Bipeds II

With a shock, I realised: this is not nice, this is not nice at all. But it is exciting.

I screamed as the car door opened. Thank God I missed it with my front wheel: had I not, the incident would have been considerably more unpleasant. I hit it with my shin, foot and pedal. It ripped my panniers off, without damaging them. I can wiggle my toes. The driver came up, apologised, and checked that my rear wheel was OK, a little officiously I thought but I was not checking it. Feeling relief and shock rather than anger, I shook his hand. A woman looked at me, perhaps because my scream had been deep and masculine, but said nothing. I pedalled off, and have invested in lights: I am still considering night cycling.

Her grandchild is due in two weeks. It was something to hold on for- but you would not want to come and put the baby in her arms, just to say you had done it, if she might be comatose at the time. We do not need to tick boxes, as the authentic experiences we actually have are enough. She was living until the end, never just existing: there is gratitude, along with the sadness.

What she needs is a quick no-strings fling with someone completely unthreatening.

I stand in the high street, listening to the busker. He has a backing track and plays Let it Be- he has a lovely warm smooth tone on that tenor sax. Bipeds pass. That woman has scar tissue all across her cheek. That woman looks at her husband, querying- where shall we go now? That hurrying man, stuffing money in his wallet from the ATM, looks worried. The Hind Hotel, which boasts that the Lord Protector stayed there once, looks clear in the distance: I decide to use peripheral vision rather than direct gaze to notice people. They have their own concerns, but seem friendly enough. Mindfulness is just pure dead brilliant: rather than being bored in the post office I pay attention to those grilles in the ceiling.

I thought, yesterday morning, reclining on my chaise longue, crying, beside myself, that this will end; but doubted that, because in this mood I feel I am seeing reality. So I phoned a friend: I wanted to be seen, I wanted to vomit my rage and fear and be heard. When she called back, I had regained my equanimity, though after all that time crying not sleeping I felt a little weak, and did not want to go out or see anyone. It was good to talk. It was good to talk this morning of my most recent Religious Experience– YAY!- and Art Epiphany– I love a good Art Epiphany. Though not that Art Epiphany, that would be too personal. After all, I have my psychotherapist on Friday, fifty minutes devoted to Me! How cool is that? As we talked, several times my near-collision came to the front of my mind, and I noticed it, and gave it my attention. Now, considering it, my feeling is satisfaction.

John Lavery, Anna Pavlova

Happiness II

Happiness is dangerous. It is a threat. I might do something in spontaneous joy, and it would be silly, and I would look a fool, and that would be a complete disaster!

It is strange that when I drag the Foundational Truths of my Existence into consciousness, and examine them, they appear so wrong. I don’t think I have exaggerated this. I would far rather be right than Happy.

And yet recently I have had moments of Happiness, and- the world did not end.

The heart of the human is Love, and love is simple. It is unaffected. It is effortless. It is me.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the mystical marriage of St Catherine

“Rather be right than happy.” Mmm. So “right and happy” is possible in some situations, but we are discussing situations where it is not; and both “right” and “happy” have to have some meaning.

If “right”, I am in a place of intellectual understanding which I can justify by rational argument to myself. It’s not what works, because we work with other people; rather it is what ought to work, what by my own moral judgment ought to be accepted. That is, my right is judged by others to be wrong, but that is OK, because they are wrong.

I would rather be right. I would rather be alone with an understanding which no-one else accepts, with a plan which does not work, than surrender my understanding and-

I am working this out as I go, here. The alternative to my rightness is shadowy, I can’t quite picture it, but I know my rightness is Wrong. It is treasuring my comfortable resentment. It is what I have always known, it is where I am now, lonely yet keeping myself to myself, retreated to my living room.

Or-

Stupidity is doing the thing which you know does not work. Yet if I have an idea of how to achieve something and it does not work, I would be happier doing it again, like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the Hill-

for Sisyphus defied the Gods, sought Control in defiance of Reality-

so I try my plan again, and though it does not work, again, it is my plan, it ought to work, I am safe in my comfort zone. Happy enough, or as happy as I can be, even though miserable.

I would rather be Right, because Right is what I know. Opposed to this is the strange, shadowy concept of-

Happy-

Happy

I was happy.

It is strange thinking of it 24 hours later, tired, a little hung over. I wondered at the time why the thought “this can’t last” comes to me more insistently when happy than when depressed. Initially I said I was high, but then thought, no, happy. Because of that. Such small encouragement! A friendly email!

Still, crikey! Happy! Enjoy it while it lasts!

No-one has agreed to be welcomer at the Quaker meeting, so I pop out to get milk, put flowers on the table from the garden, and stay outside to welcome late-comers- none, within ten minutes. There are seven of us. I am concerned for my meeting. Have we the people to keep it running?

I think of a time working in Swanston, at a Children’s centre, trying to do a claim for child benefit on the internet. In theory simple, I ran into complications, first having difficulty connecting there, then with the website. I felt I appeared demanding to the centre staff and incompetent to the claimant. At the time I felt I was botching, disorganised, incompetent, and now I feel I was

great-hearted.

Struggling courageously on as best I could.

Godric ministers. Our ancestors came down from the trees. Why? Trees are lovely at this time of year. He wants to return to the Blake quote he has shared before: .we are here a little time, to learn to bear the beams of Love.

Just before the end, Marion and Karon joined us. Marion wore the jacket she wore for their wedding one year ago. How can I put this? The first real wedding I had ever been to, none of this tedious heterosexual stuff.

It feels it was a good meeting. I served the tea and we chat happily; there is always more energy after a good meeting. We go outside to take photos of Marion and Karon by the meeting house.

They sing “Happy Birthday” to me. At one point I would have been embarrassed, now I enjoy it, and bask in the Love. “Because I’m worth it”- there is wisdom in the strangest places. Then Marion sings the Findhorn birthday song, which I find lovely. A large group singing it as a Round, she says, is really special.

To you we sing
And happiness we bring
To celebrate your birth
An angel here on Earth

I have nothing planned for my birthday, so Peter offers me lunch. We talk until ten, with wine, and he offers me his spare room to spare the taxi fare. I would have got a taxi, but now accept the gift, and the friendship. And writing this morning, feeling the frustrated desire helps me strip away the overlay of fear of the feeling, for the only way I can bear it is to allow it to be, and pass through me.

bench

Happiness

Idina WallaceThe Etude, opus 10 no. 3, made me sob wildly, prompting the woman on my left, though I did not know her, to put a consoling arm around my shoulder. It strives upwards, to a tonic chord topped with the third, then the striving recedes likes waves just as emotion does, ti, so, and then mi an octave lower. Possibly that MI, rather than doh or so, adds vulnerability.

We had not expected this, but it was ten years since the Foundling Hospital, just south of St Pancras station, became a museum and they celebrated with a brass band and chamber music, and they have regular concerts. Sometimes I resent the power of music to manipulate me like this, but had it not, it would have no interest either. James Brawn played a muscular programme including the Prokofiev toccata op.11, deafening at times.

I can play the Rachmaninov prelude Opus 3 no. 2, and have performed it: a woman told me that the Bells of Moscow motif Fa, Mi, LA made her think “Let, Me, Out!” but graciously she found my performance unobjectionable. Unfortunately, it takes me an hour or two, perhaps spread over a week, to bring up the mid section to speed, and if I just play it errors creep in: I find the effort to keep it performable disheartening, and give up. So I have hardly played my own piano this year, but fiddled about on H’s landlord’s, and the St Pancras piano. Something about loving to perform, perhaps, and needing an audience.

The sustain pedal of the piano at H’s was not working, and I got permission to take the front off and fiddle with it. There is a horizontal lever going from the pedal to the side of the piano, and the upright which should transfer its force to the mechanism had come away. I balanced the upright on the lever, and it worked for a time, but fell off; so I opened the piano again, and stuck the upright to the lever with masking tape. As I did this, I felt pure happiness.

I sat in the living room as H got ready. I noticed wrinkles in the rug, and twists in an elastic band round a box. That elastic band had just been put on any old how, rather than perpendicular to the edges and flat against the box. I picked up the box and straightened the elastic band, then smoothed the wrinkles in the rug. I felt pleasure again, along with irritation and embarrassment that I should want to do these things. What if anyone should find me out? Not “doing good“, exactly, but making the world more as I want it.

At the bus stop there was a woman with her arm round the shoulders of a man- it would normally be the other way round, and I felt irritation, envy, perhaps yearning.

St Pancras 14 6 14

Taking the gloves off

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Madame_de_Bonni%C3%A8res.jpg/783px-Madame_de_Bonni%C3%A8res.jpgThe Thameslink train stops at Blackfriars station. There is blue plastic stuff covering up something- work in progress, probably- but through it- gosh! That’s the Thames. A station on a bridge over the river! How cool is that?

Thameslink has not been operating long. Now, I can go down two levels at St Pancras to the new Thameslink platform straight from the Swanston train, and-

yes, I know, not everyone finds railway stuff fascinating. But Will, a Cockney, did not know of it. Victoria was the station for Brighton as far as he knew.

You leant your head against that instrument as if it were alive, I said to the young man in the bright red coat.
-It is, just about, he says.
-Yes, I know, I play the piano.

His friend plays keyboards, and often rags him about not having to cart his own instrument everywhere.

There were two toddlers on the train who wanted to go and look at the baby. No matter how young the child, they always love playing the adult to a younger child. “Yes”, says the mother, “and at their age there aren’t that many children they can do that with”.
-They’re changing the nappy,” says one girl, happily. More than I really wanted to know.

File:Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Children on the Seashore, Guernsey - Google Art Project.jpgThe child had wailed to have its nappy changed, and a few minutes later is wailing for some other reason. The most distressing sound there is, I understand, we are all programmed that way- and I listen to it with my happiness undimmed. Imagine, to have trauma repeated many times daily, that awful succession of needs you cannot satisfy except by wailing- imagine the abandoned misery of the wailing- Thank God we don’t remember it!
Perhaps we do-

And there were the two women: getting on, one said “I’m glad I can face the direction of travel, as I won’t be sick now” and I said “I’m glad you’re facing the direction of travel too”. They grinned, and got out their respective phones to check the Textstorm and emails. Only briefly, they did start chatting to each other eventually. A man pointed out that if the train crashes into something, those facing the rear have the spring of the seat to take the shock- though you would also have me thrust forward onto your face over the table.

This morning, on the seafront at Brighton in bright sun and strong wind- too strong for a dinghy, but I would have loved to be on the lone yacht tacking into the wind out there- I saw a man with headphones, and thought-

Why should you walk through the field in gloves,
O fat white woman whom nobody loves?
The grass is as soft as the breast of doves
and shivering sweet to the touch
Why should you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much, and so much?

So I am taking the gloves off. My thought yesterday was, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_-_Boating_Couple_%28said_to_be_Aline_Charigot_and_Renoir%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/627px-Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_-_Boating_Couple_%28said_to_be_Aline_Charigot_and_Renoir%29_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

I want to value my fragility

and this feels like-

No, not a pupation, but a step forward. A useful lesson. My sensitivity is a gift and a burden, one I have so resented, and I want to stop kicking against the goads. So- value it, perhaps even use it!- perhaps later. Baby steps. “Fragility”- a bad thing, a dangerous thing for me, Shadow, something to deny-

something to acknowledge.

I had a new appreciation for that Lowry I saw at the Lowry Centre, after seeing the sea today, the swell crashing on the beach, the colour of it; and I thought with friends in this place I am Happy. That is the first time I have used that tag in 620 posts!

Acceptance?

On this search for self-acceptance, I have still sought who I am innately. This is a hangover from the long quest to find if I were “really” transsexual, and if so, what should I do about it.

But then, ten years ago, I was 35, and now I am 45. Young people equate happiness with excitement, old people equate happiness with contentment, in the middle I equate it with both. I was actually noticing signs of ageing then, it seems I have more to notice now, they may or may not be more noticeable. I notice more changes in the world around me, and remember more how it was different at another time.

And in 2001 I started taking testosterone suppressants, and oestradiol. That changes me. I cried three times in 1996, sometimes I cry daily for a week or more.

The religious path is one of growth and change.

If I am really intuitive, feelings-based, rather than rational, why should that be life-long?

Underneath it all, the Unconscious influences so much of what I do, and my thinking on motivation is so often a post-hoc rationalisation, as accurate as a hurried journalist, not understanding and missing the point.

I am an organism within a permeable skin, always changing, taking in and excreting. How could I, really, get a handle on any of what I am? How could I have self-acceptance, if that depended on any sort of understanding, anything I could categorise or name or define?

I- just- am.