Monday, 28 February 2011


The purpose of life is joy.  Isn't that just the most fabulous thought? Don't those simple few words just make your heart swell and sing with happiness? Just the very idea of that thought feels good.

That something feels that good, is not to be sniffed at.  When some random thought or idea feels good to you, and sometimes really, really good, do you not wonder why? And when some other thought or idea does not feel good, for no reason of which you are particularly aware, do you not then also wonder why?

Could it be that our feelings, our emotions, are trying to tell us something? Or if not actively trying to tell us, then perhaps gently guiding us? Gently giving us a system of guidance by which to live what can seem like our very complex, difficult, painful, confused lives?

How many times have you, like myself, um-ed and ah-ed over which decision to make, which turn to take, which action to make? The agonies one puts oneself through when trying to decipher 'right' from 'wrong', 'good' from 'bad'.  Have you read up on a subject? Sought the opinions of others? Consulted an expert? Written your own lists of pros and cons?

I find it intoxicating (in a really exciting, thrilling, hallelujah-esque way) that I might already have all the guidance I need for any possible dilemma, there, right inside me, all the time; that in fact there really is only one question: does it, whatever it is, feel good?

What's that old doctor joke?

A man walks into the doctor's consulting room. 
MAN: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.. (man demonstrates)
DOCTOR: Well, don't do it then.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Dark Words

To deal with the darkness outside, you must first deal with the darkness inside.  One of those pretty sentences, that seem to offer so much insight and illumination (pun intended), and yet actually lie pretty thin on the ground, hiding behind the elegance of the language.  Often this type of writing is praised, and from a beauty of language point of view, I understand.  From the point of view of furthering human understanding, I'm not sure it adds very much.  Many people who put pen to paper, or finger to keypad, are lauded for this kind of thing, when in fact they are simply not criticised because readers feel intimidated and unsure of the meaning of the words, but instead of thinking their lack of understanding comes from a fault of the writer, they take it upon themselves and assume their own ignorance or lack of mental capacity.

So let's unpick it.  One reading would be that it is essentially saying that it is harder (not impossible) to deal with trouble outside of yourself, in your relationships with others and the wider world, if you are troubled within.  Well, if you are troubled by things inside, your judgement or ability to see things objectively (as objectively as any of us can from our by-definition-subjective view point) will presumably be hampered because you are coming at the thing outside with so much more baggage.  Baggage is a weight to carry, you lean into it, and away from the direct view.

Another reading could be that the darkness outside is in some way caused by the darkness inside, therefore deal with what it is inside, and you simultaneously deal with what is outside.  Two birds with one stone and all that.  Or in fact there is only one bird in the first place...  And what is this dark bird? This darkness? 'Trouble' as I said before?  Conflict? Confusion? Unhappiness? Anything that doesn't feel 'right' or good? Perhaps simply dark as opposed to light...un-illuminated in contrast to illuminated.

And how illuminated by these words do I feel now? Not very.  They sound nice, but the intended reading is not clear.  Beware dark, unclear words.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Lessons come from the strangest of quarters, and when one least expects them.

This last week I have had so much on my mind.  I have been troubled by what I should do, when I should do it, why I should do it.  In being caught up in these trials and tribulations in my mind, I know I have been less present in the moment.  In the pits of my grief and my fear and my anxiety, I have sunk down and left the surface.  In my focus on future possibilities and happenings, I have all but abandoned the now.  Apart from myself, who is my Now? My little girl is.  I have gone through the motions of parental care this week, but I have not fully inhabited them.  I have been short with her, where my mind has been occupied with other matters, and my heart divided.  In the absence of being able to tell her how I really feel, what I am really thinking about, how my heart has been troubled and hurting, I have scolded her for an untidy bedroom, and been impatient with her with one thing after another.

Tonight, my daughter, my gorgeous little girl, taught me a lesson...gently and lovingly.  After my own supper and evening, I came upstairs to check that she was settled and asleep, as I usually do.  She normally plays quietly on her own in her room before going to sleep, perhaps listening to a story on disc.  Generally making even more mess to be tidied up the next day.  Tonight, things were different.  Tonight, when I silently entered her room, I saw an entirely different scene.  My little girl had used her play time, her own private lovely time when she does as she wishes in the privacy of her own room, to tidy that room.  The floor was completely clear, toys were neat and ordered, desk tidy.  I know how long that would have taken her...all of her own time.  Then, she had gone one step further.  There, in the centre of her floor, was a little person laid out in the guise of her school uniform, pants and socks, all neatly arranged, ready for tomorrow.

My daughter herself was tucked up in her bed, clutching her teddy bear, fast asleep.  After completing her task, she had put herself neatly and uncomplainingly to bed.  Quietly, I kissed her cheek, her forehead, tears flowing without sound, as I thanked my little angel for teaching me a lesson.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Obstructing Your Self

If you were to see a great gushing stream, and decide to stick your hand in it to push the water and make it flow better, what would happen?

Even as you moved your hand through the water, the water behind your hand would find it an obstacle to its direct progress.  The water in front of your hand could go no faster because of the weight of water in front of it, and if anything would falter because your hand, the obstacle, is preventing the water behind it from steadily pushing it on.

You would be messing with the currents, messing with the flow.  The same is true of creativity, but it is the hand of self-consciousness, of fear, of stress....we try to meddle with the creativity (whatever the form it might take, and I include simply responding to new situations in our daily life) because we are focused on the outcome, be that social or professional, or egotistical.  In so doing, we obstruct exactly the creativity we want. 

A person's health shows a similar phenomenon.  'Bad' health is easy to define in terms of injury, disease, illness, pathology.  What is 'good' health? It is the absence of all those things, but a description of absence is not a description of the thing itself.  Health is what we have already, we don't need to contrive it...when it is 'bad', it simply means there is something in conflict, something in the way of our natural state.

Too much preparation is often observed to be counter-productive.  Again it is obstructing, it is trying to mould what cannot be moulded.  Be yourself.  Spontaneously.  Your creativity is there, your job is not to mess with it -  being honestly in the moment as much as possible, enjoying the wonderful flow, responding spontaneously from a place of far greater integrity. 

Be yourself.  (Everybody else is already taken).