September 29, 2008
the empty bowl
I have an empty bowl.
I bought it back from Rhodes specifically to be empty.
I protect it's emptiness, honouring it's calling to be so.
Sometimes, bowls cry out to be filled with stuff.
'Fill me! Cram me full of whatever!'
But not this one. This bowl likes to be empty.
My empty bowl resonates strongly with me at present.
As I sit with it, the space it contains is an aspiration; it's emptiness, my own.
Mine is a sparse consciousness, like soil tilled but bare.
But it's not despair. Not at all.
'Before some thing, no thing' as they say in the East.
What is - is space.
What shall be? Ah, well - that is always a stupid question.
September 23, 2008
I found myself shouting 'Fuck off' to a dog the other morning - and I don't recount the incident with pride.
It can of course be scary, running in the dark, when a dog suddenly appears from the gloom, barking at your feet. And I have been bitten a few times down my running years.
But my response on this occasion was unworthy. This dog was not the hound of the baskervilles, and did not deserve my terror. I immediately apologised to the owner as she appeared out of the deep dawn shadows. She was apologising to me as it happened, which was nice - but irrelevant. The shame was mine.
'I'm sorry,' I said. 'That was unworthy.'
I then knelt down to apologise to my friend the dog - but he remained suspicious, despite my out stretched arm.
Four seconds of madness arising from deep primal fears, that frankly, should have had their day. While they live in me, I'm the one whose barking mad.
September 21, 2008
The warmth to swell the grain.
Ratty and Mole would be seen snuffing the air on the first day of Spring. In Bracombe by Cranford, however there have been folk out snuffing like a hunt of foxes after plump rooster . Such an effect has been brought about by the coming of Autumn and the return of the sun to the Village. Indeed, there's no little hand wringing too as the farmers see little profit from their soggy harvest but at least they are being kept busy scampering with scythe and wagon, threshing well into the night.
The Rector's beaming like the wide mouthed frog as he has conducted two weddings, two Christenings, and the Bishop is coming this week.
The annual Flower Show was as much fun as any off us can remember. Mr Bartholomew walked away with the onion classes to the fury Mr Mills who was penalised for polishing his entry. Old Walter remains king of the shallott. What is it about the Sponge Cake that brings out such bitter rivalry? Mrs Minchin from The Hall, always comes away with a gold star award but the judges,I suppose nobody told them of this custom, awarded the star to a gentleman new to the village and commented that Mrs Minchin's sponge was 'overbaked'. I will find out more about him when we decorate the church for the harvest festival. Drab Pam will know more.
However,I fear the Knights' Round Table will not be groaning with her most sumptuous fare this week. No, the groaning will be entirely Mrs Minchin in the kitchen lamenting her defeat. There was a rumour that Sir Viette Ring has been dabbling in the Culinary arts himself. There was an anonymous Lemon Drizzle cake and he was seen hovering near the table for most of the afternoon, his spurs tripping up the unwary in the melee.
The school has some merry new pupils, they all arrived with scrubbed faces like shiny Braeburns, eager to be given a place on the polished benches. There are two little children from abroad. Freddy and Fanny Mae, we don't know much about them but I think we will learn a lot more as it seems they come with quite some baggage.
Another wagon of corn has just trundled by I must put some scones in the oven for the Bishop's visit.
September 17, 2008
A Life and Death Day.
Today I took an annual leave day from work to do two things, at 11am this morning I attended the funeral of the son of my friend, how this brave woman is coping is beyond me, today she buried her eldest son knowing that, probably within the next year, she will have to face the same pain again as her other son has also been told that there is nothing else that can be done for the inherited form of cancer that runs in their family, yet she manages to go on, because when we have nothing left the human spirit to survive all, kicks in and takes over.
I sat with her yesterday, she doesn't think she is brave, she is just surviving one day at a time and dealing with what it brings in the best way she can, she told me of an incident that had happened when a neighbour had asked how her son was doing and she had turned around and simply said "he's dead", then her husband had taken her to the side and told her that what she had said was too shocking for people to hear and told her she needed to say that he's passed away.
She then turned to me and said " but he is dead" as i took her hands and agreed that he was dead the whole strangeness of how we each find a way of coping with death when it touches our lives crossed my mind.
We know one day we will die, we know one day people we care for will die, yet we run from it until it catches up with us, then and only then do most of us face it because basically we have no choice.
Is there another way? I don't know.
After the funeral I went up to the hospital to bring home my daughter and my beautiful new grandaughter who entered this world yesterday at 2.22 pm.
Life and Death, All is One.
September 16, 2008
Too long in the saddle
Like a cowboy walking akimbo, too long in the saddle - I guess I've been too long in dem pesky radio studios for my own good; talking all that goddam nonsense about that no-good, two-timin' sonofabitch new book of mine on the enneagram.
I've so far spoken with London, Leeds, Sheffield, Ulster and radio Five Live. Still to come - Southern Counties, Manchester, Derby and yes, Radio Europe! (Sorry to everyone in Norfolk. It's not personal - I just haven't been invited.)
Talk about anything for too long and it begins to sound like nonsense - and certainly some callers have agreed. Ulster was going really well until I mentioned 'the oneness of all things'. Lead balloon time.
And the Christian station, Premier radio was going well - until the calls started. Then I became 'satanic', a 'false prophet', a peddlar of heresy and distraction - oh, and someone who one caller was 'warned against in her prayers that morning'. So that was good.
Mind you, it had already kicked off on the online Daily Mail comments board, after being serialized there. Someone from Canada quickly had me down as 'just another charlatan on his Caribbean island making shit loads of cash from the gullible'. He clearly hasn't visited me lately...
There were some nice things said too; and the book did actually stay for a week in the Amazon Top 100. But who wants to know that? Apart from me, of course...
September 14, 2008
The sun has got his hat on - hip hip hip hooray!
Doing an early shift is always my favourite. I like to come in when all is quiet and only Jack who always gets up at four is awake drinking his tea. When I walk into the office, the tired night staff are finishing up their paperwork and doing last preparations before they go home to sleep. After greetings and getting a report about how the night went, we crack on with the day. The garden door is opened to let in some much needed fresh airand I go to the kitchen and start getting breakfast ready. Slowly some of the residents venture out to get a towel or have their morning cigarette.
I will be in the kitchen for a while as some rise earlier than others and in the gaps I am stocking up also on cereal, jam, butter and various other condiments. All of the other staff will at some point come in individually to get their breakfast or make some tea. It is an opportunity for us to chat and for me to see how they are and connect with my team.
After breakfast there is no fixed routine and we simply need to go with the flow depending on who needs what.
This works well for me as I very much value a sense of routine in my life however it is also good to have room for the unknown to occur.
September 13, 2008
At the moment I am anxiously waiting for my daughter to go into labour, she is overdue and yesterday the midwife pronounced that the big event could start at anytime! I am on call to go and take care of my grandson while she is at the hospital doing the pushing and panting.
I am very excited and yet I am fearful at the same time, thoughts of all the things that could go wrong keep pushing their way into my head and although I try to root myself in the present and I am doing my best to allow these disturbing images to pass though me, I still find myself unsettled, Why do I find it so hard to be positive?
I know that my own two last labours hang heavy in the air, those moments when the long awaited cry of a healthy baby was painfully absent and although I keep steering myself away from these tormenting memories, they keep returning to haunt me.
Deep Breath Time, I turn myself to the Bigger Truth, All is held and All is Well, I allow my pain to surface, I cry and acknowledge the part of me who is still so effected by this loss.
I can feel myself settling and now I am in a stronger place, ready to be the mother my daughter so deserves.
September 08, 2008
His grace helps me to be gracious
His grace helps me to be gracious
His calm helps me to be calm
His trust helps me to be trusting
Amid the world's alarm
His love helps me to be loving
His warmth helps me to be warm
His care helps me to be gentle
Amid the world's hard scorn
His truth helps me to be truthful
His strength helps me to be just
His depth helps me to be open
Amid the world's mistrust
I do a half marathon every Sunday morning, but yesterday's was the wettest ever - and created new problems.
Running is a choice, of course, and I don't want to complain, but my shorts were so utterly sodden, that the elastic gave up - and I ran the last seven miles holding them up myself.
Onlookers might have imagined this was some trendy new way - developed by body scientists - for top athletes to run, but it wasn't. It was just very, very irritating.
September 04, 2008
At present it is a stressful time on the unit for the employees. Two teams have been forced to merge and overnight be expected to act as one. Face to face there are mostly pleasantries however the tension is palpable in the office. Disagreements about clinical matters are regular and nothing so far has been resolved. It leaves many on the team feeling like they should look after number one and fuck the rest.
In any workplace this is not an ideal situation however it is even less ideal in a place where we are meant to be a therapeutic setting for vulnerable people to recover in.
It is difficult also as I am soon to be leaving and feelings of jealously, discontentment and anger from colleagues are being flung passively my way which I am trying to dodge and not take personally.
I will probably not be there to see it however I really do hope for some kind of resolution and compromise on the unit to come at some point. For the unit to function well there must be a team who act as one and support each other in times of need and difficulty. We must move on from the difficult situation that others above (fucking executives) have placed us in and start afresh.
September 01, 2008
The air and sky - they know
It's 5.00am, September 1st. And the air and sky - they know these things, and speak of it with chill.
They know summer is done, beaches played out, and that for many, this morning is the unofficial New Year - a new year full of fresh starts, new beginnings and adventures barely yet conceived. We know these things - and so do air and sky. So they chill us out of lethargy - and throw up above, an ethereal and spacious ceiling of blue.
It's 5.00am, September 1st, and New Year's Day. We shall take care as we go. But more than that, we shall take risks - for as van Gogh said, 'Heaven is for the daring'.
'So give to the wind you fears
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs, and counts your tears,
He shall lift up you head.'