What I mean by spirituality is perhaps more of a coming to consciousness. And to quote the often quoted Jung quote, ‘Enlightenment isn’t about imagining figures of light, it’s about making the darkness conscious.’ Which means it isn’t always the bliss moments; it’s also a sudden awareness of horror, sadness, personal mistakes, regrets, pain, times when we accidentally caused pain to loved ones, and so on.
Becoming suddenly sensitive- the pitchfork photograph jumped out from the newspaper, me suddenly seeing gardening as an act of violence, tearing up the habitat of all the tiny animals and insects. (I am a big fan of No Mow May, Let it Bloom June, and just letting gardens go wild so that they become filled with the sound of insects, rather than the silence of a perfect lawn. Worse still, Astroturf, which kills everything beneath it.)
Reflections that make us better, or intend to be better, e.g. realising that I dragged my husband out on a walk with me even though he had sore feet and we should have just gone back.
This awareness also includes moments out of nowhere of total spiritual resonance, listening to Park Life by Blur and understanding it in a completely new way, not just a laddish story of drinking in the park, as I used to think of it, but of how a moment of mindfulness, in this case, feeding the pigeons, can stay with you and sustain you all day; which was actually something I had been thinking about only days before. Another 90s/00s anthem: ‘Once you know where you’re going, you can lay back and enjoy the ride, soak in the sights and drowning the senses…’ also resonated strongly.
In a flush of oversharing I had given two people books at Christmas, including my very personal spiritual memoir, and then later regretted it when it was returned only partially read. So I was really unsure when I felt like giving out books at work again, this time my travel memoir. I had told K about it, he had said he’d like to read it, and I know he’s interested in writing. And I’d had a big chat with F re travelling and she’d seemed interested. But still. I waited until almost my last day. I had to go and find K, make a real effort, ask him to bring his bag so he could put it straight in to take home. He said, ‘I have something for you too. It came into my head to give it to you but then I thought it was too mad and I wasn’t going to give it to you, but when you said you had something for me I thought, ‘’I have to now, that’s fate.’’ It was a perfectly good phone, Android like I am used to, in a case, with a charger. Mine had died just a couple of days before.
Elon Musk said when he was six people thought he was mad. He loved Sci Fi. He thought, What am I going to do with my life, for it to have meaning? Try and go to Mars. To have the self belief and determination to follow such an outlandish path having come from such a freakish base- being thought mad at six years old. Please let us not get stuck on Elon Musk, I know some people may not like him. It’s not about him and what he’s doing, it’s more about how can we do that within our own lives.
I was teased at school, felt like an outsider, an outcast at times. Can I go from that to believing that I can do something completely unique to me and in total accordance with my own values, in alignment with my own interests and talents?
Is it a quest, that we drop down into this world, everything set up for conformity right from the first days at school, peers, teachers. Creative thinking not encouraged, no real philosophical tuition. Teased, put down, alienated. But if you can rise above that, dare to be different, survive and then decide to do something totally mind blowing and say it with absolute confidence and work all day and all night to make it happen. Well maybe the reward for that is to see it. I want to go to Mars.
That sense of being in the present moment, of being on a different path, feeling my way along a totally different path, Journey to the East. At times at work I felt alienated like I did at school. But towards the end, when I really felt like myself, when I had done a workshop and made my plans to leave and do this independently, when I felt fantastic and full of confidence, they liked me just as much. More, really. Encouragement from all sides. Lovely words at my leaving do. A spiritual gift.
The reward of nothingness, as I’ve called it before; The realisation that we are all doing our best or at least we are all navigating life in the only way we feel able to. You do the best you can with the information and abilities you have at the time. Okay so some people don’t do their best, they just do. Then again, who amongst us really does our best, every day, every hour?
Accepting that we’re just like everybody else. Which goes against the human urge to separate and judge. And as well as all that, to realise that not every problem can be solved. As I saw on Instagram the other day, ‘If you can’t seem to solve it, maybe it’s not a problem to be solved but just something to be accepted.’ Again, this goes against human nature to overcome and master problems rather than simply accept them. But trying to accept something you can’t fix does feel like work, is work.
So we come face to face with these facts. The realisation that the work, the place to get to, isn’t a place at all but a realisation: That what you do each day is the thing, the task and the lesson. It’s both much better and much worse than you hoped. What you do is very important as well as not important at all. How you respond is the lesson. Stepping outside of the day to day to see things as they are, and then going back in. The emptiness at the end of the road.
Life imitating art, or at least the news; there’d been a story on the BBC about how a discarded carrier bag with a photo of a lion on it had caused panic about a lion. Then John came into the spare room where we were sleeping and saw this koala bag and thought for a split second it was his mum’s dog on the bed.
My fleecy zip breaking, at the same time my mum giving me a fleecy a friend had passed onto her, that is just right, better, even, as it is big and baggy, and now that we no longer have cats it’s no problem having a black fleecy.
And, Aldi car park gets very busy. I was prepared to go out again and park on the road and manage the shopping somehow. I knew I wouldn’t want to reverse into a difficult space. And then there right in front of me was an easy space, easy to drive straight into and get out of. I didn’t visualise or even hope for it, yet it still happened. ‘I want what I need,’ as Robert from Switzerland (a remarkable person we met in India) said, re conjuring up things he needed.
We have moved back to Northamptonshire. I am setting up relaxation/wellbeing classes.