I’m recovering from what has felt like a pretty crazy time lately. As I release commitments and attachments I am starting to settle down to a clearer and simpler reality. Life is starting to settle down.
But there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s like I’m right at the beginning, but the way has become clearer. But what a relief that is.
I have been licking my wounds a bit after losing five blog posts that came from a flurry of inspiration and activity in January and February and were part of me reaching a state of clarity about my purpose and focus. And there were no saves of these posts so it has felt like a huge loss. Plus I lost the whole Circles of Life page I’d created and was finally at peace about. It was like I’d made all these steps .. and then bam .. back to square one .. like a rug was swept from under me and I was up in the air. And it put me in a rather disjointed state. But perhaps the good thing about getting disjointed is that things can come back together and realign in a fresh and more conscious way.
I’ve updated my About page but the Circles of Life page still taunts me. Maybe today.
So I will attempt a summary of what I was coming to with those final posts before everything came crashing down ..
Jan 25: A new adventure
Jan 26: Presenting the present as a present
Feb 02: A fresh start
Feb 15: Words of intention
Feb 17: Getting ready
Okay .. so .. I was clearing the path for this adventure which is simply my life, as I create it. It was the adventure of this fresh new year .. fresh with intentions. I made some vague commitment to creating and sharing with some accountability built in .. but that is now passe. I was contemplating my word for this year and explored a range of words before coming, in a very clear way, to the word Presence. I have been shifting my experience of the world for some time now, and it is perhaps now at tipping point. Many things are coming to a head at once. Clarity is arriving in all different ways. I explored the way that words, and intentions can impact our lives in a positive way. I need to explore that same topic again. I have a fear losing thoughts and not getting them back .. but I need to trust that I will find the words for saying what needs to be said.
So, I was ‘Getting ready’ on Feb 17 and it’s now three weeks on. I guess I’m back to before where I was at at that point in some ways. So I’m still ‘Getting ready’ .. but perhaps I’m ‘Getting closer’.
And talking about ‘getting closer’ .. this could allude to intimacy, which has been part of this blog journey .. because I am sharing my experience of life (some of it at least) with the world. And that is really the biggest breakthrough for me .. to do that and be with the vulnerability of it .. me who feels overly self conscious to even ‘like’ something on Facebook, let alone write comments.
Instagram has been another place I’ve forced myself to open up and that breakthrough is just as huge as this blog. Even moreso in a way since photos are very revealing.
I love how, through this website, I’m able to share myself and feel some control over what and how it is shared. The lack of control over how information is shared unnerves me with Facebook. Except the recent crashing of my site felt like a total loss of control. I even felt like I ‘lost myself’ – like I’d put myself out there, and got taken down and wiped out. It made me feel like maybe I should stick to solidity rather than data. But the answer now seems to be that I need to lick my wounds, recalibrate and then continue to grow. Perhaps evidence of weakness and crumbling of work is an opportunity to rebuild foundations with retrospective clarity.
Actually, right now I am writing this like I’m writing to a friend ,, or to myself maybe. Same difference. I’m being experimental right now so I’ll go with it. My main challenge is simply to stay in action and not get caught up in thinking about things ,,
I also want to write some poetry .. and to create some images .. and make some videos .. and make some music .. and it’s nice to have the consolidating foundation of this website to anchor it all. Except I don’t want it to all collapse again. I need to find out how I can protect myself against that happening. This website is essentially my base for exploration. Some things I plan to explore are:
– the journey and creation of Cloudscape
– organic concepts and creations
– sacred symbols
– ‘the journey’
In fact, what I’ve been clear about all along with this blog is that it’s intention hasn’t been to inspire people and land in their inbox each week. It has been solely a challenge to me to express myself in public, and to share my journey toward clarity. It has helped me to release fears around opening up and speaking up, and allowed me to feel clarity and groundedness. Moving forward .. if I’m to stretch myself that bit more, and turn up in people’s inboxes, with something inspirational or useful to say .. how would I do that?
Here are the thoughts that come to me off the bat:
I’d keep on writing these ‘sharing my truth’ posts .. writing as I would to a friend. But rather than have these posts turn up in people’s inboxes (too scary), I could send out emails exploring an inspirational piece of art, plus write either an opinion or research piece on a topic I’m exploring, and include links to what I’ve written on my blog and perhaps an occasional summary of where my current projects are at.
Art, Exploration, Progress.
My life is starting to align so nicely at the moment. I am creating my life around building a business that invites exploration and creation of public art and expression. And in alignment with that is exploration of sacred symbols, the journey, circles, aikido, spirit, life, building, creation, energy, psychology, art, meaning, movement, connection, transformation … and it’s all connected.
Though I’ve been turning a corner at speed for what feels like a long time, I am close to reaching the straight.
When I first heard the phrase “life is empty and meaningless” it actually gave me hope. It let me out of a lifelong bind where I was forever searching for the meaning of life. Yet despite that flash of clarity, I have continued my search. The number 42 has represented a sign of hope. By a stroke of irony on my 42nd birthday, my then old and sick partner had a high fever and delirium that meant on that wet and rainy day I had to call an ambulance, who had to call the local fire brigade for backup, and six men in muddy boots carried Ian past the birthday bunting and across the plank to the ambulance and then to hospital where the wonders of modern medicine saved his life for that day.
Yet even such clear messages have not diminished my quest to find meaning in life .. almost like the quest itself is what has given my life sense of purpose.
I saw the other day that I have posted 42 posts on this blog. Given my affinity for this number, I had to reflect on it’s significance, since this blog is really part of my quest for meaning. This is the answer I have come to in the past few years – life is about connection.
I’m sure I could circle around this topic endlessly. If I think of the times in life I have truly felt a sense of peace, it is those moments I have felt truly connected – be it to a person, to nature, to the divine or to myself. And in fact this blog is really about connection. My life has revolved very much around a desire to disconnect, particularly from people, which in my experience have caused mostly pain, confusion and loss of self. But as I’ve been diving into pushing myself into connection and have become present to feelings, mostly bad, but feelings all the same, and with those feelings a sense of being alive.
It was some good feelings that gave me hope, that made me feel alive. I was bolstered by a rare sense of hope. But then those hopes got dashed and the dreams I’d had became a hopeless wreckage. And so I’ve been rebuilding my ship, taking care not to get too lost in my head, to allow myself to feel more grounded, and to learn to be with the bad feelings and express myself rather than wasting my life away through escape.
In fact, I have been living my life as though there IS some meaning except I am yet to find it. I believe the bigger explanation to the statement that ‘life is empty and meaningless’ is that WE attach meaning to life. It just IS. And this very much relates to my overly cerebral way of experiencing and understanding the world. Thankfully, I have also pushed myself to be very physical in my life. I think it is my saving grace. Martial arts, which I’ve been drawn to out of my hyper vigilant need to protect myself on solo adventures, have allowed me to connect to myself and others. Swimming and cycling have been my main other forms of being in my body. Yet even as I think of these I realise that each give me scope to think at the same time. But a big lesson that aikido continues to bring me is that I need to ‘not think’ in order to act, since thinking slows me down and has me get stuck in confusion.
Perhaps the big lesson for me in this lifetime is around being rather than thinking.
‘I am therefore I am’.
No wonder I’ve made myself so confused .. trying to think my way to clarity when the answer is simply ‘to be’. And perhaps therein lies the challenge .. how to be.
My life has been a solo exploration. I believe my drive for solo exploration has come about through a combination of personality and life experience. The curiosity was always there. The feeling of being alone likely came from feeling misunderstood as a child. The sense of being lost and confused probably came from an overactive mind along with an invalidation of my feelings that had me unsure what I thought or felt about anything. My independence – most likely from both genes and early modelling. The outcome .. a lost, confused, constantly searching and exploring mind, embracing the lostness and aloneness as though it was something I desired, but leading me further and further into a state of complete hopelessness.
Finding my way
Feeling my feelings and expressing them to others (rather than cutting off from feelings and endlessly talking to myself) has been a path I’ve been walking that has also been like climbing out of a deep dark hole. It’s a rocky path, but I have a sense of hope. Deep down, or maybe closer to the surface, I know that I’m not alone .. and yet alone at the same time. That’s life.
So much for my questioning whether I could write a daily post. The answer is clearly no, because I need space. My need for space and freedom has driven my whole life, and I’m not going to suddenly impose a public daily discipline on myself. I will allow myself the freedom to choose my own agenda. The main reason I would make a regular commitment would be as a form of discipline to force me out of my comfort zone. But I’ve done enough stretching out of my comfort zone lately so I’m happy to give myself some leeway. For the past two weeks I’ve had a shock to the system with 40 hour weeks, starting 6.30am, doing work that has had me on a steep learning curve. It’s part of a process of completely shifting and transforming my life. It includes leaving behind the work that has been my main source of a meagre income since finishing school, and what has typically felt like my only ‘marketable’ skill – architectural drafting. The new work I am training for is as a carer, specifically aged care for people living in their homes. So it’s a shift toward people rather than ideas. And I’ve spent my life avoiding people and only pursuing ideas .. so it is quite a dramatic turnaround for me. I’m only intending to do this work part time while I continue to push ahead with my other ventures .. but it feels good to be helping people and to be able to sustain myself in the process.
I feel as though I have been throwing myself into ‘life’ lately. Jumping into this course was very spontaneous and I hadn’t quite grasped what I was jumping into at the time. I didn’t realise my whole life would go on hold as a result .. right when I was fully inspired to do so many other things. But all those things have to wait until this course is done and my new life begins.
For a while I’ve been saying that my life will begin next year. I feel like I’ve been in a holding chamber and I’m getting ready to step out. Writing this blog is part of my process of letting go of old ideas and structures.
“Not enough time”
This has been a trigger of mine most of my life .. a constant feeling that I need more time to do whatever it is I want to do (and consequently loading up my to do list it seems in order to have a sense of moving forward. And this year I have been taking on so many more courses, having planned at the beginning of the year that I would put a stop to doing any more courses. So I’ve been very reluctant to start any new courses – and yet I have taken on three courses this year that have stretched me in different ways and been part of my life transformation. And they have also led me to places that were uncomfortable and had me look at my life in ways I hadn’t before.
I’ve decided that ultimately, my purpose with this blog is an exploration of Life. And a raw and open exploration at that. I think I am in a process of opening up .. and exploring the world in new ways.
We experience and relate to the world with beliefs and structures that are carried unconsciously. I’ve started to uncover some of the ways I believed the world to be and see them as simply blueprints formed early in life that have impacted how I have related to the world and particularly to people. In seeing the patterns I have the opportunity to change them .. though that isn’t as easy as it seems, after a lifetime of practice. My particular blueprint has been a need to have time alone, lots of time, to think and dream and plan and explore .. and it has been strongly a pattern of moving away from people. The work I am starting to do challenges this pattern in a big way.
This year is disappearing. It’s a strange feeling. I have my general angst over ‘not enough time’ .. but the same time I’m in a bit of a time warp, and in a process of letting go of timing and ‘pushing’ and allowing things to collapse and transform. While I need to start making some money – which has been hugely scarce with my attention consumed by my course – at a time I had created an opportunity to start making money selling the Circle of Life rings – I’ve had to let go of the urgency and trust that things were where they needed to be. And while I haven’t completely abandoned the idea of drafting drawings for projects and designs – I’ve given up relying on it as a source of income – and that is very liberating.
We are approaching New Moon and I wonder what I will consciously let go of this time round. What physical, mental or emotional baggage will I let go of. The physical is easy to see. My house has an overabundance of ‘stuff’ that I need to sort through and clear. So far, using the Konmari process, I have cleansed my wardrobe and that has been so refreshing. Here are some photos of my drawers. Clarity! I didn’t take a ‘before’ picture, but just imagine twice as much stuff in a messy pile.
Clear and ordered tops drawer
Clear and ordered undies drawer
Apart from my clothes, my life is in a state of having been tipped out and is in a process of clearing, reordering and choosing.
I asked for some guidance in meditation tonight and got the message that ‘my voice’ can connect my heart and my mind. In other words, I need to keep writing and sharing my voice. I know that this is my journey. And it feels both meaningless and meaningful at the same time.
I have said enough for now, and I’m struggling to stay awake.
My bed is calling me.
I’m letting inspiration guide my writing at the moment .. and ‘learning to feel’ is a lesson I am currently learning .. to become aware of and open with my feelings. In my household growing up, joyful and happy feelings were much appreciated .. while painful emotions caused deep distress or disconnect. So I learnt to cut off from my emotions. Over time I made a virtue of it. It was a case of mind over matter.
Such a strategy developed in early childhood isn’t likely to carry us through life without any hiccups. My cutting off from feelings, along with a cutting off from needs, also made me need to cut off from people. And while I managed ‘on my own’ for more than 42 years .. it came to take me down through a spiralling circle of confusion and escapism. What helped me to come out of my pit of despair was the realisation that I needed to connect with people and speak out.
I started a new job today. The goal is to support aged people to live at home, though my work experience is at a nursing home. In a lovely twist this work is, for me, about independence and connection at the same time. It feels like the next step in an upward spiral I’ve been on. I am very protective of my time and energy and have always been resistant to working with people too much lest my energy get completely drained. But I’m discovering that learning to be present to my own needs and feelings (which I never have been) .. and practicing being in my body and grounding myself (another thing I haven’t been conscious to do) is how I can be with people and stay open but not allow myself to get lost in the process.
And talking of lost .. which I now discover is an offshoot from cutting off from emotions .. I’ve been thinking about how I have spent my whole life feeling lost and constantly searching for an answer that explains life, the universe and everything. And my biggest breakthroughs around being lost have been:
1996-ish : bushwalking in Kakadu when I got completely lost and by connecting inward to intuition (due to extreme urgency) – and found my way back in a magical way.
2001-ish – Landmark Education course – discovered ‘my act’ was “I don’t know”. When discovered this, the flash of insight about how I’d almost driven myself crazy with getting stuck in loops in my thinking. For some weeks after the realisation and clarity, I felt confident, I knew what I wanted, I felt at peace, my constant hesitation had a rest.
2014 : discovered the Enneagram and felt like my understanding of people all fell into place. It felt like a mind blowing experience and has brought me a lot of peace. I guess I feel less lost and confused now that I can understand better how and why people respond to the world in different ways .. and it also gave me a lot more compassion for myself and how I had experienced the world.
2016: started opening up about my thoughts and feelings to a friend, and this has been a really clarifying and liberating experience. Also talking to a psychologist who is helping me to make sense of my world and my life. For the first time I started to feel what I wanted, and ask for it.
It seems that returning to feelings is my pathway to having direction in my life. And it makes sense really .. because when I just thought about how directions feel when disconnected from feelings I had a vision of a person with a crazy scramble of thoughts happening in his head. And, well, moving ultimately happens with the body, not the head .. so moving to the senses makes sense.
I have two weeks, as of tomorrow, with a job placement with early mornings. It’s only for a short time .. but it is bound to be a big shock to my system. I’ll be started work before I’d normally even be awake. It feels like a baptism of fire. I guess I’ll have to start having early nights. I have a sense it could be what I need to properly shift me into a healthier and more productive lifestyle (i.e. going to bed earlier and waking up earlier). And I have some huge resistance to ‘conforming’ .. though it is only temporary. I’m starting to see how I have resistance to ‘having’ to do anything or to having to do things the way someone else tells me. And of course I’ve done plenty of both .. but my point is that I see that as a response to my childhood (I think my nature defied conformity) and it is a pattern, or a blueprint, that I am carrying with me. And I have an opportunity to have a different experience .. simply by bringing consciousness to the situation.
And so .. life becomes an adventure .. so long as I keep throwing myself into it. When I withdraw I have lots of fun mind adventures .. but ultimately there is an emptiness. By being in life I am confronted with feelings of pain and discomfort .. and I think it is the memory of the emptiness and a sense of hope that has me push through the swamp .. and conscious of the fact that in the muck, is life.
I will sign off for now ..
Onward march ..