Mindfulness

I have just chosen what to have for lunch:

Mmm. What do I want, now? I don’t yet know all that I will have, but I would like an apple. I pick it up. It is beautiful, with so many different reds, and some very slight bruising which interests rather than offending me. When I bring it close to my nose and inhale deeply, its aroma is clear. So rich!

I take a bite. I stand still and close my eyes, to be aware of it. I hear the crunch of my teeth forcing into the apple, taste its sweetness, feel its juice flowing down my throat. I chew, aware of taste and juice, and then swallow. The next bites are not so intense, but I remain aware. My apple has all my attention, while I am eating it.

What next? I choose a bread roll, with cheese. (I forgot I had Branston pickle.) I could scramble eggs, cook something more substantial, go down the street for a cooked brunch- by bicycle or walking or bus- or have oatcakes and cheese. I spend some time contemplating my bread roll, then get out the bread knife and the side-plate knife and lay them on the work-surface.

And I will have tea. 750ml in the kettle- too much? No, just what I want.

I did not breach with my usual habits, but I chose, consciously, what to have for lunch, and gave it my attention. I always have the same things, because that takes no thought at all, and nourishes my body above the acceptable minimum.

What about that damned woman? There is nothing I can do to bring us together, for an hour or a month, so I call on resentment to free myself. Try playing these games with someone who is “in your league”, and see where that gets you. What I can offer is rich, deep Love which will nourish and heal you, but if your complex feelings and past hurts get in the way, then fuck off. I hurt too, and my feelings are difficult for me.

To state the problem again, I am work-shy. While I go out into diverse social situations with pleasure, the thought of going into a place of work and doing stuff to achieve some end– warehouse work or statutory drafting, being told what to do and doing it, whether or not for money, terrifies me so much that I go into avoidance behaviour, and that if my ESA stopped I might just not bother with JSA, but curl up into a ball. I’m going to get sanctioned anyway, so why bother?

Or-

What about that wonderful woman? Possibly she will approach, and we would come together, seeing each Other; and possibly she will not, and I have no need of her. Allow the intensity of the feeling, and allow it to go. (Though I may have driven her off with two ill-judged emails. Oh No! Not the Send button! I know my judgment is less good, at midnight! If I have, I might never hear again from her. The Unknowing hurts!)

just

be-

I can’t do that with work, yet. Before I started as a solicitor, I thought- “I cannot endure this job. I have to enjoy it”. And then fought the flow and denied it, and sought my pointless illusory goals in pointless illusory ways.

Could mindfulness help me bear the world, and me in it?

Boldini, Anita de la Ferie, The Spanish Dancer

Samaritans

Phone call to the Samaritans.

-Well, we’ve had a good long chat about your feelings.
-Are you saying you need to get on? She won’t answer that straight out. Instead, she says, carefully,

-We’re always available if you need to call us. So I said,

-I ask you a question, and you will not give me an answer. You lead me to understand that you wish to end the conversation, though I do not want that. I feel manipulated. Though I also feel quite pleased that I can state my feeling, rather than just be disappointed and acquiesce. That is new for me. Do you want to end the phone call?

(pause)
-Thank you for calling
(pause)
-Goodbye
(pause)
Click

It was only 27 minutes. What I wanted is a listening ear. I know all the fucking wisdom-bollocks.

Live in the moment.

Accept what is.

I know my objections are ridiculous, but they remain my objections. Just before the call ended, I told her that I was seeing a psychotherapist on Friday, and one of my reasons for calling was to find a corner of the Gordian knot at which picking might be behovely. (Then thought that expressing that in that way was to make it beautiful for me, rather than necessarily communicative. Then thought that I am judging her as less cultured and intelligent than me.)

-Can’t you just let the session take its course?
-Oh yes! Absolutely! It will be what it will be! But I thought that stirring the pot beforehand might bring things to consciousness which might not otherwise come.

Those adverts, a guy looking really rough, unlike normal advertising picturing people the target audience aspire to be, and the caption A Samaritan helped me take control of my life. Perhaps she wants to Give Advice. Well, perhaps she will say something helpful, and perhaps I will make all the connections and she is just a listening ear. That’s good too.

Emotional turmoil. Friday, wonderful time with amazing person. Saturday, email- delight! She feels it too! Sunday tantalised, Monday immiserated- When will I see her again, if getting to one afternoon in a coffee shop takes two months! That email had warm promise, and also a list of other things she really has to do which get in the way of meeting, just like the other things which led to cancelling our last two arranged meetings and delaying the first arrangement for seven weeks. It does not help that she is more intelligent than I, as well as out of my league by every other possible measure.

A job interview!

And, having discovered and accepted my Rightness- my femininity, expressiveness, playful childlike nature, will-power, beauty,

I am left with my Wrongness, how I sit around watching TV or scrolling facebook, choleric at the shared articles, not tidying the advertising leaflets- at least not chip wrappers or dogshit, it’s not as bad as the worst home visit story I have heard- lying on my floor for the last week. I don’t see how it would improve things, or something,

and the question of What to DO????

Note the sexism of the posters. Picture of man- “A Samaritan helped me take control of my life”. Woman- “For once, I could be myself”. And I couldn’t.

1000 speak is up again.

Fenny Drayton

St Michael's Church Fenny Drayton from the south west

Pilgrimage with Quakers to Fenny Drayton, where George Fox was born. There is a pretty church, with 13th century bits and some additions.

Some Purefoy or other

There is this huge monument to some local bigwig or other who died in the 16th century, so the spectacle of his wives and children praying round him is subversive for the time. Here he is, either looking up his wife’s skirts or contemplating the family crest:

Fenny Drayton, a view of the family crest

East of the rood screen, there is another Purefoy monument, from the early 17th century, in Latin. I can’t remember whether it is East of the altar rail or not. The other arch contains a Hagioscope, or Leper-window, partly sealed up, where undesirables could have seen the celebration of the Eucharist from a concealed place, so that they would not disturb the decent worshippers.

Fenny Drayton, two arches

The effect is to turn a place of worship into a memorial for the Purefoy family. Paul did not object, seeing it as a historical accident. I find it disturbing centuries later. George Fox was christened here and would have known these huge monuments. Perhaps this church helped form our testimony to Equality.

Modesty II

Cause I’m gonna make you see
Nobody else here, no-one like me
I’m special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me

Oh, yeah- me, too! Of course. This creature is beautiful, creative, powerful, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and you’re going to notice. You will see my posture and deportment, because a person can dominate a room, turning heads, whatever they are wearing. I am a force of nature. I dress to express my personality, to make me feel Good, to attract attention, and why not use a push-up bra as part of that? My sexuality is part of the way I am, with everyone, not just with lovers.

At least that’s the theory, what, appallingly late, I am now working on. One has to do teenage eventually.

Onywye, I feel good in a nice dress, and I love that suede jacket. The long blonde hair feels so much better than the short dark style. I love it caressing my upper back, in the V of the neck-line.

So we dance together, women and women, men and men, men and women, left-handers and red-heads, sometimes enjoying the game, sometimes bruised by it. If you do not have the physical advantages of the most vivacious animals, you can play with other tools. The unco guid use disapproval, saying that displaying her body is lacking self-respect, coming over like a whore. Men oppress women with violence, and use her attractiveness against her- she was “asking for it”. In places women dress as men wanted, we are naked or in burqas.

The alternatives seem to be the beautiful free movement of expression or rules from controlling fear. Men object to women dressing “immodestly” when they feel embarrassed by their naughty thoughts. If they could accept attraction as natural and beautiful, they would not need to project their discomfort onto the other.

It is not respect for another to say that she is demeaning herself by the revealing clothes she wears. It is judgment. Respect requires allowing her to be as she is. Tiribulus’ comments here are vile. To me every woman is a lady, no matter what they are to themselves. And My family is the standard. If I would not want my wife or daughter to be seen in [anything “revealing”], I don’t intentionally see other women that way either. He sets himself as the standard, and claims that those women who do not meet his standard are demeaning themselves and have no self-respect. He is projecting.

This is why we are told “Judge not”. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you. You create a picture in your mind of another’s cultural background, understanding, intention, action, and it may be wholly unrelated to their reality. Walk a mile without shoes.

Different Diana

Trans privilege

Do trans women have privilege?

At first you will think, all the privilege is on the cis side, but we should check our privilege. I have found arguable trans privilege. But first, a question: When did my country get so nasty? she asked.

It’s been going that way for a long time- since about 1979. That got a laugh of assent. How much we hate hearing about “Hard working families”: it is corralling the wagons, in defence against the Bad People outside. That UKIP poster is horrible, and the Tory one just as bad- vote for us, and you can drug yourself into apathy tuppence cheaper.

The woman at the bus stop was desperate to chat. As I sat on the perch, it creaked and rocked forward, and she said they should make those things safe, you know. That was enough, as I am keen to chat too. She told me of going to the convent in Lucknow, when her mother was a sergeant-cook in the Army (just before India awoke to life and freedom). Her brother was at St Joseph’s. It is still going, but it is all Indian now. She knows because it is a small world: she had been in Oxford having her brain tumour removed- she turned her head, I gently felt the scar- and she got chatting to an Indian from Lucknow. He said he had been to St Joseph’s. She would not have believed him, as it is the sort of thing they would say, but he gave sufficient detail. Then they came to Swanston, and where they lived everyone was Indian. They’re all Polish now, she said, disappointedly. Though she is a foreigner, too. Her mother was Greek. “She tried to speak English as much as possible.” All this racial stereotyping- “These people” are individuals, who react in an idiosyncratic not a monolithic way- gets to me a bit, but I forebear from challenging. I am female now. I account it privilege that she wants to start a conversation with me.

On the bus a big bloke sat beside me, and told me how cold the weather was. And it was so beautiful last week. What work do I do? Feeling no obligation to tell him the truth, I say I am an adviser. He used to drive a crane, but has not done that for years. He plays in a six piece steel band, for weddings and all occasions. He gives me a card. He would play for my wedding. Are you married? Good looking woman like you should have a fine choice of men. Do you often come into Swanston? Where do you live? He got off “to go and see a friend”, he explained, and kissed my hand.

There you go. Trans privilege. I did not feel threatened- more surprised than anything, though not particularly flattered. Perhaps, rather, it is size privilege, as any woman my height and weight would feel less bothered than someone petite. Don’t tell the TERFs I said so.

 ♥♥♥

A feminist’s perspective

Then I made friends with a feminist academic, and had friendly, careful discussions about radical feminist theory. Do trans folk subvert patriarchal gender norms, or support them? In one case, she may be an ally. She believes there is trans privilege, and at first convinced me.

H was at a formal dinner, the guest of a trans woman. The trans woman was particularly glamorous, in pink silk dress, hair, makeup, nails all beautiful, performing Femininity squared. H is vegetarian, and the staff repeatedly brought her meat. The trans woman perhaps should have taken this up with the staff, as the hostess, but H felt she was behaving in a somewhat masculine manner, in care-taking. As perhaps I was, when I insisted on paying for the wine.

Then the trans woman stood to address the assembled multitude, giving a loud, extrovert, girlipink performance, like a drag queen. You may have done this yourself. It is risqué, but only to an extent. It is a queer performance of gender which the culture has just about accepted.

Trans-women, on the whole, do not get slut-shamed. H admits that I will have had shame and restrictions as a child, but we do not have the experience aged 12 or 13 of burgeoning sexual feelings along with strong social messages that they must not be acted upon.

Oh you can’t lie back
You must stay cold at heart
You must never let your feelings show
For the moment you feel it might start
Why then the only answer’s No.

Girls must be modest. The man who sleeps around is Jack the Lad. Do not disclose Lord Palmerston’s philandering, or everyone will vote for him. The woman who sleeps around is a slut. H was with Green Party activists, who referred to a Conservative candidate as “the town bike”. That shocked me, too. I would expect Greens to be sensitive to such things.

We are careful and courteous. I said I did not object to the word “transsexual” used as a noun, though some of us do. H was surprised that I was so revolted by the expression “biological woman” to mean cis-woman. It says I am not a woman. Well, maybe I am not, but the implication still hurts. In an ideal world, would people have The Operations? I explained how delighted I was to have my op, how horrified I am at the thought of losing my toe, and how I don’t think social pressures alone, strong as they are, would convince me to be castrated against the most basic survival instinct. I am not sure she accepted this. Well, I grew this breast, and the thought of losing it horrifies me as much as you- but top surgery is right for trans men.

She was an ally on the matter of autogynephilia. I explained James Cantor‘s concept of euphilia, and the thought that M-F transsexualism in gynephiles is perversion, and she said that she found that meaningless. The thought that there could be a “perversion” would mean that there was a “normal” to be perverted from. It has no relation to reality.

I loved the conversation, all four hours of it. I find her fascinating.

Boldini, Alice RegnaultA week later, I have very different views. First, she complained of that trans woman making a performance like a drag queen. It is an OTT performance of gender which is accepted from trans women but not real women. To show how objectionable this is: no-one would think of saying “She did that thing you black people do” so why would anyone imagine that referring to clichĂ© trans behaviour was OK?

And it is an Uncle Tom act. We behave in a way the cis straights expect, understand, and laugh at. I want to keep my options open, to do that, as more choices mean more freedom, but am unclear how to do it in power.

And, yes, we don’t get slut-shamed, but I was shamed out of my sexuality, seeing it as disgusting, and not having words for it: so I had four girlfriends between 18 and 30, none at school, none lasting more than two months because I could not be myself with them. Worse, not within the protection of Feminine Virtue and Honour, we are seen as available. Steve, who has some charm and intelligence but has gone to seed, old and fat, drove me home from J’s U3A games morning. He said he found me attractive and asked if I would go to bed with him. At Oldham CAB, a dirty old man, poor, a miserable specimen, propositioned our work-experience Asian girls. They had rebelled against Asian modest dress, head-scarves and all that, but had no idea how to dress as Westerners so came to work dressed to party. He said their fathers in shame should throw them out, but he would take them in; and when he saw me about his income support, he touched up my bottom. Low status as he is, he imagines me as immediately sexually available to a path…

Do you see me at all? Here am I, without a house, partner, children, savings, job, pension fund, anything, completely vulnerable,

and you call me Privileged???

J’s joky tales of Steve’s misadventures on the dating scene, which he tells her to relieve his feelings and she tells me and her husband Pete for a laugh, rub it in. He takes women for coffee, because why take them for dinner when there will be only one fuck and who wants to be stuck with someone the whole evening? One said to him she would like him as a friend, and he expostulated that he has enough friends.

-He wants a fuck-buddy. Why not advertise for that?

Some people do. One woman basically said “Here I am- Take me.” Steve has a particularly unsuitable woman, Andrea, she’s alcoholic…

 ♥♥♥

Privilege I clearly have

With a shock, I realised. She’s- working class!

I had not noticed until sitting with J and another friend of hers in her kitchen. I found their conversation of little interest. Then J complained that some people resent her large house, thinking she had “got above herself”. She often comments that she and her husband have done so much of the work on the house themselves, that she has got furniture second-hand, that her (beautiful) clothes are from charity shops. Clearly some friends do not object; but the stifling pressure of fearing being judged as “getting above yourself” might prevent a person reaching her potential, or traumatise her as she left behind her social group.

I have one particular privilege: it was expected that I would go to University, and my sister did not, initially; as our teacher my father saw that our IQ scores were similar, though I have the edge; she wanted to be a nurse, not then a degree profession, and got her nursing degree in her 40s while holding down a job and caring for a family. Though she was in rebellion against our parents in her teens, and peer pressure rather than parental expectation would have been more important. I remember writing “It is time to rebel against my parents” in my diary. I was in my thirties, or at least late twenties.Boldini- Madame Doyen

And working class boys were not expected to go to university, generally, by parents or peers, though an inspiring teacher might drive them on, and one trans friend was, from her grammar school.

It is not as simple as “male privilege” that boys have more education than girls, and in any case I have squandered any advantage from my degree, and always earned less than my sister, whether because of a miasma of cis-sexism, or other psychological difficulties.

Indeed I won’t get slut-shamed, but my sexuality still frightens and confuses me, and is arguably immature as I have had little experience of adult sexual relationships.

As this trans man says, male privilege exists. Checklists from cis men usually include I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege, but I don’t think the ones relating to ones current position apply. I get read. If I am not seen as a weirdo, my fear of that is as restricting as the reality. I doubt being trans is ever an advantage in a job interview.

“If I complain to the person in charge, the person I see will be of my sex.” No. I am considering visiting my new Tory MP, to confront him about some of his attitudes. I will have power as my authentic feminine self and not otherwise. The problem here is the woman feeling powerless. She has power if she only realised it.

To me, the greatest trans privilege is my weirdness. Other people may muddle along, more or less, in conventional or fashionable ways of being, because they fit well enough. I have had the great blessing of completely not fitting, so being forced to find my True Self. (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

My emotions overwhelm me- the analogy I use, with bitter irony, is being pre-menstrual. It may be down to the hormones. I started them to feminize my appearance, not thinking they would so intensify my anger, fear and misery. But at the time, I was beginning to get in touch with my feelings, and perhaps suppressing then finding is the cause. So “We get medical treatment with unknown side-effects”. Not a privilege.

 

Self-love II

I had a heart-felt sensation that I was beautiful. I felt suffused with Love. Always I want to have finished this spiritual growth lark. Then everything will be Well! So, is that it? And how normal is it to despise yourself, anyway?

Pretty normal. A friend told me how her husband, even after moving in with another woman, still treated her like a servant. It is amazing what you can get used to. Battered wives show great courage in escaping, as often their self-respect has been beaten out of them.

I block things out of conscious perception when they are too painful for me to acknowledge. These include my own characteristics about which I have been Shamed. Even though I have come to accept my femininity, my blocks are continually ready to leap up again, the paths through my neurons and dendrites are so well worn. It feels vulnerable to be open to noticing my own reactions, and the world around me, to inhabit the presence, mindfulness, awareness which I seek.

In my post Self-Love three and a half years ago, I identified self-love as the survival instinct, and said I had to let go the blocks. I have been doing that all the succeeding time.

I feel continually inadequate. Others think me intelligent, and I curse myself making connections so late.

I wish I had more energy. I feel so weak. As I write it is noon, and I should be at a meeting. I should have got the bus an hour ago, and I am not dressed yet. I would rather work this out, here, now. Typing gives me some understanding and some relief.

I have had utter contempt for myself, and curing that has taken all my intelligence, courage, and energy. I am closer to recovery than ever before. That contempt for myself has been my burden, and when I stagger under it, that becomes evidence to justify the contempt.

I want to spend time with H. I find her fascinating. We had discussed a trip to London together, and she wants to put it off. Again.

-You’re disappointed, she said. Yes. She noticed: because I am, very much; yet I did not, because I am hurt, and I suppress hurt below consciousness.

I am Abigail, and that is alright. I have borne my burden, swum against the current, cycled into the wind. I notice the burden, now: it seemed just normal, merely what was true. I see the characteristics to which my contempt blinded me, and value them. Awareness and awakening feels possible.

Boldini, profile of a young woman

A “Bad act”?

Human beings escape reality with drugs, alcohol, gambling. The addiction becomes compulsive, and those ten years clean might call themselves “recovering alcoholics”, knowing that the craving will never leave them. My glue-sniffing client managed to give up- but then his grandmother died, and in the stress he sought relief the only way he knew, and was caught again. A young alcoholic I knew found himself unable to keep anything down, even water. So he would stop drinking for a day, and as soon as he could swallow properly he would start drinking again. Even random instances of unconsciousness, not related to particularly high intoxication but to brain damage, did not deter him from the drink.

These cases are horrible, an awful warning. God help us.

God wants to help us, actually. I remember a verse because it was sung in a chorus:

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
For the spirit of life in Christ has set us free
||: Oh, he’s alive, he’s alive, he’s ALI-I-IVE :||
Praise the Lord!

We need to escape reality for a bit. All of us. Hugs are good for this, cuddles even better. Love builds us up and strengthens us so we need not escape reality but are strengthened to face it better. And so we have a God of Infinite Love! Perfect love drives out all fear.

But human churches find that threatening, and want to restrict it. God loves you, they say, but you have to obey our rules. The post was inspired by this exchange on Violet’s blog. Francis has to condemn. “Wrong is still wrong,” he says, portentously. If we do not obey his rules, we are the bad people, the outsiders, and God’s love is for God’s church and not for us. But God’s love is for everyone. Some Catholics see that: the monk at Turvey Abbey was lovely. Carl Rogers saw it, using Love- “Unconditional positive regard” sounds more scientific, but only just- as a therapeutic tool.

George Fox saw it: I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings. “Openings” here means new understandings, opened to him by the Spirit.

We should not be parsimonious guardians of God, doling out short measure of Love to those who measure up. Starving, then, they turn to escapes from reality. God’s love is for everyone! Aged 21 I wrote this verse.

Her husband, drunk, has cut his thumb, and covered the room in blood.
She sits with her head in her hand and greets, the poor bag’s given in.
Who can blame her for craving the warmth and peace of the local loony-bin?
But we have to stand on our own two feet, or stew in our own crud.
In the senile ward they make her bed
The dying amid the unquiet dead.

The kids have been pissing him off all day, he can’t take it any more.
That pool attendant laughs at him as the kids just mess about
So he burns his throat with The Famous Grouse and it blows his brains right out
“Din wanno be a nurse” he moans, as he staggers through the door
The four-year-old stands o’er the prostrate fool
and the pool attendant thinks, “Uncool”.

I cared, but did not know what to do. That stops some people caring.

Rublev Saviour

Those Tory policies in full

Well, what can we expect from a Government with the ringing endorsement of 25% of the electorate?

Repeal of the Human Rights Act. “Human rights are not for prisoners, transsexuals and weirdos,” Theresa May, Home Secretary, told the Daily Mail. “Human rights are for the nice people, like Mail readers. And if ever you thought you needed a human rights lawyer, perhaps we would find you had never been one of the nice people in the first place.” The germ of this post was satire: but the genuine quotes are in italics, such as David Cameron’s gem Britain has been a passively tolerant country for too long. Oh God, here come the plans to criminalise or restrict ever more association and speech.

Return of hanging. The Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, has more ideas than removing local authority support for schools and turning them over to private companies. He wrote, Hanging may seem barbarous, but the greater barbarity lies in the slow abandonment of our common law traditions. Priti Patel, new junior minister at the DWP, also supports hanging: I do think that when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in the country and where we have seen murderers and rapists … reoffend and do those crimes again and again I think that’s appalling.

On that basis alone I would support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent. We hope she does not mean for benefit claimants.

Making work pay. Can’t live on a minimum wage zero hours contract? Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, has the answer. Within the first two years of the Conservative government, everyone on JSA for more than six months will receive a personally tailored sanction, removing their income. He described the 87,588 sanctions issued in July 2014 alone as “only the start”. You will find that your zero hours contract is “better than nothing”. He has not, yet, proposed hanging for jobseekers, but does treat them worse than prisoners on day-release.

Stopping progress to equality. Caroline Dinenage is now minister for Equalities at the Department for Education. She voted against equal marriage, but said “I support gay marriage now,” gritting her teeth. As well as wanting to cut the BBC, the new Culture Secretary also hates gays.

A sense of purpose for our children. Secretary of State Liz Truss says, I have seen too many chaotic settings in nurseries, where children are running around. There’s no sense of purpose.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary and former Hulture Secretary, wants a return of fox hunting. “Fox hunting is the perfect symbol of our new Compassionate Conservatism”, he said. In places that should be devoted to patients, where compassion should be uppermost, we find its very opposite: a coldness, resentment, indifference, even contempt. Such as the Health Department’s ministerial team.

Oliver Letwin, minister of State for the Cabinet Office, has already stated Conservative plans for health.

The end of Arts faculties in universities. Nicky Morgan, secretary of State for education, says, If you wanted to do something, or even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do, then the arts and humanities were what you chose because they were useful for all kinds of jobs. Of course, we know now that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Well, it’s a blog. Mostly cribbed from The Guardian. In his last term, Mr Cameron’s inspiration was Mrs Thatcher; but now, why not Arthur Wellesley? Here is what he wrote about Peterloo:

It is very clear to me that they won’t be quiet until a large number of them bite the dust, as the French say, till some of their leaders are hanged, which would be a most fortunate result.

Wax vanitas

 

The Kin-dom of Heaven

The Kingdom of Heaven is here. All we need to do is recognise that, and then we will live the eternal life fitting in God’s kingdom, and help others to do the same.

God saw what God had made, and behold it was very good. God made us all male and female, each a complex mix of both, in God’s own image: loving, creative, powerful, beautiful. God knit me together in my mother’s womb- God’s works are wonderful, and I know it well.

Christ came as the seed which brought forth a hundred-fold, the seed which grew into a tree in whose branches the birds nest, the yeast which worked through all the dough. He told us not to worry what we will eat or wear. He told us to go out and make disciples of all nations, and promised to be with us as we did.

Jesus told us our neighbour is every human being, even the despised foreigner. He chose Paul “to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel”. All will be made alive in Christ. He is our great example, a light to the nations, that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

Death is real in the Bible, but there are many deaths before our hearts stop beating. We die, and are born again. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. Our redeemer lives, here, now, and so shall we: we have eternal life! Eternal life, life partaking in the life of God, here, now, not after we are buried, not in a place where the laws of physics do not apply. To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

I had not realised that “The lion shall lay down with the lamb” is a misquote, though preserving the sense: but these animals are people, ceasing to be predatory on each other, but living together in love and unity here on Earth, led by the child Christ, by his great example. We are all kin, children of God.

We must take up our cross, if needed, and follow him. He did not resist when arrested and executed, but healed the ear of the man sent to arrest him. Non-resistance, the way of Peace, here, now, opens the eyes of all to the Kin-dom of heaven, for everything that was made by God is kin.

This is the Kingdom of Heaven, here, now. Open your eyes and see it. Love, and enter it.

The painting is by American Quaker Edward Hicks. More on peace, shortly.

Edward Hicks, the Peaceable Kingdom

For Michelle Lesley, with whom I had a long discussion. And, because I can find no better place for it, here is the alternative view of Biblical Christianity:

Biblical Christian Principles

It is all the more striking, in that if you image-google Dixon Diaz you see how right wing all his other cartoons are.

Embracing Willy Loman

He is very beautiful. He is tall, broad, erect, imposing. He walks slowly, with a stick, in a way I would almost call graceful- because it is unhurried, without stoop or apology. He speaks with sweetness and simplicity.

I am still writing about Wednesday. I tell you of that man because I sense the possibility of that perceived grace and simplicity in myself, and also the line about Willy Loman, strong willed fantasist, hurt me. I see myself in that too. You may recall that he wants to die, but is too cowardly to kill himself, so he crashes his car into a wall but too slowly, so that he is unhurt. I could look it up on wikipedia, but for how it affects me my memory may be more useful. His friend’s son pleads a case before the Supreme Court, his son does nothing, and he is going to be sacked as a salesman.

So, fantasist. I am the writer who writes nothing more than a blog, and fantasises about a film of my life, forsooth. I sent V a scene. Well, what do you do when someone you have never met before asks you a favour? You consider it. She emailed saying she would consider it. The problem is, I cannot see myself working at anything other than warehouse or supermarket work, on the one hand, and writing the thing I have hardly started on the other, not that I might make money out of it. Or just staying on the sick, for a moment which extends to months. Though that time has resulted in vastly increased self-acceptance.

And- strong will. It gets in the way for Lo-status folk. I was right to argue N— CAB should actually do what the funders of my post were paying them to do, except that I was too lowly to make that decision. It was not my decision. I should have just shut up. I got one DSS doctor sacked, but also got myself a great deal of grief complaining about another. He was a professional man, entitled to respect. My clients were benefit claimants, and I was little better.

Yet, fantasist. Imagination is the way human beings change things: we must first realise that something else is possible. Possibly I need new fantasies. I will keep up with the mindfulness and self-acceptance stuff, and hope other ideas beyond writing- rarely remunerative- and warehouse work occur.

And, strong will. It must have done me some good at some time. It might do me good if I could see how to use it. Being more conscious-

the idea is that accepting myself, I can see myself more clearly
so actually understand what I am doing and what my motivations are, rather than delude myself

some of this might do me some good…

FĂ©lix Valloton, le jambon