Wednesday, 31 May 2017

O.k so back to the more heavy duty stuff.. the thinking behind the making. I'm aware that my posts this month have been emotional and I've been really touched by friends who have made contact and asked if I'm ok. I am. 
For me, the difficult bit is when I am struggling, when I'm putting on a face to mask uncomfortable emotions whatever they might be, when I'm trying to persuade myself and other people that a situation which isn't ok is ok. Because it is hard to acknowledge a thing is wrong when you want passionately for it to be right, or other to how it is. 
And because it is hard to look truth in the eye I am loathe to belittle my negative experiences because they are not so bad as other peoples, or, because they happened a long time ago. I know I am lucky on many many levels, that my small misfortunes are counterbalanced by good fortune too. I also know that my times that have been hard have taught me much and I am thankful for those lessons learned tho' I would rather not repeat them. 
There is discomfort in exposing myself, exposing my weakness, my vulnerability, my loser-qualities. There's a voice in me saying "what a silly fuss about nothing" "stop making a fuss" "other people go through much worse and they aren't writing stupid blogs and going on about things that happened years ago and aren't important anymore" even "eeeeuw, how creepy, why are you going on about a man who dumped you years ago get over yourself he didn't want you, so what" or "why are you causing a shadow to fall on your family when the whole thing is ancient history, what a bad person you are". 
The self-criticism has some validity, but it disregards feelings in me that are not resolved. Writing out my feelings is a way to resolve feelings that were overwhelming when they were happening, too overwhelming to address or understand, by giving them light and air,  by uncovering them, I am able to find a way through, to make sense of things that, tho' long ago, are still troubling. I guess that writing them out is a form of unburdening. 
I have written about this person, that person, and so and so, who did me wrong, but how about if I turn the spotlight on myself ? Am I a saint ? Certainly not. Have I got things wrong ? Yes. So, can I bear my own flaws ? And is it fair or just or reasonable to ask of another a perfection that I am unable to offer in return ? Who can offer perfection ? What is perfection ? 
So maybe that's a starting point for a little think about unconditional love, and conditional love, and where they meet and where they part. There is an ideal in my head when I think about love, it feels like flight, unbound, expansive, free. When I have fallen in love this is how it feels, limitless. 
But  limits pretty soon begin to make themselves felt. At first they feel quite inconsequential, certainly bearable, for the brilliance, the wonder, of loving another is something too great to be thrown away casually for small misdemeanours or awkwardnesses. But after a while the conditions begin to set in for both parties. We begin to learn what is and isn't ok with the other, we begin to learn each other's needs and boundaries and if we like the other enough we bend around that other, we tailor our needs to meet that other, it's how socially co-operative people function, relationships thrive on it. We give, we take, and it all kind of balances out in the end. But what if the meeting points become too uneasy, begin to constrict, bind, tie, murder another's being. At what point is it ok to let go because the lover asks too much of the lovee.
The love I offer another can only ever be as great as the love I offer myself. When I feel dingy and drawn in, paralysed by my inadequacies, I beg my love to feed me, to give me succour because I am unable to succour myself and this tips the balance. And it works the other way too. Ideally the balance is mostly quite level, care is met by care according to circumstance and need. 
It is easier to love a place, an activity, an animal, a thing than it is to love a person, I think, because we place different expectations on them. I do not ask my favourite beach to love me back, when I take the walk from Burnham Overy Staithe along the sea wall to the point and along the beach to Holkham, and back again, I feel at one with the beach but am accepting of it as it is. I have seen it in sunshine, wind, rain and thunderstorms, even snow, I have seen it in winter, spring, summer and autumn, at every stage of my life, from baby to now, I have been there at dawn and dusk, morning and afternoon, tho' not at night.
My point is that in my person to person interactions I am more demanding, these demands are the conditions that I place on my love, and in setting those conditions I begin to cage my love. And it is likely my love is doing the same to me. What makes one relationship work, and another not ? I am not just talking about lovers, but all the variations of human contact, parent, child, sibling, friend, teacher, student, housemate. Is it the ability of the parties to meet each other, to accommodate and compromise, but how do we know when we have compromised ourselves too far, been a little too accommodating. 
I return to the point that love best thrives when there is equality. I love myself and I love you. Your behaviour does not limit or damage my wellbeing, and my behaviour does not limit or damage your wellbeing. 
But two people will not have exactly the same needs. So a mother of a newborn will mostly put her needs aside for her baby, and so it continues through childhood, if the newborn is not the first or only child another balancing act is required as the mother cares for both children's different needs, this puts strain on the all the relationships, suddenly that thread which ran from one to one, is being tugged by another whose call is just as imperative. And this is the nature of life. It is not only about one. Or one and one. 
Maintaining equilibrium between two people in a world in motion calls for attention, with adult to adult connections there's a hope that the thread between two people can be allowed to go slack and picked up without too much care. Often the test of longterm friendship is the re-meeting after months or sometimes years and the capacity to drop easily into each other's company. 
But coming back to the notion of unconditional love, what is it ? Do I love myself unconditionally ? And if not how unconditional is the love I offer and give ? Way back when I was a teenager I went to my local buddhist centre to learn meditation, heaven knows why I chose to do that, it wasn't trendy or cool, so I am guessing it was intuitive because I have used the two meditations I was taught thirty three years ago ever since. They are simple practices; one is a breathing meditation, counting, or becoming aware of, the breath as you breathe in and then as you breathe out, and then as you breathe in and out. and the other was the meta bhavana which, as I was taught then, is to first extend goodwill towards myself, then a good friend, then a not well known someone whose path crosses yours, then a person you are struggling with, and then to your close neighbours and out and out and out to all beings, all things, the meditation is limited only by the space you are able to give it. But, and here's the big but, It is surprising how hard it is to offer oneself goodwill. and the part that calls for good will towards someone who is a problem picks up on that. I would highly recommend both these meditations they really are life-savers.
Why is it so hard to love one's self, to extend goodwill towards one's self. Self love doesn't get a very good press, it is tagged to arrogance and narcissism and selfishness. But self love is also confidence, self respect and a person who values them self appropriately is generally more likely to give value and respect to others. Respect, for me, is really key to good relationships. Without respect how can I trust you. Respect is not about tight rules but about consideration, awareness, understanding my otherness, and me understanding your otherness. I guess this is a condition I put on my love. Respect protects both parties allows safe interaction. And feeling safe allows me to drop my guard, to be more free, more comfortable, happier, with another, more able to love, to give, to care. If I can be unguarded, vulnerable, with you it is likely that you mean a lot to me. 
So back to love, under conditions or not. The piece I'm making for Cley is called Love is Long Road. I've had all sorts of thoughts about what I am trying to put into the piece and only when it is standing on site will I know if I have done what I intended to do. Since having my proposal accepted last winter I have been in deep contemplation on the nature of love. What I think, is, that we all know when we are in the presence of love. We know when we meet people who love each other, there is a comfort in their company, they glow, I'm talking about lovers yes, but also families, friends, even workplaces and play-spaces. It's a feeling. I have not yet been able to articulate in words that feeling, even the word "love" is too solid to encapsulate the feeling I am sure is love in me. I love words but they are a difficult medium and I am still learning how to use them, sometimes when they fail me, or I fail them, creative play becomes a sanctuary, another way of telling stories. Sometimes those stories are for my own comfort and only a few close friends will see them. Sometimes for public display.
Public display of feelings is peculiar. It disarms both actor and witness. So thank you to all the people who have read my recent blogs, and to my closest friends and family who bear with me when I teeter on the edge of madness. Thank you for allowing me to be weird and vulnerable. Thank you for allowing me to be fragile and uneasy. Thank you for letting me make a fuss about nothing. Being seen makes a difference. Bearing witness makes a difference. Love is a long road. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

So I've just got through the first weekend of opening up my workspace to the public as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios event. It's an interesting experience. I'm a bundle of nerves before hand, full of self doubt but by and large most visitors are lovely, some just drop in and that's fine, but others really engage and that's a delight. And then also friends come, and mostly they don't see my work laid out and on display because mostly I am doing and showing and when we meet we talk about other things that aren't work. I had thirty five human visitors and a family of chaffinches came pretty much up to my door lintel just before I opened on Saturday morning and a little red dragon fly came in and went out, these visitors felt like auspicious omens. I was very tired on Sunday evening I'm reclusive and solitary by nature and meeting people burns me up a little. But it's very much worth the trouble, it's good to get feedback on work, and to see what people like and respond to and what gets ignored. Anyways for my records I thought I'd post pictures of how my workspace looks this year

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Wanting to blog but not sure what to say so going to post pictures today and maybe tomorrow as I rootle out the the bits and pieces that are marks on the creative journey I have taken to get to where I am now. This third part of the triptych, Love is a Long Road has proved as challenging as the previous two, has brought me hard up against memories and feelings good and bad. I've been in deep contemplation about unconditional love and I've barely even started to put words to the thoughts I have about that and I am still in the midst of putting thoughts to the feelings, so will blog about that when my stream of thought begins to run clearer. For now I am asking questions about conditional and unconditional love. More about that another day. 
For now, pictures. I won't explain I'll just drop them on to the page. Their being there makes sense to me and I am going to be arrogant and say that is good enough reason for me to post them in my blog notebook, explanation may or may not come later.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Following on from the last post, which on re-reading I realise I left a little bit in the air, I've been thinking about attachment. I'm not sure where to start as I have thoughts swarming through my head so I'll start out with something fairly simple. 
Why would I carry an attachment to a lousy ex who gave me no love for years, put me down and took me apart, who reduced me to nothing, a man whose moods I so feared that if the sun failed to shine and I was due to see him my heart would race because I knew he'd be in a filthy temper and would destroy me as soon as he could. He was never violent, didn't shout or rage, for that I am thankful, but he had a cruel tongue and his silences were dark and freezing cold, I do not imagine I was the first or last of his girlfriends to feel the knife of his ill humour administered with care where it would do most damage. So why hold on to that ? He set me free, he let me go. I should just be grateful. 
I am grateful, but also sad. Because it wasn't always so nasty, of course it wasn't. When we met, as I have written over and over again, it was beautiful, a dream come true, I thought "this handsome man wants me". In hindsight I can see warning signs, but who pays attention to those things when a lover is more often than not wearing their best clothes, bringing flowers, throwing out compliments, when days together are spent in hazy bliss, held hands and I-love-you's.
Those good times created a deep attachment. When a relationship comes to an end there's a certain amount of relief, even if it is also a crushing blow, because the chances are if it has ended that things were not really right and that one or both parties were not wholly there. With Jon, for instance, it was fantastic not to have to worry about the sun not shining any more (see above). I mean there was never anything I could have done about the sun not shining but I sure as hell knew it'd be me getting it because he was fed up about the weather. While we were together I'd learned how to jiggle around him, I'd taken to avoiding him when he would definitely be unkind, a week or so either side of him seeing his daughter he would be pure poison. It was nice not to have to work around that. 
But I was nostalgic for our good times, the miles and miles of walking we did together, in Yorkshire, Devon, Cornwall, Kent, Wales, Italy and Shropshire, as well as Norfolk and Suffolk our home territory. 
And I missed the ordinariness of our lives, eating tea on the sofa on a Saturday evening watching tv with him - rugby or Doctor Who or whatever was least awful, waking up together and making love. I missed the omelette and fried potatoes he'd cook me for breakfast if he was happy. I missed having sex with him. Forgive me, too much information. 
But those things are attachments. When he left he was familiar. I knew him. I knew how to move around him. It is true he could make things nasty but if you love someone enough you find a way round their foibles. We are all flawed. He wasn't perfect, I wasn't perfect, we weren't perfect, but for me, at that point, I still wanted to share my time with him. My desire to stay with him was vain and selfish I see in retrospect. I had an idea of who we might be together I think, and clearly he did not share the picture I had drawn in my head because he wanted out. 
This I think is where attachment and love get a bit tangled up; did I love him ? or did I love a him I wanted him to be ? Do other people do that too, decide how things should be and then when things turn out differently, struggle to adapt to a reality which can compare badly at first glance with disney-fantasy-land we had in our minds as the ideal. 
But by the same token reality is more sensual and less ethereal. It's the difference between going to Venice and looking at pictures of Venice. I've never been to Venice, it's one of my fantasies. One day I will, and it will be a fragment of time in my life when I flick through my past. For now it is an imagined fragment, more beautiful, or less beautiful, but not real. Will I go alone or with a companion, a lover or friend. I had told Jon of my longing to go there and he slightly broke the place for me because he went with someone else a year or so after we had split. I think if I go there his ghost may be present in the walls and walkways. But he will be one of many ghosts, and I too will leave my visiting spirit print. 
Ack, Jon again, why am I wittering on about him, I think there is an element of exorcism going on. But that aside, our identity, yes that old chestnut, is wrapped up in our attachments, so when someone, or something has been important to us for a long period of time, or is really just part of our being, it is very hard to let go of that attachment. Attachments can be deleterious but still held tight simply because we are used to them and have become set like rock around them.
It's one of those things, sometimes a person might play a role within a social group - a family maybe, or a friendship circle. Their being that person is part of what holds the group stable. If they seek to change the group may put up quite some resistance to that change because when one changes, it may be that all the other parts/parties may have to change. Some changes are predictable and desirable like kids growing up and leaving home, others less so. Sometimes changes can be quite subtle, a person who always said yes begins to say no. This can be surprising and challenging, and cause some upset to people who are used to assent. 
In my last post, I wrote about when my two oldest children were small, it was a stretch of time which has given me sharp edges. I woke early this morning thinking about it, thinking about why I am so anxious about the imminent uk general election. My anxiety levels are not appropriate to my current situation and so my feeling is that they are a response to the trauma of being abandoned by my family and being a young single parent with two small children, really hanging on the mercy of an unmerciful government and the kindness of strangers. Somehow we got through and it taught me a lot, is in many ways the bedrock of my being and possibly a big thing in my daughters life too tho' I cannot really speak for her. I suppose I could say I am attached to that experience. It is a part of me.
Perhaps attachment to experiences is another thing that creates our identity. In my heart I wish I was a traveller, I'm not, I have only ever lived in Norfolk, to date. I am, to be frank, a little stuck. I think I am ashamed of only having lived in one place. I want to test myself to see how I fare making a new a life, in another place. And yet. And yet I also love my home and am loathe to disturb the peace, my home is my sanctuary, when I go away I am always pleased to come home.  And Norwich is a wonderful place to live, there are great people here, brilliant yoga and dance teachers, a lively arts community, the coast is close and beautiful. I am working out how to make my dreams of travel possible and I am sure I will make it happen presently. But I want to do it gently. Maybe I am living in cloud cuckoo land, maybe travel isn't like that, maybe it is disruptive by nature, a pushing out into new territory. I don't know. I guess when we travel a part of our baggage is our selves. Any way I think that's a digression. But perhaps an important note to myself a setting down of intention.
All the links we make to people, places, things etc become embedded in our being, this place, that place, this book, those shoes, that song, those people ... they are a part of our story. Each one of us is a story. A story that here and there ties up with anther's story and then looses or doesn't. I would say I have had a lucky life really, here and there an upset but in my now I am surely fortunate. When we tell stories about ourselves or other people we are creating a fixed narrative. But shifts and deviation are inevitable, it's the joy of story, it is gorgeously mutable. It is gorgeously mutable but I suppose it's because I work in 3d and because I am fascinated by how time and wear change things I like to make sure I look at things from various angles, up close, and from a distance, and over time. I think history tends to be judge of our lives in the end. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ok, so here goes again. I am wading through heavy water, neck deep it feels at times. A creative block that feels like nowhere, something like stage fright, petrification. In a week or so I am opening up my work space as part of the local open studios event and a part of me is wondering who the hell I think I am. I hope if people visit I do not disappoint too much. 
And then after that this piece for the NNEP exhibition at Cley that I am working on, which maybe I have been standing too close by to really see. It's an annual exhibition which I have long aspired to be part of perhaps that too is forcing me up against myself, a desperate need to impress , to come up to the mark. What mark ? A mark I have set for myself that feels too high, too hard a hurdle.   
So I thought maybe another splurge of words might help. I can't bear to read the previous posts which felt like a fever and sickness when I wrote them, better out than in, but not pretty or sweet at all, not lovely. So, if I repeat myself apologies.
Something I've been pondering lately are those age old questions; who am I ? what is life all about ? what is the meaning of life ? where am I heading ? and so on .. I am surely not alone in pondering these questions  and they are all questions that don't really have an answer I think. They stem maybe from a loneliness and desire for companionship, or maybe not, maybe the desire for companionship stems from the lack of resolution, the inability to solve the problem, maybe another mind would make all the difference, maybe they would know more, maybe I just don't have the answers and need some other input to make sense of life, that old adage two heads are better than one springs to mind. 
Maybe I'll make things simple for myself and begin with just one, who am I ? who are you ? hell-fire how hard is that question to answer ? I am a mother, a grandmother, a daughter but somehow because my relationship to my parents is not very close that feels less important, a sister (not important at all my sisters and I don't speak), I am a friend, I think and hope that I am a good friend to some. I am an artist, woah, what does that mean ? Artists can be quite funny about that title especially artists with traditional skills who can define themselves by their field, they are painters, printers, sculptors, potters and so on, the chances are they do other things too but their skill in one particular area/craft gives them a credibility I daren't call for myself. I make things, I fiddle about, I play, I think, I think a lot, I'm not sure that counts as art but it is very much a part of what I do. But there is not great call in todays world  for thinkers unless they can give their thoughts saleable form. 
The "who am I ?" question is about identity I guess, I've begun with my closest relationships, and gone on to what I would say I do if someone asked me that dread question "what do you do ?" 
But is what I do or who I relate to the sum of me. Am I that photograph I like that was taken when I was younger and prettier, am I that ? am I what other people see in me ? am I the clothes I wear ? the people I spend time with ? the things I do ? places I hang ? I think I am all those things. Is that why when my lover, from so many years ago, left me without a second thought it felt like I'd been ripped in two. Is that why for four years I felt like there were two me's, the one living my reality, and another, a ghost of me, tracing the footsteps that had seemed so sure, so perfectly possible ? It's as if the momentum of those steps just kept going, my spirit path following tracks that had in fact been blocked by his decision to leave. Do I regret that he left, how can I  ? The real me carried on, I remember his last email in response to my asking what was going on. That the story he'd spun me about his move being a new start for us was empty words. It was a new start for us but separate, I was in the discard pile, no longer welcome in his world. He said he really just wanted me to be "a friend to fuck" .. I loved him .. I couldn't be that person .. my nature isn't brutal enough to play that game. 
Being dumped is always horrible, being dumped, being fired, being shunned, these things are set deep within most of us as unhappy events. Social isolation is dangerous for the human as an animal, most of us are too weak to thrive, or even survive, alone. 
But alone we are, alone we are born and alone we die. Or do we ? I suppose the hope is that through pregnancy a child is supported and loved by it's mother and through it's mother the people who support and love her. I am aware that this is often not the case so I am offering that as an ideal rather than a given. And what if the situation isn't ideal, what then, what if the mother is unsupported, or the baby unwanted. 
I know from experience how painful it is to carry a child without support. When I was just a few months pregnant I found my sister in my partner's arms giggling coyly and demurring flirtatiously as he tried to persuade her to have sex with him. It wasn't a great moment. Even now I'm not sure who I felt most betrayed by, him, or her, or the rest of my family who quickly covered for her - she was then the family's rising star, a Cambridge graduate, going places - and labelled me a feckless slut for having illegitimate children with a man who didn't stay to care. Am I bitter ? I am. More for my daughter, than myself, she was abandoned by everyone too. I am still crushed and ashamed that no-one came through for her when I was a seriously struggling mother of a newborn and a two/three year old. How can a family be so unfeeling towards it's own children ? I am still shocked that no-one cared enough to check we were ok. We weren't ok.
Maybe that is not necessary to the posting, but it is a big part of me. A shock that I carry still. I did live in social isolation, it was during Thatcher's time in power and single parents were one of her pet scapegoats after the miners. It was time of fear for me, a time of poverty, hunger and cold. This time around, with the Conservatives in power, I have been lucky, so far, not to have been hit by the their cuts to the vulnerable but I feel them because they echo my time at the bottom twenty seven years ago. Trust me, not much trickles down at that level. And I hadn't planned to be in the position I was in, I was in my happy ever after until I wasn't, it can happen to anyone. 
So what am I getting at ? Who am I ? I am who I was, who I am, and who I will be maybe. On my bedside table I have a picture of Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole which my youngest gave me a couple of years ago. In the corner I have tucked a slip of paper with three questions; where are you from ? where are you now ? where do you hope to go ? When I am feeling doubtful these questions help. The first two ground me, give me a sense of my history and my current being, they offer me a spring board from which I can take off. 

I'm a bit allover the place here, can I come back to the work I am doing for Cley, it's really just a line of sticks but the sticks represent my journey from finishing my degree to now. Four years of my history. The time after Jon left me. The time I discovered myself, living alone, it's been a journey, I've had jobs and holidays, made new friends, done lots of art, been a little ill, got better, he even re-entered for a couple of years as an email contact but tho' I asked him to meet for coffee we never did and maybe that is for the best, our contact ended in anger just weeks ago and tho' I regret that he was not the man I hoped he'd be, why should he be that man. 
Which brings me to another thing about who I am and back to those relationships. Let me say that I think love comes in many forms and is definitely not just about person to person but can be a vocation, a place, a thing, a pet, a book, da da, da da, da da. Often love is related to attachment, often love is conditional,  these two elements within a relationship can muddy the way. 
I identify myself as a mother, this is my most important relationship in my life, I'll not mess around, there's my kids and grandkids and they are the people I hold closest to me, the people I would drop everyone else for. That saying, my children are all grown up and live separately from me, so my attachment, the love, if you will that I feel for them, is necessarily stretched to accommodate their need to fly the nest. And this is the remarkable thing about love, it crosses time, it crosses place, I have a feeling it also crosses over death that if love between two people is great enough the lands of the living and dead merge. It seems too strange to think it would just stop. Even with my pets I love them still. 
This blog post is again a lot about relationships. i am fascinated by movement, lines and connections, the weight and speed, the push and pull of interaction, the choreography between one and another. It seems to me that every step I take leads to the present, to now, by that token I can kiss goodbye to yesterday but because each one of us is our own constant I cannot entirely shed that yesterday. This hearkens back to a previous post I know about traces so I'll leave it there and see if anything interesting comes up over night. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

And here finally, at last are some pictures. These are from walks along the beaches mentioned in the previous post. Thinking about how people (and seagulls) occupy space and connect to each other. 

One of the things I have been observing on my trips to Cley next the Sea, and last weekend at Burnham Overy Staithe, is the interaction between beings, the space between, the where there is contact, connection.
The theme for the exhibition at Cley this year is Connection and the work I am doing is about love which is surely a connection. But in blogging I have spoken more about disconnection, the solitary walk that my lover's leaving forced me to take. 
But here is the thing, we are not alone, our being impacts, for good or ill, on other beings. Our line, our simple line,  our thread made, held and cut off by the Fates perhaps, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. 
We are currently living through testing times. Climate change is undeniable and yet is being denied by some of the people who hold most power in the world. We talk of carbon footprints and this is a very obvious form of impact. And it is interesting that it has come to pass that as a species we have become so unaware of the space we occupy that for our temporary comfort we are prepared to impinge upon our children's comfort and our children's children's comfort and so on until we reach an armageddon it seems.
I have gone off track this post was supposed to be half a dozen images of distant human to human or human to animal interaction on the lovely beaches I've been walking. Pictures showing how people interact when unaware that they are observed, the space between beings. And beings, I think, do not have to be alive, and maybe that is why climate change and environmental awareness comes into it. 
Let me say perhaps that perhaps I see myself as just a thread, my thread will be drawn on the beach when I participate in the exhibition at Cley later in the year. But perhaps we are all threads, all beings, all, each bird, each bug, each blade of grass, each grain of sand ... you catch my drift. Let me say perhaps that here is my thread and you lay your thread too close to mine or perhaps the other way, or you take yourself away when once we were attached. My point is that we affect each other. Even lives led in seeming solitude are maybe not so solitary if we allow that relationship with things that are not human is relationship. 
On Saturday walking with my friend David we were talking about traces, the traces we leave as we pass through life, the people who have left traces on us, and those that we have left our trace upon. This might be physical, skin, hair, body fluids - blood, sweat, spit, semen, for instance - perhaps even a child, the next generation, again a very obvious form of how one may impact on another. But subtler traces are also left, by those we are close to, and also sometimes some one we don't know who may pass a compliment or throw an insult. Or our manners may accidentally clash with another's causing pain, frustration, irritation, sadness in one or the other or both. 
We cannot change our being to suit everyone, this I have learned as I have got older. Children are very often asked to please everyone but themselves. Sometimes the reverse is true, a child is given license to assert their will without care for others. Our early years inform our later life and we grow through interaction, discover as we encounter who we are, and how we fit into the world.
Now what does any of this have to do with anything ? Well it's me thinking out loud. as per usual, for myself, notes about thoughts if you will. I am aware, as I'm guessing everyone is of people who have spoiled things for me, made things dark or nasty, been unkind, sometimes cruel, unfair, unreasonable and how they have pushed and nudged me away from loving life. I am aware of the times I have been that person, the spoiler, the wrong-doer. I am aware of people who have lit up my path, called me out of darkness, held out hands to pull me through, rescued me from the edge of a cliff, people who have brought me food and taught me to fly. All these interactions change me, inside of me my essence is what my essence is, but I am also responsive to my environment, be that social, political, physical or ethereal. I carry the traces of the deeds that I have done and that which has been done to me.
The road we travel takes us where we will, maybe round and round in circles, into or out of a labyrinth, or here to there, and maybe there isn't a right way, surely there isn't a right way except that if we are guided by the best in ourselves, follow our light whilst being aware of the shadow we cast we may perhaps make less, or not so terrible an impact on others as we travel from birth to death in the life we have been given.  

Friday, 5 May 2017

At this moment in time the world population is about 7.5 billion people. If each one of those people were a thread in piece of cloth that represented all beings in all times all over, I wonder what that cloth would look like. 
Years ago when I was at university and learning to weave, I decided to make up a warp comprised of different fibres, linen, cotton, silk and viscose if I remember rightly. This warp was trouble from the start because using mixed threads that were not equal in strength or elasticity meant that some, most notably the linen began to break almost immediately. I fixed them again and again but eventually I had to give in to their comparative weakness. The weave was not good as a piece of weaving but it was a storytelling device for me and a lesson well learned.
Although it is written as a human right, that we are all born equal, we are not. The thread from which we flow, our family line, bestows upon us first our genetic structure, or in reference to traditional chinese medicine, our essence, and if we should stay in that family we will meet with whatever that family has to offer in terms of wealth, heath, wellbeing, livelihood and lifestyle. These things vary wildly even within a single city let alone the whole world. 
Along the way our threads will jiggle up against others, and those too will affect the lay of our path, our fortune or misfortune. It is ongoing. And what is done is done, the wrongs we have committed, and those that have been committed against us, are written into our bodies, into the history of our being. 
So it goes that as we travel through life the colour, weight, texture, substance of our thread spins out behind us creating a unique pathway. What if that pathway was the path of love ? What if each one of us has the opportunity to be that ? To be a passage of streaming light ? But what if that streaming light is blocked or broken, smothered, defiled. 
Wouldn't it be wonderful if each one of us from birth to death could live in abundance and joy, never suffering, never causing suffering. But is such heavenly opportunity possible. It feels like such an innocent vision. On one hand I see it, and know that life is beautiful, that birdsong and flowers and children's laughter and easy friendship are blessings that cost nothing. But cynicism sets in. Who can say they've never done a thing wrong ? 
I am definitely not squeaky clean, shiny bright, I have jagged edges that catch on to negativity and break my flow, I can be sluggish, critical of myself and others, argumentative, ugh, all the horrible ugly things that no-one wants to be. And I get bogged down in my nastiness and the nastiness of the world around me, both locally and globally.   
When I am at my worst, when I hit up against the worst in others, how do I keep travelling ? How do I keep stepping forward tho' I have missed my footing, or found myself snagged or caught. This I think is where love comes in, unconditional love, love as a feeling guide. Not love as a flagellating "be nicer, be better" kind of love. but love as a beam of light illuminating the way before me. I can't claim to be this. But maybe my trying is a start. Maybe if, when my demons surface, I look to being light moving out of darkness, maybe I will begin to find it easier. 
This I think is the way of love, I do not live in a perfect world, I am not perfect myself, but this is the road that I am trying to walk, my road.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I am nervous to write today, every time I begin, I find myself trapped, words come out and they are all about a man who left me years ago who doesn't care, who isn't interested and tho' he was a part of my life for a while he is a yesterday not a now. The piece I am working on at the moment began with a doodled out note some years ago when my tears were still fresh. It relates to him but is really about me, I think, about me remembering me, me meeting and embracing life, about loving and losing a lover but getting back up. 
I am in the wastes of my mind at the moment, trying to put in to words feelings that are complicated, dense and heavy, it is not possible. In the end I have a feeling I will look back and realise that letting go of Jon was really as simple as shaking a stone out of my shoe. 
Years on from a love affair that didn't stay the distance there is still sadness but what can you do ? It is hard not to take the ending as rejection, it is hard to be graceful and polite, it is hard to be gentle, hard not to be hurt, to feel slighted, less good, just less. Rejection is a hard lesson. 
Rejection and rejection's terrible sister, defeat, are not easy to bear. Rejection comes in lots of shapes and forms that most of us will meet at some point in our lives - a failed job application or work proposal, an unfair dismissal from a job, a lover's betrayal, or people being just plain nasty. But often the rejection is twofold, we are rejected and we find an echo in that rejection within ourselves. We hit up against something outside of us that tells us we are worthless, and inside of us something tells us it is true. How do we counter those feelings of worthlessness, how do we hold our line. There is a desire to disappear into obscurity to hide in the crowd, to normalise, and another pull to plunge into the abyss, let the darkness swallow your shame if only to experience the brief moment when our falling feels like flying. 
The task is ongoing. The path of love requires courage and fortitude. It asks of us that when we hit against the ugly mean aspects of life we respond not with like but with grace. And grace is not unlimited. No one, no man, no beast, no body, should be tested to the end of their grace. 
Aah, am I waffling again ? I am. My blog is a pot of sin at the moment. A personal failure. I feel like I am retching out words and they are coming out as vomit. What am I hoping to gain by exposing every bit of me, exposing my weaknesses, my ugliness, the bits that make me cringe or recoil from myself, what might be gained by that exposure ?
I think perhaps it is unconditional love. Can I love you, can I love me, can I love life when it hands me rotten fruit. It is something I have been exploring with focus this past year. 
Unconditional love is the diamond in the volcanoes spew, the pearl the oyster makes out of the irritant grit. Is it a possible to love without condition, to love without traps and snares, is it possible to be so free, so sure, to love un-hobbled by our egos needs, our vain desires ? It is a path I seek to tread but not an easy route. 
I wonder if it is even a tangible thing. What is love ? We know it when we are in the presence of it, but as the past few posts have shown me, and anyone who may have forced themselves to read them, love is not words. Love is being. Love is.