Thursday, 26 June 2008

An old boy called Dave

Some friends where going to Glastonbury town for the weekend and invited me along with them. I wasn’t doing anything special so I agreed. They were the right kind of people to go to Glastonbury with; kind, spiritual, genuine and intelligent. I usually went to the West Country with more nefarious characters; druggies who liked to rave and get high, so I figured it would make a nice change. There were 8 of us - three couples, a single girl and myself. The plan was to stay in one of the hippy retreats at the bottom of the Tor and explore. I’d been to Glastonbury town a few times I knew it quite well; the chalice well, the site of king Arthur and Guinevere’s grave, the Tor, the witches, the druids, the stories. I knew a lot about this world, you could say I came from it in some ways. I was a Glastonbury festival veteran, I must have been to 15 of them at least. It used to be my Mecca right up until the year the fences finally went up strong enough that they actually managed to keep illegal revellers out. It had to happen in the end, the law was about to shut it down for good, but that was the year Glastonbury Festival lost its real heart beat. It would never be the same again. You need the wildness, and it just won’t get it back. It is a corporate event now. Everything changes, it is just how it goes. Life cycles. The festival is something I could write a book about of itself, hell, maybe one day I will, but this story is about something else, it just so happens to have taken place in Glastonbury Town.

So we hired an 8-seater and drove the 150 miles from London to Somerset after work on a Friday night. It was winter but wasn’t too cold or harsh. Maybe it was spring I don’t exactly remember, but it sure wasn’t summer. We all stayed in a wood cabin on the grounds of the retreat. There was chanting and meditation in the evening, the usual vegetarian dishes, and lesbian hippies all over the place being twee and talking bollocks. Such places always made me sarcastic and obnoxious. I just didn’t seem to settle well into the whole pseudo-spiritual-environmentally-sound thing, which is strange considering how much of a freak I am and what I have seen and done. I always feel a little let down by them somehow, distanced. Like, where is the spunk? It’s all a little pretentious, or maybe I am. I am never certain. Well I tried to go along with it and play nice. My friends were the same, but seemed better adept at being polite and fitting in than I. So I snuck out for cigarettes and wondered when we would all go out drinking so that I could try and pull something. We found a crazy party in the end with drunken West Country cider drinkers playing ukuleles and cross-dressing, t’was quite a night. I started to think it had been a good move getting myself out of London for a change. We got up early the next day, hardly hung over, and raring to get out and about round the town. It is a great place to visit even if you aren’t a hippy. It’s small, but there is magic there, this is the true Isle of Avalon, and if you are even slightly bent towards a spiritual nature then I guarantee there is no better place in the world to have weird and amazing experiences. It is always good, always odd, and always somehow feminine, but I digress.

We did the town, and by the afternoon were ready for the walk up the Tor. For those who don’t know, the Tor is a medieval building atop a strangely layered hill that rises sharply above Glastonbury town. A king hung a monk up there once to prove some point, and there are strange tales about a Badgerman who lives inside the hill. Good old England. You can see the Tor for miles around and it has many legends associated with it. It is a powerful place. The sun was out, it was a calm day, but crisp, and we ascended from the far side up a zigzag path that had seats occasionally for to rest ones tired butt. It was at one of these seats that the single girl, J, met an old guy called Dave. I noticed him immediately because he made me laugh, well his hat did, it was torn in the middle, a flat cap clearly the worse for wear. I had walked past him and nodded hello, then snickered to myself, and continued on. J being the beautiful character that she is, decided to stop and chat, and the next thing we know she has invited him to join our little soiree up to the top of the Tor. Not a big deal, but as Dave’s story unfolded I was touched by J’s perceptiveness to know that this guy really needed something like this to happen just at that moment.

I can be a pretty ignorant son-of-a-bitch at the best of times, but it wasn’t long before I caught snippets of the conversation between J and the old boy, and my curiosity drew me to walk with them. It turned out Dave was 80 years old. He looked pretty good for it, I thought. He could still hold his own in the walk up the Tor. He said it was the first time he had gotten out of his house in a few months. Turned out his wife had died about 2 months previous and he had gone into a state of shock. She had been the only woman in his life; this guy was true old-school British. When she had died his world had, unsurprisingly, fallen apart. He said the last of their good friends had died a few years back and so when she went he realised he had no more friends on this earth. He had no other family alive, but we didn’t ask why. It had hit him hard, he said, and his collapse had been total. He was unable to make sense of the world for a while. For anyone who has had any kind of cathartic shock in life you will know that when these things happen you cease to be capable of functioning, and so it was his body and mind had shutdown. He said he got steadily worse until he ended up laid in bed for 2 days, covered in his own faeces, totally out of his mind, unable to eat, or move, and no idea what to do other than wait for death, and so he waited. What upset him the most was that no one from the local church they had attended for the last few years rang, or came to see how he was doing. Dave was a Christian. He was devastated by the realisation that all those god fearing so-called do-gooders had been so selfish. He couldn’t understand it. In the end, after a couple more days, he managed to get up and clean himself and left the house to get some food. All this had happened a few days previously. He had walked out from his home that morning to the Tor hoping to try to start getting himself back on track, he couldn’t afford the bus fare either and was waiting a few days to collect his next pension, what little it was.

I was shocked by his story and more so, that I had not picked up on his state at all. He just looked like another old boy sat on a bench enjoying the air. I had walked passed so many of them in my time and never considered it much. It got me thinking; how many people had I passed in my life and ignored, yet had this kind of story and just wanted someone to tell it to, some stranger to connect with? You just wouldn’t know to look at them. The loneliness of growing old was so unavoidable as you become more and more distant from people, with less and less reason, or ability, to communicate to strangers who would really probably rather ignore you. I had been pretty blasé towards him, I was always like this, and I had no idea until then just how bad I was. I had seen that loneliness before too, with my Granddad and my Gran. It dawned on me that there was no escaping this fate for any of us. The only way out was an early death and no one wanted that. Life was so god damn cruel. The future was a pretty scary place.

Dave hung out with us for the day, he was so revitalised by having human contact it was a beautiful thing to see. He said he had never met people like us, always hanging round older people as he had, but he was no fuddy duddy, he’d had many adventures in his life, a few of which he told us about. You could see the glow in his eyes as he recounted them and the pleasure he took in having an audience that actually was interested to listen. I wondered what kind of life he must have been living the past few years and what kind of people he’d had to suffer just to find company. The human world can be so full of coldness and false pretence. He kept saying how different we were, but I knew we were just younger, it was changing for us every day, getting a little harder and more isolated.

We took him back to the retreat and the lesbians made a big fuss of him, danced with him, fed him, and generally totally won me over for being able to give the guy a bit of love that he really deserved. I was shamed to admit they were better people than me after all, they knew how to give love to a stranger. Another thing that amazed me about Dave was how he had no bitterness in his soul whatsoever. I was 40 and already 40 times more twisted over life than this guy, and my story was nothing compared to his. But there was an unspoken fear there, we all sensed it in our own ways, it was our fear; the reflection he brought to us that made us look into our own lonesome souls and quake in terror at the inevitable day that this would happen to us, that we would find ourselves alone, love-lost, and helpless. I guess this is why all those churchgoers shunned him, instead bowing to their false sanctuary they called the Church of God, going each Sunday to put a little money in the charity tray just to buy off the guilt they must feel, because I figured everyone of them knew damn well they were avoiding Dave.

The sad thing was, or maybe it wasn’t sad at all, but on the journey home the next morning after what had been a life changing weekend in many ways, I sat in the back staring out the window at the rain falling on the queues of cars taking the M4 motorway back to the Big Smoke, when a thought struck me; Had anyone bothered to get a contact number or address for him? I asked, knowing I wasn’t the sort to stay in touch, but thinking they might, of course no one had.

That was the way it went sometimes, you fell into a moment, you passed people like ships in the night, experienced something profound yet often disturbing, and then it was gone like dust through your fingers before you could grab the goodness in it. A guilty silence descended, but I knew we had done something right, there was nothing more we could have done really. The experiences came and went, like life did, and we had shared it in the best possible way. If we had clung on, it wouldn’t have kept the magic, it happened how it happened and it was right, I felt sure. I snuggled down, pulling my jacket round me, and listened to the hum of the engine and the music play quietly, watching the red car lights lead me back to one of the biggest cities in the world and yet a place where you could live in anonymity without speaking to a soul for years, all the while surrounded by over a million people. Makes you wonder about us all really. How cold we get, how uncommunicative we become as the years go by, and how hard it is to stay happy, so god damn hard just to believe everything is going to be ok in the end.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Blue Butterfly

It lay shimmering in the African morning sun. Iridescent blue that appealed to my eyes. I crouched down to look closer and saw it was a beautiful blue butterfly. The way the sun created such rich, deep colours on its wings fascinated me. But something about it was not right. Moving its wings slowly, not flapping, and it was lying on its side. It was about the size of my hand, but I had the small hands of a six year old. A shadow came over the sun and I looked up.

‘What you got there? said my mum.

‘A butterfly mum, I think it’s broken’ I said.

I could see something in her eyes change as she looked more closely at it. I didn’t understand that look.

‘Can I keep it?’ I asked

‘Well its probably best to let it be’ she said

‘I’ll look after it, I am sure I can fix it’ I was pretty convinced of my abilities, all it took was love, right?

In the end she relented, but there was something that annoyed me in the way she did. It felt like she was hiding something from me.

I took the butterfly to my room, put it on a shelf and watched it. I could see its little proboscis moving in and out. I willed it to get better, I spoke to it, tried to gently touch it and stroke it, but dust came off on my fingers when I did, so I didn’t touch it again. I made some prayers to God, made some promises to be good if he fixed my little friend. Then I got my eye up real close and peered at it. It had such strange big and round, black eyes. I wondered what it was seeing. My Gran came in.

‘What do butterflies eat Nan?’ I asked

‘You could try giving it some honey’. I thought it was a great idea.

I fetched some and placed a small amount by its head as near to that flicking proboscis as I could get. I stayed for maybe an hour watching it, praying it would fix. I knew it would. I loved it so much, I knew it was going to be grateful to me and stay with me.. There was a kid at school who had a pet a crow that would sit on his shoulder. I wanted a crow. I didn’t know how you got one, he never told us. He never said much at all, he was pretty cool though.

‘Dinner’s ready Mark’ I heard my mum shout. I didn’t want to go but I knew they would insist.

At dinner I sat staring out the window thinking about the butterfly, I was eager to get back but my family had rules about eating; Kids never left the table until all the family had finished. It always frustrated me, there was always something better to be doing, usually out in the garden, especially in Africa, there was so much to see, I loved it there. It was so alive, in any bit of dirt you could find something. All adults seemed to want to do was talk, and about really boring things. Their voices brought my mind back, it sounded like they were talking about me, but I wasn’t sure.

‘He’s got to learn sometime Meredith’ said Gran.

‘Learn what?’ I asked.

‘We aren’t talking about you dear’ my mum lied, giving me another look I didn’t understand.

Why was she sad? I wanted to hug mum. There was something odd about Gran though, she was pretty scary, I wasn’t sure I liked her. She always showed me kindness, but to a kid, her worldly wisdom made little sense, she was a tough old bird.

When they finally let me go it was from a silence. All their eyes followed me out. I ran down the corridor to my room, burst through the door hoping to find the butterfly flying around, but it wasn’t. It was still in the same position I had left it, except now it was motionless. It looked just as beautiful, nothing about it had changed, nothing in the colour of it’s wings, or the eyes, there was nothing that really showed me much of anything, it just didn’t move anymore. I pushed at it. I couldn’t understand this. How could it not be moving, why would God not fix it after I had promised. I didn’t understand what this was.

My mum came in. She had tears in her eyes, and as soon as I saw her I burst into tears too. I wasn’t really sure why, there was a feeling growing in my belly that I had never known before, it was vast and uncomfortable, it was painful and I didn’t want it to be there, I wanted it to stop growing but it wouldn’t, it grew until it had consumed the warm feeling that was normally inside me. As it did all I could do was cry, and the more I cried, the more my mum cried.

‘Why wont it move any more mum?’ I sobbed
‘Its dead, darling. God wanted it to go to heaven to be with him’
‘Why couldn’t he let it stay here with me?’
‘I don’t know darling’

She had no answer for me, nothing that I could understand. I cried until I felt sick. After a day or two I got used to that funny feeling in my belly, or maybe it just went away again, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the butterfly or why God hadn’t let me keep it. I wouldn’t cheer up. I couldn’t, instead I sulked about the house, being scolded occasionally by my Gran for not ‘being a little more grown up’. I guess I was a sensitive kid.

I was moping about in the garden when I heard a voice,
‘Mark, come with me’ it was Smart, the gardener who worked at my Grans house. I had never spoken to him before, he was a really old black man and that scared me, I still wasn’t used to people with black skin. They seemed to keep themselves very separate from us, he never sat at dinner with us, and I never heard Gran invite him. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do.

‘Come, come’ he said again in his African twang, and pulled gently at my hand.

In the end curiosity got the better of me as much as his insistence, and I followed him out into the garden. He took me to the rockery and carefully held my shoulders for support as he got me to lean over a small bush and look on the other side. What I saw there was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. There were two snakes curled up enjoying the sun. I had never seen a snake before. I looked at Smart and he beamed at me. I beamed right back, I liked Smart, and best of all that pain in my belly was gone too.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The other world

I was struggling to see straight. We had been in the club for about 6 hours and there was another 6 hours to go, if we wanted it. I could feel the pills wearing off. I could see P chewing his jaw. He saw me looking at him,

‘What you laughing at?’ He asked

I couldn’t reply. I was still too whacked out. I just raised my slitted eyelids and dropped them back down again. Too much trouble. I think I was chewing my jaw too.

N came over. He had something in his hand and pushed it towards my mouth. I struggled to stop him. The reaction made my voice work again though I noticed that colours were still blurring too bright to make much sense of anything. God the music was loud.

‘What the f...!’ I pushed his hand away. ‘What is it?’ I asked. He was grinning at me.

‘Acid’ he said conspiratorially.

‘Oh, ok’

For some reason this was fine, and I took it and popped it into my mouth. Felt that ever so subtle slither of ether-like glisten on my taste buds that told me it was the real deal. I swallowed, and gulped it down with a bottle of beer he had in his hand. I already felt more awake just from knowing what was coming next.

We went higher that night. Maybe 7 of us. At one point I tapped C on the shoulder and pointed to a man walking across the smoke filled dance floor.

‘Blue Dragon’ C said.

‘Come from the underworld’ I replied.

We both knew. We watched to see where this creature would go. It drifted off into the smoke and was gone. Then a woman came up. She was all arms and zest, like a jumping cricket. She had a cricket soul. We could see it. She offered us a smoke on her fat reefer and we breathed it in. The three of us enveloped for a while in a cloud of weed. I don’t know what was said but something passed between us.

A little higher we went, a little higher, and a little higher. Edging up to the place where you would never remember, not even therapy could reach it because it made no sense. It was the other world. It felt like the place we really belonged. Everyone was happy when they got there, there was a calm and peace that decended and a joy too. An openness. I never understood why it was so hard for us to get there. We had to do so much. blow our minds. Sure there was fear, that followed us in, from this world. Always the fear but you could control it for a while. But when you fell, oh dear christ, then it went down like Icarus.

I tapped C again and pointed to the ground near our feet. This happened every time. He smiled.

‘Vortex’ I said, ‘ I think that is where all this comes from’
He nodded. He understood. It was good to share the vision. I felt good. Kindred spirits I rarely found.
The energy in this place was different to anywhere I had ever been. I reckoned it was some kind of portal to the otherworld. It was the only explanation I had.

Then F walked by. He appeared to be on something of a mission. He was wearing nothing but some tight lyrca bicycle shorts and a Vietnam US helmet.
We watched him make his way past us to the DJ booth whereupon we heard him try to order chips from the DJ. Unsurprisingly this didn’t go well. F was an insistent sort.

I don’t remember too much else. The acid and poppers were taking me out of the last bit of mind where memory could function. F returned past us. Disgruntled at his failure to acquire chips and aided by a suprisingly understanding member of Scorpion Security. C and me struggled to stop laughing long enough to observe him moments later attempting to unscrew the top of a black guys baldhead. That was too much, and I fell on the floor clutching at my stomach.

I have no idea how I got home or even if I did. This was commonplace in London clubs in the mid 90’s. The party moved on but my visions remain. They had always been there really, I just learnt to slip into the state of mind where I could see. We all have it. I just never came back from that once it opened up, some people are like that. I don’t mind. I would share them, but they make no sense in this world, so would be of no use to you.

Put those thoughts to paper

What is this longing to be free? Keeps me up at night burning the midnight oil. Keeps me fighting through life living for the dream. Keeps the fire in my blood. What is this mission I am inexorably bound to. Like a captain on a crewless ghost ship damned to sail the seas looking for a land that is lost in time. What is this? Why is this in me?

I have always been strange. It wasnt drugs that did this. Maybe it was all the travel as a kid, never settling down. Maybe it was this, or maybe it was that. It only became a bother to me when I could no longer control it. When it took me over. That is when it became something of a curse.

I have been an adventurer, but never quite became a superhero. Which is a shame as I would have done great things, but I suppose we can’t have everything. But when the adventure trail cools, and I sit of an evening with a candle on the table, pen in hand, and my ship gently sways from side to side still moving through quiet waters, I find myself back to that same place. That same lament. That same question, that same why.

What is this longing to be free? Free of what? I am not sure I even know.

Glitter in the eyes

Walked down to the end of Rushcutter bay. It seems to be the place I go when I need a Saturday afternoon chat with ...whatever might be out there listening.

I sat on the wall at the end and watched the sun glitter off the ocean, sparkling into my half closed eyes. It felt most divine. I let my mind undo reality for a while. Felt good. Took the pain of the hangover off.

Then a tune I had downloaded came on my iPod; Passion by Gat Decor. It threw me because I hadn’t heard this tune since I was high on ecstasy back in Turnmills in London during the 90’s. That glitter in the eyes mixed with the flood of joy at such an unexpected recollection hit me hard, and I remembered we nearly made it. We touched heaven on those nights. So far out of our minds we were insane enough to be liberated for a moment. It was tribal and wild. Half naked stomping about a club, feeling the love, dancing like bastards, like we had escaped the suffering, the pain, the drudgery of real life. For a few hours we had.

It’s a cruel twist that most of the people on that journey back then are now either dead, or struggling with inner demons from the effect of long term drug abuse. Glimpsing heaven has a high price. No one wanted to come down, so generally we didn’t. I don’t think drugs are a bad thing. I think we are searching for something, and there are going to be causalities until we get there. If we ever do. Freedom costs lives. We are trying to direct our evolution, speed it up.

I felt ok in my reverie looking out on the Harbour. I felt pleased with myself that I had made it this far. I was living on the other side of the world. Lost the good friends, but escaped the bad. Next week would see me move to Bondi, finally getting to live by the sea again. Last night was a full moon. It felt like a change had come, my phone broke too, so I lost all the numbers of people I had met since being here in Sydney. It was a new beginning and I knew this. I understood the rules of destiny. So I went out and got drunk alone in a club. Enjoyed the music. Always following the music.

I walked back home through the afternoon sun and Kings Cross. I was feeling pretty good. As I walked up the back streets I noticed two people at the top by a phone. It was a deserted street. I suddenly knew there was something bad about these two. I could see it. I can’t explain that, but my instincts are fine-tuned. I trust them. I was right. As I got closer I could see the eyes, I could see the effects of ICE wearing off. I crossed the road. They looked at me. It was jungle. We all knew something, like fucking telepathy. I knew they would kill me for money, and were high and in a bad place, and they knew that I knew it. I felt the chill of fear. Could this be it for me? I wondered. The creatures shifted as if trying to figure if they could take me. I knew they could, but I couldn’t let them know it. I then slipped into my own dark place. Nothing mattered there. I caught the eyes again and in that moment the bad stopped. No one wants hell to descend, everyone wants the easy life. Hell is a look in the eyes that means it. I figure all three of us were already in hell, none of us needed to make it any worse. It would have got bloody.

Fuck ICE. I am glad I gave up full-time narcotic abuse before that stuff hit the streets.

I pass the trouble, turn into the main road and am glad to see normal humans milling around doing what they do, shopping and talking and shit. That was close. It’s always too close. This is the world I live in. It is ugly and cruel. It is hungry and dangerous. It is nature in all her murderous glory. Beautiful to observe, terrifying to experience.

All we wanted was a shot at freedom, a real chance to make it, we never made it, we ended up in Hell. But some of us survive yet. We saw heaven, almost believed she was a real place, almost dared to believe. In a week I will be by the sea and my journey will continue. Maybe I am still a believer. I just don’t really know anymore. It is like I am in auto-pilot willing to fight only because I dont know what else to do.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Yea, but I don't remember much...

Maybe you should write your memoirs – she said.

I thought about it. I had already noticed how past forty things start to get a little, well, you have memories and that’s it. The zing has gone. I already said how I felt it go. It’s cruel. Watching the world spin on without you.

I decided not to reply. I would think about it a while. I still figured I had the music in me. I loved the music, the music loved me, sometimes. I wasn’t ready to be a writer. I could write shit for days, but when I tried to say something honest, from the heart, it always seemed to come out wrong. It never read right. Nah, I wasn’t ready yet to write my memoirs.

I was in a limbo, some kind of formative stage where nothing more was going to happen in life, nothing pleasant at least, but neither was any of what had happened going to make much sense. Not yet. I couldn’t lay claim to wisdom. I was too young. 50 maybe. If I could live that long.

So what to do for the next 10 years?

I didn’t gamble anymore, it bored me. I didn’t fuck any more, it just wasn’t satisfying like it used to be. Whores didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t interested in love, it just hurt or made demands I wasn’t very good at living up to. I didn’t drink anymore, hang on, I drank like a fucking fish so that was a lie, but I had eased back on the drugs. I was pretty much clean. Jesus! No wonder life looked bland. I had chosen LIFE. And it seemed life was pretty boring as a straight guy. How had it come to this? Oh yea, I had decided to step out of the gutter for a moment and get a job. I was alive and almost healthy but as a result, shame of all shames, I was B.O.R.E.D.

I wondered how easy it would be to score some acid in this town. I saw a bus go by, a sign on the side said ‘Follow the Music’, I wondered what it could mean. Hell, I didn’t need acid! I still hadn’t come down since that brown microdot in ’86.

This was true.

Hmmm, my memoirs. I sure had done a lot of stuff, most of it crazy too. I figured I was a good candidate for a memoir. I just had no idea where to begin or how to write it. Or even why. What was the point? What would I be trying to say? Who would be interested? I checked the number of people who had visited my blog: about 400 since it began in June 2007. It wasn’t many, and of them only 3 had dared to leave messages. That wasn’t exactly a fan club. So whom was I kidding here? Who the fuck would read my memoir?

It was a good point and one that troubled me. The more I thought about it, the more I found myself asking what life had been all about. Never a good thing. Especially when you’re still caught in it’s pincers and feeling the squeeze, smelling it’s breathe and seeing the ugly smile of the crustaceous beastie, that surely will devour this sweet soul long before it gets a chance to truly shine. Aint that always the way here.

Fuck the fucking fucker!

I shall call it ‘Memoirs of the Brave but Stupid’, and it shall be a stormy tempest of truth and heroism. Oh aye.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Ever wondered why you felt you were possessed by the Devil?

When you can’t find explanations for things that are hard to define, it sometimes helps to look at them from a different perspective.

There is a labyrinth of impenetrable darkness inside everyone. Kind of like a blind spot. Most of the time we don’t go in there, but sometimes we end up in there and get lost for a while. Sometimes things follow us back from there and we never get free of them again. Sometimes things come to us from there without us doing anything to provoke or call them.

For whatever reason today’s world wants to deny it even exists. We are scared of it. Anyone who shows signs of being in there is someone we go out of our way to avoid, in case they pull us in with them. Then there are the strong ones, the ones who go in there regularly and what they find in there they use to good effect in the world. They are usually powerful people and usually blinded by their own power. It is the nature of everything that comes from that place to be impossible to pin down, impossible to see directly, yet it is strangely attractive to us on a deep level. It has the effect of making humans behave in bizarre ways. Without certain key things to protect us, we don’t stand a chance against the effect of what happens in there. People who spend too long in there, or end up in there by disaster in their lives, or by accident, generally go crazy and often stay that way. Fear is the key to knowing that place and recognising when it is touching our lives. Fear is also the reason we have deliberately sort to avoid it all our lives, as have many generations before us.

This is a precursor to something that I have been trying to get a perspective on but failed to for years. Trying to find a way to understand and reference the things I have seen or that have effected me, but for which I have found no reference points in the culture I am born into. It is a real enough place because it is based on perception. As soon as our perception of the real world alters we find ourselves functioning from within this other place. Usually uncontrollably and with a constant sense of terror and fear that forces us to try to escape it. The things we find in there lead us to question our lives, our sanity, and our reason d’etre. They often appear to reach beyond our lifetime, and that is when things can become a problem in our current lives as a direct result of entering in there.

It is a doorway, the indigenous people who existed most everywhere around the planet before modern man, seem to have referred to it as ‘the spirit world’ or ‘the other side’ and dealt with it in far more deliberate and controlled ways than modern man does. There is a good chance a lot of the emotional problem experienced by modern man are a direct result of avoiding dealing with what lies in the darkness beyond that doorway we find within.

Emotional problems, inexplicable outbursts, uncontrollable sources of anxiety can often be traced to this darkness within us. Trying to resolve it with our current perspective clearly fails to work because it doesn’t provide us the tools with which we need to manipulate any part of us touched by it. To get to the root of it we need to look at it in ways that make little sense except in context of the rules of this labrynthical, inexplicable and mysterious aspect of us. It requires suspending our modern rationales and letting something older, and to some extent larger, come into play.

There is a danger here; in opening up to something that can affect us in ways our minds radar cannot pick up we risk bringing effects upon our lives that are uncontrollable, unexpected, and far reaching. In this regard an attempt to heal something can very quickly become a recipe for disaster that might take years, if not lifetimes, to put right. The seriousness of this point cannot be stressed enough. As a result any practices that help open a person up should rightfully be veiled in secrecy and protected simply in order to protect those who might stumble upon it.

It is not something we really ever have to be concerned with in our lives, other than as a dinner conversation topic, unless we find ourselves caught in an internal quandary that negatively affects our daily lives and defies curing by normal methods. It is under these circumstances that we have to draw on other forms of knowledge in order to bring about a harmonious solution and restore balance to our lives again. It is often a simple remedy that precipitates a cure, the hard part is reaching the place in which we can find that cure.

Karma, Past lives, Possession are all elements that are relevant in the context of this part ourselves. Anxiety, violence, fear and a sense of loss of control are all common attributes experienced when working in this area of ourselves.

To bring about a balance to agitation experienced within us we need to follow the symptoms to their root, into the labyrinth of impenetrable darkness and let another part of ourselves take over from the mind in leading us to a solution. In doing this we begin to find these symptoms are a cry for help from a part of us that runs deeper than our individual lifetimes. In trying to understand this concept it may help to think of our bodies having genetic imprints that we have inherited, this is easy for our minds to accept and explains to some extent how and why we function the way we do in this life; based on a long and evolved lineage of people going back to the beginning of man, and even life on earth. A grand notion, but one science has enabled us to accept. And so it is with the emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves, through entering into that doorway we start to come across the long line of inherited experiences, lifetimes, that connect up to the living energy that we are today. From this perspective it isn’t too hard to understand how unresolved issues, emotions and actions that are nothing to do with our current lives, can come to have a bearing on us, all the while having their root somewhere else. Hence the difficulty in dealing with the cause of our reactions when we have no explanation or point of reference for them in this life, hence too the failure to bring about a solution. It is for this reason we have to go much deeper.

Looking at it in this way we can estimate that most people alive today and part of the Western culture have potentially at least 50 generations of people in their families between their indigenous ancestors and themselves. It is unlikely that any of those 50 generations ever dealt with their emotional issues in the terms we have discussed here. Is it also possible that we have 50 generations within us that are not necessarily our blood family, but our own ‘past lives’ dating back to a time when we ourselves might have been part of an indigenous culture that was aware of an ‘other side’ or ‘spirit world’ and actively sought to placate problems of an emotional and spiritual nature by delving into it on those terms.

It isn’t so difficult, then, to imagine that there are a lot of unresolved problems that could have filtered down to us today. Problems we probably would feel we have no responsibility to address, let alone consider. But what if we are wrong? What if the very clue to resolving many of our problems we experience today lies in putting into balance problems caused by people of yesterday? If we knew doing this would help us to live happier lives would it still be something we would be willing to refuse responsibility for?

Finding the problem is one thing, resolving it is another altogether. But the first step is in revealing the true root of the problems we experience within ourselves today. Shining a light on aspects of it that we have probably intuited all along but never had the method by which to hear what our inner being has been trying to tell us. In revealing this mystery to our minds it is possible we will set in motion that which will allow us to unravel the tension that has vibrated within us across time, and vibrates in us today. It is rarely a pretty experience nor an easy going one to face. But unless we address it, it will continue to vibrate in our lives, and resonate with the world outside us as we walk through it, and therein lies the root cause of our turmoil.

Ever wondered why you felt you were possessed by the Devil?


I get in, its been a long hard day, I could have gone for a drink to take the edge off but something drew me home instead. I light a candle on my bedside table. Switch the light off and sit on the bed catching my breathe.

This is my sanctuary.

I look at the shadows dance about from the flickering light. The figurines that make up what I guess you could call my shrine. It is a shrine of sorts. Each one reminding me of something out there, a god maybe, a force, energy, or guiding light that we communicate with on such a deep level that words mean little to try to express it. They've been with me some years now. This is my personal religion, this is how I work.
I feel myself relax a little. This is where things make sense, not out there in the machine. In here I am some kind of shaman. I laugh to think of it. What must I look like sat here in a business suit in front of a candle, light dancing about over small figurines and little totems? Like a kid with his toys.

That anxiety is in me still, the one that tugs at the guts all the waking day. The ache. Sometimes so powerful it drives me crazy. I know what I have to do. This is why I came home tonight. I had to. I need to dress the wound that never heals.

I straighten my back, half shut my eyes, let my mind drop a little, focus on the breathe moving in and out of my nostrils and try to bring that nagging wildness that jumps and lunges inside to some kind of silence.

It takes me a while. Maybe 20 minutes and then I feel it. It is subtle, like a slow stilling of shaken water, but as it calms and the ripples inside become almost nothing, then I know I am there. I feel the anxiety dissipate, like a mirage that I had been unavoidably engrossed, obsessed with. Feeding it with my own energy all along. I feel it then, a smile from deep, deep inside. It doesnt rise onto my face but it is there within glowing inside me and spreading through my body, it feels beautiful, like a gigantic warmth and I remember again how it feels to be happy and strong. I stay there for as long as I can. Sometimes an hour but rarely more. The distractions come, maybe a thought or a sudden feeling of boredom, or some noise outside, but something always comes and breaks in. The world is so demanding, on the inside as well as out.

I am enveloped in an exquisite feeling. It's one I have spent a long time nurturing and growing. I wonder about it, wonder why I can't hold it unless I drop into this silence. Eventually I have to leave it. Surface again to the world to function, and it doesnt take long before I am fighting the demons again, feeling overwhelmed and confused and agitated. They are there waiting for me outside the door, one day their barbs and poisons will get through my armour, will get in, and that day will be my last. I know this. I dont pretend I am not afraid. But this is my church, here in this room tonight but it could be anywhere, I could make it out of mud and bones because that is where it all began. I believe it is the same for us all.

I open my eyes. I can feel a shine on them. I smile. Why didnt they teach us how to do this at school? This is what we need, this that has kept me alive these past few years. I look in the candle. The atmosphere in the room so different now to when I arrived. I've shaken it off. I know this is a special flame I keep burning, maybe this is my task, yea maybe it is. Maybe one day it will all make sense why it is with me, why I carry it here in the midst of the machine, the land of the spiritually dead, the world of amnesiacs. We stew in a pain that we can't ever let go until we remember where we came from and why we came. I hold the light tonight. This is the campfire and all are welcome, if they only knew.

I have my freedom. I have my escape whenever I need it. This is why I am not afraid anymore. This is why I can look at the dirt and decay, the agony and death, the bitter cruel darkness of any part of life. I can look right at it and know - as much as it can painfully devour us, it can never really touch us at all.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

For all or nothing

Something has got me mystified at the moment. The way we get opened up by life. It cuts to the bone. You recognise others who have been wounded that deep. It’s all the way. Only a few manage to stay sane, any bum on the street is a classic case of the fallen. The others, ones like maybe you and me, we manage to pretend, manage to remain functioning in our lives somehow. I don’t understand it. I have given up everything, been thrown and leapt into death and the fires of insanity, and yet sprung back each time. Alive again. Maybe not even wanting to be, but in truth, not really much caring either way. It’s almost a gift.

All I ever wanted was the world to respond, the universe out there, just to do something that showed it had a value to our existence, however small we may be.

I watch everyone each day. Are they all so blind to what is happening about them. Floating on a rock spinning out of control in God knows what kind of creation? And yet the most important thing to them is something so inconsequential as what is on the TV next, or what they can do to impress someone, to belong. That’s what I call crazy.

People think it’s depression. I even wonder myself sometimes, but it isn’t depression, it is a darkness, sure, but it is a powerful truth. A fearless truth. It has its purpose. Life in a foxhole. Staring at the shadows knowing the unknown lies behind them, fills them, waiting for us. Looking at them too long sucks the shine out of your eyes. That’s the danger. That was my mistake in the end. Looking too long and too hard in the hope of finding an answer, a cure for the fallen. I was warned, I just couldn’t listen, wouldn’t listen. Not interested. Give me one punch at God, just one good one. The difference between us is that I’ll help him back up and give him a hug and maybe say something like ‘see how it feels, now don’t do it again’. I wont leave him in the dirt.

It isn’t a cry for help, or a tear from a broken heart, it isn’t a wish for better days, or a fear of loneliness, or any thing of the kind. It’s deliberately living with a poison in your veins because there has to be a solution for all, and it won’t be found any other way.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

The ugliness of truth

I am struggling to survive
I feel pretty alone here, I just dont connect with people. I look at faces as they pass by me and as the weeks become months this becomes a painful recognition that I am failing to have any kind of meaningful communication with anyone. It creates an isolating feeling that snowballs.
I struggle to stay afloat.
I begin to understand why people take their lives rather than continue on
when all seems hopeless
but I believe I am better than that.
I believe I am stronger.
I know the truth is I am not, but if I dont pretend to be...
I can see the fall below
and I wont survive it.
I have to pretend,
so I do.
I make like it will all work itself out
I lie to myself.
I know what is coming.

People dont like to talk about this kind of thing.
They get scared being reminded of their own isolation and fear.
So I dont speak about it.
Who would I tell anyway.

Right now I am broke.
This means I have no place to live
so I sponge off my family for comfort and a room
This can only go on for so long.
I dont feel secure but I have shelter.
I see the months go by and the pay checks arent enough to bring me up
from the pit.
I hold steady
I consider this something
It leaves me with just enough to drink
I dont hurt when I drink
but I hurt double when I am hungover.

I am lonely.
I never thought I would hear myself say that
but I am lonely as hell right now, if I am honest.
just to feel a human touch again would be something
this barren time
has left me needy for comfort
I never used to be needy. I dont understand this in myself.
I try to block it out
but it cant be blocked out.
not this kind of thing.
I tried paying for a whore
but it was an empty experience. so fake. and left me feeling more alone than before
and a lot poorer.

Drunk in a cab on the way home from a party I had to gatecrash to get invited to
I held a girls hand.
I never realised how much warmth comes from a woman's hand
when you need it so much.
I told her. She smiled awkwardly.
I tried to kiss her.
She pushed me away
‘I have a boyfriend’ she lied. I knew she didnt.
But she kept hold of my hand
and I was grateful for that.
When she got out, I saw the black cab driver had been staring at us all along in the mirror.
‘What?’ I said angrily, more hurt at being reminded how cold life was,
and how my selfish and desperate attempts had been watched without my realising.
I didnt understand his reply.
I wanted to be mean;
‘Just fucking drive the car mate’ I said, and looked out the window to take my mind off it all.
I didnt feel guilty.
I could see his eyes, and in them I could see something I didnt like. I saw that in a lot of people.

I wondered how long this would last.
I wondered how long I would miss home that didnt even exist for me anymore.
I wondered how long it would be before I had a life around me again
and not empty weekends spent walking round a city full of people
all busy going somewhere.
While I waited.
Not knowing what I was waiting for,
or why.
Looking at women.
Wondering why talking to people was so god damn hard.
I'd get drunk alone in bars
but that just attracted strange looks and strange and mean people. Lost souls.
I had joined their ranks and that was unexpected.

Destiny brought me here
but for what? for this?
I didnt understand how this had happened.
I used to be friendly. It was so easy once.

Now I was living terrified of the future. The emptiness of it. The pain of it. Every morning waking up from a bad nights sleep, maybe three or four hours at most. Looking at the bags under my eyes and fighting to throw off a heavy emptiness in my belly that came from knowing no meaning in your life. none at all. A sick feeling. A sickness I can't explain, but if you have felt it too, you will know.
It comes with a sense that there is nothing more than this.
That this is the truth of things.

Waiting for the pay check.
Spent before it arrives.
Hating the job,
but needing it more.
And no where to go on a Friday night.
Unable to talk to people for more than a few minutes
because something hurts too much inside.
It's like it wants to burst out and smother everything.
Slowly becoming a bitter anger.
like a lost and damned spirit
got caught in my soul.
somewhere along the way.
This is not me.
How did I become this?

This is the ugliness of truth
when we are in it
people cannot get near to us.
and we fall back
into something cruel and cold beyond belief.
this is not a place to die.
but there is no way to fight it.
and there is no escape.
I do not know what comes next.

So, you wanna save the world ?

What is the point in trying to change the world?
The world is just some big reflection of what is going on inside of us.
The way we act in it, tells a story about how we are in ourselves.
People who want to save the world, it seems to me, want saving themselves.

and so on.

I sat in on a meditation class, they told me ‘I does not exist’ and proceeded to prove to me why. I got the idea. But grasping it to the bosom and really experiencing it, was not so easy. So ‘I currently does exist’
but is working on it.

I emailed someone from blog world, in retrospect it was a mistake. I either said too much or didn’t say enough. The reply. Well, the reply was silence. I have this effect on people. I am the kind of guy who gets bitten by dogs that have ‘never done that before, it must be something about you’

Correct. Something about me. That’s nice. Maybe it is my polecat scent.

Anyway I emailed this person and what I wanted to say was this –

‘Look, I actually understand you better than you think, I have no idea why, we have had similar things happen to us in our lives, bad things, real bad things, maybe that is it, but right now it seems to me you are slowly becoming a caricature of yourself, and instead of using whatever gift you have for good, you are heading down a path where your power will desert you and instead of owning it, as you think you do now, you will become what you fear. You are fishing with that shit and it aint good for you.‘

Yea pretty dramatic and judgemental stuff huh, which is why I didn’t write it and instead wibbled on like a homo and as a result got no reply.

You are probably also getting the hang of why otherwise placid dogs attack me. But enough about me and my ways. We were talking about saving the world and god knows, right about now it needs it.

I was thinking of starting a new religion. In fact what the hell, this calls for a whole new post...