Wednesday, 27 January 2016

I've had small problems with my health over the past couple of years, exhaustion mainly, which turned out to be severe anaemia which meant monthly trips to the doctor and a hospital referral. That referral led to another referral within the hospital as I was diagnosed with the beginnings of bone thinning and so I ended up in the endocrine clinic with symptoms of an over active parathyroid. The doctor I saw was very good, he could sense my reluctance when he offered me an operation, and gave me four months leeway. My feeling was that if I could give myself rest and live within the means of my energy levels I might be able to stave off surgery. I wanted to keep my body intact, I felt that if my parathyroids were a bit hyper then the chances were/are that they were working to balance an imbalance in my life that ran deeper than a small gland getting a bit het up. 
Yesterday I went for my follow up appointment, I was anxious and psyching myself to beg him for another four months as the thought of general anaesthetic and being under the knife scares the be-jesus out of me. 
But, wonderfully, and as a confirmation that intuition is my finest sense, as I sat down the doctor asked me what I'd been doing. So I told him. And he said, "well whatever it is you've been doing it's worked".  We then had an discussion about chinese medicine (my subject) and the four humours (his) and the marriage between modern and ancient medicine practices and how complimentary medicine (shiatsu, acupuncture, homeopathy ...) can meet and support the national health service. 
This led us briefly into discussion about how our government under David Cameron and George Osborne seems to be actively working to destroy the national health service. It's a strange thing because Cameron's own child, being severely disabled, benefitted hugely from the system he is now working so hard to break. Why would he do that ? What kind of man denies another the care source from which he has so heavily drawn ? Who knows ? Only David Cameron can answer that question.
But I woke this morning thinking about my conversation with the doctor and also about the Buddhas of Bamiyan in afghanistan that the taliban blew up in 2001 I wondered if  a comparison could be drawn between governments like our own who are wilfully dismantling all that is best about our country, and groups like the taliban and isis who similarly seem to have a great need  to break that which is good for no better reason than a desire to dominate. 
So that doesn't sound too crazy great but I think that the best in man has a way of breaking through - lux lucet in tenebris. In 2015 Janson Yu and Liyan Hu created a 3d light installation in the hollows that had once contained the Bamiyan Buddhas .
Now I have no religion and in some ways I am quite nihilistic about the fate of the human as a species being perhaps more deep-green than green. However I found this story uplifting in that it represented to me the impotence of governments against spirit. Bodies can be broken, spirits too, but a pin prick of light can penetrate darkness and hold it to account. And therein lies the soft spot on the dragons belly. 
I guess that on that note it is perhaps up to each of one of us like the who's in Horton Hears a Who to be that pin prick of light, to be a who. That is the choice we have maybe in a world that seems to be being overwhelmed by the "dark forces". 
So ends my thought for the day

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

By chance I won a prize. A beautiful box of notions from Merchant and Mills. I never win prizes normally. I think my postman thought I was a little nuts getting excited about needles and things but he smiled anyway.

Friday, 8 January 2016

I hadn't been to Southwold for a good two and a half years, there were ghosts there that I hadn't the courage to face. Maybe I shouldn't have worried, although most of memories are linked to a lost love, the ghosts were in the main warm and friendly. We'd had many good walks along the beach, up and down the pier, and by the estuary harbour. It was his childhood beach and so it was an honour to have shared time with him there and it was through him that I got to know that stretch of coast. 
Returning made me realise what a magical gift it is to be able to share life with another person. Okay so it was long ago and sadly no more but how lucky I was for those few years to be so in wrapped in love. 
Enough. Here are some photographs

Coming in to a new year is an opening, there are many new years in a year, anniversaries, birthdays, school years, celebrations and festivals moments that mark a return to a place within a cycle. January 1st is one of those that is well entrenched in western psyche, I don't know if it is as big a deal in other cultures. Towards the end of 2015 I began to think of new years resolutions, this is something I've done for years, it's a common tradition and a decade or so back my resolutions would be things like paint bathroom, fix gutters, tidy house, listen to more music, learn a language .. you catch my drift. Slowly over time I took on less tick boxy goals and started to think about who I wanted to be so one year I recall I wanted to be more disciplined, often I ask myself to be kinder or softer. These things took me towards the place I'm at now where my resolutions lean into sankalpa, a notion I came across last year  through one of my yoga teachers. A sankalpa is a setting of intention. An intention is, to me, more fluid than my old resolutions which bore more resemblance to a business plan. Both these forms are useful but whilst a business plan tends to set my sights firmly in the future my sankalpa offers me respite and inspiration in the space I am currently occupying. That space is not really limited by time. The sankalpa I set myself last year will, I know, continue to be a source for me. The sharp measuring of time is a peculiarly human thing I think, the more creature I become, the more my time is mapped out by day and night, by light, by weather, by flowers and birdsong and stars, by fox calls, feelings and scents in the air. 
The beginning of the roman calendar in january feels like a deep sigh, another year is done, another christmas has passed, winter may not quite be over but the days are starting to lengthen and the timbre of the birdsong slightly shifts. 
For the past couple of years or so one of my lovely yoga teachers has marked certain turning points in the year with what she calls a "yoga immersion". This involves getting up at the crack of dawn for a week of yoga classes. The immersions really do what the name says. They are a dip in an ocean. An ocean of universal being. They are wake and shine experience that I'd recommend to anyone.   
Living on the east side of Britain, I'm not in close contact with an ocean but I am not far from the North Sea. The sea is really where I find my home, for some it is mountains, or rivers, or woodlands, and all these places are wonderful but it is when salt and sand hit my nose and the sound of waves fills my ears that I find my deepest sense of belonging. So I figured that after a week of immersing myself in yoga, a long-craved beach walk was in order.