Everything

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres_-_Roger_Freeing_Angelica_-_WGA11842.jpg

I know some people listening are thinking,File:Seurat Angelica (après Ingres).jpg “That’s a bit sad”, and- some people are thinking, “Yes. Mmmmmm….”

I heard the first bit, and thought, he is projecting. He thinks his own interest in the ZX Spectrum computer, with its 48 kilobyte memory- it could barely hold that Rich Text File I just emailed- is a “bit sad”. And then he says something positive. Is he projecting then, too?

There will be people who dismiss his interest as a foolish failure to interact with the real world, and there will be people who sympathise- all kinds of human reactions- and all these reactions are in him. Even though he is interested, he judges his interest, and finds it wanting. All those reactions are in me- so I can feel with the man who rejects, and with the man who affirms. Actually, the phrase “that’s a bit sad” was the words used by the man on the radio this morning, but I have not quite remembered the words he used after. They were affirming, but “Yes. Mmmmmm….” is my expression, I think slightly different from his- though I am not sure quite how. Like trying as an adult to make a sound in a foreign language, Japanese or German, or even a different English accent such as Scouse. Others can hear a difference I cannot.

Or it is the way I want to recall it.

In my ritual space, after hearing this, before putting on my gi, I feel playful. Yes, I could channel Qi to my chakras, but that is not the mood I am in, now. Such a wide range of human emotion and reaction in me, that I may relate to so many different humans. Yet with my own accent or idiolect; some seen and recalled, some seen at a slightly different angle. And- of that wide range which I can be in my ritual space, some I can recognise and welcome, some feels strange or frightening- conditioning, it seems.

The All is in me, or its Emanations, with a distinct Clare flavour. So beautiful, when I can bear to look at it.

Toxic Shame II

I have done my best.
It is not "all my fault".
 I am still here.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/1284_Wheatstack_%28Thaw%2C_Sunset%29%2C_1890-91%2C_66_x_93%2C_26_x_36_5-8_in._The_Art_Institute_of_Chicago.jpg

I am still here. That is success, of a sort, and has to be enough. I have not- done certain things, but if I judge myself by what I have not done, I will be entirely miserable. I have achieved certain things: I wrote a painstaking analysis of every single word in an activity and descriptor in the Incapacity Benefit test, to show that if the DWP’s less generous interpretation were correct there was a superfluous word, and since legislators must be presumed to draft elegantly without superfluous words, my more generous interpretation which gave that word meaning must be correct.

I love Law at its most creative, and at any level I could be employed, it is bureaucratic and repetitive.

Oh! Pain and regret! It is not my fault.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/1286_Wheatstack_%28Sun_in_the_Mist%29%2C_1891%2C_65_x_100_cm%3B_25_5-8_x_39_3-8_in.%2C_Minneapolis_Institute_of_Arts.jpg

It is not my fault- two years not being paid, and not now looking for work, and not, much, engaging with other people. I was looking for work, at the start, and I did my best. I always have done my best, and while the inner critic might say it was not good enough, she had no useful way of making it better.

Pain and regret mingle with shame. I cracked a tooth, and my tongue repeatedly explored the gap, and the new so-sharp edge. And, after a time I noticed- my tongue is not exploring that, much, now, and the edge is not as sharp as it was. So-

I am not working.

Breathe.

“I am not ashamed of that.”

File:Claude Monet, Haystack, Morning Snow Effect (Meule, Effet de Neige, le Matin), 1891, oil on canvas, 65 x 92 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.jpg

Test it. Is it true, or is it just that I would like it to be true so pretend it is? So much easier, to note that particular spiritual growth is possible, and pretend one has done it. I think there are moments when it is true, and they are moments of what I have called Presence, being “in the moment”. Shame is part of the miasma which binds me to past and future.

That miasma blunts my feeling! I do not feel the sharpness of fear or anger or delight when in it!

Shame is different from regret. Oh! That happened! I am hurt by it, I wish it had not, in that way, but of all that feeling Shame is the only one which takes a bite out of me. Shame blames me- I was not good enough, as if that information could be any use at all. There were other options I did not see, and I might see options better after that experience, and it had its positives.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Monet_-_Haystacks_in_the_late_summer.jpg

Shame. What on Earth is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Emotional Being: Shame is not you. It is like handcuffs, preventing you from dancing. Move your arms freely, and be beautiful.

Moving on

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Brooklyn_Museum_-_New_Year%27s_Days_of_the_Teahouse_Ogi-ya_-_Katsushika_Hokusai.jpgLightning does strike in the same place. Repeatedly, in fact: on the Empire State Building, for example; but it has a lightning conductor, so that is alright.

-How would you like to end?
-With a neat conclusion, boxed to put away and tied with a neat bow.
-OK, then.
Gosh, I like that response. Taking my cynicism and batting it back at me as a challenge. And it is possible.

It really is time to move on. While that Quaker stramash (or stooshie, it is telling that Scots has so many words for a fight) was uniquely ghastly, and while there has always been something to bring my mind back to it- the long grind to my Minute of Disunity, then my appeal, then H’s Disownment, then her appeal heard last week, meeting after meeting anticipated, suffered and relived- it is over. There is nothing more I can do about it, and indeed while I would not be going to a Quaker meeting if I were still in South Wales, I can now talk to those involved with a moderate degree of friendliness, and work with them, and I am supported and contributing in a Quaker meeting which delights me now.

I thought I was safe, with Quakers, if under threat everywhere else, and I was not. I am not safe anywhere- though I am moderately capable, so I can, mostly, look after myself.

-Do you think you overanalyse?
-No.
If I cannot trust my feelings, I have to make decisions somehow.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b9/Katsushika_Hokusai_-_Yoshitsune_Falls%2C_from_the_series_Famous_Waterfalls_in_Various_Provinces_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/726px-Katsushika_Hokusai_-_Yoshitsune_Falls%2C_from_the_series_Famous_Waterfalls_in_Various_Provinces_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgThe question is, how likely is it to happen again? Not, particularly. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats: I know more of myself, it was a bad situation- a clusterfuck, actually, everything going wrong at once. It really is better to spend time searching out opportunities than threats, but I do not think it is likely to happen again, and if it did I could handle it better.

I was hurt because I would not back down- but I won my appeal, and had I backed down I might be whining now about people walking over me.

Actually I would rather be right than happy: happiness seems merely tantalising.

I have the tools to deal with this. I need to look around now, at the opportunities now. It hurt, a lot. I trusted and I was dumbfounded. It really is unlikely to happen again. That is what matters.

Emotional being? Hello?
-I’m frightened.
It really is alright. It is not going to happen again. The tiniest likelihood of the greatest pain may seem a terrible risk, but the likelihood is so, so tiny-
-Why did it happen, then?
-The really most awful luck.
EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT!
-They’re not. Really, really, they’re not, and that has to be in part a rational rather than emotional decision.

O God, how can I practise trust?

And- I have always thought it was my good qualities which led me into that confrontation. I could break that down, and analyse that- but just as you can’t please anyone, so different ways of being work with different people.

Sensitivity

 Poppy field beforeI am sensitive,

and that is a gift.

It means I can see others, and resonate with them

know their feelings

understand a situation

and it means I am easily hurt.

This gift seemed not to fit my world.

It made me think wrong things.

It hurt me.

So I saw it as weakness and wrong

and I suppressed it.

But I could only suppress the gift, the seeing:

I could not suppress the being easily hurt.

So it seemed like only weakness and worthlessness.Poppy field after

As I learn to see and sense others

I am still easily hurt

I am still not in control

unable to see or do the Act which makes things Perfect

yet I learn to see others, and resonate with them

know their feelings

and understand a situation

In my weakness is my strength

I will know the place for the first time

I am sensitive

and that is a gift.

Catharsis

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Arnold_B%C3%B6cklin_-_Der_Vulkan.jpgWe swapped stories. I told of people I had known who became paranoid on smoking cannabis, and M told of eleven year-olds getting drunk and pupils smoking cannabis in the fields- teachers passing just told them to “stop it”, rather than taking action. He disapproves. It is illegal, and the lads are not taking any notice of the warnings in the videos.

Alcohol is dangerous if you use it to escape stress, I said, and he expostulates- They’re not stressed! These are people who don’t care about the exams and are not revising!

M excels. He will go to university, unless just possibly he finds some more long-term worthwhile way of spending his time, and-

being teenage has moved on. It is not about seeing the sheep obeying the rules, and rebelling against the Rules. It is about a sober analysis of how things are, and moving towards appropriate goals- or about starting seriously self-destructive behaviour early.

I saw a woman put through the mill. On telly, this is: “Life of Crime”, in which a woman suffers a disaster to her career at the same time as her mother has a stroke and her marriage breaks down. Her daughter stays with her husband. We see her sensitivity and vulnerability, and her inability to open up because the pressure is too great. She is having a hard time at court, and on the phone to her husband she says, “I love you”. He says, “Bye”. He feels she has betrayed him.

This “police officer emotes, fails to catch the bad guys and is ground down by the system” plot is exactly the same as “Good Cop” in the Autumn. Setting it in the police enables the dramatist to include life and death threats, but the basis of it is the human being, trying to do the right thing, failing at work- the plot of several Employment Tribunal cases I have seen. Here we are, we workers by hand and by brain, under this pressure, the pressure of there being too many workers for the work needing done, so the wages go down.

File:Johan Christian Claussen Dahl 001.jpgAmazon, Google and Starbucks dodge taxes in the UK, and I was expatiating on transfer pricing to F when I realised- “You know all this, don’t you?” Yes, she does. She takes an interest. She gets news from Al-Jazeera and bloggers as well as from the BBC, and resents the journalists’ way of making a Story out of facts, rather than presenting them, and of their telling tittle-tattle about royals and celebs rather than real news.

F gains hope from Avaaz campaigns, and learning of NGOs- there is all this altruistic seeking the Good, and all the activists and ordinary folks can get together on line as a counter-weight to buccaneer capitalism. I block out my distress and anger at the Vast Impersonal Forces, and feel it at the fate of a fictional female police officer.

If I (not a rhetorical question: all comment is welcome) have distress at my own situation but feel it consciously only when I see a woman’s world collapse on the telly- might that help or hinder me from doing what I need to do?

File:Николай Павлович Красовский - Побег из извержение вулкана.jpg

How do you feel?

Well, how do you feel about that?

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e1/Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_Salutation_of_Beatrice_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/614px-Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_Salutation_of_Beatrice_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg-Pleasurable anticipation.
Mmm. Yes, the right feeling, we must feel the right feeling. It feels like you looked it up in a book, came up with the right feeling, decided you felt it.

-Anxious, worried, all the things that could go wrong-
Always with the negativity. No, I won’t be in control. (I never am, but sometimes I can pretend that it seems that way.) Don’t worry, it will be alright, and worry does no good. Does harm, even- it makes you watch out for the wrong things. Another way the Law of Attraction might work.

-Excited. Interested. Joyous.
Ahh. Good, innit.

Ask me in that moment- earlier today, and I could have given those answers, all of them true. And it appears that each were different aspects of me, feeling what they felt. I could engage each in dialogue. The third is the one I like, perhaps with just the slightest tincture of the second to make it a little dangerous, but pleasurably so: we know, really, that we will not spill out of the rollercoaster.

I anguished about it from four yesterday when I had the invitation to nine this morning. I will regret it if I do not go. What else will I do? Karate in the morning like I can do any Saturdayhttps://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Holygrail.jpg morning, and hing aboot like a bad smell in the afternoon. And the worry almost kept me away. It is so finely balanced, until it isn’t. Will I accept the invitation? Will I get up now, at 7.15am, for karate and silence, or fiddle with the net-book until breakfast time? That balance, when I could do either.

 Window open for

morning kata and silence.

Birdsong is constant!

I did do a bit of karate, just in my living room, before putting on last Spring’s dress and going to meet this woman I had not met before. Her husband could not come, so she had a spare ticket. No-one else is in a dress, but that is fine by me.

I have control in my living room. I can be in control. Or, I can be not in control, and it will still be alright! More or less. In the station, I take my wig off. No-one minds, possibly no-one notices, but it is good to be reminded of it.

Last time I passed through London I tried that trick, of announcing the station names as the train pulled in. It got me into conversation with the woman in the next seat.

Fear-based Christianity

File:Blake The Blasphemer.jpgIt can be terribly difficult to be Christian, navigating between the power of Satan and the justified wrath of God, with eternal damnation the risk and a serious possibility if you fall away. This, quoted with approval by Nathan Bickel here, showed me the full horror of it: “We are not showing authentic love unless we are intolerant of all the popular perversions of love.” So other people are pretending to be loving, but they must be corrected. Even Love is perverted by the Devil, for the damnation of souls.

Jesus is a liar. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”, he said, pretty confusing after he tells me to pluck my eye out. God, his thirst for blood not slaked by the Amalekites and the Jebusites, or even the Flood, sends hurricanes to kill Americans for their failure to get this impossible task right.

A commenter here said paedophilia is wrong because the bible condemns sex outside marriage. The Bible also condemns residents of Crete, which I hope no-one follows now.

“God’s Will” is the iron moral law for society. So morality cannot change as society changes. Homosexuality is condemned because it was, 2500 years ago, in a subsistence farming society in an area the size of Wales.

Messages of love:
Love your neighbour as yourself
Love one another, for love is of God
Perfect love driveth out all fear
are negated.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/1795-William-Blake-Naomi-entreating-Ruth-Orpah.jpg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

File:Blake-Höllensturz.jpgYesterday (9th) I was weeping uncontrollably in the shower, thinking of- something eighteen months ago. Think of it now. Mmm. Slight pang, but I am not overwhelmed.

I want a short paragraph I can say truthfully about the incident and the people involved. An Understanding. That was that, and this is how the world is. I cannot create it. I can hardly create it about the incident itself, involving human reactions, leave alone the World now, or myself.

I want it, and I cannot have it.

I have these Spiritual Tools- Acceptance, Presence, Meditation, Positivity– which really ought to sort such problems out, with the result which has been my lifelong goal, that I never feel emotions that make me uncomfortable. Possibly I have to learn better how to use them. (Writing problem- should I state specifically that I am not getting it yet, or leave that implied?)

That period of weeping. Whether it was about that particular incident, or my inability finally and conclusively to Make Sense of everything, I was overwhelmed. I find such weeping very painful, and I want to avoid it. Recursively, I can’t make sense of the weeping- it was not about the incident, was it?

Can I use my own weakness to empathise with others?

Respect II

File:Mary Cassatt-Selfportrait.jpgI respect and trust myself and the World.

Moving on from “I am worthy of respect” this is what I want to say, truthfully. That is why I am grinding over this stuff repeatedly here, to find a way to make it true. Encouraging comments (thank you) help.

Also, here I confess, because if I am ashamed of something I block it out of consciousness and it might move me in destructive ways. Such is my experience: I work better if I accept myself. So. There is a psychological test: would you prefer £10 now, or £100 in six months’ time? Julian Baggini says research shows many teenagers would take the £10. They do not defer gratification- at least not as much as adults- either because they have not learned to do so, or not seen it is useful.

If asked, I would probably say take the £100- it is clearly the right answer to say- though there are arguments for taking the £10. If I choose the £100 I have to take it on trust for six months, at the end  of which the promise might  be broken-

Oh.

and I will have to interact with the researcher again, rather than just take the £10 and leave.

And- if I look at what I actually do, as opposed to my rational cogitations, I heavily discount future rewards in favour of immediate desires. Well, the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing, https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Cassatt_Mary_Nurse_and_Child_1896-97.jpgPascal as pensé, and here I sit with that, perplexed.

It is a skill I might practise, and it is based on trust. My heart leads me to do what my head says is self-destructive. This is linked, for me, to my procrastination- this year, next year, some time, never-

So often I find my heart and head, or whichever parts of the brain they are, disagreeing or moving me in different directions. I thought the amygdala reptilian, now I read it is palaeomammalian, perhaps I should study it properly.

Actually, this is the behavioural activation Nicola introduced me to, and which I did not get.

OK. Go back to

I am worthy of respect.

Not, I am worthy of respect despite this dreadful wrong which I must excise, but simply “I am worthy of respect”. Then. I have this issue. I will learn to do better, because that is behovely.

Look at that self-portrait, so cold, so defensive. That is definitely self-protecting body-language, even though shows off the curve of her thigh. And then the mother and child, so warm and sweet.

Emotive argument II

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Auguste_Renoir_-_A_Girl_with_a_Watering_Can_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/746px-Auguste_Renoir_-_A_Girl_with_a_Watering_Can_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgIt is an odd feeling, at the refectory: that goes with that, but is not what I want. I do not feel revulsion, exactly, I was eating it only at lunchtime, but I am quite clear that it is not what I want now. D remarks on the odd combination on my plate, bits meant for the other main course, bits from the salad bar, some for taste and some for need- something carbohydrate- and more from impulse or instinct rather than the usual learned habitual response. I normally have a cooked breakfast when I am away, and this morning I did not want one. Someone comments that is “good” of me. Strange that we think of impulses as harmful, and restraint as moral. For me, then, it was instinct and desire rather than conscious restraint, and I think of self-care as morally neutral, just what one does, rather than virtuous.

So I am happy with emotional decision-making. What feels right? What calls to me? What hunch do I have about what will enhance my life, rather than what arguments can I create? Often the arguments feel like post hoc rationalisations not reasons.

We communicate these emotional decisions. It feels good to be with others who feel the same way, and I follow those feelings. A dominant person expresses feelings to mould the feelings of others.

Empathy seems to be a good way to make group decisions.

I want to please people. This shames me, it feels like part of my hiding away, and also pleases me, as a way of getting closeness I desire. Strange. It is what I want.

Out of the Tunnel

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c7/Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_The_Moselle_Bridge%2C_Coblenz_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/990px-Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_The_Moselle_Bridge%2C_Coblenz_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

I saw I was in a dark tunnel. On each side of it, there were doors. When I looked through them the impression of light and flashing colour was overwhelming and terrifying. So I stayed in the corridor, but (whether I walked down it, or back, or stayed still) it got darker and more constrained. I knew I had to go through a door, but it terrified me.

That was three years ago, on the Hoffman Process, which provides a sequence of crises and catharsis, and a number of ways to access ones own subconscious mind. So, I performed an exercise to hear my subconscious, and that was what it said to me.

Now, I feel I am through one of the doors, outside the tunnel. The colour and light remains overwhelming and painful, and so I lie curled up with my hands over my eyes, for as much darkness as I can gain; but I am outside, lying on the grass, not crushed in the darkness. And reality- myself, my feelings, other people, the World- though still overwhelming, are not so terrifying, so seemingly inimical.

I take this one step at a time. I am making progress. Everything is all right.