‘The path is to empty ourselves of false divinity, to deny ourselves, to give up being the centre of the world, to discern that all points in the world are equally centres.’ Simone Weil quoted in S G Reynolds Living within the mind of Christ, p206
And so with this tiredness comes fuzzy thought, aching eye sockets and another urge to close in on myself forever. The day was perfectly mellow, three counselling sessions; recovery from depression, living with chronic conditions and Aspergic anxiety, all held within the context of loving relationship suspended in a cool, quiet and highly polished room overlooking a spectacular garden and light grey lake once owned by an importantly busy 17th century general practitioner.
And now, after a night of fitful spare bed room sleep, I am too tired for speech, I can only immerse in the silent scratch of you, my most fountainous, most forgivingly favourite pad and pen………….
before each word
still these chattering noises.
how can these bedding down of desires still circulate
however much I meditate?
how can this resistance to wrest thoughts into Nothingness
be so beyond this mortal’s reach?
where are the rest of these roads to self-forgiveness
this richness to silence I so often seek?
this portal-less absence
these city curbs to this course over thinking
and throwing of verbs into the gutter all
searching for answers
to co-here and now to be
truly within a This-ness
fully beyond this heart and flesh,this body
this dirt ridden spleen of regret.
to coalesce, yes, to immerse I guess
in Breaths own breathing
in the orange and yellowings and driftings of
green as this vessel of vessels
these blood-lit pores, wait for
for wholeness to appear within the weightless of time.
for mists to swirl and fulfil in-between
flesh full narrations and this body most slain
to refresh into chanting enchantments again
to yearn for the Deepest of Breath.
‘do your breathing most breathing most breathing most best’
oh oh yes,
of course, off course I am surrounded again
succumbed once more to this thinking most brain.
soothe these aching taught abs
freed from these needs for solution
You distanced dream valley
with softening tones
whisper Loves balm
to these hum-drumming drums
born of a presence that never quite comes.
‘The action of grace in our hearts is silent and secret.’ Simone Weil Waiting on God page. 7
Refreshed or flinching into the mid-afternoon rain this is the choice of right now. Hunched while waiting I am reminded to stand upright, to remove my misting glasses, my damp leather shoes, open my chest and breathe into this ponderous dank odour, these re-infused leaves, these sweet perfumes. Toes rehydrating within the green and the softening transformation of sun drenched cracks. Wetness is earthed and electric.
As rain jumps upwards from this steaming manmade lake of Tetley tea, as my shirt darkens to mimic the flag stones, wooden benches silently sponge and seagulls swirl upon speeding wafts of invisible uppermost, weathering most, while at my side black shining ferns offer brushes of jazz percussion as they wrestle the drops to a smooth flow towards softer drips of reformation with the soil below. Children laugh, as I imagine their fights and falls into the sporadic backdrop of insistent sirens and the sedate melancholia of woodpigeon ponderings upon an a spindle of branch within this tree lined city centre refuge.
And now, I smile as beyond this rain, within and through this misting walkway a familiar if sunken torso appears. I replace my heal within my shoe. First the left, and then tottering slightly the right.
‘You ok?’ he asks
‘Yes great, you?’
And so to warmth of the hermetically sealed room and to my next jumper wearing, rain denying client. And so to the dance, the anticipatory anxiety relaxed by recounting of moments passed, relationship restored upon souls rehydrated within the connection of another 50 minute hour.
If anxiety takes a firm grip, then look down at the wild flower at your feet and up into the heavens at the birds flitting joyfully in the air
Translate the invisible winds by the water it sculpts in passing
So to my week:
• On a silent walking retreat my soft heal crushes a snail into a shocking brown-greenness.
• In a mindfulness class I arrange spider plant (with babies attached) and a succulently small money tree so they are both at the centre of our shared circle of intent. While holding in my hands the third natural teacher (a dead fungus filled stump that was once a verdant Kalenchoa), we all sit and count our breath.
• I iron my orange shirt for todays marriage of a seventy-year-old guide leader to her scouting sweetheart. The creases eventually cannot resist the heat.
• I practice songs for next weeks cremation of a vibrant local boxer until the mechanical call of an NHS text reminds me of my own hospital visit. Smiling I realise that I will check in for signs of cancer on the same day I sing as he checks out for and from the same.
• Encouraging the fly, I flap my arms while he, or she, repeatedly hits the glass and belligerently misses his or her freedom to vomit over the grassy dog poo just outside the counselling front door.
• I spend many evening hours, over four days, crafting a poem evidently too pious, too repetitively derivative and self-conscious to share. Celebrating unfixing myself from insecurity and fixed view-point I post the poem on my blog regardless.
• Closing the door to the dog poo, I listen to confusion and hurt within relationship.
• I listen to withdrawal and concrete thinking.
• I listen to anxiety and lowness, anxiety and slowness, and forms of anxiety that meet unknowing complexity with palpitations and screams from inside.
• I listen to sexual and intimate delicacies.
• I read emails of thanks and connection, direction and guff.
• I listen and read and listen and learn and listen and interject maybe too much, certainly, this is too much, I say, too much, too much, and after its done I call all this stuff, my exhausting, thoughtful, heart expanding, working, contracting, intimately searching and ultimately, at the end of three days, I breathe with release and relief from another instalment of these fee paying weeks
• and yet
• Today I meet friends and family who too are sharing, who are struggling, who are marrying, who are dying and mourning, rejoicing and worrying too hard and too long, who are avoiding and connecting and flourishing, rejoicing and sharing their joy in fellowship and song, who are quietly anxious, depressed, or just happy, gregarious and maybe withdrawn, stressing to futures, regretful, forlorn and for each and all of this wonderful otherness, I call them my life, my riches, my home.