The taking and the giving

Yesterday, I killed a bird and it was quite unintentional. With somewhere to get to and with a rare schedule to keep, I was driving along the winding country lane near my home at the speed of one who knows all the bends when a cloud of swallows rose up from behind the hedgerow and flew as one in a great swoop over the road to the telegraph wire. One lagged behind out of the pattern, hesitated and came lower as though straight towards me and I also hesitated, tried to swerve and, in doing so, hit it as it took the same avoiding diversion. This wasn’t a road for stopping so I witnessed its last movements as a receding view in my mirror, down on the tarmac; yet somehow felt its irregularly fluttering heart, its sun-warmed feathers, in the palm of my hand with such intimacy it broke my heart. I felt sick, all the colour drained from my face and I probably trembled a little, even as I bashed the steering wheel with frustration. I was so angry with myself for not being present as I drove…or at least, not enough to know whether there was another car up close behind if I braked hard on the bend so I had hesitated, assuming the bird was nimble enough to avoid me and there it was, I had done this. My dance with Nature had been out of step for long enough to do harm.

From that point, I felt agitated, consumed with guilt, regret and remorse, as though a heavy leaden weight had descended on my heart, a cup of ink had spilled on the day or like an omen had been shown to me (it was an auspicious day; soon, we were heading off to the airport to collect my daughter, whose plane was about to take off…). Now, I felt I didn’t deserve my day to go well anymore; felt distinctly out of kilter.

I sent blessings to the bird, garbling some appropriate-seeming words in my head to accompany it on its way, wishing fervently that I had better ones to draw on when these things happen; some profound alchemy I could perform in order to restore the balance most quickly. I was struck by the irony that I had ended its life at the peak of its exuberance, that very thing I had been writing about in my post that morning; feeling it rise in myself like a spiralling tailwind in the warm breeze and now I had cut-short the life of its very talisman. I wanted to somehow make recompense to the bird-world though my husband aptly pointed out that I already had as the kites gained a lunch…it was all-but cleaned up by the time I drove back an hour later (Nature wastes nothing). Everything I’m about, that I choose to be, felt temporarily spoiled or hypocritical in the aftermath, like I had failed at it all.

But then as the day progressed, I continued to hear all the relentless shooting sounds that go on in the background, weekend after weekend from late august, where I live….the ceaseless murder of birds reared in the name of someone getting to shoot at them. What I “had done” by accident was a far cry from what the greedy pigs (sorry pigs) that guzzle on pheasant meat washed down by a robust red do, really, so that they can kill “for fun”, which pheasant shooting is really about; no one “needs” this meat on their plate, least of all those who have it. With all the gun-shot, it honestly sounds like we live a mile from the frontline in this typical South of England semi-rural community and it sickens me to my stomach, angers me so much, week after week, but there it is…its legal and its popular.

As it happened, I had been drawn to watch Avatar the evening before (it had been many years…) and hadn’t got around to finishing it so I settled down to watch its second half that evening. In many ways, watching it then felt so timely, now more so than even the night before.  I NEEDED to do a refresher on how it’s all about balance; how Eywa (like our Gaia) won’t take sides… but will step in if that balance gets messed with. Push too far one way and we can be sure she will push back. In these morale-destroying times, I needed to make myself sure of that again; this needed to be revised, made fresh as a visual (thank you Avatar) so I can keep on believing it more strongly. Like a tonic, I HAD to immerse in the acknowledgement that all is connected for a couple of hours, as I truly believe it is, for all it is not widely acknowledged by the masses. I found whole new layers of synchronicity with what I have been learning recently about the incredible interconnectivity of trees and between trees and the rest of Nature in Peter Wohlleben’s astonishing book The Hidden Life of Trees – What They feel, How They Communicate (2017); to the  point that Avatar has already taken on the air of science fact more so than science fiction in the ten years since its release (two sequels are in the pipeline). These connections are undeniable, yet they can seem ephemeral, fragile and we can (collectively) abuse them, pushing and pushing them to the point of extinction. So, in the dominant world trajectory, we are (again, collectively) pushing very hard indeed…but we can be sure Gaia will push back, in ways that may surprise and, yes, alarm us all yet.

And of those doing the pushing, I am doing relatively little of it…in fact, less and less, with each passing year as we adapt our lifestyle to be more in sync with Nature, not less so as is the dominant trend. My heartfelt accident is a far cry from those who kill for nearly every meal (even if they pay someone else to do it) though there are plenty of other healthy options in most developed places, for instance, plus all the harm they do to the planet by encouraging meat production as one of the most ecologically destructive industries yet devised. I suspect it will be those of us who tread most gently on the earth, acting as gentle custodians, not rapers and pillagers, who will ride out this next wave with most grace; because we will be serving as the agents of balance in a world off kilter.

And if we feel alone or dispersed, ineffectual and outnumbered, Avatar reminded me also that what we actually need is a willing turn out, with a forceful desire in our hearts to step forwards as protectors of Nature, in ways large and small, doing what we can with what we have, as with the gathering of the far-flung nations in Avatar (and not necessarily an equal match for the machine mentality in force power). Because, at some point, when we reach a certain tipping point as those prepared to take a stand, we will feel Gaia’s support at our backs, as the agents of balance working with her, and it will make all the difference. As I said before, all is connected…in ways unfathomable to those who plunder Nature as a “resource”; thank you, Avatar, for the spectacular visual reminder of our sentient planet and the hidden “technologies” that outdo the arogance of self-interested parties. It isn’t those of us who feel remorse as we harm that are most out of kilter here, it is those who feel nothing at all!

So, yes, yesterday I killed a bird…unwittingly, with great remorse, feeling sick to my stomach and it reverberated through me long afterwards and still now; just as it did the very last time, years ago, when a robin came from nowhere against my windscreen on a country lane. That time, I also pained and pained over it; but then, looking back, it was from about then that I paid more attention to these and other small birds, treating them ever more thoughtfully, paying close attention to their habits, learning their songs, encouraging them all through my garden by creating a habitat that would enable them to thrive, with food in winter, water in the heat and sheltered places for nesting. Since then, we have attracted all sorts of birds and welcomed one fledgling robin after another, watching them grow up from the speckled fluff balls that find their feet and then their wings in our cat-free haven (one even spent its first day out of the nest in my dog’s plush bed, right next to where we were sitting, unfazed by our presence). Then, each autumn, one always seems to take up position as “our” resident bird, singing nightly in the tree by my kitchen window as I prepare the evening meal…same place, probably same branch, year after year….and on into spring time, bringing back a mate and so the circle turns. Though I already loved robins, I was reminded of some sort of intimacy with birds that I must have lost, after my adolescence, by the gift of that one bird’s demise and, now, my relationship with all birds is one of the most important things in my world, teaching me so very much about some surprisingly universal things. It somehow jolted me out of the subtle state of disconnect I had been in beforehand (a collective phenomenon…convenient but unhealthy) and I felt more aligned after that.

So, we give and we take; and, though sometimes we don’t mean to take or it feels necessary, when done with great respect and gratitude (Avatar once again), it is that all-important point of realising the difference between this and grabbing all we can that makes a person who they really are; a “small” detail which, I suspect, will become far more decisive of our fate than some people have yet to realise in this quite pivotal era we have now entered.

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Exquisite life

Being a mother in the confidence of a young adult daughter is such an opportunity to relive some of those old colours and sensations of youth. Listening to my daughter tearily describe to me, from the airport as she awaited her flight home, the sheer tirade of emotions running though her as she left behind three of the most incredible months of her life and all the intense new friendships she has made working for the summer on the other side of the world, I found myself saying these words to try and help her navigate the seeming overwhelm of it all: “You’re experiencing the ‘exquisite pain of youth’….the reason you feel things so intensely at your age is that even the pain is because you love something or someone so much. I remember that feeling! Yes, life is very intense at your time of life, so enjoy it. I miss it!!”

And I meant it…was caught, transfixed, for a moment immersed in its flavour, carried on the wind from my newly travel-enriched offspring. Back then at her age, as I recall, all the colours and volumes of life were turned up for me too…and I allowed it all in, I beckoned it, without hesitation. It was a sensory explosion and life was a crazy, rich tapestry of ecstasy and hurt…so much hurt. There were so many fixations upon things and people but perhaps, especially, boys who did not reciprocate; in fact (I suspect) if they had I would have run a mile, yet I jumped in with both feet, intensely and obsessively when it came to these one-sided fixations which, I now learn, is an Asperger’s thing. Whether they are one-sided or not (and for my daughter, clearly not) it was this free-for-all, the wholesale “give it to me” wolf howl for experiences to happen that I remember the most. What happened to all that?

As I reminisced out loud to my husband this morning, I found myself describing how I kept it going, perhaps, longer than some…wooing this free-for-all experiential feeling long into my twenties, living as bohemianly and noncommittally as I could, mixing with colourful people who seemed to throw these colours around on their palette just like I did. However, one by one, either because they had attached to some career path that meant more to them or because they were on some other work path that didn’t and which wore their spirit down, those people stepped away from the exhuberant scene I had chosen and I was left all alone.

Also, somewhere down the line, that general exuberance got replaced by alcohol driven behaviours, fixations that were about other things to those that truly excited me. I can recall how, in the early years that we were together, one of the things that most beguiled me about my first husband was the way he would exude so much excitement for a future built on all the riches he planned to “make”; spinning stories about how he would spend his millions on a lifestyle that “we” would be enjoying by now. As exuberant friends stepped away from our circle to get married or “serious” about life, I shortchanged myself into accepting his version of what I once had, which wasn’t ever about being rich in money, but was always about being rich in life. I mistook one for the other, dazzled by the frequency of excitement and not so-much hearing the content; until I was caught up in it all, duped into something that had “seemed” to be what I was wanting but was not. For here was a man who had nothing to offer when it came to exploration and travel, to feelings and colour; he wanted none of that, poo-pooing all I had to say on such matters. My sensory synapses got blunted and then blunted some more until I felt like a mute piece of firewood for the longest time. That was how it had happened…

At the start, all I had ever really wanted was to travel, to meet people, to experience different cultures, to defy the linearity and planning-obsession of life and mix it all up into soundbites of colour and sensation, like a multi-sensory synesthesia painting. I was where my daughter is now, newly back from crazy, eventful travels with a female friend, with that travel bug biting away at my heels and with such misgivings at the prospect of setting down into my first job (which awaited me) gnawing away at my thoughts, when I met my first husband and it all got trimmed away as superfluous.

So, in my conversation with her last night, I also found myself saying “I think you know this by now but only be with people who encourage you to grow and explore…if they try to clip your wings, fly away!”

This is as sound advice as I can give anyone of any age but it applies especially to her age group, as friends “get serious” and partner up so fast that the conveyor-belt mentality is literally all around, bedazzling with promises of a house, a ring, a dog…empty promises without the freedom to experience all you are here to experience. It would have been good advice to me and I still give it to myself (though I have far less need to, these days).

The challenge, at my age, can be finding people who still want to join you on the sensory explosion of life, as you once caught a taste of in your youth. And can it ever be experienced again, once life has blunted off all your most wayward, exploratory nerve ends, whole bunches of synapses filed away as superfluous by the hard “truths” of conventional life? Once life has “taught you” the disappointing and hard practicalities of “the way things are?” Its a hard thing to achieve but not impossible to regain some ground and, there, I suspect I have the advantage as the non-conformist, a-typical Aspie with the built-in synesthesia point of view. Forever, I have harboured this nugget of the wayward, like a handful of that earlier prototype of myself “held back” when life came to demand that I hand it all over; and it has served me well in many a crisis. Because, while those around me started to fixate on their salary brackets, lawns, cars, package holidays, waistlines, where to get their hair or nails done and the plots of their favourite soaps, I was busily having the burnout that returned me back to the rawness of myself. Yes, it was often exquistely painful but a timely reminder and somewhat of a relief, after the comfortable numbness that preceeded it. Those beliefs I once had, that life can be rich, intense and fluid are still there, seeking new outlets as the alternate me I have become (and am still becoming). I am not politely self-limited but exponential, in my own revised viewpoint, beyond convention.

Its made me a far more accessible and useful parent than I might have been. In those glimpses when I still recall the intensity of those earlier times like they were yesterday, I am able to share out that relatability factor with my daughter at the same time as reserving a portion for myself. In those remembered moments of what life can feel like, full volume, as though you had learned none of the jaded stuff to contradict what your heart wants to feel, I can draw back some of those sensations into my own colour spectrum and dip my brush in their vibrancy to paint something new and surprising for my age-group. It mixes things up for me and, though I largely do it alone with respect to my age peers, I newly appreciate how I was always meant to do that anyway. ..that it was always about me, having the experience, and not reliant on other people to provide the subplots. Life is as rich as we individually make it (and allow it to be) and while some would say “you have to grow up…put those ideas to one side” I would argue that there is no good precedent to say so. Really, are those who ever did so such a great advert for the effect? As ever, I prefer to be alone and be authentic to myself than in a crowd miserably “conforming”.

We compartmentalise youth as though its something to be grown out of, put aside…but, so often, we lose such big parts of ourselves and some of the richness of life along the way. With increasing nostalgia, as parenthood brings memories (such memories!) flooding back, I find myself remembering and getting drunk on the exquisite pain of it all in preference to the well-rehearsed stories I had long used to compartmentalise the past in so many grey boxes on the shelves of my memory. Those occassional shards of remembered pain are like a defibrillator sparking my jaded heart back into life; I regret nothing anymore…no, not one single stab in the heart, paired as it was with such vibrancy, excitement and joy to be alive. The full experience range of life “remembered” as in to “reattach” to myself. Exquisite pain sounds, to me, far better than chronic numbness, so these windows into what it is possible to be feel are doing me such good on the roller-coaster ride of parenthood. Though I might not want to do it all again from scratch, I relish the chance to (re)learn the gift of being more fully alive through younger eyes and hope, in the process, I offer good counsel not to give it all away for a song.

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The Path

When life (not just health) “goes wrong”, most of us are happy with the 2 Ps…a prescription and a pat on the head. We seldom ask core questions, of ourselves or our mentors.

Life has become synonymous with pain and we just want to hand it over, to make it all go away.

This fear of pain makes space for paternalism and politics. The system becomes the great father to whom we go for answers and instruction; and, in time, we learn to question at our peril since to question is to rock the boat that provides what we now regard as the source of our safety.

Yet (as perception wakes up, we will be called on to ask) where do we think peril really lies; in the state of our life or in handing over our destiny to the say-so of others in such a wholesale, unquestioning way?

When we do the latter, we lose also our pride and our power. Easy sacrifices since, for too long, we have been taught that these are “bad” or “misplaced” things in the individual.

Pride has been tarnished by association with “ego”; linked to desire for self-preservation…survival; an innately human yet frowned-upon thing, except when managed on our behalf.

We forget that this is also linked to self-love…a belief in ap-preciation over de-preciation; to take care of and honour oneself as a unique creation of the divine.

Appreciation leads straight to personal empowerment since we now appreciate all that we are and can do…and all that we are not and do not resonate with.

patrick-fore-74TufExdP3Y-unsplashSo, at last, we stand up tall in our perfection. In remembering how we are already perfect we also recall how, when we handed ourselves over so freely, we surrendered a belief in our own innate wellness, losing ourselves in other agendas; a murky deluge that has swamped us for the longest time. We bought into a belief that we were broken, flawed, commonplace, ignorant, not deserving.

Now we have found peace; which is an internal thing, an insider job that we do each day though the work is not taxing and which we carry with us constantly though the load is forever light.

Once we are there, our head above water, we seldom get lost again since we have remembered our own unique path; which is part of us, sewed to the heel of our foot by our own divine self.

All of this is a journey on the way towards a new paradigm; one we take many times, in many forms. It is in the getting “lost” for a time that we rediscover ourselves on the bends; by catching those ever-more frequent glimpses of our true self glistening and tall in our peripheral vision (we now look way beyond “the obvious” as we navigate our path) as we turn yet another sharp corner, away from what was not our heart’s destination until, at last, we recognise who we really are.

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Autism and the Age of Aquarius

What does it look like when an archaic version of “the masculine” (patriarchy, power, ego, control, conflict, greed…) gets dismantled and yet, Nature knows, there needs to be some sort of holding pattern for the best kind of masculine traits, through the transition era; plus a rapid process of reacquainting ourselves with what the more divinely orchestrated version of those traits look like, from a long, long time ago?

I speak of logic, reason, literalness, accuracy, truth, justice, protection, principles, universality, orchestration, organisation, orderliness, preciseness, ritual, rhythm, routine, structure, strength, movement, growth, focus… These can be beautiful, necessary, divine qualities in their highest forms and we can sometimes overlook them in our pursuit of all things feminine; the backlash to an era of harshly distorted interpretations.

And who is doing the dismantling? Whilst it may seem to be us (just look about you…the most archaic structures of the world are being challenged and dismantled everywhere we look in “the news”) it is really an impulse of the universe; the end of the piscean age and the start of the aquarian. This wheel of change started turning, oh so slowly, a couple of hundred years ago, picked up some speed in the early twentieth century and started to gather significant momentum from the late 1960s. Even more so from the mid 1980s when the eighth wave gained its first foothold (for more on physicist Dr Carl Johan Calleman’s theory about the nine waves of cosmic impulse overseeing our evolution, seek out my various posts on the Nine Waves of Creation), which I consider to be synonymous with this era of the “changing of the guard” from dominantly masculine into a more feminine and, ultimately, a more balanced world. The eighth wave brought the balancing factor of the “missing feminine” back into the picture and now (since the start of the ninth wave in 2011) we are tasked with “putting it all together” into a whole that includes both aspects as one and in balance.

As the Age of Aquarius (so much more than just some way-out abstraction sung about by 1960s hippies) clicks into its groove from 2020 onwards (to me there is no accident to that mirrored sequence of numbers…20:20 vision also springs to mind) we are about to have to get seriously good at this and, as ever, the real work is an “insider job” which we each get to tackle in the areas of life that have felt the most challenging and demanding of our attention for all of our lives to date. I think it’s fair to say that, if we agree to face (not avoid…) this inner work, we can expect some sort of breakthrough in the coming months.

Did you ever feel like you were born for some sort of higher purpose that you could never quite put your finger on? That’s because you were. Those of us in Generation X were born to this age of momentum and paradigm shift; conceived just as the wheel changed up a gear, so we are the forerunners of this transition age, leading the way you could say. If you are of that generation, you may be wondering why your life has seen so many changes and felt so, well yes, unsettled and transitional over the last handful of years…as though you cant quite stitch this part of your life together with what came before, like they are two quite different lifetimes without obvious continuity. Don’’t worry, it will all start to feel more coherent soon; there are no accidents.

From the mid 1980s, that wheel of change began to get oiled as a whole new wave of change makers were brought into the mix via that next generation which arrived from then into the millennium (and some of us in Generation X are parents to that wave; so we have noticed the shift even more since our children are like a whole other breed).

Meanwhile, waves and waves of those on the autism spectrum began to appear in that same timeframe; which is not to say that they are any more or less important to this shift of ages but to say I suspect they play a key part. There is a theory that autism amounts to “an extreme-male brain” and though I am not comfortable with all aspects of that theory or its blanket application (I’ve covered this in my post for Living Whole and can also direct you to this critique) I concede that, in myself, I am able to equate my autistic traits with a powerfully masculine part of myself…that cohabits with a powerhouse of feminine traits in what is starting to feel like a whole new kind of internal living arrangement to the archaic model that I struggled with before.

From this “world eras in transition” perspective, is it any wonder that autism, which appeared oh-so very rarely from the mid 1700s, at the very start of this age-shifting momentum, and appeared as a handful more cases (enough to gain a name and instigate the study of this bewildering syndrome) during the early to mid 20th century, resulted in a quite a few more us appearing in the 1970s but only got moving like a tsunami from the 90s onwards when the term “epidemic” began to be used in its context.

Of course, the actual amount of autism prevalent in the 1970s slipped under the wire for quite some time since a mixture of misinformation and stigma around it ensured that it was kept out out sight except in cases that were too severe to ignore. Those of us born on the high functioning end of the spectrum in the late ‘60s and ’70s were taught to assimilate neurotypical behaviours to fit in; and the pressure to do so was considerable. I also suspect, given that the trait tends to run in families in a way that means those with it often have exceptionally bright, pedantic, eccentric, technically minded etc. parents and siblings (as did I), we were often able to “hide out” almost invisibly for most of our childhood, especially if we were adept enough at learning neurotypical behaviours to get by in the outside world of school and friends. We were often labeled “geeks” or “shy”, which was socially acceptable at the time. Combined with newly relaxed social expectations during teen and young adulthood (meaning it was now almost expected of young people that they act a little oddly, rebelliously, “colourfully” etc for that first period of their adult lives, in a way that wasn’t known or acceptable prior to the 1960s) we were able to hide ourselves away in a crowd for a number of years, at least for that first part of our lives.

Typically, things became harder for us to cope with as we reached a point of being expected to join the work force and as our neurotypical friends become more typical as they settled down into “normal” life….leaving us all at sea, still feeling oddly different and out of step with the world and its expectations. This is the portion of life that gets hard for someone with undiagnosed Asperger’s and, I suspect, is what is leading to so many people recently, but especially women, discovering that they are on the spectrum as they reach their middle years, as I have done. Self-diagnosis of Asperger’s is at an all-time high, if forums are anything to go by, and no I don’t write this off as a fashionable trend or a catch-all for other issues since I am one of them and perceive traits in common across the floor of these growing discussions. There are some compelling first-person accounts appearing on bookshelves, one of which is Asperger’s on the Inside by Michelle Vines, which I found completely relatable from beginning to end.

And what do I find out about this trait as I become more intimate with what I had denied about myself for so many years? Does it still count as “a disability” for someone who has no significant learning disabilities, who is well educated, articulate and capable of independent living, of passing off as unaffected (I said passing off…) in most everyday situations? Only if I measure myself against neurotypical social mores, priorities, interests, tolerance for sensory chaos, tendency for wilful destruction or failure to learn from precedent and (lack of) scruples do I feel at some sort of disadvantage; since they are at such a right angle to mine. If I stand alone in my own corner of diversity, I find I am more than comfortable with my “different” approach to these things, finding my niche amongst others like me, rare though they are and notoriously difficult to prise out of their tucked-away places. I touched upon many of the challenges I have come across along the path of trying to form relationships with neurotypical people in my lifetime in my recent blog Relationships on the Spectrum on Living Whole so I won’t repeat myself here. What I want to focus on is just how positive I am finding my neurodiverse traits to be, now I look them in the eye and own them. I find myself, and I’m far from the first, wishing that they were more widely distributed amongst the population since the world needs more than a sprinkling of them right now.

What (as ever I ask you to do, being my particular area of hyper focus or “special interest”…another autism trait) we all pull back from the crime scene together and look at the MUCH bigger picture here? And if that sounds like a contradiction since, according to the popular stereotype, people on the spectrum prefer to obsess about all the smallest of details then I say to you it is those smaller details, studied “in the laboratory of me” for over fifty years, that led me straight to this almighty “whole” (in the same way that God is always found in the details). I’ve always had this thing for working at both the micro and the macro levels simultaneously. Ironically, given the stereotype applied to us, many neurotypicals don’t seem to be able to see beyond the end of their noses.

So, if autism is a version of the divine masculine trying to shake itself down and remember what it is all about (yes, still in its learning curve, its teething phase…so I won’t dispute that many on the less highly functioning parts of the spectrum have significant challenges coping with life), what if we step back just a little from the pressing urge to eradicate or control it and spend more time studying it, allowing it, watching and learning from all its positives. As so many of those families that have had the greatest success bringing up their autistic children have learned to do; finding, along the way, that these children come bearing such precious gifts, ones which enhance their experience of life and contribute to their own personal growth. These children seem to come as a package, touching all those that come into contact with them and not least themselves. Then, of course, we are starting to witness the high performers come to light; for instance, environmental activist Greta Thunberg (another big-picture person), who credits her Asperger’s as a reason she feels so compelled to speak out about all the mess she is seeing in the world. Can you honestly watch her in action and question whether the world needs autism right now? Another daringly vocal environmentalist with Asperger’s is British naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham whose “coming out” program “Asperger’s and Me” I reference, with a link to the video, in my other post.

Those on the spectrum are questioners, movers, shakers, speakers of blunt truth; we don’t dress things up or tolerate status quo when harm is involved. These traits empower me and serve as my very backbone when my more visionary, empathic, willingly sociable yet almost hopelessly unstructured side knows not what to do next. Humanity’s more sociable, collaborative traits have always required structure from another source, much like a curious bean sprout requires a trellis to climb (the masculine aspect); the point is, we need to question what kind of structures we hang our efforts upon…are they archaic or do they serve our highest collective purpose? Another string to our bow; people on the spectrum tend to feel an intense degree of connection to the natural world (oh yes!); now, tell me that’s not a much required trait, from some quarter, at this precarious point in our history. Such traits don’t need shunting to the sidelines as “weird pastimes” anymore; they are required centre stage.

Make room at the table for these traits, as I am now doing within myself to a degree I have never allowed myself do before (since I was always trying to deny, hide, sanction or train myself out of them before) and see what arises. As I embark on this inner journey of discovery, perhaps the most potent and profound one I have yet undertaken (though I have embarked on quite a few…), I am finding that my most useful tool is to seek inner harmony at every turn. As that part of me that has learned to be more typical over the longest time, becoming a habit and expectation of normality because I having been conditioned that way and can appreciate the better parts of it, meets this diverse part of me as though for the first time, I am facilitating more and more ways that they can reach out and shake hands across the interface of my core structure as a human being and the results are more than promising. Together, they are negotiating a reboot of sorts; or, you could say, an amicable hand-over into a new administration that mixes the best of the old with the most essential of the new. Now to see how we fare as a collective, doing something similar at the start of this brand new age.

 


Related

From Steve Silberman’s article “Greta Thunberg became a climate activist not in spite of her autism, but because of it“:

“I see the world a bit different, from another perspective,” she explained to New Yorker reporter Masha Gessen. “It’s very common that people on the autism spectrum have a special interest. … I can do the same thing for hours.” Thunberg discovered her special interest in climate change when she was just 9 years old, and she couldn’t understand why everyone on the planet wasn’t similarly obsessed with preventing it.

A visceral feeling of repulsion toward deceit and hypocrisy is also common among people on the spectrum. As Thunberg told the BBC, “I don’t fall for lies as easily as regular people, I can see through things.” She has a particular contempt for the professional propagandists and apologists who prop up the fossil fuel industry and discourage the development of renewable energy resources, dismissing UK claims about reductions in carbon emissions as the result of “very creative accounting.”

”You don’t listen to the science,” she went on, “because you are only interested in the answers that will allow you to carry on as if nothing has happened.”

I am currently engrossed in Steve Silberman’s prize-winning book: NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently. So far, I can highly recommend it for a feel of the historical context of this phenomenon; quite essential to appreciate its context in these particular times and the gift that it is.

Posted in Books, Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Health & wellbeing, Life journey, Menu, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mrs White in the study with the candlestick

As I’ve written about recently in my other blog, I badly injured my back a while back, which has triggered off a plunge into some of the worst fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms I can remember. Yet the very sudden, indistinct way this injury came about has puzzled my mind since there was no obvious perpetrating event. Yes, I had overdone things physically over the course of a couple of weeks or more, but felt fine every time I checked in with myself. We had had a long car journey to go to the hills for our holiday…and should probably have broken the journey but we didn’t. Then the bed was too soft and somewhat weird for us at it had springs, being used to a memory foam mattress that works to support the spine, and so I could tell straightaway that would be a challenge but I’m used to that on trips. We had the usual issue that we are used to sleeping in an electrically “quiet zone” at home as we have an isolator switch but, in the small barn conversion we were renting, there were a plethora of sockets behind the bed, an active alarm system and electric heating under the bathroom floor, the constant hum of a fridge in our sleeping space, the bed was metal and nothing could be switched off without messing up our host’s arrangements except for the wifi router. For an electrically sensitive person, these are triggers galore but then it had to be less triggering that being back home in a busy urban road.

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Sheep in the narrow roads…a typical sight on the hills

Then we had a bizarre second night, given we had gone to this breathtakingly beautiful remote location up a hill, with next to no neighbours for miles, to get away from things and enjoy the absolute peace and quiet. However, two guys came around to our property on the first bright and sunny morning to inform us a car rally was due to take place past our door that very night. I was gob-smacked and indignant at how ludicrous this was and went into immediate trigger over all the free-roaming wild life and livestock that lives on that hill which, sure enough, was littered with roadkill, snapped branches and pot holes in the morning. Potential harm to animals and the natural environment, caused by mindless human behaviour, is always guaranteed to be one of my biggest triggers!

True to his word, 80 or 90 cars came revving at speed past our barn between 1 and 5am and it was horrible; worse than the worst kinds of sleepless nights I was used to because there was no disengaging from it. I could feel it all as though there was a rampage taking place inches from the bed and perhaps the feeling of this triggered some ancient memory of marauders in my cells since it seemed to rouse such intense feelings I could hardly rein them in. In fact I could tell the rally had started, though I had been in a very deep sleep and had no idea of the time, even before a single noise had broken the beautiful tranquility because I felt it like an electric tsunami passing through me long before a single car arrived…and then it came, a minute later. Having surrendered utterly to the beauty of that natural place, like falling into its arms on arrival, I realised I was perhaps even more sensitive and aware than I am at home where the relentless rush of 1am traffic from the city and back again at rush hour, right past our door is, regretfully, the new norm.

So, though I stuck in my headphones and tried to meditate, I kept alternating between surrender and a rush of adrenalin as another car, with a slightly different engine and driving style to the last one, came around the valley blaring headlights into our curtainless floor-to-ceiling glass frontage next to the bed (which normally overlooked a view in which the daily post van in the distance was “an event”), only to round the sharp bend along the precariously narrow lane that touched onto the wall of our house on the other side (we left a light on in the hope they wouldn’t drive into the wall!) and roar past. By morning, I had probably generated enough cortisol in my body for a month and felt utterly wrung out, physically and emotionally…but had rarely-seen family visiting so there was no let-up to be had, I was hosting for the day.

With the perfect timing of a bullseye shot, we then received a kick in the guts notification from friends that very morning (the downside of having to check for messages from my brother was that I received other notifications I could have done without on holiday). More unwanted news came within days when my closest friend, who was already on my mind throughout the holiday for this reason, confirmed her cancer was back (it never rains but it pours).

Was it any coincidence that it was on this very morning after the rally that my body suddenly floundered…and by the next day, I could hardly stand or get around without gripping onto things. A couple of days later, having tried to soldier on with our holiday plans, it all gave way completely and I was barely able to get in and out of chairs, walk, bend, carry, cough, dress, move. It all seemed too exaggerated for the events that led up to it, like it came out of nowhere…an invisible car crash and, of course, my mind went into overdrive trying to figure it out as well as deal with all the challenges and disappointments it presented. The rest of our holiday was pretty compromised and, though the location was just so beautiful I could have stayed forever, the physically challenged part of me longed to get home to my normal bed, a bath tub and things I could reach.

I wrote about all this, the first time, a couple of weeks ago and the account was longer…much longer…but I knew, by the end, it wasn’t helping things to publish those words. Really, all that version was doing was adding snow to the snowball so I used it as an outlet and put it to one side.

Its taken me another couple of weeks to process much more of what I needed to on the inside…a solo task…and start to glean from all this what I really needed to and its ongoing. But, at least, now I am ready to share what feels like the most important nugget of all…

When things happen that we don’t like, it’s so easy to accuse this and that, until it becomes like a proverbial game of Cluedo (known as Clue in N America)…calling out a person in a situation with a particular “weapon”…except nobody ever wins. In this case, was the perpetrator “the over-tired back in the uncomfortable bed with the car rally?” Or perhaps “my own empathy with the emotional punch plus the EMF exposure”? Who knows; do I even need to know? It was what it was and will continue to deliver its plot-line while I seek the reasons why on the outside of myself.

And isn’t it always the case that as soon as you go into rumination, other “bad” things start to attract to that vibration, like flies sticking to a fly paper so that, suddenly, you’re in free fall and with nothing to smile about. That has been my last couple of weeks…even as part of me has stood back, with curiosity, to observe the patterns, witnessing them playing out to their usual “separation age” format. “Something outside of me must have caused this”, we assume whilst overlooking our own part in the dance made for two. And yes, while pain is there, I agree, it is very hard to disengage from all the stories of sorrow and the need to find a cause…such is our human way. Yet pain won’t move along…or will keep coming back…while the entrainment of blame continues; whether that is physical pain (which makes it rather obvious for me) or emotional pain, the pain of life’s disappointments, the pain of feeling let down by others and the world at large.

Well, pain is still here but I feel somehow different about it today. Writing about this now feels more like part of the detox than a whine about it all. I’m not feeding anything or anyone who played a part in triggering this because to “focus on” is to feed (and, yes, sometimes people wish us misfortune or do things we don’t relate to, things happen that don’t seem fair…of course they do) because nothing is so much of a hex on ourselves as our own belief that they can harm us or get under our skin. Of course, there are practical things we need to tackle some times and, to do so, we need to be aware of them but there’s a fine line between seeing what needs to be taken care of in a useful sense and pushing aside responsibilities that lie within to lay blame outside of ourselves, which is to fall into the victim trap that makes us weak just when we need to be our strongest. And, of course, sometimes when things turn out differently to how we hoped or expected, they are doing us a favour; we just haven’t reached a place of seeing that yet…which calls for less investment in a particular outcome than we have been displaying.

While we are human, we have triggers and each of us have our own particular set of them; mine are, perhaps, a little more quirky than some plus I’m a diagnosed HSP (highly sensitive person) which makes me acutely aware but we are all much the same in this regard. Whether those triggers go off is an insider job and, of course, its much harder to prevent when they all seem to want to go off at the same time. Yet being aware of what they are, mitigating the likelihood of them all coming up at once and ceasing the blame of outside things in favour of using them to understand ourselves a little better can be the turning point. When we notice, instead, all the synchronicities that occur (who would have thought the speedway level traffic of my road at home could follow me to that quiet hill in a so-called protected Area of Outstanding Beauty…its too bizarre…but has taught me many things) we gain a sense of what is being brought up for our attention; where we would do well to focus our next layer of fresh approaches, to better navigate this world in a new-enlightened way. Then we gain the sense, it’s all for us; it’s all what we needed to experience in order to understand more of the subtleties and evolve ourselves further (and, perhaps, next time the experience can take a gentler route to attract our attention).

When we start to claw back some of the neutrality we had given away around that particular trigger, we very quickly notice how the triggering event has very different information to impart. This process requires us to pull way-way back to where we can regard this infinitely bigger picture from many angles…so, my advice, don’t be so quick to dive in with all the sad accounts of “what happened to you” that make such a gripping yarn to swop with other people who, no doubt, have their own sad yarn ready to trade with you, because all this does is entrench you in the far narrower view, which is as blinkered as can be.

Its taken, as I said, well over two weeks to get to where I am now getting on top of this…and I’m not there yet since by body has not yet recovered, though it now feels more like having to dispatch the flush of toxins in my cells from “all those old stories of past” than anything to do with where I am in the present moment. The body is always a little slower and will catch up soon when shown the way but the point is to lead with a different angle of your consciousness; to be that change in the way you approach the circumstances that got you there, accepting your own responsibility in all this since you can only ever be experientially taken somewhere you agree to go.

As we get better at this in the individual context, we can only get far better at it in the collective context, which can only mean a world without finger pointing and all the toxic release that only ever comes out of blaming each “other” for our own loss of equilibrium. That’s not to blame ourselves either, but to accept that we are all part of the same experience-scape; so the inner will direct the outer to keep providing us with examples of what we couldn’t see we were fighting against or struggling with inside ourselves….until we no longer do that anymore.

 

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Posted in Animal welfare, Consciousness & evolution, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A fairy tale for our times…and, of course, a new ending

I’d been fascinated for some time as to why the movie A Star is Born has captured the public imagination the way it has, not just on screen but off it in all the long-running rumours about leading actors Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s much wished-for romance. Not only that but the storyline, with the same title, has been made into a movie an unprecendented four times since 1937 (five if you count the 1932 fledgling version of a different name), each version emerging as a more evolved stage in the metamorphoses of itself. This is worthy of attention because the time span of those films covers a momentous period in the evolution of our species and the relationship between two of my favourite things to talk about…our “divine” or “intrinsic” (that is to say, intact) masculine and feminine qualities and the way they relate to each other as they find their way back together in wholeness.

I have to admit, the first time I watched the 2018 film at the end of last year, I was really captivated too; to an extent I wasn’t sure whether my degree of enamorment was to do with the flu I was getting over at the time or if the film really held that degree of charge (I’m not normally one for “mainstream” or overly “romantic” genres).

Having re-watched it this week, I can categorically say that it does hold some sort of especial magnetism for me, like I am being invited to plunge deeper than the surface of it (and so I have). I’ve found myself down a rabbit hole, deep-diving the music of the film, the back stories and popular culture around it (youtube videos, talk show conversations, the dynamic between lead players Gaga and Cooper, etc) and equally curious at my own a-typical behaviour; what was it about this film that had me delving so deep? Waking this morning, I realised so clearly what I sense this quality is that is drawing people in to a media vortex, even causing them to heckle and chant for Gaga and Cooper to “get it together” in real life in order to write a different ending to the one in the movie (WARNING: I can’t write this post without spoilers!).

So, THIS is its compelling force, in my view: its a fairy tale for our times, the very story of where we are poised right now, as masculine and feminine, at the beginning of the 21st century and the new version of the film takes this to a new and entirely relevant level of exploration. This is why the story took several attempts to emerge from the 1930s (a key point in the arrival of the eighth wave of evolution) onwards…..it was birthing, becoming clearer, grittier, more shocking yet more truthful in its stark conclusion each time. So this newer version simply couldn’t happen until right now as it has something to tell us about ourselves that is necessarily brutal and no-holds-barred yet the fact it has been told before, in softer forms, is part of that message since we have been on a fast-track towards this point, like a car hurtling towards a crash wall, for the last several decades. The evolution of that crash (or the so-called tragic ending of this film…told more starkly with each filming) is important and, in that sense, is no accident, seen within an evolutionary context. You get the sense this story really wanted to be told rigth now; and the fact particular directors and actors (in this case, Cooper on both counts) picked up the baton is almost incidental though, because it’s been delivered so compellingly, fortuitous. You could say, the story almost has a life of its own…

EisnteinNo era is without its fairytales, it s cultural stories that emerge, ones which get to the very bones of what is being worked out at the very heart of those times. Don’t think of fairy tales as children’s stories in this context; they are deep and profound…and unfailingly truthful. Einstein once said “if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy stories; and if you want them to be brighter still, read them more fairy stories”. Disney has had a field-day with this and yet, we have to question now, are these stories really as static and universal as we have told ourselves; are they really on repeat (in the sense that it could be said “there are really no new stories”) anymore? Well, probably not when a paradigm is about to take a giant leap.

So what have we got here? What does A Star is Born capture on the screen, for all to identify with though they may not see it so clearly in their own lives? Well, we have Jackson “Jack” Maine, the world-weary male…broken, staggering, a child in a man’s body, longing to be tender but with no obvious way out of his self-made hell. His world is quite devoid of the feminine aspect at the beginning and he has become the disillusioned, worn-out and emotionally tortured alcoholic. “I don’t want to go home” he tells his driver, right before he discovers Ally in a transvestite bar (I’ll come back to the importance of that small detail in a while) and, a little later in the plot, he thanks Ally for creating the first home he has ever had…the broken masculine has come home to the feminine; isn’t that the universal story we all know so well? Yet that old story wasn’t ever, really, the ending…it was just the beginning, the promise of still more to come.

For Jack, being so hung-up on the past, it still wasn’t going to be sustainable in this lifetime. (HERE COMES THE SPOILER) in taking his own life, he forsakes the chance to “return home” within this lifetime (as opposed to finding home by leaving behind all the pain of life…which is what suicide is). We are left to speculate that he and Ally can now only ever be reunited on some other plane, in a song or an afterlife; that she will never forsake him (cue song “I’ll never love again”) but that this has become an impossible love to sustain in “real life”.

This is the human lot we have been sold for so long, yes? It’s what we have been told a zillion times before…a very old story; one that became the prolonged wail of just so many song and movie endings throughout the 20th century and long before those mediums became so accessible. You could say, its been drummed into us. The masculine and feminine were, apparently, never destined to get it together in this physical space…all too far fetched, it doesn’t exist in “real life”, is what we are repeatedly told. Yet, isn’t it interesting how, in clamouring for the two actors in this story (who have gone to some lengths to demonstrate the same magic chemistry off-screen, as part of the marketing for the film) the public are demanding a different ending now, making newspaper headlines? In this sense, Cooper has done something interesting for these times; he has engaged the public in a virtual reality campaign for the masculine and feminine to reunite; a sort of “vote” button for how the ending unfolds which, whether or not he and Gaga get it together in real life, is already doing its energetic work “out there” in the quantum ether where aspirations manifest into reality.

Meanwhile, back to the film, Ally is clearly a goddess…right from the very beginning…if a displaced one, like Cinderella working in a kitchen. And like Snow White, she has her little followers, eager to cheer her on, skip work and make leaps of faith with her, press their noses to the screen as she makes her first big breakthrough and of course she never relinquishes them, not even when fame and money come along. Yet displaced she is….at the start. Like a fairy princess held prisoner in some sort of dystopian nightmare, her talents go unappreciated except by her tranny “family” and she is destined to a life of emptying garbage…or so it seems. This is our broken world of the longest time, with its displaced divine feminine aspect, appreciated only for her domestic abilities while her real gifts go uncelebrated…or at least that is where we have been, until now.

So, along comes Jack on his charger (in this case, a limo), bearing his battle scars yet still capable of tenderness because he is just so broken and, in his way, he provides the missing element to the wilting feminine aspect which, for the moment, is like a bean sprout with no support to climb up. He offers her the means, the structure, the exposure to make something of her talent…since these are masculine qualities, the ones that make things happen in a dominantly material world…and so she gains her audience and makes a career that takes off at breakneck speed. Because, after all, the world has been waiting for the divine feminine for a very long time and is just so hungry to hear her voice.

Unfortunately, Jack is too broken to sustain her, or any of this, for very long. Though they have flashes of meeting in the middle, he carries too many wounds from far too many years of living out the long long story of the distorted masculine (violence, booze, a childhood being trained to disregard his emotions, an almost total lack of an appropriate masculine role model and the total absence of a mother figure). These are typical stories out there in broken-masculine land and its a miracle he is as responsive to a goddess as he is when he first encounters Ally, but something in his very brokenness enables him to see her fuzzy glow through the darkness. His brokenness, in this sense, is his gift since it opens him up and makes him receptive to what he needs most.

This is important…because its the very point that we are at right now, in our world, where the masculine aspect is so broken that that it looks like it is wasted and hanging on by a fibre. Whether we talk about individuals or the general state of our world, this is the universal state of play for the masculine qualities of our world and they could look “done for” except, in their brokenness, they start to be receptive to what they really need the most now, in order to make themselves whole again. In that fragile state, they gravitate towards the light of another Ally and the union is made possible…and can be nurtured in real life, though it makes for a less dramatic film plot to show this in action.

In showing this need, the masculine attracts the attention of the feminine which, by its very nature, will be receptive to that openness and flood the space with healing. No blame, no retribution, no fingers pointed…just, simply, balm, balance and love by the spade load.

Just as Ally takes Jack “home” with her, creating that very home out of the feelings of love she puts into it, complete with a cute dog, a piano and a veritable forest outside the door; a refuge from the world. So here, in 21st century format, is the story of Maximus and Elen from the ancient Mabinogion (the earliest recorded prose stories in Britain) all over again. In that version, the world-weary Roman emperor seeks out his goddess-princess Elen…finding her in a remote forest, having sent his envoys far and wide looking for her after a dream in which they met (Bradley sends his chauffeur for Ally…) and, when he finally finds her in that place, its like coming back to the Home of all Homes for him, and for her. All of nature delights in their union and the fountains start to spring…no less do our hearts spring as we watch their union on the big screen in this 21st century version.

So why the unhappy ending, the big cut off point where Jack deems it necessary to take his own life to enable hers? Just as Maximus gets drawn back to Rome, to take care of some of the messy business hung-over from his old life…So, is this still the same-old story where the masculine and feminine are destined only to have the briefest of perfect encounters in this world and then part again? Are we really stuck in this same old ending, where the three-dimensional world is fatally fragmented and our union a dream saved for another place?

Well, yes we are, just so long as we keep looking with our three-dimensional eyes, taking in the story in this defunct old way.

When we open up and look with other eyes; fifth dimensional “eyes”, we see something different happen; or, rather, we feel it. We notice, for instance, how Ally incorporates both masculine and feminine qualities right from the very start (her affiliation with a transvestite club is a clue); in fact, she is almost androgynous in her appeal…no less is Gaga in her real life persona, which is why she was so perfect for the role. As Jack and her get it together, she only becomes stronger…not because she lacked anything on the inside but because she lacked the outward mechanisms to make anything of her feminine qualities as the world currently is, which is dominantly male in its materialistic approach to everything, art and music included. As I know only too well, to make it in these times, you need far more than artistic ability and the desire to be heard; you need money and a marketing machine and Jack gives her that because, for him, that side of things is easy, being second nature.

On the inside, she lacks nothing and, from her union with Jack, she gains one very important thing…she starts to believe in that. So, by the very end, in her new solo-status as the bereaved widow, this sad ending is almost belied by how complete Ally seems as she sings her final song….a tour de force and stronger-seeming than she is at any other point in the plot line, being no longer dragged down by the wounds of broken masculine. She has now incorporated both divine masculine and feminine qualities into herself, as herself, in a physical three-dimensional sense as well as in her essence, becoming more whole and capable than ever. THIS is the true story of our times and its not even about exploring androgyny or broader sexual preferences….though these can become optional subplots for some people along the way…but about becoming unified and whole WITHIN OURSELVES at our very essence, within the core of our very cells or, you could say, in the energy field that we embody.

So where does this message leave the man; is he now obsolete? Only in this story (and, remember, this is a story). Remember, too, that divine masculine and feminine have nothing whatever to do with gender, except that we have stereotyped them that way, which is a sizeable part of what we are here to now heal. It also helps with the telling of “the story”. Sometimes we need the extreme to be enacted before our very eyes before we start to get something profound about ourselves. In real life, we can become that whole, as ourselves, and still choose to be in relationship with someone else…and all the stronger, together, for that personal wholeness. The one does not make obsolete the other; nor do we need that other person to come along to complete us…but, in meeting them, we can sometimes be reminded of skills we carry innately and which are being denied or vastly underused until we, now, realise them.

So, is it any wonder audiences clamour for the off-screen romance between Gaga and Cooper to take place. Caught up in the onscreen storyline that is really their own, projected outwards, they see all too clearly the fragmented state of our world and how heartbreaking it is so they long for the grand reunion that would make everything feel whole again; of course they do. Really, they could now look to their own lives…and to themselves…rather than obsessing about the film and maybe many of them will get there, never consciously making the connection from one to the other. The film serves as a bridge for their subconscious awareness and they can work out that different ending on the inside…just maybe.

I confess, I find Gaga such a fascinating creature the more I look into her, which I never really did before, so to gain the summary at this point in her career is to witness the emergence of a character that is very-much “of” these evolutionary times. There are barely two pictures of her where she seems like the same person and this chameleon-like ability is an extreme outward projection of times in which we are collectively playing with all the possibilities of all we have ever been and ever could be. In presenting herself thus, which is as a sort of multi-diversity (or multiverse) in her exaggerated public persona, she is firing all our imaginations and reminding us that we, too, have every possibility at our fingertips…and can reinvent ourselves as often as we like. Unsurprisingly, her love-life seems to be equally flux and yet the sense I get is that she is far too complete, in and of herself, for any “old style” male to get close to without getting his ego burned; so it will take quite a different kind of masculinity, one which is as whole as she is, to meet her in this state of balance….individually and together.

This multiversity thing (my new word…a bit like university, only more accepting of paradox) is another evolutionary thing in our times. In my own small way, I’ve never been harder to label either…whether in my tastes, my interests or my personas, which is not to say I’m fickle but that I won’t be pinned down anymore. The way the public interest in this film is spilling out over the edges into the personal lives of these actors is another interesting trend since, in their minds, they are morphing reality into fiction and back again so fast now that they literally start to blend…an oscillation that whips into creation a whole new layer of potential since it unleashes the imagination from its age-old prison cell of what is so called “real” and what is not.

As the old-and-very-broken masculine aspect, worn out from repeatedly wounding himself, disappears from left stage to make room for something far more in balanced (yes, in a female body) to emerge by popular demand, a new form of male will also start to emerge from all these new influences we are generating in our popular culture. A transition phase, where even men are allowed to cry and to get embroiled in all the emotions around the old story (as I am noticing happen around this film, which has captured a male as well as a female audience) is a good start because it makes it alright for men to weep over the way things have been (which is to allow their own feminine aspect to be heard, not suppressed)…and then to stand up ready to aspire to something different. Interesting times and an oddly compelling film, which is a far leap from my usual topics, so I just had to share. To me, this is yet another sign that we are becoming so ripe for a new ending to a very old story; and we are it, writing it as our own lives.

Posted in Art metaphor, Art purpose, Consciousness & evolution, Culture, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Films, Health & wellbeing, In the news, Life journey, Menu, metaphor, Personal Development, Symbolic journeys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cultivating the mystical

These weren’t unusual experiences in the sense that I often have small mystical encounters with other creatures; ones which I know are more meaningful, multilayered and potent than others might allow because I feel them carrying synchronistic messages to me that I might so easily have missed, had I been of a more logical frame of mind. So, not unusual, yet they were being more assertive than normal yesterday…and it had been going on all day. 

It started, in fact, after a particularly potent mediation using Dr Joe Dispenza’s audio Blessing the Energy Centres which, if you happen to have read his books, you will know is one of the lychnpins of his uber powerful healing modality. I’d been doing this meditation most days for a few weeks but this time I really got it…and something happened that was so powerful I had to lie down and integrate again, even after doing my yoga and eating breakfast, because something felt like it was on the shift in the cells of my body.

So I had been lying down for about another hour when I decided to take my bike out for a ride…my first ride since getting it fixed, having decided I’m going to take up cycling again, which used to be a big part of my life but I hadn’t done for a very long time. And I know I was still feeling just a little bit soft-edged, sort of mellow to the point I half wondered if this was a good time for me to try to remember how to ride a bike but I managed it and got into a comfortable pace, beneath the trees.

Now, I know bikes can be quite stealthy, compared to walking a 43 kilo dog, but it was as though every creature wanted to get to close to me or was happy to just keep on doing what they would be doing if I wasn’t there, as I progressed along the bridle path that edges our woods. That I simply wasn’t disturbing their natural energy in any way was my strongest sense (which can’t be said of most human beings) and so it was almost as though I was one of them; a privileged insider to woodland life. I had a robin almost clip my handlebars, gliding right in front of my face, had just-in-time bunnies and blackbirds hopping within inches of my progress, a wren that sang sweetly on a branch so close to my ear it was like a personal serenade and, the pièce de résistance, a red kite swooping straight at me, at not much above head height, along the corridor of trees, eyes locked on eyes until, at the last moment, she lifted up into the branches overhead and disappeared from sight. It was the surrealist thing to be head-to-head with this mighty bird, going towards each other and yet neither of us was fazed in the slightest; there was no sense of alarm, it all felt so seamlessly coordinated, including my part in it.

Holly blue.jpgBut it wasn’t even that morning’s cycling experience that I came here to write about, though it had certainly gained my attention, but what happened on my early evening walk. This took place later in the day than intended because I had been feeling especially spacey all afternoon, like the overhang from the integration of the morning’s meditation and I still felt as though I was held in a rarified energy field, where anything could happen. When I finally decided to go out for my walk, I had just spent two to three hours in a semi-meditative state, followed by yet another run through of the Blessing the Energy Centres meditation and, suddenly, I was OK for my walk; in fact I was raring to go. Even as I stood up to leave, I encountered a rare (for my garden) Holly Blue butterfly fluttering excitedly in my garden…

Butterfly 24.jpgThen this walk was literally full of butterflies, the long warm grasses that glowed incandescent in late afternoon sun being quite alive with them, yet they were especially acquiescent to my desire to take their photo today. Usually (and its my running joke) as soon as I so much as put my finger on the camera shutter, birds bees and butterflies have this predictable habit of ceasing their perfectly positioned pose and suddenly they’re gone yet, when I have no camera, they come so much closer, do all those things I would almost trade a small body part to capture in a photo (I said almost…) and stay there for ages as I watch them at intimate quarters. Do other creatures sense our intentions and our attention, including a finger on (any kind of) trigger? Of course they do! Yet, on this day, they were being especially accommodating, even though I did have the camera with me; not seeming to mind, in fact humouring me by giving me their best angles (see more of them in my Flickr feed, right margin).

Butterfly walk 50.jpgIt was when I got back to the main path, away from the grasses, thinking there would be no more shots to be had, that I came across what felt like some newly metamorphosed Red Admiral butterflies since they all seemed to have that very particular burst of enthusiasm that comes from exploring the world on the wing for the very first time. I saw one of these the other day, in my garden; its excitement quite palpable as it speedily zig zagged here and there on pristine wings, examining everything, stopping for no one. Here, several of them were pairing off and dancing together, spiralling high into the trees and were quickly gone out of sight but one lingered as it clocked me standing there…and made a beeline  straight for me. 

Butterfly walk 52.jpgOver and over and over again, this butterfly began to circle me, my head, my face…flying straight towards my face so that it became very hard not to flinch and then, just as I knew it would, it finally landed on my head and just stayed there. I could feel through my hair folicles the subtle weight of its body just as, when it flew around me, I could hear the motor-like flap of its wings, like the sound made by one of those tiny flip books of moving animations that we played with as children.  When it settled on me, I could hear the subtle crinkle of folding wings like a tafita skirt.

This was just the start as it proceeded to take off and come back, repeatedly, landing on my shoulder for a few minutes at a time, fluttering off, coming back…probably 30…40…50 or more times…though I completely lost all sense of measurement and time and was astonished when I finally realised how late it had become. I was experiencing so much love and gratitude radiating out of myself, enveloping the butterfly, whose subtle iridescence I could so-intimately perceive in my peripheral vision as it sat vibrating on my shoulder, that I felt like a giant sphere of positive energy pulsing with life-force; knowing too that this was what kept the butterfly coming back and wanting to be with me. Yet when I saw a woman in day-glo fitness clothes striding briskly towards me, in quite a different energetic place to the one I was suspended in, I suspected it would all be over shortly, the magic broken, the bubble burst by her shot of reality…and yes, we chatted briefly about ordinary things since I felt I should explain why I had been rooted to the path with my dog (who was being so patient) for so long; she took me for a particularly keen photographer. Yet as soon as she had gone, even though I had moved on a few yards, the butterfly came back and continued circling and landing on me, as the sun began to lower as a golden-amber glow behind the trees.

How long I was there, I really don’t know but its fair to say I didn’t want this “moment” to end. Regardless, my day felt “gilded” and the feeling still hasn’t left me, reverberating out of every reinvigorated cell, a day later.

I also knew there would be more; there’s always more, just as soon as I get into this mystically receptive energy; which is to radiate love, coherence, balance, gratitude and all those other higher vibrational things as the field of energy that my body carries with it and transmits out into the environment. Being this frequency creates a portable world which generates its very own kind of experiences, regardless of what everyone else might be experiencing around you; and this is so important since it means we each get to create our own reality. My chosen world happens to include enjoying intimate encounters with other creatures, yours might not yet we each get to attract what makes us most joyful. The shared features are that the world (“our” world) becomes more whole, more unified, more magical, more participatory and we become more aware of our creator skills within it; we don’t have to take whatever is supposedly being doled out to everyone else.  Yes, life does start to become more joyful, more idyllic, more innocent and playful.

Certainly, whenever I get into this sweet spot, these kinds of heightened experiences become my norm…every time…though perhaps yesterday had a particular point to make about just how coherent I was becoming on the back of those powerful mediations I have been so diligently using to “recondition my body to a new mind”, as Dr Dispenza puts it. The more we become this state of coherence, the more easily such experiences find their way to us because we attract them from the field.

The thing is (I know this so well…) all it takes is one moment’s lapse, a single nugget of doubt, one logically dismissive thought and the whole bubble of other-worldly experience collapses once more to deliver the same lowered expectations of a conventional mind that we have long tended to make do with; which are ingrained into us as the oh-so limiting mindsets that determine our most predictably disappointing experiences of life, over and over again. Conversely, just as soon as I return to that higher frequency and allow myself to have these experiences, without turning them over to “logical” explanations or dismissing them as trivia, its as though the sun comes out from behind a cloud or the gentle creature shows up to be my friend and the magic starts to happen…or the perfectly synchronised person, the very assistance I was hoping for, the better sensation or solution and the well-timed information or encounter just appears out of nowhere. If only I could convey the uncountable number of such experiences I have gathered over the last few years, multiplying even more now (a butterfly is thinking about coming into my window as I type this…) as the frequency of cross-overs between one dimension and another seems to be increasing, the veil thinning, the other layers of experience ever-more willing to show themselves through the cracks in our reality as a fifth dimensional upgrade beds into our experience. And so this post is really a reminder to myself; and to anyone who was needing that reminder, to open up to the mystical so that there’s room for it to happen…and then it will, I can near-enough promise you.

Posted in Birds, Consciousness & evolution, Meditation, Menu, Nature, Personal Development, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In balanced places and quantum spaces…

Long man.jpgOn my trip to the South Downs last week, we visited a very special churchyard beneath the Long Man of Wilmington, which is an ancient clue (once marked out in the natural chalk of the hillside, since retraced by concrete blocks) as to the importance of keeping our two sides in balance! Its interesting to note that his feet once also pointed out to left and right (see this fascinating history and some comparisons with other ancient figures, though this is “one of the largest such representations of a man anywhere in the world, being second only to the Giant Of Attacama in Chile who stands 393 feet high”). However, the Victorians, in their infinite “wisdom”, decided to alter them to face the same way as though on a hike across the hills with a pair of walking staffs….

A lot of people do set off to climb that hill, as though the giant is “the destination”…but I felt like I knew that whatever he was pointing to, with a stick in each hand, was most likely to lay beneath him, since the figure is quite distorted from “up there” and clearly meant to be seen from below. This (apart from a very hot day) was what led me, without too much overthinking, straight to Wilmington church, next to the remains of a priory rather than to the uphill footpath from the carpark. Below here is a place of extraordinary balance, he seemed to say to me and, as the long time explorer of the crossing points of dragon lines, who was I to argue.

Yew 1.jpgThis churchyard (even the name here  – Saint Mary and Saint Peter – is in balance) accommodates a massive yew tree that is the best part of 2000 years old which, in itself, was quite enough for me to feel quite blown away. For all its antiquity and the need of quite a few supports to hold it up, this tree is still producing abundant amounts of fresh growth, which feels like such a clue as to the importance of living in balance. The time I spent with the tree was so potent; I can’t even put into words and, I can also tell you, I was in no rush to leave; dawdling my way, barefoot, around and around it, cuddling and lying against its limbs, enjoying the view across the fields of unbroken Sussex downland. Though I am not at all religious, I heartily thanked the church for protecting the ground on which it stands, which is how it has managed to survive so long and to be afforded such tender reverence, I am quite sure.

Equally astonishing was a stained glass window inside the church, commissioned at the millennium, inspired by images of yew wood seen beneath a microscope. The artist Paul San Casciani has a fascination with “inner space” and whether you define the energy in those spaces as God or quantum potential, we are really all talking about the same thing here. Inscribed are the words “Raise the stone and thy shall find me, cleave he wood and I am there” (a reputed quote from Christ, jotted down in the 3rd century); this is old-new understanding at its best!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn effect (see the artist’s own account of his inspiration for the window, left), what I was seeing via this abstraction in glass was a depiction of so-called “junk DNA” (though there is actually no such thing as “junk” in nature; these voids are where quantum potential waits to be interpreted through the very focus of conscious intention…), depicted as colourful glass beads “randomly” distributed around tree circles. The artist had moved away from church tradition to depict the unseeable, without turning it into something “to do with man” (eg. halos or rays of light beaming down onto figures from celestial clouds) and I loved him for the effort because, in doing so, he leaves this quantum void or creator zone open to interpretation, and for involvement, by all who come across it. Just as those images of the yew that inspired the piece are magnified to a very high degree,  I sensed that our own intentions could be magnified and distributed far and wide by such a window; so, no more fitting a place for it than in one intended for spiritual focus and the sending out of prayer, you could say. Yet, inherent in it is the reminder that we each possess these same quantum spaces; and that all of our own thoughts and intentions can be so purposefully radiated out into the world, to become what we focus upon…

Window.jpgThese abstract coloured droplets, a biology textbook turned into art (yes, I could see that, even before I read the description) also serve to hold and distribute the radiant afternoon sunlight deep into the otherwise shady spaces of the almost 1000 year old church. Their abstraction, again, seems to invite something new and fresh into that “old” and predictable space, declaring “anything is possible from here”.

The only non-abstract inclusion, apart from the artist’s signature and the traditional glass-painters “conceit” of a fly, is a butterfly taking off from the top corner. Encouraged by this and another window framed by bees and butterflies (refurbished by the same artist), the church seems to have taken up the butterfly as its motif, since they are liberally distributed, as paper cut-outs, around the walls, sat on the church organ and so on. To my eyes, a veritable mass-metamorphosis seemed to be underway in this once strictly “religious” space…to make room for something far more expansive and without religious boundaries. You could say, I felt like I was witnessing, via this rebirth of a “traditional” church interior, an acknowledgement that the unquantifiable, unpredictable, unlimited quantum realm has a place amidst all the “old” and once fixed ideas of religion; which is the liberal mindset that allows powerful things to start to occur amongst those who are already open to a spiritual perspective. Because to acknowledge the part played by intention is to admit our creator-abilities (the god within), beyond the rules of the old church or the hard-edged logic that fixate a more scientific mind; which is to realise we can – each – alter and direct outcome with the state of our thoughts; the very theme of my last post.

Berwick cross.jpgOn this same thread, another living metaphor had unfolded before my very eyes in another small church, just a couple of miles away at Berwick the day before. It seems a more typical sculpture of Christ on the cross had been stolen…all “so sad” or “a disaster” you might say, from the habit. Yet (looked at another way), because of that so-called “tragedy”, an opportunity had arisen for artist David Hensel to fill the space left by the old one, which would not have otherwise happened (as desperately old thinking must always make way for new, one way or the other.

Hensel was inspired to focus on the RESURRECTION rather than the suffering of Christ (“YES!” I felt a shot of excitement rise up through me as I read this) and so the resultant artwork, which depicts Christ’s limbs gently entwined by an organic substance (meant to be his winding cloth unravelling; could just as easily be vines and leaves) in the very loosest hint of a cross-shape, has quite a different feel to any other “crucifix” I have ever come across. Really, Christ is the only part of this new symbol resembling a cross; turning it back into a symbol of manifest balance (rather than a torture device)…the vertical and horizontal plains intersecting as flesh, “as above so below”. He might equally be spreading wings, taking off into flight; resurrection through acquisition of new skills (so-called junk DNA “switched on” to new uses). All of this feels  exactly right and on-theme for these times we are experiencing together. In Hensel’s words, it is the result of a personal meditation on these topics and “a piece about oneness” and, already (as you can see), it has led to my own meditation on what I see here. There’s no denying, I was so uplifted to come across it hanging there (in a way that no other  “Jesus on the cross” had ever done for me since I usually find them quite off-putting), especially since it is inside one of my all-time favourite churches; one that underwent its own resurrection of sorts when its interior was painted in brightly coloured murals, quite the radical make-over, by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant nearly eighty years ago (see my 2011 post Radical Bloomsbury and a Charleston Pilgrimmage). Sometimes, a touch of the radical is exactly what we need as we get these metamorphoses off the ground!

In our focus upon the resurrection of ourselves and of our natural world, one intrinsically entwined with the other, we allow our hard-edged track-record of suffering and sacrifice to fall away, once and for all, making space for something infinitely softer. The new possibility simply FEELS better, just as this new symbology, here, felt so much better to look at than all those miserable crucifixes reminding us of our guilt, pain and bloodshed…and so we simply head that way, drawn towards it instead of repulsed (or duty-driven…) by it; which is all so simple, since we are being led by the heart.

This is the new way; and to see it everywhere, even (perhaps especially) inside a church, is an encouraging thing. This new-old theme of resurrection is breaking through the soil, as is most fitting for these times, and there is no stopping it as it becomes more manifest in ever more ordinary ways. Yes, it may start first in those “holy” places (not necessarily religious places; I speak of a natural quality, coming up from the ground…) but, in balancing ourselves, we too can witness its new shoots start to assert themselves, through us and as us, which is quantum healing in effect.


Related posts:

Fluidity and form in the living landscape of life

The turning point will likely not look the way you expect it to…

 

Posted in Art, Art metaphor, Art purpose, Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Leylines, Menu, Personal Development, Spirituality, Symbolic journeys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The turning point will likely not look the way you expect it to…

There was clearly something I wanted to write about today since I felt I couldn’t get started with anything else until I at least tried, though I hardly know where to start…so I jumped in to see where this would lead and the long-rambling title is where I seem to have got to, such as there is a theme.

It began on my walk, which I did in the woods and common sort-of behind my house. This is a place that I seldom walk, truth be known…and less so now than ever since our village is being hammered by new housing initiatives around it, preferring to get in my car and go even a mile or two away further away from all this urbanity, to other walks that I have claimed to be my own over the years.

“Why is that?” I pondered as I benefitted from the cool convenience of its trees on a day that was already too hot for being bothered with a car. The answer was there in how sickly the trees were looking, for all we are in mid-summer. Had I always noticed that or was I newly noticing just how tired and unwell so many of these trees were…how the crisp carcasses of last autumn’s leaves still lie thickly underfoot…how some trees have no leaves at all in this fringe of urban Nature. This is the same place I depicted in last year’s artwork “Looking Back”, of a pair of deer looking back towards a golden view that is rapidly disappearing before their very eyes. I used to be able to predict half or dozen or more deer sightings, in full view, on this hill but now consider myself lucky if I catch the merest glimpse of a solitary deer peering from behind leaves.

Yet, I knew this morning’s post wasn’t meant to be a dreary one; a treatise on the state of the ecosystem or lament about urban pollution. Even as I walked beneath these tired-looking trees, I knew that these trees weren’t done for; weren’t appealing for my sympathy. If someone had come with a bulldozer that very morning and declared they “might as well” get rid of them, build more houses on the spot, because this was now a pitiful excuse for a wood, I would have defended them in a moment, standing up for their right to keep doing what they are doing; which is no small thing.

Because, I realised, these places (tired-out though they seem) are being the every lungs, the buffer, the breath of fresh air for this and other such locations under urban pressure, surrounded by acute unawareness (as a grown man of at least thirty, walking his dog, stared fixedly at his phone which was playing rap music out loud…not even seeing his surroundings for a moment as he approached me), blighted by all manner pollution. They are holding up a certain frequency, regardless…and if they are worn out and haggered-seeming then its because they are valiantly holding that frequency all the days of their lives; and the birds know it, those birds which (yes, in lower numbers now) sing on in their branches.

And in that realisation I saw myself and those like me; people who look worn out, depleted, sickly, struggling to thrive in outward terms yet, inside, we know we are far from “done for” Yes, we are tired-out physically because we do this important inner work; this frequency work that so many others don’t even think about. As with the trees, I know we are like this not because we are failing but because we are succeeding in holding a certain frequency AGAINST TERRIBLE ODDS; against the flood tide of negativity and lost direction that has been the story of the last few decades. We are those who feel more, who notice more, who dare to be aware of things that others sweep under carpet and we are processing that knowing through the very cells of our bodies, transmuting it into something  more meaningful than it might otherwise be so that, as we stand tall and keep going regardless, we do it for all. And in doing so, of course, we look tired-out by comparison.

Yet all it took was the acknowledgement of what these trees stood for in order for a different current to whisper and tingle all about me. My unexceptional walk transformed quickly into the exceptional before my very eyes and it was as though the landscape lit up with a subtle vibration that my long-compatriotship with it enabled me to see clearer than, perhaps, someone who could not relate to the degree of  fatigue that this place knows as the daily reality of doing “the job” that it is here to do. Together, the landscape lit up and I also lit up; brimful with more energy and inspiration than I still know what to do with and…in another moment of appreciation…I realised how so many of the most inspired moments of my life had occurred whilst walking in these very woods over many years; how it had delivered more epiphanies and landmark understandings than I could ever begin to count.

There are two giant redwood trees on the brow of the hill, one (dark and shady with its overhang) that I consider to be female and the other (stark and erect) that I consider to be male and I like to visit both, to spend some time communing with their energies. Today, I noticed a pair of new holes dug into the earth at the foot of the male tree, at first assuming some mammal had scraped the beginnings to a burrow until I realised they were a bees nest; a fat bumble bee humming in and out of the entrance. This felt so meaningful to me that it made my walk because this evidence of highly organised and “sacred masculine” activity starting to stir around the roots of this totem to masculinity was just what I wanted to see clues of; divinely inspired masculinity being just what this world needs now, so that we can build its structures anew!

Then another clue; an odd one…provided by the oak that stands in direct line with my house; between my house and the spring that I have done very-much work with over the years, which was producing masses of vivid new leaves. Odd because the oaks did all that new-growth many weeks ago and look dark green and mature everywhere you go now; all the vivid new leaves having long turned to a much darker hue. All, that is, except here where this anomaly tree had begun to unfurl a second layer of brand new leaves at the tips of all its branches in just the last few days, creating a bizarre juxtaposition of old and new, mature and fresh, side by side. I accepted this, without straining my rationale, as yet another positive sign and smiled my way home.

Because it has been pretty-much been like this, for me, these past few weeks, while I have been putting all my efforts into transformation and positivity. There have been just so many things come up that I could take “in the negative”; signs and indications that things are going wrong, that we are doomed, that things are only going to get worse from now on, that our children’s lives have been stolen from them and that our future world will be a living hell. In conversations with others, these threads have tried to bully and force their way in…and yet I have felt quite compelled to resist them, to walk away, extricating myself from the very building if necessary rather than go down those vibration-lowering routes. In fact, it has never felt more important to do so. By the way, you can tell when you have been spinning an exceptionally high vibe from the stark contrast when some of these topics try to come in to your awareness; like sticking your leg out of a fast moving vehicle and touching the tarmac, you will feel the burn as your alert. Use this to step away and, for goodness sake, prioritise the high-frequency work you are doing above ALL else; this is what makes a real difference, over and above all the chitter-chatter of fear.

Because when we allow ourselves to be infected with the blight of negativity, it spreads like wildfire, jumping from branch to branch of our experience until, suddenly, the whole forest is depleted, with great gaps in communication where once there was a canopy serving as the unbreakable bond between all life-affirming things. Whilst this might not destroy everything, it sets it back and it depletes energy that some of us are expending a lot of effort whipping up to a higher place…and why court set-backs anymore? We do it to ourselves, each time we allow fear thoughts to come in, when we explore those “what if (insert catastrophe)” books on the best-seller list, when we allow our newsfeed and the media to fill in the blanks of our questions…rather than what we feel and notice with our hearts.We do it (to refer back to my previous post) when we “fail to believe in the belief”; in other words, we say we believe in something positive but we still defer back to our old fear-driven, doubting selves (or we harbour “insurance policy” thoughts in case our positive beliefs turn out to be misguided). No…we have to get on board this thing and stay there!

Yes, even when we feel sad about the trees, about the ecosystem, we allow ourselves to go there. The trick is to be discerning about what is happening, which is to see it and admit it, but not to lower our vibration to where we feel defeated by these things. To allow for different outcomes than those based on how things turned out in the past…

There is always a plus to “the hardest times”, as life has taught so many of us well in recent years. When we are most depleted, when all else seems to conspire against our thriving, we are left with nowhere else to go but to exercise the heart muscle and allow ourselves to feel into other possibilities…and then we hold onto these possibilities as our reality, ahead of them manifesting, since it is in the very holding of them (we quickly realise) that we manifest them, regardless of all those other bully-energies attempting to bulldoze, blight and cut our positivity down via the weaponry of demoralisation and trauma.

Outward appearance is not everything, and far more goes on beneath the surface of all living things than we can yet fully comprehend; not least, the ability to turn health around on a pin-head when the time is right.

The trees know this; and I know it too…and today I felt it, as the distinct clue that we are far from depleted on the inside, in fact (dare I say it) I sense that we are through the worst of it all now, though things don’t outwardly seem that way, I concur. Yet we are all turning around as surely as I am turning around in all my efforts to heal from the core of my cells outward, which I feel occurring day-on-day. Like being on a slow moving train turning an obtuse corner to face in a completely different direction, it can be so hard to perceive that we are now starting to facing an entirely different way, since we hardly noticed the transition and the view from the window doesn’t look so very different to how it was a short time ago…but I feel it and I know I am not alone in feeling it, either.

The turning point…THIS turning point…is not going to look the way we expect it to; to appear according to benchmarks that we have in our minds; based on the way things have been in “the past”. There has been no other time like this and so it cannot look that “old” way; its clues are subtle, under the surface, there to be felt but not neccesarily measured, even with the eyes…

Its your job, all of our jobs, to train ourselves how to use a different set of cues…and to not set ourselves back with old-style thinking, which undoes all of our efforts, rewriting the quantum effort in the very moment we naysay ourselves into typical fears and doubts, other people’s stuff, the (still) popular trend to disregard what cannot be demonstrated according to logic. Smile at all that baby stuff…and believe in yourself, what you feel coming, anyway!

So, it’s never been more important to keep our attention on the positive, to look out for signs and clues of regeneration, to withdraw energy from the naysayers, to be vigilant about who and what we keep the company of in the weeks and months ahead. Once you alter your focus, expect these clues to come thick and fast and know that in seeking them, and acknowledging and being grateful for them, you do the very work that moves mountains. Meanwhile, those who have done the work for the longest time, who have been the very life-support of the passing era (for all they look so exhausted that it could be assumed they have done nothing but lie in their beds feeling sickly for a decade or more) will start to show distinct signs of regeneration…you could say resurrection…in the coming months and I, for one, intend to be one of them.

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Fluidity and form in the living landscape of life

RAIL2101I just got back from a few days spent in a cottage in the South Downs, in what was undoubtably one of the most stunning locations I’ve ever had to the good fortune to stay, and as I lay back here in my own bed, this morning, a theme started to present itself to me across multiple layers of my experiences (and not just those relating to this holiday).

We happened to visit an exhibition of artworks by self-taught landscape artist Philip Hughes whilst visiting (one of my very-favourite places…written about here before) Charleston Farmhouse, one-time home to the “Bloomsbury” set of of artists and creatives. I read that for Hughes “distinctive, distilled vision of landscape…topography plays a conspicuous role, as it did for early man in establishing his first sacred sites and ceremonial centres”.

Hughes has a very particular style, somewhere between landscape artist and cartographer and there was no denying his images of rolling English hills and, equally, of frozen ice-mass as part of an Antarctic expedition he accompanied, held a very particular kind of appeal. They reminded me of the kind of oh-so compelling travel posters from the 1920s and 30s (example above) that I used to avidly collect as a teenager and I knew they possessed a certain quality just as soon as I registered this rare phenomenon: my husband was just so very enthusiastic about them. Well, yes, I suppose you could label this kind of art very “masculine” or even (dare I say it) logical; and there’s a track-record of this kind of approach proving capable of reaching out across the otherwise uncrossable ravine towards those of a more left-brain orientation when it comes to art. Even then, I was impressed by his enthusiasm since I am used to him finding somewhere to perch when I go off into “visiting art-gallery” mode.

In fact, its fair to say, he went overboard, still talking about these artworks the next day. This catches my attention because he is not a natural appreciator of art, not for want of trying but because it simply doesn’t make that connection with him in the same way an actual view has the ability to do. Its normally as though art is a different language to his own, for which he has no translator, leaving him unable to perceive or feel, with the same enthusiasm, what the artist saw or endeavoured to deliver. This is a foible I have had to live with as an artist, knowing as I do that one of his brief and invariably “stock” responses to a day’s-worth of tweaking to a canvas is not meant  in any critical way since no amount of artistic effort, of any standard, is ever going to elicit great amounts of reaction or commentary from him; which its not for lack of appreciating what I do but because we speak a different language in this regard. As in many areas of our shared-life, he accepts and makes room for certain experiences that I have without needing to be able to have, or to have proof of, them himself (in other words, he’s happy and respectful because I’m happy and fulfilled); which is a model for a way of being that we could do worse than emulating across the board of human existence!

As someone who operates precisely from midbrain, making me equally logical and attracted to scientific thinking as I am slave to my “artistically” abstract portion, I can easily grasp how to have one side more dominant than the other would make for a very different experience of the “picture of life”; as it does in the manifest reality of our world, where the left-hemisphere still reigns supreme. Yet this leaves much of “the world” in a perpetual state of non-compute and communication breakdown over experiences that those having them are frustrated to hell over trying to convey, or even have registered and acknowledged “as real”, by an unlistening dominant class of logical perceivers. The result is either a world made up of ugly and largely un-negotiable brutalistic “lines” (rules, laws, measures, standards, fixed beliefs…) or a fuzzy mess of experience that cries out for a translator as purposeful as I was encountering in this small exhibition. If only we could “draw”, with such clean yet expressive lines, all the most convoluted, least translatable experiences of our world for all to appreciate together, wherever we were coming from on the scale of logical to abstract, each being of equal value when we take the range of experiences as a whole (a truth that quantum theory is pressing upon us a  little more daily), then I felt sure ever-more of us could step back with new appreciation and declare “I get it now; I see the picture”. The unseeable is as hard to translate into lines and squiggles as it is important to acknowledge and there lies our next-biggest human challenge, in order to engage the whole of the “audience” in the same way that I was seeing unfold in this small exhibit on a Sunday afternoon in West Sussex.

There is no denying, these artworks particularly spoke to me too (in a similar way to how Japanese Ukiyo-e art has recently spoken to me); especially as someone who lay down their paintbrushes in frustration a couple of years ago after more than a decade of painting almost non-stop yet I felt I had lost my way or run out of territory. I’d had quite enough of being messy or impressionistic, had no truck with becoming abstract yet did I really want to get even more pristine, to become finicky, almost anal in my precision? If so, then there seemed no better place to go than into digital work, which was where I seem to have landed yet something niggles at me still, as though I’ve left it unfinished and waiting for its outlet. Seeing this collection of art, in all its straighforward potency, seemed to set in motion a new trajectory of creative desire, in the way of finding something I had been seeking for some time as a gentle nudge back to my brushes and even in the sense of something I had been seeking as a prompt in terms of better handling “life itself”. Already, I have found myself using what I have learned from taking in these oh-so pleasing images in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with art…and everything to do with how I conduct my life…my choices…those things to which I give energy and others I can leave out as excessive and distractionary detail…

Because Hughes had succeeded in registering both the immense FLOW and FLUIDITY of the landscape and yet allowed it to have very strong FORM and STRUCTURE via the resulting output of his pencil or brushes. There were no woolly or superfluous lines here, in fact the simplicity and pared-back, economical line was its beauty, yet it lacked nothing (rather, gained everything) from it. The very hip-swaying, undulating, dance of Nature, the seeming randomness and flamboyant pattern of its very life-force seemed to sing out all the louder for its unhyperbolic simplicity in these images and I could discern that it was a partnership, a very marriage, between fluidity and form that made these images WORK.

The Long Man

The Long Man – J F Blighton RE

This approach is something that, undoubtably, lends itself well to the kind of exaggeratedly rolling, undulating, unmistakably feminine curvature of a landscape such as Sussex, where hillsides pop up and cradle all the structure of a manmade world like bosoms and hips popping up over all the straight-edged roof tiles and spires of nestled villages and farms. I registered it, again, in the artwork of J F Blighton in the art gallery that happened to be next to our cottage. All the unremarkable painted landscapes on the the walls had me skimming around the room at a speed that would have been almost impolite, had the owner of the gallery been there to watch me….but these etchings were pulled out of their rack, laid out and feasted over for more than a few minutes; their trait being to do as Hughes did and make much of all the curvature, the energy, the very impulse of the landscape in simple yet assertive lines that spoke of more structure than could be easily explained in a logical way and yet no single line or detail felt superfluous, untrue or over-embellished. Every zig-zag and pattern, like the landscape had been knitted-and-pearled or was a woven textile, perhaps the markings on a Native American fabric, felt appropriate and necessary, etched out in black against white in the most appealing of ways. 

Over-the-White-Horse-to-Dragon-Hill-Jeremy-Blighton

Over the White Horse to Dragon Hill – J F Blighton RE

The fact Blighton seemed to favour picking out sacred sites…Avebury, White Horse Hill, the Cern Giant and (the one that first caught my attention, since we were going there that very day) The Long Man of Wilmington made these black against white lines all the more attention grabbing…since they seemed to convey the unconveyable about these oh-so familiar landscapes; potent places I have experienced, yet would struggle to convey the feeling of, myself. They made what was pulsing and energetic, yet least demonstrable, “real” or conveyable, so apparent to the visual senses in a way that…once seen…left no room for denial or dispute since the very beauty of what was made manifest spoke of an underlying world that (for all we allow this truth to be ignored, or swept under the carpet, nine tenths of the time) is always made up of both fluidity and form, the obscure and the obvious, the sub-atomic and the solid, the most elusive and the scientifically demonstrable…in equal proportion. These landscapes THROBBED with unseen energetic life, before my very eyes, and reminded me that all things in existence are like this. We are all made-up of so much more than that which is registered by the first five senses and these other impulses make all of us, and the very landscape with which we interact at these unseen levels, who we truly are.

Screenshot 2019-07-03 at 09.06.48

White Horse Hill – J F Blighton RE

If art can convey this quality, in a language that (with no criticism or ridicule intended) someone like my husband can perceive and respond to then this is one of the reasons art is one of my favourite of all tools in life (and I can discern how music, for a musician, is another such powerful tool). As I have found through years of writing and painting, the bringing of the more abstract forwards into form is a muscle we get to make stronger through exercise when the desire to use it is there. Why? Because making more manifest that which, for some of us, is always in “plain sight” to our subtle senses is no small or unimportant feat (though the results are sometimes effortless-seeming in their beauty…) and its why the arts are the very marriage bed of our two most fundamental traits; a sort-of bridge to holistic perception. When discerned and brought into plainer, more matter-of-fact experience – together and in balance with form – these more-abstract experiences help us each to become more whole since we, then, recognise in ourselves all the ways that we are also made up of both sturdy and defined edges yet also the more fluid and much harder to define, yet no less deniable, impulses of energy beneath our surface. Bringing these two kinds of experience together as the manifest reality of our everyday lives, allowing their partnership “hanging space” on “the walls” of our self-chosen reality, conspires to make those lives more balanced, our experiences more whole, our awareness more switched-on in ways that powerfully serve us in realising our true and most fullfilling purpose. It is in the making conscious of both sides of ourselves, equally, that we succeed in healing both ourselves and then, by extrapolation, our world.

Once realised, across all aspects of our lives, this beautiful TRUTH starts to unravel all of the so-called unsolvable problems of our world since it is in the denying of all that is not so easily proven or measured that we miss-out or deny up to fifty percent of our experiences of being human…and, in so doing, make the world sickly and lopsided to the point of tipping over, repeatedly. Once we start to perceive how beautiful “the picture” is  that is both stuctured yet pulsing with inexplicable and unruly forces, we start to grasp something so fundamental about our manifest experience that we have, for a long time, tended to overlook it for being just “too obvious” or right underneath our noses. This newly harmonous “picture” falls into place easily now (the artist knows this as the artwork that almost paints itself…as when inspiration takes over the brush), producing results that can now be appreciated both by those with “eyes” for logic or for abstraction since both are equally catered for; each seeing what appeals to them most. Instead of the total chaos that those who prefer to hold a tighter pencil to their paper might dread, a higher order starts to assert from a realm where we can now relax our death grip on the need to control everything.

These meeting grounds of form and fluidity – wheresoever they happen – are so potent and affecting. Like discovering a universal language that heals the rift of all our misunderstandings, we step back as though finding ourselves (especially those who “thought” they had no interest whatsoever in art…) stood in a little art gallery yet freely admitting “I see it, I really see it now”, like the scales fall from our eyes and a magic portal opens to the senses. The rest, from there onwards, is easy; as though a certain new light has penetrated to the depths of our understanding…

Whether, in what they see, that person perceives something fluid and lyrical or a cartographers map “back” to themselves matters not…as long as each gets to see something meaningful, using their most intrinsic set of abilities, with no cajoling or special training required. Its as though the translator finally arrives at a long-running meeting that hadn’t been going so well…and, suddenly, all the miscommunicated issues, the misconstrued language of two disparate sides softens from high tension into smiles, vehement nods and fluid, universally recognisable gestures; the whole dialogue of life relaxed into a celebration of things held in common instead of what once felt so starkly alien or invested in as one pitched “against” the other. Finding this universal language is a gift and those who are able to facilitate its use are the very agents of evolution, you could say the artists of a new paradigm at this crucial time, since its not so much that they invent something new but that they make manifest (to all) what was always there, if so hard to see until they were guided towards some very simple yet undeniably beautiful and engaging truths. These meeting places are where the very dialogue of our collective future world gets started as we create the whole of the new picture together, from a shared sense of understanding, personal investment and priority.

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