This from Naraya spoke to me:
NOW more than ever is the time to radically dedicate ourselves to our INNER WORK, face our shadows, with utter respect, self-love, compassion release remaining woundedness, trauma, negativity, toxicity, attachments, entities, dark agreements, ego fixations, false identities, notions, roles, names, games …
let’em go, let’em go, let’em go
forgive, forgive, forgive
meditate, meditate, meditate
Things that we read or hear sometimes resonate with where we are. I certainly feel the need to focus on, to do the ‘inner work’. There is a sense of urgency. I suppose that I could just get on with it and work on stuff without talking about it but that’s not where I am. What I am becomes part of my outer as well as my inner dialogue and, well, you don’t have to give a crap, but I’m writing about it on Facebook because inner work and inner dialogue has to be externalised somehow. Certainly I feel a pressure to externalise it. And sometimes it helps having an audience, real or imagined as we speak from the stage or platform that social media gives us.
We don’t know who we are speaking to. Sometimes writing on FB is like speaking from a stage to a darkened auditorium. Don’t know who’s there, don’t know if anybody’s there. It’s quiet. Usually it’s quiet, sometimes there’s some applause, sometimes someone makes a comment, but for the most part it’s quiet. That’s good. Anyone’s welcome to join me on the stage when I speak, but I’m okay with monologue. Used to it.
I’m not talking politically or philosophically now. I’m not doing ‘sad fishing’ or whatever put-down phrase the young people are using now. My life is good and happy, probably a lot better than I deserve but tonight I choose to talk from the inside. Perhaps it’s going to be crap, perhaps is going to help us have a real dialogue, either way, I’m going to talk a bit, until it’s time to go to bed. Stream of consciousness stuff – not planned at all – and I’m pouring myself another portion of whiskey. A new practice (not habit) but not to worry, it only a little to make the water more interesting.
Now, where was I ..
Reflecting, personally, speaking personally. I think we need to do this because the way the world is pretty crap. Not so much for me. I’m 66 and have a decent home, a liveable income, a family that makes me feel loved and appreciated and no significant disabilities. But there is a climate emergency, the environment is a mess and there are tens of thousands nukes on the planet and shitty politicians are planning to bomb, and already bombing, the crap out of innocent people for God knows what reasons and people are sleeping on the streets and begging and kids are killing each other and no one seems to care. No one seems to understand that there is a need to change everything. Everything, inside and out. I suppose that good people think that they can’t do anything about it all, so what’s the good of talking.
“Are you okay Gavin?” I hear someone ask.
I’m not OK.
You’re not OK
The world’s not OK
But that’s OK if we can take that as our starting point.
” …a warrior starts off with the CERTAINTY that his spirit is off balance; then by living in full control and awareness, but without hurry or compulsion, he does his ultimate best to gain this balance”
I am surely certain that my spirit is off balance. It has always been off balance. But I’ve not been doing my ‘ultimate best’ to gain balance. I’ve never done this and I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people in the world haven’t either and the pretence that THIS is okay bothers me.
I think THIS is why I’m writing. I want to take this seriously, deeply and I want other people to take THIS seriously and for us to create something together. I don’t want to join anything or want to lead anything. I want us to start thinking together and talking together and changing together inside and out.
A few days ago in response to a conversation Tom Morley initiated I wrote:
“As an introvert I am pretty useless at the surface levels of conversation, gossip about people, talk about cars, sports, shopping etc but I do politics, philosophy and personal reflection whenever encouraged because that’s what’s going on inside. And therein lies the danger of the offered platform to the introvert – greater vulnerability to giving too much information and assuming intimacy than is, in actuallity, illusory.”
Tom suggested that my ‘Therein lies the danger of the offered platform to the introvert’ would be a ‘good subject for a talk/article’. I guess that this might be it.
The danger, of course, is that taking to the stage, I become tempted, compelled, to throw all my clothes off. This the danger of any public platform to at least this introvert. The warning signals comes up “stop you’re giving too much information”, “don’t give in to the temptation to throw your clothes off in public”. And yes I do stop, I have limits, but these limits, I think, exist because aspects of my life are not mine alone to share. Nevertheless the ‘stripping’, while not going the ‘Full Monty’ can be more revealing than is conventional or than is comfortable for me or for those to whom I am revealing myself.
Intense discomfort is the danger. But there are of course other dangers. It is one thing to open your mouth and be considered a fool … but one thing leads to another and it’s another thing to open our mouths and be considered a threat. One thing to take off our own clothes and another thing to point out that the emperor has no clothes. The story never told us what happened to the kid but I guess we know. If we don’t we haven’t been paying attention.
Getting naked on the stage risks our dignity and sometimes, in extremes, our lives but not dropping the clothes of our own pretentions and illusions and our collusions with naked lies risks the loss of any truth that may remain in us.
“Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will. Intelligence, wit, judgment, and the other talents of the mind, however they may be named, or courage, resolution, perseverance, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable in many respects; but these gifts of nature may also become extremely bad and mischievous if the will which is to make use of them, and which, therefore, constitutes what is called character, is not good. It is the same with the gifts of fortune. Power, riches, honor, even health, and the general well-being and contentment with one’s condition which is called happiness, inspire pride, and often presumption, if there is not a good will to correct the influence of these on the mind, and with this also to rectify the whole principle of acting and adapt it to its end. The sight of a being who is not adorned with a single feature of a pure and good will, enjoying unbroken prosperity, can never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator. Thus a good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness.
“There are even some qualities which are of service to this good will itself and may facilitate its action, yet which have no intrinsic unconditional value, but always presuppose a good will, and this qualifies the esteem that we justly have for them and does not permit us to regard them as absolutely good. Moderation in the affections and passions, self-control, and calm deliberation are not only good in many respects, but even seem to constitute part of the intrinsic worth of the person; but they are far from deserving to be called good without qualification, although they have been so unconditionally praised by the ancients. For without the principles of a good will, they may become extremely bad, and the coolness of a villain not only makes him far more dangerous, but also directly makes him more abominable in our eyes than he would have been without it.
“A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the attainment of some proposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition [a ‘volition’ is an ‘act of will’, a ‘willing’]; that is, it is good in itself, and considered by itself is to be esteemed much higher than all that can be brought about by it in favour of any inclination, nay even of the sum total of all inclinations. Even if it should happen that, owing to special disfavour of fortune, or the stingy provision of a step-motherly nature, this will should wholly lack power to accomplish its purpose, if with its greatest efforts it should yet achieve nothing, and there should remain only the good will (not, to be sure, a mere wish, but the summoning of all means in our power), then, like a jewel, it would still shine by its own light, as a thing which has its whole value in itself. Its usefulness or fruitfulness can neither add nor take away anything from this value. It would be, as it were, only the setting to enable us to handle it the more conveniently in common commerce, or to attract to it the attention of those who are not yet connoisseurs, but not to recommend it to true connoisseurs, or to determine its value.”
Thank you to Sandy and everyone else donating to the Alzheimer’s Society cause and cheering me on as I staggered in after the Thames Path Challenge walk. I was really on my last legs at the end of the challenge. I started off strong and the first 14 km was fine and I was going at a good pace. I pushed myself during the second quarter, jogging as well as walking, until tiredness and what felt like a strained muscle near my groin forced me to slow down. I enjoyed the rainfall as I came in to the second rest stop near the halfway point. During the third quarter my pace had slowed to a comfortable stroll and at the third rest point I was beginning to feel very stiff and did not dare rest long. The last quarter was quite difficult. The distance completed was signposted at every kilometer and I was counting down the distance I still had to go. I calculated that I was walking at about 1 km per 12 minutes. As I got to the finish completely drained Sandy, Lisa, Dane, Orin, Anita, Maricia, Zaharah and Xavier were waiting and cheered me in.
By the time we got home I could hardly move my legs and I still feel stiff. I would like to do the Thames Challenge again next year, it is well organised and the route is good, but I would wish to be much better prepared. I left the plea for sponsorship to the last moment and my preparation for walking was zero. I depended on general fitness and determination and that was only just enough. Sandy was clearly much more worried about the challenge than I was and is very relieved. I would love to say that I’ve learnt my lesson and an old dog can learn new habits but we will see.
The Alzheimer’s Society is a charity I would support in the future for reasons beyond my own mother’s struggle with the disease. I think that supporting those who are old and have cognitive impairments is extremely important and we need to pay more attention to this.