Have You Eaten (Enough)?

Munch munch munch. Feed the hungry body that craves something passing for sustenance. Shove the food in with purpose to satisfy desire. There is no pausing to appreciate the moment, nor to savour the experience, only a need to fill. A need to fill the body to pass off the soul as satisfied. 

And it doesn’t. Hollowness and emptiness sit hand in hand during this indulgence laid bare through its lack of mindfulness.

There are lessons here. And I vaguely sense their outline. But I’m too tired to make any sense from them. Too tired of feeding this ever hungriness that sits within me. 

The Ego is never satisfied. It only ever wants the attention, wants to win, wants to be the focus and the purpose. It wants and wants and wants.

So I will acknowledge that part of me for what it is. I will calmly turn my attention away from the brash forcefulness, towards the quiet part of me. The part that will accept all that I have, will accept all that there is around me and within me right now. The way that feeds my soul in a more lasting manner.

And I may sit here in the quiet for a while. But most likely I will just fall asleep and dream of days without confusion. Dream of straight forward days where clear communication begets an inner calm to all around me.

 ∞︎∞︎∞︎∞︎∞︎

[ My diary tells me yesterday was the fifth anniversary of starting this blog. I’m unsure these days whether that date was when I setup and posted my first story/poem, or if it is the date of my first (backdated) entry. Either way, I glance back and see five years of change, of growth. I am forever greatful to my friend H.C. who encouraged me to start this, and to the incredibly creative community who have supported me the whole journey so far. ]

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The Horizon of Desire.

My desires feed a deep place inside
Not dark, for this shall be revealed with those who choose to ask, those who choose the closeness

Hunger grows and searches for equally matched desire
There is no boundary between physical and mental intimacy
I simply crave the deepest sharing and connection
And the decision to partake is valid only for the space the energy occupies

While relationships constantly change, acknowledgement and respect remain the vanguard of this new reality

My responsibility is to be better than we’ve ever been before
To set an example of the best a human can be

Deciding on true equality, true out-in-the-open honesty and integrity
This is to what I give my consent.

.

[ inspired by the words of Laurie Penny. ]

Comparisons.

Feeling guilt over the validity of my pain
Comparing my childhood story with yours

Yet I know this is no competition
And we each bear our own challenges
We each learn in our own ways

Why does comparison even come into it?

How do we accept this and grow?

Wanting life to be right and just, does not make it so

All we can do is live our own integrity

R U OK? Day 2017.

R U OK?

I saw the evidence in my social media feed. This annual day focussing on mental health had arrived again. Nobody was asking me directly, so I asked myself,
“aRe yoU OKay?”

And my response was a little uncertain, but mostly a “Yes.”
Maintaining a positive focus, one of my newer skills. 🙂

I’d been seeing memory posts in my social media feed, “on this day” from a year ago. And each day it didn’t look good. There was much pain 12 months ago. Mental anguish, also manifesting in physical illness. And I could see it so clearly now, looking back with experience, with compassion. Seeing clearly what was going on then.

And now, not wanting to look back too much. Not wanting to see so much pain, to be reminded of what I’d been through, because it’s still raw there, I’m still healing there.

But reflection is a good action. With a positive focus, it is helpful and enlightening. 

But it hasn’t been that way for most of my life. Only just realising that my self-improvement had often been a vehicle for self-admonishment. A finding-and-fixing attitude often fed a destructive force of self-criticism.

I presume that came from my father. His black and white attitude to right and wrong coupled with strict religious beliefs, was a recipe for harsh parenting that I learned early on. And now battle with today. Possibly the last haunting vestige of my past (well, that I have identified anyway) – (see what I did there?!)

So at the end of this year’s R U OK day, I know I’m in a far better mental place than previously. Far better than for many years. There are gaps, there is still work to do. I am learning to accept present me, be understanding with past me, be patient with future me, mostly just learning to be.

Falling into a Moment.

Today, is just as times before. When I feel the pain of another’s story, long after my ears have heard. When I remember back to my own journeys through the pain of chronic ill-health. And the mental anguish of being unable to function for days, weeks, months. The self-imposed stresses. The very real stress of maintaining a relationship whilst unable to maintain yourself. Being unable to work, unable to generate income, unable to meet deadlines.
Unable. Disable. Needing more enable, but those days were rare.
I have known defeat, suffering, struggle, and loss. Somehow I have found my way out of those depths and stand here today.

.

Pain reaches forwards
Up from the past
Clutching and dragging me
Back
Fearing all that
Now, as then

And I tell myself right now
These are emotional ghosts
They have no power over me
Except that which I give them.
Though I feel unsteady, unsafe
My comfort lies in others
Asking for help
Accepting supportive hands
Belief in my own inner strength.
These are my tools
With these now I survive
And prepare to thrive once more
This is my hope, my truth.

Without Judgement.


[ original photo by @xisarahix on instagram ]

Realising this morning that I’ve been sitting in fear these past weeks. 

I’ve been fighting it, resisting it, trying so hard to be right. 

Worrying about long-term relationships; about the new and subtly about the past. 

Through all the “what ifs” “shoulds” and “was I right?” I found a place this morning. A little bit of comfort, perhaps some resolution, and definitely a way forward from here. 

From 13th Century philosopher Rumi:
“Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field – I’ll meet you there.”

This is the place where I will sit down, to spend some time, to talk through my life with other humans. 

Because the biggest gift I can grant myself, and the biggest gift anyone else can give me right now, is to sit (with me) and consider my life so far – without judgement.

Advice You Never Asked For.

I admit I don’t know your full story. 

But I encourage you to write because of my own experiences of that being a hugely beneficial path to take. 

When I was depressed for years, 

frequently suicidal, for years

when writing was my only emotional outlet, I pushed through it all and eventually pushed out through all the hurt into something that was truly a little bit beautiful amidst the terrible darkness. 

It was on the advice of a dear friend I started blogging. Fear made me keep it anonymous. But what I met was a writing community that embraced me and encouraged me in every way. I found friends who taught me about understanding and grief, about strength and persistence, about discovery and perseverance.

And I am forever grateful for that experience. 

I see now how I pushed myself through the fear. Partly out of fear of the darkness, but mostly because ALWAYS inside me, no matter what other shit was going on, there was the tiniest spark of light that guided me onwards. Perhaps it was a genetic gift from my mother, of hope or optimism. Perhaps it was the repeated words of a few close friends who reminded me during those darkest times that it wouldn’t last, that life will get better, that I deserved better, that just hanging on for another minute is all I needed to do in the moment. 

How can I not be grateful for experiencing that genuine expression of love from people I’ve only known for a few years?!

And now it’s my time to shine for myself, and for others. It’s my time to pass on the love. To “pay it forward” to someone else. Not out of any duty, or karma, just because its who I am. Simple, honest, caring for other humans. (And because, well, in that place, there are new lessons for me too.)

So I don’t know what you want in your life, what your personal goals are. But I see you already caring for and discovering yourself in many ways. We all want to “be better” or perhaps just “feel better”. While that path is a very personal choice, I see you finding your way forwards already.

And I just want to encourage you to do, and to keep doing, whatever it takes to maintain forward momentum in your life.

I encourage you past the fears in whatever way it takes, because that is just the way forwards. 

Don’t be afraid. Just be who you need to be.

=

[ feature/title image aerial photography of Mona Vale Beach, Australia, by Bo Le @safromabove ]

Elegy for a missing travel bag. 

[ trigger warning: reference to a deceased friend ]

Tricia said “those bastards” and “I hope you’re alright dear” then she started talking about her own experiences of life being unfair and unpleasant. It’s her care and warmth that shines through. And soon you feel much better, for a sympathetic ear from a beautiful soul.

She’s right here with us, loving that we became friends through her. And she’s focusing on the important matters in life, steering our thoughts away from unpleasant incidents, because – well because that doesn’t really matter.

In this great play of life, the small unpleasantness doesn’t really matter. We have each other. We have health food and shelter. We are able to travel and create our own adventures. We stay safe. And we look out for each other.

Our role is flexible. We choose the story as we go, but we choose to embrace others into it, to create a big beautiful mosaic of life.

[ postscript. ]

Traveling the US for the first time in my life. Seeing my favourite musical artist perform live for the first time in my life. On my own, quite the adventure. Visiting writer friends. Visiting new old friends and going to a vegan Sushi restaurant, during which brief time my Bag was stolen from a car boot barely 15m away. Everything important, everything non-replaceable, was with me. Being grateful. Being thankful for all that I have. And learning to let go of that which doesn’t really matter, learning to free the soul from material attachments. A valuable lesson, at an important time in my life.

A moment of Carolina in Silence.

Silence spoke
Whispering in her usual tone
Of quiet places and
Welcome comfort
Releasing those clanging heavy chains of everyday
Until you slip into welcome peace
Amongst the calming aroma of herbs and spices that surrounded your head in Autumns past
Listen deeply
Let her words carry you into the heart of freedom
Easing the vessel of your being to a new state
Where we rest with impunity.

«Carolina»

===

Carolina was talking to me on the train home. I was listening to music so pulled my headphones down to hear what she was saying.

I had seen her give a handful of change to a homeless guy who was walking through the carriage asking out loud for just an extra dollar. There was something in her face and her presence, an energy that I connected with on some level. 

She was talking clearly, but I struggled to understand through the African-American accent and slightly incoherent concepts. But she was kind and I listened, smiled and gave her my full attention over the train noise. 

I asked her name. Then told her I would name this poem I just wrote after her. 

Suddenly my stop came up and we both got off the train. After we walked some meters on opposite sides of the platform, I stopped, turned and waited while she lay down her bag and bunch of flowers on the slatted bench seat to wait for the connecting train. I asked how was her reading? She said good, so I offered the chance to read the poem I named for her. 

Carolina looked at my phone and read my poem out loud, perfectly clear and with understanding. I sensed she appreciated it but was perhaps slightly bemused by this unusual experience. 

She grabbed her pen and started tagging the steel posts with “TO SEM”. The meaning of these words, over and over, was lost to me. 

Turning and leaving, I smiled over this interaction with a stranger. I don’t know just how much we connected, and whether she will remember the poem a stranger gave her on a train. I wonder whether she will be ok in time, not that she wasn’t during this shared time, but just because I care. 

Carolina took a little part of my heart that I willingly offered her. And I wonder whether maybe the world will be just a little brighter because of this.

Restrained Teardrops.

Tears of sadness and joy

For the loss of a part of me that I held close for so long

That was integral to my being and yet never served me well

Since some long ago defence response initiated its activity

And now I let it go, simply no longer needed, simply

Never to be a part of my life again

Loss and Joy combined

Bittersweet tears sat behind my eyes, until

Your words brought clarity to my attention

I sit now, within the truth, feeling

Tears of sadness and joy

.

.

Tell me: What have you given up, that hurt?