The Pace of Life

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The march to the Pace of Life is quick, I think. It takes no prisoners. Those who march to the Pace of Life  give the impression that all purpose has been knocked out of them: that they are reduced to a hollow rhythm. One-two, one-two to the beat; each foot a syncopated slave to the drum of their daily existence.

Mine is a rather different pace. I have no purpose to my walk at the moment but that’s ok. Sometimes I dither and sometimes I circle the same ground over and over again, as though I were looking for something I had lost. As I get older and my feet get heavier I wonder whether it is innocence that I left behind. Wearily I still look for the things that shine: old bits of copper, fun acquaintances, fallen pennies, new lovers, bits of treasure…..

……..but now I know that they will lose their sparkle in the half light.

This is the direction I chose to take and there is no turning back. I am on my own now, my path illuminated only by the light of the sun and moon. I am at the whim of my heels. The road forms itself; it becomes a path that opens up; a benevolent direction: an insurrection to the action, reaction and mindless distraction of everyday life.

‘Aren’t you a drifter?’the clockwork marchers say as they one-two, one-two to the beat of the Drum.

And you already have all the answers….’, I retort,  ‘or will you look them up?’

They only rustle their planners and thumb their diaries in response, organising their lives to factor in every linear possibility from birth until death (and even that one’s on the calendar – Tuesday if possible, not a Monday so as to avoid bridge night).

The Pace of Life planner doesn’t allow for error. It doesn’t allow for eventualities or vicissitudes. Or winds of change. Or changes of heart. Or changes of lover. Or changes of direction. It maps the course with routine predictability to ensure there is absolutely no availability.

For availability might mean being alone. Or time to think. Or time to change. Or time to grow. Or time to stop putting one foot in front of another in sync with the invisible metronome whose Stalinist presence monitors every second, every heartbeat and every heel strike of every footstep, counting one-two, one-two to the next chronological signpost. Easter. Christmas. Birthday. School holidays. Another Event with a capital E.

On the planner, there is no space to scrawl in a day for contemplation or silent contentment: no time to scrub out a week and spend it in timeless nihilism. Too busy, they say, too busy.

Too busy for connection, reflection, contemplation and wonder. Too busy for savouring or wondering; dreaming or envisioning. Too busy.

Too busy for touching, lingering, sensing and feeling.

Too busy for feeling the fullness of a moment: the sort of moment that has the power to cause the cogs in the clockwork to grind to a halt yet the sort that will last……

……forever.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

New York

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I lie here, cosily tucked away within the faded Art deco glamour of my big-city hideaway. My mind floats off to eras gone by as I imagine the years, the lives, the energy that this city breathed in and breathed out, each breath marking the start of a new wave in the relentless ebb and flow of metropolitan vogue.

From war rations to new fashions; Times Square with its battle of the brands: each billboard whispering in consumers’ ears to loosen the clammy grip around their wallets as they let their hard-earned money fall into the hands of the lucky profiteers; the colossal emperors and gateholders of the American Dream.

‘Everybody can be somebody in this city’they say. But isn’t somebody just another body as the hundreds march the sidewalk or the lunchtime rush subsumes the masses in the hustle and bustle, whirl and burl; the faceless swirl, soulless intersection – perhaps the odd two second connection. Exchanges are but brief sparks in the footfall: ‘how’s it going’;  ‘what a fast city we need to slow down!’ or ‘why did that muppet win the election?’

This is a world bazaar: a melting pot of art, food, fashion and snacks-at-street-corners. In one day I can see Picasso at the Met, browse Stella McCartney on Madison Avenue and eat Quesadilla, eggs over-easy and a Reese’s peanut butter cup milkshake float. ‘Hey lady! You want pretzels?’. Marching fuel keeps me going from one street corner to the next. ‘Tacos till I get to the best restaurant this side of Fifth Avenue else I might be hungry on the way?’. You don’t say. I’m not losing weight this way.

Press a button and up up up 86 floors into the sky. It’s high but my head doesn’t spin. I take some facebook selfies with my cheesiest grin just to show the folks at home I’m a somebody in this town of somebodies who are nobodies. Riding high on the American Dream. Self-esteem. A necessary commodity (but one with a big dollar subsidy).

No dollar. Blue collar. Service sector. The invisible glue of this city. Chamber maids. Bell boys. Waiters. Newspaper sellers. Burger flippers. Immigration is what holds up this nation. Capitalism on steroids; an uncontrolled pyramid scheme promising a dream of freedom that they might have in the future some day. Who’s to say? A cruel promise or a fair contest? An unequal system which doesn’t evoke protest. For everyone a winner in this game of chance and romance.

The American dream. The reality or the fantasy on which this city survives? Any gripe is silenced by the illusion of one day we’ll make it big; make it big like the collosal greats of yesteryear and today; the billionaires and heroes who have gone before. Or there is always the lottery, we say. That hope is just a palliative to that fifteen-hour day.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

What would it take?

What would it take this person here

To free themselves of pain and fear;

To feel so light upon their feet,

To watch the darkness fast retreat?

 

What would it take this being now

To lose control, to just allow;

To loosen the impassioned grip

And into freeing presence slip?

 

What would it take this heart of stone,

To castigate the ‘all alone’;

To feel the soul of one or more,

The essence of a global core?

 

What would it take this mind of steel

To ditch the doubt and just to feel

The air above, the ground below;

The sounds of breathing deep and slow….

 

Another day at work till late?

More social media saturate?

More likes and buys, more hits and wins?

More televised commercial grins?

 

More dramas, worries, lusts and fears?

More stress and self-defeating tears?

More stoking fires of wants and needs

Until the flame of lack recedes?

 

For now is not the time of ‘more’,

Of ‘fill-it-up’ to ease the gnaw,

Or crude desire or self-deceit

That lurks in every city street

 

The time has come to seize what’s less

To savour more with wise finesse

To own the depths of self and heart……

To jettison the shopping cart.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

A Mid Life Crisis?

As forty hits, the ego calls: the inspired wallet buys bigger balls: the eight grand full sus mountain bike; the fishing rod that nails all pike;the clubbing mum with inch-long nails, the sporty dad with hero’s tales.

As the big birthday nears I heave my beleaguered form onto the bandwagon and start my quest for THE life I was MEANT to be living Apparently I can BE THE REAL ME OF ME IN THE NOW. I am the STORYTELLER of my own destiny.

I cling onto that glimmer of hope that I haven’t sold out and I am not just wasting my life shopping at Tesco’s and looking for great deals on Amazon; that this was THE LIFE that I had somehow been promised I would live before I came down from the big blazing bubble of stardust glory in the sky.

I decide to change: to grab the proverbial bull by the horns. I AM GOING TO MAKE MY LIFE REALLY EXCITING AND OUT THERE.

I meditate. Every day. Hoping that the Divine will send that big ball of cosmic ear wax my way. I wait and wait and wait for a big spectacular sh*t-hitting-the-fan moment but nothing comes. I leave the checkout screen and let my life unfold. Allow, they say. Allow. Allow. Real life will come my way if I just flow……

Abundance.

I am skeptical. But I wait……..

The gods don’t fill up my shopping cart.

I’m on the phone. The potential for drama crackles in the suspense of the argument with my lover. But nothing worthy of a plaudit: just prickly sarcasm and some poe-faced profanities. I sob a bit and drink wine round my friend’s but then I move on.

The crisis might crystallise, I think, when I announce I am leaving my work.

‘I’m going to launch another career’ I declare to my boss who doesn’t look up from his desk.

I go on LinkedIn and get another job. I have a bit more cash. I move on.

I dream up an idea of writing an earth-shattering, critic-silencing script that will be in theatres for years to come; changing the world and shedding light on the reason for why the human race is so f**ked up. I write the play. It is appreciated by some: the some being two of my closest friends. I move on.

I go on Tinder. I meet someone. Ding dong and God damnit!  We meet in the new gastro pub which serves Cornish cockles and fresh ling in tarragon sauce presented in a locally sculpted skillet. We talk about how sh*t Love Island is, what exercise we do and how to fill in the cracks on a plastered wall without spending too much money on filler

Later we fumble around whilst gasping for breath…….

we are having an anaerobic reaction to the sights of the saggy old cloth cat bagpuss bodies which shatter the illusions of the siren sex kittens that we still faithfully cling on to. It all seems a bit exhausting these days I think and I’m bored so I move on.

I’ve tried Tinder, playwriting, tantric pilates and new-age kipper surfing in an attempt to rekindle that erstwhile life spark: to awaken the REAL ME and live THE life That I was meant to be living in the NOW. Nothing has worked.

I am now expecting some motherf**ing collosal meteoric act of nihilism to happen here in Victoria Park. This might be the excitement I need: the shift which changes me and sets me on a different course. I can then really say it’s written in the stars and that my exciting middle-age destiny was heaven sent………

The closest we get to anything geo-transformational is that this is the hottest summer since 1976. I haven’t watered the garden I think and I need to. I move on.

I return to my shopping cart. My prayers have been answered and it is filled this time: with a portable steam window cleaner. This mildly excites me: not much but just a little. I admit it to myself. This might be one small step towards the NEW ME OF ME.

Truth be told, I am the same old doing the same old: a new version of me in earnest equanimity, enjoying her moments with some new found humility,  appreciating that what will be will actually be and that life does not owe me a souped-up ME.

The unveiling of the big life mystery was that what I already seem and see is the answer to all I need to be……

…….and that I now need to pee very frequently.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

Polly Stands Still

Polly sucked the end dregs out of her bitter Krong Thip and left the beach hut. She had just finished the dog-eared copy of the Jackie Collins novel that was the last dusty deposit in the book box and now felt a little lonely. Her beach hut neighbours had moved on.

Polly felt static even though she was ‘travelling’. The stasis was a internal throb – a low drone of boredom from her very core. She had been doing yoga on the beach every morning but it definitely wasn’t ‘the hum of the universe’. She was somewhat perturbed that having paid all that money to get away from her job in the paint shop in Bedford, she now felt exactly the same as she did before she went away: totally unclear of her direction. She decided to seek some help.

One of her friends had given her the address of a woman soothsayer that lived in the neighbouring village. Polly was certain the woman could rescue her from her low drone feeling and resident existential crisis. With some new-found energy and intent she got in a cab and headed north to discover her new beginnings.

Polly climbed the rickety old steps to the woman’s elevated wooden hut and knocked feebly on the door. The old woman opened the door slowly but deliberately and invited her in. She gave Polly a cup of very herby tea and beckoned her on to a mat, nodding sagely without speaking. Polly settled herself down and felt the woman’s passivity draw the words out of her, almost as though they were being pulled up from the empty drone deep within.

  ‘I need to have some sort of certainty or outcome about what I am going to  do with my life. That is why I have decided to leave everything and go  travelling: so I’ll know what I want when I get home’, Polly said plaintively  to the old woman, struggling with the great void of the unknown that stretched out in front of her.

She had reached some sort of strange plateau in her life where there was a sudden dearth of plans, events and exciting opportunities. Things were pedestrian. She had got bored of going out and all of her friends had paired off. Her job was ok but she didn’t bounce out of bed to go to work every morning. People had exciting stories to tell but she felt that life was a drama that belonged to other people that was being played out outside of her.

It is not about forcing life to dance for you my dear’said the old woman. ‘It is about you shaking your feet in your own shoes to your own rhythm in only the way that you know how.’

Polly blinked and thought of an awkward moment when she had been at the Blue Oasis, and Harry Woodward had asked her up to dance sober to Ricky Martin.

 ‘But where do I find my rhythm?

The old woman now had a playful twinkle in her eye.

Where do you think you find your rhythm?’

‘In my heart?” replied Polly.

 ‘Yes of course’ laughed the old woman ‘but your culture has taught you to  tune out your own rhythm and tune into the relentless Noise from the outside: the TV shows, the movies, the celebrity gossip and the news. You are taught to think that as soon as you press ‘pause’ on that great big external boom box you will be bored, miserable, lonely and without hope. That is one of the greatest myths that your society peddles. Just to be in your own skin and ok with your being is how you tune into your own rhythm again.’

 Polly looked down at the ground and heaved a big sigh.

 ‘Ah but if I just ‘am’ then it feels like it’s pointless and boring and I am not doing anything with my life’.

The old woman continued:

 ‘Well whatever you do, if you’re doing it because you’re meeting some sort of unfulfilled expectation, whether it’s climbing the ladder or raising a family, you will always feel like you’re not doing anything with your life. You can allow your mind to spread its propaganda that you’re not happy because you’re not there now or you haven’t got this or that but it’s not the truth. Only you know where you are going by feeling whether it is right or not’.

Only you can know whether you want to get back into the Noise. Only you know whether you want to continue to be carried way on that slipstream of messaging. The Noise will tell you that you’re not slim enough so you will make yourself unhappy trying to compare yourself to other girls. The Noise will tell you that you are not good enough because you haven’t got a husband or a four by four, comparing you to those who have followed the beckonings of the Noise. The Noise will tell you that you are wasted as a woman because you don’t have any children but if you have children and  want to achieve career success it will accuse you of neglect and selfishness. The Noise will indeed spin you lies and one of the lies is that what the Noise says and thinks is true. Only your way is the right way.’

Polly thought for a minute. She felt betrayed. She had been brought up to believe that the life she was meant to live would be a linear path starting with school and university and building up to a resounding crescendo with marriage, children and a fabulous career. For her, it did not feel as though she was simply good enough to ‘be’. That might be selling out. She wondered whose dream she was ‘selling out’ of – her own, one that she had been sold by the Noise or one that had seeped into her from her parents and possibly from their parents. She did not even know what her dream was any more. She started to cry snotty, snivelly confused tears of woe and defeat.

The old lady smiled compassionately and passed her another cup of very herby brew which she sipped gratefully.

‘It is ok to drift into the land of the unknown’said the woman ‘for that is when the adventures start to happen. You cannot know and it is not for you to know. The Noise sells you the notion that you can buy everything to control your life with but it is not true. You’re never really in control. You just have to trust that the boat that you are sailing will be carried by the winds of fate in the right direction. Don’t worry. You will feel whether it is    going the right way.’

Polly felt the woman was being too cryptic. She thought she sounded a bit like something out of a fairytale. She wondered how the old woman could possibly know how she felt. She did not have to navigate the wilds of internet dating or a sullen, sweaty boss who treated her like some sort of second-class citizen. It was all very well for her to talk in metaphors as she lived a simple life in a village in the hills. Not everyone could have that luxury.

Polly wanted some real answers about her life right now and she was annoyed that she had been signposted to some old crone who had not told her what she needed to know. She now felt even more lost and alone. It was like not being able to find the right answer to your college coursework on Google or even worse – finding too many answers and not being able to pick the right one.

‘Well I best be going’ she said ‘Thanks for your time’. Polly thrust a few large notes at the woman who smiled inscrutably, her eyes as deep as pools.

‘Very well my dear’said the old woman with a mischievous glint in her eye. ‘Come back and visit if you need to talk some more.’

 ‘Hardly! What a rip off’ thought Polly defiantly as she turned on her heel and left the old wooden shack. She was entitled to so much more than some stupid talk about rhythm. She might as well just go home, watch Strictly Come Dancing and have a stupid boring life like everyone else.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

 

 

The Pleasure Dome

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The hamster wheel it spins around

To transmographic dolby sound

The lights go out in castle home

The Prison of the Pleasuredome

 

Too many on a fallen trip

That ends in nothing but a slip

Into a plush velour-lined cave

With loop-piled footsteps to the grave

 

The box set series shows narrate

The day from which you ruminate

More phantom losses, pains and fears

(Your kids plugged in to ward off tears)

 

You feast on plastic e-delight

To whet a scripted appetite:

The sonic pings and muted pops

Cook mass-created lab-made slops

 

No respite from the talent shows

Your ignorance of your light grows

All languished-out in Stepford bliss

In life-resisting uselessness

 

Not synced with physicality

Your consumer lobotomy

Dictates the path which sets you free –

The shopping mall on Sunday’s spree

 

How many tiny hands have toiled –

Whose raw potential have you spoiled?

Your retail therapeutic gain

Belies an object born of pain

 

So scared of who you might well be

You forge a false identity

You never look inside to find

Who lurks within the gated mind…..

 

The mind who tells you what to buy

Who to impress, whose goods to try;

That fine consumer panoply

Has made you rush for therapy

 

So what are you at Nature’s end?

A packaged carnal overspend?

A homage to a life less pain:

The kernel of a programmed brain.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

Free Downward Spirals!

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Ever fancy going on a downward spiral?

Look no further. Shame is all you need to roller-coaster yourself into the cesspit of self-loathing. And if you want more of it, wallow and accept you’re perfect. This will bring you further into alignment with the truth of who you aren’t.

Perhaps you might have toyed with the idea of feeling the Fear and avoiding it all anyway? Nothing better than a bit of procrastination and denial to make you run faster into your new,  uninspiring nihilistic existence.

Perhaps Anger is what you always wanted to give you that power and sense of control? Good for you. There is nothing more emasculating than a bit of frenzied rage. Go on –  add more fuel to the fire that conspires to consume you.

Sick of all the BS and nonsensical drivel from friends and associates near you as they shove their perfect existences in your face? There is only one solution to it all: self-pity. This will have them running in the opposite direction in no time.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018