Cosmic romance

At the moment, I’m hooked on a very gentle TV series, watched purely as my evening wind-down (its harmless entertainment, why do I feel the need to justify myself…?), yet I’ve also been dashing through epsiodes, longing for a particular outcome in the plot. As I cheated by glancing ahead at the episode synopses last night, frustrated and eager to reach the point where the two main characters “get it together”, only to find that there are another 2 series to go before they iron out all their problems and do that, I reminded myself to unhook a little, slow down and just enjoy the viewing of it without so much attachment. I also smiled to recognise in myself the very same addiction and longing that all-consumed me as a girl ploughing through doorstop-thick romance novels. Am I really such a dyed-in-the-cloth romantic, even now?

So I ask myself, what is this compunction in me…in a lot of other people…to see a man and a woman come together at last (I know, there are other gender formats of that very-same dynamic these days but I’m not going to trip myself up with a ham-fisted attempt at political correctness since that isn’t what I’m writing about here). I’ve spoken a great deal, over the years, about the universal masculine and feminine aspects; so, is this just more of the same? An inbuilt universal driver? An outcome we are all magnetically drawn to?

Listening to Jeddah Mali talk about overcoming limitations this morning, I allow for myself that it may not be as trvial as it seems, this romantic longing; rather, much more fundamental to the fabric of reality, of which I am but a morsel yet a prime representation nontheless.

If our consciousness and our awareness are like a couple who only ever really “get married” when we are fully present, meaning that they are both focused together upon whatever intention we are holding in that very moment…And if, “like all newly-weds, they are reluctant to part” once they (finally) reach that moment of togetherness (though the challenge is in getting there!)… then the out-of-harmony-ness of a perfectly-matched young couple dallying around the edges with each other but never quite crossing over to consummate their love is a mirror of the deep inner frustration we (or, certainly, I…) notice within ourselves every day. Perhaps this is why it gets to us so much, reeling-us in as the most over-used plotline of them all.

In the familiar plotline, they nearly get there…dancing around the edges, almost touching, almost landing on the same page…but then something happens to rebuff one of them, or they lose confidence, or someone or something “gets in their way”, a spanner thrown in the works. These are circumstancial obstacles they apparently can’t avoid but, as the viewer, we are on the edge of our seat, tense with frustration because we can clearly see the bigger picture…so we want so desperately to push them a long a little, to get them to see through or get over the so-called obstacles. We already know its all worth it, and that they are nearly there. Why can’t they just get on with the business of loving each other?!

That same frustration (and also the irony of having a far better overview of my own behaviours than I once I had…yet still noticing myself get stuck!) play out in me ever day. Why do I find it just so hard to keep my consciousness and awareness together on the same focus? Why does one always see fit to wander off? Why can’t I give then one task, in fact the only task that matters (which is how it is with every intention that we have in the here-and-now-moment because yesterday’s and tomorrow’s are irrelevant in that place) and just get them to focus on it together, laser-precise? Sounds so easy and yet so impossibly hard, apparently.

Check in with yourself…how long can you stay in the moment without your mind ambling off to ruminate on something that already happened or that you are anticipating happening? How often do thoughts come in from the side of your mind and knock you off the pedestal of your higher intentions, bringing you down (or so it seems) with doubts, worries and niggles. In the next moment, you are so contracted with fear and doubt and distraction that the moment feels lost.

And as soon as we think those other thoughts, even if they are subsconscious, we have lost that laser-like beam made up of consciousness and awareness combined in perfect partnership. Our consciousness, having now gone off on its ramble, brings back into focus the kind of negative thoughts and doubts which, then, our awareness (being the instrument of whatever version of reality we choose to dwell upon; since they all exist “out there” in the sea of awareness…so all she ever does is our bidding, fetching whatever we happen to order from the menu), diligently delivers more of what we expected to go wrong, now registered in our sensations as “reality”. In other words, the perfect marriage that is conscious~awareness is both right there under our noses thus fully accessible to everyone, every single day of the week…and oh so very ellusive!

You could equally say, the very thing we long for, the happy moment of consummation, a veritable super-power just waiting to transform our lives, is right there, hidden in plain sight!

Focussing intently on the present moment can’t fail to bring us into the present moment…and the more we focus on it, the more laser-like the combination of consciousness and awareness become. On top of that, the more we focus there, the more effectively it excludes interfering thoughts of the kind me and half the rest of the world feel are the bain of their life. We can trust that we are busily creating through setting our intentions there (just as we are creating all the rest of the time; even when our intentions are unconsciously led by fearful or negative thoughts, manifesting what we didn’t want) but as long as we are in the present moment, we can let go of that fear since it is impossible to fear at the same time as being fully present (fear relates to thoughts of what has been / what might be) and then trust in the process.

How does the power of this union come about? Well, our awareness is always focused on our existence, as in our experience, so as soon as our consciousness, which can only focus on one thing at a time, is persuaded to drop all its other ruminations and focus there too, it can no longer lose itself in those other thoughts such as fears, niggles, doubts, grudges, strategies, worst case scenarios and the rest. If we really have to get firm with our consciousness, all it takes is to learn this rule of thumb by heart: contracted feelings always come from “untruth”; after all, the universe is inherently expansive, so we can just let those feelings go, without the big analysis as to where they came from. “Stuff happens” and we pick up such faulty beliefs along the way but we can let go and move on now.

In my own case, I’ve come to realise that my so-called “stuck” health doesn’t even exist in the now, just so long as my focus is on the state of profound wellbeing that I choose to have coursing through my body, and its only when I allow my mind to wander off into ruminations, anticipations, fears and the track-record of past symptoms that may repeat or get worse, all regarded as “a problem to be solved”, that I am back there in the land of chronic. I genuinely intend to get well and yet, oh-so easily, find myself back in more of the other. The good news is that, whenever this happens, its the unpleasant sensations themselves, as my body starts to register them, that tell me I have gone off-track. They alert me to the benefit of stopping whatever I am doing…and getting back to the present moment, to reset my intentions; as many times as it takes, until I start to feel much better.

In my daily activities, this kind of miss-match or miscommunication between consciousness and awareness happens all the time, if I let it. Take yesterday, when I set the clear intention for a creative day, nothing else was going to interfere with that priority and yet it somehow took until after 4 o’ clock before I came to the surface from a long series of largely meaningless distractions that had gobbled-up my day; so how did I let that happen, how do I let it happen so many days of the week, especially when it comes to blocking my own creativity (you could call it a prolongued phase of “artist’s block”)? I now find I have to actively police various distractions out of my path, keeping myself away from social media and other exposures, from constantly checking and responding to emails or being too readily available when other people call on me, to minimise the risks, such is my propensity to be taken off track by the merest interuption to my flow (the downside of an ADD mind), thus its getting better, slowly and surely.

The good news is that even partially understanding all this is the beginning of noticing how it plays out in our daily lives. Only this morning, I brought my mind up short from one of its rambles and I was suddenly there, fully in the moment of the early morning walk I might otherwise have done on autopilot…and two young deer were standing there, barely hidden in the long grass where, I suspect, they had (not for the first time) made their bed last night. As we all locked eyes and they so-gracefully jumped the fence and made into the woods, it was one of those pure-magical moments that become so much more plentiful when you spend increasing time in “the now”.

In those rare moments that I am fully here and clear in my intention to bring my being into a state of, say, deep love and profound wellbeing, its as though the very fabric of that moment conspires to fulfil my request, shape-shifting every sensation, all the feedback of my environment, to reflect and deliver that very intention. (This is a visual I get) its somewhat like becoming aware of yourself as the very centre of a flower, like a giant peony bloom, at its very moment of opening, petals unfurling around your own pivot-point. As the experience gathers all around you as its centre, and yet the primary sensation is of expansiveness and liberation, you briefly glipse something of your own power to manifest whatever you decide to make the point of your focus…and your cells start to remember the feeling you generate so that they now remain poised and eager to replicate it. Fear and doubt disolve and you remember who you truly are, way beyond all of life’s baggage.

No more than any other perfect partnership in its happiest moment, you can’t freeze this moment either, as in to choose to stay here forever, as though the story has concluded (that’s not how life works)…however, such moments start to add up, to gardner trust from your ever-doubting mind and body, to become more real than “all the other stuff”. And we can be sure of one thing, that awareness is always here at our disposal…all we have to do is get it together with consciousness and away we go, the happy union we waited for!

I know that, if I could only get into these experiences more often, make time for them, build them into the priorities of my days, even set alarms for mindfulness moments (as I now do…), I could enjoy such moments, say of perfect health, of balance, of love radiating through and beaming out of me, of profound calm, of knowing everything is perfect just as it is, whenever I wanted to…in fact, I could make them so commonplace that they all join up to become the new-normal of my days. We all could. Because all those other “realities” dont have a reality beyond our fearful thoughts; its just that we seem to have become accustomed to dwelling there, en masse, with our thoughts and fixations. Tackling such fear, resistance and negativity with mental analysis won’t work, either; we can’t beat it out of ourselves (believing it is a problem to be solved only puts more focus on it), we just have to let go…

In other words, we can use the process of intensely focusing on the present moment, which inevitably combines both consciousness and awareness, to lose any state that is not beneficial. By focussing on the more expansive thought, we allow the sea of awareness to carry this instruction out for us by conducting the very marriage process that the task requires (sea of awareness is a term used by Jeddah Mali, whose Seeds of Enlightenment and other related tools I have been drawing on, most gratefully, for about a decade now). Once fully invested in the same outcome, they become that laser-like effect, capable of doing our bidding. Using somewhat different terminolgy but its all the same things, its a process I’ve been working at pretty diligently since the start of this year (far longer, really) using the Gupta Program to soften and flow my reactions to whatever arises…and I’m starting to get somewhere, to witness the old trend playing out in myself, and to reclaim more and more moments of conscious awareness back the mire of frustration, fears, set-backs, hopelessness, pointlessness, dispair, resignation and all those other stories we tend to drown ourselves in.

The difficulty, for most of us, is that we like the story too much, we enjoy they yarn of it, the near-misses, the long spun-out quest for fulfilment. Its what keeps us hooked, addicted, turning the pages of life, gossiping with others, dwelling on the what ifs and maybes, raking over the past and speculating over the future. It gives us that feeling of momentum, of travelling from A to B and, even with all its setbacks, it beguiles us into wanting more of it.

The power of now is that none of that really matters; now is all there is. In the now, we can “be there” in an instant. We can come together, into the ultmate sum of parts, the highest completion, which is the consummation we truly long for, whenever we want to and with no requirement to fear that getting to that point means the end of us…because it could only ever mean the beginning of something new waiting to birth from the union. You could say, the manifestation of a new story, the tale of whatever it is we are most focussing all our conscious attention on in those moments of present moment awareness, be it more health, happiness, love, harmony, balance…as soon as we put behind us all those old-addictive stories we got so hooked into and just cut to the clinch. Then, we can start to lose those old plotlines of frustration from our daily lives…and perhaps save them for our evening’s lighthearted entertainment!

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Divine feminine, divine masculine, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop using the path and you will surely lose it

Recent months have been a fascinating reminder that the world we live in is no more than a reflection of what goes on inside of us; as above so below, as without so within.

The longer lockdown went on, the more new paths appeared in our little woods; paths cutting through undergrowth that was once so thick it was all-but impenetrable to anyone except the deer and the most determined (signs of kids making dens, with swing ropes hung from branches, would occasionally appear off to the sides, but they all ended in cul-de-sac).

Amazing how, in very quick time, these new routes became distinct winding paths through the woods, from A to B, as though they had always been there, their surfaces brown and hard with footfall as distinct from the rickety woodland floor or boggy and boot-marked when it had rained. Over winter, we enjoyed a rambling network of these new routes, their edges moss-carpeted and magical and, in early spring, by bluebells so that, by the end of that era, which by now felt like it had been “forever”, we would have felt it boring to go back to our old-straight routes. It was one of the pluses of lockdown, just so long as I got to walk there at a time of day when there were far less people around!

Now, most of those people have gone back to their “normal” lives and their busyness; I have to navigate past them queuing for buses, dashing to shops, on the main road to get to the start-proper of my walk, where the old track past Oak Cottage begins, but very few venture off route into the woods any more. For many, through choice or necessity, those new pathways were only a temporary venture.

So now, well, I’m noticing how some of these new paths are beginning to disappear, as though they were never there in the first place; returned to “the mystery”, to the birds and woodland creatures that had them before. One of my newer routes into the woods, attempted in reverse the other day, was so hard to find, its entrance having grown over with thick grasses and nettles, that I almost walked on past and had to push my way through to reach the clearing on the other side. I hadn’t been there since the bluebells were still thickly in bloom in that spot, a few weeks ago yes…but really not that long. It takes Nature no more than the blink of an eye to take away what she giveth; unless we indicate, quite clearly, just how much we are really interested in keeping it, how much we appreciate what we have “in care” from her bounty…only then does she relent. Oh how we need to be reminded of this, before its too late.

This morning’s elusive honeysuckle filling the air with summer’s perfume

And yes, I want to keep these new routes with all of my heart, having harvested the benefit of them for months, appreciating a whole other depth to what these commonplace woods of twenty year’s history have to offer. I don’t want to swop the quiet places, my winding honeysuckle-scented way led between pools of waters and moss covered tree-fall, its edges threaded with dog roses, serenaded by the thrush, squirrels playing chase round-and-around up above, perhaps the blue-edged dart of a jay high in the branches, to places where the ever elusive wren is encouraged to linger close by and the glimpse of a deer just a few feet away, watching me back, is a bonus. I don’t want to return to the long-straight paths strewn with litter, where people shout-talk into phones and the wildlife keeps away. So I walk those paths, daily, as a gratitude practice that makes my mornings, sets the tone, reminds me what’s most important…to me.

The same goes with our own neurology; that wildly branching forest of synapses that spark us into action, into thoughts and behaviours. So, if we want to keep the trait or ability, the positive line of thought, we have to use it, regularly…don’t leave it to accident or forget all about it. No point at all lamenting that thing you once used to be able to do; if you want it back again, use the skill, practice it, build it into your routines, make the time. The same with something you’ve never tried before; just do it, and do it, and do it again and, with time, however out of reach it may feel to begin with, you will find it comes naturally so that, after a surprisingly short time, you will suddenly find yourself doing it with ease and without even having to think about it, having chosen its path and kept it wide open with the footfall of your habits.

By the same token (you can use this to advantage) if there’s a habit or thought pattern you don’t want, that always trips you up, makes you feel unwell, sticks you in loop-mode, then cease the habit, stop walking its path, stop putting your attention there, just don’t go there at all anymore. Notice when and how it happens, what impulse makes you start walking that way… and break that trend, interrupt it with what you do want, choose a different route, one that feels much better, for you. It really is as simple as that.

Before you know it, nature will have filled-in that old pathway, growing over its entrance, covering its well-trodden earth with overgrowth and moss, as though it was never even there in the first place. Its a truth I demonstrate daily on my limbic retraining course and which is, slowly but surely, resculpting the landscape of my life to look more how I want it to be, spent in places full of mystery and magic, quietude and calm, a lesser-trodden path, a honeyed path, my kind of a path yet a valid and traversable path nontheless…and, in choosing it, repeatedly, I make it so.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, metaphor, Nature, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Living in the everywhere

To me, there is no coincidence a compass face directs the eye to a great big “N”. You could supplant its assumed meaning with “Now”; where all moments are trying to lead us back to…our own personal “true North”.

When our compass needle is spinning about…or stuck somewhere off to the side…we know (deep down) there’s something wrong with our equipment. And all life is ever trying to do is nudge us back to that true marker, the now moment, where it all really “happens” and yet, really, nothing “happens” at all (the quantum paradox, is it a particle or a wave? It all depends how we look at it).

Almost like Now is a land beyond the changeable winds, beyond gravity, even beyond linearity; get to know it well and you will start to glean cracks of realisation that this is no ordinary place. You have landed in some fabled place, your own personal Hyperborea, where “normal” rules of physics cease to apply and where manifestation is an alchemical process conducted out of a great big crucible pot fllled with both past and present experiences, somehow mingled to become “same” (though they may seem “never the twain shall meet” when our minds wander off track into our everyday thoughts). A melting pot and quite the rarified place, yet it is always right there waiting for us whenever we want to visit; there’s the irony since we make it seem so hard.

The cosmic joke is that most of us use every means at our disposal to keep ourselves thoroughly distracted from the Now and fixated somewhere…anywhere…else; almost as though we fear the very power of the experience that awaits us, should we deign to linger there. Or, perhaps we even fear disappointment because it may not arrive with all the bells and whistles we tell ourselves our peak expierences will have hung all around them, nor the fanfare playing. Connection with the Now moment is often the most understated thing in the world and yet its effect is second-to-none.

It can take training yourself to be there, first in moments of presence, then perhaps 20 minutes at a time, to limber up this long disued muscle of “nowness” but when we do that, well, odd things, enticing things, start to reveal. They are the sort of things that have huge significance to us personally, but which don’t really share so well with others (an excuse we use to discount them as unimportant, imagined, a trick of the mind…). A mistake I made for a long time was to try, struggling to share my personal epiphanies in all their minute detail, desperate to find others that related when, really, the true power of them was intimate and unique to me; we each have our own eiphanies waiting for us in the Now. Its a mistake I am starting to remedy; breaking this addiction with seeking validation, approval or even just conversation over matters that are utterly unique to my particular tilt on “consciousness”. Its a thin line I walk as a writer who still loves to write as much as ever yet coming to know where to draw the line between what is personal and precious and what others might relate to and draw interest or even solace and encouragement from.

Paradoxically, I have found, one of the odd things about staying present is that I migth be transported to “other times”, only to realise they are more of the “now” than I could have, otherwise, realised. Split moments from long ago start to insinuate into my consciousness like they are as fresh as the morning dew and very real and impactful, suddenly. Its not as though I am remembering (an action, led by the mind…) but that I am actually “there”…and “here”…in two or more moments at any one “time”, and me the consciousness that triangulates the awareness of it all. I am the missing link only, in making it conscious, it is no longer missing and its as though the universe claps!

It touches on the posibility of being in more than one place at one time, making a very different landscape of “my story” with its inherent sense of “history”, its insistence on “cause and effect”. And of course, when I encounter people in those reveries that are long-since gone from physicality, there is no sadness, as though I am really spending time with them, perhaps more closely than I have for a very long time, which can be such a tonic or balm; a blessed release from the shackles of linearity. What I sense is that, in such moments, my consciousness plays a game of frequency matching…it will connect with any other moment in time that is of the same or similar freuqency and that match becomes the proximity determinator, not space-time.

The more time I spend in such moments, the more I realise there is a pattern to my own frequency; a trend for my higher moments and my better feelings, something in common about when I have been happiest, most content, more in my groove. Shape sorting my moments thus is helping me to know myself better, enabling me to infuse the present moment with similar moments from “across time”. Of course, it gives me the incentive to match the frequency of times when simple pleasures were plentiful and when I was a complete natural at living in the pure presence of the moment, as all children are. It helps rewind me back towards innate skills that life had stolen from me or disuaded me from thinking were important and, suddenly, its as though my days have regained some of the beautiful, meaningful, simplicity we all had as children, just as long as our basic needs were taken care of and we could pursue what brought us joy as inspiration occured to us. I feel so fortunate to have known such times; and have so much incentive (having re-experienced them lately) to know them once again!

In a way, this is where it all began as I was on a mission to consciously recall my very best memories as part of the limbic retraining course I am on. It didnt really work, for me, to approach the task like a research project jotting down lists or staring at photos…I had to go into these moments viscerally or, rather, to draw them back into my present timezone to feel real, now. I needed to feel the feelings, smell the smells, relive every nuance of the best of the best, and make it part of my daily experience in the most powerful ways I could and this became the work of my daily morning routine (ongoing), following the Gupta Program.

It wasn’t long before I noticed that a great many of my happiest reveries pivot on those long summer holidays I spent, often completely alone in my own little world of creativity, or in the richly rewarding, if quirky, activities dreamt up with my one select friend, as that largely carefree child I used to be when I could be most exactly “myself” without outside interference.

Before I started my daily practice of the limbic retraining routines, I thought I remembered a great deal about those and many other “happier” times but I came to realise that what I thought I knew before was mostly surface deep or conceptual, until now I opened up the box, not by living in the past but by infusing the present with what came to me, spontaneously, from those times in moments when I was most relaxed and present. Certain experiences dial in to me so vividly I often feel as though I have spent my day straddled both “here” and “there” by the time I go to bed and, of course, it regulalrly infuses my dreams. The sheer detail of “recollection” can be astonishing, down to hearing the subtle sounds in the house, a refrain from a nearby radio, the shaft of air through an open window and the very texture and resistance of its handle as I touch it, feeling like I have been with people long-gone in recent timeframe as though they just stepped out of the room; only, there is no trying involved, these experiences just arise, darting in and out of me, when I am sat here or walking along, being as fully present as I know how.

You could say they are a fully-integrated part of my new normal; no longer compartmentalised or boxed up in a concept of time (related thought: How much does our ingrained concept of time being strictly linear perpetuate the sense that “past” or even “future” is some remote, inaccessible thing with a volume of space keeping us apart from it? How much healing and other potential do we miss when we adhere to such thinking??)

I began this work in earnest, following the deep threads of my consciousness, using somatic cues to bring to the surface authentic feelings from the very best of times, the kind that lit me up when they came back to me (finding, consistently, that it is the far simpler, more humble, recollections that do this for me!), like diving for pearls and holding them up in the sunlight of a clear new day. These are not sepia-tinged memories of the past, but real-and-present sensations of the now, rediscovered in the present moment. Using somatic cues to remind my biological body how to get back to the feelings has been really important and effective.

Those somatic cues have included listening to certain music, exposing myself to certain fragrances, spending time in gardens (my father was a very keen gardener), rehandling old objects and, yes, photographs and diaries, even rewatching old films and programs, retracing habits from long-long ago, being gratuitously childish with my more-than-willing partner, but its been more about allowing the unsupervised reveries to unfold in moments of freeform daydreaming, embarked on when I empty my mind and just allow whatever wants to “play” in my mind, without judgement or expecation. I’ve discovered this is another kind of “being present in the now”, only it is more focused upon the internal nowness than whatever is presenting in your outside circumstances such as detailed awareness of the space you are sitting in (though it can be useful to start from there, noticing the clock ticking, paying attention to the near and faraway sounds, listening to your breath, the birdsong, sensations in the body). The key is still to allow and be fully present with whatever arises, curious and open.

One of the most powerful tactics of all has been to spontaneously follow any newly arisen whims to pick up old activities, such as the passion for doing needlepoint that went on for years in my earlier life, dropped when I became a parent (I began when I was just 8 and continued for more than two decades). I’ve discovered that the most rhythmic and tactile of activities such as stitching, handling wool, holding a canvas in a certain way, can jolt giant stones from the door of a sizeable memory store holding aspects of my earlier self fully intact because, as I sit there enacting the very same movements as ever I did, my mind can open up to transporting itself across vast distances of time without any notice or fanfare. Not unlike how painting has been one of the most useful tools of mindfulness, facilitating massive leaps of consciousness over all the years I gave myself over to it, stitching has proved all the more useful lately for the fact it takes me further back “in time”, rewinding to a format of me that existed prior to so many kinks and turning points in the winding spaghetti of my life.

The sheer positivity of all of this has demonstrated to me, in reverse, just how detrimental trauma really is to a person; preventing them from going fully back into their self-created time-capsule, perhaps even causing them to seal off whole portions of the past with a “do not enter” sign, which is tantamount to cutting yourself off at the roots. Yet, when you open it all up, perhaps after clearing certain most-obstructive traumas away, there is generally far more “in there” that is of use and relevance to who we are now than we ever dared to hope for; perhaps even a key to our own healing, which is why limbic retraining is such a powerful method for tackling stuck loops in the brain.

Yet it’s not about losing myself in the past, as old people often do, and just wanting to stay there; far from it. I’ve discovered that this “earlier” fomat of self, that is apparently more pristine and less health or circumstance addled, doesn’t reside exclusively in the past, the present or the future but is in fact everywhere and very-much alive in me today. In fact, by getting to know her in one place, I now find her wherever I go, which is to say, I no longer let go of her hand in a crowd. As in, when life gets frenetic, when a lot is going on, I don’t lose sight of her as I once did because she lives at my core, as she always has done and always will do…only, having come to recognise her far better, to know her innate traits because I find them consistently scattered across all the times of my life (which the now moments help me bring forth and recognise as who I still am right here!), I am far more aware of that now. I won’t let her down or put her second (or last!) when others or life “circumstances” make demands of me and I won’t sell her down the river.

Photo by Tori Wise on Unsplash

While I do this inner work, there is a dream-like quality to it but I’m not dreaming (or losing my marbles). Its just that the edges boxing everything into strict compartments and linearity are falling away. Time distinctions have broken down, melting away and its a vast improvement, making more space and letting in more light. There’s a feeling of turning everything on its head or, really, doing cartwheels through the cut-and-driedness they told us was the reality we are stuck with; nothing is quite how we thought it was and we just need to open our minds to allow in new possibilities. When I do this, its as though I can be in several places at once, quite tangibly, fluidly, a lot of the time, with a degree of presence that I can almost sense is able to “pop out” at the other end of some time-tunnel, to be the state of consciousness that brings comfort or counsel to some other format of me (past or future), out of the blue. It’s an interactive relationship with other time zones, not like watching memory tv but feeling my own input, the mark my consciousness makes, in all “times and places” at once and also the reciprocity of it.

Like an ideal, fairly reciprocated friendship of the highest order, between like-hearted souls that have each other’s back when one or other is having a bad day, I find I can straddle multi-versions of myself at once, bringing both the wisdom of maturity and the clear-shining eyes of youth to every situation, simultaneously when I am in this space.

What I realise I am doing is creating a somatic brew of me…locating those elements of experience that, through my love of them and the joy they bring me, speak of innate qualities that remain ageless and unsullied by time or experience. It’s a brew of passions and enthusiasms, curios, colours and textures that are utterly unique to me and speak of my very essence when I paint a picture with them, so that I can quickly locate it via a far stronger sense of “what is me, what is not me” in the world from now on. Also, I can find this me-ness without such abject hesitation, as was my way in the past (from the time I first began to lose confidence in who I am and thus ceased to stand up for myself or set boundaries or even gave parts of myself away in an attempt to buy back the state of inner peace that was rapidly slipping away from me). Now, I find I never lost any of it; I simply lost the inner vision with which to see myself clearly and the wisdom to think that was important enough to defend. Now I am polishing off those eyes and the deep inner grasp that knowing ourselves is ALL we are really here to do.

None of this is possible without the now moment because that is where it all “occurs”. Its where we are dialed into our own consciousness, not into some long-running story that we assume we are written into as a character playing a role. This is us, behind the make-up, the cardboard stage set, the need for a plot. This is, quite simply, who we are and what makes us tick and getting aquainting with ourselves is the very beginning of every most powerful experience of our lives.

Now is the touchdown point for whatever is landing. It is the spark point, the ignition moment, self-realisaton achieved in split-second doses. It is where the fireworks get lit. Where the conception occurs. The unknowable gets glimpsed…and can never again be, truly, forgotten, having been made conscious. Its those moments that alter whole trajectories, on a pinhead. And its the moment when nothing measurable occurs…and yet this nothingness, itself, is the whole point of it all (and you know it!). Its “that day” it all began and its every day, once you learn to stay in the present moment, at least once an hour if you can (as a rule of thumb). Then, you start to notice when you fall unconscious again and you pull yourself up short. You snap out of it. You wake up.

All these things and more occur in a humble moment of nowness, made present through the consciousness of a surrendered and receptive human “brain” (really, both head and heart in tandem) and its so powerful it can break adictions from all sorts of other meaningless activities. Warning: it may prompt you to rethink the purpose of your life!

And its forever work in progress…of course…but my body is responding to it and that’s a great big start. My sense of selfhood now surpasses any of the long-winded stories I used to tell about my health and my life to date.

Once found, such a resilient sense of self holds you steady regardless of circumstance, since what presents as circumstance is always relative to the consciousness that perceives “what is going on” in the world. Its really true, that it all starts with self-love, self-awareness, that inner sense of unsullied wholeness and once you have the merest gimpse of that, you are already on your way home.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Health & wellbeing, Life journey, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here to hold light

To feel such joy and such sadness at the same time seems to be part of the inbuilt dichotomy of these times…and is how I feel every morning when I walk in “our” little woods to where the crescendo of birdsong just seems to get louder and more complex the closer I get to this very spot (the video I’ve attached is all about the cathedral of sound and gets better the longer it runs). The thrush song is quite tremendous this year and the exquisite thrush-wren duet is almost a daily performance, along with blackbirds, robins, chaffinches, black caps, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, goldfinch and many, many more star performances. Yet the row of big orange diggers is poised in the field just 30 feet from this spot, prepared to start work on yet another housing estate so, very soon, there will be the deafening grumble, the shouty voices and the red London clay-dust coating everything, in ears and in mouth and settled on the surface of every water pool, as per the previous several developments (we have had them, non-stop, for the past several years so we know the ropes).

The birds in this hallowed spot will no doubt retreat in the same way as all the deer I used to hang out with on a near daily basis (which withdrew when the first phase of this same large housing development was started and never returned; this artwork “Looking Back” was my homage to that tragedy and I have seen maybe two young deer on the hillside it depicts in the last three years whereas there used to be a dozens at a time most days at dusk). Since nobody seems to be paying attention to the relentless, unconscious harm done to places where only the most perfunctory and self-invested surveys are conducted, I guess doing the inner work to try to come to terms with these things in the best way we know how, for our sanity and spiritual sanctity, is how we do the real self-development work of our lives…but I never said it was easy or that there aren’t days when I could buckle down to my knees and weep in this spot instead of fully appreciating these precious moments in the here-and-now.

If anything (and I think there are others who would agree) I feel capable of experiencing more joy than ever these days, because I think some of us are allowing more joy into our bodies as we make room for it the-more, having done so much work to clear old programs and traumas out of ourselves to make space for more light. So here is the paradox: to be able to experience more of the exquisite, through all of our refined senses, and yet to inevitably notice wherever there is still such unconsciousness, such harm and short-sigtedness going on, as though to be torn in two. Yet (and here is why I so-often hesiate to share my thoughts these days) I’m not here to be the perveyor of gloom; I don’t want people to read this and add add their own “yes, its all terrible, isn’t it?” comments below. What I really want is to incite people to feel even more of the appreciation for what we still have, to take the time to stop and absorb all this instead of rushing on by, to go even deeper into the moments of beauty and light, to truly feel them throughout their entire nervous system and take them deep into their bodies (not to go into more trauma and sense of loss but to fuel ourselves with more light) so that, in our way, we amplify it all; not joining in with the misery and woe but counter-balancing it. Refusing to be defeated by it. Holding the experience of light inside ourselves, in our awareness and as our frequency when we engage with others. Staying present with beauty and joy, holding space for it to be here in this reality, now and tomorrow. Affirming that a world of nature and beauty and radiance is what we want; not coiling up inside as though it is already “lost” to us, a done deal, giving hopelessness all our power and adding the weight of our negativity to its relentlessness.

Allow also that there is a gift in it; the sore-spots of external world, with all its frustrations and abrasions, are merely the inflammed nerve endings that lead us straight back to the central nervous system of our own consciousness where “the problem” began. What harsh, relentless, pressing things are gobbling up all the soft, creative spaces inside of me and why and how do I let them? How do I get myself into more balance? What do those things that bully my time and attention tell me about myself and all that I can do to make things more comfortable, starting with my own domain, my choices, the boundaries I set around those parts of me that are less to do with order, achievement or aquisition; those that are more about stillness, beauty and being fully present in love and appreciation. Here is work that I can do on a daily basis.

So then we become more resilient to “the other stuff” and we start to notice how our focus draws more and more such unexpectedly “higher” moments to us because of how we magnetise and multiply them (… as the unmistakably etheal strains of Chopin’s piano followed by O mio babbino caro and Agnes Dei from Fauré’s Requiem waft over my fence from the radio of a workman doing woodwork for my neighbour; I can’t remember a day when the ceaseless drone of boom box and traffic noise where I live on a main road was contributed to by a more unexpected or welcome “noise” so that, for once, I find myself straining to hear instead of jamming in earplugs and feel a profound lilt of joy course through my energy field). We notice how things that felt hopeless become near-misses as turnarounds happen; if not in the exact circumstance we wish we could transform but in others further along the path…because we held to the light.

More and more (I guess I’ve been contempating “my purpose” a great deal lately), I realise this is why I am here.

Posted in Birds, Consciousness & evolution, Conservation, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, Nature, Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New paradigm, now in this minute

If anyone were to ask me now, and if I was being truly honest with them, I would describe myself as “retired for health reasons”; I have desisted from the usual, relatable activities of life “for my health”. No longer in hot pursuit of justification for my existence via “what I do”, how much I am “noticed”, “valued” or “seen”, whether my output is considered “enough” or “worthy” or “commercial” out there in the world, whether people look at my life and imagine me to be “a success”, I have taken my foot off those pedals for several months now, not even seeking to plug the gap with other forms of busyness; and more so than ever these last few weeks.

Really, this has been the case for 15 long years but it has taken me this long to admit it, even to myself. That old cultural imperative, to justify ones existence, has pressed upon me, long and hard yet I find there is no shame in the admission. I found it as hard as, perhaps harder than, anyone in a nine-to-five to get off that merry-go-round of plugging the work gap in a miriad home-based ways, while I have been at home dealing with chronic health issues, in order to bolster my lumbering sense of self-identity. Perhaps there is something about reaching one’s mid-fifties that makes it feel more acceptable or appropriate to call on the retirement card but it goes far deeper than that.

You could say, I now do everything for my (physical, emotional, spiritual) health and silently pose the question “is there any other reason?” There is a word that I find myself using much more than ever and it is “allow”; I “allow myself” to just be…to be me…to be quiet and still…to be complete without needing to explain myself…to take time out…to recover…to relax…to flow…to cease believing the world and its problems sit squarely on my shoulders or that I have to save anybody and this has been a whole other layer of “retirement” taking place, as in to pull back from centre stage to my own fringe performance.

As the world spills out of lock-down today, my days continue to be, if anything (or so it seems) “smaller” than they were before it began and yet, from the inside, they are considerably more expansive than they have ever been in this and, likely, many other lifetimes.

Because there is nothing small about choosing the deep, existential journey as a priority, every day; allowing yourself to be led by whatever insinuates into your consciousness rather than by imposed (often externalised, even fear-driven) imperatives such as “I must earn money, I must be seen in a good light, I must justify my existence to others, I must keep the conversation going or everyone will forget about me and I will be left struggling all alone”. On a million zillion occassions, I have told myself “just this one last time…” as I make a choice that does not feel so authentic yet serves one of these old so-called imperatives of survival and that as been one of the big shifts lately; that I notice those old excuses bubbling under the surface and then I interupt them!

So now, days come and go and I feel no need to justify myself to anyone except my highest self; what did I learn today, how did I grow, do I feel more whole as a result?

From the outside it may seem boring or unstructured (though its not that I don’t perform necessary tasks; rather, they have become much clearer to see and thus to execute in good time) but these past months have been a roller-coaster ride on the inside. No two weeks, or even days, are the same as my journals fill up, my epiphanies multiply, my time spent in meditation and inner enquiry seems to grow and so I harvest wisdom that eluded me, or merely tickled around my edges, for years until I finally…finally…allowed myself to stop and just be.

Even when I thought I was doing just that, it turns out I wasn’t even getting close. I remained largely cerebral, self-justifying, needing to be seen to be doing what I was doing or to turn what I gathered into informational artefacts to trade with others, in order to stay safely social (nine-tenths of social behaviour is based on fear of being marginalised) and to justify myself in a worldly sense that only ever inverted the whole process I thought I was excelling at; as though I was removing bricks from the top of my own tower to begin using them all over again at the foundations.

I was caught in the trap that nothing I was experiencing felt “real” unless it was broadcast and seen by others, given that stamp of approval and related to, but I was wrong. It is very real; more real every day, when I allow myself to be in the experience with no need whatsoever to communicate it or find experiential partners, thrilling as those can briefly be. We each take this consciousness journey the way we came into life; alone and yet its the richest experience on offer, in spite of all the bad press.

It took the Gupta Program coming along and “giving permission” (to that conditioned part of me that, in the old days, might have required a doctor’s note to justify taking time off) to stop everything except prioritising my own recovery to make space for this to happen. All the many resources in the program have reinforced this choice to pull back and prioritise my own experience over any other demands that may ever seem to be “coming in at me”, whilst highlighting all the many conditioned parts of myself that have been overly paying attention to such demands, at my own expense. What I find is that we are all in recovery…every single one of us…only, for some of us the process is made so very slow, or stalls altogether, due to this obsession with busyness and self-justification, the belief we always have to operate as a pack, the entrained emotional need to mark out our days with activities ticked-off on a calendar and accolades collected, an impressive-sounding label on that business card and that well-rehearsed line we repeat at parties “this is what I do”.

Its not the I don’t tick things off any more but they are driven by a different imperative; to do with self-improvement and striving for more wholeness, greater purpose beyond the material and feeling MUCH MORE LIKE MYSELF. This part of me has been all-but absent or hiding herself in the shadows for decades but I catch glimpses of her in my childhood and early life, even flashes from the future and, now, I encourage her here to spend time with me, to chew the cud and spend playful hours exploring what really makes us tick.

Part of the process has been to cut ties with old habits, behaviour programs, addictions, compulsions, even ones like this one urging me to share my thoughts with “the world”; what makes me want or even need to do that, why do I crave an audience or feel what I “realise” is worth nothing unless I do?

I’m not sure that I do think those things, at all, any more, so (after running my checks on why I am writing this morning) it feels more like I am putting this out here, perhaps, as a sort of comma or even a full-stop in the long-running conversation of my blog. Yet, as with all things, I leave the door ajar, allowing it to be easy to flow back this way, should the (genuine) urge come back to me to share my thoughts here again; only, it must be from such authenticity now, not a mere itch to scratch. I pause much longer before I publish these days because if the driving force is emotional it passes like a weather-front; and those impulses that stand the test of time may filter through to be shared, but only if my instincts tell me so (here’s a clue to the ratio; far more posts have been left as drafts than published lately). Sometimes the desire to write can be enough…and then let it go to the wind and the same with every creative or executive urge, once all pressure is taken off them. From where I am standing, this consciousness-filtered space seems like a much healthier space; imagine a world where we all, much more mindfully, considered our actions and expressions and took pause before we unleashed them?

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

I’m easy either way with where my blogging goes from here but, for now, its all part of a sort of cold-turkey from conventional life that I have going on; a studied detachment from whatever feels like it is pressing upon me, to question “Why?” does that thing have any say-so to assert over my days and hours? “Why?” do I give it my attention and my energy to it. “In what self-supporting way?” does it contribute to my existence; because there are no other acceptable excuses for perpetuating behaviours in our lives than that they support us in being who we really, most authentically, are. Anything less than this quickly becomes unhealthy (I have learned the hard way).

In short, I pause long enough to really consider, do I give this thing energy or do I put my energy to better uses? All things being equal (imagine that if you can), do I want more of this thing in my future world?

If the answer is no then I take my foot off that so-called impulse or imperative (which can be so hard to do when a lifetime’s precedent urges every muscle and fibre to keep bearing down on it, in case the vehicle of life should suddenly stall in the road) and, remarkably, the world always keeps on spinning…though in a somewhat different way. Little by little and, conversely, all at once with an immediacy that continues to shock me, this changes everything.

Its how, in ways both slow and instantaneous, I am stepping into another paradigm in spite of whether or not anyone else sees the opportunity or decides to choose it for themselves (not my business); because its all a highly-personal inside job, an exercise of freedom, a self-selected outcome we each get to craft for ourselves in this moment via the sequence of minuscule, ever-more mindful, choices made throughout our days.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Life choices, Life journey, Meditation, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No time to waste

In search of something “just so” to lose myself in as the reading matter of my next few weeks, over which I plan to make some considerable reading time, I am faced with a dilemma (having just finished Ted Chiang’s wonderful “Exhalation”, which has become one of my favourite reads of all time).

Part of me is drawn to reading Paul Scott’s “Raj Quartet” given how much I got out of re-watching “The Jewel in the Crown” last week. So many layers of thought came up for me, spurred by this other transitional era/generation (bearing comparison to our own); so much so that it is still feeding my dreams night after night. It is, and was the first time (when I was just 16 years old) what feels like an epic of personal relevance to me as my mother grew up “out there” in India during the rise of the Indian independence movement, as the daughter of a regimental sergeant major, and my fascination has only ever been the greater due to the fact she was always so very reluctant to talk about it. That curiosity led me to pour over novels and adaptations relating to “the raj”, to study the life of Ghandi as a special project, to take up social, political and moral philsophy at college and, in my spare time (and, really, ongoing), to wrestle with all the messed up confusion of empire and social responsibility, of how people of different races come (often clash) together and then pull apart, leaving so many tangled or abandoned threads for generations to come. That curiosity is still alive in me sufficiently for me to feel that same urge I once had to dust down Paul Scott’s hefty tombs and re-read them (I can recall reading some, if not all, of them the first time).

Quite a portion of my young life was spent pouring over such questions as an era “in flux” give rise to and its a habit in me that dies hard. I also dislike, when something provokes my thoughts to that degree, to leave it all to the abridgement of a TV or film adaptation so there is that hanging over me. My inner geek (I see her clearly when she pops up these days, still wearing the furrowed brow of the college student with exam deadlines…) thinks she wants to take a deep-dive because, retrospectively, it seems like it was once a happy or at least a comforting place to be, making it a beguiling place to return to.

However….the novels are verbose and they are long. Relatively flowing reading-matter, from yesterday afternoon’s dive into the first chapter, but still long-winded and of their era (written in the 60s) and I don’t feel I can give myself over to such a brick of a book for as long as it will take to get through them (or the distraction of it for as long as it will inevitably take, dragging me into its mindsets as reading will always do; impossible to dive deeply into a book and not have your every thought, yes as I said dreams, coloured by it for weeks or months). If I had a dozen lifelines the same as this one, and access to them all, as though I could skip between them as I might between sparkling rivulets meandering across a water meadow, then maybe in some of them I would go ahead with reading the Raj Quartet (or War and Peace…) to see how that contributes to my life. However, in this one I feel as though time is of the essence and far too valuable to squander; which all comes from having such a strong sense of life purpose, one which has always been with me and shows absolutely no sign of abating as I grow older!

I could describe it as, I always feel distinctly as though a future end-point me is drawing me towards itself along a timeline that has to be far more direct than that, to get to where it is sitting. When I come to a choice point it will either sagely nod or shake its head (really, more of a gut feeling) and I have to, sometimes, over-ride quite compelling forces of nostalgia or other compunction that would have had me dally off the path. I now get this “unnecessary diversion” feeling around much of the “old” literature that used to feel like home to me, back in my literary days…and, though I try hard to be guided and courageous, moving forwards not back, I am frequently left with a problem; what do I read next, who is writing the kind of material that feeds me in this progressive, evolutionary way (other than all the many non-fiction writers I already engage with)? Where is the contempory fiction that looks forwards, not to the topics of war, or cancer, or horror, or divorce, or past-trauma, or dsystopia, or kitchen-sink drama, or fluffy romance? Where is all the optimism, combined with new thinking and the sheer force of imagingation that is fiction?? (By the way, suggestions are very welcome.)

This is why I am drawn to Ted Chiang. Per the quote on the front cover of “Stories of Your Life and Others” (one of two short-story compendiums, “Exhalation” being the other and I only wish there were more) “Ted Chiang’s stories are lean, relentless and incandescent”.

Yes! They are lean…that is the right word for me…no surplus words to frustrate my Asperger’s, no long-rambling descriptions for the build-up (in fact, very few at all that aren’t utterly poised and essential to the narrative of an idea-delivering plotline – I wonder if he is also an Asperger’s…) Yet these stories are far from devoid of feeling, or nuance, or ideas so colourful they explode in your mind like a drug bomb of repercussions; quantum thoughts, now unleashed into the fabric of your mind, concerned with the now and the future, THIS lifetime, this point in our evolution (not some long-winded retrospective about a messy cultural shift that occurred more than 70 years ago and which has still failed to settle down in all its repercussions). If such retrospectives are like inheriting a Victorian house stuffed to the brim with artefacts you have to sort through, to ascertain what is of any use, what is just old bric-a-brac destined for landfill, his writing is like Ikea, everything clean lines and built to a purpose. He is relevant and he is provocative but, as the quote says, his writing is also incandescent…like the brightest of bright lightbulbs going off in your head, to illuminate all the corners where you almost peered into the dark at least once in your life (maybe…) but now there is no avoiding it, there on the page, familiar yet so-recently tucked away under deep layers of distraction, now exposed for anyone to see. Your paradigm is shifted because that thought is now unleashed and you will never look at things quite the same way ever again.

This is the difference between reading something like this…modern to the point of futuristic…over something nostalgic, backward-looking, combing over our mistakes and foibles of the past (useful, to a point, I agree…) but when you get into these new thoughts, new ideas, a lot of that raking-over of dead leaves becomes, instantly, superfluous…all gone, along with the paradigm that once held such thinking together into structures, now flaccid and without animation, the relics of a museum past. There is a feeling of cutting to the chase when writing gets into its futuristic groove and it draws me much more, now, than the comfort of nostalgia…but, by its very nature, there is very little of it about. It leaves the literary part of me hungry, all the time, for something to read!

For sure, some remnants of those structures played with in The Raj Quartet are very much alive and kicking today…to do with class and race distinctions, etc…but, when we look backwards, even to pick apart, we somehow strengthen those very ideas, giving them more energy, as though to breath life into a near-corpse lying on the ground when, really, we just want it to roll over and let us start over again, without all the contortions of a bygone era, when we didn’t know any better (we know better now).

When we give that energy to brand-new, paradigm-shifting “what if?” kind of thoughts, we don’t just feel we are some sort of slow-rolling transitional generation trundling in 3D slow-motion along a cause-and-effect route towards change, with all its inherent pitfalls and disappointments (as we, our parents and grandparents have been doing for the last century) but we KNOW we are a transition generation with every vital nerve of our rapidly evolving quantum biology, making instantaneous leaps of neuroplastic significance with every new thought that sparks into life inside our ever more receptive and unlimited minds. We know because, like the caterpillar having turned to mush by the eating of its own flesh, we can now sense the growth of butterfly wings. If only we turn out attention to those wings, not the mush…

So, I vote for wings and continue to look for writers, like Ted Chiang, who feed that imperative for future-looking growth (and flight…) over retrospective. Its more than possible to halt our own metamophosis with some mere twitch of an old habit, those places we allow our minds to wonder off to, our old fixations and our familiar comfort-zones…if they are going nowhere new…or we can halt the process of eating our own tail and call for those wings, right now. This is where the matter of no more time wasting comes into it. And we can tell the difference between one choice and another because of the lighter frequency we can feel coursing through our bodies once we make the more progressive choice; as though we are no longer creating a lag-factor against the very impulse of the universe to keep expanding and accelerating.

Once you get into this mindset, it percolates into other aspects of your life. What else don’t you have time to waste doing, thinking about, ruminating on? What part of your routine, your health, your perceived limitations has taken you backwards to rake over past mistakes, old piles of leaves, in case somewhere in there is the answer to all of your conundrums? How could it be far better spent, feeling into new potential realities that question the very boundaries of dimensions, seeking answers that can only be felt via the gut because, for now, there is nothing empirical to “prove” their validity, although that “proof” will surely come along as a brand new reality morphs into being before our very eyes (because we believed it would, with our ever-fertile imaginations). Never forget that reading is how we sow seeds in the fertile ground of our minds; so, as any gardener knows well, be mindful of the quality of the soil but also of the kind of seeds that you sow, and that goes for our viewing time too!

Yet I am also reminded of a wonderful quote from the mouth of a colleague of my husbands on a remote training course he once attended, who had cancer, and who said with complete lack of pathos “I don’t have time to rush”. This was in response to all those people on the weekly calls who would ask her why she wasn’t spending more time rushing about fulfilling some sort of bucket list and yet what she had to say in response became one of the most powerful things my husband ever heard spoken, and from him to me the same. Because it is so very true; just as relevant to any of us here as to her or indeed anyone else on “limited” time (though, of course, none of us know how much time we have left and we should always live that way).

However much time we have, none of us have time to charge through life as though we are on some sort of conveyor belt, never once stopping to smell those roses, to take it all in…what a waste.

Yet the wonderful paradox is, the more we slow down and pace our days, the more we hand-pick exactly what is right for us in this moment (not, out of habit, simply making the choices some earlier format of ourself might have made because we have decided that this is what we like to do). When we question what we really like, what really draws us, excites and engages us in this very moment then we are free to re-choose in every new minute of our lives, a rebirth impulse that propels us directly onto our highest timeline, towards our highest evolution…no more wasted time, no unnecessary detours or replays, just directly back home towards the wholiness of ourselves.

Posted in Books, Consciousness & evolution, History, Life choices, Literature, Menu, Personal Development, Remembering, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Acts of volition

If everything has to be the result of a cause and effect chain reaction then I was a lost cause many years ago. So why do many of us continue; what drives us to hope for that which a strictly causal future is unlikely to present in the linear timescales we have at hand? What do we quietly know at our core and yet choose not to say outloud for fear it would make us sound “illogical”, “delusional” or “mad”? What thing inside of each of us is so powerful we fear it in ourselves (mostly, the fact we make so little use of it…) and what we are truly capable of, or as though its not polite to regard ourselves as powerful under our own volition (as in, not because of our “position” in life, because someone else bestowed it upon us or through having loads of money)?

When we step outside of those perameters, making that quantum leap outside of the cause and effect box, we become the creator that created that original bang out of nothingness. We step outside of the strict corridors of linearity and wander off piste where others have seldom gone. We even have a word for it: we call it “experiencing a miracle”, a rarified concept, but then I consider miracles to be far more available these days than most people tend to believe.

We also call it “making a quantum leap”, manufacturing that for which there were no ingredients just moments before. As in, we disregarded some “logical” conclusion and made an alternative happen anyway, through the volatility of our thoughts (Volatile: from French volatile, from Latin volatilis – fleeting, transitory; swift, rapid; flying, winged, birds, from past participle stem of volare “to fly”, one minute on the ground wishing for something else and the next soaring high). We are taught to think of being volatile as being “unreliable”, “hot-headed”, “likely to go up in smoke”, but the word root says different; so see how we have been detatched from our wings!

You could say, volatile means to be active in the sense of a creator; the original spark out of nowhere…fleeting but potential-loaded, poised to take flight, filled with the lightness of unlimited possibility, lit up with hope.

When put together with volition (from the Latin stem as in volo “I wish”), like a match to a taper, we create with a bang; our very will to make something happen caught on the wings of a creator power poised to take flight, not taking “no” for an answer.

We each have that volatility, plus that original will, inside of us…its what makes us human…but we mostly defer to the traintracks of linearity, trundling between stations signposted “Cause” and “Effect” on a one way line. When we are born, we are issued with that journey’s season ticket…and we renew it every time we succumb to the belief that “this is all there is”.

Yet what happens when we decide to get off the train, take a leap from its moving carriage, take that risk with our life in our hands? What happens when we spy an alternative destination from the corner of our eye and pull the emergency stop cord? It may look like “crash” but this is often what we have really done when we hit some life arresting situation that forces us to consider other options (as in, done by some subliminal part of us that dared to pull on that cord). Its in all the ensing kerfuffle of our crash that we often get to take a long-hard second glance at that alternative landscape we originally caught sight of in our sideways glance and, daring to see it, no longer denying it is there, is how we then break out of our conditioned linear thinking. You could say, the peripheral view now becomes the main view and everything changes. Because, one way or other, it always takes an interuption of conditioned, predictable, thinking to effect a paradigm shift!

Let’s not understate what it took for us to pull on that emergency cord, long before we had any logical reason why; an implusive, paradigm-shifting, act of volition in itself. It takes a certain kind of thinking (a certain type of daring…) to manufacture a crash such as that, even at the subliminal level; quite a leap of courage to take such a quantum leap, an interuption to “normality” and all its inherent comforts. We might do it because we are the natural-born contrarian, the one who always saw outside the box because of the way we are “wired”…or because we are an inventor or born shifter of paradigms, an Einstein in the making…or because we feel as though we have no other choice at the time. Yet, somewhere within that choice made out of coercion (such as the sudden chronic illness that drops you to your knees), hidden deep inside what felt unavoidable or inflicted, there may be a part of us that was, really, making the original bid for freedom, which is really the absolute choice of breaking everything down into its tiniest parts, in order to choose again, choose differently, choose freely, and thus reinvent your life from scratch!

When we feel most cornered and as though there is no other desirable option left ahead on the mainline of life, we may find ourselves digging deep within, only to find that volatile spark alive and well at our core. This can, sometimes, be the gift of breakdown…as in, we find our original spark and realise ourselves to be creators (more so than any conventional linear life path could have shown us).

We might need to do some work breathing life back into that spark, stoking its potential. So, for instance, we might explore mindfulness, take up daily meditation to make the habit of interupting our linear thoughts, dare to consider that there is much more to life than “all this” that seems so concrete, to think outside of mainstream and to prick up our senses around other examples and individuals hinting at a world that lies beyond what is “given”, “fixed”, “logical” or “linear”.

And then, in time, we become that creator…as soon as we make a choice (no matter how large or small) that is an absolute act of unprogrammed free will, neither driven by pressure nor precedent but straight from the heart. That requires no proof for us to believe in it as much as, or more so, than any medical diagnosis or announcement on the news or even undeniable “symptoms” that may scream at you that they are real and something to despair about. Ultimate freedom in action; an act of volition.

When we do that, and it could be, say, the choice to thrive when all else seems to be turning to chaos around us, to be “of nature” when artificial is the buzz-word of the era, to be well again, against all the odds; and then we follow through regardless of other people’s advice, opinions or “evidence” to the contrary, we step up, becoming that original creator. What we create may stop people in their tracks in awe…or go completely unnoticed, yet we felt it course through our veins and we can never be quite the same again. Once touched by it, and the more we practice holding our own freedom of choice in its purest potential (no longer regarded as a “fairy story” but respected as the most potent kind of creator power, made manifest by the force of our will) we can never go back to the humdrum of foregone conclusions, of an unreasonable yet (paradoxically) “reasoned” causal reality made into a false god, because we have experienced a LEAP!

But first, as I said, you have to put yourself in the mind space (which should really be “heart space”…) for making such a leap. You could say I have been doing that for the past 16 years of never, really, losing faith that I would recover my health; certainly the last 10 years since I worked on my mindfulness. I am doing it though my commitment to the Gupta Program, which is a powerful guide through the territory of creating new, unexpected, outcomes out of what feels most stuck in your health.

When you make such a commitment (forgive me yet another metaphor…being a visual-thinker, I do so love to use them!) its like tuning up in the lobby where the lifts go up and down, day after day, holding faith that an up-lift will be coming soon. If life’s most stuck, most vehemently predicatable circumstances seem like a circle or a closed loop then our paradigmn shifts are a spiral and the lift is like the tail end of the spiral that will lift you up to the next level. That level might look all-but the same as the lower level, at a glance (the view from the window, you could say, hardly any different than before) but even the miniscule difference in the view that one floor affords will start to impart insights into things that escaped you the last time you went around the loop and, gradually, you realise the game has shifted (you could say “elevated”) to another level, a new paradigm.

At face value, you may seem to be dealing with the very same stuck points, same crashes, same disappointments as yesterday but you start to realise the value of these upper floor action replays because you are now noticing the patterns that help make sense of it and afford an alternate “way out” to what you were able to see (as though you have much clearer eyes now) at the lower levels. So, day after day, without expecation, preconception or dwelling on any of the lower levels (“the past”), not even antipating what the higher floor will look like, and quite regardless of how “bad” or “demoralised” or “exhausted” you happen to be feeling that day, you simply show up in the elevator lobby (its a mindset…or heartset), wide-open to the posibility that an up-arrow will show up on the display and the elevator doors will open up to let you in.

This, of course, takes faith and a dose of that will I was alking about above, coupled with the all-imporant ability to detach from “what seems” for just long enough to leap into the cracks in-between. Difficult sounding (though no more than remaining stuck, surely) and its important. Because, if human choices are miniscule, yet potent, acts of volition charged with the ultimate creator power then just think what we each hold in our hands and how essential they are to what we are about to create of our world right now in this unprecedented, but brief, window of opportunity to manifest something new.

Inspired by this quotation from the short story “Omphalos” by Ted Chiang:

“…I think there are events of another category that are likewise not fixed in a causal chain: acts of volition. Free will is a kind of miracle; when we make a genuine choice, we bring about a result that cannot be reduced to the workings of physical law. Every act of volition is, like the creation of the universe, a first cause”.

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There is a collared dove living in our garden, we call her/him “Bob” and we love him/her with a vengeance.

Really, there is a pair of doves because they were, and are again, a couple, though only one is ever on the nest or feeder in our garden at any one time, and they (of course) could be a different pair to last year. Because this pattern has been going on for years…in fact, as long as I can remember in this house, with the very same nest in use time and time again. So, presented with two of them, which one (if either of them) is Bob?

However we know for sure, this time, that one of the “Bobs” is the same as last summer as he/she has a drooping right wing from when she/he bounced off our window, having being flustered by a wood pigeon at the feeding station, and I rescued him/her with food, water and watchful company, setting up my painting station close-by (which he/she seemed to appreciate), until she/he had recovered enough to leave the flower borders and take off a couple of days later.

He/she lives in a rudimentary nest of twigs in our disused satellite dish on the south-facing wall of our house, right under the eaves, and is often to be found sat in there, leaning against the metal bracket, peering down at us from a bird’s eye view. She/he seems to love to watch us reading, pruning, enjoying breakfast together in the garden below (as we did just the other day, before the cold snap came back…) and is both reticent yet comfortable with us, also curious and, of course, to a degree dependent on food we put out on the ground feeder. Bob has never been far away over winter, although there was no partner in sight during those months.

During the warmer days, they (as a couple) can be found together in easy coupledom, high up in the tree over our driveway, just a short swoop from their satellite nest. Up there, on the sunnier afternoons, they preen and they doze together to the background music of robin or goldfinch and it warms the heart to see them up there, familiar sight as it is from last year and, probably, the year before and the one before that.

Yet all this time, and its been quite some time now, of feeling as though Bob is a part of our family (the name “Bob” came to me when I was tending to him/her under the cover of the dahlias after the window crash…) we have no idea whether Bob him/herself is male or female or, really, any evidence at all that this is the same couple who nested in our dish last summer…or, our favourite theory, is Bob the offspring of that effort (because there was one offspring)…because they all look exactly the same.

So, Bob is “Bob” and other Bob is “Bob”, or sometimes we take a stab and call one of then Bob-ette, but not very often. They are kind-of one and the same entity that we love dearly and consider part of our expanded family unit, such that (after last night’s dusting of snow and this morning’s white frosty coating) I have just been out there to check on him/her in the nest and, with a slight jiggle of my jug full of seed, announced that breakfast is served in the ground feeder. His/her beady eye seemed to acknowledge that, yes, in a few moments, when the sun has warmed the ground a little more, she/he might deign to swoop down (before the woodpidgeons get stuck in…) and so I now feel comfortable to settle down to my own breakfast.

Often, on warmer days, when I am still on my yoga mat, its as though Bob uses the cue of my stirrings just the other side of a foot’s depth of brick wall, to take that first swoop across my window view, down to the lawn and so I get to see him/her enjoying breakfast whilst I stand in tree-pose (assuming there is any food left from the night before)…or, I’ve been known to interrupt my practice to go down in the cold morning to fill the empty feeder because I can’t bear to leave him/her wanting while I am in the zone if its been a cold night. By the same token, I remind myself, often, that I am not responsible for any of the wildlife in my garden and that they are free to come and go; am not about to get so attached that my wellbeing relies on whether they are there today, or not, because that’s an entanglement they don’t want any more than I do (they’re not pets!) so it is all easy come-and-go; we watch, we enjoy, we provide assistance where we can, we are kind…and we love.

It occurs to me, it really doesn’t matter if its Bob or not Bob, if Bob is male or female, whether its the same bird(s) as last year or different (they live about 3 years and often reuse the same nest), or indeed whether it will be different or the same “Bobs” in our garden next year. Its the essence of Bob that I’m in relationship with and it expresses as the gentle curiosity made manifest as collared doves in my garden; I don’t need to get caught up in the political correctness of pronouns to go there.The love I feel in my heart for Bob is deep and real, is pulsing and warm and strong and it is entirely unconditional of all these arbitrary labels and constructs, which feel so entirely done with where real love is concerned. I also know that he/she feels it and, in his/her own way, reciprocates and that this is enough to fill up all of our worlds with an amber-hued kind of glow that colours our days spent together.

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Coming home

This week I had a BIG release on the back of the realisation that, as a child, I externalised my sense of safety to the home (rather than it feeling like an insider job) partly because a sense of the potential to feel safe in my own skin wasn’t forthcoming or demonstrated to me by my parents (through no fault of their own, they did what they knew how to do). Their best demonstration of “how” to be safe was to make a wonderful home and stay there, come what may and that was a valid part of my sense of safety as I grew up there, but it made that safety conditional upon a set of outer circumstances whilst it remained absent within me. It was as though that whole part of my wiring remained under-developed because it had come to equate itself with this externalised or extended sense of self; so, perhaps, no wonder I have always felt as though my nervous system extends about 50 feet wider than may actual body…said tongue in cheek but I suspect there is some truth in that. Its somewhat like developing an exoskeleton when you are meant to have your supports, and your boundaries, on the inside!

That home became a set of arms around me, that held me in some sort of suspended sense of safety that I imagine might otherwise have come from the internalised touch-memory of what it felt like to be held by a parent’s arms, to know their smell, to feel that everything is in its place because they are always there for you and are teaching you how to self-love the way they love you. I can only imagine how such an upbringing would feel, though its the one I strove to give to my daughter. For me, that feeling of being held always came from stepping back through my own front door after a day at school, feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, often bullied, insecure and ceaseless trying so hard to fit in…yet home was where I could go limpid and fall into a swoon as though nothing else mattered. My parents did well to create such a wonderful haven and I see how that feeling was an externalised version of those unspoken aspects of themselves that loved me so much; they loved through the action of providing such a home and regarded actual embrace as superfluous (however, I think this last year has taught us all, even the least touchy-feely of us as I am, that embrace is never superfluous…).

Also, their worldview only really worked if I was able to predict living in such a sheltered world all my life (obviously, something I have not managed to do…though it helps me understand how I have managed to replicate my mother’s living-close-to-home life for most of those adult years, largely through health issues). Please bear in mind that my mother was a home-maker and my dad was retired when I was growing up so I saw none of the rhythms of working life outside the home. I see now how that feeling of home= ultimate safetly they cultivated; or, the tireless search for the replica of that feeling in my adult life, has fed into so much to do with my sense (or not) of being safe and my very high sensitivity because I rely on it so heavily and anything outside the home is deemed a threat by my nervous system.

That my parents loved me and were there for me is in no doubt whatsoever but they never wrapped their arms around me in a hug or stoked my hair. I don’t remember bing kissed goodnight and, though my father put me to bed for years, what I remember was how painfully awkward he was. They never discussed with me why I was looking sad (did they even notice, or did I learn to hide it too well?) and explain or demonstrate to me how to stay feeling safe within the domain of my own experience, regardless of what others did or said around me. They didn’t demonstrate courage out in the world because my father lacked this completely (frightened of his own shadow) and my mother was seldom challenged but, when she was, came at the situation like a bull unleashed and I could see how that often made things worse. None of this, I stress and I re-stress, is any criticism of the way my parents were or brought me up but a necessary part of considering why I feel more hugged by a sense of place than by my own sense of resilience in the world. Its a sobering truth of the matter that has arisen for me as I’ve deep-dived my own “protection” issues; one of the themes covered in the Gupta Program as a means to healing my health conundrum and an inevitable topic (one I’ve scratched the top off many times before!) when you get to the root of hyper-sensitivity and chronic health conditions. When you have an uncertain or over-extended sense of personal boundary, it feeds massively into anxiety!

Therefore, it’s a topic for all of us, when all is said and done, especially in these anxiety-inducing times; as in, what makes me feel safe? What do I think I need to surround myself with, to build barricades with, to hide inside of in order to feel that kind of safety in the world? What feel like the non-negotiable boundaries required in order to feel safe and how does modern life or the demands of my work encroach on that? How did the quieter life of the past year make me feel? (as in, better or worse in terms of personal safety; FTR some of us introverts feel safer when we are tucked away at home more than usual, yes even in a pandemic!) and what does that say about my desire to keep working/living the way I used to before lockdown? What are my true priorities in life and what do those say about where I feel most relaxed and comfortable to be myself, can I make my life fit those priorities better? Is there more inner work to be done so that I can feel safe regardless and not be at the beck and call of outside circumstances the way I am? Do I have all the resources I need to feel safe unconditionally like that, even as I stand here in my socks, or do I lean too much into external factors, both for comfort but therefore also as a source of trigger when things “go wrong”? So many of these enquiries will inevitably lead us back to childhood and the way we were parented; not to judge our parents or dig over old wounds but to help us make sense of ourselves.

Back then, home to me was, in the words of my sister describing a holiday cottage she has just booked (interesting that she should also use the terminology of personal contact when describing a house…) “like a great-big hug of a place” and I felt alright as long as I was there. Its interesting, that is just how “home”, as a concept, has always seemed to me…a hug; holiday places far less so since they are unfamiliar, though I try very hard to get close, hence the great lengths I go to with feeling into a place before I will even consider hanging my hat up there, even for a couple of nights!

It’s all, to me, about the feeling of place and that feeling is something I’ve gone to great lengths to cultivate in whatever space I’ve ever called my own, all my life (even temporary student digs) to the point I have harshly judged myself for being “too materially fixated” for a lot of years; even apologised for it, just the other day, to my husband, as though my fixation on having a beautiful, safe, warm, materially comfortable place to live is a spiritual failing of mine…not zen enough to match his boarding-school-childhood-converts-seemlessly-to-monastic perspective of the world. For him, he could be alright wherever the two of us were, a good book to read, his music to listen to and a bed to sleep in (probably not quite that rudimentary, if tested, but that’s the way he couches it!) but for me it takes a close study of all the minutiae to be able to feel truly at home somewhere, and is therefore not something I like to shake-up and change very often. The thought of moving house gives me curdles!

Because (and THIS is the big realisation) for me, that sense of home has become my outer perimeter. I don’t stop at my skin or even my aura but at the boundary of my house and garden. Like a tortoise inseparable from his shell, where I go it must go, in order for me to feel safe in the world. Any wonder I have discovered my longest running triggers in the form of neighbours, traffic, wifi frequencies, smells, people from the outside wanting to come in to my inner domain without invitation…to me, these feel like penetrations of my actual skin, coming into my most personal domain, and it affects me immensely. So, which came first, my introversion or this? Impossible to sift one out from the other given the simultaneity of when they arose out of the soft childhood clay of “me” in my formative years!

Those times I’ve struggled most have, perhaps inevitably, been those when my home boundaries have felt most transgressed or compromised. So, the time when I was sexusally abused in my own home decades ago, you could say my outer walls breached, happened at a time I shared a house with my landlord and her partner and therefore had no clear sense of my own sacred domain, not even a floor of the four-story house I could clearly call my own since my two small rooms were spread out on different levels within someone else’s space; it was the least grounded I ever felt. Years later, my health breakdown came in the wake of having various lodgers and au pairs in and out of my precious home, abusing my inner spaces in all manner of ways, even stealing from me (it was a failed, if necessary, experiment in making my post-divorce life work). And, of course, the slow-subtle abuse of my first marriage, like the steady erosion of an emotional dry-rot, was an insider job yet, ironically, I made the knee-jerk choice of it because my childhood home had just been “lost” on the death of my mother; really, a double trauma for me and I knew it, even at the time. It was that very thing that decided me, abruptly, to marry rather than risk breaking up the only home I had left; my prime motivator and a somewhat more fathomable one now I see it through the eyes of how I was in no place to risk losing yet another layer of my sense of self-hood as I continued to grieve my mother at that time of my life. My very compass needle was in a spin, desperately seeking its sense of home after she died and my nearest facsimile was the shared life I had with this person, mostly because we had bought a home together and I had given it my all; if we split, it would have to be divided and sold so I sealed the deal with a wedding certificate (not at the conscious level, but this was beneath the surface).

And I can certainly recall crying myself to sleep as a teenager at the thought that one day I would have to detach from the safe-space of my bedroom for the very last time. It had become such a sanctuary from the world to me that I could come back to it, even when I lived elsewhere, and just sleep and sleep with such surrender; the kind that eluded me anywhere else.

Of course, I have that feeling here in my home of 18 years…or do I? Have I ever again found such a place, so seamlessly part of my sense of safety in this world? I’m not sure I have and maybe this is the problem with my sense of safety in the world. The less I have felt that layer of externalised boundary where I expect it to be, hugging me as no parent ever did, the less I have felt whole, supported, at liberty to relax. When youths use our road as a speedway late at night, when people throw litter into our front garden, at times when our neighbour revs his various engines all weekend long or people on the other side of us decide to billow meaty-smelling bbq smoke over our wall every non-raining day, I subliminally take each affront as a personal abuse, as though they are crossing my boundaries. It feeds into my hypervigilence, my high-sensitivity, my intolerance of any additional sensory data (because I am already overloaded).

This past year has not altered me, only made me go deeper into the effect. With my natural inclination towards introversion, I’ve only embraced the lockdown with more sense of “why all the fuss?” and, for me, there’s no compelling longing to go back to normal. For some chosen things, yes, I would like the choice of it but, as newspaper headlines fervently stir the masses back into their newfound freedoms, as the supermarkets sell out of snacks and barbecue foods this week, as our noisy neighbours lay out their garden furniture and delux-sized barbecue on their just-finished new patio, I find myself girding my loins for more afronts to my sense of sanctuary.

Even as I face an inevitable dilemma, this year, and start to approach people to help us to maintain our modest garden because, the truth is all too plain to see (every time I have tried to do the slightest bit of physical gardening work for the last few months, it has resulted in several days of exhaustion and enhanced pain…I am simply not capable of what I could do even a year ago) I flinch at the very thought of bringing outsiders “in”. It’s now occurred to me to try to find a woman gardener, someone whose words in some advert or website suggests we are on a wavelength. Because, to me, one of the most abrasive, even traumatic things I could do (and I know this from having been forced to do it in the past) is call in the kind of contractors that come into my rarified space brashly and noisily, puffing their cigarette smoke, blaring their radios, shouting into phones, shout-talking to each other swarily even though they stand at arms length. Even when I have, previously, dealt with some affable-seeming front man to shake hands on a price, I have invariably found that these are the people that show up on the day my garden needs digging and I have, honestly, tried to get over it; to tell myself not to be so sensitive and just stay indoors until they are finished. But the truth of the matter is that it feels as though some sort of abuse is taking place, my garden ravaged, its rarified quality, the air of stillness and reverence for nature we cultivate, the very frequency that draws in so many birds, butterflies and bees left tattered and torn in their wake. The garden just doesn’t feel the same when its energy walls have been breached in that way.

Its a dilemma that has my mind circling in the night right now because I can’t manage the garden myself any more and with my husbands injured knee (and he’s not an enthusiastic gardener, but I can usually direct him at some digging to be done…not this year) I am at a complete loss. Without some assistance, the overgrowth of last year is set to take over, undoing ten years’ efforts since I redesigned the space into an eclectic collection of small areas made for enjoying season-round usage and turn, instead, into over-leggy monstrosities buoyed up by weeds. I rely on this outdoor space far more than I can put into words, spending as I do almost every dry day in it from March until October as though it were another set of small rooms in my house. Its one of the reasons for how shrunken my energy feels in the winter…because, in spring and summer, my energy field relies on having this extra outdoor space to tag-on to itself, to feel closer to its naturally expanded state, which is not constricted indoors or sofa-bound but expansive and colourful but, in winter, I am forced to shrink back down into a more contracted version of myself, like it or not. All those birds and bees thriving in my garden reflect my own internal energy picking up in its verve in springtime, singing and birthing, feeding and playing…so, this isn’t “like “ how I am feeling, as some sort of elaborate metaphor, it actually IS me and to have anyone trample all over feels like a slap to the face, a kick in the guts, a personal abuse.

I guess you could say, its the ultimate “growing” test for me, in a way, as I have to be able to trust someone enough to allow them to come into my inner sanctum and help me to maintain it so that I can enjoy it for myself (work in progress as a stream of “sorry we can’t help” emails land in my inbox today). Perhaps I just need to become more open and positive in my imaginings of such a person and they will manifest in just the perfect timing, looking for a small job like mine, the begining of a working relationship. Perhaps, for me, this is how I make myself stronger through vulnerability the way others might do from sharing their innermost thoughts (I have no problems doing that but seeking practical help is my absolute weak spot). Perhaps with women gardeners I can dare to be more open about why I need their help…not the usual, formal, request for a quote. This is how we change the world, inch by inch, need by need, vulnerability by vulnerability, collaboration by collaboration.

In this taking solace from the garden aspect, I find also my father who “lived for” his garden though a shoehorn wouldn’t get him away from our home for even a night spent somewhere else (in fact, the garden was often his excuse). For me, its not the green-fingered approach (I’m not someone who relishes more than the most basic gardening tasks) but a deepest appreciation of the feeling of it, a need to just be out there in it, reading or painting or listening to the birds. Dad and I did that together too, sat wordlessly side-by-side for hour after hour, even on an overcast day, and at the time it sufficed for the hug that was always absent. After all, I didn’t know what I was missing, we just didn’t do that touching stuff in our family and we didn’t discuss the feeling stuff either, we just shared this space we called home and it felt safe, felt reliable, felt like who we were, collectively and in our independence of each other. I find a similar “vibe” in the homes of each of my siblings, like we have each carried a portion of it on…and, meanwhile, none of us even scratch the surface with each other; we just don’t seem to be able to do it at all, its all small talk and no real contact to be had. I suppose, as we step into each other’s houses (not that we do that often) the feeling is meant to suffice as the hug we would otherwise give, only the house and the hospitality does the unspoken hugging.

Am I too late to learn a different way to be with myself; is this old dog too old to learn new tricks? Will I ever know what its like to feel as contained and whole in myself as I do in an externalised place called home and which I hanker for with every cell of my being? Will those places that are “not home” always feel so alien, even threatening, to me to the point of making me ill? I am reminded of Dorothy at the point she realises the world often isn’t as roaringly terrifying as it all seems with its loud booms and its flashes of smoke (manifested by little men tucked behind the scenes) and that, while there really is no place like home, that home was never somewhere else but “somewhere” that is always with you. We find ourselves just the other side of the same common-or-garden rainbow that was always there right in front of us.

Have you ever been struck by how extraordinary and etheral a rainbow can make the most everyday scenes appear for a few moment, reminding us that there are other dimensions at work in every single moment? That happened to me just the other day when, after a gloomy dark day and not feeling well at all, wanting nothing more than to stay close to home and give in to the feeling, I somehow persuaded myself that a slow walk would do me more good than staying rooted to the sofa. Looking back at the dark sky as we crossed the common in wind and rain, a massive bowed rainbow appeared with the thickest end I have ever seen and that end came down right over the roof of my house, as broad as its entire roofline; something I would never had seen if I hadn’t persuaded myself to step out of it for a while. Yet I knew the feeling of home (and the beauty of the moment) was there with me looking back at the scene, not back there where I would have been oblivious to it. It was due to the wonderment I was able to feel because I know what home feels like, and that becomes a benchmark for resonant experiences, which then keeps us open and optimistically looking for the same frequency for as long as we live (and refusing to settle for less).

So, home is a frequency, not bricks and mortar. We might think we need to attach the feeling to a particular place, to guard it, fence it in…but what gave the place the rarified feeling we have long sought out, even caught glimpses of at different points in our lives? It was always us, our own heart-light turned up to its full beam, generating that feeling of landing back home, emmiting the frequency that not only serves us best but which enables us to radiate our own best-selves in a way that others are deeply and positively impacted by, without need for superfluous words or gestures (thank you parents for teaching me that). When in fear and dread, of course, that light is (at best) a very dim flicker, which can seem to corroborate our darkest fear that some outside force is here to invade our inner sanctuary and quash the light. What if, by realising the feeling of home is an immutable aspect of self, one that can’t be sullied or taken away, we can stop dreading these dips into the lower frequencies and spend more time in the higher ones, regardless of outer circumstances. As ever, for me, its work in progress but I feel I just made a significant step in the right direction.

Posted in Consciousness & evolution, Health & wellbeing, Life choices, Menu, Personal Development, Recovery chronic illness, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Magnificent contract

Our lives can sometimes feel like a contract we signed one night in a dimly lit bar, having had too many drinks…without checking the small print. Once signed into it, we can feel as though we spend all of our time trying to wiggle out of its constrictions, escaping through every bit of our guile and our many fixations (or addictions), trying to play the system, to soften the bonds that hold us to something that, often, feels “not quite right” like we landed in the wrong life. For more people than not, it can be a struggle.

I have this wonderful friend Mary who, ten years ago on Wednesday (24 March 2011) did her very utmost to get out of the contract of her life (in her own words, due to the “murky irreconcilability of the earthly and heavenly realms”, having yelled, in vain, for help reconciling metaphysical experiences she had been having for over 10 years) such that she sat down and, in the most premeditated of ways, swallowed 97 pain and sleeping pills with 3 glasses of wine over the course of 22 minutes.

The next morning, by some miracle, she woke up, in terrible pain…and one could argue (I’m sure she would argue) that the ten years since have been her best yet, through a process of wholesale expansion and exploration that has seen her give talks to hundreds of people and impact the life of even more through her work. I’m sharing nothing private here; you can read her incredible story in her book, soon to become a screenplay, The Unwitting Mystic and on her website and blog, also hear her unique brand of inspiration in countless interviews and videos. Yesterday, she celebrated her rebirth day with friends all over the world (and shared an inspirational post about what she has learned these few last years on Facebook; recommended reading).

So, we can wiggle out of our contract whenever we want…or can we? Not if its part of the contract that we live through all those doubts and stay away.

My own big breakthrough, or rebirth, moment also happened in March 2011, the 11th to be precise (and its interesting to me how both of our stories line up with quantum physicist Carl Calleman’s assertion that the Ninth Wave of Creation, a unity consciousness wave here to reconcile our polarities, started to activate that very month; look up my previous posts on “ninth wave” for more on this). At the time, I was really struggling to see the point at all, my body was in so much pain and dysfunction and had been for years, I had met nothing but hardships, abuse and trouble fitting into “normal” expectations, one after another, and above all my energy and morale, my very spark, was seriously waning.

In my case what then happened out of the blue, and I have described the experience many times before, was more like suddenly breaking out of an egg. One moment I was in the dark, feeling my way through it all from some deeply subjective experience. Suddenly, I had broken out of that “egg” in a golden glow of new perception and could see it all, even my part in it.

I guess you could say, I saw the contract laid out on the table and, from then, it made it all so much easier to be alive; in fact, I no longer questioned it but took on every challenge with a new curiosity. I no longer felt as though “something else” was holding me captive against my will in a dysfunctional plot line of a life because I could see, so clearly, that the “signature” on it was mine. I had underwritten it, every word.

In other words, I had agreed, wholeheartedly, to have this particular human experience, with all that entails including the ups and downs. It changed everything for me, on a pin head.

Over the intervening ten years, while Mary was becoming a nun in India, meeting the Dalai Lama, setting up her charity, writing a book, talking to crowds of people, all over America and beyond, about love and fearlessness and embracing life, you could say mixing the metaphysical with a wonderfully grounded route to bringing that into the everyday lives of other people, I was conducting my own unique method of standing with one foot in each of the two camps that I now regarded as part of the human experience.

Or, it often looked like, I was vascillating (wildly) between expansive metaphysical enquiry, which is really a case of “just knowing” all we needed to know and reminding ourselves…and the continued direction of my human parts, where life can still feel so limited, confusing and very hard to swallow. If unity was the aim of this newly awoken awareness of my diversity then I was struggling to hold it all in without feeling torn assunder.

In the part that was still in the thick of the experience and which liked to analyse and disect (or which saw no other option if I was to “get to the bottom” of my experiences), much like in the short story “Exhalation” (Ted Chiang) mentioned in a previous post, it was as though I set about constructing an elaborate periscope with which to view the back of my own head and take my brain apart, bit by bit, looking for signs of consciousness “in action” within the human construct. At the other end of my scale, I already felt what consciousness was…was riding on its metaphysical currents which, in those first few years, I became quite addicted to, spending more time out there than perhaps was balanced for someone with family responsibilities…but in this other, uber analytical, place, I wanted to get down into the nitty gritty of myself, to look under every stone and to figure out why so much struggle, such pain and conflict in the human situation.

At times, I became so abstract in my spiritual seeking it was hard to ground myself but then, by focusing on all the details, fixating on the process of scrutiny, I could bring myself back down to earth with an incentive…into a body that fascinated as well as bewildered me with its range of capacity for such magnificence and joy, yet so much pain. In fact, the source of my pain only ever seemed to get more diverse, more intense and perplexing, as though the enquiry (meant to fill the hole) had only been digging it wider…the very same soil I was using to fill one hole of enquiry creating yet another hole for me to peer into.

So, over the exact decade now since my wake-up, life for me has been a constant see-saw with one player onboard, having to run from one end of the see-saw to the other to keep it moving. Times when I’ve found balance have been few and far between…more so, even, than before I “woke up”, I suspect, because the polarities I incorporate only seemed to become more and more diverse, thus spaced-out, from each other the more I explored myself. The only way I could ever meet myself, in balance, was to sit in the exact centre of the see-saw but that, of course, ceased its momentum and, as per my earlier post, I suspect there is a kind of existential dread around that moment, as though to aim for it is to hasten one’s own death. Because, of course, once everything harmonises, equilibrium achieved, we know the “show” is over.

(Or, perhaps, something completely new is birthed by the same unfathamoable impulse that birthed our present universe out of “nothing”.)

So, I guess you could even say, my resistance of balance (perhaps all of our resistance of balance) is proof of life. We clearly want to be here or we would not tip ourselves off-balance so vehemently, giving it all we’ve got!

Meanwhile, those two “ends” of me, in equal proportion to each other, still feel irritated and challenged by their opposite part, if not quite so irreconcilable as they once were. They are like incompatible classmates forced to work together on a project, teeth gnashing, arguing over the protocol though, at some other level, they don’t really mind each other either. Yet, when they work together, even fleetingly, they somehow manage to collaborate on demarking the edges of a kind of vastness that is universal….a mirror to the very universe they strive to come to terms with, each in their own way. One says “I’m way out here, walking the perimeter, looking out for new territory over the edges” and the other one, not to be out done, hollers “and I’m way over here, way off the centre, exploring something mindblowing”. Together, they are both aspects of me, and I love them both equally.

By the way, I once spent some time trying to shut down my hyper analytical, left-brained, “egoic” part, (as though it was “wrong”), as we are often told to do in spiritual circles, but it didn’t feel right to turn on myself so vehemently and, besides, the more I tried to do that, the more abstract I became which only took me way off balance!

So I have come to accept myself as a mirror of universal vastness (as we all are) and it is in the accepting of this that I have finally unleashed just so many of the hints and clues to it that I had, for so long, suppressed as the “socially inappropriate traits” of my neurodiversity. Ironic, really, since the acronym VAST (variable attention stimulus trait ) is my latest, acquired, label in the attempt to better understand myself, and no other label ever fit me more exactly. If I seem fidgety and inconsistent, you could say “all over the place”, it’s because I am. Its because I swallowed a universe before I came here…and I know it. Aham Brahmasmi (Sashkrit) = “I Am the universe”.

In fact, we all swallowed that same universe, but not all of us realise it yet…though more and more people are getting there. I suspect neurodiverse individuals are just one step ahead of the game in realising this, mapping out the all-inclusive diversity of the universe in action and, the more diversity we allow in the world, the more everyone gets to notice it in plain sight. As above, so below.

More and more of us are having metaphysical experiences than ever; and, thankfully, the support systems are starting to appear so we can have those and still not loose our footing in a more grounded life (unlike ten years ago). Dare I say, it is becoming more commonplace to experience the exceptional, a dichotomy if I ever heard one, which is how we get to bring more and more of our universal aspects into life, in order to dig our dominantly logical wheel out of the muck and get this two-sided cart rolling again. We need both sides to get ourselves to the next way stop.

We each swallowed the entire universe, a souvenir from our origins, right before we signed the contract to come here to see what it feels like to make that universe compact enough to contain within a human body, an experience and a micro world. So, if we don’t always seem to fit into ourselves, if we spew over its edges, is there any wonder? We are all the more courageous and determined and awesome than we give ourselves credit for, even for trying. When we get out of bed (again), shake ourselves down and s-q-u-e-e-z-e ourselves into that tight fitting body-suit to give it another go (as in, being the vastness of a universe in a localised, limited circumstance) we are little miracles in action, every single day of the week.

It takes a magnificent contract, fuelled by a cosmic impulse (underwritten by ourselves), to attach us to all this so we don’t disappear off at the first hurdle…really, a contract-ion, as in, we have to pull ourselves into our smallest part, an unfeasible-sounding experiment, the eye of a needle. So when we feel excruciating pain, feel limited and small, feel hopelessness, unable to see a way out, when it feels as agonising as trying to ram something vast into a small, rigid box and slamming the lid on before it can escape then, yes, this is it, this is what contraction feels like…and is an experience we contracted to have, in order to get to know ourselves better.

So, recognising that and bringing the knowing of it into the very situations where it is most needed is a breakthrough; such as, “today I am in unfathomable pain…so I allow that it is just a contraction taking place, without having to know exactly why it occurred”, then doing what we can to minimise the discomfort, staying watchful for ways that we might be feeding the contraction with certain thoughts and attitudes. Doing all this really helps us to not to get so invested in the inevitable contractions of life as much as we used to be. It’s all just pain, a hurdle, just a passing moment; and this too shall pass.

Yet it is also a valuable reminder that, in order to hurt so very much, we must be the very vastness we have temporarily forgotten or denied. Because, if we were really as small and helpless as we often dread we are, there would be no struggle or pain whenever life seemed to limit us. We would just suck it up…instead of feeling so very much discomfort and resistence at the attempted limitation, which is because we feel our vastness shouting back at us that this is not who we are; it does not define us.

And what contracts must, by the laws of the universe, also expand…which is what awaits us the very moment we glimpse the potential for expansion, even for a second, like the inevitable out breath for the in breath…of life.

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