The heart - new or old or both?


Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I've started reading more of the Bible again. Last night climbing into bed, had a craving. I must say, that hasn't happened much in the past few months. Some might say, reading the post below this one, that this is very much self-evident :)

I still struggle, I must admit, with a certain rigidity when I pick up the Bible, a feeling that sometimes I can't see what it's really saying because it's bound up in past legalisms and human readings instead of seeing the greater spiritual underlying it.

I have just finished reading an article about being holy, and I must say it kind of sprung up a few things in me which I am interested in studying (a philosophical and contemplative turn of mind doesn't leave a lot of hiding places for errant thoughts, I'm afraid - although I'm sure there are still thousands of them that I don't see - but as soon as they spring up my rational detached part of my mind starts pulling them apart, showing them to God :) It's actually a much safer experience than you could imagine. I don't often feel like there is more that needs to be done at those times except look at them, show them to God. These days I am happy to feel a security in God, in his love, that I know he is my Father/Mother God. But a tame lion he is not, and neither do I want him to be.

However, it is easy to get complacent in my safety with God. If I was going to presume upon God, I would rather it be upon his kindness and fatherliness, like a young child with a great king, rather than cowering away - I can't do that anymore, he has brought me too far. And yet, there is a certain dangerous area that can be headed into, where taking a mile from an inch suddenly finds us in an attitude that says anything goes. Again, if I was going to err on the side of anything, it would actually be licentiousness, these days, rather than legalism. The latter is far more dangerous to me than the former. But I don't want to head into licentiousness. I don't want to miss hearing the voice of God because I discard the things I don't like or understand about him because they don't fit my paradigm.

I never want God to be anything other than Other. But I can feel the seeds in me which could go that way. I am nowhere near it, despite chakra alignments and foul-mouthedness, but still. I guess being aware of the propensity is half the battle. And praying stupid prayers like, "God, I would really like to have some sort of revelation about your holiness" keeps me stumbling towards him. I haven't had any sort of revelation, but I kind of half want to :)

This is a verse that I wonder about, from Jeremiah 17:9-10. My esteem for the Bible is undiminished. There is a magic and wonder in that book that defies description. There is so much in there that steers me back when I threaten to fall off the sides. Yet, these days, I can't help but be of the view that the Old Testament must be read according to the times it was written. I don't think they had all of the answers then. I think they got things wrong. I don't think casting babies against rocks is in God's great plan, but perhaps I am wrong.

So this verse. What think ye?

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."

Of course, Josef Fritzl, the man who is horrifying in the news as we hear about how he kept his own daughter in a cellar for 24 years and forced her to bear 7 children to him, proves that the heart is indeed deceitful. Are we all capable of something like that? We like to write someone like him off as an anomaly, a Hitlerish blip on the humanity scale. I tend towards the idea that we are all capable of amazing atrocities. We don't realise how mch Papa holds us up in his invisibility, speaking not a word.

That is, however, not all of the answer. What about God writing his law on our hearts, giving us a heart of flesh instead of stone? Can two hearts live within the one person, or do you think this is something new that happens when one comes to believe in God?

What's in a name?


Me 1 The cold 0.

A few interesting things have happened since I have been doing this evil chakra balancing act. Apart from it feeling quite lovely and energising and centering, I really think it has contributed toward helping me keep this cold at bay. I know that sounds ridiculous, but so does phlegm. Bear with me.

The root chakra, located around about the perineum (aherm), is the grounding chakra, the one which connects you to the earth, enables you to feel at home in your own body, to overcome a dislike of your own body, and proneness to illness. If this is all some kind of placebo, then bring it on. If I am simply using the power of my mind to get rid of a cold, then so be it. This is just about the most encouraging thing I could experience coming into Winter. I feel a calm and a groundedness that I haven't felt for many Winters, being either all CFSey and nearly karking it from the temperature changes, or recovering my health but catching every great godamn thing floating around in this or neighbouring suburbs. Last year, with the great tracheitis curse, I spent half of Spring pulling a new muscle every day for a period of several weeks and wetting my pants from coughing. If I can avoid that kind of infection, leave alone colds and flus, I would gladly flagellate myself naked in Bourke Street for the privilege.

When I started doing this chakra balancing act, I could barely feel my base chakra at all. Now, it is getting stronger. And so am I. My art therapist gave me some literature on the chakras when last there. I was interested to read that the two chakras that have been weakest in me, the base and the solar plexus chakra, have certain foods linked to them to help strengthen them, and I have inadvertently begun eating some of those foods without knowing the linkage (licorice and sunflower seeds). Cool and mystical and spooky spooky spooky.

Perhaps I am heading over to the dark side. Perhaps I am just in touch with my body's own bioelectricity. Seems much safer calling it that than prana. One sounds - well, all Western and rational and scientific and incorporable into the body of medicine and the Body of Christ. The other sounds all Indian and mystical and just plain old demonic. Hallelujah for Western science to make everything safe for us ;)

Hallelujah for different cultures learning how to tune into the body that has been fearfully and wonderfully made no matter where we're born.
Woke up at 6am after about 5 and a half hours in the Land of Nod. Which is pretty unhelpful when you're trying to fight off a cold or a flu or whatever it is (it's still hanging but I haven't finished fighting the bastard yet), but it seems the weight of the pyjamas, socks, doona and dressing gown were too heatful to keep me in sleep. So instead, I threw myself over instantly into the Land of Poetry Fragments.

Which is a nice place to be. But just not when it's 6am, dark, and cold. Not even the beginning fragments of that cold blue light that precedes the warmth of the rising sun. Just dark. Started thinking about all the people who get up at 6am, and about how I will never ever be one of them unless it is a component of some future torture. Thought, the only people that should be getting up now are dairy farmers. Nothing else in a civilised world requires people to arise from their beds before the sun.

At least, that's my version of the world, and I'm sticking to it.

So yes. Awash in the land of poetic fragments. Which was nice if it was at, say, 8.46 am or 10.32 pm. Finally got irritated/enthused by the poetic fragments enough to turn on the light and write two of them down. The very last one was probably the nicest, but I purposely let it fly away on the wind, hoping that it would indicate to the Land of Sleep to swing back around again. It did, finally, but not after some deep ponderings about pointless ponderings, until suddenly, the alarm was bleating, super quick, like, in 5 minutes time even though it was more like 2 hours later.

And here I am somewhat stuffed. Terribly tempted to skip going to work so I can catch up and try and beat this cold. Terribly aware that really, going to work involves meandering in on the train, sitting at a computer desk flickering my fingers around, then meandering home on the train. So boring and easy, it can become a meditation with the right sort of point of entry.

The point of entry which comes from having several more hours' sleep. Still, I'm damned if I'm gonna give into this cold just yet. I plan to come out coldless and with a couple of poems to boot (wish I could remember that last one, though).

Give it away now


Tuesday, 29 April 2008

It's really cold out there tonight. I keep thinking about the people who are stuck out there homeless with not even a blanket. Have been pondering how I would like to do something to help, somehow, if my health holds up and I don't go into Winter catching every cold and flu that attacks my immune system.

Seem to have won the latest battle. All of that stuff I took last night, the Neem tea I drank today, the sugar I purposely avoided (stuffs around with your immunity, the old cane sugar), have fortified the immune system and this cold, or flu, or whatever it is, is being held at bay, at least for today. I'm pretty excited about that, actually. It tells me that despite sometimes it seeming like my health is standing still, that I am improving. I've got renewed hope that I can continue on getting healthier. My dearest wish is to get some kinda cast-iron immune system going down. God knows I've spent enough on nutrition that it should be changing for me.

Took a look at a couple of websites of organisations that help homeless people, like Wesley Mission and Melbourne Citymission. Started getting that familiar sinking feeling that I sometimes suspect is just good old leftover teenage rebellion and dislike of authority, but sometimes sense is actually a true love of freedom and dislike of boxing in, a knowledge that the more centralised and organised and focussed things get, the more conversely narrow they become. Those websites were a bit depressing. So many hoops to jump through and boxes to tick before you get to go and actually help people, and that ... I dunno ... it feels so restrictive to me. There are ways you are expected to behave, under the umbrella of an organisation, that would feel like they were hanging over me in relational restriction if I went out under that umbrella.

The problem with volunteering under organisations is that your own responsibility is taken away from you. Instead of interacting with the man in front of you in gentleness and love because that's what God and your heart want you to do, the focus somehow shifts onto behaving that way because you are representing the organisation. I am sure I am being a bit too touchy about this, but I don't know how to overcome it. I used to feel this way when I volunteered once a month on the food van for the Salvos. I don't know how to overcome that, or even whether I need to.

Still, perhaps all this philosophising about organisational structures, real and spiritual, is just another stalling tactic, a not wanting to step out of my comfort zone. There are always reasons to not step off of the couch and away from the heater.

I understand why those organisations put all the little restrictions and requirements in place. I really do. It frustrates me, though, that organisations grow big, start looking for funding, start needing to toe the organisational line, worry about being sued, on and on and on and suddenly you are a large organisation that, yes, is helping a lot of people, but still ... it doesn't feel right, to me.

Imagine if the Body were made up of people who were filled with enough vision that we were overflowing. Imagine. There would be no need to join an organisation; we could go out and help people in need off our own bats.

Of course, sitting here idealistically imagining world nirvana is probably another stalling tactic.

I'm sick of stalling, in my health and in my desire to give away my time. Hopefully if the first shifts into gear, the second will follow. No excuses.

It's cold here this morning. My throat is threatening greater soreness, even though I've been plying it with 3 Beroccas in 12 hours, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 doses of olive leaf extract. There is a daunting heaviness on my lungs that hopefully I have staved off with all of those things. I think I will take my tea steeper and my packet of Neem tea to work and drink that in the afternoon, as well. Not another cold for me. I say nay.

I see, looking at the weather observations, that Mount Dandenong is currently 5.5 degrees. Still, even though it's much colder up there, I would still seriously seriously contemplate moving up there, even for six months or a year. (But central heating would be nice). If it's gonna be cold, you may as well have misty shrouded trees to romanticise the whole experience.

It was so cold last night I wore pyjamas and socks to bed, and on top of my thick doona, my dressing gown.

May always deceives me. I think, "Oh, come on. This isn't so bad!" I am feeling that way right now :) There is a heavy sensuality about Winter. The Winterish things are newly unwrapped for the year and interesting in their novelty. I made soup yesterday (flunked it, can you believe it?), a risotto the night before, comfort food (a tip: if the recipe calls for dry white wine and all you have is champagne, go right ahead. Rocks on).

My art therapist is a winter person. Follows the celtic traditions. Gave me a giant leaf she'd picked, after our last session. Suggested that a good thing to do, coming up to the winter solstice, traditionally the new year in the Celtic calendar, is to dry out the leaf, and then write on it all of the things in my life that I am discarding, whether good or bad, that have outlived their purpose or their time has come to an end. After writing on the leaf, burn it.

Maggie's love of Winter also appeals to me. She loves the inwardness, the closed-offedness, the cosiness. It is a fruitful creative time for her. Hopefully with my creativity more intact than last year, my insanity levels receded (somewhat), and a return to the benefits of light therapy, this Winter can be the same sort of time for me.

There is something to be said for the limiting of choices. Too much choice can create distraction, anxiety. Sometimes being forced to go downtime, makes you realise how tired you are. Revving too hard up in the noise and chaos can remove us from ourselves, send us buzzing around in the cross-winds.

Still. I am missing going barefoot already :)

But all of the seasons have their place. Even the ones that prod me with a bit of trepidation beforehand.

The Butterfly Effect


Sunday, 27 April 2008

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead

While waiting for the train this afternoon, a young woman practiced her unicycling on the platform. It filled me with a strange joy, the same way I used to feel as a kid on primary school excursions, where the everyday was writ unusual and slightly surreal because it was seen as a group in school hours.

If that girl knew how inspiring it was to see a unicycle on a grey suburban train station, she'd use it as her everyday mode of transport.

Poet Party Lines

No comments

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Just after I posted this poem, I read that Erin's tagged me for this most illustrious award, the Subversive Blogger Award.

Subversion synchronicity :) Cool!

In my lazy assedness subversion, I choose to tag no one.


Poet's Party Lines

Always seemed to me that
The ones I should toe were
Just as dangerous as
The ones you could snort
(Only once)

Both can contribute to
Some kind of internal rupture
Especially if the party lines you toe
Are your own

The best lines
For me now



I've just been reading through some of my blogroll this morning, and saw this comment Kent made (hope you don't mind me repeating it here, Kentster). The conversation was amongst other things about healthy boundaries, and exactly what they look like. He made the point:
I believe healthy boundries do exist but what I was trying to explain (and this is just my observation from my experience) is that our understanding of what they are is much different than what Jesus seems to demonstrate. The only place healthy exists is within a relationship with Father following his lead.
This really defines for me why it is that a life lived in the love of the Father and walking in whatever that means every day (with many days where he doesn't seem to be saying much at all) cannot be determined or judged on the outside by another human being. Because God is not a formula to be worked, as Wayne Jacobsen has said, it can never be a made-in-China one-size-fits-all approach to walking in what he is asking us to do. Some people really should be out there spilling their guts for the homeless, for example (I would like to one day be that someone, maybe). Others really should be home praying and being the Soul of the Body. Some people are both of those two elements, and one day they will be one, one day the other (this is even closer to what I want to be).

A formula, something that can be Excel spreadsheeted, is sure and believable and seeable and categorisable and I can go away and rest securely in the knowledge that I'm working the formula and so therefore I must be on the right track. And yet what God is asking of me may be the opposite, for me, today.

Our view of how much of a cosmic killjoy God is, how rigid and puritanical he is, will determine what we think he could be saying to us, too. Maybe he's yelling certain things at us and we dismiss them as our own wayward desires. Seems to me, sometimes the things he asks of us will seem frivolous and pointless. Informed out of our culture of grey docility and economically rationalist uncreativity, my bet is that God is probably just a little bit more frivolous and out-there than we have often are led to think. And if we have stifled the things he may have made for us to do, then they definitely often feel too good to be true - which is part of the reason why we have stifled them in the first place. Who can play music, or draw, or run, or write a story, or do anything vaguely fun at all when there are starving people in the world?

I've been pondering this the last day. Got out of the house and hung with a friend yesterday for over three hours at Seddon Deadly Sins. This cafe was originally started by an artist and consisted of a coffee machine at one end and an easel at the other. Coffee lovers would come and watch him work. This guy's art now adorns the walls of the cafe that he sold, now that he is making enough money from his art. I love artistic happy endings! And now this cafe is this buzzing, vibrant place that has grown into something even better now it has passed on to new hands, a creative-feeling place that fosters relaxation and happy possibilities (the food just rocks). Somehow, the time went past in double speed while we were there.

It was so good to get out of the house and my own head after the rather bizarre week I've had spiritually, being so inwardly focussed on the parts of me that I hate the most. It really does feel like something shifted in my soul. It felt like a necessary thing, to go inward and be all self-absorbed and caught up in myself. Even though my inner Puritan bemoans the self-indulgence (and quite rightly, too - how unattractive self-absorption is, how drear and irritating for the absorbed), it was necessary. In hindsight, It felt like God led me there, did some spiritual curetting. I'm glad I wasn't aware of the surgery in hindsight - much better to have that kind of thing foisted upon you unawares than know it's coming, for mine.

Anyway, my rambling point I'm trying to make to myself is this: freedom in God means that when he leads me inward to do what needs to be done, whether it feels self-indulgent or not is pointless in some ways because it's going where he leads. If I sat there the next day when he didn't lead me inward and just focussed on my own stuff, then I could probably legitimately call it self-indulgence and there could possibly be very little fruit that I would glean from the experience.

I just did some centering prayer earlier (another thing which feels self-indulgent. Do you see a pattern here? That inward voice labelling certain things as self-indulgent is, I suspect, what is referred to in novels as an unreliable narrator. I really don't know what is good for me and what isn't). Anyway, I was doing some centering prayer and had this picture flash into my mind, an almost-fully-formed idea that I want to at least attempt to draw. They are happening often for me, these days, these inward flashes of visual inspiration. Ever since I started dabbling in a bit of drawing. Often I feel frustrated, that what I am seeing is way, way beyond what I am able to reproduce but still - for all that, it's very exciting. It feels like creatively, there are fruitful things bubbling below the surface, and these days, even when the island of creativity feels far away I am beginning to see boats and giant ropes and flying foxes that enable me to get from here to there again.

But my inner Puritan balks at all this creativity on one level. Granted, it is a very small level, really. So small that I can reach out and squash it quite easily with my bare feet (it explodes like a grape). I just found out recently from my Dad that my great grandparents were Plymouth Brethren stock. So I really do have inner Puritans flowing through my veins! Luckily, my grandfather added a bit more spice to the blood, cleansed it somewhat, through his own rebellion. Poor dear, he really didn't have a lot of choice but to rebel, did he? :)

So yes, my inner Puritan(s) balk on one level at all this creative indulgence that feels like self-indulgence and which I know is nothing of the sort. They ask me how I can live a life that includes colour and movement, love and life when there is so much suffering in the world. I ask them in return, twice as loud, how I possibly couldn't.

The light overcomes the darkness. King David danced down the road out of his love for God and made a fool of himself. Better a dancing fool than a Michel, looking out the window, ultimately jealous of David's freedom. Dancing foolity for God opens up the heart - opens it up enough to let compassion for other's suffering enter in. Being centred within myself, doing the things that open up life to me, is the surest way I can find to walking towards the suffering of others and having enough left over to give. Fruit only grows from an excess of energy.

Happy Saturday to ye, bloggers!

On latex and botox


Friday, 25 April 2008

Been pondering a bit more about the human body, after my mini nervous breakdown this week. Pondering how it is interesting that we get to live our lives in a visible encasement, each different than the other, dealt out in rather unegalitarian fashion, some beautiful, some ugly. And about culture, and the ways Christian cultures especially teach inadvertently that our bodies are bad. (Magpie Girl has a really interesting post today about why she is not teaching her kids the abstinence route. Thought provoking whether you agree with her conclusions or not).

Been pondering the media-and-advertising-driven obsession with our bodies, with the outward appearance. As evidenced by my posts this week, this is something I buy into and feed into whether I like it or not. I hate that I am affected at all by such inherent superficialities. I hate the focus for women on beauty. I hate it because I know that ultimately, boiling it down and painting with broad strokes, what it comes down to, whether women will admit it or not, is power. Women want to be gorgeous because it affords us a superiority, a haughty-eyed buffer between ourselves and others, an interesting mesh of having a tool that keeps people at a distance, draws them close, and keeps them dangling on a string. This ridiculous over-focus has been criticised as vanity in the past. But our culture loves it, encourages it. But the machine munches women up in the process, steals our strength, steals our self-worth, steals our bodies. Steals the things that belong to us.

Been pondering how it is that we can be so out of connection with our surroundings. Was lying in bed this morning thanking God for my latex mattress. I know, strange prayer, but you know :) I love my latex mattress. It cost a pretty penny but will last me for 25 years and it's supportive and doesn't allow dust mites to collect in it, and I like it, you know? We have been sleeping together for over a year now, and he's very supportive. (I haven't named him yet, but I might :) So anyway, I was thanking God for my latex mattress and then I went off into a rambling digression in my head about how I didn't know where the rubber that went into the making of this mattress came from, what country. I didn't know how many people harvested the rubber, or how the mattress was made. Then I thought about the different types of mattresses that people have slept on over the years and centuries (I know, I think a lot), and how it is that even though I love my latex mattress and it is more chiropractically supportive and comfortable than, say, a mattress made of hay, the person that slept on a hay-filled mattress had a connection to that mattress that I will never have with mine.

Often there would have been a physical connection, if they had stuffed their mattress themselves. Or at the very least, there would be a connection because they knew where their mattress had come from and where the filling had come from and who had stuffed it. I'm not thinking so much here about the environmental impact, the footprint involved in the making of my own latex mattress, the shipping from another country and the like. I'm thinking here in a more hippy mystical way about the connections that go on between the objects our bodies come into contact with every day, about how knowing the history of an object allows you to somehow enter deeper into that object, and how knowing that object in your own personal way means that you come to see that object in a different way than someone who just happens upon it. You can see the dark and light and the cracks and warps and the underlying inherent beauty that only comes with the passing of time. It's the kitchen table that you bought locally 20 years ago that might appear ugly to others because of the deep scars or blotches in it, but each blotch for you is a reminder of the early years of your kids and their meetings with scissors and other sundry ruinable items.

I've had varying periods in my life where I have felt attractive. Mine is the quirky Bette Midler variety, the kind of face that covers an interesting terrain depending on what expression is passing across it at the time (oh, I have a photo of myself I want to post here someday, if the friends who are also featured don't mind, where I was purposefully making a face that actually scares even me when I look at it. It betrays all known scientific laws. Man, it is so ugly, it makes me laugh). You can only make yourself ugly, I guess, when you feel secure enough to do so. I'm not so sure I would be making that face at the moment :) My little mini nervous breakdown this week has been informed by that ugly, hard little pocket of unacceptance that still lives in me (hopefully somewhat depleted after this week, one can hope). I know where that pocket has come from and who informed it, many years previous. It is a strange experience, having the human brain that I do, that I can observe that hard little pocket, note its shape and its size somewhat, and yet my awareness of it doesn't diminish it (well, it's the beginning of its diminishment, of course, but aren't we somehow surprised that shining the light of our own observance doesn't just blow it out of the water, but it's a much longer process than that and involves one Other than me).

I met a most interesting woman recently, an artist of the easel as well as an artist of her own life. Making something beautiful out of the everyday, she does, with great regularity. Sees what isn't and walks into it as though it is. A life of faith and creativity. I don't know if she believes in God or not but she walks in his lands regularly. I could see this from being with her for an hour. There was a photo on the kitchen sideboard of her and her husband, both laughing. It was the most beautiful photo. She's of average looks. It didn't matter. She knows how beautiful she is.

She is not a commodity. I am not a commodity. Neither are you. Perhaps the most beautiful women of all are the ones who know and understand this, who have come to terms with themselves, with who they are, what they have to offer, the seeds of themselves that live in them that need to sprout. They are beautifully free.

Ordinary People


Thursday, 24 April 2008

I sat on the train this morning, observed from behind my book the peoples (how interesting we are), the beauty in the ordinariness of people. The different shapes and colours of a disparate bunch of people of whom I was in the minority with my white skin. Arabs, undeodorised Indians, Asians. Breathed in the aroma of the ordinary. Looking at the people, the mob, mainly gazing unseeing or despondent out the window of one of the richest countries in the world, and thought, "You have the seeds of yourself within yourself, and they are more beautiful than you could have imagined" (well, I didn't really think that then. I rather felt it, but I think it now and write it so that thee, dear reader, can understand some of what I was feeling seeing there are no widgets I know of to stick 'this is how I felt' patterns on the sidebar of my blog. But here, have a fractal, instead. (A terribly slowly loading fractal, at least here on Samantha. It didn't take this long to load into my head, I must say, even in the morning). This is some kind of ballpark representation of how I felt when I looked at the ordinary people and thought, God loves them and some/most/all of them don't have any idea what that means.

None of us know. We really don't. Maybe dogs know, but even if they do, they don't know they know :) But one day we'll know.

And then Flagstaff Station loomed and yea, I stopped thinking philosophy and went to Capitalist Hell. Light and dark. Deep and dull.

Nobody is happy with how they look and most sit wonky near the edges of their skin, not centred within themselves, with their imperfection. And yet, if we could see the divine in each other we would fall at each other's feet, kiss the hands of lepers. No matter how gorgeous or ugly they or we are.

Sink into my heart, ponderings. Sink in :)
There can be no writing without the creation of a persona.
In order to write intimately ... one has to invent an I.
~ Helen Garner

That statement by Helen Garner (one of my heroes, whose personal essay writing ventures her bravely forth into morgues and gun shows and her own heart) would have made me balk several years ago. I would have hated the thought that the me writing was any steps removed at all from the me whose body and soul and spirit I have gotten around in for the past 37 years. That would have felt, to my rather-more-fundamentalist mind, that somehow this creation of "I"s and personalities and identities was somehow fake, unrealistic.

It doesn't worry me so much these days, being so much more the good postmodern girl now and knowing that reality is a much more fluid thing. And anyway, I think I understand from experience the concept now I have a blog all my own, and spread my guts abroad on it with great regularity. If I felt like the me exposing my ugly innards was purely me without respite, with no buffer zone at all between me and thee, I would have spontaneously combusted sometime back in May when I first started this whole blogging business.

Of course, we are constructing outward identities all the time. It doesn't mean that we are false within these identities, but there is no way to fit all of ourselves into our projections at any one time (we will probably need extra dimensions and more God gentlenesses and lovings and healings and tricks and shenanigans to do that sort of thing).

The me here, while truthful and real, and in many ways so very, very open and horribly vulnerable, will never be and can never be the real and true and total me. Wherever I am, I am never displaying the full me. What a sadness that is sometimes. Lovers feel it the most, this urge and desire to fling themselves into each other, to fuse together, but we are all to varying degrees yearning to know and be known. It's one of the reasons why living in the urban 21st century West is so disheartening. Community - and perhaps our identities cannot be forged alone anyway - is the way we are made. But even longtime married couples celebrating their 75th together in the nursing home fall far short of 'knowing' each other in the way that they yearn to. Fusion occurs ultimately in God. How strange to think that one day we shall know God in that intimacy, and shall be known even as we are known now - and it will not be a frightening experience but an amazing one. People take drugs to get to that state. One day we shall be there as a matter of everyday drudgery (that word, I imagine, shall fall into disuse, unless we are ruminating about the past).

Having just said that being so open about myself on here is only possible because it is an "I" persona - as paradoxical as that is seeing the I is me but is still a projection - I am sorely tempted to delete the post below this one. A bit of self-hatred indulgence is probably the times when I feel most raw. I don't feel comfortable at all indulging in those kinds of things (which is probably an indication that I probably should be indulging them somewhat) but having a post about such a thing sitting there feels terribly vulnerablefying. Perhaps I shall delete it. Perhaps I won't.

I have climbed off the self-hatred wagon today. Yesterday was an especially large whack of the stick, and really, the world looks so much more like a pile of poos through the harsh staccato glare of the self-hatred lens. But sometimes there's nothing for it but to immerse yourself, swim around in it, get it in your eyes and up your nose. I've lived with it in varying degrees for the past 18 months. Leaving a marriage will tend to smack you across the face with the self-hatred stick, and when there's a bit of it flying around inside you anyway, it's like flies to flypaper.

The interesting thing about bouncing up and down on that particular elevator so it threatens to plummet me to the ground is that ... well, it's really boring, even with the threat of plummet. There is enough excitement and danger in life without indulging in it through my shadow side. There is not enough to hold me in that self-hatred room for long anymore, certain rooms of my soul having been aired and dusted somewhat, those rooms experiencing the headiness of joy and gentle April morning sunlight so that I don't want to live like a limpet with the self-hatred indulgence anymore. So much of the last 10 years have forced me into a small hole of unlife that the last thing I really want to do is chuck myself into a mood that makes the gilt edges look tarnished no matter how much sun is shining on them.

Not loving the skin I'm in


Tuesday, 22 April 2008

I dreamt last night I was getting around for hours and hours with a young mentally retarded man. I loved this young boy, lived in the relationship for its inherent organic shape. He felt safe with me. We had fun together. But then I woke up, and I couldn't bring the love of the whole, the acceptance of all of my parts into the day.

Some days, beginning with morning pages and meditating on God, the beauty of everything runs through me like rivulets, ties me up with gossamer, flows through me so deeply that I can love even the lepers living just under my skin and I never, ever want to die.

Today I sat in the toilet cubicle at work, my fingers cupped under my eyes to catch the tears so they didn't run down my face, rivers through my makeup that would inform the entire office that I had been, horrors of unprofessional horrors, crying at work.

My wrinkles, my blotchy body with its rednesses and unsmoothness, hairiness and sags, taunted me in the bathroom mirror. The light dragged itself through the dark circles under my eyes - anything less than eight hours of sleep plays itself out on my face for the rest of the week these days. The past year and a half smeared itself down my face today. My eyes threatened to disappear behind lines that now snake themselves across the once translucent skin.

Women of the Empire of any age and appearance always have their imperfections to punish themselves with on bad days. We are only allowed to sag and feel like we've done something wrong by ageing. The drag of overweening unobtainable physical perfection goes beyond shallow vanity, subliminally insinuates itself into your psyche without your knowing and desiring.

I remember when I was staying with Jane after I first left Mark and she said to me, "Wow. I can see how low you sink. You go down to a very dark place, but you keep bobbing up again, time after time. It's quite inspiring."

Well, that may be so, but the changes in emotional latitude gives me a goddamn headache (but I guess it's all grist for the artistic mill, right?)

This culture is about 3 centimetres thick and tonight, so is my buffer zone. And so I stay here, on the couch, with the blanket, and the dog, embarrassment draping off my soul like seaweed, with an early night on the cards so maybe tomorrow I can see further, with long-range vision that sees God, not sightless eyes that couldn't today see past my own self-loathing.



Monday, 21 April 2008

I have written two 1000 word pieces this week. One was a personal essay for my writing class. The other was a piece I am writing for The Porpoise Divine Life and which I shall order you to read when it is published online. Both took me ages to do, much longer than I anticipated. The shape threatened to hide itself from me, to present only its nothingness and thus send me bonkers. Both pieces I procrastinated over because that is what I do at the best of times, and also because I have become used to blogging my thoughts out as they happen, here in dear Discombobula, my public online loungeroom *fluffs the scatter cushions*. I feel safe here in my created spot.

Out there, performance anxiety strikes. Rouses the shoulder demons whispering sour nothings.

But they're both done. I'm not all that happy with them, but they're done. I did it.

Sometimes the earth spins so fast, I feel like I could fly off. Today I am off to my art therapy session and as some sort of reward am staying up there in the Ranges, amongst the trees and the smell of freshness, intoxicated, for a few hours more. Get me some kinda grounding, maybe hug the largest tree and tether myself to the earth. To what I know. Mindful of how little that is. Wanting to stand still. Wanting to fly. Feeling the terror. Feeling the earth. Wanting the third way.

How elastic is music?


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Music. Music music music. I dreamt last night I was talking to Marcia Hines. I don't know why either :) But I told her about the album of hers my Mum had when I was kid that I used to listen to. She seemed quite appreciative of that fact in my dream.

I noted my dog before, while I was cooking my late morning breakfast (fried bread with tomato sauce - yum). I was playing Over the Rhine's instrumental piece Willoughby and dammit if I didn't look at him and think, "My dog is a contemplative." He was sitting in the sunlight at the open door, gazing out unseeing at my courtyard, panting - and yes, panting seems some kind of orgasmic canine activity all on its own, but he did seem to be getting into the grooves.

But maybe I'm just projecting humanities onto canines, the way I project names onto inanimate objects. But why should humans get all the fun from music? Why not animals too? Plants respond to music, don't they?

How far does the power of music stretch? It's such a magical thing. Loving for our ears.

Seems the older I get, the more cracked open I get, the more responsive I get to beauty, whether aural or visual. Like I said to Kent before, one day I feel like I will look at a tree and my whole soul will just ooze out all over the ground.

Thank God for music, for nature, for creativity. Music soothes my anxiety down, makes me rev lower, rev at the God frequency instead of the stupid Suzie frequency. Music is my life. My life is music.

Thank you, Marcia.

The Myth of Redemptive Violence


Saturday, 19 April 2008

The cross, as we see again and again, is the "coincidence of opposites": One movement going vertical, another going horizontal, clearly at cross-purposes.

When the opposing energies of any type collide within you, you suffer. If you agree to hold them creatively until they transform you, it becomes redemptive suffering.

This stands in clear and total opposition to the myth of redemptive violence, which has controlled most of human history, even though it has never redeemed anything. Expelling the contradictions instead of "forgiving" them only perpetuates the problem.

Richard Rohr, from Hope Against Darkness

Go read Mike, who is waxing lyrical at the moment, about the reality we live in and the reality created by the cross. Wonderful stuff. Stuff you can swim in. Love your work, bro. Especially the Rohrmeister inclusions.

Me, I'm off to work, on a sunny Saturday. But that's okay. The buffer zone is expanded a bit this morning. Feels like I can go to work and be busy and still have space to sit inside myself at the same time. Nice.

So happy Saturday, bloggers :)

Latinus shatimus


Friday, 18 April 2008

I was transcribing an interview in Capitalist Hell yesterday, an interview with a doctor. I don't know why he was there. Some kind of malpractice charge or something.

Anyway, in the process of the interview he mentioned the word sputum. And I thought, that word makes me want to hurl. It is so graphic, so descriptive of gooberly saliva. Oh, yuk.

Latin words. They are good at describing clinical conditions, but when it comes to describing body parts - well, it's all a bit cold and medical, isn't it? Latin words remind me of shiny metal tables in morgues. Of bodies that are dead, their spirits departed. Not bodies that live and move and have being. Except for one word. It really is such a good description of the body part it describes. And that word, my dear friends, is scrotum.

Such an unattractive word. Such an unattractive body part. So. Words that sound how they should. Do you have any favourites? Another one of mine is blathering. I love that word. It reminds me of like giant soap suds coming out of your mouth and floating all over the room, filling it up with pointless but harmless bubbles of nothing.

And curmudgeonly. For some reason, I always think of Chesterton when I think of that word, and a book of poetry of his I have where he is sitting on the front, all portly and ... well, looking kinda curmudgeonly (although he was much more than that).

And solitude. When I think of that word I think of physical and psychological space, peace and gentleness. The very opposite of loneliness. I think of giant big rocks tethered to the ground, of wet soil after the rain. I love solitude.

And I really love the phrase, My football team is sitting on top of the ladder and hey, guess what? The team who won the flag last year is a team that we have a bit of a psychological advantage over. So woo hoo for Empire sports to get me through the Winter. But then, that's not a phrase, is it? That's a delightful bunch of sentences to curl my toes.

Speaking of Winter, I found myself anticipating it a bit yesterday. Because as much as I hate the lightlack (hey, I just invented a word!), I do love the cosiness, the warmth of being inside, the charm of Winter. There are charms, definitely. Like soup and ugg boots and blankets and hot chocolate and crisp blue skies. All the seasons have their place.

Unlike the majority of Latin words except scrotum (don't mind me, I'm just indulging myself in the utterly childish enjoyment of writing the word scrotum on my blog. There it is again. Scrotum). Hehe.

No wonder Latin is dead. The only time it comes alive is in describing unattractive body practices or parts. Latin's got no soul :) Try singing the blues in Latin. Doesn't work, does it?

A computer fairytale


Thursday, 17 April 2008

This is like a computing fairy story: Samantha has been running out of room for months. I have bought some blank CDs to start transferring my photos onto it, seeing they were taking up 2 gig of room. I took The Sims 2 off here (she balks at running it anyway; indeed, it's so damn graphics intensive that the last time I ran it, it wouldn't even load it at all and I thought I'd broken the DVD drive). I took Simcity 4 off as well.

Then last night, I started thinking, "Well, dammit, I've deleted everything. How come I STILL don't have any room on here? The hard drive is 40 gigs; it must all be going somewhere."

So I decided to actually manually trawl through the drive and see what the hell was on there. Came across a folder called SYMCLOGS. Turns out that it contains logs that Norton Antivirus produces. Turns out you can delete most of them. Turns out there were over 22,000 files on there, which was taking up 20 GIGABYTES of space.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 20 GIGABYTES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's half my drive space I have managed to get back in one swell foop. So if you're running Norton Antivirus, and running out of space at the same time, take a look. It's in a folder in your c: drive called c:/symclogs. It won't let you delete all of them, but most of them you can.

20 gigabytes!!!

I'm excited. What a happy ending. Now I'm going off to load Theme Park back on. That's what I'm doing. Waste me some time :)

Dangerous prayers


In certain aspects of my life, adventurousness is pretty thin on the ground for me these days. I feel like a bit of a wussbag a reasonable portion of the time. I know that will change in the future. But for me, at the moment, the most adventurous I get is venturing into the land of creativity (which really is very adventurous) or venturing into the land of dangerous prayers (terribly, unbelievably adventurous).

So I can be having a relatively dull-from-outward-appearances day at home doing not very much at all, and yet write a poem and then pray something like this, and spiritually and emotionally it's akin to a day of sky diving.

The world really is very strange. Not very much is what it seems, is it? The duck glides gently on the top of the pond, legs scrabbling underneath. Flowers grow silently, hidden behind buds, unseen, and then spring to life, full of colour.

The spirit moves ever onwards towards Life. It can do nothing else. It is in love. The flesh, the flesh writhes and screams on the floor like the melting Wicked Witch of the West crying, "Do you know what you are saying? Stop praying those prayers!" :) But the spirit loves Love.

Buffer zones


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Sometimes I feel like there is not enough of a buffer zone between me and the rest of the world. It's like a psychological force field or something, which allows you to feel like you can breathe, in the space between where you end and everybody else begins. Does that make sense, or am I betraying my insanity? I think when humans are functioning healthily, we have a large zone between us and everything else. It enables calm inside the storm. It is the rest of God which I have been talking about so much this week. Living in that rest is a bit of a production, though, and I am so glad that the Producer is committed to wonderful outcomes no matter how long they take.

Buffer zones. I watched a show several weeks ago about a man with Tourette's Syndrome who found it very hard to filter things out. They took him to stand in the middle of Grand Central Station, and he picked out how he could hear that woman's footsteps over there, and hear the conversation these people were having over here, on and on. Maybe I do have Tourette's Syndrome after all :) But no, mine isn't quite as intense as that. Mine is more a case of needing tons of time to reflect and process, not so much on an intellectual level as emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. I think all of humanity has problems with filtering. Especially living in our world.

That thing out there, that world, it's no secret it's frenetic. Now, of course, sometimes frenetic is fun. It's good getting caught up in colour and life and stuff happening. But when you're of a contemplative bent then it all gets a bit frazzling quite quickly. I went into the desert of CFS of a philosophical bent and came out a philosophical contemplative. To be too long out in the frenzy of 21st century Western culture is much more overwhelming these days than it used to be before I got ill. Perhaps it is a case of having discovered the rest of God; it's like once you tune into the speed of life, you find a rhythm there that just makes the pace of current life look like some kinda crazy whirligig, a blustering after nothing much of the time, a spinning in one spot, chasing our tails. So much of what we do is pointless. How scary it is to discover that.

And how awesome to have discovered that. Deserts might be barren upon first inspection; no one could mistake them for lush. And lush has its place. Lush is ... well, you can swim around in lush, immerse yourself, fill yourself up, wash your hair in it and drink it. Lush is grace. Do that in the desert and you'll get grit in your eyes and sand burn. It's lonely in the desert and there is the potential for dying of dehydration or of hypothermia. Those changes in temperature are brutal. But the desert slows you down. It strips away. It shows you a stick and it tells you to start digging for the living water underneath. The desert is necessary. The desert can become a friend.

I did some centering prayer this morning. It made me wonder: if you had to choose a verse which Westerners in this time are thirsty to hear the most, what do you think it would be? Sometimes I think it's, "Be still and know that I am God". We are running to stand still, because we are scared that there's nothing there if we look into the nothingness. But it turns out there's more in the nothingness than there ever will be in our frenzy.

I never wanted to live in the desert. It isn't after all a place that we are really meant to live in. Not forever, anyway. It's not a place we're destined for. We get to have a whole lotta lush; it's what we've been made for. But sometimes the most direct way to lush is through the desert.

God is everywhere, man. Centreing prayer - expands my buffer zone. Makes me feel ... centred. Funny, that :)

Divine psychosis

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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

I am going to my writers' group tomorrow night. I didn't go from June last year until March this year because I was either feeling too sick or too suicidal or too blocked in terms of writing fiction (fiction is the pinnacle for me. I can be writing tons of nonfiction stuff - even hopefully one day getting paid for some of the stuff I write, but I know I won't feel like a real writer until I am back on the fiction horse again. )

There's something inspiring about getting together with a bunch of people who are like you - it must be telling how often I feel like I'm kinda a bit out of the loop or weird or on the fringes or whatever, as friendly and as outgoing as I am, that when I get together with likeminded people part of me is sitting there going, "Wow, they do the same things I do! I'm not the only one who writes!" (Or who is a Christian, or whatever). If that's not a sign that it's time to start stepping back into more intentional community, in whatever forms those take, then I don't know what is :)

And tomorrow night fits my mood. We are getting together beforehand to eat some food together, and then we are going to a seminar at the Alfred Hospital (rock on at the hospital, woohoo) which is about Writing Madness. Heh! How suitable :) Psychosis both as a subject of writing, and also writing as written by psychotics. Should be funny. Or maybe not. But these people are a rather eclectic group, many of who drink way too much. Maybe I'll join them :)

Divine discontent


Monday, 14 April 2008

I was outraged a number of years ago to read a book by an eminent Freudian analyt whose theory was that all artists are neurotic, psychotic, sadomasochists, peeping Toms; that not one is normal.

At this moment I do not know why it bothered me so. He means one thing by his labels; I would call it something quite different; but there is no denying that the artist is someone who is full of questions, who cries them out in great angst, who discovers rainbow answers in the darkness and then rushes to canvas or paper. An artist is someone who cannot rest, who can never rest as long as there is one suffering creature in this world. Along with Plato's divine madness there is also divine discontent, a longing to find the melody in the discords of chaos, the rhyme in the cacophony, the surprised smile in time of stress or strain.

It is not that what is is not enough, for it is; it is that what is had been disarranged and is crying out to be put in place. Perhaps the artist longs to sleep well every night, to eat anything without indigestion, to feel no moral qualms, to turn off the television news and make a bologna sandwich after seeing the devastation and death caused by famine and drought and earthquake and flood. But the artist cannot manage this normalcy. Vision keeps breaking through and must find means of expression.

Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

There is no denying that I am an artist :) (But my divine discontent comes via methods other than the news; I refuse to watch or read the news except by accident). This, Kentster, is a bit more of what we were talking about earlier on your blog, this unusual life where we can rest in God while being in turmoil at the same time. It is a paradox of the highest order, but also a common occurrence in my own life and the lives of all believers I know. Divine discontentment while in the arms of the Father, El Shaddai - the Many Breasted One. Sometimes, however, I get sorely tired of my divine discontentment, this yearning and searching. I am tired from the past years, Papa. I am tired of finding myself once again back in a place where I keep hopping out of your arms and going off striving in my own strength. I am tired of looking at the worst things about myself, the areas of myself which are most broken and wanting to control. Take it, please. I'm tired of striving. (I'll take it back again, after a while, but you know the score. Some day I'll give it to you and not take it back again :) I would, however, like a greater measure of your presence in the coming days, if at all possible. I understand totally the way you remove yourself a few paces for certain seasons. It makes us come harder after you. But I miss you, Papa. I miss being in a season where your presence is so close. Hurry back now, ya hear? (I know you're here, but I need to feel it also).

I'm going to read in bed, a comforting thing. A non-striving thing. I am so bloody tired of finding myself striving. May this particular tiresom wrestling match with myself be reaching some kind of end some time soon (even if it means KO'ing myself to end the fight :). Amen.

Choose Life


I was just standing outside in the lovely afternoon sun, taking a break from the personal essay I am writing (2.04 pm as we speak, must be in my lecturer's pidgeonhole by 5.30, and here I am writing a blog post - a very short one, methinks :)

I was throwing the ball for Lester (this is his vocation) and thinking about the conversation I've been having with Kent, and the verse "choose life" came to mind. Maybe someone's trying to tell me something. It comes to mind quite often lately.

And I thought, this, standing out in the sun, playing with my dog, is life. Writing the rest of my essay, doing the dishes, walking the dog later on, cooking, are life - and, by far, the most life that I can do this evening will be when I venture back into the playroom (this morning was the first time I went in there for several weeks; there's something different and more powerful about playing in the playroom) and I indulge in some serious play. That, summed up in a nutshell, for me, is life (that is my vocation).

Why, then, do I spend so much time sitting online, bored? Literally bored out of my skull. Sitting with my hand supporting my head because it's become bored? What is the pull of the internet that I keep being drawn back to it when the amount of time I am spending on here feels like death? Isn't it a standard pose of the human that we want to do the things that make us feel good, and we keep away from the things that make us feel bad? What emotional leprosy draws me back here? There is nothing here that won't be here if I go away and have some life, and then come back again.

This being online when I don't really want to be is the stupid habit I have of choosing death. I have noticed it a bit more lately. Ever since I stopped choosing death by smoking joints (well, I can't say definitively that when I am around it I won't indulge in just a tiny bit, but I have no desire to have it in my house anymore) I have realised how easily I choose death. We all do it. We numb ourselves in whatever way we can do it. Westerners are adept at it. Our culture, ostensibly a Christian culture, is really a death culture. We don't know how to choose life.

Choosing life scares the shit out of us.

Even though choosing life feels amazing and wondrous and I love it. Writing and creating for me feels amazing and wondrous and I love it ... but I also choose not to do it at times because it scares me.

There it is again. Love or fear. Amazing how much you can distil life down into those two things. And, it seems, I choose fear far more than a girl who lists adventurousness as one of her qualities can deal with easily. What a shock to the ego that one is.

Anyway, must go. Personal essay to write. Prayers coveted. My heart seems to be rather hard these days. Prayers for softening and learning and seeing what needs to be seen coveted much more than your donkey.

Blood ties, land ties


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Regardless of their origins, Aboriginal peoples share a common devotion to their countries. No matter how stony, cold, barren, dry, hot or harsh their country might appear to others, to the indigenes their country is the only place that truly matters. It is where they or their parents were born, where their ancestors are buried, where the generations before them have lived and died. It is indisputably where they belong. It is where a correct life is possible; your true country is the Good Life incarnate.

They want me to go to Paris! Why would I go to Paris? I'd rather go to Tennant Creek for a week. - Central Australian Aboriginal writer, incredulous upon being invited to a literary festival.

For indigenous people steeped in meaningful tradition, to live outside one's country is to be constantly in peril, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Exile is a peculiar form of illness, and of blindness, since the stories that give life meaning - the pedagogies of the generations - are contained not in books or language alone, but in language expressed within and by landscape.
Melissa Lucashenko, 'Not quite white in the head', Griffith Review 2: Dreams of Land, Summer 2003-2004, pp. 17.

These words from yesterday's writing class were ringing in my ears today as I sat at the summit of Hanging Rock (25 minutes uphill climbing; I resisted a heart attack but I shall definitely feel it tomorrow in my legs :) In the sense as described above, I am still an exile in my own country. I shall never have the experience of strong generational blood ties to the land, of being able to speak the land. How much more I would be able to see and say if I did. And yet, the land still talks ...

I was just a visitor to Hanging Rock. Had never been here before, possibly would never come here again. I was aware of my visitor status - not simply because of the fee I paid to go into the area, nor the trail markers and stairs, signposts, toilets and a cafe to indicate that this was a place that people visited. But the land itself told me that I was a visitor. Not in an unfriendly way (although many Europeans in the past have thought so, comparing this land to what swam in their own blood and finding it wanting, so alien they couldn't begin to fathom its personality). I wouldn't be able to see the true intricacies, character and nuances of this place unless I lived there for generations. And yet the land was willing to talk ...

Much Australian scenery, to be captured properly, requires a camera many more hundreds of dollars more expensive than mine, or a photographer who could manually set F-stops and shutter speeds to capture the different colours of the rocks, the differing shades of brown and grey, the mint green of the lichen. Not for this environment the dramatics of the main street of Mount Macedon where, on my way home, the English-ey maples and elms and other treeish amazingnesses were coming into their autumnal glory, causing me to drive as slowly down the street as possible so I could stop and utter audibles to myself out the window. Beautiful.

But this land is different. It sings to me in a way that those beautiful Macedon trees don't. Englishness sings strongly through my blood, the unseen memory of those ancestors before me who saw with their own eyes and lived with their own hands and feet and heads and hearts those same trees back in the Motherland. That is my blood too. But England is not my country. Australia is my country. But Australians are some of the most itinerant people in the world, a reflection of our not belonging, of living uneasily upon the land, this willingness to pick up and take off at a moment's notice. Uneasy exiles in our own land. We think we can't learn the language. It takes a long, long time to learn a language. And yet, the land still speaks ...

As long as it takes to really get to know a place, the land reaches out and sings to us very quickly, if we are willing to hear. It just takes a while to be willing to hear. Sometimes guilt gets in the way. But when we do, when we start listening, that's when slowly, slowly, a place begins to seep itself into our own blood too.

I took my shoes and socks off and sat and rested for 15 minutes or so, on warm yellowish rock, the dog panting beside me, and gazed over the yellow dry of the pastoral land below, so much cleared, and wondered how it looked 200 years before, covered in trees. Even sitting there for 15 minutes, the colours and shapes and textures of my surroundings began taking on a significance, began revealing a bit more of themselves, showing a bit more of their gentle hues. I sat on the rock and I knew that at least these rocks were the same as they looked to those generations past. And even though I was a visitor, the land sang itself to me through my feet as they connected with the rock, was willing to seep itself into my blood if I stayed long enough. The land - the spirit of land is forgiving, even after being so ill treated.

Morning of Wonders

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Nor love, nor honour, wealth, nor power,
Can give the heart a cheerful hour
When health is lost. Be timely wise;
With health all taste of pleasure flies.
~ John Gay

The complexion of my life has changed greatly over the past several years. While I can say I am now healed from CFS, it is still a life which veers from health to sickness and back again while my immune system tries to pick itself up. It's a long road. There's no point in rushing it.

The last sickness has just been a cold, a standard cold, one which lasted several weeks. No biggie, but my tolerance for even the most basic of sicknesses is so low that any kind of ill health steals my delight these days. Still, there are things to be learnt in even a small thing such as a cold.

This morning, the April light is gentle. It's laying the back of its hand softly against all the surfaces it touches, the wood of my house and the pergola, the sleek darkness of Lester's fur. Everything, this morning, seems priceless to me. The most basic of things. The cold has retreated and the joy has returned. The joy of a small, everyday morning of cooking and eating oatmeal, swimming in the gravelly honey of Ray LaMontagne's voice and music, admiring the basic greenness of the grass, blue of sky. It's all so beautiful, so simple, so infused with the loveliness and pleasure and anticipation of a life that God inhabits.

Sickness always takes me out of myself, steals my joy, spirals my anxiety. Such an evil thing. But would I appreciate everything so much this morning without having lost my health for so long? I don't think so.

Today I am venturing out to Hanging Rock, scene of novel and movie about disastrous girly picnics. But I don't anticipate such drasticnesses to happen today. Today I get to hang out with some rocks and some trees and replant myself into the earth, my feet into the ground.

Happy Saturday, bloggers :)

Top 100


Friday, 11 April 2008

By golly goshkins, this is one of the scariest things I have ever posted.

My nerdy friends and I decided about ... oh, eight years or so ago to compile our Top 100 Songs of All Time. Just because. Must have been reading a bit of Nick Hornby. And we're nerds. What can I say? But sheesh, it was really hard. Granted I was sick with CFS at the time, so it was hard to even be able to remember 100 songs. And it's understandable it was so formidable then, because it feels so now. Hence the reason why it's taken me eight years to crack the ton. (And boy, I'm scared I'm gonna wake up sweating at 4am, thrashing myself awake with the remembrance that I forgot my favourite song ever ... or with a desire to delete this post seeing now you know that I have a John Denver song in my Top 100! My God, I feel so ... naked.

I'm still not happy with my top 100. I feel like I want to disclaim all over the place that This Is Subject To Change Without Notice. I'm scared that (a) I've forgotten something which will shame me for the rest of my life or that (b) I don't now, but there must be more than one reason why it's scaring me so much.

Anyway, for your boredom viewing pleasure, here is my top 100.

Oh, yikes.

Okay. Here it is. This group of songs are my favourite 100 songs. I'm not so sure about the order. And did I mention, it's subject to change at any time?

1. These Days - Powderfinger

2. Building the Barn – Maurice Jarre (from the movie Witness)

3. Love Song – Tesla

4. Set You Free – N’Trance

5. Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley

6. And It Stoned Me – Van Morrison

7. Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

8. Always With Me, Always With You – Joe Satriani

9. So Long – Fischer Z

10. The Load Out/Stay – Jackson Browne

11. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley

12. Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield

13. Four Walls – Cold Chisel

14. Man With The Child In His Eyes – Kate Bush

15. Further Down the Road – Bernard Fanning

16. Breathe Me – Sia

17. Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar

18. Let It Be – The Beatles

19. Telegraph Road – Dire Straits

20. Photograph – Def Leppard

21. Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

22. Miracle Drug – U2

23. Midnight – Yazoo

24. Drift Away – Dobie Gray

25. Something – The Beatles

26. Annie’s Song – John Denver

27. Heart Of The Matter – Don Henley

28. The Power of Love – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

29. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach

30. How To Make Gravy – Paul Kelly

31. May it Be – Enya

32. It’s Hard Letting You Go – Bon Jovi

33. I Remember You – Skid Row

34. So Lonely – The Police

35. Wild is the Wind – Bon Jovi

36. Blue Day – Misex

37. Hold My hand – Hootie & the Blowfish

38. My Love My Life – ABBA

39. Ah! Leah! – Donnie Iris

40. Etcetera Whatever - Over the Rhine

41. Landslide – Dixie Chicks

42. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2

43. Stay – Shakespear’s Sister

44. Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters

45. Estranged – Guns n’ Roses

46. Nothing Compares – Third Day

47. Epic – Faith No More

48. Siren – Divinyls

49. Glycerine – Bush

50. Lay Your Love On Me – Rochford

51. The Name of the Game – ABBA

52. Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf

53. When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge

54. Never Gonna Die – Choirboys

55. Walk On – Jimmy Barnes

56. You Don’t Treat Me No Good No More – Sonia Dada

57. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

58. Shadows of the Night – Pat Benatar

59. Into Temptation – Crowded House

60. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

61. The Day You Went Away – Wendy Matthews

62. Sweet Sweet Love – Russell Morris

63. Signs – Five Man Electrical Band/Tesla

64. Sure Know Something – Kiss

65. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues – Elton John

66. Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama – Australian Crawl

67. Open Arms – Journey

68. I Want You Back – Jackson 5

69. Leather & Lace – Nicks/Henley

70. First Cut is the Deepest – Rod Stewart

71. Trouble – Ray LaMontagne

72. Samson - Regina Spektor

73. Rocket Queen - Guns ‘n Roses

74. Patience - Guns ‘n Roses

75. What It Takes – Aerosmith

76. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World

77. All My Love – Led Zepplin

78. Hanging by a Moment - Lifehouse

79. Alive – POD

80. Oh No Not You Again – Australian Crawl

81. One Perfect Day – Little Heroes

82. Midnight Blue – Lou Gramm

83. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia

84. Brand New Day – Van Morrison

85. One Crowded Hour – Augie March

86. Make it End – Baby Animals

87. We Live for Love – Pat Benatar

88. The Answer – Sarah McLachlan

89. Breathe in Now – George

90. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

91. Sweetheart Like You – Bob Dylan

92. Cry – The Mavis’s

93. Show Me Your Glory – Third Day

94. Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan

95. Burn – Ray LaMontagne

96. Tomorrow – Kiss

97. The Strangest Thing – Bernard Fanning

98. Again – Lenny Kravitz

99. Ride On – AC/DC

100. Angels of the Silences – Counting Crows