Monthly Archives: December 2009

Last Day of the Year

All over the globe I guess people are reflecting on the past year and resolving to do better next year. Is this the reason that my new blog got no hits at all today? I’m trying to work out why there was a dramatic spike in my stats the day I blogged about Google. Am forced to conclude that the reason I love the powerful G is that we share an important characteristic- narcissism. It was my couple counsellor Kitty who alerted me to this character defect . I say ‘my’ but on reflection it was in fact an ‘our’, though I can scarce remember who the other half of the couple was. But I haven’t forgotten Kitty, rough edged, motherly and blisteringly honest. If she had been a man I could have fallen I’m sure. I’ve always worked far too hard on my relationships and in spite of this they’ve all terminated (note I don’t say failed), possibly because of the aforementioned narcissism which boils down to an inflated sense of self-importance, and an insatiable need to be the centre of attention. That sounds like me- and Google for that matter. It is the result of a fragmented sense of self and the only real cure apparently is ‘an intense experience of delight or reassuring well- being that lies within.’ This information I found in The New York Times Book of Science, which fell into my hands in New York of all places- but that’s another story.

This afternoon while out walking I took a new route and happened upon a well- lit front room in rather a posh house. Ever nosy, I had a good gawp while wandering past and was struck by the two middle-aged people on separate sofas, miserably looking at a fluttering screen out of my line of vision. They were of course a man and a woman and I wondered what story might be told of their journey through marriage that has ended with them being marooned on twin sofas. To my way of thinking, the minute your spouse transfers beyond the reach of a touch or a cuddle it’s all over apart from the screaming and the slap of divorce papers. There is no isolation as intense or as painful as that of being alone in a couple. I speak from experience here, several of them in fact.

So I’m not surprised to read that there has been quite a flurry of excitement this Christmas on the mid-life Lezza front. Apparently Jeanette Winterston is now dating Susie Orbach, the psychologist and author of Fat is a Feminist Issue. Middle-aged women are leaving their male partners in droves, by all accounts, the minute the kids are off to college and they are leaving for a sort of x rated Malory Towers life, all mischevous and sexy.

Maybe that’s the answer, Allie. So where are they all, these gorgeous middle- aged women swinging both ways and up for a bit of fun? The only lesbians I know break wind freely and sport both studs and tattoos, which is not a look that I find much of a turn on, in either sex. I wonder if Kitty is gay- I never thought to ask at the time.

Carnal knowledge

It was Harry’s bitchy comment on Christmas day that got me going. ‘You look just like the queen sitting there,’ she said. Well I suppose I was wearing pearls, but the ironic sort -huge and obviously more than any poor oyster could accommodate. But the rest was most unqueenly, brown see-through lace and leather over the knee boots. Harry often wrong-steps me. She used to brag about her orgasms being multiple and for years I quietly felt totally inadequate, until a kind man opened my eyes to the alternative viewpoint. Women who orgasm easily never reach the build-up necessary for the mind- to say nothing of the body- shattering experience of female ejaculation. Apparently.

That’s not the only carnal thought I’ve been having today. I’ve been contemplating filth. My mother never was a great one for water. I’d go so far as to say she was hydrophobic. One bath a week in a couple of inches of warm water was all she could take. In between it was a matter of what she called ‘a lick and a promise’. I used to think Ugh and sit for hours in a hot bath, dreaming my dreams. But not any more. As I grow older I bathe less. The juices that ran so freely now must be conserved. I value the oils, the salt and the grease that make me what I am and feel they must now be conserved as they sit on my skin. I am very careful what I add to them or how I remove them. I don’t wear perfume or wash with anything smelly. I might occasionally rub myself with essential oils that I buy by mail order from the medina in Fez but that’s absolutely it. I love the whiff of me I get when I stick my nose down my cashmere roll neck. I’ve kept quiet about this reluctance to wash away my preciousness, thinking that the world caught in the gospel according to Procter and Gamble might find me eccentric.

Imagine my surprise then to find an article in the special double Christmas Issue of The Economist on this very subject. I had bought it as a pre-festive splurge along with The Spectator and The New Statesman to get me up to speed by the end of the year-most of 2009 having been wasted on Vogue and Grazia and there tucked in a corner with no mention in the contents, I might add, under the heading Filth, is a three page article on how we’ve been brain washed, pun intended, into an obsession with cleanliness, which is actually harmful to our health.

Another example of Allie riding the start of a wave I thought as I read The Joy of Dirt. It includes the information that a recent experiment in California suggests a molecular basis for what is called The Hygiene Hypothesis. They found that common bacteria living on the surface of the skin can help wounds to heal by releasing a special molecule to stop outer skin cells getting inflamed. Germs are needed to build up a strong immune system. When I lived in the tropics my next door neighbour, a Peace Corps volunteer called Carol, kept a bottle of Milton at her side and was always ill. Yours truly, who ate freely in brothels (best pepper stew in town, appropriately enough) drank palm wine from dodgy glasses and shopped in the local market, was rarely ill. I knew then that a peck of dirt was good for me.

Apparently Elizabeth 1 bathed only once a month and her subjects were sewn into their combinations with a thick dollop of goose grease in October, where they stayed until released for the annual bath at the end of April. No wonder May was a popular month for weddings!

Simple hygiene is important and I can well see the link between ablution and absolution but it seems to me there is something pathological about the fear of germs in our society. So I was relieved to see that researchers in my home city have found that there might well be evidence that dirt actually makes people happy. An experiment on mice revealed that bacteria found in dirt stimulated the neurons in the brain to produce serotonin which, of course, influences mood.

So that’s the answer to the epidemic of depression that has hit the western world. Wash less and feel happier. Get to know who you are and what your signature smell is. Smell real not clean! My mother would have approved. ‘It’s only natural,’ I can hear her say. ‘Make do with a lick and a promise.’

Wondering

I love this lull between Christmas and the New Year. It gets me wondering and wonder, did you know, releases dopamine, the happy hormone. No wonder I live in a steady state of bliss.
This morning while others wonder whether to get dressed and go to the sales I don’t get dressed and go to one of my many notebooks and figure out some more stuff about being. Not being anything or anyone -just being. Meta questions are what I ask at times like this. I pay attention.

Like Elvis, I have always been a seeker. Unlike Elvis I have shifted my addictive tendencies towards the acquisition of key knowledge. We are, I believe, living at the most exciting, most difficult, most wonderful time ever. For we are at this moment (December 2009) teetering on the brink of a move from one dimension to another. We are at The Tipping Point that will take us from 3D to 4D. Of course all the dimensions exist in the same place at any one point but we humans, poor arrogant dabs, can only perceive a limited number. Now we stand at a point in history when we are expanding and will soon be seeing things we have up to now only intuited. This is happening because of a global rise in frequency. The world is moving away from the dense world of matter towards a finer world of spirit. Many people are writing about this change. Here is my contribution- a brief list of key nuggets of knowledge I have patiently panned over the years.

1) Matter responds to human consciousness.
2) DNA is a complex electromagnetic biological superchip that communicates with the environment (including thought).
3) Human language develops following basic patterns already existing in the structure of the genetic code. So called ‘junk’ DNA is there for expansion.
4) ZPE=zero-point energy. This is the underlying sea of electromagnetic energy upon which the stability of matter rests. It is unceasing and fills all empty space.
5) The Zitterbeweung is the jittering motion of a particle in a sea of ZPE. It is the vibrational song within which we live and open to which we thrive.
6) The answers to all meta questions lie in the void.
7) The answer to our present energy crisis lies in the quantum fluctuations of ’empty’ space.
The speed of revelation is quickening.
8) The smaller it gets the greater the quantum effect.
9) The key lies in the reciprocal effect. Homeopathy works because of this.
10) Consciousness is the key.

See what you can do when you don’t go to the sales!

There is a tremendous force behind it all, holding it in manifestation. When I feel this I know there is a plan, a purpose and a method in creation. Behind every external manifestation there is a pattern. The whole thing is a complete and simplified whole, the aim of which is integration and a world of love. So there Richard Dawkins!

All that I see this morning hangs within the patterns and designs that hold matter and our lives are rays that radiate from and in all directions. I live in a world illimitably contained in one spot. WOW!

Having a shape

Some people are not made for intimate relationships. For them falling in love is like falling into fire: their edges burn and the boundaries blur. This is dangerous for the soul that needs some form or mapping for without it people become dependant or possessed or both. This has always been my greatest fear, yet I am drawn towards the edge like a bird to a branch of berries. The possibility of burning etches an arrow to the point of connection and off I go again, trying to ignore my mother’s voice in my head, ‘You’ll get your fingers burned my girl,’ she is saying over and over so I lalala loudly to block it out. Seduction draws me in. It is after all what it is for and I am strangely susceptible to its pull. I think Sylvester is made for the act of seduction. I know that I stand on the cusp. No thank you I can say and turn my thoughts to Spring and my garden lying there still and dank and in need of attention. But I don’t. Instead I remember another seduction and another January when the Boy and I came together like two magnets, losing in the act all possibilities of boundary-defining until June when a careless remark on my part about the shortage of foreplay sent him running for the hills. I didn’t see him again until September when, if my memory serves me right (never a good bet), it was I who did the seducing. But I don’t have to make my mind up about Sylvester until next year-still a week away as he’s off to speak at a Mind Body Spirit Conference in California. “Sacred Geometry Mappings in Authentic Crop Circles” he’s called his talk. He’s promised me a recording.
Giles who is spending Christmas with an aunt in Normandy sent me a huge basket of creamy pointsetta(I’ve only ever seen red ones) with a note promising a long chat on his return to Paris after the New Year. Oh dear.
My friend Mack says that she sometimes loses her shape, even when she’s not in a relationship. She says it feels like being an orange in a pile on a barrow when the critical one is removed and the whole lot spills onto the road. Sounds catastrophic. I tell her to work on her grounding by living consciously and eating chocolate. She says yes yes and carries on doing what she has always done.
I’m glad I’ve been rigorous in my pursuit of change. I think my girls appreciate it too. My GP daughter Lala said on Christmas Day that my shortcomings as a mother were more than compensated for by my success as a grandmother. Mimi agreed with her. Instead of basking in the sunshine of a compliment, I immediately wanted to know what my shortcomings were as a mother. All I could get out of the pair of them was a dark shaking of heads and something about me wearing a lace body stocking when one of them brought a boyfriend home. I don’t remember anything about this which worries me. I try not to dwell on the past in any real way or I get flashes of sequined boob tubes, dancing feet on tables or worse then I can’t get to sleep.
The present is still colourful but I’ve learned not to scare the horses. Does that make me more mature or more adept at covering my traces, I wonder
We had a lovely Christmas. The Warren was bulging at the seams with bodies. My glam sister Harry (short for Harriet) who spent most of the time in the loo backcombing her hair, Dor who took over the kitchen and prepared delicious meals and an ex mother-in-law whose son was once a husband. His face I’ve long forgotten- he has lived in South Africa for years -but I’ve always loved her and strived to keep her in my life. Doris is her name and she is in fact a dead ringer for Doris Lessing, a great hero of mine. The four of us had a great time together. Harry and I had arranged to sleep on the floor. Well I did just that, having bought a couple of mats that kids take to festivals so woke up feeling as if I’d spent the night in a damp field. Harry came with an EZ BED bought off a shopping channel in the middle of the night and a bottle of whiskey. It was an amazing beast that plugged in and opened like a caterpiller on legs which extended from top to bottom then puffed sideways into a monster that practically filled my study. I’m glad she didn’t go with her inclination to buy the double because it was only ten pounds more. We had great fun opening and shutting it on Christmas Eve, though I missed singing the usual Christmas carols around the piano.

Google Loves Me!

In the middle of the present wrapping (thoughtful like the small presents we give in our family) trifle making, ham baking and general confusion Elvis tells me it will be a blue Christmas without me and I contemplate the fact that Google has indexed me so that I am No1 for my key phrase Allie Allbright in 374,000 searches. This according to Matt my IT support is good news. I’ve always loved the whole Google thing, the cafeteria with superb food for the workers and the concept of creative time built into the work ethos. I don’t quite know how it works apart from the fact that algo rhythm is involved if that is the right spelling which I’m sure it is not. Google the noun that became a verb is my sort of company-the mavens to beat all mavens. But I haven’t time to dwell any longer as the mince pies are calling.

Winter Solstice

The next 24 hours brings the Winter Solstice. Earth is in its deepest winter sleep in my part of the world. If I venture out into the woods (which I’m not going to do as it will be dark by the time I get there) I will not hear the familiar universal hum of life. All is dormant. It is the last and deepest breath before the Great Turning and tomorrow the line will again be pointing upwards in the direction of renewal.

No wonder our ancestors paused at this time for their light ceremonies and rituals designed to encourage the sun to once more shine on their endeavors.

I love this time of the year taking my own deep breath before the rush towards Christmas. The tree is glistening. The box of decorations has been taken down from the top shelf and with Elvis singing 20 Christmas songs I have spent a happy hour decorating it -reviewing as I do so a happy life of ornament collecting. The angel my first boy friend gave me with a silver/onyx ring in its arms, the Father Christmas bought in Amsterdam on one of my honeymoons, the glass angel from a happy weekend in venice with my daughters Mimi and Lala and granddaughter Laverne, all take their place on the tree.

And this year there is a new decoration;a little wooden train engine in recognition that we are all shifting up to let a new soul into our family circle. Mimi is pregnant with a boy who is now 30 weeks on his way.We are all excited about the advent of ‘our baby’, only the second boy in three generations and a gift beyond expression. So this year I am contemplating the Christian nativity(unusually because I am not a churchgoer) and its roots in an older tradition of welcoming the baby sun to save us from the darkness of wavering faith.

So instead of being out hunting and gathering in the shopping malls or writing Christmas cards to people whose faces I can barely remember I am in fact sitting contemplating the words of Hildegard of Bingen:

Glance at the sun
See the moon and the stars
Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings
Now
Think

In the past the women would gather at Solstice and prepare feasts. The men would light huge bonfires in whose light both would dance and make music. Honouring the festivals connects us with the power greater than humanity. It is a primordial need that connects us with the earth. Today I recognise this and spend the day in reflection and renewal. The rest can wait. Solstice blessings to you all!

Goodbye Giles, hello Sylvester!

It all started with a bunch of fresh anemones being pushed through my letterbox. They were wrapped in tidy brown paper which could so easily have been written upon. But there was no message. I popped them into water and nipped down the road to Borders which sadly was on the last but one day of its closing down sale. I went straight up the stairs to the Mind Body Spirit section, passing on the way many posters advertising a 70% discount. I was browsing, swaying my hips ever so slightly to the soulful music being played as background and rhythmically picking interesting books off the shelf when I became aware of someone standing alongside me, quietly singing along with the track. I glanced sideways and was astonished to see a very attractive man. I was astonished because I simply haven’t seen an attractive man for ages; a fact that I put down to being involved with Giles. Yet here was one. Tall, black and handsome, he towered above me and stood with arms filled with Mind Body and Spirit books. The blood rushed to my ears, making me feel I had fallen down a culvert in a tropical rainstorm. I had to do some quick thinking or the opportunity would pass me by. When the Universe speaks it is always preceded by a colourful preface, I find, like a bunch of anemones being squeezed through your letterbox. I glanced at the pile of books , chose a title I recognised and spoke.

Fifteen minutes later we were across the road drinking de caff coffee in Patisserie Valerie, having exchanged names and a quick summary of each other’s purchases. Any parent naming a child Sylvester is asking for trouble, as Felis Sylvestris is the biological name for a wild cat. I have never in my life come across someone called Sylvester and now, well past my sixties heading for my alloted biblical time, I have, for the man sitting across the table is called Sylvester Jones, a polymath set on my path like a honeytrap.

I do sudoku to calm me down. It works because it is a limited task in an infinite reality. I am interested in men for the very same reason. I figure I might as well as long as I can. It gets harder with every year to get their attention but when I do I can see that they still find my accoutrements engaging. I don’t run locks of hair through my fingers in that ingenu way any more- it would be obscene at my age-so instead I rattle my beads, thus reminding my companion that I am there and at the same time reminding myself to enjoy the moment, as the ultimate rattle is drawing ever closer. I am convinced that the joys of flirtation will be with me to the end. Certainly Sylvester succeeded in being totally there at the Patisserie Valerie. We talked about small world networks and the book that connected us, ‘The Tipping Point’. As we talked I was mesmerised by the flashing white teeth above which bobbed a well trimmed moustache. He had taken off his soft brown leather jacket and hung it over the back of his chair with an insouciant flourish. I couldn’t help but notice in passing that his chest was well formed. I bet if he took his shirt off he would look like Burt Lancaster in the bath scene of The Leopard. He’s tall and muscular in that ‘I worked in a circus in my youth’ way. In no time at all I could see him climbing the rigging. Oh dear Allie, I thought, a cup of decaf and you seem to be getting Sylvester and the Crimson Pirate muddled already. But what he was saying was interesting too because it was about me. He said that I was a maven, a word I’d come across before, as an old lover called me by that name, thinking it meant a difficult bitch. It sounds like that doesn’t it? But actually it means an information gatherer and disseminator. It’s an old Yiddish word being used now in connection with the new theories of how information is sparked and spreads like wildfire.

We couldn’t go as far as we wanted with this conversation, so we arranged to meet after Christmas for another coffee. Good. That gives me enough time to work out what do do about Giles, who I haven’t spoken to since I got back from Marrakech.