Shaking up life’s algorithms

(By the way, this post isn’t really about music but…) I really love Spotify. Once the die-hard music collector, insisting upon “owning” everything I listened to and following particular genres, I defected to Spotify a couple of years ago; yes, somewhat skeptical at first. The result: it was like opening up a small, familiar box that I had carried with me everywhere for years to find its contents popped out and inflated to multiple times the original size. For that was my music taste then and…now, two years on…it is infinitely expanded into something almost unrecognisable, and growing still.

One of the things I love most about Spotify is a thing called Discover Weekly, which suggests music for me to listen to based on my prior taste. Every monday, I get to dive upon a new playlist of suggestions and this has led me off on some voyages of discovery, towards some “new” musical artists that I might never have got to discover by any other means. Really, I treasure some of the suggestions it has made to me and what I also love is how one small detour leads to another…and another…and another, making a whole new trajectory out of one small willingness “to explore” on my part.

What this has amply demonstrated in action serves as a metaphor for life itself. What you “ask for” here and now manifests “in the future” as your array of choices. In other words, if you stick to what is known and comfortingly familiar then…guess what…that’s what you keep getting, week after week. If you open up and diversify then, again guess what, the suggestions and possibilities that life opens up to you will broaden and diversify too. Those once tight little options that made up “your certain little world” hold the potential to grow exponentially as soon as you do this, offering ceaseless variety, colour and texture plus so many pleasant surprises in tandem with your preparedness to try something different.

priscilla-du-preez-165370.jpgSometimes just for fun, or because a silly-summery mood takes me over, I dive into something completely outside of my usual musical taste, you could say my comfort zone, into something frivolous, unexpected or as though I am become someone else for a holiday. Different cultures, completely different styles; there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain when you get to dip in to it all so freely as we now can do. Partly, its as though I am trying to throw some part of me off my own scent when I experiement, surprising myself into feeling something fresh. And indeed, these diversions do throw off the algorithms associated with my Spotify account, serving to pepper-up my future weekly lists with weird and wonderful suggestions aimed at meeting this new seasoning where it crosses with my more familiar choices. These diversions not only freshen up my “here and now” but, quite often, throw up some of the more interesting fusions of music that are some of my most treasured recent discoveries; where cultures and eras cross over into a free-for-all of musical taste. And, believe me, all these options exist out there – the world’s most diverse musical taste has never been more experiemental and available in a way that explorers like me help to encourage. In other words, my preparedness to open-up my taste a little now feeds into the  potential for me to explore a lot more in the future. I am offered new and ever more creative shades of experience that might never have come up for me to sample had I stuck to the well trodden route of my more-typical music taste accessed in a more traditional way.

Again, this is life all over…the looser and more inclusive we are prepared to be in our “now”, the broader the future sample-plate of our experience becomes going forwards. Life becomes richer by far, as though portals of experience that may have remained sealed and invisible to our eyes suddenly appear on our path, offered only because we dared to be open to them being there. So, life expands and expands, ever more textured and colourful…infinitely more exciting and beautiful…no longer this stale and containable thing that is so easy to own, to label or to describe as a particular genre; and why would we want to when there is all this ever broadening diversity just waiting to be explored in a way that just is so enriching to the soul.

 


Contextual note relating to The Nine Waves of Creation – the eighth wave of our evolution (which birthed internet technology) allowed Spotify to exist…but it is the ninth wave (unity consciousness) in action when both access to, and exposure for, music and its makers are so freely available; and when we see musical tastes and origins merge and cross-over to become so much more than the sum of their parts!

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Life journey, Menu, metaphor, Personal Development, Spirituality, Symbolic journeys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating from the place in the middle

It feels like there is a leading edge thing going on where art and technology meet. They both pull me together and repel me, in equal proportions; the repellant part where I’m having to revise processes that are stuck in old grooves and entrenchments formed around ideas of what they were devised for and oh-so many misgivings about what I am now doing and why. For its a place where I am truly faced with not knowing what I am doing; with all the incumbent loss of “comfort zone”, even identity, since I can’t really call myself a painter anymore (so “bang” goes the identity of a decade’s creation). Yet I know I am doing something; am on the way to something new…straddling a breach, one leg in each place, and so (to a new timescale that involves no such time pressure, infinite space…) I to and fro across that gap, making and losing ground in small increments to the rhythms of my ebbing and flowing inspiration. In other words, I only create when I feel like creating!

The oscillation of this motion feels like breathing…like a breath of fresh air where I was beginning to feel deathly stale before. It feels like where these aspects come together is a healing place, a balancing thing, so I keep at them both in some sort of new incubation territory that, for the moment, feels like I’m achieveing nothing at all (not that I could resist even if I wanted to). By anyone’s terms, this feels like its been the least productive half-year of my decade as an artist…yet, by my own, I know I’ve covered vast distances, though I hardly have a thing to show for it.

Its been six months since I painted…though I hardly knew, last time I cleaned away my brushes, that it would be so long. At the time, I was even sorry to be packing away for Christmas, looking forward to a snatched hour or two over the so-called holiday…yet some new urge came over me during that time and it grew and grew. Somehow that usual January reach for the routine of linseed and mess never happened, I passed it by and, once its habit had been resisted, it grew easier to keep going. I began to wonder how much of my painting practice was merely learned behaviour and some sort of inverted work ethic that kept me at it, even at times when the inspiration ran dry. Resisting its pull has been not unlike giving up smoking or drink or any of those other addictions I have managed to put behind me; for, once past that heart-racy part where a small voice panicked at a reality without the prop of the identity painting gave to me, I was able to deep dive into a new void. I’ve succumbed to more spontaneity, more pleasures for pleasure’s sake, than at any other time since childhood this last few months. And from within that new turf, an equally new impulse has risen like an unknown shoot; one that is more about experiment, about exploring if something tenuous can be realised, than caring what anyone else thinks or even sharing with the world.

And that tool I’ve found myself reaching for, built for “getting down to it” quicker than my ideas could otherwise be realised, is my Apple Mac; which is also a “place” where I can scrub what I just did and start all over again at a moment’s notice. The learning curve has become accelerated beyond anything I could achieve spending weeks labouring over a canvas; so much so that what I used to do feels like I was knitting myself an artwork, stitch after weary stitch. Here is where my mind wants to be…not just my left brain but also the right side that feels, suddenly, like it is unleashed to tear ‘round at the speed at which it naturally operates. The gratitude it feels for the technology that makes this possible is honing a reconciliation of sorts between two aspects of my brain that haven’t aways been on best speaking terms.

Without pressure of label or intention, I find I’m newly prepared to take risks, to not know where it is that I’m heading or whether it has any “use”. It feels the most like “play” of anything I’ve indulged in since childhood; without planning or forthought, following my joy. When did I loose that ability and when did this rift quote-technology-is-destructive-only-in-the-hands-of-people-who-do-not-realize-that-they-are-alan-watts-30-84-57form between left and right aspects of my brain, like I couldn’t be in both at the same time (and why, even when I went back to the right-brain part of myself, years later, did it feel like I now had to bail-out on the left)? Yet it feels like the most important undertaking of my life to allow myself to embark upon “just not knowing” why I’m doing it, where its heading or whether it will go well, how well it will be received, nor is it to particular timescale, all without shying back into abject fear of the unknown. There is a quiet courage to it…as there always is to the feminine aspect when she aserts herself; and she aserts most powerfully of all when she works with the masculine aspect rather than fighting with him (this is, after all, the universal impulse in action…realised through the creative acts of humans invoking our most creative potential without getting in our own way). This is all what I’m talking about as I try to describe where I at as an artist…and it feels worth keeping at, even when forward momentum with actual creations feels somewhat stilted, caught up in all the teething issues of this being “very early days”.

So, it’s not that I’ve stagnated but its been more stop than start in a new world of fabric design and photo manipulation. I recognize similar impulses to when I painted yet they hit frustrations when technology won’t keep up with me (though frustration, as ever, is the mother of invention). Then I play with getting paints out again, perhaps using what I’ve learned since deep diving in a world of easy correction and manipulation to evolve what I do with a brush (and maybe I will at some point; taking my new treasures back there)…yet, for the moment, I know I would quickly feel frustrated if I went back there too soon, to where corrections are “mistakes” or even “failures” to be thrown straight in the bin. The urge (increasingly, demand) inside of me to correct something with press of button or to enhance with the sweep of an effect would take me over and make the kind of fluid effect achieved with brush alone feel just so antiquated, lopsided, ham-fisted…hardly keeping up with the forward projections of my mind. Even when I was painting, I found the overwhelming urge to scan-in the fruit of my efforts and tweak it, make it better, using technologies at my finger tips was growing year-on-year (how is this considered wrong when the vision I have of an end product comes all from one place…the artist, me). The feeling I must avoid such last-minute “cheats” felt like it was on some sort of mental-moral grounds (ergh!), as though anything digitally manipulated would be considered “not to be really my own work”. It was tearing me apart further than I was already torn….into some sort of encampment in the right-brained perspective where I was used to licking my non-commercially rewarded wounds while more left-field friends thrive better in whatever else they do for a living. Even in this, I was feeling more and more torn about what I do (or why I was doing it) since I am not all about right brain and it was like I was pointing my left hemisphere to the door and banishing it for no reason at all, when it can (surely) help to make me feel more complete.

Once I allowed it, this hand reached out to technology, asking “what can you do to help me” felt like a correction of sorts; bringing me closer to that middle point where skill sets meet, since (previously obtuse) they somehow speak a remarkably similar language just as soon as what drives them forwards is acknowledged to be, after all, the same impulse of the heart…a vision of creation that brings common purpose, that focusses them with ever-lessening conflict towards a single aim that is about celebrating what is beautiful, positive, uplifting…This, after all, could be a saving grace for our world (already is, as our young people bring these two skill-sets together with ever more wow-factor and beauty; you just have to look online to see what it is that they are doing with their creative technology, their artistic innovation, to know…somehow…we will be alright in the end).

Impossible not to see how the marriage of liquidy creative flow with hard-nosed solutions that help it take form and to stretch itself to the edges of human innovation (of the liquid with the vessel that holds it…) is a newly balanced marriage of yin and yang in the making. Being the marriage of aspects we have been told to be polar opposites (these belief are so entrained), it may take some working at, may take another generation to bring it in fully or the combined personal successes of all those who are prepared to work at overcoming their innate resistance to what is most new, unexplored, unpredictable, indefinable about it (and through our participation in all those personal forums of exploration, never doubt, we can’t help but contribute massively to the whole). Those that do this might not be able to immediately demonstrate or explain to others how what they are doing is useful or is going to generate equivalent rewards to those things we have come to rely on as the benchmarks of success (self-image, an income…) nor ways that, through exploring the unexplored territory in the middle, we are making a vast difference to our whole future as a species…and yet…I am prepared to keep plugging away at it without any of those answers.

It is the fruit of such a marriage of opposites that always makes it worth it…though I hardly, yet, know what that fruit could be; can only intuit it will appear on the stem once this flower has opened and that its inevitable ripening is but the hint of a feeling that I detect on the winds when I am called to create according to these new criteria. Even if I do no more in this lifetime than practice honing a particular feeling of how it registers inside a person when they start to lock-on to such a centrally navigated route through life, with no prior agenda nor particular product in mind, then I will have played my part. That delicious feeling of being on-track towards something fresh, innovative and worth-it is exactly what keeps me at it…this push-pull domain between two differently processing aspects of the mind, hemispheres that are really longing (now) to meet in that place in the middle and bounce off each other’s ideas. Both sides know that its a place where they get to learn quickly (even benefit) from “mistakes”, to notice differences or failings without making-up drama about them, to be prepared to take risks without knowing what they are aiming for (no insurances, no guarantees here…yet so much unfettered potential) and, yes, to optimistically, open-mindedly, excitedly collaborate together on…well…who knows what. Simply, navigating forwards, (like children unleashed) guided by joy and exploring what is possible. What a model for our world! The word I find I want to use about this place is burgeoning…and its something we are all doing, together as we deep dive in this evolutionary place; together, creating something entirely new of our world, both on and off the canvas.

 

LIGHT ON ART

It feels like there is a leading edge thing going on where art and technology meet. They both pull me together and repel me, in equal proportions; the repellant part where I’m having to revise processes that are stuck in old grooves and entrenchments formed around ideas of what they were devised for and oh-so many misgivings about what I am now doing and why. For it’s a place where I am truly faced with not knowing what I am doing; with all the incumbent loss of “comfort zone”, even identity, since I can’t really call myself a painter anymore (so “bang” goes the identity of a decade’s creation). Yet I know I am doing something; am on the way to something new…straddling a breach, one leg in each place, and so (to a new timescale that involves no such time pressure, infinite space…) I to and fro across that…

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Posted in Art, Art purpose, Art technique, Art transformation tool, Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A walk on the grass

Next time something flags up with a “just don’t go there” sign, or keeps appearing on your path though it is something you think you have an aversion to, perhaps take the time to question what it is that you think you know about why you are determinedly not “going there”. Perhaps it has something to tell you, or that place you are so studiously avoiding could afford you the next greatest viewpoint; the one that was always missing from your overal “picture”. We are entering a time when some things are seeming to speak in opposites and this is my feeling why.

Some of these old ideas around places and things, around value judgements, accepted behaviours or about remedies that “mustn’t” be pursued, became beliefs long before anyone we ever had direct contact with was born and they have become crystallised into rock without inbuilt checks to ensure they have any current relevance. I’m not trying to say that information has been deliberately hidden from us by nefarious people with their own ends in sight, since I am not someone who finds my joy in conspiracy theory; and joy is my guide to everything that is worth pursuing. Rather, to an extent we conspired, ourselves, to keep away from some of the things we have historically avoided and which could now be most useful for us to remember since it was part of our journey to go into forgetfulness so that we could shake the scales off at this very point. Those ideas were for then and this is now; many beliefs are reaching the expiry date on their usefulness all at once, during these times of dramatic evolution. Sometimes evolution takes a leap or, you could equally say, the teacher appears when we are ready for them to do so. When we have just so many things we have warned ourselves away from for just so very long and then many of those things turn out to be just what we are now looking for, it can have the effects of dozens of “teachers” appearing all at once from beneath our very noses. For some of these things, we were simply not ready before; our histories (global and personal) were meant to play out the exact way that they did, even preserving some of the very things that are now most useful to us until we were ready to receive them by keeping them off-limits. Of course, I’m talking about all sorts of things here (far too broad to list), from matters of science to personal preferences that have kept us from realising our next stage of personal growth. The thing that identifies them is when we sense we are walking round and around a thing like the elephant in the room that we just won’t acknowledge or interfere with – this can sometimes be the very thing we need to take a look at next. Like the dessert plant that receives its first dowsing in a very long time, some of these areas of our experience that have received the least of our attention can suddenly yield surprising blooms when we give them what we have been denying; at least a look in their direction.

In other words, when you feel a contraction around something (now you have developed an astuteness at reading such signals), why not check in with whether that contraction is truly yours…or could it be your response to a learned behaviour? Is the feeling of aversion or distrust founded in anything that feels consistent with your experience or is it, perhaps, ingrained (and out of sync with what you really feel, hence the strong reaction)? Is the feeling this thing gives rise to, actually, not an aversion but a sign that, deep down, you really want it or that your intuition is trying to flag it up to you until you are prepared to listen? Does it keep appearing in your line of vision because it is the very thing that you need the most? This could be, literally, anything going on – an aversion to a particular place, a fear over eating something or of pursuing a certain remedy (we have been warned off so many things as “dangerous” but, in some cases, this bears further investigation). Sometimes the more vehement the so-called warning flags, the more we need to at least look there to see what all the fuss is about. Examining and questioning our shared family or cultural values can be a way of noticing what is not truly ours, along with identifying old emotional wounds we have carried for years and which are calling for some release when they keep triggering the same aversion response. When we become true to ourselves and live only to that benchmark, there is really no learned behaviour that can compete with what we intuit as best for ourselves and our own averted eye can tell us when we are trying to adhere to rules that are external and which don’t fit with our way of being at all anymore. This always makes me think of my dog who, when he was younger, did a trick with a piece of food left on his paw, which he was not allowed to eat until he was told he could do so. Of course, he really wanted the morsel of food so, to follow the enforced rule (which felt completely out of sync with what he really wanted), he always found he had to look away so that he couldn’t see it any more. Very comically, he would turn his head a sharp ninety degrees and stare fixedly at the wall to get through the predicatment for as long as it took until my daughter (it was usually her!) would say “OK” and he would get to eat the food. In other words, our own sharply turned head away from something can be the very clue that, deep down, we know we really want or need this very thing next…and this should be explored since our intuition is seldom wrong on these points.

So, more times than I can count, I have found (hidden beneath the very rock I had previously been walking around on the basis of some conditioned behaviour or other) the very thing I was looking for or the very place that I was most being called to go for my next big moment of enlightenment. I recently mentioned an irrational aversion to place that I have come to consider may be due to my mother’s strong aversion of it based on her childhood (I have never been there), even though she almost never spoke of it and that was all many years ago so, you may think, how could this influence me so strongly? Yet this is not the only example I have and these hand-me-down ideas can run very strong in families, generation after generation, carried in our DNA, quite aside from all those learned family behaviours (my parents and grandparents were awash with cursory tales and superstitious phrases that just tripped off the tongue), long after a “bad” thing happened to do with this thing and allowed it to become crystallised in the annals of what we all thought we knew about it.

Keep-off-the-grass-sign-crop.jpgThese so-called warnings have been knitted into our very landscape and I have repeatedly found that the places we are warned away from can hold some of the most precious gifts. Near where I live, an ancient pathway leading (I believe) like a string between even more ancient sacred places harking back to a time before the peak of the sixth wave, has been known locally as The Devil’s Highway and associated with cut-throats and highwaymen for hundreds of years until it fragmented and nearly disappeared into mud and overgrowth. So, really, was it so very bad or did the story go back to a time…long long ago…when certain people wanted the masses to forget those places even existed and affiliate with the new wave of christianity that was being seeded to meet another agenda. Ease of access to an earlier time is one of the reason people are increasingly drawn to ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury yet those anciently meaningful places lie scattered around everywhere, they are beneath layers and layers of city pavements and long-running stories that have managed to supersede what those locations were originally all about. If we only ever read the labels on things or allowed ourselves to see what is still there to greet the eyes, we would barely scratch the surface of all that has been amassed for us to know and which is becoming ever more available, in more and more overt ways (yet we begin by noticing the subtleties). One of my favourite places in the world, where I receive a great deal of personal guidance and solace, is regarded as this great Roman relic, which people visit by the busload for that very reason (I pick the very quietest times). Yet I connect with something much deeper there; the energetic remnants of a far earlier folk who lived there long before those Roman’s showed up and took over their patch. This connection has enabled me to engage with the place in a way that I find hugely meaningful and supportive in my life and which I might have missed out on entirely if I had only focused on all the “packaging” that suggested I was visiting a Roman site. From that training ground, I learned to engage with a variety of places on these deeper levels, allowing whatever layer feel most relevant to me to rise up through the concrete slabs, as it were, and speak to me wherever I go, yes even in cities teeming with modern-day chaos and hordes of oblivious people. It can feel like peeling back the layers, rewinding the clock and dissolving limescale on an old kettle element to do this, clearing the way for information that has got lost or buried along the path. Having done this on one level, I have then been able to do it with my own body, to let go of old stuck points that had calcified over to obscure what was really hidden long long before that layer covered it over, to work on the original wounds or reveal nuggets of information found hiding there like pearls in the seabed.

So, these days, when I notice I have been stepping around something, my interest is piqued and I look (or should I say, feel) into that thing – holding my neutrality – to determine what is there that may be useful to me in some way. Don’t be so quick to judge is a kind of mantra, I suppose. And just because there is resistance or a warning does not mean that I should over-ride that message (this is not what I am saying at all; I do not propose that all black is now white or vice versa) but at least I take a fresh look, without forcing anything one way or the other. If the object of my aversion, my discomfort or suspicion still feels “off” to me, I continue just as I was but at least I checked in with it, and, perhaps, I can check-in with it again further down the line; plus, I tend to remain more open towards it from this point onwards. A bit like finding the magic key in a computer game that unlocks the whole next level, these “places” that have detered us (or from which we have been detered) can turn out to be just what we were looking for to unlock the next level of our experience and end a long hiatus on a recovery journey or a sense of moving forward in our lives. Around that once avoided turn in the road could be the very next person we were meant to meet or the opportunity that alters our whole trajectory and which (by vertue of the fact we are prepared to meet the very thing that we previously avoided so studiously) we have shown we are now ready to receive. Thinking we know everything already or that we even know ourselves so very well can be a very limiting thing and the practice we gain in questioning all things is immense when we consider even those things that seem “obviously” out-of-bounds. After all, it is all just information wrapped up in different packages and working with information like this (receiving the occasional “yes’ where “no” was written on the label) can be another way of affirming how everything is working in our favour, all is on our side; in fact nothing could be said to be going against us when we are prepared to take our best assistance from all kinds of messengers, even those which once turned us away. Noting our aversions and those area of life where we still religiously follow rules that really don’t fit us any more can be another way of receiving such powerful data as well as growing ourselves past a whole other layer of limitations to expand our experience even more.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Life choices, Life journey, Menu, Personal Development, Spirituality, Symbolic journeys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fountain of Life

I had a vision in a meditation the other day and it was a direct sense or deep immersion into a kind of neutrality I had never experienced (I mean, I thought I had…but I hadn’t) before. I saw this “place”, as I approached it, as a circle – like a cell – with a thin yet brittle outer casing holding an unfamiliarly neutral space (something the mind truly struggles to perceive) only I was beyond that egg-like shell boundary now and this inner “place” was the void to be found at the centre of everything; its softness beyond any concept of softness I had ever held with my mind.

This was the infinitesimally small void at the centre of the quantum aspect of physicality and I knew this lay at the very centre of me; replicated as the centre of each of every molecule that I am “made up” of as a human yet I was simultaneously aware that this was also the centre space of every molecule of every other living being, of our whole planet and of the whole of existence; all one and the same. One void, many voids, all the same shared space. The feeling of arriving there and (most importantly, having only ever seen it with my mind before) getting to experience it and sustain that feeling for more than a split second was a feeling of completion, of something being “all done now”, of having reached the point of everything, a meeting place, I found I wanted to use the word “singularity”. Yet it wasn’t lifeless, it wasn’t in any way innert…quite the opposite…since in there I found something that I wanted straightway to call the Fountain of Life. I could see and feel its upward propulsion and its overspilling arcs, its relentless flow, its loops of self-generating life force spiralling in all directions. It felt like that aspect where the very first impulse out of “void” to become something was occurring yet it wasn’t compartmentalised into anything; there was no division, no contrast, no definition.

Fountain of LifeThis thought arrested me, for what had I been fixated upon painting last summer, hour upon hour, but a fountain at the end of a pathway bordered by dense topiary hedging…and I had felt myself returning there with every brushstroke, like I was taking steps along that path through my painting process. As I painted it, its shape and structure morphing even as it emerged (with the least pre-meditation…interesting phrase since this new way of painting felt like meditation…of anything I had ever painted), the feeling arose of this being a pathway bordered by Yin and Yang. This was because, initially, the foliage on one side wanted to be dark and shadowy and, on the other side, light and more ephemeral…their contrast pushing against one another. Yet the more deeply I went into the painting, my eye ever-drawn to that fountain, the more I found I wanted to soften the differences, which defied the “logic” of the way light and shadow distribute in our physical world, presenting such a challenge to the artist in me. First rule of painting landscape – decide where your light is coming from – yet I wanted light everywhere, coming from all directions and this risked undermining what is used to determine art-skill at every turn; I knew this would never be accoladed as a “good” painting and my ego struggled with this. Yet I was aware (oh-so importantly) that I was taking this as a personal journey and that this was part of its surrender; to get there, I could not afford to burden myself with thoughts of anyone else’s opinions or, indeed, any other motivations. The part I struggled with most was the overhanging foliage and it morphed many times. I played with the colours and tones, the ratio of empty space to form, the amount of detail I included to get the leaves looking just right…or, I wondered, should it all just be a blur. When, at first, I thought it was finished, the colours of that foliage seemed all “wrong” (it turned out, my mind had painted it) and I wasn’t happy again until I softened it more and added other less-feasible colours, higher chakra shades of violet and blue, making the scene otherworldly yet, at last, I found I wanted to be there. And that fountain; it didn’t look right until I made the water seem to pour in all directions, not just left and right like an idea of a fountain, and had it over-spilling to where even a year later the path still appears wet where I have splashed and splattered greatly thinned paint. It was only at the very end that the title Fountain of Life suggested itself and, while part of me reasoned that it sounded somewhat trite to call it this, nothing else would do and I have learned to trust such impulses, even when I don’t know what they are all about…yet.

It was only the fourth time I had ever been led by a painting like this; directed by subtle impulses and not by the eyes or the left hemisphere of the brain. The three preceding it had been equally intense in a way that was quite different to when I painted from “real life”; like a painting meditation or channelling with a brush. They went on for weeks or even months and I would pick them up and leave them for long periods of time, never finished until they felt right at some hard to pinpoint level that told me “its done”, as though I was learning how to recognise such a feeling at a whole other level beyond the logical mind and its insistence upon certain markers and proofs. I was often left wondering what these paintings were really “about” until months or even years later, when new understanding would steadily emerge in layers. These are not the most accomplished painting I have ever done by a long stretch (so my left brain struggles with them over their many technical failings) yet to me they are uniquely precious and meaningful in a whole other way. I seldom feel right about selling or even exhibiting them and tend to hang them on my wall where I can see them every day and they can speak to me at the subconscious level when I am least expecting them to do so. Since painting them, I’ve only completed one other significant canvas (the one called Heart-Centred in which the coiled up swan retrospectively suggests to me exactly how I have curled myself inward and concentrated on nothing so much as my own inner process for over half a year now…quite unlike any other time in my life). It’s as though I have been in a void about painting ever since…having seemingly lost all sense of why I do it or for whom  (hence, I’ve not picked up a brush for over six months now…the longest painting hiatus I have had in well over a decade). Yet its really as though I’m just quietly awaiting further instruction from beyond my rational mind, so it’s all perfectly OK; I can wait for as long as it takes, there’s really no rush at the gate of life any more. It’s as though, in this aspect of my life (no less any other), I’m simply not prepared to compromise my motivations as I used to; I either have a calling to do something or I do nothing at all and that option is always just as perfectly valid and well-timed since all such definition and judgements about “what I should be doing” have dissolved away too.

Return to EdenThe first painting that I ever really approached from this non-physical reality inside some sort of inner landscape that sought expression was my blue butterfly Uncommon Blue, depicted hovering above an ethereal garden seen as though with its eyes (I felt like I was that butterfly…), painted in the summer of 2015. The next I called Return to Eden (2016) and was a play on the apple tree of so-called “original sin” (that point when we got separated from ourselves…) and yet it was all about returning that apple to the light; allowing the form (the calcified idea of our supposed “wrongness”) to dissolve back to where it was just thisThe Return beautiful thing growing steadily towards its own ripeness. As I painted it, perfecting the fall of light as it broke through dense foliage, there was a sense of (personally and collectively) regaining access to “the garden” of our highest existence after having been “banished” from it for so very long. You could say, it marked the end of a separation age; a reunion with self.  The next painting was a pathway through the garden, leading to a goddess temple by moonlight, which I called The Return and which was, even as I painted it, so obviously about the return to the sacred feminine. Yet, a surprise to me, this temple insisted on being a portal or a gateway of sorts, not a destination; so I suggested a space bathed in moonlight behind where she stood, which gave the sense of there being more beyond this return to the feminine (as so there is…since that was just a stage on the way to our fulfilment; the Eighth Wave when the Ninth was still to come…) and, beyond it, an inner sanctum, a secret space or  seldom seen “void”, where presumably everything came together into a state of Wholeness. Which led on (though I hardly recognised the connection at the time) to this next canvas, the one that I’ve spoken about, The Fountain of Life.

The whole of this two-year journey through painting, from stealthily hovering over the most secret areas of the garden as the butterfly (seeing as the butterfly that navigates by higher-spectrum vision), to regaining entry to the apple tree (reclaiming the apple, ditching all the judgement), to walking that direct path straight to the goddess temple, only to go beyond that and into the inner sanctum where the fountain of life pours abundantly in every direction…the whole of this journey that I have been taken on through my right hemisphere holds so much more meaning to me now than it ever did at the time when I immersed in each painting separately, not (then) seen as part of a series leading me somewhere, yet now I see so clearly how they are each stages in a progression leading me to this place of profound neutrality; an inner sanctum that holds some sort of key to myself. None of it was pre-meditated; it led me all the way and I simply followed to the point where, a year after the paint dried, I feel like I finally understand where I have been taken. More than that, I get to see how this mirrors how meaningfully we get to follow the apparent randomness our own life’s journey to this same destination since we only get to appreciate how perfectly designed each of the supposedly random events of our life was once we arrive at the singularity to which they were all pointing us…

Back to where I was: a year later, in this meditation, a fountain was overspilling out of each and every void that I was now, suddenly, conscious of and it was so real for me, like my painting come to life inside my quantum biology. It  turned out, what we think of as “empty”  (such is how we respond to the concept of dissolving all the push and pull, all the friction, of life…) wasn’t empty at all. It was source, it WAS life, and it regenerated and replenished and rejuvenated me in an unmeasurable blip of time; I felt this occur in all my cells and the feeling was overspilling me at every minutest level. This unfathomable sea of overspilling fountains, at the level of aspects much smaller than atoms in my physical body, joined forces to become the fountain of me. Rising up through my energy centres, I knew this sensation of old as the kundalini tingles in my spine (with, this time, effortlessly, all resistance and blockage…gone) joining with my third eye which, I noticed, had become its own fountain. Suddenly, I knew this whole process had been catalysed by the shifting or dissolving of a layer of calcification – an invisibility cloak of sorts –  around my pineal gland… and I was revealed as the human fountain. Without a moment’s hesitation, the micro became the macro and the whole blue planet was this same fountain and I was pulled back in space looking at it doing what I was also doing. Then, of course, I saw it for what it was at last, this dynamic energy field coloured in the blue of planet Earth…for as the fountain completed its symmetry and looped back around to feed back into its own axial “spinal” column in a self-perpetuating process (appearing exactly as Earth’s magnetic fields appear in a diagram…as a pair of wings), it became – of course – my shining blue butterfly, hovering in space. This shining blue torus was a field of radiant energy, self-regenerating, self-energising, self-replenishing without the need for fear or pain or forgetfulness, for trouble or strife, nor for any of those perpetually waring contrasts that make up our human dramas, to propel itself or its inhabitants forwards since, now, it had other ways to fuel itself. And then I was back in it, on it and Moph_HDR.jpegfeeling that activated energy field coming up through my feet and that shining blue colour was tinging everything and everyone in my line of vision, we were all bathed in it. Every single most-mundane physical object and all physical life, no exceptions, was teaming with vibrant blue energy like a glow around its edges and we all reached completion together; it was done, finished, as though the sting was taken out of everything’s tail, all things were levelelled and everything become simultaneously passive yet – oh wonder – we were all still here and life was more than continuing as before, yet transformed somehow; moved onto another energy grid. The very terror of the void that we all seem to carry within us (like we fear we will stop existing if we don’t have something to resist, fear or push against) had not been realised since the lack of contrasts had not caused us to melt away by any means; it was as though the lights had been switched on and everything was several degrees brighter, more coherent, the wizard revealed behind every curtain (it was us all along…) and all of us returned to the home we never really left behind. And then the spirit that we had learned to keep so low to the ground became a glorious peacock’s tail unfolding (as peacock tails do) so that it suddenly transformed from this drab brown thing trailing along in the everyday dirt on the ground to, suddenly, this glorious fan of iridescent colour, which was really there all along. And I saw mirrored in it…oh how funny…all those countless shining blue circles, the reminder that had been under my nose for all these months of noticing peacocks wherever I turn.

So much more than this came though to me that morning, far too much to articulate, across every level of my experience but the most resounding feeling I am left with is that it all feels done done done now…all is complete…like reaching a journey’s end in some hugely momentous way. Newly, I feel able to rest in a feeling of overwhelming grace that had previously eluded me though I got very close to it; a deep and immersive awareness of myself and of the whole planet resting in a permanent state of grace that is already here; and we get to claim it as soon as we like. It was like slipping into a warm pool and accepting a deserved rest. And even though I have had to open my eyes and to go back to my daily activities, and though things go in on their worldly, far less than perfect-seeming, way (I feel like I want to entreat you, don’t be fooled or taken off track by them), I still know that it is done; that it is not compromised by what “seems” on the outside, represented in our three-dimensional world, which can be much slower to catch up. In my physical body, I already felt regenerated at some impossible to define level and I know I can go there for my life-force, to seek repair and rebalance, to self-energise and self-heal whenever I chose, from now on. In fact, it was always there – this Fountain of Life – only we obscured it for the longest time for the purpose of our own evolution (that phase is completed now, we can give ourselves permission to know it again without having to worry that we are letting anyone down or that we are going where we are not allowed to venture). Having found my way back…yes, via the feminine path yet this ultimate space is beyond all such yin or yang distinction or any other such compartmentalised perspectives… I find I now notice it at the centre of everything; can re-find the feeling whenever I need to, now I have come to recognise it more intimately and I intend to refine my adeptness a little more every day. We all have access to it since it it is not external to us, we can find it at the very core of everything that makes us a physical being, so it is, quite literally, available on free access for everybody, always and with it comes great healing at every level of human existence. Nothing can undermine that and, with time, we can only realise it more since that is the momentum we are now in together.


 

The same day this epiphany occurred, as we spent the day in our garden and I was still processing some of the new things I was observing, we noticed a pair of robins were starting to build a nest in the lion head fountain (thankfully, its pump switched off) hidden behind our wisteria tree. The synchronicity was astonishing; the way life was spontaneously choosing to regenerate in a fountain without the need for a mechanical power source to pump water through it made us smile (fountains, it seem, always find a way to keep going). A day later, another synchonicity brought a similar smile to our faces as we found an extremely busy bee hive inside the 2000 year-old stone walls of the Roman remains near where we live in the spot where we always stop to meditate on the lovely view. The thought of ancient and, of course, manmade city walls (already reclaimed, externally, by wild flowers and grasses) now teaming with new life and overflowing with soft golden honey…on the inside… as though a void within what had once appeared formidable and structurally solid had been newly acknowledged and breathed with new life; again, it felt like an astonishing nod in the direction of everything I have shared above.

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Modelling a new relationship with pain

It feels like the infrastructure for a completely new world full of brand new responses, new choices, new levels of living in love, joy and peace are already there in our world…however, many of us just don’t seem to know how to take it and make it our own quite yet. We mistrust these newnesses for being so different; almost, a little too easy-feeling compared to how hard we have been making things until now. We are standing on the very threshold of a portal looking straight at these new possibilities and yet we hesitate, questioning whether we even see them or if it is a mirage; being far better at seeing what we expect to see than what is so new that it is almost invisible to eyes unaccustomed to such lightness. So we put one foot in and one out again and we often turn back to responses that feel much more familiar, more solid (if heavier; it comes with the territory). Once backward looking, we read the news, get drawn into negative conversation, get tugged back into fear, we assume the worst and alow our morale to be stolen from us by all those many arbitrary things that seem to grab our attention far more effectively than our own tender shoot of optimism, which gets so quickly trodden underfoot. For some reason, we *think* we feel better doing things as we have always done them and that genuinely new options are so terribly hard to come by. We hardly believe that such new ways of being could already be standing right there in front of us in every moment; its like we can’t see for looking. Sometimes it takes a crisis, an illness for instance (anything that shakes you out of the learned way of seeing and gets you using the full spectrum of your observational skills), to notice what is already there.

Recognising that there are new possibilities just a hair’s breadth away is the start point to our own transformation. It’s enough to get you going on that new trajectory and the recognition is as subtle as a ribbon of fresh air through a newly opened window…which happens as soon as you consider, does this choice feel light or leaden, am I invested in it in some heavy-old contractual way or does it flutter freely like a butterfly on the summer breeze? Does it release a fizz in the stomach or drop concrete in my heart? After making the choice, did I feel relief cascading in my body? Did my shoulders relax, all my tension drain away like free-flowing water poured from head to toes? Do I feel invigorated, excited or, suddenly, chronically exhausted by this action set in motion? Some of us that have been through years of pain have become acutely sensitive to such very subtle variances in our nervous system and really so adept at interpreting them that this kind of navigation is second-nature to us. So now is our time to make use of these highly developed sensibilities as a means to navigating our lives forwards towards a new kind of human experience.

Learning to take our next steps like this, using subtle data gathered by our super-sensitive nervous system as our lead, can break us out of some of the very “old” stuck patterns that we’ve been caught up in like a kitten in a ball of wool, releasing us from being the hostage of our own life while making none of our experiences of pain “the villain of the piece”. Keeping “fault” (or “fault-y”) out of the vernacular of this stage in our evolution is hugely important. Speaking our truth is cathartic, yes; but we need to consider, at what price do we add the weight of further words and do these words feel liberating or burdensome; do they come with more strings rather than wings? Are we truly expressing from the perspective of the present moment, not from an idea we had some time ago; does what we say fit the infrastructure of a brand-new potential that is starting to take form on the winds or is it a rehash of old ideas that are already feeling outmoded and throughly well dug-over?

When we tune up our subtle observation skills, we start to observe that many ideas that once felt worthy and of substance are becoming unsure of themselves, dissolving into nothing and seeming to want to be let go of now. What we thought about something yesterday might not hold any water today and we need to keep on our toes with this; staying flexible and alert, always prepared to dissolve our own best-laid plans rather than progress what no longer feels higher-vibrational. Then of course, used mindfully, expression is one of the great gifts of the feminine aspect, the “yin”; which, having been out of balance for so long, can use the leveling effect of the kind of communication that reaches into all the corners to expose what has been hidden, to bring transparency and rebalance what has been tilted. Yet there is a fine balance between this and saying so much that we add more substance to what is ready to be completely washed away in the flow. In other words, if we keep banging the same drums, disappearing up the same gullies (tempting as it can be), we will remain stuck in the same old version of reality. It’s a responsibility we have that we need to be able to discern those widely varying potentials derived from remarkably similar actions, leading to very different outcomes, then choose wisely for our brand-new future (and I think I am getting somewhat better at it). Again, those of us that have travelled the long-persistent route to health-stasis have become adept at noticing the broadly different outcomes that are possible from subtly different choicepoints; and we know how recognising feelings in our body gets us to where we really want to be.

It really all comes down to focusing on our own personal journey of evolution (healing, by the way, is a very fast-track version of evolution in action, in case you were still wondering); we can’t shepherd anyone else, we can only demonstrate through our living example. Our own super-intense journey towards increased wellbeing (we all have one) is all that really matters; this is how we impact the whole. You could say, this is where we really make a difference; by refining the relationship we have with our feelings (which is where pain sometimes comes into it). What we learn, the whole  of humanity learns (whether we talk about it or not); we can be sure of that. When we keep hesitating in our own forward momentum to check how the rest of humanity is coming along, we stall our own progress by looking backwards for longer than was necessary and, sometimes, throw ourselves back in the mire. Its been a foible of mine to keep doing this in the name of “helping others” and I know I need to become more selfish, in a sense; even if that means not sharing every single leap of progress I make. When we make those leaps, we need to do what it takes to let them settle in, holding that new space until they have grounded into the three-dimensional for long enough to develop resilience; not dashing around telling lots of people how we did it or spinning around to see if anyone else has noticed (I’m all too aware how ego can come into this). Our own longterm wellbeing needs to be our primary purpose and the focus of all our attention; that’s it, nothing else is so powerful or sustained as that singularity of focus (and perhaps those of us who have been through long illness know this better than most). As other motivations drop away, this makes room for healing to take place since the cells of the body receive a clear signal that we are ready to move past all the old stuck points and diversions; to pull away the blocks from the aircraft wheels ready to take off and fly.

 

Extract from my post Modelling a New Relationship with Pain on Living Whole

living your whole life

I’ve had a couple of weeks of pretty devastating levels of pain followed by crashing, jelly legged exhaustion and I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t demoralised me just a little. When you’ve done everything to make steady and, most of the time, pretty consistent headway with your health and suddenly…for no apparent reason…you’re deep in the mire again, its nearly impossible to it shrug off with a cheery smile. Watching other people go through health challenges then recovery to come out the other side while yours is still going strong months, even years, later can feel like a long-running trial by endurance. Your mind tries to lure you into learned responses, including self-criticism at the fact “its” still here, like you must be doing something wrong; perhaps you made it come back by thinking about it too much, or in the wrong way (that law of attraction stuff is a…

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The point of it all: memory shared

Lion_(2016_film)I keep thinking back to the film “Lion” (2016)  and how clearly the man Saroo remembers his childhood in India where he lived until he was five….before he got lost; how he is able to walk, in his mind’s eye, the route back from the train station along a dusty track and through a maze of buildings to his home, can see every detail of the reservoir where they bathed, the outlines of trees particular to that location, the very texture and colour of the soil. In this film based on a true story, Saroo gets lost on a train and is subsequently adopted by a couple in Australia, spending the next 25 years piecing back together those memories to feed the ever growing urge to trace his real family. In fact, he becomes obsessed with it; those memories more vivid, sometimes, than his everyday life. A world apart from where he has been  raised in relative affluence in Tasmania, he can flip back to that other world in his head in a split second, using it (ultimately) to pinpoint “where he came from” using Google Earth to zoom in and recognise landmarks from above.

Astonishing, although I know I can sometimes flash back to an incredibly vivid experience (“like I am there”) of the subtlest sights and sounds of early childhood; able to ride a certain feeling, a frequency, to get me there. To a degree, we probably all have this connection to the place where we felt most cherished, safe or like we belong; are able to go back to some places much more vividly than we can recall others that we pass by every day of the week, even if we have not visited for a very long time. It’s as though we tune in to a certain frequency and we are taken there remotely, outside of space and time, to where we can walk through all the sensory details in real-time in our minds.

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My grandmother and two of her three children (my mother, left) in India

My mother also lived in India for the first 7 years of her life from when she was just a handful of months old; it was all she knew until that ocean liner (which she seemed to remember most of all) brought her “home” to England in 1935. Yet, by contrast, she didn’t seem to want to remember those years, like she couldn’t bring them back into her mind; though I always sensed she recollected far more than she was letting on. It was like getting blood out of a stone to get her to talk about those days and all she would ever do was sort of shudder as she told me there was nothing much to tell me except there was dust, heat and squalor. She would always repeat her horror at seeing foot prepared on the side of the road but where was all the rest; the kind of things my uncle later told me? This selective amnesia made a chalkboard of the first seven years of her life, like she had simply scrubbed them away with one emphatic sweep of her hand. These were the same  formative years about which the Jesuits declared with such confidence “give me a child until they are seven and I will give you the man” yet she insisted they had made no impression on her at all. Is that possible?

So did they inform her in other ways, pushed down deep inside as an aversion that informed her experiences in other ways? Did they, perhaps, even come up in me? Is this how inherited fears become part of our biological make-up; a vibrational code that we hand down to future generations like a particular tune strummed on the harp-strings of our DNA? Did her strong feelings of alienation and dislike of heat and dust reemerge inside of me, manifested as the down-side of my bizarrely see-sawing impulses: do I want to see India or don’t I? One minute, it is on my bucket list, the next I find the idea completely abhorrent and have all of my excuses ready. Passionately yes and passionately no; its like I am being torn in two opposite directions. Is this how it is when we hand our fears on down the line, birthing generations who don’t truly know what is theirs anymore? This is something I came up against, a couple of years ago, when I was researching into my father’s side of the family, visiting places where they lived during the era when they transitioned from relative comfort and rural security to abject poverty in the workhouse and then exodus to an alien place where they got sucked into the industrial machine, working in steelworks and down coal mines. Standing at the workhouse gate where they lost all their dignity, back-tracing how those deeply bedded fears around money, loss and survival landed and manifested in my father’s DNA and became distinct character traits that I recognise in our gene pool long after they had relevance, was a cathartic thing for me. It helped me to understand some of the traits that my father and I share (especially those I once resented him for “giving me”) so much better than I had ever done in his lifetime.

Certainly, there are a couple of significant traumas from my earlier life that I have never discussed with my daughter but which, as themes, she has observable responses to. By this I mean that I observe in her very strong aversions or fierce opinions relating to things about which she should have next to no opinion or knowledge at her tender age and so there is no other logical explanation than that she learned these “safe-guarding” reactions from me, without word or demonstration. Is this how we pass on our cursory tales; via the womb and the fear coding written into our DNA? In my own life, I’ve done what I can to identify and sift out “the inherited” from the “authentically mine” in recent years and its been like shedding a huge bag of rocks from my cells.

It’s fair to say, in my own life, I have come to experience memory as something much more to do with vibration and resonance than anything local to my biology. When I read Dr Carl Johan Calleman’s book “The Global Mind and the Birth of Civilization”, a large piece of this innate though, as yet, undeveloped understanding fell into place as he described memory as, potentially, a non-local phenomenon stored in the crystalline structure of our planet. This made so much sense in light of everything I had come to intuit, especially via all the profound experiences I have had in places I had never previously been “in this life”, certain power-points where memory seemed to shoot up like molten lava from beneath my feet, and where I sometimes felt as though I was being flooded with familiar data, ghostly memories of…well, I don’t know what exactly (nor did I know if they were actually mine, or if they were projections of a collective mind, with which I was somehow “in tune”). At first it became hard not to identify with such experiences, like I was tripping out on a grand psychedelic tour of my own past lives; but then I began to regard it all as far less personal than all that, more like tuning in to a shared resonance to find I fit into all these places in a way that is interchangeable with countless other beings who could, just as easily, step into my shoes and tune in to those very same vibrations (hence the great draw of some of these places; “sacred” places where we find ourselves). Perhaps it was the place and not the person that held the memory, I began to wonder…and yes, what I read in this book made so much sense. After all, how could I carry so much memory around in my head and how come certain coordinates on a map seem more powerful than others; leylines and sacred spots, places where the earth seems to pucker and fold so much that its innards come close to the surface. What if the earth was a giant crystal holding all of it for all of us; Calleman’s book made considerable sense of what I had been playing with for some time.

In some places, I know, I have tuned in with far more resonance than in others; those places I particularly “liked”. Certainly there are places where we seem to willingly add to the stockpile of local “high-vibe” memories; places where we live with our families or, in broadest sense, “tribe” and spend most fulfilling times. These places can seem to glow with a certain energy long after the people have dispersed. Yet I already knew, somehow, that it was all about being the mobile radio receiver and finding, in these places, that there was music playing on my own favourite channel, which happened whenever the signal was most pristine so that I seemed to receive it with most clarity, colour and joy. And if I didn’t like the “music” coming through or if it sounded like the hiss and grind of some other frequency that wasn’t mine…time to step away to where my own vibration found its match. This method of interfacing with “place” has been my most reliable guide to everywhere that I have chosen to go for more years than I knew why I was doing it; and I’ve grown pretty good at it, listening to it attentively. I’ve also found that resonance with a particular place can change over time and that different places meet us at different parts of our journey; yet it is this key understanding, that it is the two-way relationship, and that it is much more than just our own personal stuff that we tune into, that makes a real difference. Seen beyond the personal, memory becomes a connection device; it’s what interlinks us all in ways that are complex and meaningful.

You have to admit, it makes so much more sense to consider that we amass our considerable, collective memories in some kind of supermassive computer chip to which we all have access than that we carry them around in our heads. In other words, the mind is not a product of the brain but of something outside of itself – a global mind – to which we contribute our own unique experiences. It helps explain how our memories seem to cross over with those of other people (even those we have barely met), how we can remotely access the same experiences in more than one place, even more potently in some places than others and how, when our receiving equipment malfunctions in some way, we receive interrupted service or can cease to tune into the channel of ourselves for much longer periods – as in Alzheimer’s or after an injury or illness. It’s not that the memories that make us who we think we are go anywhere, it’s that our receiver wires have become damaged…or have furred up like old kettle elements, or cut themselves off to protect us from further trauma…and so we lose access to all the amalgamated data regarding who we think we are, in the same way that we would if a satellite was down when we were googling information. This approach (which has been my own approach throughout a decade of intermittent and temporary, but sometimes distressing, memory lapse due to the severe brain fog of fibromyalgia…) offers such optimism since it means that, in healing ourselves, we can reconnect with all that we once knew about ourselves and each other, collectively. We can go back on-line with as much, if not more, clarity of signal than we started with by polishing up our own “wires”, making different life choices, healing ourselves in overt and more subtle ways. This approach says there is nothing really absent when we can’t remember (we use that phrase “absent minded” like something has actually left) nor is everything scrubbed from our hard drive never to return (since it wasn’t really stored there in the first place); its just that our radio equipment requires attention so it can regain the ability to tune into the appropriate “channel” connecting us to where memory is stored, offsite (not locally in the brain). Yes, losing memory can be horribly distressing yet I feel sure that healers will take leaps in understanding this, so that they can help people regain “lost” memory, over the next few decades.

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“A significantly different image emerges for the two hemispheres, with the quasi-western side of the EIC made of well-separated patches of different kinds of iron phases. On the contrary, the quasi-eastern hemisphere appears less discriminating with a spotty-like distribution of points.” Candy Wrapper for the Earth’s Inner Core

But then studies have shown that the earth is not uniformly crystalline; that it varies between east and west hemispheres divided, in Dr Calleman’s opinion, by the twelfth degree longitude line (this point is made amply in his book “The Global Mind and the Rise of Civilization”). From the study shown left “According to this model, the western hemisphere is crystallizing and the eastern hemisphere is melting”. Distinct iron phases seem to occur in the western hemisphere whereas in the eastern, it would appear, these distinct phases are absent or more than one phase could be said to apply at the same time, described as “elastic”. Moreover, as you might expect, waves travel quite differently through these varying structures. The west is tightly compartmentalized (that word I seem to be using a lot these days when I talk about the left hemisphere of the brain) and is that a coincidence? In Calleman’s view, the planet we live upon is a global mind that exists as the some sort of Mother version of each of our individualised human brains, with the same hemispherical division going on. In such a viewpoint, what happens to one affects what happens to the other (and thus, all of us) since they are, from this stance, one and the same; which fits exactly with my own view that we are localised expressions of Oneness inherently connected by our common humanity. Our planet has always felt like she is so much more than an insentient rock, a resource to be plundered, as our culture (especially in the west…) has liked to depict her. In plundering her resources, we have only ever been stealing from ourselves.

When and how do we tune into the core of earth? “When we engage in higher mental activities, our brain cells typically oscillate in the gamma frequency range which means they are in resonance with the most structured part of Earth, its inner core: at the 40 Hz frequency typical of crystal-clear cognitive functions or memorizing, our brains are in resonance with the boundary surface of the crystalline inner core of Earth. The close-packed hexagonal or cubic crystalline structure in this may then hypothetically provide support for compartmentalized thinking, computation and even the storage of memories” (Calleman – “The Global Mind and the Rise of Civilization”).

So, potentially, the way that we store, and have access to, memory comes into this intriguing picture of what the core of our planet looks like, which is only just emerging. But, as we have just seen, some parts of the Earth’s core are much less compartmentalized than others, so how does this alter the nature of the memories that we have access to? And what part, if any, does the Schumann Resonance play in all this; if recent speculation about it rising to new (gamma) levels holds any substance, are we being plunged deeper into the planet’s memory core, retrieving parts of ourselves we may have buried “in” there for posterity, forcing us to (in effect) clear out the depths of our basement? Is this the shake up that pre-empts our next stage of evolution as we enter the Ninth Wave? What might this look like on the world stage; are we already seeing it play out in world events? Are we seeing it occur as, in effect, the east makes new headway while the structures of the west plunge into, well, some kind of meltdown? Certainly if east and west differ in crystalline structure, we could expect that difference to play out at the surface level (as, historically, it has) for, to quote Calleman “Only if the brain is in resonance with a geological structure with clearly defined compartments, such as a crystal, are its waves likely to be localized to specific brain compartments”. What happens if that crystal structure is undergoing changes during our lifetime; perhaps one side crystallizing more while the other becomes more flux? Is this the softening of hemispherical divisions; a sort of leveling process to meet in the middle – in our brains (perhaps also at a planetary scale) – that I keep talking about via my own experiences?

According to Barbara Hand Clow: “The first dimension is the iron-core crystal, which vibrates at 40-60 cycles per second, and remarkably, while in trance, the brain waves have been measured at exactly the same frequency? The person in trance is synchronizing with the centre of the Earth…As far as I can see, the alternate reality just opens up when humans pulse with the planet(Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of creativity – Barbara Hand Clow). In her opinion, our connection to that first dimension is every bit as crucial to our evolution as hooking up with those higher dimensions we seem so fixed upon. Certainly, in my own experience, working with and, in a sense, befriending the first and second dimensions (using her invaluable handbook, “The Alchemy of Nine Dimensions”) has contributed to my own healing journey, grounding me in a new and much more profound way than I was managing to achieve before. When we heal, we are often called to delve into places we never wanted to delve before, places we had (at some level) been avoiding, yet this can be the most cathartic thing to do

Perhaps, as part of our mass healing, we are on the verge of being flooded by the over-spilling contents of our own global memory bank (likely, coming as more of a shock to the tightly-organised sensibilities of the west than in the east; played out as the cathartic dramas of our lives, our politics, the great surge of reveal and leaked information that is underway). Like the opening of any Pandora’s Box, this might very well start with a certain amount of overwhelm and trauma as a wave of vile “stuff” we really didn’t ever want to see again comes pouring out of the world closet. In amongst the waves of shock-factor torrent all those old cultural and pseudo-religious grudges nursed since long before we can remember why they ever occurred in the first place and so we get triggered into all kinds of hostility that looks like conflict, chaos and meltdown. Is meltdown the right word? Well yes, perhaps it is that very thing; the volcanic lava-spill of the hand-me-down hatred of our forefathers spewing out from toxic sores where it has been compressed and stored out of sight (if ever-present) for way too long. Perhaps through these old grudges and wounds being allowed to see the light of day (since none of what we are seeing is new; it has just become more visible) we can quickly apply our higher consciousness to these obsolete old rubs and dissipate the toxic load of them. When we continue to harbour one man’s hatred of another and all the unspoken fear around that, the lack of love for one another, in our depths, those feelings risk becoming the cancer we come to rue further down the line. Like any detox, our memory needs to be brought out into the open to be healed. Transparency, communication, receptivity, flexibility, a sense of self beyond the material…all the key instruments of the right hemisphere…are here to help us sort through the heinous mess that spills out onto our floor from the boxes of our mind. Like most clear-outs, it generally gets worse before it gets better but at least we are clearing right to the very basement of our memory store…and what do we find there? That we are all, fundamentally, the same. So, yes, if we must have fundamentalism of any kind on this planet let this be it…a belief in our fundamental kinship and that we are all one.

What does accessing a memory feel like; how do we do it in such different ways? I know, when I studied history at school, I used to have to pin my memories of data to a visual landscape that I could “see” in my mind, making up mental cartoons and comic word prompts to help me recall complicated names and dates. It’s a device I’ve used all my life; engaging my right brain to assist with my ability to access the compartments of information I had stored on the left; the visual aspect of my learning device serving like a magic password to gain access through the door of the vault. Conversely, when inspiration comes flooding in, I feel like I have to grab it and pin it down with concepts and words before it slips away; and if I don’t catch it on time, like a butterfly in a net, it’s really gone. No amount of rationalizing will bring it back since it arrived without such a rational basis shoring it up; so I find myself blur-eyed  in the mornings, trying to type words even before my brain is ready for action lest they should disappear again. More like a vapour floating in a window than a progression of rational thoughts, I feel so blessed when such true inspiration arrives but I can never schedule for it to happen. In both cases, the one hemisphere works all the better for having access to the other; a collaboration of skills that either unlocks the memory box or nets the butterfly.

Does memory “work” more like that vapour wafting in on a breeze in the eastern hemisphere; are mental constructs only there to shore up those feelings that first fluttered in, rather than leading the march of progression, insisting upon driving and organising what we allow ourselves to recall to a strict set of material priorities as is the way in the west? Does that explain a well-documented sense of tipping out all our preconceived ideas and changing our priorities, even turning things inside out, when we travel to the east; one that can feel like a spiritual epiphany? Calleman asks “Is it not true that when we retrieve a memory we have the feeling that we are “going somewhere else” to search for it? Are we searching our brains to find it, which is the established viewpoint? Or are we searching crystal matrices in Earth’s inner core?”. If this is true then do those first few years we spent as children, gathering and organising the first of our memories, determine the kind of storage system we relate to; are the structured hexagons and cubes of the west very different-feeling to the relative elasticity of the east and are they like different formats of technology…one will not work with the equipment of the other?

So, when my mother sailed back to England from India as a seven year-old child, did she (in effect) leave her memories behind her in the east as she sailed up the Suez Canal? Did they not fit into the structures of where she subsequently lived so she discarded them; wrote them off as a misfit? If she had ever gone back there as an adult, would her childhood memories have opened up like a Pandora’s Box to which she suddenly had the key? Certainly, she had a strong dislike for the smell of Indian food if we ever walked past a restaurant, like it tripped her up or threw her off her equilibrium. Yet we had artifacts from those times around our house, elephants and Buddha’s, and she would lose herself in a trance as she polished them as though quite lost in another world. She treated them with such reverence as she cleaned, which became a fond ritual with which I helped her; and yet the words I longed for when I asked “tell me more about India” could not be spoken. She also became, I vividly recall, unspeakably angry when she discovered an uncle had thrown away photo albums from those times. Perhaps all she lacked, for such unstructured memories, being so young when she gathered them, were the words with which to give them form and perhaps they could not be subjected to the same “left brain” treatment as those other memories that came later without, somehow, losing them altogether. Had she had those pictures to show me…now that might have been a different matter.

Perhaps, as something largely intangible, memory relies on a collaboration with “substance” (objects, prompts…) in order to manifest as form in our three-dimensional world; a sort of partnership that enables it to surface from its storage-place at the core of our planet. So, in the east, does memory attach to different things to those with which it closely collaborates in the west? Is the eastern version of memory, in some sense, the exoskeleton worn for all to know about, a heart worn on a sleeve, compared to this thing we like to hide inside the boxes of our minds (and wrapped up in our material possessions…) in the western hemisphere? In such an inside-out perspective to what we have tended to consider our western norm, does memory flesh out like plump fruit whereas our own becomes the whirls and knots of something externally hard and finite like the insides of a walnut. If so, to what is it memory attaches there: tradition, faith, family, honour, love, maybe all these things, shown off and expressed, celebrated and honoured, in a much-more overt way as part of everyday life? In the west, do we make memory more subservient to the outward trappings and arrangements of material wealth, identity, success, control and possession; preferring to tuck the memories themselves well out of sight (though they continue to inform us in all kinds of ways, at the subconscious level)? Does our culture determine which route we go between these extremes, does it depend where we live, who we mix with, do we get to choose for ourselves, drawn to live in the places where the most comfortable stream of memory flows to feed our life-flame, like the steady jet of gas that turns on a lamp? If we suddenly switch from east to west as a child too young to have established the appropriate storage method for making us resilient and acceptable in the culture where we subsequently land, are our memories left stranded in no-man’s land; the unclaimed lost property of our lives? Perhaps my mother, having no cultural ties to India, had nowhere to keep her lasting memories of those years after she returned home to England and the loving bosom of grandparents and aunts that she always remembered with such fondness as the “normal” kinsfolk of her childhood; to whom India was a make-believe land. Like an old gramophone record in the digital era, she came home to find that her memories wouldn’t play on the “equipment” of her life and so she put them to one side and left them there.

So how did the boy in “Lion” keep his childhood memories of India intact, long after moving to a completely different culture? I suspect, because he attached them to his primary concept of Love. When he returned there in his mind’s eye, he found the family from whom he had been so abruptly separated and that kept him tied there, wanting to return after enough years had passed for many people to have forgotten what those people even looked like. A vibration of love played for him whenever he recalled the place and it kept it alive for him, kept him attached there, calling him back to a place in search of a feeling. Haven’t we all done that with somewhere that has had that effect?

And isn’t that, in essence, what memory is…a feeling attached to substance, be that place, object or person; it’s a particular frequency sent out by a cosmic broadcasting service that we dial up whenever we want to go there. My own journey through the swinging vagaries of my memory has enabled me to refine and polish my ability to remember who I am; not just from this life experience but from many others, which has the effect of softening the edges of them all. A viewpoint that memory is non-local and is just waiting to be claimed by me…that the only variable is my ability to dial in…fits perfectly with what I have experienced. The clarity of the signal received is affected by state of mind, diet, locality, time of day, openness and intention.  When I am feeling “high vibe” memory comes easily and without trauma, which corresponds with what Calleman says, which is that “when our minds go into high states of consciousness our brains attain a frequency corresponding to a sphere very close to the centre of the Earth, in the inner-inner core”. He then relates that connection to the Earth’s centre to the pineal gland, the “mind’s eye”,  which is at the centre point of the brain (and quite distinct in not being subject to the hemispherical division). In this place, memory is not about division; it is all about coming together.

Somewhere, somehow, faced with the vast global memory box that makes up our humanity and the jumble that it can all seem, is the potential to level it all to “what really matters” and what we can all relate to. It comes with the realisation that we have all been through versions of the same; that we are those versions of the same and that we care about the very same things. Like the blending of a zillion photographed faces, eventually the so-called differences find their likeness, softening around the edges until they all blend into one uniform…and incredibly beautiful…face of humanity. We find our own point; that point where we meet in the middle, and it is quite literally at the centre of all of us, where we all cross over and meet in the middle, beneath our feet.

Bit by bit, we do this thing by re-membering (= joining previously detached parts or “members” back onto ourselves) everything we know about ourselves collectively and at the deepest level of our memory bank, which holds an account balance containing many zeros and which we all share. It is the place where we are already millionaires; rich in love. We do this by eradicating all sources of fear…where they began…in our own hearts; bit by bit, in each portion of our life. Separation from one another melts away as we do this. As some feelings become more organised, others come spewing out of their boxes and we meet in the middle – where neither has to occur. We let go of our old stories by giving them some air. We consciously consider how we tell our fresh stories, in new ways, going forwards.

We build structure around memories whenever we tell our stories. How we tell our stories, whether they are written or spoken, told as stories of lack or stories of love, all makes a vast difference; these methods becoming the vehicles of softness or boxes with hard edges that carry those memories forwards. Where a story is told repeatedly but remains spoken not written, it remains soft, fluid, adaptable yet open to embellishment, even exaggeration, denial and abuse. When it is written, it can become brittle, strident, dogmatic inviolable; a weapon with sharp edges, a lid on our own expansiveness, a cage to our thoughts. In what new ways can we learn to hold our memories that take the best aspects of both methods yet avoiding what could become the next structure upon, or within, which the next cancer of humanity can grow, since where thought repeatedly goes, our next creations arise from? The more we repeat a particular story, the more it gains energy like a snowball rolling down a hill. The way we package what first began as a memory determines how adaptable it can be in the future, how malleable when it meets a contrary thought; in that circumstance, whether it sustains for good purpose or becomes the next rock that we simply throw back at ourselves. When two different methods of seeing the same thing meet, it can feel as though the very Earth puckers and cleaves; and, at some level, it does. We avoid this entirely when we meet at the middle, beyond such hemispherical variance.

Is that where we are heading; away from the hemispherical divide that has determined our history since the beginning of the Sixth Wave. Not necessarily because the very structures of the Earth are due to flip into opposites any time soon (though I suspect their differences will start to soften, meet in the middle, accordingly…) but because we get better at tuning into the planetary core, where we all share far more than we know. Perhaps we will all start to get “the point” of it all beyond geographical or cultural markers; will get together and join forces in the one place where it is truly possible to stand side-by-side without encroachment, in the shared mind-space that is the core of our planet and where we meet one another beyond the reaches of hemispherical division and duality. Will we all start to “get it” (this point) on the back of an evolutionary wave coming in after all rhetoric has failed, like we are awaking from a very “bad” dream? Is the alleged (even disputed) rise in the Schumann Resonance to the gamma range anything to do with this since the boundary surface of that inner-inner core “corresponds to a standing wave of 81 Hz, which places it at the higher end of gamma waves” (Calleman; in whose opinion “the theory that brain waves are connected to different shells of the Earth is the only one that explains why there are distinct brain wave ranges in the first place, and wy these wave ranges are limited by the particular frequencies that they are”).

Perhaps there, in that inner-inner core, the whole amalgam of everything we collectively remember is already held for us like the trust fund we are about to inherit and, who knows, all of our shared potential too. In our shared experiences, we find the unity we have always been looking for; the relation point that makes relatives of all of us. I imagine this zone as a sort of super-memory (somewhat akin to the Akashic Records) beyond having opinion or particular viewpoints about what is remembered; an impartial zone where we can all cool down from our long-running temper tantrum with each other. Somewhere between 40 and 80 Hz, we disengage from the cognitive machinations that keep us locked in a particular perspective, all the dogma and the blind insistence, and we simply get out of our own way. Perhaps our biggest cultural shift thus far took place with the arrival of the Sixth Wave, where we reached the threshold of 40 Hz which allowed us to organise memory into compartments for the very first time but at a cost; it fed our evolution and (equally) pitched us one against the other as we fought over who saw what how. Perhaps the next great leap sees us melt back into the flow, retaining what we learned…only looking at all of it in a whole new way. In other words, is it possible to (globally) change our mind?

In the words of Barbara Hand Clow “We all participate in this group mind, which is not solid or physical, and it is palpable. This surface mind is real but less dense than our bodies, and it is textured and colored by each person’s sense of time and history; it is fluid and changes as cultures and people evolve” (Awakening the Planetary Mind: Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of Creativity”. She could just as easily use the word “memory” in place of “sense of time and history”. It seems to me, that thing we think of as our memory plays a crucial part in making this global mind up; the way we organise it, what we prioritize, how hard and intractable or fluid and prepared to evolve, how optimistic or driven by fear. By taking responsibility for this aspect of our experience, doing the work to heal and let go, taking charge of the way we interpret those archetypes that are all about division and polarity in our culture, noticing commonalities with other people, following the threads that lead towards a future where we thrive together, not fragment apart, we get to consciously create the very structure upon which our shared mind is hinged.

As we do this more and more (starting in our personal lives…), I suspect, the outer surface of the planet cannot fail but to reflect that perspective change and we will see it manifest as our new world, born of an experience of Oneness that is occurring in the very depths of our consciousness. Such an experience supersedes all other memory; feels like it holds the over-ride key of all divisiveness, taking instead what is useful out of our collective experiences without making any of it as personal or painful as it has been with our blinkers on (like taking the sting out of its tail). Memory can then, perhaps, graduate to being this instrument of evolution; informative, colourful, exquisite and wild, a reference point and a cinema screen to look back upon on a rainy day, like a thrilling hardship we once  survived, that helped us to know ourselves better and to value this life…yet now, thankfully, benign. And we get to add new ones to the mix;  conscious ones, creative ones, profoundly personal, life-enhancingly collective new memories, cutting straight to the chase of fulfilling the individual while benefiting the all.  I can really get the point of that.


 

Final thought…

I just “happened” to watch another film (“The Vow”, 2012) last night that was all about memory. In the story, based loosely upon true-life events, the woman is involved in a car accident that wipes her memory of the last few years, winding her back to a time before she had made some very different life choices. Waking up from her coma and for all the frustrating months afterwards – since her memory never returned – she didn’t know or even relate to her husband with whom she had shared a whirlwind romance, their circle of friends or even her career choice as an artist versus the law career she had been training for all those years before. Her bewilderment was about so much more than the loss of her memories and had everything to do with the confused sense of self that, the film demonstrates, is so hinged upon the events we have lived through, forming the very belief system that we live by. The woman couldn’t grasp how or why she was even in her own life since it bore no resemblance to all those things that were so important to that earlier version of herself and, without the intervening twists and turns in her journey, she couldn’t even begin to tie them together to reclaim the feeling of belonging there.

This plot provokes the realisation that, but for a particular turn in the road, we would not be (perhaps, even vaguely) like the person we are today. Those varying potentials that we could have “turned into” might not find it easy to relate to, or even agree with, the life choices, priorities and belief systems that we possess today; they could even be staunchly opposed to one other. So what lies at the centre of all that; what makes us uniquely “who we are” at the core of such disparity (with ourselves). Where lies the pinprick starting-point from which all those other tangents emanate and towards which they return like the pieces of a pie pushed back together; the place where polarised views simply melt away and we understand or at least accept all of those other choices as valid. Perhaps my theory as above still stands and it lies right under our feet.


 

Books

Frequently refered to and highly recommended “The Global Mind and the Rise of Civilization: The Quantum Evolution of Consciousness” – Carl Johan Calleman, PhD

The “Sixth Wave” and “Ninth Wave” refered to come from “The Nine Waves of Creation”, also by Carl Johan Calleman, PhD (for many more references to this on my blog, search posts using the term “Nine Waves”)

“Awakening the Planetary Mind” Beyond the Trauma of the Past to an New Era of Creativity” – Barbara Hand Clow

“The Alchemy of Nine Dimensions” – Barbara Hand Clow

 

 

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Glass butterflies II

Everywhere you turn in Amsterdam, your eyes feast constantly on panes of glass with colour and quirk and tableaux of life made all the more beguiling for the sense of peering at them through windows. The things I photographed the most were almost always under glass; shop displays, flowers, plants, curiosities…why this human fascination (which I share) with glass boxes, domes and terrariums? Because the transparent wall, the sense of looking into something as though into another world or dimension, helps us to see and appreciate beauty even more than when we can touch or be part of it. Our addiction to a sense of a fragile demarkation between one reality and another feels like it underlies the whole reason for the hemispherical divisions of our own brain; the reason we evolved to have distinctly left and right-brained experiences, which was not always the case. Before such a partition came onto our evolutionary path, we were up to our elbows in everything in this universe, so much so we didn’t know where we ended and “other” began. When we create structures, using the most “logical” aspect of our minds, we see the sublimely illogical, the most unfeasibly beautiful and pointlessly glorious aspects of life all the better. Through the window of our own minds, we allow for some things to just be for the sake of being so life enchantingly beautiful for the eyes and soul, no other reason necessary…and Amsterdam was like a feast of such windows…

Extract from Amsterdam – where left meets right


Glass Butterflies is a growing collection of photographs depicting butterflies in juxtaposition with glass: under frames, next to windows, inside glass houses…a metaphor that has deeply informed my painting, writing and thinking for a number of years. As well as taking me on a journey of deeply personal exploration, these synchronistic experiences have everything to do with releasing the Sacred Feminine from her “box” whilst learning to appreciate how that feminine aspect can be allowed to settle upon a much more equal and balanced relationship with the male-oriented, left-hemispherical “structures” of our three-dimensional reality. In a sense, the butterfly learns to work with “the box” on her terms and in ways that enhance her innate qualities; which is the very marriage of fluidity and form that underpins the art-process, taking “inspiration” through the journey of the creative act to where we have something tangible that we can interface with as a three-dimensional form of expression. As you can tell, the metaphor has many layers and continues to develop as one of the long-running themes of my experience.

Some of the most closely related posts are Year of the Butterfly, Glass Butterflies, Out of the Box, Graceful Journey –  Scandinavian Experience, Released from the JarOut of the Blue, Spilling over the EdgesThe Marriage of Art and SpaceA Pool With No Sides and as above Amsterdam – Where Left Meets Right.

The ever-growing collection of photographs can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

 

Glass butterflies II

Posted in Animal art, Architecture, Art, Art in the living space, Art metaphor, Art purpose, Art technique, Art transformation tool, Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Installation art, Life journey, Menu, metaphor, Personal Development, Photography, Spirituality, Symbolic journeys, Windows in art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amsterdam – where left meets right

Being just back from a second trip to Amsterdam, my almost inexplicable love for the place reigns supreme and, whilst I struggled to name this feeling, it was so palpable that I didn’t really want to leave. But then on the way home, in that kind of meditative eye-glaze you sink into as the train pulls away from the platform and you see the place for the last time, I was struck by what it is that this and two other cities with which I have this long-running love-affair have in common.

These three – Amsterdam, Bath, Venice – all had their heyday in the so-called “age of enlightnement” at the very beginning of the seventh wave of our evolution. Their very structure, their geometries, the architecture that still defines the experience you have of them from the moment you arrive, all hails from those days. There are patterns and order and mathematics to be found in the way that tall buildings form meaningful shapes around a more malleable landscape, be that water as in two of them or green areas nestled in a green basin between hills as in Bath; and in that marriage of contrasts I find such overwhelming beauty that my artist’s eye hardly knows where to look next. The era when places like this were built was the hey-day of the scientist and mathematician holding sway upon our environment and there’s a big part of me that loves that, for all I profess to have this uneasy relationship with orderly left-hemispherical perspectives and to prefer to see things through the much-more fluid right-brained spin that informs my artistic bent. But then there’s this; in all three cases, those structures hold shape for that “something much more fluid” to happen, just like a goblet holds wine. Creativity, expression and the most eclectic rule- and gender-defying impulses and urges of humanity seem to swirl and play around the outward expression of order there, like water flows easily and unpredictably around the pillars of a bridge. In all three places, their very vibe seems to emanate from this easy marriage of structure and flow.

There’s something crystalline about places that were formed along strictly organised lines, masterminded by great architects…and then softened by human existence over time in the way that moss grows haphazardly over a wall. It’s not the history of the places that draws me per se but the process of succumbing and melding with something more fluid, after the event of their creation, that beguiles me; it’s where they are at now that appeals. Like a cup overspilling, the colour and creativity of human life that they burst with – now – is like that liquid I refer to, although it’s not; its more energetic in nature, it’s a feeling that manifests as beauty. Which means its non-linear, not tied to time and space, it infuses every part of the whole. Once a vibration touches crystalline structure, it rings out across the whole, which becomes infused with that feeling like a soul signature singing out;  a clear note from a crystal glass, coherent and real. It’s that vibe that seems to radiate from a place (no less a person; for we are becoming crystalline too) when a particular feeling is held for a tipping point duration of time; to be registered by anyone else who comes near. Its the coherent structure of the place that amplifies that vibe so that others tune in, they resonate, get quickly up to speed with it…which is something that Amsterdam seems to do so well amongst all the places I have ever been; or perhaps I just recognise its particular vibe…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike the last time we visited, butterflies under glass seemed to “speak to me” everywhere we went; there were just so many of them, inspiring my next paintings and many of my thoughts. Unlike last time, I was left mostly appreciating how these were working with my overall theme; for here were all these glass boxes and, inside them, these beautiful, colourful, transient things held for all to see. Last time, my feelings were mixed; I was trying to be the good vegetarian objecting to them being caught to be put on display, seeing them primarily as something held captive and pinned into their frames yet missing the flavour of this fluid thing becoming “more” somehow for being held inside a structure that, in a sense, partners with its beauty, allowing it to be on display, to be seen more clearly by more people, offering them an experience they might otherwise never have. While my head remained undecided about “what to think”, my eyes just wanted to feast and were transported by so much beauty.

In fact, everywhere you turn in Amsterdam, your eyes feast constantly on panes of glass with colour and quirk and tableaux of life made all the more beguiling for the sense of peering at them through windows. The things I photographed the most were almost always under glass; shop displays, flowers, plants, curiosities…why this human fascination (which I share) with glass boxes, domes and terrariums? Because the transparent wall, the sense of looking into something as though into another world or dimension, helps us to see and appreciate beauty even more than when we can touch or be part of it. Our addiction to a sense of a fragile demarkation between one reality and another feels like it underlies the whole reason for the hemispherical divisions of our own brain; the reason we evolved to have distictly left and right-brained experiences, which was not always the case. Before such a partition came onto our evolutionary path, we were up to our elbows in everything in this universe, so much so we didn’t know where we ended and “other” began. When we create structures, using the most “logical” aspect of our minds, we see the sublimely illogical, the most unfeasibly beautiful and pointlessly glorious aspects of life all the better. Through the window of our own minds, we allow for some things to just be for the sake of being so life enchantingly beautiful for the eyes and soul, no other reason necessary…and Amsterdam was like a feast of such windows.

Yet (and perhaps this is why I am so drawn there) it also feels like a place where those demarkation lines are softening, where colour and expression are so brimful that they now spill out onto the streets, with all the lines blurring. A few days there is enough to make me fall back in love with the city-living from which I usually recoil. My dreams of withdrawing to the country always seem to evaporate as I daydream of a life lived like this, in a place where I could be all that I am without compromise and yet still pound pavements day after day, sit in cafés full of chatter, walk streets crowded with people. A well-balanced life feels possible in such a place and if only I could find its equivalent (last time we returned from Amsterdam we seriously considered Bath) I would consider moving there in a moment. Yes, I hope our cities of the future feel like this, not as sterile, orchestrated and drab as they tend to be painted.

An arrival in Amsterdam is nigh-on impossible without first encountering the area around the central train station, the world famous Red Light District, the coffee shops advertising cannabis and the gentle whiff of the same as you walk along the pavements. Akin with so many cities, the sheer diversity of people rushing shoulder-to-shoulder turns streets into a sort of soup of colour and behaviour. Yet…suddenly…you’re on those three main horseshoe-shaped canals that make up the historical centre, built in a sweep of innovation described as being like a giant windscreen wiper of construction (Geert Mak) in a time when architects had a clear vision of order and place, and all that variety is no more than a stream of energy; a rainbow of colours, a symphony of sound. The shouts and hooting of endless hen and stag parties on boats and pedalows sailing by merges with the chatter of children, tourists, shoppers, of cafés and music, bicycles, trams and church bells, houseboats sprouting verdant hairdos of green foliage and flowers. In fact trees and flowers are everywhere, alongside fruit stalls, galleries, high-end stores and hippy shops, families and vagrants, a “working girl” glimpsed through the window of a domestic house, the splash of tangled wisteria growing up the sides of monochrome buildings drawn with a ruler…and everywhere, avenues of elm trees lining the water’s edge, haphazardly snowing clouds of sail-like seed pods onto pavements and water; a sepia confetti for the marriage of the left and right hemispheres expressed as a place.

The bricks of these unfeasibly tall, neat buildings are tiny and pristine, mostly painted in workaday blacks, greys and mochas trimmed with white and yet coloured signs embedded into their fascias hint at a system, an arrangement, when merchants lived in one place, aristocracy in another, working-classes in yet another again. Their highest storeys bear the reminders of when merchants hoisted their wares down to the water below, dangled on pulley ropes over the windows of their increasingly elegant living quarters – you could say, the original home-businesses, both work and pleasure, were accommodated here. These days, they have been replaced with start-ups; in fact, more start-ups per capita than anywhere else in northern Europe, so I read, and you get the feeling of youthful enterprise and fledgling ventures everywhere you go. Those same people, the ideas people that you sense are helping to meld our future, spill out into cafés and bars, sit drinking coffee on flights of steps leading up to doorways or hanging out of open windows; there is such a feel of neighbourliness, congeniality and goodwill, but certainly not pressure or rush, wherever you go. Parks, bikes, English spoken everywhere…its all easy flow in Amsterdam and it seems to move along the narrow streets like a stream (this feeling of wellbeing that is laid back, unstructured and hard to define as the buildings are neatly arranged). Almost like a bee hive, externally fairly pristine with such a sense of busy-ness going on yet overflowing with some sort of softness, a nectar, this vibe that feeds everyone that happens to be there. Is this something of what it looks and feels like, this balanced “place” of hemispherical softening we are heading towards evolutionarily speaking now we are in the ninth wave; not chaotic so much as expressing a sort of eclectic, artistic sense of order that serves everyone in both their independence and in their community? I really hope so.

You can see the full eclectic set of photos from this trip  in my set Amsterdam II

 

Related post: Glass Butterflies

 

 

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A pool without sides

The pool in which I swim is a vast one where I can no longer reach the sides nor can I push up from the bottom with my feet. This is important since it forces me to use other means to find structure in my experience. Synchronicity is the most important of these. Where two or more things cross over, they form buoyancy aids that I hold on to in the sea of relative non-matter that makes up my reality. It means that “what is most important to be known in this moment” comes to me, not the other way around. If I hunt down or pursue it, with my mind as a scientist would, I know it cannot be trusted in the same way since I wanted or expected it to be this thing before it even arose. When I allow information to present to me, I am shown which way to go with my next thoughts and they can be surprising yet the way they arise with perfect timing cuts out so much piffle. Then, only then, will I delve deeper into this thing with the intellect but it is that first intuition that guided me there. It is a whole new way of being, helping me to navigate at every crossroads. When I first started to experience it…for hours, sometimes days at a time in what I labelled the chronic illness of almost a decade ago, it frightened me hugely. It felt as though my intellect was melting away and I kicked my legs, almost drowned myself in the struggle. It was the surrender to it that brought me new means of navigating my reality and which delivered a much broader understanding of my world than I had ever had access to before. Without even having to use my legs and arms in any particular way, I guess you could say I learned how to swim.

This “new” sea of awareness (or, my experience of it…) comes and goes in its breadth and depth but is strongest during times of geomagnetic turbulence caused by a flare from the sun. At these times, I have come to expect the kind of so-called “brain fog” that broadens and deepens the pool of what my mind is experiencing. Having come to know it so well, I now witness this in others, especially those who rely more on their intellect to get by in their everyday lives; my daughter for instance. There was a such a geomagnetic storm in a week when she had an important maths exam. I suspected it would affect her (as it always does) but didn’t even tell her it was happening so what she noticed was entirely her own observation. She came home from school the day before the exam, the day this GM storm came on full and strong, and having spent the afternoon running through practice papers, lamented “I don’t know what happened, its as though I can’t ‘do’ maths anymore. It won’t stick to the sides, I’ve even lost all my common sense when I tackle the questions, like I can’t even use the basics of what I know”. “Don’t worry…”, I said “ just trust that there is a bigger pattern underlying what you know than just the formula, importantly RELAX and allow that a broader knowledge will come in when you need it, more like an instinct. The key is not to panic, not to go into white fear when you think what you have learned has slipped away”. Its true, once you get over that white-fear of what you have learned with the intellect not being there where you so neatly arranged it in all of it’s A-Z filing cabinets, the mind logs onto a vaster information pool that offers all that you need in any situation, assuming you steer with your intention. The need to use language or formula to grasp or frame a particular question – to initiate the left to right hemisphere dialogue – can feel like a stumbling block in such vast pool but that all important state of calm facilitates what is needed. A few hours of study later, she said she felt somehow smarter than usual, like she knew more…and deeper somehow. She was getting the patterns, the rhythms, the instincts of what the question wanted, not relying on the automaton of the formula. She had achieved a hundred per cent in one of her practice papers and was completing them all well within the allotted time; in fact she commented that it felt as though time slowed right down. This is what it feels like to know with the right portion of the brain instead of exclusively with the left; there is an ease and a “cut to the chase” about it once you get over that initial terror of it being less organised than you are used to.

david-cohen-240663The gift is to bring these two sides of the mind together; and for me that occurs once synchroncitiy has shown me where to land with my thoughts. Like a butterfly guided to the “right” flower by a landing beam of ultraviolet calling out to me across a vast sea of flora, I am told where to settle and then I go to work with my consideration. If that initial feeling isn’t there, I flutter on past…no worry that I will have missed something, there will always be more clues. What started as a pool without sides, making me flay and kick my legs, frantic for my own survival, has become more of a case of floating on my back in a sea of calm, knowing that what I need will come to find me when I most need it. Out of a molten sea of unmoving water, I can trust that ripples will form where they are most meaningful once I let go of any particular outcome that I already have in my mind. It’s a whole different way of being; one in which an innate trust that I am supported by a benevolent universe is fundamental to all that I am. The experiences I have access to feel vaster by far since I now cut to the chase of what is relevant, seldom pushing my feet off the bottom of what is not nor hand-walking my way along edges that were put there by others. Those things that make up my “relevance zone” are wilder, quirkier, more personal to me (yet also, somehow, more universal) and more intimately connected with each other than ever before. They are why this blog is so eclectic in its topics, why I seem to dart and weave between just so many unrelated things…but do I really, or are they all part of a vast coherent pattern that my very existence makes sense of. To me, both apply and this is the interconnected world that I have access to and now live in; where specialism and blinkeredness feel like the dead-weights of the past. In other words, while my pool has got infinitely bigger, I am no longer afraid to be in there since it is less about swimming than allowing the flow.

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