Day and night we receive and tie up new thoughts, mostly subliminal. By keeping track of this neuron dance we find fresh associations that expand the architecture of our imagination. Sudden insights lift our spirit. Frequently practical innovations arrive, novel ways of doing things. But with thoughts adrift, we often fail to be present to our bodies, and this neuron dance turns mechanical. We may be hampered by depression, presently a global dis-ease, but life perks up a little when we listen to our body.
‘Remember me,’ it implores. ‘Love me, give me attention.’
Stretching limbs calms the stress in fascia tissues and muscles, stirs the senses, and deepens breathing. Food tastes better, small things delight, movement gives pleasure.
‘We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.’ … Einstein
The unconscious collective psyche continuously churns up vital signals through the body, but has long been denigrated by wrong-footed ideologies … the greatest crime against humanity, since the neglect of nature’s voice led to the abuse that threatens the balance of life on this planet, and our health.
Nature – the wild, matter, psyche breath, being, anima, the feminine principle – contains all life. The term has acquired many slants of meaning during previous centuries. We have now established frames through which nature is perceived … the scientific, economic, political, apocalyptic, holistic, visionary, philosophical, romantic, and the spiritual frame, for example. Each outlook influences the relationship we have with nature, as a person, group or nation.
Since all human innovations are inspired by nature, every manmade thing is natural, yet by lengthening the duration-span of too many products, nature’s cyclic process of decay is disrupted, often with dire consequences. It’s like stuffing ourselves with food the body can neither absorb nor digest. Controlling nature’s rhythm does not work. The best we can attempt is to seek rapport, fall into step, attune and harmonise with this dance we are part of.
Quite likely all the varied frames which determine our relationship with nature were formed by the wish to make the unconscious force of the wild psyche more bearable.
We demand nature’s protection. This includes humans. Do the ecological villains among us also deserve protection? In a psycho-therapeutic practice this would be considered as the expansion of consciousness through befriending and owning the shadow. I forever wish this map of knowledge was introduced to the educational curriculum.
First call is the body. If the body’s messages are fully received (giving varied frames their due) and understood (in a deep loving sense,) the messages are always essentially true. Only humans manipulate and deceive, by ignoring and belittling nature’s raw truths. The planet suffers the same neglect. Our best efforts at deep listening will always be partial.
I count on the constant minority that grasps a wide spectrum of meaning in relation to every rift that endangers our world. While this minority tries to uphold a wider view, as a small collective it is not geared for action, knowing well that whatever succeeds in being legally determined cannot please all, but usually intensifies disagreements, especially in cultures where emotions and thoughts are censored for political ends.
One could say the will to action is diluted by the wider view. But there exists a subtler use of the will, like rehearsing positive outcomes, which requires imagination. Efforts of this subtle will are hardly visible; but they no less influence and create our reality. This subtle will is based on trusting the intelligence of nature, of soul, the One Being, the Spirit of Guidance.
A prayer/song by Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Let thy wish become my desire
Let thy will become my deed
Let thy word become my speech beloved
Let thy love become my creed
Let my plant bring forth thy flower
Let my fruit produce thy seed
Let my heart become thy lute beloved
And my body thy flute of reed
Crossing and bridging divides is the theme of my life. As a child I came to believe in a spirit that guided me, sparked by a print that hung in my paternal grandparent’s bedroom, where a guardian angel leads a girl and a boy along a rickety bridge across a ravine with rapids rushing below. The image left a deep impression, and, over the years, similar images appeared in dreams, revealing the scene’s symbolic power. Training and working as a transpersonal therapist I often helped clients to explore the complex relationship between the masculine and feminine principle (Anima and Anima) active within each individual and across the gender divide. But most useful work on the road to greater wholeness begins with listening to what the body knows, and, by implication, what the self-regulating planet tells us.
The theme of bridges plays in my novel, Course of Mirrors, and continues (in the sense of bridging time) in a sequel, Shapers, which I hope to publish this or next year.
On balance, apart from the anxieties and frustrations we absorb and project, we also tend to transfer the beauty we hold inside our hearts onto our surroundings, be it what we glance in the growth and decay of nature, in the gracious motions of young and old people, animals, trees we befriend, a patch of thriving vegetables, a forget-me-not perking through a crack in the pavement, a glowing autumn leaf. We delight in the colours and shapes sculpted by the shifting light of the sun into twilight and shadows, even in neglected streets, even in ruins.
Some of us have the use of a garden or a plot of land, which offers shade and, throughout the seasons, brings joys, as well as countless tasks we may honour or ignore.
Here is to my garden …
home to its creatures
and to my guardian angels
my garden perceives
how I rehearse its being
from morning to dawn
in return it grants blessings
to my existence
and to friends gathered here
it’s my ritual
to snip a branch here and there
and nurture the shapes
of beauty I envision
we dream as one soul
as love like hot stone
releases the heat of day
into the still night
some deep ground of love
rises from below the earth
cool like the pale moon
‘Shapers’… the end of chapter 6
The random excerpt of Shapers, below, is where I’ve got earlier today while working through a last round of revisions, before proof reading and formatting towards an initial e-book, if I find the funds. From Course of Mirror’s mythic theme, the cast re-appears in a future SF setting, not on other planets, but on earth. The main protagonists, Ana, Cara and Mesa, connect back and forth in time. They are really one and the same, a triple soul. It’s a compelling work of the imagination with strong, memorable characters. Even my son agrees 🙂
* * *
The hall rocked with the rhythm of drums. All eyes were on Zap, who did a thrilling dance with silk ribbons, and at the same time juggled a round of colourful balls. They slid down his back and legs and with a kick of his heel were flipped back into rotation. He spotted Mesa and waved his ribbon, inviting her to join him, which she did, with sudden abandon. Her responsive dance provoked gasps of admiration. Elim stepped up with his violin, improvising melodies to Mesa’s sensual movements. Her waist undulated between the flowing ribbons, while her arms rippled like snakes.
The sight filled Cara with happiness, until she spotted Dillon staring at Mesa with rapture in his eyes. An intense bout of jealousy overtook Cara. Her lover was a pushover for mystery. When the muse grabbed him all else ceased to exist. She invited the pain, almost welcoming the torture of feeling rejected, though reason argued that Dillon’s infatuation would pass, like any storm, eventually. Still, she felt inept. And yet, only an hour ago she herself was irrationally impressed by another man. What was his name? He was not unlike Dillon, yet different, obscure, and more complex. The thought of him made her skin tingle as she ploughed through the crowd in search of Tilly, and the stranger.
Gart had escaped the festivities. Standing at the cliff’s edge, he clutched his flapping cape, while shouting into the storm, into the void. “Talk to me!” A deep rumble shook the ground. “What is it I am? Answer me!” A blinding streak of lightning split the night and dispersed across the fluid orb of black waters. “Who dropped me here? Take me home to my name.” Thunder resounded in his skull, a force surged through him, fused his feet to the rock under him, and roused senses he had no words for. “What’s expected of me? These people here … they sap my strength, and … I glimpsed something I’ve never seen before … forms behind things … behind her.” As if in response, the apparition of a woman, illuminated from within, rose from the waves below him. Gart sunk to his knees. “What are you?”
A name echoed from the cliffs, but was drowned out by another clap of thunder. The spectre of the figure scattered into shards of silver speeding out in all directions, the sea, the sky, across the sweep of rocks called Kerry.
“Aren’t the waves magical?”
Gart turned towards the voice and was confronted by the girl, Mirre, who by casually touching his shoulder at the banquet had made the hall spin. What was it about her? “Stay away from me!”
“Why?” Mirre’s eyes sparkled from under her windblown red curls.
Her candid question annoyed and intrigued Gart.
Mushki, having caught up with Mirre, skidded to a halt. Searching his holdall, he set up a tripod, screwed on a camera and focused the lens towards the flashes at the horizon. “You,” he motioned to Gart, “you obstruct my view.”
“Don’t be rude,” Mirre said. “Here, use my tablet. It records images in three or more dimensions.”
“No thanks. If I keep the shutter of my lens open I get the effect I want,” Mushki said, and readied himself. He was in luck. Another rumble … giant branches of light filled the sky.
Mirre shrugged and fixed her gaze once more on Gart whose looks reminded her of Crim, her favourite author of animations. “Tilly says you’re a Guardian. Their red uniforms are grand, but you’re not wearing one.”
A spasm gripped Gart’s spine. His head throbbed, and the memory of his identity flooded back. His eyes darted from Mirre to the ivy walls of the estate, to the bay where he glimpsed his airbus, and back to the girl. He burned the image of Mirre’s freckled face into his mind, turned on his heels and dashed down a path towards the beach, away from the chaos that had gripped his mind, familiar faces he couldn’t place. His Guardian training should’ve protected him from such emotional turmoil. What was wrong with him?
He now recalled a repeated interference on his console while heading for Rhonda after his spying mission in Sax. Someone called Zap seemed lost in Derrynane. Annoyed, yet curious, he had demanded his craft to find the place. Then the horizon wobbled, and as if taken over by some spook, he nearly crash-landed on this alien stretch of coastline.
With shaking hands Gart pointed the sensor towards the dolphin-shaped airbus glinting in the dusk. The craft responded. The signal light came on. Only a few more steps and he would be able to lift off from this bewildering place. A sense of vertigo made him stop. All sound ceased. For a brief moment he felt as if his body did not belong to him. Into the silence stirred a soft breeze. An invisible hand seized his and led him to where the water lapped at the sands. Before him the air wavered and the shape of an old woman appeared, more ancient than the yew trees on the peninsula. The crone looked at him like a fox, tilting her head. Her voice was firm. “When a heart cracks its myths flow free and the stories of river and sea mingle.”
Gart opened his mouth and closed it again. A melodic tune drifted across the waters.
Twinkle, twinkle, little rat … how I wonder what you’re at …
A subtle fragrance reached his nostrils bringing memories. Years of harsh drilling for leadership had sealed away images of his childhood. An ornamental garden with birdsong and blossom, a nursery filled with flowers, toys, and humour – a woman reading dreamlike stories to him. Children raised as Guardians were not read stories. They were trained from infancy to obey commands. He was different. Phrases he used as triggers to control his army had no effect on him. He tossed his hair back trying to shake off the confusion. The crone watched him. He realised his thoughts were exposed to her ageless knowing.
“You were led here to experience the sweet agony of emotion, what it’s like to be lovesick, and to yearn for a lost place,” said the crone. Her words seeped under his skin.
A gentle wave splashed over his feet. His toes squished in his sandals. Droplets of sweat soaked his brow. What was she talking about? He glanced back at his craft. Would the tide reach it? He must get away.
Heat shot up his spine when Cassia took a step towards him. “Stop your haste. Imagine deeply. What do you desire? Listen to what the sea whispers in your ear. Accept contradictions. They’re indispensable. You were raised to command the Guardians for a purpose.”
His head hurt. His skull seemed too small to accommodate this garbled talk. He blinked as the crone became fuzzy, then transparent, and finally vanished altogether.
Her last words echoed, “A woman needs your help, and you’ll need hers.”
Gart rubbed his eyes, squinting at the shimmering air before him. Some Shapers were known to materialise out of thin air. Was she one of them? Clinging to his wits he rushed to his airbus and fumbled with the console. How can the sea whisper? And how can a heart crack? His curiosity had often led him to unearth illegal information. He knew how to access a glossary of emotional terms outlawed in Rhonda. Agony – another troubling term – sounding like a woman’s name.
* * *
In late May I visited London – for the first time in almost three years. I met with my son, his wife, and her mother from Darwin. We visited the Tate Modern exhibition on ‘Surrealism without Boundaries.’ That’s for another post.
I’m grateful for any small support on patreon https://www.patreon.com/posts/its-been-almost-67178389
Blinded by too much going on in the world, and then this …
The sun in my eyes
I barely dodged a speeder
In my local town
Saving lives like a martyr
I scraped a parked car
But the knock broke my steering
My dear car is a write off
And I am grounded
I mourn my loyal car, and now need to find another beloved old car for local driving.
Any support in kind thoughts, or via Patreon, is hugely appreciated.
‘You hit me back first.
My predictions always come true.
Don’t dare to invalidate my reality.’
Nuances of paranoia affect all of us.
We may be well-balanced and trusting
folks, but out bodies still hold the
fears and traumas our parents experienced,
and the generations before them.
When safety fears are triggered, we tend
to slide from anxiety to paranoia.
In today’s culture this has become a normal
disposition, a challenge to be alert and patient
with the love and hate conflicts inside us.
Yet when fear splits the heart from the head
our bodies go numb to feelings, and empathy.
the spiritual potential of our being is arrested, and
one’s world turns into a hostile and lonely place to be.
Collective paranoia spreads like a virus,
flowing into already anxious minds,
feeding on irrational fears of danger
and the need to blame somebody.
When public figures act out their paranoia,
they become super-spreaders of fear.
Does this virus have a remedy? Depth Analysis?
Listening to Bach? Wilderness retreats?
The occasional pinch of hemp oil, known
to free blocked wires in the brain that
channel superior cosmic insights?
Sadly, when magnified fear has eroded trust
in fellow humans and silenced the whispers
of affection from our hearts, truth is walled in,
and seeds of hope fall on barren ground.
While paranoia can carry a kernel of truth,
suspicious hunches are easily twisted and
inflated to surreal proportion. I grade my own
paranoia from anxious overload – to irrelevant –
to useful. The latter protects me from harm.
There is a Sufi saying …
Trust in God but tie your camel at night.
Night also holds the hidden content of our neglected
unconscious, where fears and desires entwine
as archetypal forces that can take us over when
entitlement and apathy have made us careless.
Clearly, our inner narrative needs witnessing with
constant re-adjustment, so we remain grounded and
balanced in human values – among them – integrity,
humility, friendship, humour, and reverence for life.
Relating to my last post, ‘girl.’.
The birth of our son was like a fairy tale. My husband and I had arrived in Somerset UK from Amsterdam two months before my delivery was due. This happened because my Dutch parent’s in law had bought a cottage for their retirement, allowing us to initially live for low rent in exchange for me taking care of a well-stocked acre of garden. We had many friends in England, so we welcomed the prospect.
I went to the local GP expressing my wish to have a home-birth. ‘We don’t do these anymore,’ he said. I scored a point by pointing out that home-births were very normal in Holland. To discourage me further the GP said, ‘Our midwife retires soon, and I’m not sure if we’ll have a new one in time.’ My husband stood behind me like a sentinel, giving me confidence. ‘Well, you better make sure then,’ I replied.
‘And, of course, with you living in the hills, we can’t forecast the weather conditions,’ the GP continued, in case of an emergency …’ I cut him short. ‘There’s a level area in our garden where a helicopter could land, oh, and our farming neighbours have a tractor.’ This point scoring went on for a while. Eventually, the GP said, ‘Well, let’s see how it goes,’ ending the discussion.
On our way out of his office a door opened in the hall. A motherly woman emerged. ‘I overheard you want a home-birth,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry; I’ll still be around in January. I’ll be there for you.’ Wow!
As it happened, on Epiphany day the hills and streets surrounding our Somerset hamlet were magically blanketed in ice and snow. Still, the midwife duly arrived with the help of a police Landover. She entertained me with humorous stories and made me take a warm bath. Her last delivery before her retirement went well. She called my little one her ‘Snow Baby,’ and sent him annual birthday cards until she died a few years ago. Bless her. Maybe because I trusted my child’s spirit, he turned out to love life.
Relating to my last post, called ‘girl,’ this post came about, not just because it’s my son’s birthday tomorrow, but because I recalled my father’s jubilant shout through the telephone my husband made after our son’s birth, ‘Ein Junge!’ (A boy.)
The tradition to value boys over girls goes deep, so deep that it only now comes to a head with the climate crisis inching upon us, a crisis due to centuries of patriarchal male attitudes towards the feminine, which, basically, the ever life-and-death-giving earth stands for. At the same time there has been a momentous increase in the questioning of gender roles, in a psychological sense. There’s definitely a connection. The relationship between the sexes not only produces more life, one is also given the opportunity to acquire the psychological qualities of the other. This psychological exchange happens equally between same-sex partners, in that it is the feminine and the masculine principles that seek union between culturally polarized receptive and active energies.
Hurts to our feelings, hurts that trample on our inner psychological truths can be traumatic, but also very subtle, generating unique life choices that deal with put-downs obliquely yet often, thankfully, creatively. Forgiveness is a slow process, if it happens at all during a lifetime. Yet it is one of the marvels of the psyche that consciousness expands through the projection of our unconscious biases and complexes, which we only slowly become aware of.
she crosses bridges and streams
her body is smart
though prying mind-trolls
punish her rebel with glee
not the ordered son
yet loved by the mother bee
her spirit endures
This ceramic bee shone from a box of knickknacks among items my dad left.
. I liked the ornament as a child and can still see the bright wings mirrored in the surface of a lacquered sideboard. The bee was my mother’s and sums her up, always on the move, hardworking, generous and caring, though struggling with the emotional complexity of my father. His mother warned her … he’s a closed cupboard, meaning he didn’t trust people with his inner life. I had intuitive access to this cupboard, as daughters do, but the content was so fiercely protected, even my most gentle enquiries were repelled to the day my dad died, last spring.
Then again, had he not hidden his hoard of secrets, his girl may not have sneaked through the doors of the imagination, become a seeker, an explorer, a poet, a storyteller, a writer in search of words for what intuition reveals. Where invisibles exist they act like the fungi that entangles and interconnects what is unseen, unless brought to light. I write for a small audience – lovers of the imagination, lovers of myth, and lovers of poetry – you will appreciate my book, Course of Mirrors, and its sequel to come, which turns into SF.
In last month’s post, complementing an image found on twitter, of a screaming new-born, is an image of my mother holding me close as an infant. She died 35 years ago around this time, but still visits and protects me during nights; such is the vivacious spirit of the mother bee. Apart from my parents, I’ve lost many dear ones these last decades. While every loss refills the loss jar to its brim, a crescent (presence) still abides.
Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides. – Emily Dickinson