Monthly Archives: March 2011

Soul Days

I am a woman. I am very glad about this. It means that I carry within me the crucible of spirit. Some women forget about this and rush through life pretending to be men. Not me. I know that I am a woman. I cannot rush. I have to take time out every so often and be still. Such days I pencil in my diary. I call them soul days.

Today’s soul day was unexpected. Last night I went bowling and today I needed a total rest. It was an assault on my system that bowling venue, with its glitter balls, flashing lights, loud video music, hamburger smells and shouting children. On arrival I looked around and thought, “This is just as I imagined Dante’s Inferno.” But I stayed. I chose the lightest ball on offer, which was far too heavy for my liking. I worried about my neck, which had been expensively fixed only the previous day. I was terrified when my turn came, thinking that my throw might not even get the ball as far as the end of the alley where ten pins stood in anticipation. I said nothing to my companions but watched carefully the way others bowled and by the time my turn came, I had some idea what to do. I kept breathing. At the end of ten games I was second and at the end of twenty I was not last. This was good enough for me. I was pleasantly surprised that I had actually enjoyed the evening. I even drank a Coke which is something I rarely do.

But this morning when I got out of bed I felt my age. So I got myself a cup of tea and climbed back into bed with Tottie and Keith Richards. Today was going to be an unexpected Soul Day.

Soul Days are days where I allow myself to potter and dawdle, doing anything quiet that takes my fancy. Every so often I take a break and just lie or sit and wonder. Modern life doesn’t encourage enough wondering, which is an act much like playing music. Wondering is a singing of my soul. It touches the mystery and as a woman this is something that I need for nourishment. The only time I left the Warren today was to walk Tottie and to buy some smoked haddock which I poached in milk and served with boiled potatoes and butter for my lunch.

It is now evening and the day has passed deliciously and I have lost the ten years that bowling lumbered me with. Much of the delight of the day had been in the company of Keef who has been a great companion and a man who appreciates the power of women and who knows the meaning of wonder. By lunchtime I had finished ‘Life’, a book I have been dawdling over,  as I never wanted to finish it. And in the finishing I  feel as if I’ve said goodbye to a dear friend. Keith Richards has a writing style that captures his voice intimately. He is open hearted, frank and honest. He writes in metaphors like the poet he is, about ‘the deep cut’ (love),’the deal at the crossroads'(celebrity) and ‘the drone note’ that drives the Rolling Stone sound. He writes with great authority about his love of the nature of music and the marriage of blues and country that created rock and roll. I found that as I was reading, I was growing to like very much this man, who Tom Waits describes as someone ‘ like a frying pan made in one piece of metal. He can heat up really high and it wont crack, it just changes colour.’ As good a definition of integrity as I’ve ever come across.

But am I glad I can appreciate him from a distance. The life that he describes is the bowling venue with knobs on. The only way he managed the pressure was by using drugs as gears rather than for pleasure.  I look back on my life and I see so clearly how character is destiny, a point I’ve made often before. My nervous system couldn’t stand the noise and the emotional mayhem implicated in life in the fast lane.There has been no intimate relationship with rock and roll in my life. I have intimacy issues obviously! Yet I do so enjoy the encounter with that world through the safe medium of a book.

Even the slow lane is too much for me these days which is why soul days are so important to me. Increasingly so,  as wondering takes no energy at all and offers much in return.

The Cupcake Revolution

They are everywhere, haven’t you noticed? There are cupcakes everywhere I look all of a sudden. What does this mean I ask myself. In my youth there were fairy cakes or butterfly cakes, made with exactly the same recipe but without that dollop of gunk on the top. It is not a coincidence that these are the patisserie du jour. They are the Jordan of the gastronomic world. Their rise to ubiquity has to indicate something really important about our cultural state  in 2011. Now what could that be?

The cupcake is the most suggestive of mouthfuls. It promises much and delivers little. It is, after all, a froth of everything that we know is bad for us; a temple to the power of greed, where the saliva gathers at the mere promise of what is to come -which is actually a mouthful of nothing. Lacking the honesty of a meringue, the cup cake in its many disguises is actually very predictable. It smells like the inside of a marshmallow jar in a sweetshop and feels like its going to be important. It is gone in a flash that feeling, leaving in its wake one of guilt, often temporarily assuaged by another cupcake. Greed is the crucible in which the alchemy of cupcakes is forged. Why stop at a fairy cake when an F cup is possible? Cup augmentation is the symbol of the age; Anna Nicole the tragic heroine. We live in an F cup age and our chosen icon often, as often as not, has a cherry on the top. It is a question of how far we will go to be satisfied. All boundaries down, our society promotes and idealises the extreme. My grandmother wouldn’t have put a cup cake into her mouth. The smell itself would have been alien and would have told her there was no nutrition there. We are all part of the violation of boundaries that the cupcake represents. As a society we reward the extreme with lavish attention. But not for long. It will soon run out of stream this headlong rush towards the extreme. Soon we will have to collectively face the truth.

In less that ten years that cup cake of cities, Las Vegas, will run out of water and be left suddenly, like Fatehpur Sikri, to the arms of the desert sun and sand. Every ninety minutes the people of Las Vegas consume 69 million litres of water; water that is not being replenished. It is unsustainable. And yet the fountains at Bellagio do their hourly dance, and spectacular it is. I wonder how many cupcakes are consumed every ninety minutes in Las Vegas.

Polka Dot Knickers

I’m definitely a polka dot knickers sort of girl-always have been. Now I leave that sort of thing to the young and wear silk polka dot palazzo pants instead. But my heart still is flirty and full of fun.

Spring has officially arrived here in the UK and this weekend we spring forward to British Summertime. This means that Aunty Mu will be putting away her black shoes and handbag and getting out the navy. I know she will be doing this even though she rarely leaves the house these days.

Here in the Warren I will be following my own ritual. I will put my winter clothes away in the cedar box, where no moth dares to go and get out my summer stuff. I’d like to say that this includes a selection of tea dresses but I find that I spend my days in trousers, like Katherine Hepburn. I don’t seem to ever come across the perfect dress, though I look year after year. I did once have one , a light gauzy pastel plaid, with cap sleeves and a waist that sat right on mine. But Mimi left it on a bus when she was using it as a nightie and travelling back from an overnight with a friend. That was over twenty years ago and it’s still not been replaced. Ah well, there are more important things in life than the lost things. The found for example. Like the little wooden sailor boy I found in a charity shop this week. He’s got that 30’s vibe and I love his sweet open face and arms.  Life’s like that, full of comings and goings. Rituals are the antidote to anxiety, apparently. My mother always attached her knickers to her corset with a large safety pin. It used to revolt me as a teenager. The knickers were pink and silky, though not silk. The corset, which I’ve mentioned in previous posts, was also pink. The pin was partially rusted. I remember it as if it was this morning. Pinning up her drawers was my mother’s antidote to the fear of losing them at the bus stop. And a lot more.

Wearing my ever reliable Sloggis, but with a polka dot heart, I’m off to get my summer gear out of the box.

The Unfolding Revelation

There is no doubt that things are hotting up as we move towards the catastrophic change that will lead us into a new perception of human life on this planet. For twenty years now I have worked with gifted people who, like Gebser, predict that our life in a world of materialism is coming to an end and a new, more transparent, epoch is about to begin.

Some time ago I found myself on a Hopi reservation in Arizona, talking to an elder about the importance of water and what was happening in that part of the world, as a result of the catastrophic abuse of the aquifer water being plundered from under their land, to provide power for people living in an artificially created city in the desert. He said that the Hopi knew that we are living at an end time and that the journey to the fifth world was beginning. He told me that the symbol they had been given to watch out for was ‘the twins’.When they saw the attack on the twin towers on the twin 11th, they knew that this was the beginning.

This journey will be done as a joint venture between nature and man. Nature will increasingly shake its rattle at the world, with earthquakes, volcano eruptions, floods and naturally-assisted mayhem, until, in an explosion of exponential growth, the human family starts seeing what is actually going on behind the protective facade of their materialistic view of the world. The revelation/revolution is one of perception.

Hanging from the pergola in my Warren garden is a fern. I put it out there every spring and sit and look at it in the sunshine. I call it my old lady plant, as it’s very temperamental and only an old lady would have the time or the empathy to give it what it needs. My plant, which I call Doris, is living proof of my place in the scheme of things- it is thriving! I guess we old ladies also have the time and the experience to get beyond the drama and see what’s actually going on.

This year as I look at Doris, I  think about the increasing turmoil in the world. The level of anxiety is rising. Things are speeding up. We went exponential some time ago.The time is drawing near for radical change. Can’t you feel it in the air? It’s started to be noted out loud by people, who would a few years ago have kept such thoughts to themselves, and left it to people like me with no reputation to lose. But the world is quietly getting ready to listen.

This week Jan Morris was interviewed for The Independent and voiced her strong feeling about an upcoming cosmic change. ‘On the brink’ she called it. And when what happens happens ‘the effects will be phenomenal, ‘ making the end game in Libya seem small fry.  It would seem that Jan Morris is onto what I’ve been writing about from the start. That one morning we will wake up and ‘contact’ will have been made and recognised and we will all have to learn from that moment how to live in a different way. At 84 Jan Morris fears she is going to miss the fun. I’m a little way behind her and have been preparing for some time to ride the wave that is such a profound symbol of what is happening to us all. If we are prepared, we will not be washed away. Time is short and we need to get onto the metaphorical high ground. This means developing connection with spirit. I’m up for it, are you?  Surfboards at the ready. Come on. 1  2  3  Geronimo!

Zen and the Art of Toenail Painting

In the bath this morning I realised that there remains only a thin line of red nail varnish after my August pedicure. This means that in the seven intervening months I have grown a completely new toe nail. I wonder how many other body parts have been completely refreshed in that time. Then I wonder how much of the me ten years ago remains today. I know that I am ageing but the evidence on the outside isn’t too obvious, if the conversation I had in the park last week is anything to go by anyway.

I was there with Archie, who was staying with me to celebrate his first birthday and I had taken him to the children’s section of the local park for the first time. We sat together side by side looking at the children playing, while both munching on Lidl fruit bread. Then we went on the swings and the bouncy chair. Time for a change, so off to the sandpit we went, where in the absence of a bucket and spade, I let him use my credit card to shovel sand. It was there that I fell into conversation with one of the mum’s and she made a reference to Archie as my son. I couldn’t believe it and on reflection I think she might be in need of an eye test. But I accepted it anyway as a great compliment.

In truth it shouldn’t matter a jot whether I can pass for forty three in a bad light or not. The body is after all only a vessel for what really matters on earth. Right. Yet I get engulfed by waves of anxiety when I realise how quickly time is passing and how little time there is left. Ok I keep telling myself all that matters is now. But I am stuffing so much into now that it wont all fit. Time for more Zen I suspect. Do nothing and nothing shall remain undone, as my old boyfriend Nick used to tell me. Well I did nothing there and nothing was the result. That’s quite the opposite effect intended in the aphorism. I need to reach the place where I do nothing and everything is in place. Like reaching for the stars.

Professor Brian Cox, on extended and mysterious furlough from chasing the Higgs boson at Cern, has turned up all over the place extolling the wonders of the Universe. It’s the scientific take of course but he does have the humility to call it a creation myth. There he is in his Rab windcheater(Brian is not an anorak!), trudging through the Atacama desert or respectfully keeping his distance as a family burn their granny in the ghats in Kathmandu. The point being that the universe is all about the cycle of life and death from the stars down to us.

I’ll give him his due, Prof. Cox is really into his subject but there is something both cool and robotic about his presentation. It’s on a massive scale and he is just the man to walk casually away from the exploding prison building that he has just grafittied with the elements. I kept thinking how much I would prefer the whole thing to be shown to me through the eyes of Jarvis Cocker, who to my mind would better represent the suffering that being human brings with it.

The scientists with the help of some really extraordinarily far- reaching telescopes are capable of showing us with clarity and insight what we are made of and where the parts that make our bodies come from. What they don’t and can’t address is the why. Most of us are in some way or another seeking meaning and a union with the whole. Maybe poking around our stellar nursery helps us find our place. Maybe knowing unstable Beetlejuice could go super nova any day now is significant.

More likely all it adds up to is a distraction in a week when through the progress of science we watched in HD as the angry sea engulfed a nation the other side of the world and each one of us was forced to contemplate our own mortality. And when push come to shove, here on earth it is the suffering of others that makes us feel united. As nature increasingly shows the sting in her tail  and the scientists continue to denegrate the why as they tumble over one another reaching towards the wow, I’m with Jarvis. I want to sing along with the common people.

Being is about letting go. Simplicity and acceptance. Going into that first undifferentiated place. But how long can I stay there looking down at my blank toenails? Not for long. I’m off for a pedicure. Angel Red, Ruby Woo, Viva Glam, Fire down below, Red Lizard, Scarlett Empress or Mon Rouge. Whatever. But as I sit there, comtemplating my still gorgeous right foot, I will remember that red is the characteristic colour of a dying star and revel in the poetry of being alive now. There’s the touch of Zen.

For the Duration

It came upon me very suddenly. Ambling down the tree- lined street towards home, after walking Tottie, I realised that if I saw those trees unfold their spring leaves twenty more times, that would make me seriously old and probably not able to do the walk I had just done. It was a staggering thought. Just twenty. The last twenty have passed in a flash and the next will pass even faster because, according to my friend Bertram anyway, perception plays the trick of speeding up time according to the length behind you.

I certainly remember balmy summer afternoons in childhood, when all was quiet on the streets and there was nobody to play with. When time stretched like the Namibian Desert , flat or undulating but most of all empty and dangerously boring. Now the days are full. The chatter inside my head is more complex. There are far too many choices. There is always something left to do and one is haunted by a feeling that one is always behind schedule. But who’s schedule is that? I live alone so I can please myself… But not, it would appear, when it comes to slowing down the passage of time.

Since that moment of realisation, I’ve started to call the time that I’ve got left   (if the untoward doesn’t happen), ‘the duration’. I buy a good set of saucepans, an expensive coat, a rug for the sitting room floor and somewhere in the back of my head I see the words ‘for the duration’ flagged up. I’ve decided since that moment of realisation that I will stay in The Warren ‘for the duration’, as it’s ideal for old lady’s legs, being close to the shops and the buses. Even my little green van with 85K on the clock and a wealth of scratches and dents will do ‘for the duration’.

Or as my mother used to say; ‘it will see me out’. The meaning of these words is starting to fizz like a branding iron on my forehead. I’m that old am I? Old enough to be turning into my mother?  No never. For one thing, unlike her I am alone and happy with my own company. Actually I’ve never been really alone, since I identified my stitch in the eternal tapestry of life. This is my own individual vibration, as different from anyone else’s, as my fingerprint or my DNA profile.  My very own frequency that I can tune, through intention, with the frequency of the Great Everything, so that the music of the cosmos sings through my veins, clearing blockages that might have grown there since the last purge. All I have to do is plug in and off I go like some little electric car. And the good thing is that this one is within, not out there annoying people on urban pavement and making me grow fat.

All I have to do now, is live every second, every minute, every hour, every day. And be grateful that I am here, having carved a serene place in the chaos, happy and hopefully healthy ‘for the duration’. But I have to say that the ‘realisation of twenty’ has made me think again about the possibility of having time to sow and nurture, let alone harvest another intimate relationship. I think I’d rather spend the (short) time getting intimate with Beethoven, a man who really understands what I am talking about.

The Thinning Veil

Last year I threw myself into crop circles, vowing that by the end of the season I would have the answer to the mystery. This year I prepare for the new season with no clearer idea about what is going on. But boy do they make me think, and I believe that this is the point of them. A flock of birds splits as it approaches a circle and reassembles the other side. Helicopter instruments become erratic when flying over formations. The ghost outlines of certain formations are visible in the field the following year in spite of the ground being ploughed and reseeded. What is going on?

There is no doubt that a lot of circles are man- made with stomping boards and string. Film crews have been invited to watch circles being made, but they turn out to be unexciting and rather logolike. Nothing like the profound ones with collapsing crops and bent nodes- the ones where energies are involved. The ones that make people cry, like the sublime Celtic Cross of 2011 (shown above), 800 by 600 feet in size and perfect in all aspects.

The answers are not in words. What I am was there before the words and it is that part of me that relates to the Mystery. And crop circles are deeply mysterious, not least because of the confusion, contradictions and clashing viewpoints that surround them. Lots of people devote the whole of the growing seasons to following the phenomena from field to field and these people, too, are mystified by the growing complexity of knots, weaving and combing in the laid crops, or the standing tufts with 7/8 stems untouched by the force that flowed the crop around them. There are not enough hours in the short Wiltshire nights for such complexity to be laid in any way other than the way music is laid on the air.

No, the prankster hypothesis is nothing more than a red herring when it comes to explanations. But the pranksters are an important part of the mix. They open the gateway to questioning about art and mystery. They lead the truthseekers into ever more complex questioning and they have helped introduce a whole generation to ancient wisdom and the power of archetypal form within consciousness. Whether you are for or against, you are involved in a debate that in itself is leading inevitably to a thinning of the veil between what we see now and what we are going to see.

I leave you with a glimpse of where we are going. (The photo is by Steve Alexander.) This is the 2001 Milk Hill formation. 800 feet in diameter, it comprises 409 circles and is still considered to be finest example of the phenomenon. Gaze and be grateful that we live in such astonishing times.