Month: Feb 2015
ONE OF THE GREATEST LESSONS I have learned in the last 6 months is to say “No” to (and walk right away from) things which — though they may glitter and appear superficially attractive — I discern to be at best worthless (of no real value), at worst potentially destructive. I’m speaking here not only about material acquisitions but also about relationships with people. This has been liberating and I would recommend it to all without hesitation. With practice, it gets even easier. However, it should not be used in a cavalier or whimsical way but with discretion, as something serious and life-enhancing. Be prepared, though — in terms of the direction this world is taking — to end up with nothing (or next to nothing) and no one (or almost no one). 😉
One siren sunrise, when all was seeming well,
a shiverness within my limbered hull
was sounding off with bells — a death knell
tocsin making every atom of my heart
stand to attention while their goosebump
broken hairs stood on their ends in sympathy.
AS I WRITE IN THIS CAFÉ, there are 18 people of all ages sat around a large table next to mine. They are the only people in here apart from me. They are all avidly communicating, yet it is TOTALLY silent in here. I am so moved that I have tears streaming onto my smiling face. They are animatedly signing to each other with their hands. Some are clearly more extrovert; some more reserved. It is so beautiful to behold. I have sometimes been able to simulate the blanket darkness of blindness; but I have never been able to simulate the strange silence of deafness. We take our senses for granted when we have them all. The proficient communication of these folks here humbles me and makes me appreciate anew the gift of hearing. Yet, in a sense, here are these lovely people who have learned to appreciate (and I hope you will understand me here aright) the gift of deafness (which gift I cannot now know). The life we have been given is a gift, whatever “deficiencies” we may think that we have. Even the “deficiencies” are part of the gift — a test for us to grasp and enjoy to the full…
Looking at an onion with the utmost wonder
in my curiositical heart is a ritual I practise
at the start of every sunrise day for it speaks to me
of many layers — most of which are hidden —
and reminds me of the way that circumstances
oftentimes unfold in ways by which we only see
the outer coating of the skin when there is
so much more within which we ignore.
WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD, I had a very close friend. We did lots of stuff together. We had the same humour, saw a lot of things the same way. We made things together, got up to mischief together, faced the music together. We were like the kind of intrepid friends you’d find in an Enid Blyton adventure novel or a Boy’s Own Annual comic escapade. Some even said we were like twins. We were always honest with each other — had no secrets from each other. We had a kind of pact that we shared everything. I told him everything. Would never have even dreamt of deceiving him. One day, he told me that he’d found some gold nuggets. I asked him to show them to me. He said that he couldn’t and then disclosed that he’d stored them in a hole in the ground under a tree in his garden. He had a strange look on his face which I hadn’t seen before — like someone who has been caught in the act — and, for the first time, I felt throughout my whole being that he wasn’t telling me the truth. This disturbed me deeply. Why would he lie to me? What would be the point? It struck at the very heart of our friendship, so it seemed to me, for it was a betrayal of trust. How would I ever know if he was being honest with me again? I had to know for sure. So, the next day I went to his garden and I found the tree and I dug, so as to discover for myself. About six inches down, there they were. But they were not gold nuggets. They were ordinary stones that had been covered very badly with gold paint. I was gutted. Suddenly, he came flying out of his house and ran towards me in the garden. He was in a terrible rage and his face was distorted with a fury such as I had never seen before in anyone (though I have on many occasions since). It was as if he was possessed by some crazy demon. As I said to him: “They’re only stones!” he began to rain blows down upon me with all his force and was screaming like a madman. His mother then appeared and began to restrain him. She seemed as surprised as I was, for we had never argued once or had a cross word. I ran out of that garden as fast as I could and, to this day, I have never seen him again. I learned much that day about the explosive power of truth, the exposure of lies and the importance of trust at the heart of a relationship. How different it could have been if he had appeared from his house with the kind of soft and cheeky/smirky face I had always known and said: “Okay. You got me. I don’t know why I said that. I think I was trying to impress you. It was so stupid of me. I knew you’d see through it. It will never happen again. Pax?” And he would have been instantly forgiven. Beautiful relationships are saved through honesty and humility. Yet, that kind of pointless deception still happens to this day; though I don’t know why they persist in doing so as I always see through it in the end. And, like clockwork, they always seem to react the same way — with aggression rather than contrition. Hell hath no fury like someone who’s been “rumbled”. But I have never let that fury deter me from the quest for beauty, truth and love. No. Stone. Unturned. It’s the only way.
IS THERE A GAP between the online “persona” which we present here and the person who we are in real life? That is the question. It is so easy to devise a squeaky-clean idealised image and present it here, replete with attractive selfies, pics of cute pets, dynamic yoga poses, quotes from Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, inspirational soundbites and carefully-airbrushed clips of generalised life-information. Not only can villains reinvent themselves online but even the most seemingly principled people can, to a lesser degree, do this unconsciously — gradually building a composite picture which is based more on an ideal than reality. So does the ultra-loving, highly-evolved, super-spiritual, debonair, civilised, ripped, six-packed, impeccably-manicured and coiffed, caring, hyper-handsome, excruciatingly beautiful Wonder Woman or New Man pose which we assume online reflect the real people who we are in our everyday reality? 🙂 If not, then we are living a schizoid existence in which we become pathologically dissociated from truth/reality and live in a chimeric manufactured fantasy world. Social media provides the ultimate fertile territory for this, where one can build a list of pseudo-friends who we can bewitch with our carefully-woven web of concoctions, outright lies and carefully-constructed half-truths. A good antidote to this is to ensure that a healthy smattering of friends who know us well In Real Life is mingled with the virtual ones on our lists of friends on social media. The presence here of real life friends is going to keep us grounded and realistic about who we make ourselves out to be online (especially if they lovingly call us out when we exaggerate, fabricate or over-inflate!). If we are 100% honest online, then we will attract the kind of people as virtual friends who we would want to go on to have as friends in real life too. So… I here lay myself wide open for scrutiny and hope that all my virtual friends do so too. Let’s get real!
HAVING RECEIVED SOME KIND MESSAGES asking why I’ve been so quiet lately, I thought I’d better say something. The fact is that I’ve been completely rethinking my entire existence. A while back (beginning in 2011 and solidifying in 2012), as some of you know, I put myself into a kind of voluntary mental / emotional / spiritual exile which started off in an ivory tower (in Sweden), transitioned to a hermitage (in Spain) then morphed into a bare blasted basement (in Germany) — though I still went through the visible motions of “normalcy”. Some de-structive movement had been intensifying within me which was to do with elements disintegrating and dying. It has been as if an acid wind was howling through my whole being, blasting it into dust (see picture). The pain (not physical) was excruciating, like being on the rack. I almost felt as if I was under a curse and everything (even all precious things) were being stripped away from me by force. Yet, at the same time, a kind of calm sense of acceptance descended on me and I have simply been bemused by the whole process. When I came to Berlin I was fully expecting to die in some soonish time. (Some perceptive people detected this in my poetry). I had given up, though I was creating like a whirlwind more than ever. (These last three years have yielded many poems and songs — nearly 600 — both dark and light, which is as it should be). I reached my lowest ebb around Christmas 2014. But as the end of the year approached, some strange and surprising shift occurred. That shift then turned into a tsunami during January which has altered everything. Now, with half the solar system’s heavenly bodies in my sun-sign (Pisces), I seem to be poised on the edge of a newness for which I can hardly find the words. (“Astronomical” is one). I can’t say anything more about this now as it is an incomplete process and I am awaiting ratification and confirmation. But within the next couple of months the view from where I am sitting could look very different. Before that couple of months is complete, you will be the first to know. To those who have taken an interest, thank you from my heart for being there…