Present Me

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‘I’m sad’, I said.

‘Feel into it now,’ said Present Me.

I let the sadness swish around,

Lapping at the edges of my heart

In gentle melancholic waves,

And then it ebbed away.

 

‘I’m lonely’, I said.

‘Be present to the sounds of the trees whistling in the wind’

Said Present Me.

I listened.

I became the trees and the wind.

And the loneliness ebbed away.

 

‘I’m scared’ I said,

‘Be present to your feet on the ground’

Said Present Me.

I felt the specks of dust tickle my toes

And the earth take my heels.

The fear ebbed away.

 

‘I’m without’ I said,

‘Be present to the fullness of the moment’

Said Present Me.

I let the in breath caress my lungs

And the out breath rinse my cares

Then the lack ebbed away.

 

‘I need love’ I said

‘Look inside’

Said Present Me

I rested my gaze deep within

And the need to be loved ebbed away.

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

FO-MO or FOE-ME?

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I had been with her for many years; about thirty odd I think. I had abided her company more than I had abided anyone else’s but I often wanted to run away from being whole  with her.

I would do anything to run away from her bland existence; headlong into the glitz and glamour; swooning at the feet of demigods and throwing money at the gold that didn’t glitter.

Other people drained her but she didn’t drain herself. She often told herself she lived in a small world away from everyone else. It was like being on a satellite; like being the man on the moon; watching the world, sometimes shining a mellow brightness onto it. She felt a strange feeling of disconnection yet integration at the same time.

The world was too noisy and loud: people were too crass, complex or downright dark. It was a demanding existence. Tuning out was much more bearable but it pulled on the heartstrings. She wanted to blend into another or into Other; to lose the anomie and to be a she of no Me.

She felt more whole with people or when she was in the woods, by the sea or in a music concert. It was as if being in her own body in her own self was prohibited: that her own body was somehow a signal to her that she ended where it began, that it was finite and limited – boundaried and bordered.

The signal disappeared when she was with others –  when there was hope that she started where they began, that her existence and theirs played around at the edges of the space between their bodies, creating a whole being called a ‘We’ . A ‘We’ was special, lyrical, creative and powerful.

An ‘I’ was not.

Or so the story said. 

When she felt that she was going to be an ‘I’ her mind told her that she was powerless, lonely and lacking in potential. She didn’t feel romance, magic or laughter. She felt loneliness and apathy.

Or so she thought. 

She turned on the radio. A tune came on. It was the Lambada. She clicked her heels and moved her hips. The music was the Lead and it swayed her. She succumbed as the Follow. In  her own company she dazzled but no-one had to receive her light; she was her own energy and had the capacity to dazzle regardless.

The song stopped. She laughed uncontrollably. She didn’t need company to light her up.

She was the creator of her own dance and she let her music play on.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

 

 

Spiders

vidar-nordli-mathisen-776709-unsplashThis is some prose I wrote about the battle that we have with the shadow sides of ourselves. Learning to live with the darker parts of myself reminds me of learning to live with our household spiders, which for some of us is often a step too far!

SPIDERS 

I have always been afraid of spiders. They are long, black spindly-legged specimens of dread. Their mortal threat lies there in their very being: not under the veil of a furry coat or a smooth skin but there, in your face with no punches pulled.

The spider. His crawly legs and sudden movements surprise as he sidles surreptitiously across the surface of the window sill. Silent but deadly. Then he stops: still but with a menacingly potent potential. He take no prisoners (unless you’re a fly). I mean – would you tackle a tarantula?

Spiders’, the vegan, animal-loving, lama-saving cohort chant, ‘Spiders are the kings of the household ecosystem, keeping all of those house flies away from defaecating all over your dinner’. I would rather have a fly poo on a pea, imperceptible to my naked eye than a spider in my bath, willing me to turn the tap on but then running out before I can unleash the fatal torrent in its direction: a display of twisted tactical mastery.

I clutch the piece of card and the Tupperware pot, waiting for an opportune moment to launch my attack on the malificent entity. It knows that I am about to mount a kidnap attempt, but unlike a mouse frozen before a pouncing cat, it stalls to outwit. No sooner do I bring the cardboard weapon down upon the wretched eight-legged currant, it runs six centimetres to the right. It stops, standing still. My frustration and anger build but the killer instinct takes hold and with a deft scoop, I catch my prey and open the window. It is humanely deposited on the window ledge. I shut the window and exhale in triumphant bliss. No more spindly-legged battles. No deaths. No tears. A mutually acceptable resolution I trust.

Sweet dreams; fluffy cloud sensations and spectrums of colour. I wake in the morning embodying a rested glow. I run the bath. Frothy bubbles frolic playfully under the gushing water. I lower myself slowly into the warm water. The warmth envelopes my being like an aqueous hug. I close my eyes and breathe. The tap drips hypnotically. Thoughts waft in and out of my mind. I look at the window above the bath. It is starting to steam up now. I start singing, a slow melancholy shanty. The melody rises up with the steam; sweet and angelic,  heaven-bound, lulling me into a drifty soporific state. Then silence. The tap stops. The sounds tapers off, hanging in mid air. I spy something small in the corner of the window: small but not unremarkable. A black fleck poised with intent on the wrong side of the closed window (not the outside side). It goads me to investigate it further and I do.

I emerge from the embrace of the water with a Neptune-like glory. Death is in my sights now. Water is my power and I am the fleck’s nemesis. Every ounce of humanity that I ever had has rushed out of my body like a retreating garrison. With timing and aplomb I throw a sodden sponge at the fleck. This is it. Bang. Gone. Triumphant and bold like a Valkyrie princess I snatch the sponge to see my winnings only to be met by a surprising vacuum of fleckiness. NO FLECK? What the heck?

I look down and see it in all of its arachnid smirkiness heading snidily towards the toilet. I leapfrog out of the bath to catch it, taking a fishtank-load of water with me. I trip and bash my head on the toilet seat. I lie on the floor in a naked heap. My pride is damaged and I am vulnerable. I have been defeated by a centimetre-long household insect. The threat is present, real and hiding in plain sight in my own home.

The ever-present resistance I feel is comfortable, patterned, safe: trusted in its familiar unpredictability.

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

Small Boy Fear

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I stand here and watch as you destroy your world for no good reason.

A caustic cackle splinters the hopeless pause before you launch your fist into the door.

 

You don’t want this deep down but it is all that you know and it keeps you safe.

Ensnared by fear. Diminished by shame. Burdened by doubt.

 

You resist the unclipping of your wings, as that would lead you to discoveries about yourself

That might bust the myths you thirstily imbibe about who you really are.

For then you would realise that your own reality has been a lie:

A well crafted work of elaborate self-deceit.

 

As I shine my light towards you

Your demons laugh in my face

And that makes my light burn brighter and stronger.

 

But like a startled animal

You run back underground,

Hiding once more from the truth of yourself

And the pain of being loved.

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2019 

Packages

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We go around

in neatly folded packages.

Work-shaped, mall-shaped, party-shaped.

Sufficiently malleable to fit into each slot.

Still wrapped when we get home.

(Often tightly).

 

Tightly taped and parent-shaped for the kids.

Ribbon-tied and bug eyed for the spouse.

Always gifted

But never unwrapped.

 

What if one string were slowly pulled from the top

To reveal what was inside?

‘No!’ we protest,

‘For that would destroy the package:

the multi-version of me that is my

identity’.

 

(The ‘i’ in identity

is with a little ‘i’

for the little eye

does not want to have

the inner view).

 

Pull the string.

Because what you really are

is both inside and outside

of the parcel anyway.

 

Copyright Fizzy Wisdom 2018 

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 

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