At camp

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U gave me a treatment, though I had no particular ailment, because I wished to experience it. I lie on my back in the yurt, and hold my right arm vertically upwards, as instructed resisting the pressure she puts to move it while she presses down on various parts of my body. She checks with me that the pressure is not too much. This seems to be diagnostic. Then she presses on other parts. She explains to me that the “TLA” or whatever it was is the sphincter between the large and small intestine, which opens to allow¬†matter through when all the¬†nutrients have been removed, and closes to prevent waste from returning- but with the Western diet it malfunctions¬†and opens willy-nilly. She has rebalanced it. I should avoid wheat, caffeine, alcohol and sugar for 48 hours. Sugar? I can have three pieces of fruit in a day.

Later, she asked me what I thought of it. Well. I think it is rubbish, I think the grandiose claims she makes ridiculous, but (out of fear of the consequences for me) I confined myself to the positive: I loved her manner, gentle and professional, and the pressure she placed was not painful because File:Alte Kr√ľgersdorfer Eiche 01.jpegI trusted her. S will go to London for treatment of his hiatus hernia from her. He does not fancy the keyhole surgery. I suppose it makes sense that one takes a¬†placebo for such a thing- people have spiritual healing for cancer- which requires¬†at least the apparent confidence of the practitioner. Perhaps some bodywork practice¬†is advantageous¬†for a healing placebo of physical ailments. But could I spend three years learning that practice, only believing it works out of placebo? It is necessary to learn, perhaps, those pressure points which will cause strong sensation but not¬†too great pain, or any damage.

The diagnostic element: I think it involves seeing someone, reading their reactions, just as cold reading does. That would be worth learning.

The pressure did not create the emotional component of pain because I trust her.

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That thought moved within me during the gong bath. Watching G dance with her gongs, sounding bowls and tuning forks, and hearing the sounds, is a beautiful experience. With the hormones, my feelings are heightened, and I connect with the Life problem and my misery at it. Then I had a sense that part of the pain of these feelings is my own anger, fear and resentment that I am feeling and expressing them-

and, as with U, if I can trust my own emotional being, trust that the misery is not harmful, then I can accept it, and accept myself. The feelings just are, the File:Lake Atsion 4.jpgemotional component of the pain of them- anger and fear that I am feeling them- can just drop away.

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That afternoon, I had a task, to make soft eye contact and connection. I found myself thinking about how often I blinked and how I looked, generally distracted, and felt deep irritation at myself for not doing what I had set myself to do. That was the self-acceptance lesson I needed, having pledged to self-acceptance: accepting “bad” or uncomfortable emotions.

I feel this could be intensely empowering, if I may practise it: to accept my own emotional being, accept my own feelings. Hear them and not deny them, trusting the goodness of their source.

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Every time I am in U’s presence I am intensely conscious of her. Oh, I wish I were not. And of her partner, a man. How could she go with a man? Oh, D is a decent bloke, solid, dependable, wise, even- a lot better for her than I would be, and still-

Entanglements

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A man of twenty five
kissed a woman of forty-five
climbed into her heart
and went whistling on his way

I had little cause to like M myself, and when W told me how he had kissed her and bowled her over, I disliked him more. She wanted to go two hundred miles to see him. Eventually they met with others in a pub, and he said that he had no interest in further contact but the kiss itself was a good connection for both of them. She left the pub, but was so angry that she went back and threw his beer over him. Later I told U of this, with the intent of engendering respect for W- it is an empowering thing to assault a man who wrongs you- and she said, smiling, “Oh, I heard about the beer-throwing incident”. So perhaps W’s entanglements are a matter of common knowledge, and source of innocent merriment.

P was going to have lunch with Bjork, but she stood him up. He would have waited another two hours to see if she would turn up late, but the CIA were hunting him. So he imagined what he would have thought in his former life. In his former life, he would not have thought that Bjork would have lunch with him, or that the CIA were hunting him; and he would have thought that his employer might object to a three hour lunch break. So he acted as if his beliefs were the same as in his former life, and in that way could have all the excitement and wonder of his delusions with less of the evil consequences.

P also spent some time as a student as a Born-again Christian, and wondered what it would be like to not be one. So he got a book by Bertrand Russell, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be Atheist. After a while the pool of his Christian beliefs was shrinking, and the pool of his Atheist beliefs was growing, and he stepped from one to the other. That is  a striking way of putting it, I thought.

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My No is powerful and beautiful
and I have used it to protect myself
in a way which has been necessary
and my No grew
until I said No to experience
No to my reaction to it
No to life
I still need my No to protect myself and
I will value my No, and I will not fear to use it.
And I will practise my Yes.

 

Cupid and Psyche

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Hear the myth of Cupid and Psyche
which tells of God’s lust for man
Can we all become a Goddess?
Say it baby: yes we can
you give me fever
fever in the midsummer light
Life is hot like a cauldron
Fast and sharp and painful and right

Cupid fell in love with a woman
Aphrodite just said No
Psyche became filled with the fever
Fever made her glow
you give me fever
Fever by night and by day
No, no, no I can’t fight it
fever carries me away

Aphrodite sent her to Hades
All Hell fell in love
Psyche was all woman
So she became God Above
You give me fever
everybody dances in flames
Fever burns inside us
Dancing unrestrained

Pictures from Wikipedia

Midsummer Camp

Despite some initial problems with the venue, Midsummer Camp is on for 2012, Daniel tells me. Hurrah.

I was putting up my tent¬†when a voice from behind asked if I wanted help. I turned, smiled and said yes, and A. realised suddenly¬†that he had something else to do somewhere else, and left. I am far too ready to jump to the conclusion that “it is because I am trans” but perhaps it was, in this case: the quite beautiful A. cast a spell over at least two women there, climbed into their hearts and went whistling on his way.

Cooking over wood fires is a serious risk for wigs, I have ruined two with sparks, so I was in an old wig, no makeup, jeans, shapeless raincoat- and a child said, “Mummy, is that a man?” Then Mummy explained that some men want to be women, so have¬†a sex change, which is not how I would put it. Later, J., who is seven, said to me, “You look like a man”, which got to me a bit.

Then, later in the week, I passed him on my way to the dancing tent and he said to me, “you look like a woman now”, which six months later still makes me smile in joy. And I think of that child, whatever Sins of the Fathers were visited on his mother, it seems she is not passing them on to him. Cycles can be broken.

We were camping, in four circles, cooking communally over fire, dancing, doing comedy improv, singing together, with sharing circles each night. We built community.¬†We had a Midsummer’s night ceremony, dressing up, singing and dancing round a fire and burning things which we wished to get rid of. I wrote “Negativity” on a piece of paper and burned that, and ten days later was plunged into my War.

For my US readers, you could come to the Edinburgh Festival, over 2000 shows in three weeks with international orchestras, theatre and opera companies; or perhaps do London, the historic sites, galleries and theatres- or you could come to Midsummer Camp, and meet the people. Live with us, and find in what ways we are different, and what the same.

I became aware that some of us there are Jewish. We had a Shabbas meal at sunset on Friday night. Which made me think of integration, and difference, and equality, and acceptance- celebration- of distinctiveness. In Recherche, Bloch is a Jew, introduced with this disgusting speech:

You can’t walk ten yards without stepping on one! Not that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of the chosen people, but hereabouts there’s a glut of them.

The Jews are separate, with their own snobberies and hierarchies, and¬†now Bloch, a snob, attempts to get in with the Marquis de Saint-Loup, Marcel’s friend. St-Loup, who effortlessly manifests yet¬†despises aristocratic manners, thinks himself a Socialist and reads Proudhon, is¬†mortified at Bloch’s social solecisms, and blushes sympathetically on Bloch’s behalf.¬†One of these is to refer to the lift in the hotel as a “lyfte”- he knows he should use the English word, but¬†does not know the correct pronunciation. From such tiny things is Otherness established. No wonder Bloch hates it, and tries to deny it! But I do not like Proust’s portrayals of Jews: they are ridiculous, and their Jewishness is part of their ridiculousness, and their unpleasantness. Yes, Proust makes aristocratic origins ridiculous too, but it is not the same.

I do not know what to make of Hugo Rifkind, a Jew, journalist, and the son of¬†a former Conservative Foreign Secretary, remarking in The Times¬†on the Jewishness of¬†Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, as a thing setting him apart from¬†the strata of British society now. Rifkind¬†claims he is¬†a part of that society himself. For me, the absolute moral imperative is to think of Us, always Us and never¬†“Us and Them”, and to celebrate diversity and difference within the in group.

The Field of Love

The Field of Love, run every year by Tim Broughton who also organises dancing in Norfolk, Suffolk, St Albans and Kew, is highly recommended.

Of the three camps I have attended, this is the one I would be most¬† likely to attend again, because it seems the most likely to move, delight, inspire and grow me. During morning meditations I have been in Blake’s state- “to see the world in a grain of¬† sand/ and heaven in a wild flower”. In sharing circles we have held serious conflict, and grown through it. In dance, I have related to others and brought forth new aspects of myself.

¬£300 for ten days’ camping seemed a bit steep, but there are professional musicians to dance to as well as a reasonable sound system for recorded music, a good site crew doing a fair bit towards the communal cooking and keeping the hot tub and showers hot, and Tim himself organising exercises to enrich and grow spirit and community. We built that community, and I connected with each other person there. My hug bank is full.

And- when the weather is dreich, what better way of keeping warm than dancing in a marquee? A whole week of Dancing- wonderful. My only regret is that I did not take enough beautiful clothes to show off!