Other people II

“The world does not revolve around you.”

That surprised me, actually, because I had not thought it had. In my disappointment, I had sent what I thought was a positive, exciting, winsome email, and got that back. I decided she is just wrong and thinking of ways of getting at me.

Then I wanted someone to cease to undertake a particular role. I told her that it was because I did not think asking her to undertake that role showed proper respect to the other work that she does. She would not accept that reason, though she would leave if I thought she could not do the job. That really upset me. No! I am not being passive-aggressive, or manipulative! This is my genuine reason! I am being positive and loving, and you demand that I be horrible!

Though if she wants the role, and I want her out of it, I am indeed being horrible.

In case she will not go quietly, I emailed her formally setting out my objections to her continuing, and was proud of my decisive action. I would have been far more anxious about it a month ago.

Should I go to meet with you this (Sunday) afternoon? I could, actually. I am capable; but it would be difficulty and expense I could do without, and I had requested you to meet by videolink. I had not heard back. I started my paranoid fantasy- “If you can’t attend a meeting then I can’t trust you and I can’t work with you”- but no, it would never be a reason for ceasing to work with me, even if it could conceivably be an excuse.

Then I talked to someone who knows you, and you ceased to be this powerful being who alone could grant or withhold my dearest wish, and became a human being. Though I was still stressing wildly about how could I get what I want from you. Liz said I should sit with it in the Quaker meeting.

You see I can come out with words which have the appearance of Wisdom. “What does Love require of you?” A wonderfully wise basis for action. I could construct an argument from it to do anything. I sat in Meeting. I could write you a letter- “Loving”; winsome, again; and still attempting manipulation.

It is important to start Metta with myself. In 2012 I stopped, because I found it too difficult: I could not think that well of myself. I have found it easier recently. I looked around at the others present, a number of attractive people each with their own concerns. Gosh, people are complex. I wish I understood them better- so I could manipulate them successfully, of course.

It has seemed that I made a shift in that Quaker meeting, or at least seen that a better way is possible. My attempts to manipulate come from my sense of my worthlessness, thinking I can get what I want by giving you what I imagine you want.

Someone ministers that it is Holocaust Memorial Day.

I minister that

all I have done has come from love.

It has done, sometimes sacrificially. But I have not been realistic, I have been caught in illusion- and I still may be, I am not safe from it yet- and I have been trying to get what I want by manipulation.

I am capable of more Love.

We know it has been a deep meeting.

Mirror, Mirror

Metta meditation II

Probably, S would not think of herself as a bitch.

Nor do I, really. That one sentence, taking my entirely understandable action and making something mean out of it: it got to me, though I managed not to scream and shout swear words until after the phone call was ended. I admire her, I would like to be friends, and when she is around stuff happens and I can see that it might be interpreted in a colder light than I would like it interpreted. This is not entirely projecting.

It is the situation which makes us unfriends. There is nothing I can do about that, though I could try not to make it worse. When D, whom I also have some reason to dislike, suggested by passing on a chain email that I spend a moment of metta meditation on people I dislike, I felt some irritation.

On Christmas day at 12 miday to take a moment to think of just two people who have been a challenge in your life (currently or in the past) and fill their AURA with the rose magenta of love and mentally wish them well and then let them go.
This can be done while the lunch is cooking and will take no time at all really. If you care to join me a number of things will happen 1. If enough people join in there will be an outpouring of love across the whole world. 2.You will be letting go negative stuff you may have been carrying around for years. 3. you will be actively aligning yourself with positive forces that can only be beneficial to you at all levels, mentally, emotionally and of course physically.

It bears repeating. It is a prayer for good.

May I be safe and protected

May I be peaceful and happy

May I be healthy and strong

May I have ease of wellbeing

First of onesself, then a benefactor, then a friend, then someone one dislikes, then of everyone in the World, perhaps All Things, perhaps in stages, in groups. But I find it difficult, I cannot always pray that for myself, and have difficulty moving on to others.  So the suggestion that one just do it for a moment and feel the Love, and increase the Love in the world, seemed facile. I had already meditated Metta for S, because it seemed essential that we get on, for the next week at least.

I suppose I could forget things which happened years ago, even see them from her point of view. I might not have understood anyway. I find it hard to trust her after that, and I am not sure what harm she could do me. Generally, she is simply coldly correct with me, and mocking only occasionally. And it seems essential to my good that I see her in the best light I can, and respond generously.

I have had some lovely moments this Christmas season. I spent some time with H’s granddaughter, placing hundreds of tiny coloured cylinders to make Disney fairies. It’s the Joy of Six!


Negative thinking is worthless.It sees that an entity is 
        not something else.
It sees lack.
So What?
Oh. Mmmm.
Positive thinking is a way of seeing.
It sees possibilities and options.
It sees all the good and value that there is.
It enables action.

File:Barrable, George Hamilton - A Song Without Words - 1888.JPGThis thought of being in myself seems good to me. I continue with the metta meditation in my ritual space, and, after years of knowing of it, and a year of returning to it, I felt moved to say that for someone else. A benefactor was the suggestion: Gabrielle Roth, whom I have not met, fits. Yes. I can say that and mean it. I am in myself, not being good; I am saying it for myself. Later that day, I hear she is “free”.

“Good” is a good servant, but a bad master. If a servant, I see something as good, myself, rather than holding myself to a Good standard which I cannot attain. Now I will make the word serve me. I did this, ages ago, with Morality. Morality is mine, to choose what I will obey, and I did that so I could express myself female. I chose to believe that that was not wrong, or believe it enough that I could do it. It is often the way with my learnings, that I learn something for a particular situation and then generalise it.

Saturday I queued for the cash machine at St Pancras, and a man asked me why there are pianos here. “To get people talking. Like us, now.” “Cheaper than the Olympics!” Monday I was one minute late for my train, and went to the piano. A man improvised, bluesily. I watched, and he brought his playing to a close, smiled, and gestured I might play. I played Giorni Dispari, as I do not improvise, and he listened. He clapped, and I curtseyed. Two acquaintances had appeared.

He improvised again, a single figure in the bass and short figures in the treble. I wanted to join in, so I did. Some of the topmost notes are not working, and so I went to the bass: he slid up the seat and I joined him.

I remember it as magical, and at the time there was difficulty and judgment- what shall I do now? Is this creative enough? And, I was listening, and responding, in the moment and without words. We move on to other ideas, and he gets up, offering me the keyboard- but I do not see how to develop them, and stop.

-I don’t communicate at the keyboard.
-Oh, you do, you do!
(glowing) -I mean, I do not get a chance to.
-Do you play locally?
-No, only at home.

The lid is screwed down, against vandalism, so I cannot fix the broken notes. It is in a station- does anyone know if it cannot be kept in tune because of the atmosphere? Would a digital piano fare better?

The obvious illustration is a photo, and I could have asked his friend, who had waved his smart phone at us to email me what he had taken- but that would not be the experience, and I have the experience, which my words share with you.

Spiritual practices

I have done physical spiritual practices recently: healing, karate, biodanza, clowning, all involving body-consciousness and minimising the critical mind. And this morning I returned to the Quaker meeting, and our particular spiritual way.

I have borrowed “Living from the Center”, a Pendle Hill pamphlet by Valerie Brown, which I sat to read before meeting started, and I got to thinking how different this spiritual experience is: most of us have degrees, a lot of us are academics, we are good with words, and when we minister in meeting we produce well-constructed paragraphs. And I want to bring the physical, body spirituality here.

Then I realise I can. Here is that flower on the table- I always sit close to the table, where I may look at the flower(s), and even the grain on the bench is beautiful. And I am projecting onto Friends: I want to unite these aspects of spirituality in Me, not in the Religious Society. And I can unite my intellect in my body work too: making that karate move, or dancing, while it is inappropriate for the conscious mind to seek to control or judge it, my intellect may appreciate it.

So it was a joyous meeting for me, of appreciation, integration and unity. It felt like a Leading. I thought of speaking it in ministry: but I felt no leading to that, why should I preach at my friends? It was a message just for me. Also, I thought of two recent facebook shares:
For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.- Cynthia Occelli.
The truth will set you free- but first it will piss you off.

Being broken in order to grow is such a common topic in spiritual writing, and a common spiritual experience. It is a way I have appreciated certain hurts, which have appeared strongly linked to my conscious growth moments- and I thought this morning that it is a way to accept and appreciate and value all my hurts, all my history. There was a light, joyous feeling in the room at the end of meeting, others noticed it too, not just me. We can come to feel together, though we sit in the same place, not touching, not speaking.

And- it was nice, sitting in the meeting room before meeting, when that couple walked in. All queers together- just, nice.
I have two spiritual practices in my ritual space at the moment. I perform metta meditation:

May I be safe and protected
May I be peaceful and happy
May I be healthy and strong
May I have ease of wellbeing

Just for me, and not for others, at the moment. I am sufficiently socialised, perhaps being too socialised is part of the problem; and I am hurt, and need to value myself. The pther practice is to feel the flow of Qi in my chakras, to invoke it, perhaps to bring it to myself. I intend to consider other options for spiritual practices. So I am grateful for the words of others, leading me towards the centre.

Monday: I kneel in my ritual space, my bear beside me. My friend gave him to me to console me in hospital, so I received him in Love, and now he sits in my ritual space, holding the silence, meditating whether I am there or not. Also I have a timer, for fifteen minutes’ meditation. I will not look at the timer, I will rise refreshed after my fifteen minutes. So “Not looking at the timer” becomes an illustration of my ego’s inadequacy, in its inability to achieve an unnecessary aim. I hurt and I fear, and I struggle.

Metta meditation for beginners

May I be safe and protected
May I be peaceful and happy
May I be healthy and strong
May I have ease of wellbeing

Metta meditation is beautiful, and there is so much wisdom on the internet: just Google for it. I think I got this text from Yale, but am not sure. You start by praying for yourself, then for someone you have benefitted and who has always been on your side, then a loved one, then a close friend, then a neutral person, then a difficult person,

and then Everyone. Possibly by categories, people in your city, your country, your planet. I tried making this my spiritual practice, and setting aside fifteen minutes each day to do it, and I gave up.

So this time, rather than fixing a time for my Spiritual Practice, I just decided to do it when I felt like it, or when I picked up my transcription of that text. Very quickly, up pops the Inner Critic, and reminds me that I am supposed to be praying for Other People. Yes, Johanna, but that may be easier if I can do it for myself. And- first I do it for myself, and enjoy that, so I may enjoy doing it for other people. Just enjoy it.

The Yale text adds to the last line “(and accept all the conditions of the World)”. Well, yes, that ease comes from accepting the World as it is, and my ability to change it only by concentrated, clear-sighted effort. I may add that line, or I may not. I also want to meditate on what I mean by “safe” or “healthy” or “happy”, words so simple and so rich.