath too. It can feel deeply unnerving yet, a lifetime of experience has shown me, the more I open up with eager curiosity to that new phase, the more it has to offer me, quite swiftly, once the solar cycle gets going (this one is predicted to reach max between 2023-25).

These are just a couple of extracts of my longer post, originally published on Living Whole (shared below), in which I share my intimate experience of solar cycles over a lifetime of awareness of them, in my body, as a highly-sensitive Earth empath.

Transitions (originally posted to Living Whole)

Of course, we’re all going through a transition right now; not only into a new year but a new decade. Not everyone knows it, but we are also transitioning into a new solar cycle – Cycle 25 – which is already well under way and due to fully take over from the previous cycle, which lasted approximately 11 years, during the middle part of 2020. What a huge transition Cycle 24 marked in my life, over those breakthrough years since 2009; during which life altered in more ways than I can possibly describe; yours too? Looking around me, I see how we have all shifted through a major gear change over the course of that last cycle which, on a much bigger scale, marks an even bigger transition of ages taking us into a new era. To those who question how intricately we are entangled with our star and its motions through change (and whilst waiting for even more “hard” science to emerge demonstrating this quantum truth that we are connected… see a handful of references below) I can only assure you, I know it because I feel it!

Because I‘ve realised, over that last cycle, that I am acutely sensitive to transitions, to a whole other level to most other people I know, yet in a way that makes far more sense to me in the light of my Asperger’s Syndrome. The sensitivity I speaks of relates to all the different sizes of “wheel” in the full gearbox of life, from the minor to the grandiose….including those cycles of the sun I just mentioned. My awareness of “space weather” would not have occurred (starting in around 2011) had I not started to clock how my health symptoms, so compellingly, correlated with announcements of certain solar events that were occurring around the solar max period (part of its eleven-year transition from quiet times to active times), such as sunspots, solar flares and solar winds. This set me off on the process of tracking my own, quite bizarre and highly variable, health symptoms against such “space weather” events (yes, making it into one of my “special interests”) until I had so much confirmation that the link became quite obvious to me and my only confusion was that there weren’t more people talking about it. Even amongst my friends, I began to notice how their migraines and emotions were being impacted by these sun events yet nobody seemed to be interested to the degree I was, coming from a place of such acute awareness that these events really affect how well my days go, all the time, even when the “space weather” occurring is relatively minor according to space weather watchers (who largely approach such news from other points of view than human health). So, was it just me?

This baffled me for years, as I preceded to tell people about it, to no avail but, again, it made more sense as I came to realise some key differences about myself: I am classified as a highly sensitive person (which accounts for just 20% of the population), an empath (an even smaller proportion of the population than that), an INFJ personality type (approx 1% of the population, so a most particular and rare “type” with direct bearing on this topic due to its particular stack of traits; oft described as “the mystic”) and, to cap it all, a female with Asperger’s along with the oft-associated sensory processing “challenges” (I refuse to call this a disorder) due to picking up much more sensory detail than the average person. Put all this together and I am quite the unusual package; so maybe that was why I noticed what others didn’t (perhaps you can relate). See Dr Elaine Aron’s website for more on assessing your highly-sensitive traits (I score full marks) and Dr Judith Orloff’s book “The Empath’s Survival Guide” for doing the same with your empathic traits (again, full marks). For resources on Myers-Briggs personality traits, which can help you do a fine-tuned assessment of whether, and in what nuanced ways, you are either introverted or extroverted and how this affects your awareness of subtle details, see one of the various websites offering Myers-Briggs assessments. All of these links can be found in my HSP Resources page in the menu above.

Then, (if you don’t mind going a little more off piste with me) I can add that I was conceived in the Summer of Love (itself, a major transition phase), born in the full-blast of the lively solar maximum energies of 1968. I am, thus, a member of Generation X, whose members are “currently under immense pressure to live up to their path and the life purpose that they came here to lead”  (Elizabeth Peru: see this article) in order to welcome in the new Aquarian age that those people with flower in their hair sang about (its happening right now). Oh, and I was born under an extremely Out of Bounds moon (another rarity); a trait associated with “breaking out of social constructs” and “bold groundbreaking genius” mixed with a “distinctly Aquarian quality” held in common with many other maverick thinkers operating outside the box. In fact, with wonderful consistency, “The Out of Bounds Moon is found in the charts of many who step outside the boundaries of this world in more-or-less concrete ways” (see Steven Forrest’s excellent blog or “The Book of the Moon” ( link below), from whom all the above moon quotes are taken) so what’s the betting such an out-of-bounds person would be more far in touch with the larger rhythms and cycles of the cosmos than, necessarily, those to do with domestic life on Earth. If you happen to have an out of bounds moon yourself, check out the inspiring list of other such individuals (Albert Einstein, Peter Gabriel, Sir Christopher Wren, Yoko Ono, Ram Das, Edgar Mitchell…the list goes on and on) and celebrate your place in amidst such great company.

I only discovered these things about myself over the last 3 to 4 years, culminating in the Asperger’s diagnosis in 2019; and then the “interesting” experiences I was having began to make more sense….clearly I was born this way. Newly realising my super-sensitive, empathic type (which means I have the tendency to feel more sensations, from more diverse and subtle sources than usual) combined with my Asperger’s traits (manifesting as a tendency to notice sensory details, log them, compare them and spend time wondering about why they occurred) made this acute awareness of transitions fall into place for me. There are two distinct traits that are quite typical to the Asperger profile; we’re often not so very fond of unplanned change or disruption to our routine and we fixate on things, looking for patterns. No wonder I notice these large scale transitions the same way I might, say, bristle at a place that was once quiet becoming quite crowded or noisy suddenly, or a disruption to my daily routine by something more unpredictable. There’s hyper-vigilance at play here, and it makes no distinction between cosmic or domestic change-overs of energy; it simply picks them all up and analyses them.

So (without planning to) I made this “tracking” of my relationship with transitions, especially the change-over of sun cycles, into a special focus over most of the last solar cycle; and for long enough that I was able to notice patterns taking shape, not only in my current life but going back across a whole lifetime in which I had always felt, noticed and logged more sensory data than most, storing it up in visual and sensory memories that I could draw on later (and now it was all proving just so useful to me). Its as though I was devised as a finely tuned, transition seeking, instrument…to my detriment and joy, in almost equal proportions…but now I was, at least, starting to get some tangible use out of it, in my lifelong quest to understand the intricacies of life rather better (as I’ve always been on a mission to do). Did I mention I have synesthesia (search my bog for more posts on this)? Not only do I take in a lot of detail but I cross-reference my different senses, which helps me to store and recall emotional and other data via sound, smells and visual cues when I need it later, something which helped me enormously when I set about feeling into how I responded to other sun cycles as they  peaked, ceased and transitioned into the new (I was able to draw diagrams of particular years as I “see” these in pairs forming linked circles in a continuous spiral of time…)

Discovering my affinity to sun cycles was the big one to point this transition-thing out to me, or should I say “shed light on it all”. I realised I was registering sun-events in the body as physical symptoms, provocateurs and life themes, to a high degree, all along…to the point I could track my health, my circumstances, even my alternating cycles of more inward or outwardly focused life phases, according to the transitions, peaks, troughs and alternating polarities of different cycles of the sun (each sun cycle is really only half a cycle in a full circle of 22 years…each with the opposite polarity to the previous half; the interesting thing is my life has progressed in identical-length segments, of alternating fixations, too). Who notices this kind of thing? A highly-sensitive, empathic Aspie who misses nothing and uses their own body as a laboratory for exploring the fascinating business of life, that’s who. And although I knew this “ability” was all part of my mirror touch synethesia and highly-sensitive, empathic nature, I only learned  from Dr Orloff last night that there is such things as Earth empaths, who “are attuned to changes in our planet, our solar system, and the weather” (Dr Judith Orloff – “The Empath’s Survival Guide”); yes, that’s me. She goes on:

“If you are this type of empath, what happens to the earth is intimately connected to your body. The beauty and health of the earth nourishes and sustains you. The ocean and tides affect everyone, but especially you. You are sensitive to changes in the weather and daylight. Earth empaths may be more prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, becoming depressed in the winter when the days are shorter or darker”.

Another component of this, which I have long been aware of, is that Earth empaths sense, in their own bodies, when the Earth is under threat. “Earth empaths often have premonitions about natural disasters or feel them intensely in their bodies as they are occurring” (Dr Judith Orloff –  The Empath’s Survival Guide), something which has certainly happened to me, more than once, registering as unusually intense pain or agitation in the hours before some earth quake or other natural event is announced in another part of the world. Its often easier to explain this away as coincidence or due to a build up of atmospheric pressure that affects the whole globe causing some sort of migraine-triggering tension in the air but, deep down, those of us who experience this kind of thing (and there are case examples in the book) know its more than that. The thing is, Earth feels constantly under threat these days and I know this has been part of what feels like a sort-of pathology building up in my system for the last decade or so; as Earth is tampered with and abused more and more, so do I feel like I am being, likewise, messed with at the energetic level, and I know I am far from alone in feeling this way amongst sensitives. Deep down in my soul, I feel that I am a guardian of the planet and that, whatever it is that I do, I do it for her.

Why is this relevant to anyone else…in fact (I’ve got into querying lately) why is anything that is of “particular” (or “peculiar”) interest to me of interest or use to anyone else, given I seem to be having such a bizarrely unique experience of life? Because I can see how, at whatever scale we are affected by them, we are all impacted by transitions in similar ways. I think we all recognise that somewhat discombobulated feeling at the start of a new calendar year, trying to make ourselves feel better about our potential for achieving something fresh by setting new year’s resolutions, for instance; or the feeling of stepping into the unknown that marks the start of a brand new decade in uncertain and fast-moving times. Yet, how many of us give such transitions that much thought, whilst to me they are everything, a true specialism… so I have learned a thing or two about what all these transition phases have in common and how we rely on the contrast with what came before to push off from the edge. Just like the sun “sparks” itself back to life, at the start of a new cycle, by creating a shock wave just as the opposite polarity energy bands of the previous cycle melt down to a point of neutrality at its equator, sending that wave out like a tsunami towards its poles, to crash against weak bands of opposite polarity energy that have already formed there, generating a thrusting new burst of activity up from its surface as it embarks on a whole new direction of “spin” (metaphorically speaking). Whilst it might not change directions, the sun does, quite literally change its polarity in each eleven year cycle…as I suspect we do too (I can certainly see that trend in myself; a tendency to gravitate towards the very opposite circumstances to those that were the theme of the previous cycle). Its this alternating polarity of focus that keeps us moving forwards in our ever-evolving lives; and the sun is doing this right now!

For me, I realise, such transitions are my area of expertise since I feel them “happen” through every cell of my being, and with every extrasensory nerve fibre of my human self…like the way I often feel weather systems come in long before the weather starts to change. They are, in a sense, my specialism…and my hardest thing to bear…for, within every transition, there is an overlap point of one cycle with another that triggers overwhelming sensations and even pain. I’ve realised, that point where opposites lie, as it were, on top of each other or where they are forced to be unnatural bedfellows for a time can be deeply uneasy phases in our lives, whatever kind of transition we are in. For instance, we could be waiting out our notice period in a job we can’t wait to leave yet we are still stuck on that commuter train day-after-day, now feeling every assault of our old routine even more pointedly than ever since we have now allowed ourselves to admit how much we have been struggling with it for so long…and still a few weeks left to go before our final day at that miserable desk. Yet, within that point of friction, we grow ourselves, making clearer what we do want, starting to visualise that alternate life with our oh-so powerful imaginations, tuning into our psychic awareness of other timelines that just wait for us to experience them (we often forget we have so many choices at other times of our lives but transitional times seem to act as the reminder of them) and holding as precious all our most tender intentions for the new era that awaits. Excitement is squeezed out of all the pressure points and this is so important since it it how we take flight to brand new skies that offer very different vistas of experience. So, what I want to remind us all of is, we are not passive traversers of cycles; we work with them like expert hoop jugglers and we get to play with how they overlap, which ones to lay down on the ground as “done with” and which to spin even higher…

So, I have learned both the exquisite pain and pleasure of transitions though my most intimate sensory experiences since, for me, even a sunset can cause pain in my body at certain transitional times of year, such as around the winter solstice when those transitions are most prolonged by the long angle of the shorter days. Afternoons from the gloaming through to a couple of hours after dark are an oddly turbulent, energy-draining, painful time for me and I often have to stop what I’m doing to lie down at that time of day, in winter. Though there is no obviously logical reason for this, I have drawn the conclusion that I am hyper-sensitive to the ionosphere (my other space weather reactions “at a distance” support this) or “what the earth is going through” as it turns away from the sun…and I suspect, it also has a great deal to do with breathing patterns and blood sugar levels, which I notice become shallow and bottom out at these times unless I consciously intervene; also these transitions seems to tamper with my metabolism and trigger lactic acid as though I am doing exercise. Again, none of this would be possible if my body wasn’t already “wired” to sense these broader events taking place “out there”. Morning transitions are also much harder during winter dawns than in summer, so I tend to start my days slowly and stiffly; making my usable portion of day rather short compared to most of modern humanity, who are required to be productive for the same length of day in winter as in summer (a testament to how humans have done their best to over-ride the circadian cycles in their quest for profit). My body isn’t having any of that; hence one of the reasons I am unable to “work”.

When the solar cycle is also transitioning on top of the annual cycle, the effect is magnified (I can confirm this was absolutely the case in 2008-2009 and also in 1996). So, I have been forced to teach myself to go soft, to allow what is, to be self-nurturing, patient and gentle at these times; there is no override button! I don’t force life, or myself, to do or be anything in particular when these triggers come up for me (since to do so means even more pain); rather, I step back and I watch…and I learn. We are all so eager to “get things going” and to “know how things will turn out” by forcing them one way or another but we do well to allow in a little “give” to our human-made structures of life when important transitions happen; yes, to go soft enough for something new to be made of our lives, as though we allow ourselves to turn back  into soft sculptor’s clay, from our typically hard-baked forms…ready for a brand new shape to be crafted out of our raw materials all over again; potentially, many times in one lifetime (every cycle…) and each one more accomplished and more inherently “who we are” than the last.

Funny I should think of clay since Ehlers Danlos can feel like your entire body has been turned into painful play dough; I kid you not, and I won’t pretend the last few months haven’t been alarming at times. Behind the worst of my Ehlers Danlos symptoms, I now see, lies the painstaking way I confront any kind of transition phase from within my physical body, perhaps due to the slow and considered way that it processes sensory data, making a meal of every detail in order to hyper-analyse it and “check it out”…which is my Asperger’s way through and through. Through my tendency to compare and seek-out patterns in seeming chaos, I’ve realised that my EDS symptoms have always been most pronounced during times of transition…which is why they have not always been so pronounced in every phase of my life and why they have come up for me so strongly over the last few months. They respond acutely to actual space weather events; my teeth get loose in my mouth and my organs seem to shift downwards like a multi-organ prolapse during the rare solar spots or incoming solar winds of this solar minimum (like today, with a solar wind from, potentially, three holes in the sun’s atmosphere headed our way) and I became so incapacitated during the solar minimum 2008- 2009 that I was hospitalised twice (with issues I can now tie in with EDS) and remember very little other than spending my time on a sofa.

If my relationship with solar events sounds surreal then Dr Judith Orloff makes extremely matter-of-fact reference to it:

“Earth empaths may also be sensitive to solar flares. These magnetic storms on the sun affect the magnetic fields around the earth as well as around our bodies. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornados seem to occur after intense solar activity. During these periods, you may experience headaches, mood swings, anxiety, or heart palpitations. Studies* have shown an association between solar flares and increased depression, anxiety, suicides, and episodes of bipolar disorder. Revolutions, riots, and unrest across the globe are also associated with solar flares. Remember, the sun is responsible for life on earth, so when it goes through changes, we feel it ninety-three million miles away. This experience is amplified for empaths”. (Dr Judith Orloff – “The Empath’s Survival Guide”.)

Of course, I react to the peaks too; I’ve written about that before (its where this blog started, several years ago). Yet, while solar maximum was like the long-running fairground ride I longed to get off in Cycle 24 (it had two peaks, in 2011 and 2014, so it felt like I had utterly “burned out” by the second one), solar minimum always seems to bring a particular kind of “fun” as the new cycle’s sunspots start to emerge within the dregs of the previous cycle. A bit like how a longing for a change, a quite different kind of future, can start to cause havoc with our daily life, once we start having such daydreams (the status quo gets rocked just as soon as such aspirations occur to us; since they sew the seeds of discontent that may, one day, lead to a breakthrough). Once the merest possibility of that alternate future starts to tempt us, we grow impatient and it’s impossible to put the thought back in its box, hankering after it all the time; but that overlap phase of two potnential lives run in parallel, before one is quite ready to happen, can be…interesting. This is what it feels like, to me, at the end of a solar cycle once the new one starts to get active.

So, I had to laugh when I finally realised my big EDS health crash of July last year (as written about before…this “event” really coloured the whole of my year and set in motion all kinds of realisations that have altered everything that I know about myself) coincided with the first measurable sunspot of Sun Cycle 25.

I can now track other such “pointed” health episodes back to the first tentative signs of reverse polarity sunspots (the first signs of the new cycle arriving) that occurred in December 2016, April 2018 and May 2019. Of course, my first major health crash of 2008-09, which set in motion this whole new phase of my life centred on health and recovery, also my “spiritual breakthrough”, began during the deep solar minimum (the deepest dip of the entire space age) between Cycles 23 and 24. I can also report that pronounced eras of “softness” (both physical and circumstantial; often detrimental-seeming yet ultimately cathartic and game-changing) accompanied the solar cycle transitions of 1976, 1986 and 1996.

By seeing these patterns with what I have come to know about myself over the last few years, I am able to appraise how EDS and my most exaggerated levels of high-sensitivity, Aspie traits and other “out of the box” quirks flare up, yet also serve me so well (being somehow appropriate) at those times. Appropriate yet challenging, I should qualify…yet we grow out of challenge. Thankfully, there’s one thing we know about cycles; they keep on cycling and we will be back in solar maximum before we know it (predicted for 2023-25). I tend to be more together, more active and directional, more resilient and in better physical shape at those times looking back over all my cycles but there’s one thing I know I have to be careful of (from last time); that I don’t overdo it and burn myself out!

Perhaps that’s what all the cycles of life are here to teach us; how to find our own personal balance between extremes. We try this side of the circle and we try that side…and we take from them what works, leaving behind the rest. Along the way, we hopefully learn self-nurturance and to hone our lives to suit our own gifts and preferences, not to the demands of other people. We become experts at our own lives…or, at least, that’s the opportunity that lies there waiting in potential and it’s up to us whether we choose it. And, when we sense a new cycle coming, we learn not to be so prescriptive but to open to it in softest curiosity, prepared to see what it has to offer before we set about trying to design it to look just like the last one (oh, the comforting lure of familiarity)…

When we are soft and curious, we notice things instead of assuming we know all there is to know; and we allow that humans only know a small fraction of what is possible for us to know and that much more lies up ahead; things we might pay attention to this time around whereas an earlier version of us would have dismissed it out of hand. Like I noticed the first out of bounds moon phase since 2011 last week, though I had completely forgotten about this “happening” again in 2020 (since it is only possible for 9 years out of 18 given it relies on the moon’s declination being more than 23⁰28′ either north or south of the equator). I felt it first…so I checked the charts and, there, to my astonishment, it was in the process of occurring that very 24 hour period; so now tell me I don’t genuinely feel what I do, via my oddities and things, I now know, I am connected to. Yet, if you’d told me about the out of bounds moon and its effect a decade ago, I would probably have laughed.

If these oddities take me rather too far into territory where my body is no longer practical for common use, thus I’m not “out there” being a scientific genius, recording milestone music, flying to the moon or building groundbreaking monuments because my health is rather too poor for all that (reference to some of those other out of bounds moon types mentioned above) then I take comfort from the following. As well as the out of bounds moon often correlating with “feelings of being an outsider, of not fitting in, of not having a place in this world” which can be “painful” it “can also lead to radical forms of existential creativity” (Steven Forrest, The Book of the Moon”) and that’s me to a tee. What he describes is exactly where I am at as I look at the universe through highly individualistic eyes (neither scientist nor astrologer…just sensitive me, feeling everything), trying so very hard to wrap my head around new perspectives that break outside the mould of normality, gleaned (first) from my own personal experience and then turned over to my highly analytical, if unconventional, Aspie mind. Over the cycle that I have (been forced to) tune into forces outside of myself (that’s what forces do…they force; I could not have argued if I tried), because of their undeniable link to my health foibles, I have learned to surrender to a far bigger picture of life than that to which most people subscribe (including me, a decade and a half ago) and, having done so, I feel far more like myself…that inherently mystical, INFJ personality type…than I ever have, though it was always in there, locked away beneath the layers. What is a mystic? “A person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect”. Yes.

So, I do feel like I’m learning to work with transitions in a whole new way, from my pulled-back stance on the world, and that this has merit all of its own; and, based on what I have learned so far, I feel resoundingly positive about the ones that are happening right now. Even when they can seem so challenging at ground level and so very alarming to our logical minds, I sense we are, generally, headed in the right direction, which is not what you will hear on the news so, perhaps in my own understated way, I am holding space for those best possible outcomes to slip into gear. In all honesty, I suspect all of us sensitive types are playing an important role, doing just that…since we tune into, and fixate upon, what is quite indisputable to us (being our experience) yet so quickly scoffed at by the masses; yet in knowing this stuff so intimately, we allow it to manifest within the experiential realm, which is to make it as real as anything else.

Each overlapping pair of cyles, however mundane, presents an opportunity to up-cycle to a new level of experience and we choose this just as soon as we stop trying to enforce what the new cycle will look like in advance (which creates a repeat…and then stagnation). Nature abhors stagnation so will keep pushing those transition phases hard to help you to choose the new; for goodness sakes, dare to choose something different this time. When we reach for that higher level of the circle, it becomes an up-cycle or, more accurately, a spiral; and its how we evolve!

We all have our own versions of these cycles, depending on our life focuses and levels of awareness, and it doesn’t take being so painfully aware of them as I am to make them a little more conscious and to work with their full potential. So, enjoy your transition into the new, whatever form it takes…and here’s hoping you really get to make the most of its soft potential during this time of many transitions overlapping (a highly potent time) since we all get to make of the next phase what we will. If I’ve helped you to realise this, even just a little, then I have played my part and my attempt to share this somewhat amorphous topic has been well worth the effort.


Highly Sensitive Person website (resources including self-test, compiled by Dr Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person)

The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic – an ebook by Susan Storm

Dr Judith Orloff – “The Emapath’s Survival Guide“.

* Sources relating to “space weather” referred to in Dr Judith Orloff’s book as follows: Michael Forrester, “Increasing Solar Activity and Disturbances in Earth’s Magnetic Field Affect Our Behavior and Increase Our Health,” The Mind Unleashed (September 2014); Jacqueline Marshall, “Solar Flare: The Sun Touches Our Psyche,” Washington Times (March 2012); R.W. Kay, “Geomagnetic Storms: Association with Incidence of Depression as Measured by Hospital Admission,” The British Journal of Psychiatry 164, no. 6 (March 1994): 403–409, doi:10.1192/bjp.164.3.403.

Study Shows Geomagnetic Fields and Solar Activity Affect Human Autonomic Nervous System Functions – HeartMath Institute

Geomagnetic Disturbance and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk; Short-term geomagnetic disturbances driven by solar activity have been linked to a broad range of adverse health effects – written by Carolina Leticia Zilli Vieira (DDS, PhD in cardiology sciences) who is a research associate in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Triggering The Birth of New Cycle’s Sunspots by Solar Tsunami Mausumi Dikpati, Scott W. McIntosh, Subhamoy Chatterjee, Dipankar Banerjee, Ron Yellin-Bergovoy & Abhishek Srivastava  – Nature

Steven Forrest – The Book of the Moon: Discovering Astrology’s Lost Dimension

My earlier post on the Out of Bounds Moon – “Out of Bounds” on Spinning the Light. Disocvering your moon phase may turn out to be even more meaningful for you than working with your sun sign…it was for me…because it relates to your humanness (which, I suppose, for me was my biggest mystery; the rest seems more obvious).

My earlier post on the INFJ personality type – Are You a True Rarity

Posted in Books, Consciousness & evolution, Health & wellbeing, Life journey, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness, Space weather, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

When will we truly understand the power of believing in our vote?

I shared a post on Living Whole about my so-called challenges with executive function the other day; this being a well-known weak spot in the Asperger’s profile. The conclusion I reached, however, suggested that this isn’t so much a case of lacking executive abilities but of possessing them to excess, to the point of feeling utterly overwhelmed by them. The result of writing about this, in a week when “casting our vote” is such a hot topic here in the UK, drew my attention to how we are all, to varying extents, like that, regardless of whether we are neurodiverse or not. Contrary to popular viewpoints, we mostly underplay our hand because we are so afraid of all the influence we wield in the world.

We live in a world that pivots around the all important “executive task load”. From the moment we are born, we are expected to (quickly, against highly pressurised milestones) learn how to execute task after task, many of them at the same time, whilst also keeping in mind all of our previous tasks for that all-important comparison and also planning ahead for all those we have yet to make.

When you have Asperger’s (or, at least, in the case of this Aspie) the way you are wired to think way outside the box can mean you arrive in this world fully cognisant of having countless multiple choices at your disposal, all filled with multi layers of potential, as well as being almost oppressively aware of your own powers of creatorship. In other words, you realise that its not only the things that you do but what you think about and say, even where you focus your attention and the most subtle influences that you expose yourself to (more so when you are as sensorarily aware as many Aspies are), that conspire to alter the manifest form of the world around you. It’s enough to turn you into a control freak if that world seems particularly chaotic, since you then have to work all the harder to keep your inner domain pristine enough to manifest your choices. In other words, we all manifest the kind of world that reflects back at us all of the things that we preoccupy and surround ourselves with…both inside and out; a truth that is playful in the abstract but horribly daunting in 3D.

Whilst acquiring such awareness is the food of many a spiritual teaching forum, it was as though I arrived knowing this since it was so obvious to my highly-keyed senses. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a time that I questioned it and, once I realised that the neurotypical way is to wholeheartedly question such a reality and to assume that all useful action lies in the three-dimensional, physical domain, it turned into one of those utter bewilderment points that conspired to make me feel separate and alien in this world from then onwards. Once I went to school (for all we said prayer and sang to an abstraction in assembly…) I was clearly expected to focus all my efforts upon learning how to pull and push knobs and leavers to “make things happen”, whilst no importance whatsoever seemed to be put upon the inner stuff or those subtle powers of influence that held my attention. Already, I was finding my vibration “crashed” by daily exposure to contradictory and chaotic behaviours plus noise levels that interfered with my inner stability. It took all my quiet time and personal pursuits at home to restabilise ready for the weekly onslaught of school and, to start with, this threw me off my footing for several years. In the end, as I approached my teenage years, I realised that, in order to assimilate, I must set out to diligently learn all the ways of executive function “out there” in the world, even making it my specialism so that I could survive there. This is what I did, for the remainder of my school days and for about 15 adult years in various “careers”…until I crashed from all the effort and frustration of it. Reading about mature women with Asperger’s, this life path (which involves the adoption of an assimilation plan, to hide and survive) is very typical and one of the most pronounced differences between them and the, often much more easily and earlier diagnosed, Aspie men whose challenges  with “the way the world is” tend to flag up much sooner.

I share this, not to “go on” about Asperger’s again but, to highlight a “truth” that some of us are born knowing about, whilst others seem to wake up to it on some sort of mindfulness path…and many simply don’t, or won’t, let it in. We are more influential than we know, and in far more diverse ways that this world-wide obsession with executive functioning would imply. An alarming number of people seem not to want to know just how much they hold sway in the world, preferring to hide-out in a grey cloud of ineffectualness and pessimism. To paraphrase the well-known quote from Marianne Williamson, we say we are afraid of so many things and yet it is our own power that we are most afraid of and when we get over that, the effect is contagious:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

The thing is, as I just said, every thought and focus we have is, in a sense, a vote. We vote with our discernment We vote with our feet when we don’t go somewhere, either as an action or as a preoccupation; and we manifest our daily light quota according to how wide open we leave our interior “windows” for those certain frequencies designed to uplift. Why do you think it is that some people seem to be having a completely different, far more radiant,  life experience though they live next door, and have near enough the same material circumstances, as someone else that is in some really dark place? These things seemed so obvious to me as a child but even I had to relearn them after my breakdown.

Voting is important; I couldn’t agree more (as most, though I would like to say all, of the UK turns out in the rain to put their slip of paper in the ballot box today). I have never wanted people to get off their backsides and actually vote for the kind of world they say they envision for themselves and their children more than I want them to do so today. I’ve also found myself astonished at just how many pieces of paper through my letterbox it seems to take to get people to carry out such a simple and life-altering executive task and yet that seems to be what it is presumed to take, based upon all the efforts to coerce and sway the actions of last minute dithers that were being masterminded by my party of choice late last night. If, without all this, people can’t be bothered to do their homework and get out of bed to vote for a better world today then I despair of their ability to do the more subtle work it takes to manifest a beautiful planet.

Yet despair is one of those things my mindfulness steers me away from; since I know that is also a vote. I was dismayed to hear my daughter talk of how she and her friends have decided to adopt abject pessimism this week to “soften the blow” of the election outcome and, yes, commiseration parties have already been planned! In spite of all I have tried to instil in her, this is the common way…to presume worst case scenario; to actively summon that pessimistic channel up on the TV screens of their minds, in order to give themselves something to talk about with their peers (misery loves company) and prevent disappointment if the most pessimistic of information sources turns out to be right.

Of course they will keep on being right if people continue to surrender their powers, in advance, like this; pessimism has power too! It takes more than the action of voting; you’ve got to believe in that vote. Appreciate that vote; wield it like the super-power that it is (when we back it up with our belief). The ability to vote is something we’ve fought for many times; not just in the obvious sense, as when women and minority groups went after this, but when base liberties such as free expression and free thought have had to be clawed back from the vice-like grip of those who would make puppets of us. Knowing what I do about how what we feel, what (and how) we expresswhat we think and what we believe at our core are also such powerful forms of voting, these breakthroughs were significant victories on the road to manifesting a better world. Have you ever stood in the presence of somebody who utterly, passionately, believes whatever it is they are here to say, however unfeasible it may sound in the world “as it is”? It’s contagious, isn’t it? Makes your hair stand up in end, like an electric current, and all the more so when it comes from a higher-vibrational place. This is what we all have at our disposal; to positively alter our own lives and ripple that change out to others.

If you are reading this, you probably have free expression and free thought at your disposal, so use it well. Yes, vote with your feet and with your pencil in the ballot box but also with your mindset. Guard your domain from interlopers such as the kind of news that would undermine your own inner campaign. Treat those who would spray negativity and regurgitated news into your space like those who expect you to passively smoke their cigarette; ask them to stop it or move away. I told my husband, so many times, that I didn’t want his summary of the news headlines each day that he no longer bothers delivering it to me, except for the occasional lapse (which seldom goes well). If it’s important news, I will “hear” it by one of my more reliable sources but I won’t have all that spin in my inner domain, knowing as I do that that’s where all the real work gets done. I never stop believing that we are witnessing the dawn of a new golden world, whatever bumps and “setbacks” there might seem to be.

Running both train tracks is my way in the world; never underestimating the importance of either inner or outer action and focus, yet seeing how they slot together, the one more subtle version powerfully influencing the other, for all it “seems” dominant. There’s no point putting an “x” in the box of an outcome that I pessimistically assume to have no chance; what on earth is the point of that? And don’t just vote and think “there, that’s done…out of my hands”; put energy into it, before, during and afterwards. Use your subtle influences as discerningly as you put all your consideration into who to vote for.

On the upside, this wave of sheer dauntedness I detect around exercising our subtle influences suggests, to me, that we are waking up to them more and more and, like any conscious being that realises it affects more than it knew, a kind-of temporary paralysis can set in. The thing is, we are not alone in this wake-up call and our only task here, as an individual, is to tune into what feels right to us…that’s all it takes to add our influence; we don’t have to take responsibility for the whole of the world. All things are possible, that much is already the case (as recent history has shown with some of its curve calls) and we will manifest a better world all the quicker once even more people realise this to be the case.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Culture, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On edge

Something happened to me at the weekend that flagged up the kind of extra-sensory skillset I have always had and in a way that felt timely and useful for this final month of an old decade. We were staying in an Airbnb in a house on a hill where the rear of the building dropped sharply down the length of a garden that must have been on a 45 degree angle, thus the rooms at the back were a good storey higher than at the front, with a balcony and a view across the city in the valley below. Yet, from the street, this appeared to be a perfectly normal, level, row of houses since they were close together so, when we first arrived, I gave little thought to the fact it was built on the edge of such a drop.

Staying in new places is always a sensory adventure for me and sleep issues can arise from anything ranging from the use of the kinds of detergents and air fresheners I avoid at home to the proximity of the wifi router, not to mention the “vibe” of the place and the people who live there. This place felt light and pleasant from the moment we arrived; homely and fresh, with such lovely hosts who made us so welcome that we immediately fell into animated conversation with them, like we had known each other for years before. We were only there briefly to drop our bags, before going out for the day, coming back after dark but I liked what I sensed about the place from the moment we stepped over the threshold. There were no immediate “problems’ with overly strong technology vibes near our room; these people weren’t TV watchers or users of any kind of smart-tec, so I felt easy as I went to bed on a mattress that was just right and a room that was clean and neutral smelling. Yet I couldn’t seem to sustain a deep sleep and it was a few hours before I really sank into a proper slumber

In fact, for hours in the night, I lay there drifting in and out of naps with the oddest sensation that the only part of me that was attached to the earth was my feet and ankles and that the rest of my body and head were levitating. The thing is, this feeling didn’t make itself clear to me in my exhausted state (we had had an non-stop day so I was particularly worn out); it was only in the morning, as my consciousness emerged through the same layers of awakening that often deliver insights into territories of “information” that my daytime awareness tends to miss, that I began to name the feelings that I was having…that I felt like I could feel the varying proximity of the rock strata under the house from my feet to my head and that this had given me a feeling of sleeping as though hanging head first over a cliff edge. It was such a distinct sensation, once I named it, that I had to laugh at how bizarre it was…because I realised, on checking the view from the landing, now it was daylight, that this was exactly as I sensed; I had had no idea the garden behind the house was on such a slope.

I realised, on the back of this, that I had experienced a similar thing just a few months ago, when we stayed on a hillside in Shropshire, only there the sensation was side-on. There, I had the constant sensation that I was rolling to the right, even though the bed was firm and the floor level; and this was the holiday where my pelvic floor and other ligaments became so soft that my back and hips gave way quite spectacularly, resulting in several weeks of difficulty and pain walking and standing. Playing that location back, pacing the steps to the garden in my head, I now realised that the hillside beneath our house there must have fallen away pretty much under my half of the bed; the front of the house was, as it were, built on stilts with a void area underneath. This innate ability to sense “void” is clearly a thing I have; an extrasensory thing beyond a need for vision to confirm or deny what I felt.

Its not unlike the strong feeling of dislike I have for beds and seating that are positioned with their backs to a stair well or other space, including windows; and the ability I have to sense a change in the neighbours who live in the house behind ours, which is a mere few feet away from my bed head. I also have a strong awareness, before checking, of which direction I am lying in when I go to new places and, since childhood, have always had to work this through in my mind before settling down. You could summarise all of this, I guess, as a manifestation of my strong connection to the earth and my awareness to it such that it is innate; an ability I have no doubt we all possessed countless generations ago but, as per my last post, the ability now has a feeling of “throw back” because how many people, dowsers aside, really pay attention to such details?

The feeling was so strong, last weekend, that while my husband went for his wash, I rearranged the bed to put pillows at the other end and faced the other way, still lying down. Immediately, I felt corrected….like I was the right way up now or, more precisely, as though I was lying on a summer river bank with a pleasant tilt that placed my head comfortably above my feet though, again, there was no actual tilt going on in the room; the feeling seemed to be a super-awareness of the strata beneath the foundations of the house. After ten minutes like this, I was no longer on edge or wondering how I would get through my day; in fact, my recovery was remarkably swift. I was no longer as triggered and ragged as I had felt in the night and was able to get out of bed feeling as refreshed as though I had slept all through; ready for more animated chat with our hosts over breakfast.

The thing is, yes, the house was built on a severe hillside and yet the house itself wasn’t tilted at all. I had no spirit level with me but I would wager that the room had no more slope in it than my own one does at home (though I have had a long-running saga of sensations to do with the strata beneath there, as shared before). Nor was I fully aware of the extent of the sheer drop behind the house at the time I went to bed. When we arrived, in all the hustle and bustle of introductions and chit-chat, I didn’t take in the way the garden fell away towards a level much lower than the height of the house. Nor did I realise this when we returned to sleep there as it was pitch dark, curtains drawn and the view from the landing obscured. It was only when I went to the bathroom, next morning, that I fully appreciated the slope beneath the house as I took in the amazing view…yet my body knew all along.

These are the kinds of alerts my body has always sent to me, for as long as I can recall. Whether in a literal (as in physical) sense or in more abstract ways, my sensations have tended to pre-warn me when I am coming up to some sort of cliff hanger. As a child, I would feel it coming for days or would wake to announce “everything changed in the night” and my mother would give me one of those quizzical looks she was so good at but I knew it, and sensed it, with every fibre of my being…there had been some sort of gear change in the very strata of life, even if my childish mentality lacked the words to explain what it was. A whole era of a particular “vibe” could pack up and leave, to be replaced by a completely different feeling in the space of a single day,  but no one would seem to know (or notice!) what I was talking about so I stopped expecting them to and kept it all to myself.

Such premonitions of cliff hanger, or reasons to feel on edge, have presented in all kinds of context through my life, in matters big and small, as though the differential between one scenario and another is something that my nervous system is particularly well-wired to pick-up on and announce; subtleties that pass other people by, detected by some sort of inbuilt comparison device that extends far beyond what is logical to the mind. At the mild end of the scale, I can feel on edge in a room full of people right before something “kicks off”; or when the weather is about to change; or a geomagnetic storm occurs. At other times, I have felt as though alerted to more momentous things; like my hair stands on end or I can’t settle right before, or simultaneous to, something that later turns up in the news. These feelings troubled me as a child and adolescent (especially in scenarios where I felt I was “meant” to alert other people) and then again as a young adult but never more so than over these last few years, as the feeling of some sort of precipice up ahead has loomed in the “viewfinder” of all my most obscure, a-typical, sensory data. And, yes, refining my awareness of this has fuelled my own awakening to my broader sensory skillset, ceasing such naive reliance on more obvious or typical data, since I have been left with no option but to pay attention for my own wellbeing.

That feeling of cliff hanger has only gathered momentum lately, as we approach 2020, and the synchronicity of learning about my Asperger’s has only encouraged me to learn the ropes of it, not to shout it down with denials and all the usual, neurotypical, rationality used to shut such obscure information down. Instead, calm curiosity is my way and it’s a fascinating journey into realms of awareness, as yet, barely touched upon…though I hope to explore them in the years ahead.

Yet a feeling of edge, of reaching a precipice, of being about to leap into the unknown, into territory unsupported by the familiar, is not always a “bad” feeling; that’s something else I have learned. A presumption of “badness” is a such a neurotypical thing since an edge suggests to those people that something lies beyond their control; which is not comfortable territory in NT land. Yes, the feeling of looming void is a hard feeling to sustain, I give you that (as it was during that night, when I felt like I was levitating over my bed, held only by the ankles, which was exhausting to my logic-driven body). At the end of a long run of such feelings, you can be left befuddled and weary from it all; this feeling of lost solidity, absent predictability, of void where familiar is expected to be… but that’s not the same as “bad” and I have had to learn the difference many times through this era of many changes. The thing to re-learn is that “new” is not the same as “scary”; “void” does not mean “death”.

What happened at the weekend was funny…and a reminder that the feeling of cliff hanger that I get, right now, might be just as real, but is not necessarily of warning of something “bad” (nor is that how I interpret it). Rather, the feeling I have is of extreme, quite inexplicable, lightness just over the horizon. I sense the worst of it has been in the lead-up; all the months and years that have gone on and on to get to us to to this, but the actual feeling I get, right now, is of taking a joyous leap…of reaching just what we have been waiting for, in good timing. When others sigh or grumble at “the news” and shrug about the new decade coming up, a feeling of real optimism rushes up in me as the counter poise to what they are saying which is, in most cases, pure assumption based on their collectively shared “its all bad news” point of view.

My senses, pretty trustworthy as they are, tell me otherwise and I’m relaxed…even oddly so, if you compare with what I “could” be getting worked up about. So am I deluded, have I lost the plot or am I finally learning to trust my innate senses over “spin” and “what seems”?

And I’m not alone. Many of us “just know” things that aren’t explicable by any typical means; the point is, do we listen to them or do we allow our thoughts to be swayed back into mainstream fear-mongering? Try combing back through any gut-feelings you have had lately, any instincts that bubbled into your awareness, however unfounded in “logic” and consider, where did they lead you, how did they turn out when you did (or didn’t) listen and how often do they occur? More often than they used to do?  Do you ever wonder why? Perhaps keep a note of them, give them some air time, push them to the front of the queue when information comes charging in at you from so many sources (many of them unreliable, weighted down as they are with expectations built on what happened “in the past”). Prioritise your own data sources…not such a radical thought! We’re now accelerating away from that past; are you willing and ready?

As for me, I’m ready to take the leap into the unknown that is the next decade since its not an unpleasant feeling of void that comes to greet me, for all there has always been a sense of void when I try to think past 2020; even way back when I imagined my future life as a child. Yet a void can be like a blank piece of paper just waiting to be drawn upon; exciting and fresh, and that’s what my sensations tell me about the new decade; so let’s not tip the same-old ink all over it as what came before. We’ve done the hard slog through the darkest before the dawn feeling but now, well….lets just rearrange our position a little and try experiencing it from a different angle.

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It all seems so simple to me…

I know, I know, I’ve been writing such a lot about Asperger’s lately that it sounds like its all I want to talk about….but then, in a way, it is. It can’t be got away from that, when a mature person, a woman, who has (over) thought and (over) felt and been (overly) aware all her life suddenly has a reason for all those things, and not only that but a mechanism for noticing she is not as alone as she thought, then the effect is to take her over as she re-examines every aspect of her life to date in a rather marvellous new light. Realising you’re not broken is no small milestone in a person’s life-long journey of feeling “odd” compared to everybody else and yet really knowing no other way to be:

“Prior to receiving a diagnosis, many people project into the confusion of who they are with a variety of labels that are self-critical and judgmental, including “weird,” “defective,” and “psycho,” each denoting in loud, clashing tones, “Something is wrong with me!” It can come as an enormous relief to discover that there is nothing “wrong,” much that is very right, and a lot that is different.” Dr Michelle Garnett on “Diagnosis in Women”, a sub-heading in Spectrum Women by Jessica Kingsley

I’ve touched upon some of the positives of this reappraisal process in other posts and am sure I will again but that’s not what I want to, succinctly (haha, let’s see), write about here, which is on a subject much broader than autism, though it has a huge bearing.

What I want to do right now is capture something very pure and simple that comes to me as a sort of “truth” about autism and other forms of a-typical “wiring” during these times. You see, as someone with an evolutionary frame of mind (you could say its my special interest) I can’t help noticing and then summarising as follows.

“The world” that humans collectively operate as is what has really become broken here….mainly because it has become lopsided or “all one way”, like a cart missing a pair of its wheels. A certain way of being has become heavily dominant and that’s the masculine way of regarding everything as commodity, the world as unsafe, people as competition….you get the idea. I would add, none of that is “masculine” per se but a “distorted” kind of masculinity…which is a version of it that has run riot and unchecked for thousands of years. So long, in fact, that we don’t remember or relate to a time before, or at least not with our minds, even our artefacts from those times being scarce and outside of our understanding and the world now a very different place as a result of what was lost, so how-oh-how do we break out of that paradigm if not with our minds (more on that beautiful simplicity below)?

There have been a lot of undesirable and self-limiting effects of regarding the world though one set of tightly banded together beliefs (since even what we regard as violently opposing opinions in the modern world are as inter-reliant as any warring family members…really, close cousins below the surface, though these opposing ideas seem to fight all the time, not unlike royal families are all inter-related at the source). Above all, such a world is largely absent of the feminine impulse. By which I mean the “sacred” feminine way of experiencing the world (nothing to do with gender), where all things are one, there is no need or ability to posses anything, the picture is much broader than we could ever know (and accepted to be so, as a “given” of life) and therefore we don’t have to go around conquering everything with brute force, ownership or knowledge. Many dire effects indeed have sprung out of the tipping of this see-saw in one direction but, in summary, they could be said to be the result of regarding everything through a set of man-made beliefs which filter everything people think they know about the world from the day they are born (or even beforehand…) and, of course, being manmade, those beliefs make everything small, predictable and yet rather fear-inducing and often rather hopeless….always another mountain to be conquered etc.

In order to progress on a more balanced and healthy evolutionary trajectory, these so-called dichotomous ways of regarding the world have to be brought back together and into harmony, as is their natural state; this is the current challenge confronting The World as a project in longevity (a project that has begun to seem rather shaky of late). Many of us talk about such an age of new harmony “coming”, don’t we, and those same people tend to believe that we are already in the throes of its reorganisation process, though we sometimes wonder if we are deluding ourselves with fake optimism…

But, genetically speaking, what would this take…in order to bring back elements of what we have lost over eons of the masculine viewpoint being just so dominant that all our cultural thinking as “humanity” now comes from inside that box of its own creating? As Einstein said, the solution can only come from outside that box…

So, how do we, as it were, lift the needle up off the record player and place it down at an earlier stage in the track in order to start over, bringing back essentially human traits that have been mislaid over time; what was bred out, phased out, suppressed and even manipulated out of the gene pool of humanity due to being regarded as counter-flow and weak by the twisted masculinity of the dominant classes that oversaw all the years when our grandparents and great great great etc grandparents were born and manipulated to fit that “normal” viewpoint? It would take a sort of throw back, wouldn’t it, like when your computer gets a virus and you are in just in such a mess that you reboot and reinstall an earlier saved version, from before the mess even happened yet, once you have done that, you still add in the best of your saved work, carefully preserved (hopefully) on some external drive, so that what goes forwards from that point is a mixture of the best of both….together.

I was reminded of a word last night and it caught my interest for no apparent reason as I was watching a documentary on an unrelated theme. The word is “atavism” which I knew I had heard, and grasped the meaning of, long before, but it caught my attention enough to pause my program to refresh my understanding of what it means.

Screenshot 2019-12-04 at 00.05.29

I realised at once that it was a word I had been seeking for some time to describe myself at those moments (as happens with increasing regularity… ) when my peculiar wiring seems to give me more in common with some sort of ancient human, an earlier format, a gentler, more nature-oriented, sensorarily aware version. It’s a thought that sparks to life when I read the kind of science that loves to talk about throwbacks to the “primitive” brain, with that tone that is so disparaging and, yes, easily and smugly dismissive of how relevant that part of the brain might still be for us all as we forge our way forwards into new times on this planet. Its a thought that flickers when I read about hunter gatherers, nomadic people and their gentler, more spiritual, reverential and earth-connected way of life. It leaps when I touch upon societies built around the feminine principle, thousands of years ago, before some catastrophe gave the edge to those who used fear to conquer all. Especially in the way I interact with the subtleties of the environment, at the sensory level, and “see” via internal pictures that connect data across a broad spectrum; these skills, I am convinced, would have been so useful in another era but now they are, or can seem, quite literally, a pain and a reason for not fitting in…and yet I won’t disregard them as some sort of pathology, an illness, a problem and have remained unfailingly curious abut them on the assumption they are a gift the very moment you regard them from outside of the box. I reached this conclusion even before I gave myself the label Asperger’s yet the same applies; such people are only “broken” when compared with a model of what is typical and which (based on plentiful evidence) is far from ideal, so why do we provoke such strength of feeling amongst those who would seek to eradicate our traits rather than meet them with curiosity and optimism?

The same could be said about those who work the most diligently with autism (rather than those who seek to “eradicate” or “cure” it); they never give up on seeing the gifts, approaching with curiosity and, very often, being open to learning from the neurodiversity of those they spend time with….as is the case with so many families who grow their own collective awareness as a result of their time spent together with autistic family members, learning via them entire new ways of being, prioritising, loving, interacting with and sensing the world.

The more I read about autism, the more I have felt the affirmative of this….that is, that we are not broken except in the context of how we struggle with life as it currently is (an overwhelming mess of man-made signals and behaviours, devised this way by people who experience and prioritise differently to us) and that those of us who are innately wired to be diverse, compared to fixed ideas of what is “typical”, carry long-lost gifts and traits to offer to the world that might have been useful once…and can be again, as part of the rebalancing of such a misshapen world. And, of course, being without the competitiveness that drives NT behaviour, our contribution to that rebalancing process might not necessarily appear very obvious, not being as “successful” seeming as they would tend to measure such a thing by. For instance, we could be contributing by growing the patience and awareness of those who take care of us, even those of us who don’t have speech, for instance, or coordinated movements yet I bet ya each and every one has taught their NT helpers something important about the experience of life “outside the box”. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, there is no typical here. So, here’s the thing about autism; we are a collective of extreme individuals, each very different to the next and yet here is our collective theme, in my view. We are the very reminder of individuality in a world that has become more tediously typical than it can even notice about itself, most of the time, so locked-in to its own paradigm has it become. Don’t you find the news predictable? It’s all so darned predictable I could weep.

When I say “we” I don’t even want to limit these observations to autism since I sense the same evolutionary impulse fuelling the rise of all the gender softening that is taking place, for instance (such as those who identify as gender fluid, bi-gender, without gender…there are over 50 categories floating around on the internet now) or any group that are dismantling the walls of what is taken too much for granted as definition of who we are. How much are we learning from these individuals? How thoroughly, in relatively short time, have those people managed to unpick almost everything that was once taken for granted about the world, ongoing, and in some incredibly far-reaching and positive ways since they do away with assumption and discrimination? These are necessary processes as we feel our way back towards something we need for our future; dare I say, we need to go back to the future (atavism), as the counterpoise to the rather dogmatic trajectory that the more belief-driven half of humanity feels so committed to at any cost (having invested in it so heavily), in whose name it will never admit it is wrong or that they can’t, ultimately, control everything on the spinning lump of rock they regard this sentient planet to be. Before their extreme arrogance is the downfall of us all, we need this rebalancing to occur. The world needs these cross over areas between limited viewpoints born of linear history and the wide-open, expansive ones that come with innate diversity (those of us born outside whatever box we don’t fit into…so we simply cant be any thing other that wide open and diverse, however we may pretend) and, yes, we need both mixed together and melded, in order to make the next evolutionary leap. It’s an improbable, alchemical process, for sure, but we get there when we identify with both, as one person; making ourselves the very melting pot, which is where the magic occurs.

Nothing spans that gulf, becoming the bridge between unmeetable sides, so well as an Asperger’s woman because, I am finding, these women have had to work particularly hard to come to understand and even operate as though they are a functioning part of a neurotypical world in order to survive, not least because many of them did not reach their breakthrough understating regarding their own Asperger’s until they were well into maturity. Its a well know fact that the narrow diagnostic procedure and some misguided beliefs (here we go again) about what autism was led to countless women, many of them now my age, not being noticed as autistic as children, thus they were left to forge their own path in a neurotypical world. I am one of those women and it has been the making of me, though it’s been unspeakably hard. Thousands of such women, in waves, are now finding their way to their own Asperger’s understanding, often via health or career breakdown or the diagnosis of one or more of their children, at which point they realise “but these traits sound like me!”

Across all the years in between, they have probably gone through higher education, pursued careers, raised families, been part of communities….and, all the while, running two train tracks; that of their hard-earned “normality” and that of their precious inner landscape, where they are aware of vast other perspectives that make them feel quite different to almost everyone else they come into contact with, not to mention feeling at odds with the very way the world operates. That’s what it feels like to bring together two perspectives together as one person; because the world experienced through a set of beliefs and without them is a very different landscape yet we have to, somehow, reconcile those in order to be who we are as functioning people. The process of learning to do so can serve as a catalyst for achieving self-awareness at an extraordinary new level, as well as delivering expertise and intimacy with two very different ways of looking at the world; neither of them right or wrong, just “different”. Extreme tolerance, compassion and circumspection are inner skills we have to acquire just to keep our own wires straight!

We MODEL the very process of merging these differences to the degree that, now I realise about my Asperger’s, I find there are parts of being neurotypical that I would quite like to keep, for all I now see so clearly how they are learned and added-on to me as a skillset rather than being innate. Being jolly and sociable with other people (in the right circumstances) is a point in case; I enjoy this very much, in short bursts, as long as the conversation underwriting it is purposeful and stimulating. Playing the game of some other harmless NT games, such as sharing things on social media, is another thing I quite enjoy from time to time, though it seems contradictory with how generally private I am.  I like to go out amongst crowds whose behaviours I don’t really relate to and people-watch for fun, so I’m not always the recluse or to be found exclusively in my natural environment. Therefore, in just a few months, I have discovered that I span many different versions of human being as one; as both my ancient prototype and a very modern woman, for instance, and a lover of Nature and of some (not all) technology…and these are just the most obvious examples. In doing so, I show what it is possible to be….the best of both worlds… and there are many more people like me, mixing up the everyday and trivial with vast existential thoughts in the same heartbeat. I have to allow that this is an important trait to have in these forward-thrusting times and I am seeing this mixture of apparent opposites or seeming contradictions (I love a good paradox!) in some of the most interesting individuals. Now is not a time for sitting aloft and aloof on hillsides contemplating the meaning of life at a safe distance; it’s the doing of this from within the heart of the fray that is creating some sort of magic spell or the reweaving of a tapestry that had become threadbare. As the saying goes, we chop wood, carry water, even as this is going on.

I also appreciate, like few others that I know, how the same sensations can present as an almost completely different landscape according to whether they are experienced from within or without the belief filters; and, I sense, its useful that some of us are out and about noticing this as much as we are. My sensational range became almost unbearably painful when I first started to dismantle my learned layer of adopted “buffers of belief” a decade or so ago (for all they turned out to be rather ephemeral in my case…one puff and they blew away since they were only surface deep) because my innate sensibilities were already wide open to environmental sensory cues that others don’t seem to notice and now they were left naked and exposed. It wasn’t so much that my beliefs were so deeply ingrained, as in the case of an NT going through this kind of perspective change, but that the layer underneath was so hypersensitive and switched-on to a vast range of sensations that are not typical (or advisable) in this day and age, it seems, that it felt like having a layer of skin removed and everything was pain for a few years. So, to survive, I have had to reinstate the best beliefs that I am capable of summoning from within myself, via my consciousness, to make my world more tolerable than its ever been (the power of the human mind to create newness is unsurpassable; and as within so without); since, yes, a human being needs some beliefs to give their life structure and resilience, but not necessarily those unconscious ones that are drummed into their head by the conquering cultural viewpoint from the moment they are born. Can we dismantle and then rebuild everything we experience from a different, or vastly broader, higher, more liberated premise without experiencing extreme overwhelm; the kind that blows us apart with too many sensations to deal with, rather than the bare minimum of information that is currently drip fed through our cultural belief blockade everyday?  People like me have to deal with that conundrum every day…

The degree to which NTs operate through a series of belief filters, colouring everything they experience before it even gets to their mind, is astonishing to an Aspie who enjoys people watching. If you can imagine what its like to be a deep-thinking and sparky-minded Asperger’s, and yes desperate to have meaningful interactions with other people because you are, after all, perfectly intelligent, articulate and (in your own way, with somewhat different motivations to the cultural norm) eager to share and bounce ideas around with others. So you go into a social setting and you assess who you are dealing with and, immediately, you start to notice that, though you are on the same topic, this person over here has this particular filter, that person has that filter…its like each neurotypical person you converse with is seeing their world (THE world….really, the same world) through a pair of beer-bottle thick goggles of a particular hue; sometimes many layers and hues deep. It could almost be an amusing game to do this; except for the part of you (the lonely part) that genuinely hoped you were on the same wide-open wavelength with someone, enjoying one of those unlimited conversation that take you higher and higher and higher… but then the other person start to show signs that their Icarus wings are wilting in the bright light of the sun you led them to. They cant keep up, their eyes are glazing over. Resistance comes into their mind and they won’t be led any further. It becomes apparent they see things in a much more narrow way due to a belief they keep hitting upon, like an impervious glass ceiling in their unconscious thoughts. They are almost with you, wanting to be with you…but they are like a butterfly caught against a pane of glass and now they are tired, they’ve had enough and they withdraw.

So, again, I don’t limit this theory of atavism to just those on the spectrum, or those who, through the catalyst of whatever a-typical trait they were born with, have had to expand their horizons to make peace with their personal preferences in order to claim the life that is as rightfully theirs as the next person. There are also those people who, through meditation, spiritual adventuring or questioning what life is all about at the broadest philosophical level, beyond any pre-instated mind corsets, reach that glass ceiling and actively drill holes in it, seeking a way out of all their limits. These people, who become diverse by choice, actively embracing the opportunity to acquire new wiring throughout the course of their lives (at whatever age) and encouraging neuroplasticity to occur to support their personal evolution, are so important; true game-changers. So I’m not suggesting that us “wire”-oddities, those of us born neurodiverse, are the special or predestined heroes of the piece; only that we are working together in what seems to be a most beautiful partnership with anyone else who embraces diversity, whatever their angle or motivation. Thus, as I have found, we may discover many friendships waiting for us in the spiritual communities or amongst “new” scientists, philosophers, gender nonconformists and so on because we notice these traits in common and it forms a new language of sorts. Honesty and straightforwardness, unconditionality, acceptance, a lack of duplicity or hidden agenda…these are some of the traits I find in common amongst such folk and the more we gather around the exercise of such traits, forming a sense of community built upon them, the more quickly we usher in an alternative kind of world.

These people (just as we do) are adding all-important weight to the see-saw of perspectives; helping us all to find a middle-ground between those caught up in an idea of strictly linear human achievements and those who possess more of a multi-timelines attitude that simultaneously incorporates perspectives that are ancient and, in genetic terms, “lost” (…but not so when we go beyond the linear genetics…) and a golden future we are already dialled into.

Because they are not lost if we are capable of assembling them again. There is a thing in genetics called “recombination” which allows for genetic traits that have been lost (or so was thought) to reassert and reassemble though the subtlest cross over of some latent, ancient, trait when combined or activated by its similar part. And I suspect it is not all to do with cross-breeding, though it has to be in part; just look at Silicon valley where autism and thinking outside the box is, apparently, rife as a full-blown “autism epidemic” (quote Steve Silberman) due to so many computer geeks, attracted there by the IT industry and to each other due to the sharing these traits, starting families of their own. Families like mine, I sense, also contain such an information subtlety in their un-gene pool of hidden gifts (my parents both oddballs from odd families) and those traits have found “their time” to flourish and shine over the last 100 years over three generations, though I bet we have been some of the odder members of society for hundreds of years. Perhaps if autism and other neurodiversities litter your family, the same goes for you. Yet I also feel there is a contagion of ideas going on here, one that does not rely on genetics but passed freely as frequency from those who are diverse to those who are not and I am more than familiar with what its uptake feels like; it can light up a whole room, as people start to glean something beyond their own previous limit-point, just from being around someone that models diversity, and so the spirit is of being set free, of elation and expansiveness, like when laughter tinkles through a room and lifts the mood, only far more powerful. When I notice this effect kicking off around me and other oddities like me, I find myself smiling at those who seek to limit neurodiversity as “a faulty gene”.

If these are genetic traits at all, they aren’t genetic traits in the affirmative (they still struggle to find genes that = autism and, I suspect, will continue to struggle to “nail it”, as they so long to do) but they exist in the void, as so many wonderful things do; like a particularly high note waiting to be sung. The world need that note right now, perhaps a chorus of them, and all we are doing by singing that note, en masse, in our outside the box, quirky, unlimited by belief systems kind of way, is modelling something that many others on awakening trajectories can take encouragement from. We aren’t the evolution ourselves but we are a big part of it; this rebalancing of hemispheres in the global brain, and so I do believe the sweep of autism and other such neuro- and other-diversities across the planet is timely; I sense there is much more to come; and I expect (just as I am seeing) that many on the spectrum will serve, in a sense, as a wake-up call to others, whether they realise they are serving thus or not. They do this by crossing the paths of neuroptypicals who, through their own compassion and curiosity and inner work, are already lined up waiting to hear such a call (as a seed awaits the droplet of water); and so I do think this is a collaboration “by design” (at last, a group activity we can be part of, whey-hey).

Therefore, I don’t think we are the centre of the evolutionary momentum that is occurring or the most important aspect of it… but I do sense we are extremely important to it and the reason for this is so simple that it needs no further explanation to anyone who is already shaking free of their rigid belief systems enough to grasp what seems so logical and, really, quite, biological here…for there are no mistakes in Nature. Neurodiversity is not a mistake, we are not broken; it is the mindset that thinks we are that is in need of revision and that process is well underway.

Meanwhile, perhaps the most frustrating thing is, those wired a-typically see how there are simple solutions at our disposal and here, the biggest frustration at the heart of that frustration, lies the main issue. NTs seem to make the world so heinously overcomplicated. If we find it all so simple, you may say, then why don’t we fix it….but the first hurdle is how complicated it has been made for just so very long by NTs, and the second is that our viewpoints are often treated as though naive, like those of little children who haven’t yet learned the ways of the world. Well, if that’s what it takes…

And it could all be so much more simple than what I am seeing “out there” if we would only work together more, beyond the side of the box.

I started to write another post after my weekend away visiting my daughter where all her frustrations with the state of the world, with work, with everything going on around us all (we had such an interesting and dynamic..ultimately uplifting…conversation) could be summarised as frustration with this very fact; how all is turned to competition, even at the subtlest levels, in the neurotypical world which, whether due to genetics or my parenting style, is not her natural place. Her department head had just given them all a huge rollicking, as a collective, because (though instructed to work together to pool their considerable strengths and resources in a way that could overcome any weak areas in their current project) the majority simply won’t collaborate, however much pressed. These individuals are too fixed upon holding everything they have, or at least the best they have, so close to their chest that there is no give, or, they give out what they could easily do without, seeding an air of mistrust and resentment. Nobody will risk being the first to break out of this pattern to forge a new way. They may even put on a show of collaboration…smiling through teeth as they do so…but they won’t give it all over to the collective; not ever. Remind you of something? Perhaps, the way the world is tackling the matter of the ecosystem, for instance. The same in personal scenarios; all around her, so much drama is cooked up for the sake of making drama, to “keep things interesting” and because this is normal so, in choosing to be different to that, speaking her mind, showing her feelings, being honest, she is left feeling vulnerable and at a disadvantage. No (as I pressed upon her), someone has to be the one brave enough to change these ingrained behaviour patterns first and when she is able to model a simpler, happier life as a result, maybe then the effect will ripple out. The point is, we have to start  modifying these behaviours somewhere.

The first post I wrote about this conversation I had with her was long and indignant; became all-too overcomplicated itself…caught up in the contagion of overcomplicated NT ways (see how easily this happens if we let it)…and so this is the clear-cut abbreviation. The bullet points are as follows: those of us who are different already, or ready to give different a try, need only model these ways in our own lives, keeping things simple and without agenda, sharing what we deem useful (regardless of how others choose to interpret our motivations for doing so), knowing when enough is enough, continuing to be unconditional love personified, and also not allowing ourselves to become depleted and sickly through the contagion of these old-defunct ways while they still  grind on around us. Now is our time to shine “just as we are wired” whilst holding to this simplistic path since it is the premier gift we bring to the table. All we ask is that we be met as we are, not with the agenda of “fixing us”, and in the spirit of curiosity and openness that will allow our gifts into the mix in ways that could benefit us all.

Every now and again, I write a post that is a bridging post, its very subject-matter straddling two hemispheres to join masculine and feminine perspectives, both physical and spiritual approaches, the practical and the much more abstract topics I tackle, to make something of a whole. I can tell this is one-such since I can’t decide which of my two blogs to publish it in, so I will publish it in both and take it as a good sign.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shared roots and scattered seeds

Before any major growth spirt can occur, before we can look to the new growth, the branches and the seeds, one thing has to happen and it’s important. We have to take a long hard look at our roots to appraise “how are they doing, how strong and healthy are they feeling, how grounded and deep; will they withstand and provide the sustenance we need as we grip onto the soil for the next stage of expansion…especially a big one”.

The thing about roots is that they have the strangest habit of being entangled with other roots, touching in places we can’t see above the surface…so what we think of as many trees is actually one giant organism, joined at the source-point. Yet not everyone seems to notice this (or wants to); some would have our roots transplanted to individual grow bags with impermeable walls. Yet, like any giant tree, our strength relies on our touching points, the overlaps, the healthy entanglements …and I notice a whole lot of musical artists are realising this, through their projects, too.

Its why collaborative music is one of my BIGGEST passions. in fact, I love almost all music (at least, melodious, non-production-line music) with a high-degree of passionate, eclectic, bubbling over the top enthusiasm…which then comes crashing back to earth and dies just a little when I share all my enthusiasm on social media yet get no comments or likes from amongst even my closest friends. Friendships bonded via music are the most potent I know; my husband and I are such and I used to have them years ago but they seem to have died back in my corner of the woods as I reached maturity. The same enthusiasm that surrounded me in my student days is simply not there any more and this leaves me feeling more sadness than I can adequately express.

I just don’t get its absence, or its watered-down-ness, in other people’s lives; to me, love of music is everything, though I am not a musician (would love to be; my problem being I want to play everything, brilliantly, so I play nothing but an Irish whistle in my own amateur way). As I see it, its also one of the best routes to our collective understanding, healing and salvation so why aren’t we all paying it due attention? Because, in the kind of musical collaborations I gravitate to (apart from discovering exquisite sensory experiences that provide blessed relief from all the other painful stuff…) I find reasons to hope that our roots are, indeed, strong enough to carry us forwards and also find evidence of abundant new shoots growing above that surface from old-hardy root stock…partly because of the way these artists own-up to our shared roots, whether they are shared across genre, culture or even species; and because they don’t flinch to go where politicians fear to go. While walls are being built, they are busy unpicking all the joists…so I want to shout about it; to get everyone else noticing and taking their cue from such messages of possibility….and then joining in, since that is what music is all about, when it comes down to it.

Screenshot 2019-11-24 at 16.51.44Last night I was at a wonderful concert witnessing such collaboration in action. Appreciating Rhiannon Giddens as I do, I pounced on tickets for this concert in which she partners with Italian pianist, percussionist, accordion player and tambourine enthusiast (described as a ‘musical alchemist’ by the Irish Times) Francesco Turrisi. They met in in Ireland and found that her reclaimed 19th century American minstrel banjo tunes (what can’t she tell you about the real history of the banjo with its African origins…before it was commandeered by minstrel shows as part of a rather bad-taste and long-running joke at the expense of Afro Americans; this girl takes dot-joining and history exposing to a whole other level) and his traditional Sicilian tambourine rhythms fit naturally together. In other words, they realised that, when we collaborate across cultures (instead of locking antlers), we mostly discover that the roots are all shared…the origins all the same. From that point on, and with many a WhatsApp geek-a-thon to keep their conversation open, they both began drawing on their roots and finding new inspiration in the cross-overs, leading to an album There is No Other (link to whole album on YouTube). This concert is the result; and it has that unmistakable tingle-factor of a project born of great enthusiasm and vision…not to do with revering the path but shining light towards the future. From the very moment Giddens opened her throat to fill the auditorium with her incredible voice, delivering her own composition Ten Thousand Voices, she had everybody rapt, caught in a spell of multi-lifetime overview and at least the start of some semblance of greater understanding.

What ensued was a concert you didn’t want to end, filled brim-full with variety and unexpected overlap. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to, no exaggeration: filled with so much skin tingling and quite jaw-dropping talent on one stage (a trio that included a wonderful double bass player); so much movement in the cross cultural pot; and so much inspirational chit-chat and story telling, dot joining and musical geeking about the deeper cultural history and the instruments, where they derived from, what they were used for…and not always obvious uses at that! Plus not a small amount of reference to where we are now, how we all feel at 3am in the morning and the importance of taking our moments of beauty and joy where we can, through…yes…music, collaboration and recognition of glorious things held in common; our healthy entanglements at the root (since so many of those same entanglements look far less healthy above the soil). It included jazz, opera, folk, gospel and music from Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Africa, the middle east…cultural ingredients which only went on to throw up wonderful new flavours when blended. Who knew there were so many types of tambourine, that you could have a tambourine solo (instrument of the goddesses, 8000 years ago…my favourite era…I learned) and that it could be so riveting. And oh Gidden’s voice, layered with all the experience, poignancy and wisdom of her cultural roots and of women’s voices across multiple centuries. It was a potent mix.

Yet I get it; you weren’t there so how could I expect you to be as enthusiastic as I am…I do see. I know, when I spill my excitement all over social media and in my writing, the only people likely to respond are those who like Gidden’s music or who were there…I understand, that’s logical I suppose. Yet this seems so self-limiting. How would I have known about Giddens myself if I hadn’t followed some clue dropped by another person; picked up the titbit from somewhere (and I think it might have been because I found her tingle-inducing version of Dido’s Lament, as performed live last night…one of my all-time favourite pieces of opera) but whatever it was that grabbed me, it was the key to the door of her broad repertoire. Something must have served as the tail end of a thread and I followed it; I had the curiosity to explore and, being me, I would have delved deep, whenever that was (four years ago?).

81XE-24NOyLIn fact, I constantly follow such threads in music; like yesterday, when I discovered a folk song about a selkie (I collect them…loving selkie stories as I do) and it lead to another collaboration called ‘The Lost Words“, made up of Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Kris Dever, Kerry Andrews, Rachel Newton, Beth Porton and Jim Molyneu. This got my attention because all of these are familiar folk; I saw Kris Drever in concert just last month and had been looking out for a live performance from Karine Polwart as I would dearly love to see her perform and here they all were together…for a cause close to my heart.

Because The Lost Words” turns out to be a collaboration whose intention is to bring to the stage the oh-so important message of a book by the same name; here’s the “about” section from their website:

“Once Upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”

This is the intriguing introduction to The Lost Words: A Spell Book by writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. Described by the Guardian as a ‘cultural phenomenon’ this book holds “spells of many kinds that might just, by the old strong magic of being spoken aloud, unfold dreams and songs, and summon lost words back into the mouth and the mind’s eye”.

The Lost Words: Spell Songs is a new musical companion piece to The Lost Words book where musicians unfold the “dreams and songs” living within the pages of the book.

The book began as a response to the removal of everyday nature words from a widely used children’s dictionary, but then grew to become a much broader protest at the loss of the natural world around us, as well as a celebration of the creatures and plants with which we share our lives, in all their characterful glory.

I glanced at Jackie Morris’ artwork style across the website and got goosebumps…immediately recognising the connection with a loose thread in my year. There was a book on the shelf at the B&B where I stayed with my sister in Malvern at the start of April. It caught my eye because of the beautiful depiction of goldfinches on the cover. Goldfinches are so important to me; feeling symbolic, as they do (their arrivals in my garden are rare but well timed…) of something important we are on the verge of allowing to slip through our hands….

“Charm on goldfinch, charm on. Heaven help us when all your gold is gone…” (From Charm on, Goldfinch – The Lost Words: Spell Songs.)

A charm, by the way, is the collective noun for a group of goldfinches…did you know that? Not many people do any more.

For some time, I had been almost desperate to manifest some sort of artwork to convey this goldfinch message and those of all the other birds that “speak” so much to me but inspiration had remained elusive…like I didn’t know where to start, fussing over my medium. Suddenly, there in my peripheral vision over dinner was this glorious book cover looking pretty-much as I had imagined; a book I didn’t even get to lift off the shelf of our host’s collection as there was never a good moment. Then I remembered in the night….must look at book over breakfast…but I got sidetracked as were leaving that day and got home kicking myself; tried to find such book on Amazon from a description of the cover but didn’t get anywhere.

Helen White Artist

© Helen White

Still, it had lit a torch in me and so I immediately started on my series of bird-themed digital paintings – my king-of-song blackbird, my robin with his divine song (I added the detail of the robin’s breath to convey this, following an experience I had with a robin’s song at Glastonbury – see my post Crystalising and its follow-up The frequency of Birds), my musically-mute but important magpie sat in stately balance and my little wren…always oh so important to me, with her powerful voice, though she is seldom noticed due to being so small, plain and brown; like me, she always has much to say but tends to remain invisible. But for some reason, I have encircled (even as recently as a couple of weeks ago) yet not started the goldfinch artwork that still flutters in my head…

So, of course, when I found Jackie Morris’ illustrations for the book “The Lost Words” yesterday, there it was (as I knew in my gut would be the case…) the very same book I had seen on the shelf all those months ago – now found at last through a piece of serendipity – and, on the cover of the related album “Spell Songs”, my little wren with a tiny curl of song breath from her mouth, just as I had given to my robin. The synchronicities were so undeniably powerful. Within an hour, I had ordered the book and tickets to see “The Lost Words” being performed live next year; I was following my path.

songlines-best-album-for-instagram-1.jpgBecause when music speaks to me like this,  I don’t hesitate, am impulsive, lack the usual need for careful consideration that turns other parts of my life into a series of long hesitations and stutters. When its music, the message goes beyond the “tune” or even “the lyrics”. Its a wide-ranging conspiracy of happy coincidences, of meaningful overlaps, potent undercurrents, powerful harmonies, juxtapositions and collaborations. Rigidity and rules get overidden. The heart gets recruited, first…not as an afterthought. These are powerful tools at the hands of music; and musicians who weald them for the good of our planet do important work that I want to support with all that I have, including my enthusiasm.

My passion for dandelions as the wild and much maligned hedgerow dwellers, for instance (after all, what constitutes “a weed” except this entirely oppressive idea devised by those who would have all the world under their control…) is a longstanding one. It has fed my writing and art for years; I wrote about it once here. Kris Drever’s tribute to the dandelion “Scatterseed” was part of his set at the gig we went to last month…oh happy goosebumps…but then he talked about how the many charming names these familiar friends of mine once had (lions tooth, windblow, milkwych, parachute, evening glow); only, now they are all being written out of the dictionary, even the obvious ones. We are part of a reductionist machine and text-speak will be all before we know it; but its more than that….is so much bigger and all pervasive. This kind of negative momentum makes me so desperately sad….does it make you sad; do other people react when they hear this kind of thing? I don’t understand why they wouldn’t see its import; because the loss of these words and references is symptomatic of so much more that is being pushed aside, lost, written out of all the books and erased before our very eyes…

“Scatterseed scatterseed, the fallen star of the football field…I never called you just a  weed”. (From “Scatterseed” – Kris Drever.)

Now, I discover, the song is part of the “Lost Words” line-up. Having these songsters “call out” what would otherwise be the “tiny”, almost imperceptible crimes of the mainstream monster, as words get swept away to extinction just as carelessly as do wildflowers, trees and entire species of birds, animals and insects, is just so important in these times. Through music and yes art (my part) they draw attention to what is just so desperately amiss in our world, in the face of a machine that is dogmatic but not so very good at playing the heart strings so, for goodness sake, lets keep playing those strings before rigamortis sets in; let’s work some magic with all our special powers! The book’s artwork delivers a triptych of watercolour paintings of each creature or plant, first depicting its absence, then the “spell” (rather than poem) to accompany its portrait surrounded by sumptuous gold leaf and lastly the creature or plant embedded in its natural habitat; a powerful transformation as it is returned to life before the very eyes.

Since published, there has been a powerful movement to ensure every school has a copy of “The Lost Words” for its children to familiarise themselves with so many words now written out of dictionaries and the endangered natural world they make reference to…and, so far, this campaign has grown across Scotland, five boroughs in London and several counties whilst “Spell Songs” is not the only musical effort to grow out of it, including classical interpretations:

“Since the Lost Words’ publication in October 2017, this book has had a transformative effect on all who have come in contact with it. Described as a ‘cultural phenomenon’ in the Guardian, it has become a huge bestseller, has taken root in thousands of schools across Britain, been widely acclaimed as an instant classic, won numerous prizes, and inspired many creative thinkers, young and old. It was shortlisted in 2017 as one of Britain’s favourite books of all time on the natural world (alongside titles including Tarka the Otter and Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne).”

I salute such momentum and want to be part of it in any small way that I can.

DandelionAfter I listened to “Spell Songs” yesterday, Spotify did that marvellous thing that it does (and I don’t know how I would exist without it now) whereby it continues playing artists from the algorithm of my previous choice; so I gathered, in just the space of an hour, four new artists of a similar ilk to try out today; already they have me tingling with anticipation at my afternoon ahead. One already saved to a playlist is poet Kate Tempest’s “People’s Faces”, oh wow….just follow the link to experience it, please.  People tell me they don’t have Spotify…well, get it then (even the free version is better than not) or try YouTube, just try. “When I write I am visited by a higher self” says Tempest (and a more apt name is hard to imagine). I had never heard anything quite like her delivery before but I cant seem to put “People’s Faces” down…

As such, my ever evolving taste and the adventure it takes me on is an exponential thing and this reflects who and how I am; deep at my core. I grow and I expand, I explore and I join dots, I notice and I question, I put out feelers and I experiment, constantly…with such enthusiasm, excitement and joy. If I must be overwhelmed by sensations then I choose to be overwhelmed by music; its how I have learned to cope with my sensory adroitness. The only pleasurable way I can be around crowds of other people (as I know I should try to be, at least some of the time…) is to be at concerts, where the music carries me away and the oneness with “other” is the primary sensation I get from being in that audience, sharing an experience that makes us all at least similar, for a time. This overrides, for a couple of hours, all my usual challenges with proximity and electromagnetic spaces plus a sea of mobile phones though, OK, I really struggled last night with somebody’s overwhelming perfume, which I could taste as though I had been drinking it because it was just so chemical and strong, but it was a small price to pay to be there. The sensations that course though my body when at a live music performance compensate for all other challenges I experience as a sensitive and, somehow, bring new coherence to the moshpit of life such that I can navigate between one gig and the next on a cloud of joy and enthusiasm, including a sense of having mingled with others on a similar wavelength, even without meeting them as such. Its no wonder I have liberally dotted this year’s diary and next (already) with tickets for numerous gigs to see performances I’m so excited about; I would rather this than a dozen holidays.

I know, the intensity of my “focused interest” around all this and the degree of passion and insistence I bring to it when I share my enthusiasm with others, hoping for some sort of equal or similar response (though, sometimes, any response would do), is all part of my autism, my naive optimism, my inbuilt expectation of sameness and understanding. I do know, now (at my ripe old age) that I can’t expect everyone or even most people to be be wired like me; to get so excited, so vibed-up, by an experience that, like a child, I simply want to share it with others…like holding up a picture I just drew for them to see or offering a handful of sweets…in order to offer them a portion of my experience by inducing them to join me in it, as I’m having it, so that my experience and theirs can mingle and be all the greater. Sometimes, I suspect they think I am boasting about what I am experiencing (a neurotypical interpretation of motivation that never occurs to me at the time) when it only ever comes from this longing to share and to infect them with my high-vibe and joy; to offer them an opening. Yet I know all these hopes of mine are nonsense except amongst exceptionally open minds; they can’t and they won’t come in to my realm, being wired differently and I have to mitigate my expectations to limit the heartbreak of this truth. I know all this longing is illogical, the world being what it is, but I just sometimes wish with all my heart that other people would try harder to be more than just “typical” around this, my favourite topic, and join me in my sensory explosion, if only for just a short while but perhaps its not relatable when your senses around music (“hearing” doesn’t even cover it) aren’t so acute, so orgasmic.  Even then, I feel that I know music’s worth as a transformation aid in this world; I know how it can break through ceilings and to the heart, so I wish that, just because I say its worth sampling, they would trust me and try it; or, like when they announce they have great news (a promotion, a grandchild, a funny thing) they could get enthusiastic about my biggest events which, nine times out of ten (no, really) are about experiences involving music…or art…or a bird on my walk; but they never seem to be able to meet me there; to them, those things are only peripheral and to me they are utterly pivotal. So I’ve yet to find my people; the ones who could gush and gush about this stuff and make it bigger in the sharing, even though they don’t play an instrument (I envy those who do since they find their folk amongst other artists; like Giddens and Turrisi). Next time, I’m quite determined, I’m coming back as a multi-instrumentalist; and a good one at that!

dandelion-335222.pngIt’s like I spend my whole life longing to curate an experience for other people, one that might help them see new stuff or experience profound breakthroughs, but I can’t even get them through the door of it. So as ever (with all my favourite topics) I continue to long to have people around me that I can enthuse with (a common longing amongst Asperger types, I read) but can hear a pin drop when I talk about my musical taste or share links to performances; perhaps more so than with any other topic, I’ve noticed. I’m not sure but I sense its not considered polite amongst neurotypicals to inflict your music taste on others but what if its your primary interest? So, how many years have I suppressed this interest, for lack of collaborators? Thankfully, it’s how my husband and I came together; and we’re working on spending more time at events where our kind of folk gather but its slower work than I would like since it involves finding all new friends, which neither of us are good at. In part, I am sad for me and, in part, in despair for the way the world is going….like its a sign that humanity is becoming desensitised, en masse; for where is the curiosity and the thrill-factor gathered around such overwhelming talent and beauty? How come most people are so easily pleased with processed music that all sounds the same and came out of a factory; or, they fixate on TV “talent” shows with their orchestrated outcomes; or, they listen to what is safe and nostalgic to them, from years ago, a happy place…when there is so much that is new and exciting organically breaking open the soil from around beautiful old root stock; new growth from down deep where we all join together in remembrance of who we really are.

It was bewildering to notice last night, for instance that for all Giddens is what I would consider a young artist, the audience was largely made up of people above the age of 60, most of whom seemed (from overheard conversation) like they had come because it was in a mailing and not because they knew her work…and though its great they were all there, its a demographic I notice a lot at live music. Why oh why were there almost no 20, 30 or 40 somethings, the avid following of youth I expected, given this music is lively and sexy, political, gutsy, soulful, challenging, sensual, boundary-pushing, feisty and oh-so of these times. In the sea of white hair, there was just one younger woman that I noticed; she had come all alone and brought her book for the interval…as I would done ten or fifteen years ago, if I didn’t have my husband…yet her aloneness spoke volumes. People like us are dotted around; we don’t operate in packs…or, not until we mellow beyond all the fire and energy to make change that this music deserves for its audience. For all we have more choices than we ever had, and more going on than ever where the arts in general are concerned, most people still seem to be content with mainstream and almost desperately afraid of deviating from it in their youth. They don’t seem to want to be taxed by deeper “meaning”, preferring to hear predictable ditties and love songs on the radio; but there’s no challenge, no passion, no story telling, no guts and no rally call in any of that mainstream heap (which is why folk, roots and alternative seem to be central to my genres). Parenthood seems to distract them for years and then, all too often, I hear from other women that they don’t feel they have a particular musical taste at all anymore, or that they listen to whatever the radio or their offspring happen to play at them.

It bewilders me into silence, almost shuts down the potential for friendship, when I hear such admissions because music speaks such volumes to, and for, me that I would hardly know who I was without it. An absence of interest or preference suggests no discernment or curiosity and next to no physical/emotional response to something that elicits a massively physical/emotional repose from me, therefore I need to know that the other person feels at least some degree of response to it before I can get on any communication wavelength with them at all.

As ever, it all seems to come down to how we are not all wired the same way in this, as in any other, regard and that there are those who feel more than others; like having a completely different kind of experience, as science is now proving through patterns in the brain and nervous system. It seems, some people simply don’t get chills from music, though they can be proved to perceive it the same. The new research suggests, patterns of brain regions specifically activated by music pleasure, including the connection from auditory regions which perceive music to the reward centres, are slightly different in these individuals than in other people who get goosebumps, chills and other sensory responses that register as intense pleasure throughout their body (which is how it is for me; quite intensely so).  “People who get the chills have an enhanced ability to experience intense emotions,” reports Matthew Sachs, a PhD student conducting his research on this topic . He has also found that people who are open to experience – as well as people who have more musical training – are more likely report strong emotional responses. Their reward circuitry seems to work better and more intensely than those other people, the most extreme of which seem to have something labelled “musical anhedonia” (music doesn’t reward them in the same way as those who respond to it; another study on that here).

Of course, some scientists have suggested this goosebumpy reaction I get is a primitive throw-back to hairy ancestors who relied on their skin to prickle when faced with a fight or flight situation but, as ever, I shovel salt all over such theories since they are much the same ones that consider autism to be “brokenness”. Rather, I consider any genetics that phased out such reactions as a tragic loss to humanity but hold out that a great many of people’s reactions (or lack thereof) are learned behaviours and can be modified  by encouraging people to expand their perceptions, relearning how to open themselves up to more diversity and greater depth of experience, through variety and relevance (as when music becomes associated to a cause that is meaningful to them) and by mixing up and extending their experiences from the narrow “norm”.  This is exactly what I have been trying to say about these new musical collaborations which s-t-r-e-t-c-h what we are used to hearing. New synapses can grow and sensory experiences to do with empathy, unconditional love beyond boundaries, and a whole range of positive emotions can be intensified, I feel sure…and then who knows what humanity could achieve. Music could weave its spell in ways that we have yet to fully imagine or realise in this world…

Well, for one, I certainly know how to be open and affected by all sensations more than most (often to my detriment), so if this is a reward for my often over-stimulated nervous system, I will happily take it. I’m not complaining…its just that I would like to be in contact with more people who are also wired this way at some point in my life, so we can share the experience and so I can feel less lonely in it; a pursuit that has been a life-long endeavour since it is mostly absent amongst my existing friends. I guess it’s what my primary friendship filter is all about, which I still use, if rather more subtly than before (for years, before I learned any better, my opening question was likely to be “so, what music do you like?” but I gave this up on sensing, as above, that it is a line of enquiry that is frowned upon or considered a bore). Moving on…

Other powerful collaborations I have got into over the years include the wonderfully blended sound of The Imagined Village, the Nest Collective and Sam Lee, who quotes Gustav Mahler on his website “Tradition is tending the flame, not worshipping the ashes”. Through his project, Singing with Nightingales he demonstrates that collaborations can bridge species as well as culture. Through these wonderfully intimate gatherings in woodland at night, singing along with the ever-rarer song of the nightingale (there’s been an 80% decline in 30-40 years), he is endeavouring to draw attention to the plight of these and so many other bird species at the hands of human beings. These things really, really matter to me…no, I mean REALLY…keeping me awake at night, and so the music built around such endeavours is extra-powerful for me and, I hope, others, being compelling in a way other rebellion methods tend to fall on deaf ears. When he staged his Singing with Nightingales event in London’s Berkley Square as part of Extinction Rebellion last summer, this sing-along music broadcast amplified through speakers to a gathering crowd was a protest as powerful, or more so, than anything else going on as part of that mass event, garnering interest from spontaneous crowds drawn by his warmth and obvious passion, not to mention his incredibly gifted and contagious musicality (those magic tools for engaging people again). How many people even know what a nightingale sounds like; but there he is helping them out and those who still don’t had better hurry up if they want to have the opportunity. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the importance of bird song is one of my other “grand passions” and I collect recordings and collaborations of that variety too.

I could go on and on as this is clearly one of my “potential to bang on” topics (interestingly, Giddens made two references to possessing that very trait….”I’m that girl at the party” she kept saying; “oh no , here she comes…”). Should you happen to find me on Spotify, you will gain a far better sense of my eclectic and ever-expanding music taste there. An accessible way in to the deep pool of my mind is via the playlists that I compile as an ongoing project (currently up to number XXII and all pretty varied and diverse; my own collaboration project) known as the Badger Lists; available to explore by searching them out on Spotify. They have no set agenda except to induce the tingle factor in me and perhaps others who trip upon them; and I can’t help but imagine some sort of audience I have yet to meet enjoying the experience of them as I put them together, though I have yet to have a single hit from anyone “out there”. In their way, their curatorship is as much a part of my creative output as are my words or my art since they are an all-important expression of me and we can each do no more profound work than to discover who we truly are, from roots to tip, via such multi-sensory, cross-boundary, means, regardless of who happens to join in or notice.

On my walk today, having offloaded these “few” words I heard a song thrush singing so enthusiastically in the late afternoon glow just as the white mist started to come down thickly across the fields by the river; an experience I had never had before (I hadn’t heard a thrush for months and can’t remember ever hearing one outside of summer). I also saw four little wrens, an unusual count for one walk; and one so close to my ear it almost passed for a falling leaf. I like to think these intimate encounters mark a refreshing of the global song quota, and it’s potency, from today; perhaps they sense my renewed enthusiasm around this topic and wanted to give me the nod. Perhaps tomorrow I will get back to my bird art…

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