Uses of friendship

File:The Gates of Paradise by William Blake -3.jpgMy beautiful, talented and vibrant friend has emailed twice, and I have not responded. When we met last month, we hugged and I was delighted to see her, as well as reserved. She said, “Call me”, and I have not.

We met two years ago at a weekly drama improvisation. After, we went to the pub, and shared stuff, and said motivational positive-thinking wisdom stuff at each other. She came to see me at my stand-up gig, and we ate afterwards. Then we did not see each other again.

So her email in October was delightful, and yet I did not respond, by email or phone, and it occurred to me that I was ashamed to. I had been talking of performing, and all this wisdom, and I am in a cul-de-sac, not having given birth to a dancing star or whatever.

One gets the impression that Robert de Saint-Loup really cares for Marcel, and Marcel does not entirely reciprocate. Sometimes Marcel uses his friendship: he wants an invitation to the house of a woman; he wants a message conveyed to Albertine after she leaves him, and he wants to micro-manage how that is done, indicating a lack of trust in the messenger. He observes Robert’s love for Rachel as a writer might.

At one point I had two friends I saw weekly, and shared deeply. I have generally had one who would hear my woes, and now I have one 396px-The_Gates_of_Paradise_by_William_Blake_-1 who chunters on boringly about her issues, so that when I talked of my father’s funeral she moved onto another subject quickly, in great detail. Don’t worry, it isn’t you. She is pleasant enough when I have nothing better to do- most of the time.

So it seemed that I had been one particular aspect of myself with the Vivacious one (who is straight, unfortunately) and I would have to ease in to being other aspects of myself.

-How are you?
-Alright. You?

and deep conversation like that.

A friend could reassure me that one particular view of myself is correct. A friend could do many things. Perhaps I should explore.

449px-William_Blake,_painter_and_poet_(page_28a)Having finally got the idea of the Mega-me, I thought I might actually do it. The brain cannot tell the difference between doing something in fantasy and doing it in actuality- our mirror neurons fire off replicating others’ feelings, and if we can create feelings of achievement we can go out and do the thing in reality. So I thought I would ask Quakers to participate in an improvised drama, and imagined friends objecting because it was silly. Useful to have someone to project on.

By horrible coincidence, two people I knew through karate have also lost a parent in the last month. They announced it on facebook. I did not want to- but did, today. I have hardly been posting there for a month. Lots of loving, warming comments from people I rarely see, Likes because I said how wonderful he had been, and I walked in the park feeling Happy, perhaps because of the mild air and beauty of the place, perhaps because of facebook.

Comforting thoughts

File:Illustration to 'Tam O'Shanter', John Faed.jpgWitches are extremely dangerous. Fortunately, one may protect oneself:

For mony a beast to deid she shotFile:Walpurgisnacht.jpg
and perished mony a bonny boat
and shook both meikle corn and bear
and kept the countryside in fear…

Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg
And reach the keystane of the brig
There at them thou thy tail may toss
A runnin stream they darena cross

Witches have the power to blight a farming community completely, destroying crops and animals, but as they cannot cross a river, we can get away. If only that superstition had been used, two centuries before Burns, as proof of innocence! But the witchfinders only sought proof of guilt.

It is striking how much effort I put into retaining beliefs about myself which are not true, or not obviously true. I could, of course, prove them, or decide to prove them- at some unspecified point in the future, which never comes. Procrastination is only a particular type of this thought.

I have false negative beliefs too: at least, I hope they are false. Two Upworthy videos depress me. The dancers in the Amsterdam prostitutes’ windows- I cited it before– shows how awful the World can be; the junkyard orchestra, which should be uplifting, I find a judgment on me: they can overcome their appalling difficulties, why can’t I? Whereas if I use it as a spur to think of the Possible, are my dreams just dreams?

Comment policy II

Something is wrong on the Internet

Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 2Why is blogging addictive? I am desolate to see Violet joining Bloggers Anonymous, but as she says, will I have a shower or rant at this wrong person, will I go for a walk or lurk on this blog, will I have nap or check my reader? Blog wins at every turn – I smell and am very tired…

I went from there to put a comment on a blog saying homosexuality is sin. The usual stuff: you quote Leviticus, do you really want us dead; on the Pastoral Epistles, what do you think of Cretans? Golly, it makes the endorphins flow. My righteous indignation rears up at this poor silly woman who mouths the brain-rot she has been fed since childhood. Ha. That’s her told.

It is far more difficult to comment on Freya. She writes worthwhile things here, and I want to reciprocate. How can I say something intelligent to someone I admire? Far easier to mock homophobes.

My colleague nearly got sacked for her compulsive use of facebook, Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 1which I got sniffy at, not using facebook at the time. She was redundant in the next round of funding cuts. Now I use facebook, and see all these videos. This one, for example, shared by two friends: it is moving, it makes a necessary point well, and it gives me a shiver of distaste at the World, without either arming or motivating me to do anything about it. That and the documentary on factories in Bangladesh make me miserable- too strong meat for addiction.

I am sorry that spEak you’re bRanes is defunct. While the comments it mocked were badly expressed, and stated opinions I found repulsive, for the most part, it was mocking what I do: expressing anger into the ether, then excitedly clicking to see if there is a response. I do real human interactions with people I will see again, needing frontal lobe activity, and I do angry or mocking billets aigre to homophobes in Texas, giving instant satisfaction with minimal cost. It is obvious which I prefer, and why,

So, I sit myself down for a serious chat. By all means seek to establish internet relationships with attractive and intelligent people, but stop ranting. If my forefinger is sore from friction burns on the mouse-pad of my lap-top (a moment’s googling taught me a new word- it is a “touchpad”) then I spend too much time with it. For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the Universe- worrying about problems I cannot solve is a seductive distraction from the problems I must address. Yes, recently in one day I got seven times the page views of two days previously for some reason, but checking the stats page several times a day does no good.

I probably won’t work this blog up to a huge circulation by commenting, or liking, and certainly not following. I have no idea how many of my 592 followers get my posts by email.

File:John Martin Le Pandemonium Louvre.JPG

Scunnered

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Calf%27s_Head_and_Ox_Tongue_by_Gustave_Caillebotte.jpgI started my blog with the words “Last week, I pupated“. That was not true.

What I thought was pupating was realising that being transsexual is a blessing, not a curse. I still think it is a blessing, but sometimes it seems a blessing too bright and hot for me to bear.

Here am I looking at the blue sky through the net curtain-

I started this, the whine hot within me. I would go back to that realisation, and describe how the day before I had been rejected for a job after an interview, and how upset I was about that. And being unemployed, and hating that job, and that job, and the Flourish-contra-mundum with Quakers, and that– writing now, I might put the links in, might not-

I have even thought this morning of- not reverting, exactly, but going genderqueer. Take an androgynous name, Evelyn, Jocelyn, Hilary- Lyndsay, perhaps- dress in jeans and t shirt, leave the wig off, just as an experiment. I mused on that for a moment, and pictured myself talking to someone- anyone- studying their reaction in a panicked anticipation of any bad reaction to me. Any bad reaction, judgment, surprise. Of course getting on the bus outside my front door would be impossible.

Later. I have walked in the sunshine, and feel better. I had been going to go on to say how I have got so upset at not getting jobs after interviews that I have stopped looking, and that I appear to have three options-

  • snap out of ithttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Cailebotte_-_Nature_Morte.jpg/881px-Cailebotte_-_Nature_Morte.jpg
  • carry on hiding away
  • find some other way of proceeding

-and none of them seem to work. What do I want? I don’t know. Though in the park I saw a little boy lagging behind his parents and being nagged to keep up- that strange notion of conventional recreational activities, which are not enjoyable.

I am so attached to the thought that I am Growing, Spiritually, and I come to see that instead I am learning discrete lessons and skills, which help. And my aim has always been to stop feeling uncomfortable emotions, and I come to see that it is my fear and anger at feeling fear and anger which makes them so uncomfortable.

A facebook exchange when someone shared this link. Someone commented that lesbian trans women are “filthy perverts” who “masquerade as transgender” and make life harder for the real trans women like her. When I challenged this she wrote “Glad to see your bleeding” so I asked her if she had meant the word “bleeding” as a gerund. Her later use of the word “your” indicated she had probably not.

At first I was angry, and later I found I File:Gustave Caillebotte 'Nature morte au Homard'.jpgcould work myself up into distress at how I had felt about the autogynephilia theory in 2001; but it is only the faintest echo, a ripple caused by a splash a very long way away. How am I now- the next day? A little anger, but I am no longer hurt by what Rachel said. I am not entirely proud that I drove her away by mocking her grammar: “Oh, you poor thing! Consumed by your hatred, you’re lashing out at people who could be friends!”

I have kept the title “scunnered” even though having only heard my father use it I thought it meant “frustrated”, and from googling I see it means “disgusted”. Oh well.

Bad vaccines

A fbfnd shared a meme scare-mongering about substances in vaccines. It appears the manufacturers wish to poison us, perhaps because they want to cause autism.

You will be aware of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide. That this is on facebook means that I cannot even tell if any of its allegations are true, leave alone whether there are reasons for the inclusion of latex rubber in vaccines, or whether it can cause allergic reactions when in a vaccine. And, of course a vaccine contains “bacterial DNA”- that is what a vaccine is, and how it works.

This, dear Reader, is a scare story. My great respect for my fbfnd is slightly reduced by her sharing it. It contains exaggerations and possibly untruths, and I find that from my own knowledge.

I had all the vaccinations normal when I was growing up. Oh NO!!-

They never did me any harm; in my day

Ohmygod. Apologies: I am still prone to these wee outbursts of Conservatism. In my day, boys (ahem) were not inoculated against measles, and the South Wales outbreak, preventable if a sufficient proportion of the population had been inoculated, may have killed a man.

How much trust is appropriate? One tends to hope that in the UK at least, there are enough people in the system who care about truth, and children’s lives, to ensure that vaccines are not injected including harmful substances with no benefit to outweigh any possible risk. In Pakistan, the CIA used a vaccination programme to spy on Osama bin Laden, so perhaps less trust is appropriate.

When it comes to bee population collapse and nicotinoid pesticides, the Government needs evidence of a connection before it will restrict the pesticides, yet supports no research which would make such a connection. I do not believe pesticide companies wish to kill off bees, and so prevent the pollination of our food crops- that would not be good for profit- but they do have an interest in continuing to sell pesticides and might take a higher risk than I would of a disaster approaching the dimensions of the Cretaceous asteroid. Interest may affect ones assessment of evidence. How far do you take the precautionary principle?

Why bother? I am neither going to kill the bees or save the bees, by research or a petition signature; I am not going to be vaccinated. It matters because of the world I live in. I am aware of dog-eat-dog capitalism and high-functioning psychopaths and concepts of honour and decency and joy in creativity and altruism. Where should my trust level be? This picture may even inoculate me against scare stories, so that when one is true I deny it.

These are things I cannot know for certain, and I want rationally to reach a level of trust in the world which is not merely dependent on my mood or the sunshine. That would be a back-up, when “I will do my thing and be concerned only with real bad things, if they actually happen” seems too scary.

The importance of damnation

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/F%C3%A9licien_Rops_-_La_tentation_de_Saint_Antoine.jpg/560px-F%C3%A9licien_Rops_-_La_tentation_de_Saint_Antoine.jpg“There is no final damnation.” That is a very scary thought if you believe that. If there was no eternal damnation then there would be no need for Jesus, or the Gospel, or even the bible. We’d all be going to heaven, no matter what we did, how we lived, and what we believed. And that would make a great deal of what Jesus said to us, a lie. Which in turn would mean that God is not perfect, but rather is sinful Himself.

From a facebook debate. It was started with this lovely quote from Cynthia Nixon: ”Gay people who want to marry have no desire to redefine marriage in any way. When women got the vote they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table… We have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled to not only the same privileges, but the same responsibilities as straight people.” It degenerated. My best contribution was after a 19 line comment: I wrote, “Yawn”. Happy dance, I nailed the man! All that earnest cogitation, dismissed in one word. Ha!

Having increased your adulation and wonderment at me a notch, I will now dissect his comment. There are (at least) two Christian world-views. This lawyer, who in his mid-forties has been able to retire, says that the life of Jesus only has purpose in order to save Christians. His sacrifice is the point of his life. That sacrifice is to propitiate the wrath of God against God’s creation in our original sin. This fits the Nicene creed-

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ…by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. The creed has the birth and the death, and nothing in between.

This means that the heart of the Gospel is damnation. It is Pascal’s wager in reverse: there is no point in following Jesus, or being Good, or worshipping, unless billions burn in Hell. The dogma is more important than people. This is why it is easy to idolise dogma over gay people, and call us abominable.

John rephrased: If there was no eternal damnation, then there would have been no reason for God to send his Son to suffer so greatly and die on the cross for our sins. I think the sacrifice was for the wrath of man, not the wrath of God, but that would be difficult to get over on facebook.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the bad are led off for eternal torment. In several parables people will be in the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The rich man looked up from his torment at Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, across a great gulf. The gospels are full of Damnation: and still I reject it as Afterlife. There may be other interpretations of those passages, but I do not know them; I do not want to explain away the passages, but live with them.

Ego and impulse

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/El_Greco_006.jpgHow can I distinguish ego-motivation (bad) from Heart/Spirit/God motivation (good) except by thinking about it?

Different parts of the brain say different things. There are impulses and drives, and so often the drive is self-destructive: should I do another Spider Solitaire at 1.50am? Probably not, and yet several times later than that I have done. And yet that breakfast: people thought my impulse would be to pig myself on a cooked breakfast, and I needed moral self-restraint (good) to resist that impulse, whereas actually I looked at it and my impulse was to eat muesli. I watched C eat cereal by itself, without milk, and thought that is him asserting Control in the only way he can- no-one could actually like it like that- because he is still living with his parents.

If I label my year of unemployment with just three job applications my Great Sulk, that seems bad, and if I label it my Retreat for Self-Healing, it seems good. Possibly it is a bit of both.

On Facebook I read that procrastination can be a good thing, allowing onesself to mature into doing something rather than forcing onesself. I scrolled through just now and can’t find it, but I did find this from Abraham Hicks: Worthiness, in very simple terms, means I have found a way to let the Energy reach me, the Energy that is natural, reach me. Worthiness, or unworthiness, is something that is pronounced upon you by you. You are the only one that can deem yourself worthy or unworthy. You are the only one who can love yourself into a state of allowing, or hate yourself in a state of disallowing. There is not something wrong with you, nor is there something wrong with one who is not loving you. You are all just, in the moment, practicing the art of not allowing, or the art of resisting. Oops, the Hickses are talking sense again. The loving or hating onesself is generally unconscious, my feelings of unworthiness are very deep: how may I change from one to the other? Can I use my ego/mind/conscious thought and analysis to shift into self-love and respect? If not, how might I so shift?

It seems to me that I learned young that I am Worthless. This promptly went unconscious. I then realised I felt that way very deep down, by ratiocination- (Oh My God the Monkey mind Ego Bad Bad Bad) but also by a guided way into my Unconscious- it is my Hoffman name. (Mystic!! Good!!). If I kneel in my ritual space and say, portentously, “I am worthy of Respect” or try to Think Through reasons why I am worthy of respect- either simply by being human, or by characteristics- can I in that way move from that hate to self-love?

I have faith that the human being heals, and I seem wiser and more self-accepting than before (if my ego is perceiving correctly). I was all knotted up. Can I help myself unknot, by thinking about it, or by practising willing my own good?  What do you think?

Or, going back to Being Human, if I can see bits of myself in the shero Alex even if she is not the most well-drawn human being, is it better to spend time watching that rather than reading Proust and seeing myself in the pitiable Marcel?

12 12 12

12:12:12 is the day of alignment with all 12 dimensions of the Universe, and is the 12th initiatory gateway to higher consciousness

On this day we’ll receive a series of ‘Illumination Waves’ coming onto the planet, flooding the earth with high energies and activating the crystalline structure in our bodies, allowing us to hold more light in our cells. A new cycle of evolution now begins for planet earth, humanity and the cosmos!

Then, in the 9 days from 12-12-12 to 12-21-12, veils will begin to lift for all who wish to experience higher realms of consciousness and the 5th dimensional new earth paradigm.

Wishing you all magic and miracles on this spectacular day, and in the 9 days to come!

From Facebook.

I had hoped to get dressed today, but I am in bed with the cold. Monday I got the train home, went to the supermarket and put credit on the tokens for the gas and electricity meters- I am one of those, it appears, who cannot be trusted to pay for utilities by direct debit- though I got to the station and thought of just collapsing into a taxi. Good job I did not, as I have food for the week in, and should not freeze in darkness. Tuesday, I got up, though did not get dressed. Today I have just got up to get breakfast then lunch- missing the sacred moment of 12.12 on 12 12 12- and eaten in bed. Never mind, shortly it is 12.12 somewhere in mid-Atlantic, I could pray at that moment. Or not.

Oh wow! A Lao Tzu quote!

However new-agey the person quoting, Lao Tzu or Rumi are always worth reading, whether in full poems or in short phrases. I want to take all the value I may from the “Specialness” of this day. No, I do not believe we are aligning with the Galactic Centre, or even that today is particularly special in the ongoing spiritual revolution befalling humanity right now. But, what good could seeing it as special do me? I am retreated to my bedroom, my old ways of being in the World completely stripped away, ineffectual in an absolute sense-

And from this place I shall Rise 

like a Phoenix, my true self

at last liberated!

she ranted.

It is strange that in 2012, as the Global Financial Crisis deepens, inequality increases, people like me with unremarkable transferable work skills and an unremarkable degree get less money because there are so many of us, with few ideas of what we all could be doing, apocalyptic ideas flourish, at least on my Facebook news feed, and even with some of my karate friends, as well as the Personal growth fbfnds. The quintessentially British chain Boots the Chemist is bought up, its head office relocated to Switzerland so it can avoid UK Corporation tax, just like Starbucks does. Verily, I need those spiritual advances: be conscious and accepting of my own feelings, be strong in my own convictions, seek my own true good rather than to follow the rules, acceptance, valuing, gratitude and clear-sightedness.

 

 

Giving blood

P1000372Desmond P1000394Tutu: I know the space is very small between “I am doing it in response to love” and “I am doing it to be loved”. But in that space resides the difference between joy-filled peace and anxious despair. In short, we don’t have to “act” like a holy man or holy woman. We need to simply live out of the joy and generosity of our goodness.

Should I give blood? Well, I have to reproduce it, it is about 10% of my blood volume. I have the time, I have done it before without ill effects. Last two times I went to give, I was refused because I was going to see a Consultant, even though it was about my transition and did not refer to any physical illness. I took that as meaning they did not trust me.

The question as I walk in the sunshine from the river home (Thursday 29th) from whence the community centre where the blood service is operating is about a hundred yards, is, am I doing it to be loved, or in response to love?

Not even, “to be loved”, because my rights against the NHS remain the same, but to imagine myself a good person, worthy of love: if that is an illusion it is worse than giving a gift to a friend, because that might possibly favourably dispose that friend to me. Though the staff are friendly, joshing about spilling the alcohol-based hand cleanser on one’s tunic. They know the motivations we have.

Facebook birthdays: two German friends today (Friday 30th). I know a few words of German- musical, like “lustige” or “klavier”, philosophical like zeitgeist, and, from our unfortunate War obsession, “Achtung!” and “Schnell!”. I got from Google translate “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag”. I want to use that. So, is it a desire to please my friend and to communicate to her in her own language, or a disgusting, worthless, cowardly desire to ingratiate myself? Mmm. I really am that hard on myself. And for any act, it is possible to imagine vile motives or generous motives, and create a rationalisation for why either is the true motive.

Do I want to see myself as a good person? Not sure. I have told myself for long enough that it is not a good motive. I did, before, want to be good.

Friday evening, kneeling for the first time after an inactive day, I think it possible that I was indeed giving blood to imagine myself Good. According to this theory- for how could I ever know?- after being so distraught about that last paid job yesterday, I revert to earlier, less healthy ways of dealing with my emotion, to preserve my fragile sense of self.

Then I read this. Don’t try to meet people where they are. This is a common trait especially for healers– we often automatically tune in and meet people’s needs. Don’t meet people where you think they are. Let go and let the situation flow organically.  After 24 hours for it to percolate I felt amazed joy, I felt liberated: it is just the way I am. That I could be being kind or generous from a position of weakness, rather than cowardly, overwhelms me. I wept hysterically at the realisation of how heavy the burden had been, and joy at its release.

So, a question for you. If I now get sad and angry about events around two years ago, am I wallowing in the negative emotions to my harm, or letting off my suppression and at last dealing with the stale, toxic emotion, to my benefit?

Doing makeup on the Train!

On the train, I sit opposite a woman entertaining herself with Puzzler magazine, and beside a man passing the time with The Economist, this week on Catalonian independence inter alia. He and his sister are better at conversation than I, talking with the woman about The X factor on the telly, which I never watch, and then with me on whether there really is a St Pancras. Yes, there is a St Pancras’ church near the station, a Roman martyr. St Pancreas, says his sister. What does the pancreas do? We don’t know, and neither does the Puzzler woman, who is silent.

Cuddling with a friend, I find myself thinking of when I am breathing, and holding my breath at the time I decide consciously. Just a cuddle, between friends, and I am completely Controlled, so I stop.

I asked facebook what they think of doing makeup on the tube. J gets funny looks when she does hers on the bus, but what with getting to work, getting the children out to school, she has no other time to do it. M thinks it shows a lack of self-respect: it is like getting dressed, you do not get dressed in public. I got my mascara out, and felt a wave of pleasure and relaxation. I am claiming my space in this carriage, as mine. I like making up. It is pleasurable. If others look, to feel self-conscious is a prey response. What should they mean to me? I do as I wish!

We are getting somewhere with all this, it is not just clearing up odd wee points.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Georges_Seurat_013.jpgAt the 5Rhythms, I do not understand when S says she never really understood Chaos, did not really do it properly, wants to get really into it, and when dancing with someone I am wondering what they think, I should follow a bit, or lead- oh, I am following, is this creative enough, what does she think of me? What do others think of me? Well, what do I think of others? Some of the time I am just moving with the music, and some of it I am thinking and planning. Or comparing. This person is more flexible, this more beautiful, this more creative. And- one must learn before doing, that is a mental activity.

Playing B’s piano. Something about the vibrations in the air- though how could they be different?- makes a piano with strings so much Better than a digital one. I fiddle about with Chopin waltzes, which I have never looked at before. I might be able to make music with these. Oh, that phrase is so subtle and beautiful.

The dancing may indeed be a Spiritual Experience, spontaneously moving, getting out of the mind and into the body, and I think of what impression I make. Doing the makeup was the spontaneous act, doing what I wanted when I wanted to, purely for myself. Do I do something for my own pleasure or just to make a Good Impression? Dancing, ideally, should be both, music should be both, just seeking to make an impression without getting joy myself seems cowardly or treasonable to myself somehow. Or, it is having the experience, seeing how I am, seeing how I am with others, how important the impression is. And there are moments of spontaneity, even enjoyment, in Enjoyable Things.