Saturday, July 20, 2013

Out of the infinite come the particles. Speeding above, below, in endless dance.

Trying so hard to enforce a shift in my responses, a shift in how I live forever. Sentences from achingly worthy books hit me in the face and I can't find them later on, left with only the imprint of yet another thing I need to think about.

How to be a truly developing conscious person? Exactly how to act, every hour, in every situation? This question is on my mind every second of the day and hundreds of different answers spin back at me. 'Mindfulness' with the help of a natty iPhone app. 100 squats a day. Delete the additively incessant neurosis of the Mumsnet Talk app off my phone. Meditation classes? Give up sugar? I try them out, I forget them, I try them again, I do something else, I stop, I get distracted. Someone is unfair to me, I try to let the anger wash over me, I try doing the best I can at menial tasks, 'what would Marcus Aurelius do?' I ask myself ludicrously, as if running an Empire was the same as running a small three bedroom house when the dishwasher needs emptying.

Every day I fail at every one of these things, though I flatter myself with feeling like I am creating habits, some small thing is sticking surely? Ten years ago I used to wake up at 12.30pm every day, struggle to do the simplest things and take the short cut at every opportunity. Now, (due mostly to necessity admittedly), I wake up at 6.30am, do a thousand useful tasks that make our lives run smoothly, go off to work, come home and do them all again. There is far more meaning in this but it is not enough for me, I need to be working towards something more. I can feel myself pulling all the time, it's so hard for me to sit down and relax without my brain switching off in front of Orange Is The New Black, there is a need in me that I haven't found out how to provide for yet, and it's not just because the toys need tidying, the clothes need washing again or there is some freelance work I've failed to do.

I find myself more and more wanting to live like a hermit, finding my old guilty escape into the fashion and lifestyle blogs with their sticky sheen of rampant consumerism and appearance more and more abhorrent - it all seems so trivial, such a waste of time. I am painfully conscious of every second passing, every moment not used up in furthering yourself, practicing a skill, conquering an anxiety - how can people think about saltwater sandals and expensive pastel dresses at a time like this? I look back at myself a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago and despair. So much time wasted, so many opportunities missed. I must strive harder, I must take this bare skeleton of awareness I have and shape it into something that aligns with real knowledge and truth.

So every time I feel emotion, I am trying to consciously classify, recognise and set aside and it's one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I observe all this spinning and analysing and the meager answers I have so far include:

1. Take what you have and approach it in the right way. Practice existing right now, instantly, and with good intentions. Load the dishwasher without complaining. When a customer in work is needlessly rude - notice your anger. Notice all your emotions, your reactions and responses. Stop your habits of whinging, gossiping, talking about others negatively. Apologise when you make mistakes. Be sincere.

2. Practice discipline. Discipline is my worst failing, and the most important skill I have not got. If I'm going to sit for 10 minutes a day I have to make it a habit. If I'm going to learn to curb my primitive responses I have to have a process, a strategy to implement every time. The intention is not enough, it's the doing that matters. I am still working this out due to my inherent laziness. The Devil makes work for me.

My garden is really helping. I watch the tomatoes grow, I slot slices of cherry into my son's tiny mouth, warm from the branches. The endless, uncommon sun tans my skin, every evening and morning I water the pumpkin, the lemon verbena, the potatoes, the mint, the sunflowers and the beans. Fragrant jasmine flowers appear from the plant I was going to rip out, tiny seeds miraculously grow and turn to lettuce and spinach, every day a small change, some progress gained despite the constant battlefield that is the natural world outside my creaky conservatory doors.

As I write it occurs to me that this is a metaphor for myself. Am I still really a seed, tossing and turning in the breeze, waiting to settle, find my source of nourishment and begin the process I was born for? How can I be almost 28 having found no path to go down, nowhere to embed my soul? I am craving something more, mentally thrashing around half uselessly, abandoning potentially useful roads to somewhere through my own idiocy, hurtling at 90 miles an hour down dead end streets like Bob Dylan in his song about having an doomed affair.

It is utterly sickening to me but I know it's true and I hope the knowing is something at least. Am I alone in this?

But anyway.

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Inspiration XI

    Gustave Courbet- The Wounded Man, 1844-54
Art by Maxwell Armfield (1895) from FAERY TALES FROM HANS ANDERSEN
David and Saul, Julius Kronberg, 1885

nicholas roerich, conquest of kazan, 1914, tempera on paper

Putivil. Eclipse, Nikolai Roerich, 1914
Rosamund by Eleanor Fortesque-Brickdale (1871-1945)

Jacek Barszcz(Polish, b.1967)  Eremy pokamedulskie na Bielanach    2008

La terrasse de Sitta, Agra, India 1906 by Georges Gasté

Max Ernst, The World of the Naive, 1965