Is it funny?

I was waiting for my girlfriend to come round.
I had hit her really hard.

This was told at an Edinburgh Festival comedy event, and there was a debate on Woman’s Hour (yes, it really is called that, it has been going since the forties) about whether it was funny or not. Jokes about hitting women are not funny. And- it works as a joke: set up an expectation, subvert it. Ideally subvert it on the last word, which is not done here, but I did not “get it” until after the end, so it works.

On stage, one may be in character. What clown tells it? The stressed, anxious clown, life is always too much for him? I would introduce another voice in the middle of my act if I said such things- Geoff, the psychopath. Thick man, violent, monstrous even. End his part with, “Geoff, the men in the white coats are coming. Run!” And- the clown is part of me. What else might Geoff say? Geoff is not for the stage. Right now, he is in a dungeon with thick iron bars. The only light is a candle, far in the corner of the outer room, where the guards can go.


I decided to try centering prayer. The word I chose was “self”. I mean, “Organismic self”, the whole being, my own link to the Unconscious, all my responses and instincts. My theistic/spiritual  and atheist/materialist sides agree that the way to the highest self is through the unconscious- and I am not sure I can claim that Christ or God is linked through any part of me.

Half an hour is a long time, but I have the time, and it is better spent that way than at Solitaire- three hundred “games” now, and counting. And- there is no good or bad, no success or failure in sensations of frustration or “deep peace and calm”- there is just Doing it. The mind wanders. Bring it back, with the Word.

Valerie Brown quotes Basil Pennington: when we become aware of our thoughts, if we continue to dwell on them, we leave our prayer and become involved again in the tensions. But if at the moment of awareness, we simply, gently return to our prayer word, the thought or image with its attendant tension will be released and flow out of our lives… we very truly die to our superficial selves, in order to enter into our Christ-being in the depths. We “die” to all our thoughts and imaginings, no matter how beautiful or useful they may seem. We leave them all behind, for we want immediate contact with God Himself, and not some thought, magic, or vision of Him- only the faith experience of Himself.

So I do it, and at the end pray-

 Lord God, or Christ, or whatever is

down there

let me be my whole self

Perhaps “Christ” is a better word, a possible word. The leap of faith is to say that what is “down there” is Good, that there is no line which is the border between me and Christ.

And the wandering mind can be a healing thing: I Reikied myself, and found I was thinking about all sorts of things which have made me cry, and not crying. There may be no “good” state in a practice, but there can be a healing state. And I do not do this to do it, but because it might make me feel better or function better.


File:Cezanne Harlequin.JPGHow is it going, this journey through blogging, “a witnessed place from which to process and make sense of the multi-varianced complexities of [my] experiences” as Beth put it for herself- I could not put it better.

I realised years ago that

I lie to myself

 in order to see myself as a good person

because who I was, certainly was not. Over this year I have seen so much more of myself. I would not have seen myself as an introvert, really, until now, but a friend did- obvious, really, except to me. And I read that ours is a society valuing extraversion, perhaps from having extraverted kings in the past.

I glimpse my reality, I see it more clearly, I see it and realise it, and through all that process I have to value it-

this is who I am,

this is a good way to be

as it is because of not valuing my real self that I have tried to deny who I am- blocked out of consciousness as a self-protection mechanism- until I do not know what I want. I cannot perceive it-


Oh, right.

Mmm. Email from said friend, just as I am writing this: “I don’t think you are an introvert- but people who have been through a lot of trauma as you have have a similar way of responding”.

Ha! Having found a name for a characteristic, a way of classifying, I have it challenged. And indeed she had said that she did not think her thoughts on introversion exactly relevant, “but the withdrawal pattern is the same”.

File:Amandus Faure Artistin und Pierrot.jpgAnd I told J that my work is self-acceptance, and she replied, “Yeah, I have my own version of that. I’m always hoping for the day I open my journal (which is all about working through my shit), and say, ‘Nope. I got nothing. All those lessons I keep having to learn over and over again? Done’.” Indeed. Perhaps an end to this is never possible, but I hope I am moving forward in some way.

Always we begin again.

The purpose of all this is to function better and achieve aims.


Clowning workshop. We played Zip Zap Boing and the counting game: in a group of ten, we attempt to count to twenty, but if two people speak at the same time we go back to one. It works. Then we walked around, making eye contact or not, and then made a caricature of our own walk, something idiosyncratic, not the entirety of us but a part, exaggerated. Then we developed this into a clown character. Already that Sunday I have climbed the Eucalyptus tree, with its branches sticking out like a ladder, and now I stand, taking in the pine, looking at just one leaf: there is just me, and it- or We.

A simple task: we have to guess a mime. The audience choose it without my knowing, and I mime and play until I guess what it is: as I get closer, they clap. I got nowhere near, but made a little eye contact, then danced about, then noticed the tree again and stood absorbed in it. This is the state of No-mind, spontaneously responding out of body and feeling in the moment, without words. My strength is in classifying, and I want to do more of this.