On my Nerves

Well this summer is being interesting with regards to health issues…  Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with a detailed account of my symptoms.  It’s just that I’ve been given a rather interesting alternative way to look at things, which I thought readers might find thought-provoking.

To summarise briefly: July was more or less handed over to Covid.  I was laid out for around 10 days and slowly reached a point when there were a few things I could manage to do apart from sleeping, coughing and aching.  I’m aware, though, that I got off far more lightly than many, so was grateful for that.

Grant 1962 654.pngEarly in August, just after I’d started feeling good again, I was struck down by an excruciating condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia (= big trapped nerve in face).  Imagine the worst earache/sinus pain/headache/toothache/neck pain you can, taking turns to attack every few minutes and you’ve got the idea.  After that my jaw swelled up so that I looked like some kind of human-guinea pig hybrid.

Reluctantly (not a fan of allopathic medicine when it can be avoided) I contacted my GP and dentist.

The former is fairly convinced it’s caused by an infection or stones in the salivary gland.

Eesh!

“Not big pebbles – very tiny sort of grains” he assured me.  So I’m waiting for an ultrasound scan for that.

Woman, Depressed, Depressed WomanThe dentist feels it’s a back tooth that needs extracting.  He’s going to x-ray, once I can open my mouth far enough for the plate to be fitted in.

Meanwhile antibiotics and painkillers and feeling rubbish.

Now to the interesting bit…

I mentioned my condition to a friend.  This lady happens (I tend to have that sort of friend!) to be a channel for a group of spirit beings.  She kindly checked with them.  They said my vibration was being raised to help me with a book I’m writing and to deal with communication generally.  Were there things I needed to say?  Things that needed to be opened up?

I thanked her and agreed to consider that.  It was certainly a new way to look at my ailments.  As I meditated, I saw an image of my daughter as an adorable but feisty toddler, clenching her fists and yelling, “Get oss my nerbs!”  That was her way of telling us that we were ‘getting on her nerves’ and she wanted us to stop.

I considered the idea that both types of ‘nerves’ might be connected.  We speak about our nerves being frayed or shredded, situations getting on our nerves, something hitting a raw nerve…

I decided to check with someone who would be able to explain all this to me.  Another of my friends is a medical intuitive.  I asked for his take on the whole thing.

He told me the information from the guides was accurate and that the insight about my child was relevant.  Covid, he told me, had attacked the protective coating of my nerves – both physical and metaphorical – making me vulnerable to damage.  He talked me through a visualisation, in which I saw the affected nerve as a long, thin and very sensitive slow worm.  Then I saw a heavy boot coming down on its body.  The creature was in agony and was writhing this way and that, trying to get free.  That represented the pain in various parts of my head.  The boot represented people or situations that were trapping me and compromising my freedom to express myself or to live as I chose.

I could certainly accept that.  I’d realised earlier in the year that I tend to be a ‘people pleaser’, to say ‘yes’ when I should say ‘no’, and had started to take steps to rectify that.  Seems I’d let it slip, though.

In the second part of the visualisation, I saw my ‘slow worm self’ in a large red sphere – a sort of holding bay where I would be safe while my human self worked at clearing the difficult energy (boot) that was sapping me of strength.  I noted that the nerve pain had largely ceased once the inflamed swelling had appeared.

Together we identified a few boot sources – people who were delightful as friends or relatives, but had a tendency to use me in ways that helped them, but were less beneficial to me.

“So,” I said, “the worm needs to turn – to fill my life with the pleasant, positive, optimistic aspects and ditch the pessimism and negatives.  Sounds a tad selfish…”

“If you see it as bringing light to the world, sharing your gifts and not allowing others to sap your energy, does that feel better?” he asked.

I had to admit it did.

Happy to say, my symptoms are becoming far milder.  That could be the antibiotics or it could be the energetic clearing I’m doing… but it’s probably both.

Carrots and Cabbages

Musing today on the current state of life in Merrie England, as it was once known.

Covid-19 is no longer headline news, it seems.  Oh there are those who have it still.  I’ve spent much of the past week or so on video calls to snuffly, feverish grandchildren and a pale, coughing daughter with enough energy to slump on the sofa and little else.  The drama has gone, though – no record-breaking hospital admissions, none of those briefings from Downing Street (well they wouldn’t dare, really, would they?).

So the press has moved on to hunt for new dramas and fear-mongering stories.

At the start of the week news reporters stood shivering outside Number 10 (I mean, why?  Expecting to catch an exclusive of a beleaguered Boris and Carrie clutching cardboard boxes and followed by nannies and children heading out of the door on the walk of shame?) and reporting no news.  Slightly luckier media colleagues lurked in those drafty-looking hallways of Westminster, searching for Tory back-benchers seeking their five minutes of fame.  What could they say – ‘Yes, of course he should have resigned.  Anyone with a hint of integrity would have done so, but this is BORIS we’re talking about here and we still have constituents who kind of admire his cheek and think the rest of them are even worse, so if we boot him out we might end up losing our seats…’?

Eventually, while the Met police – finally stung into action by that Line of Duty video – sift slowly through photos and decide whether to issue a few retrospective £200 fines, it became clear that the news hounds needed to search elsewhere for a feel-bad story.  And there it was, right on cue.  The smart coats and suits from Westminster were packed away as reporters were sent off in more suitable garb to blend in with the good people of the most depressed and disadvantaged towns they could find.  Cost Of Living Rises became the next headline.  Once again the statisticians and slick graphics were back, showing us how hopeless it all is.  The dangers of Omicron may have subsided.  We might not yet have to deal with a general election but within a year vast swathes of the population will have to choose between heating and eating.  With silvered tongues, our media news reporters have found a new way of striking fear and desolation into the populace.

Vegetables, Market, Market StallIt was with their words ringing in my ears that I headed along to my local Co-op for my weekly food shop.  As has been the case for many months now, there were huge gaps on the shelves.  Where once the out-of-season peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, aubergines and mange-tout would have shone enticingly, now there were piles of carrots and cabbages, leeks and parsnips.  The market stalls offered little more.  One had a massive tray of earthy, slug-tunnelled Jerusalem artichokes as its centrepiece, and that triggered a memory.

Way back, around forty years ago, when we struggled to care for our growing family on a single wage and used our allotment to provide most of the sustenance we needed, there were times at the end of winter when we had to resort to the un-killable Jerusalem artichokes to provide a meal.  It was a desperate choice.  Peeling them was well-nigh impossible and when you did, the tiny nuggets of food offered little flavour.  Compared to them, those carrots and cabbages were starting to look quite appealing…

I took my mind back past the fear-mongering press reports to the pledges made at COP 26.  Yes, we said we’d use less fuel, so hot water bottles and fingerless gloves on the coldest days are a good thing.  So is the lack of foods from far-flung places and all the air-miles they involve.  It’s February, for goodness’ sake; time to eat the fruits of the earth in our locality.  It feels right.  It feels sensible.  The cabbages and root veg are plentiful and cheap.  I’m no cook, but I’m going to enjoy the slaw with baked potatoes, the casseroles and the stir fries made with local produce.  I will, though, avoid the Jerusalem artichokes while I can.

Psi Kicks

You know when you read something you’ve seen many times before and it finally clicks?  That just happened to me, so I thought I’d share the insight.

Book, Reading, Pages, Textbook, NovelI usually start my day sitting up in bed and reading a few pages of some thought-provoking volume on either science or psychic phenomena.  My current read fills both criteria: The Mysteries of Reality: Dialogues with Visionary Scientists by Gayle Kimball, Ph D.    It gives fresh food for thought with every page turned.  Many of my favourite ‘rebel’ scientists are included there – the ones willing to look beyond the materialist paradigm and tackle research into consciousness, mind, the zero-point field and psi.  However I’m also discovering some new-to-me scientists and finding their research and ideas fascinating.

The chapter I started on this morning features Garret Moddel Ph D. 

Interesting.

 

In answer to a question about why results in psi testing (such as predicting Zenner cards) are high initially but tail off as the subject gets bored, Dr Moddel considers the possibilities that some degree of novelty might be required for the subject to apply intention to the task or that there is something inherent in psi procedures that causes its effectiveness to decrease after a while.  He wonders whether some kind of counterbalance is necessary for a while, when the mind has been focused on psi activity, so that it has something quite opposite to balance it out.

It set me thinking about my own experiences.  I’ve experimented informally with a friend now for many years.  He is a gifted young psi practitioner and we have explored clairvoyance, medical intuition, dowsing, psychokinesis and much more, but a strong feature of our work together has been that one or both of us reaches a point where we lose interest, motivation and, to some degree, ability to use whatever modality we have been working on.

Take remote viewing, for example.  We began very simply with one of us selecting a crystal and focusing on it in our own home, while the other – 150 miles away – viewed and described its features.  Initially we were gaining just about perfect results.  A few weeks into that, though, both our interest and success rate waned somewhat.  We moved on to more classical remote viewings.  I would head to a place of my own choosing, spend 15 minutes or so there, then take some photos.  He would sit in his room, draw or write a description of the place he ‘saw’ and we would compare the viewings to my photos and experience.  Successes were outstanding.  We must have spent almost a year doing roughly one viewing a week.  They were never 100% accurate, but the features he picked up were always way above chance.  I carefully selected places he had never been to and we were both excited by our results.

Eventually, though, his interest tailed off and we had some fairly mediocre viewings.  Certainly I’d agree that motivation and novelty seem to improve results. 

We moved on to future viewings.  He would view what I would be seeing on a specific date and time a week or so later.  Neither of us could quite believe that it would work, but we decided to give it a try.  The novelty factor was restored and – amazingly – the results were better than ever.  

Once again, though, familiarity bred apathy and lower success rates, so we reluctantly drew a line under our remote viewing experiments.

So it seems that psi activity has a shelf life – and yes, the irony that we are talking in terms of changes over weeks or months, even though our advanced viewings showed quite clearly that the results were not dependent on time and appeared indeed to indicate a non-local phenomenon, is not lost on me!

I wonder whether the researchers who are frustrated by the fall off in results (science, after all, demands repeatable experiments) have questioned their ‘bored’ subjects about the feelings they experience.  I can only speak for myself,  but it does not feel like mental exhaustion, or physical exhaustion for that matter. 

In my experience there is often a tightness or pressure around the head.  Sometimes an actual headache, sometimes a ‘bulging’ between the eyebrows.  There are feelings of irritation, bordering on anger or frustration and these seem to be focused on the psi activity itself rather than any results or processes.  Most noticeable is a strong impression that it is pointless.  This seems to be the case even when I have experienced a strong sense of anticipation or enjoyed previous attempts at the same activity.  When he was attempting to rationalise his desire to stop the remote viewings, my friend did use the word ‘boring’ but also said that he had expected that as he practised he would become increasingly skilled.  This had motivated him as he felt it could be very useful if near perfect results could be achieved.  Finding that the twentieth attempt was no better – and sometimes worse – than the first or second disappointed and annoyed him.

So is success purely down to a novelty factor?  I don’t think so.  Is it something inherent in the use of psi abilities?  Possibly.

If, for example, we were running a race, we would not be surprised to experience muscle aches and breathlessness.  If we were cramming for an exam, we wouldn’t be surprised to feel that the brain was overloaded and the body was tired.  Here, though, we are using another part of ourselves and there is considerable disagreement amongst researchers about what part that is.

Body, Spirit, Fire, Smoke, SunsetI would define it as ‘mind’, which is not quite the same as brain.  Certainly there is a strong connection between them, but the mind is – as I understand it – the way our bodies are linked to consciousness.  When we are dealing with psi activity, we are partly using the brain (to interpret and make sense of what we experience) but also accessing a level of consciousness that is non-local – able to transcend space and/or time.  

To me it seems that it is this interface between body and spirit that causes the friction.  Our brains expect that if we expend energy and effort on an activity there will be a useful outcome and we will improve over time – practice makes perfect and all that.  Our brains are wired to expect clear results – yes or no, success or failure, helpful or useless.  What psi activities give us is very different.  There are tantalising moments of revelation, of wonder, of awe and delight, but try to grasp them and they vanish like smoke. 

We get ‘kicks’ from psi, certainly.  We begin to recognise that something is happening that conventional world views can’t explain.  We KNOW something magical happened, but try as we might, we simply can’t fit it into the human brain.   It doesn’t belong there.

 

 

 

 

Cracked Vessels – Letting in the Light?

Today I’d like to share what I can only haltingly call a vision, and the synchronicities and trains of thought associated with it.

Let me give you some context:  I had been in deep discussion with a couple of friends about my experiences as a teacher.  I’ll diverge into a brief ‘then and now’ to give you a flavour of those times…

Around half a century ago, when I was training to become a teacher, a debate was raging in educational circles.  Should children arriving in full-time education be seen as ‘vessels to be filled’ or ‘candles to be lit’?  A report by Lady Plowden and her committee – the go-to document of the time – concluded the latter, and I embarked enthusiastically on my chosen career as a lighter of small candles.

Today, of course, any such discussion is rotting beneath some long forgotten carpet, where it was swept several decades ago.  I quietly left the educational establishment and set up shop in an alternative teaching and mentoring setting when it became clear that the balance had settled firmly on the side of the empty vessels, to be crammed with as much junk knowledge as was deemed necessary to prevent troublesome teachers and students from having time to encourage or indulge in creativity, imagination and critical thinking.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, when the swing towards the ’empty vessels’ model was firmly in motion but before the quality of independent writing was judged by the number of similes, metaphors and examples of personification a child could cram into each paragraph, or obscure aspects of grammar guaranteed never to enhance or crop up in any aspect of life were stuffed into the minds of ten year olds, I found myself quite unexpectedly teaching in a specialist provision for children with speech and language difficulties.  It was this time of my life I had been considering as I went to bed on Friday night.

I was in that hypnogogic state, poised between waking and dreaming, when the ‘vision’ (what else can I call it?) appeared.  I saw containers – vases, perhaps or maybe orbs or bottles.  Each was cracked in its own individual way. some had a maze of hairline cracks, others a single fault line.  What fascinated me, though, was that through every fissure, a dazzling light was shining.  The light was not visible through the solid parts of the containers, just through the places where the cracks allowed it to appear.

“Remember this!” someone or something was telling me.  “It’s important!  Don’t let the image drift away.”

I lay for some time, trying to commit what I had seen to memory, toying with the idea of turning on the bedside lamp and attempting to write or draw it, but the helpful something in my ear assured me that I’d get more clarity through dreaming about it, so that’s what I did.

By Saturday morning I had an idea of what the vision had been about.  It was, as you may well have guessed, an image stemming from my sad thoughts about the ’empty vessels’ – the hapless children in our education system who day after day are ‘filled’ with largely pointless facts and knowledge, despite the sterling efforts of teachers to sugar the pill.  The cracked vessels represented the youngsters with what are variously called ‘special needs’, ‘additional needs’ or those with otherwise non-standard perception and cognition.

 

My teaching career increasingly nudged me towards a fascination and delight in working with those judged to be on the autistic spectrum or with some form of communication difficulty in the written, spoken or receptive aspects of language.

The instructions passed down to teachers from our leaders were to patch up the cracks in those ‘faulty’ vessels, to enable them to resemble their ‘undamaged’ peers and then to allow the ‘filling’ to continue.  That is what I was paid to do in the Speech and Language Unit – get them as close to normal communication skills as possible and return them to a cheaper, one-size-fits-all mainstream classroom.  Fortunately, as the leaders and inspectors had no specialist knowledge or understanding of such children, I had far more leeway than my mainstream colleagues in the way those children were taught.  

Those leaders didn’t see what I saw.  They didn’t know that small children with no intelligible speech could communicate perfectly well with others via telepathy.  They didn’t discover the deep, amazing and stunning twists and turns of the young autistic mind.  They couldn’t glimpse the creativity of the dyslexic when freed from pen or laptop and allowed free rein in the realms of shape and space.  I’d somehow slipped into a world where heightened senses and awareness way beyond common experience held sway.  Those children discussed out of body experiences, viewing ‘funny lights around people and animals that change with their mood’, remote viewing and the like as if they were everyday events.  For them, they were.

Perhaps those in charge of education didn’t want to be dazzled by the light shining through the cracks in the extraordinary ‘different’ children.

Egg, Cracks, Food, Nature, Blur, Dark

My vision and the dreams and ponderings that followed it left me with a conviction that the light shining in was vital to our world and badly needed to alleviate the darkness.  I was reminded of one of my favourite books: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce.  Was this light appearing within those cracked vessels heralding a breaking of the eggs that hold in a deeper Gnosis or understanding of Cosmic Laws?  Perhaps each of us is, at some level, a ‘vessel’ – but not an empty one.  Perhaps we all hold within ourselves a brilliant light, but one we have hidden inside a container while we go about our humdrum daily tasks.  Perhaps the youngsters I had met on my journey through education were, in a very real sense, the light-showers or shining ones…

…Or perhaps I was a semi-deranged old woman falling down yet another of my many rabbit holes…

On Saturday night I settled to enjoy my current bedtime book: Gayle Kimball’s The Mysteries of Reality: Dialogues with Visionary Scientists.  I was reading an interview with Bernardo Kastrup PhD about contemporary idealism.  He pointed out that if, as the materialist scientific paradigm suggests, all thought experiences occur within the human brain, any impairment of that brain should result in more limited experiences and thoughts.  However, he explained, the reverse is true.  The body of evidence showing enhanced mental experiences (such as those described above in relation to my students) in those with certain types of brain damage or impairment, due to such events as bullet wounds, hypoxia or chemical impairments, strongly suggests that in such cases the brain’s filter system becomes more porous, disrupting the boundary between the brain and greater levels of consciousness. 

A synchronicity, perhaps?

 

Another Look at Reality

In my last post I floated the idea that even if we were able to somehow travel back in time and communicate freely with people from a bygone age, there would only – at best – be certain aspects of shared experience.  This, I argued, is because ‘truth’ or what we term ‘reality’ is a subjective interplay between a person’s mind, brain and the objects and events that form to produce each person’s perceived world.

‘Aha,’ you may say, “If that were the case, how would you and I share a common view of a scene before us?  Even a short discussion would prove that our vision of what lay around us was identical.  We could even take photographs to demonstrate it!’

Well certainly we citizens of the 21st century share a common perception of the objects and events around us.  Perceptive reality has strong links to social cohesion and the ‘training’ we were given in infancy. 

Fantasy, Fairy Tale Forest, Girl, ForestOur culture has a slightly strange take on sharing our World View with new arrivals.  A rich mythic tradition is passed on to our children – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, giants, goblins, elves and trolls appear in huge numbers of their storybooks and the bedtime tales we share with them.  Talking animals and fabulous beasts abound.  Then, as the children mature, these wonders are, one by one, consigned to a scrapheap of untruths.  Those stories, they are told, were ‘just pretend’.  Now they are expected to cast away such childish delights and focus on a world that can be seen, prodded and proved to be ‘real’. 

“So are dinosaurs real?” asks the confused child. “What about dragons?  What about Father Christmas…?  Why did you lie to me?”

Parents and carers struggle to justify their actions.  They are doing as their parents did.  They are rearing their young in the way our society dictates.  Once they reach the age of 7 or 8, even the child who knows she once saw fairies in the garden or glimpsed a fiery dragon from her window has put such things aside and conformed to the accepted and shared idea of how reality looks and feels.  Mostly.

Stonehenge, England, Uk, MonumentOf course there are still different perceptions within our common perceptual framework.  If we imagine a hypothetical twenty people standing and regarding Stonehenge in the 2020s, all would probably be in agreement as to the size and bulk of the stones, the green of the grass, the colour of the sky, strength of the wind and sound of the passing traffic on the A303.

One observer, though, might be hugely excited at the sight of a military aircraft flying over the scene – an aspect of the experience missed totally by others.

Another of the people might be high on a hallucinogenic drug or have what is currently called a ‘mental illness’.  That person might be seeing quite different colours strobing and wheeling around the stones and hearing sounds or voices the rest of the observers would not be aware of.

A third might be a synesthete.  He or she might be tasting or smelling the colours and textures in a manner quite alien to the rest.

Perhaps two or three members of the group might have psychic sensitivities which allowed them to see spots of bright light or hazy halos surrounding certain stones or perhaps glowing crystals buried deep beneath the ground.  They might even perceive shadowy figures from other times.

Winter, Snow, Landscape, Trees, SnowfallAs is the custom in our age, more or less all these visitors would take out their phones and photograph the scene before them.  If they then compared the results, all the images would show the grass, the stones, the path and so forth, yet some would include mysterious orbs or thin coloured arcs of light.  Depending on their personal World Views, these would be variously interpreted as aliens, angelic beings, reflections of light from mundane sources or pieces of dust on the camera lens.  Each, of course, would be entirely correct, according to their World View.

I would further suggest that if the group of 20 people were standing around Stonehenge in c2500BC, their perception of what lay before them would be markedly different to that of the 21st century visitors.  Their common take on ‘reality’ would link to their shared prior experience and social conditioning and their society almost certainly perceived the world around them in markedly different ways, with senses responding to stimuli in a manner that we could not grasp.

Clearly, I have no way of demonstrating this.  Those ancient people standing on a wind-blasted plain in southern England left us no written record or clues as to what was going through their minds and how their world looked to them.  They simply, for their own reasons, created a massive structure that survived into our age.

Fortunately for the curious among us, not all World Views are as poorly recorded.  Next time I’d like to take you to a culture that has been meticulously documented by its people, in a language we can read and understand.  In certain ways it is markedly similar to our own, but in others quite, quite incomprehensible.

Vaccination Vacillations

Vaccination, Impfspritze, MedicalIt was a difficult choice – to be jabbed or not to be jabbed.  Once I finally made my choice, there was the next obstacle; should I make my decision public?

I decided yes – to both.  Many reading this will be mystified as to why it was such a difficult decision.  After all, for the vast majority of people on BOTH sides of the argument, it’s a ‘no brainer’.  Either they believe implicitly in the science and can’t wait to be vaccinated or they are convinced that all sorts of nasties are being injected into the arms of unwitting victims, which will have dire consequences.

I have friends on both sides of the fence.  Not since the English Civil War, I would imagine, has opinion been so divided and intractable.  Politely begging to differ is no longer an option.  Walking down the pavement in my town, and many others, I’d imagine, 30% of the population are masked and hooded, glaring furiously at anyone passing them and veering into the path of buses to avoid close contact with a human biohazard.  Another 30% jeer nastily if you step aside to let them pass and make a concerted effort to come as close as they can, ostentatiously hugging and kissing anyone they vaguely recognise.  That only leaves just over a third of the population who will nod or smile in a friendly manner and go about their essential business as best they can.

The trouble with me is that I make very little effort to ‘fit in’.  I ponder my decisions carefully, but doing what others do because that’s the line of least resistance has always seemed weak and rather a cop-out.

‘Aha,’ you may say. if you reside on that side of the fence, ‘So you are one of the subversives!  You’re a conspiracy theorist.’  Well no, actually.

‘Aha,’ you may say, if you are from the other side, ‘So you are one of us!  Not one of the sheeple.  You have seen the hidden agenda!’  Also no.

I was once accused by a friend in bright felted garments and dreds of being ‘not alternative enough to fit in’.  I ventured the suggestion that being ‘alternative’ seemed to me to imply not fitting in.  She shook her head sadly and told me I should at least wear some beads….

Still, back to the vaccine.  You see, I am not generally a huge fan of allopathic medicine.  This does not stem from any deep mistrust of the medical profession.  I take from them what works for me and go elsewhere if others can help more.

Globuli, Homeopathy, NaturopathyWhen my daughter was 8 or 9, she had severe stomach aches.  I took her to the doctor who asked many questions, prodded her a great deal and pronounced her quite healthy.  The pains continued.  In desperation  I then took her to a homeopath who asked many questions then gave her some tissue salts which cleared up the pains within days.  It was my first encounter with homeopathy, but certainly not my last.

When I had sciatica, which was excruciating, I again went to a doctor.  I gratefully accepted the physiotherapy appointment he offered but declined the painkillers and the second prescription which (he had the grace to blush) he admitted was to neutralise the side-effects from the painkillers.  I used the sheet of physio exercises and found an excellent acupuncturist.  Together they healed me.

For broken or dislocated bones, it’s doctors every time.  For most other ailments I usually elect for some kind of complementary treatment.  I’m a great believer  in energy healing and it has proved very effective for all manner of problems throughout my life.  It does have limitations though.  I noted that whilst radionics, for example, has been amazing at sorting out everything from allergies to breathlessness to digestive problems, it was not effective with a respiratory virus that laid me low the Christmas before last.  A relative had a similar issue with a viral disease.  It’s as if viruses somehow get through the net of energy healing.  I have only this experience as evidence, but – as I said – I make my own choices based on what works for me.

Three of my good friends have seen fit to spam me relentlessly with anti-vax propaganda.  Maybe they see me as ‘one of them’, or perhaps their evangelical zeal (Oh dear, how I HATE evangelism!) induces them to send it to everyone they know.  Perhaps they think they are ‘saving’ me.

I’ve read and watched some of it.  Most of the posters claim to be ‘spiritual’, although the tirades of sarcasm, scepticism and arrogance which invariably follow give me some cause to doubt that assertion.  I’ve never understood why spirituality seems so closely aligned with conspiracy theories.  Goes back to not being alternative enough, I suppose.

Then there’s the pro-vax propaganda; burbling Prime Minister, a train of look-alike Secretaries of State and the scientists who are now media personalities in their own right – JVT with his endearing long-winded metaphors that usually get lost in the middle, Sir Patrick with his headmasterly severity, Jenny Harries with her gentle, well-modulated points and Chris Whitty with his earnest, passionate appeals.

Pendulum, Quartz, Chain, AlternativeBoth sides have statistics galore.  You can argue anything with statistics.  So which way to jump?  I finally decided to use a method of choice that would horrify the scientists and probably bemuse many of the conspiracists.  I took my trusty pendulum, tuned into the part of myself the scientists would deny existed and asked it questions.  Like I say, I believe in energy.  I believe that my body knows at a deep, spiritual level what is right for it and although my conflicting thoughts can get in the way of decision-making, this simple method is sensitive enough to pick up my body’s truth.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it be beneficial to my body?’  Pendulum swings sideways – NO.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it be harmful to my body?’  NO.

‘If I have the vaccination, will it lessen my chances of catching Covid-19?’  Pendulum swings front to back – YES.

So the decision was made.  Not beneficial per se, but effective in preventing me from catching a disease that my age, fitness levels and weight suggest could be serious.

I have lived completely alone throughout the pandemic.  Not so much as a goldfish to talk to.  Days on end with no human contact.  I have not left this divided little town for many months.  I have not seen grandchildren, children or my much-loved elderly aunt for over a year.  I have missed train rides, coffee or lunch with friends, bus trips around the beautiful Somerset countryside, trips to shows and museums…  I opted for the jab.

So thank you to all who have tried to help me towards my decision.  Thank you to the delightful, thoughtful and efficient nurses and stewards at the vaccination centre.  They gawped in amazement when I said I was not on any medication at all.  “What – NOTHING?” cried the nurse, re-checking my DOB.  Nope.  With the medical profession, I take from them what works for me and go elsewhere if others can help more.

The Art of Magic (and the magic of art)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

Oekaki, Drawing, Children, GraffitiThat from the artist who also claimed that it took him four years to learn to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to learn to paint like a child.  It’s a perspective that interests me.

About thirty years ago I recall a family picnic on the banks of the River Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border.  My 18 month old son (now a professional graphic artist and illustrator) seized his father’s sketchbook and pencil, stared intently at the reeds and bull rushes growing at the water’s edge, then proceeded to draw a series of vertical and near-vertical lines on the paper.  It took him seconds.  His first representational landscape drawing!  The child moved on to other ways of exploring the environment immediately.  It was as if the drawing was some kind of instinctive yet fleeting need to capture the 3D world in just two dimensions.  He didn’t, as his older siblings might have done, compare it to his father’s sketches or seek anyone’s approval or praise.  In fact he was confused by our excitement and delight.

A tiny child will not seek out the ‘right’ colours or consider shapes and ratios.  What they do, though, when you think about it, is pure magic.  They use their crayons to create the significant people and objects around them at that moment in time.  Their art freezes an aspect of the swirl of life and movement and emotion they find themselves in and places it on a flat sheet of paper.   How very different that is from our own self-conscious attempts to draw a representational image.  We are hung up on how realistic it looks, whether our lines are straight or whether the perspective is right.  Most of all, we are worried about how others will judge it.  That, I suspect, is the ‘problem’ Picasso was referring to.

“That’s a lovely picture.  Would you like to tell me about it?” we were taught to say when I was training to be a teacher.  It avoided the problems of, “What a beautiful picture of Mummy!  Oh, I see – it’s a green tractor with lots of mud, is it?  Right.”

Gradually we ‘help’ the child to fit their depictions to the conventions of art in our world.  In medieval times, drawing the mother or self far larger than other people would have been quite acceptable.  The convention was ‘important people are shown larger than less significant people’.  In our modern world the convention is photographic, so a person shown large is closer in physical space to the artist’s viewpoint than those standing further away.

 

Light, Effect, Light Effect, Magic LightAnd what of magic?  I would argue that this, too, is something a small child experiences and responds to in a very natural, comfortable way and trying to regain that instinctive connection to the magic inherent in their lives takes many years, once the child has been trained to put it aside.

We allow – even encourage – small children to fill their lives with magic.  We tell them of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and read them stories or show them videos of unicorns and dragons, magicians and heroes with fantastic powers.

At some point, though – perhaps around the same time we start insisting that humans should be drawn with bodies, not just a circular head with legs and arms – we begin to teach them what is ‘real’ and what is ‘pretend’.  What many of us don’t recognise is that this is just as arbitrary and incomplete a world view as the one we are asking them to leave behind.

Magic has a strong similarity to art.  When painting and drawing we encapsulate three dimensions in two.  With magic, we bring multiple dimensions into the three that form what current convention sees as our world.  (Again, I suspect our ancestors would have viewed it quite differently.)

In the children’s story book I’ve just published, I made sure enough magic was embedded within it to at least allow my 8-12 year old audience to keep wondering.  My metaphysician (yes, of course there had to be one!) observes three members of a family who find themselves confronted with a magical ‘coincidence’ as follows:

The lady in the blue dress looked from one to the other of them – the mother, who was slowly shaking her head and muttering, “Extraordinary…”, the boy who was now clutching his cheeks and laughing with amazement and pure delight, and the small child beside her who was still young enough to understand how real magic was and therefore not surprised at all.

I’d love to think that a few children reading The Glassmaker’s Children will recognise the magic my young hero Stellan rediscovers and notice how, by using attention and intention, both he and they can find way of surviving and thriving, despite the setbacks and challenges they encounter.

 

Small note:  I originally set up this blog (back in 2012) to publicise my first book.  Since then it’s be come more of a vehicle for my metaphysical ramblings, and I’d like it to stay that way.  For that reason, I’m placing most of my posts about The Glassmaker’s Children on my Open the Box blog.  This one, for example, explains the particular challenges my two young characters face as they battle to cope with a narcissistic parent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitching a new garment

Iphone, Smartphone, Apps, Apple IncA week ago, my phone pinged.  One of those Facebook PM things.  I’ve been getting a lot lately – little gifs of cute cats, uplifting pictures of sunsets or seascapes, prayers in pretty fonts garlanded with flowers or rainbows, even the annoying ones that instruct you to send the flickering candle or whatever back to the sender and on to all the women/true friends/grandmothers etc. you know…  Kind thoughts, sent with love – people doing what they can to connect.  I send a smile icon back or a heart or whatever I feel will best please the sender so that I can then move on with my day.

Life at LIME Cottage right now is not Netflix, gin and scrolling through social media.  It starts at 8.30 with lesson preparation (daily multi-age primary school phonics and English resources posted online for harassed parents – opentheboxweb.wordpress.com).  God I hate phonics!  A ridiculous system, but that is what the kids have been learning, so that’s what needs to be done.  At 11am it’s a video call with the grandchildren.  Their mum gets an hour to work from home unhindered while I chat, read stories, deliver the wretched phonics and writing, cram in a bit of maths and help the little ones to make some sense of the way the world is now.  A quick lunch, a daily walk or burst of gardening then on to the afternoon job – sewing scrubs and gowns for a local care home.  It’s all very organised in our town.  The coordinator sends out packs of fabric and patterns via masked and gloved volunteer couriers and our team of makers gets to work, each in their own home, just as the spinsters and weavers of yore may have done in this very house before industrialisation came.  My ‘working day’ ends at 4.30.  I check on the salads and tomato seedlings growing around the house on sunny windowsills then put some dinner together.

So it was surprising, really, that I heard the ping.  It was from a lady I’ve been in touch with for many years.  One of those social media friends I’ve never met, and never will, but somehow feel I know.  We exchange messages from time to time and, I confess, as I opened the file I was half expecting another cat picture.  She likes cats.  What I saw instead stopped me dead. Image may contain: text  It was this:

My words reflected back to me!  She had sent me a screenshot of a passage I wrote all those years ago – back in 2012 – in my book LIFE: A Player’s Guide.  No explanation came with them.  Perhaps she had stumbled across the image and found it helpful, or perhaps she guessed that, at a time of such utter disempowerment, they were words I needed to be reminded of.

Either way, they worked.  I was transported back to the time I wrote it, returned to a state of optimism and reminded that what I’m doing now is valid.

 

Let me go a bit deeper here.

You see I’ve known a world-changing disaster was coming for a long time (see last post for details).  Stashed away somewhere in a cupboard upstairs is a rather expensive multi-use survival tool, some packs of waterproof matches and a self-sufficiency handbook.  Their time may or may not come.  I wasn’t expecting it to be this way, but I knew some cataclysm was heading inexorably towards us.  My source was impeccable.

I’d been told that me being a teacher would be important at this time – hence the time-consuming daily lessons.  I’ve been trying my best to follow the scant guidance I’d been given.

I was told more, though.  I was told that although technology would remain in tact and be beneficial, ‘finance’ – the economy – would undergo seismic changes and this in turn would have a huge effect on people.  It would, in fact multiply the changes occurring in society, leading to an attitude of altruism and general goodness prevailing over the cut-throat world of inequality, exploitation and global destruction.

It is that prediction which had been bothering me.  I’d had 15 years to prepare for this.  Now it was here, I fervently wanted to see that change.  I read eloquent passages and watched inspiring videos from people around the world stressing that we must not return to the old ‘normal’, that we need to change and that Covid 19, for all it’s cruelty, was giving us all a chance to stop and wonder and see the disparity, foolishness and waste of our old world.

Sew, Protective Mask, Sewing MachineAnd what was I doing about it?  Making a few bits of PPE for the local nursing home.  Growing a bit of veg.  Liking and sharing the positive ideas on social media.  Tiny drops in the ocean – pathetic!

Reading that message from my friend (and myself), however, helped me to rediscover the bigger picture.

Yes, in terms of the physical self, there are limits.  Once I begin to think of ‘me’ as thought and energy, though, everything changes.  There are no limits to thought or energy.  They are not confined within single individuals.  Thought is a million times more contagious than any virus.  It spreads through the aether, gathering energy and impetus from everyone who acknowledges and shares it.  Once the intention that we choose these beneficial changes in our world has been held, it grows exponentially.  It becomes our creation.

There is nothing – no multinational corporation, no bunch of self-serving policiticans, no reactionary lobbyist who can stand against the groundswell of opinion that is forming as we sit in our separate homes but combine our intent.

As I sit over my sewing machine this week, I will be pondering the deep and abiding changes that are happening in my thoughts, my energy and those of the world community around me.

Sonya Renee Taylor’s words express it perfectly:

‘We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.’

A Window into Consciousness?

There have been two concepts – probably closely related – occupying me recently.

One is the idea that the ‘stuff’ around us, visible and invisible, is all conscious.  That’s a fairly large idea to get my thoughts around.

The second is a wondering about perception – what it is, where it is and how reliable it might be.  I think that’s where I’ll start.

Planets, Sun, Earth, Galaxy, Sky, SpaceHere I sit, pretty much still apart from my fingers moving across the keyboard of my computer, whilst knowing that I’m being held in position by gravity to an oblate spheroid (aka The Earth) spiralling through space at an eye-watering speed.  My perception in no way matches that reality, yet I put it aside and carry on with my daily life.  Why am I not aware of travelling so fast?  Good grief, I get travel sick in a car going round the M25.  Is it something I’ve adjusted to?  And if so, when – at birth, in the womb, at the moment of conception?  None of those seems right.  It’s as if the physical mechanics of the universe and the physical reality of life on the planet don’t mesh.

Of course, as we all know, even physical realities don’t mesh.  There’s a macro reality for the universe, with a set of rules that seem to work fairly well; there’s a micro reality down at the quantum level, that works quite differently but, again, seems to follow its own logic.  The TOE that should be able to combine them is oddly elusive.  And somewhere between the two, there are our perceptions of what-is-going-on which seem quite often to be at odds with both of these realities.

We are a pragmatic bunch, us humans.  Most of the time we are more than happy to bumble along accepting trade-offs – the compromises we make with the world about us so that we won’t be confused and troubled by the way things are.  It’s comfortable to see the sun rising and setting, rather than ourselves spinning around it, or to look out to sea and see a straight horizon rather than a slight curve.  It’s convenient to see a desk or a dinner plate as a solid, static object, rather than as a combination of extremely active (and conscious?) subatomic particles blinking in and out of our reality.

So these are some of the simple concessions we make, despite knowing the physics that gives the lie to them.  Sometimes, though, our perception can get completely messed up, without us having the slightest idea why.  Spare a few minutes to watch this little video.  It may not be the slickest production around, but – if you watch it through to the end – it packs quite a punch and deals a rather crushing blow to our reliance on our senses.

‘Optical illusion’ somewhat underplays what is going on here.  Our eyes and brains aren’t just playing a little trick with us – they are forcing us to believe a completely false set of perceptions.  Certainly it’s harmless enough, but doesn’t it make you wonder about all the other ways we are being lied to by our senses?

I’m not suggesting a Matrix-type scenario, with some evil force going out of its way to fool us for its own nefarious ends, but I am seriously considering the possibility that the everyday world around us is not at all the way it seems according to our sensory perception.  If something as simple as a sheet of card can mess with our minds that way, what else is going on?

I think the only answer is that we have – collectively and individually – a set of perceptual constructs which give us the parameters within which we can view the world.  There are common agreed mass perceptions and personal ones.  That’s why some people see danger and menace where others don’t.  Some see the world fragmenting while others see the dawning of an age of true enlightenment.  Some see ghosts, aliens, the fae…  In other words, perception is subjective.

So if there isn’t any objective truth out there (or in here) what, exactly are we perceiving?  Why are some things the same for all of us, while others differ so much?

Sky, Astronomy, Moon, LandscapeIn The Seth Materials, channelled by Jane Roberts in the 1960s and 70s, we are told that there are Units of Consciousness – CUs – which are the infinitessimal building blocks of physical existence.  (Seth states that to a CU, an atom would be the size of a planet and that scientists have yet to discover them.)  These Units are particles of electromagnetic energy – incipient consciousness, which is volatile and imbued with infinite possibilities.

Now for the really exciting part.  “No objective reality exists but that which is created by consciousness,” Seth tells us.  “Consciousness always creates form, and not the other way about.”
So here we are, us conscious beings with thoughts and ideas of what we are perceiving, and swirling around us is this mass of conscious electromagnetic energy, just waiting…  These CUs coalesce around our thoughts, ideas, emotional responses, reactions and events to form matter.  The stronger and more intense the thought, the faster and more convincing and real (if I dare use that word) the manifestation.

Clearly ideas and beliefs we share have enough intensity to hold true for all of us.  Thoughts of a more indeterminate or nebulous nature, held to be true by some, yet refuted by others, will not result in matter/reality perceived by all.  For some people, though, they will be as real as any dinner plate, any desk, or the sun setting outside my rectangular window.

 

I’ve got sunflowers on a cloudy day

Sunflower, Bud, Blossom, Go Up, BloomThey’ve not flowering quite yet, but the buds are forming.  I can see them still – just – if I reach up on tiptoe.  These are strong, sturdy plants, growing by inches every day, almost as I watch them, and they make me feel so PROUD.

Why?

Because the person who gave me the seeds, back on my birthday in the early spring, is one of the people I’ve watched and nurtured since childhood.  There are quite a few of these brilliant, shining young people – my own kids and grandchildren as well as pupils and youngsters I’ve mentored or just been there to listen to, on the right day.

Oh yes, they’ve caused me plenty of headaches along the way.  Sometimes I’ve had to watch patiently (and often very impatiently) as they ventured off into dangerous friendships or relationships, harmful habits and addictions or endured heartbreaking, life-changing challenges.  I’ve tried to get the balance right – deciding when to intervene and when to allow them to make their own choices, when to offer suggestions and guidance and when to keep my mouth firmly shut.  Sometimes I got it wrong; sometimes I got it right.  Sometimes I helped; sometimes I was a confounded nuisance.  What I’m most proud of, though, is that I hung in there, even when the going was really tough.  True, I’d sometimes retire to a safe distance while the fireworks exploded, but I always made it clear to them that I’d be there if they needed someone to talk to, someone to scream at, someone with a shoulder to cry on and that nothing they told me would shock me enough to make me pull away.

I hope my firstborn won’t mind me sharing this.  There were times I despaired of ever reaching her.  She was sharp-tongued, harsh and so materialistic that I often wondered how we could share a blood tie.

I once spoke to a very gifted psychic who said, “Oh, your daughter!  That bond between you!  That closeness and connection is so wonderful.”

I stared in amazement.  “Sorry, no.  I wish it were true, but that’s not the way it is.  I really struggle to connect with her on any level.”

The psychic pondered for a moment.  “No,” she said.  “It’s true.  Maybe further down the time line, but I promise you it will come.  There will be a time when you are so close.  She shares your values.  You have rubbed off on her and you will be so proud to be her mother.”

Many years later, when she became a mother herself, she started to change.  She retrained as a relaxation and massage therapist.  She was a wonderful parent.  Still, though, I could see the ruthless, hard, brittle personality traits and at some level I sensed that something had to give.  There was a storm brewing.

When it finally broke, my daughter’s life splintered and cracked beyond all recognition.  Horrified, I rushed to help.  I was fearful, and not just for her.  I worried that she would vent all her fury and spite on me and I wondered whether I was strong enough to take it, because I loved her so deeply.  She didn’t, though.  Slowly and gently we worked together to rebuild her life, to protect and nurture her children and to move her into a new and unknown future.  The spite and anger dissipated.  I watched in wonder as she worked so courageously through the pain and anguish and was transformed in the process.

Materially, now, she’s far worse off.  She has a very modest home and has to work ridiculously hard to keep even that roof over her children’s heads.  Spiritually and emotionally, though, her growth has been miraculous.  I watch in awe as she reaches out to help others and to improve their lives.

image 0As well as working as a freelance reviewer and a therapist, she has opened her own online shop, selling beautiful resources to promote mindfulness, calm and happiness for children and teens.  I am incredibly proud, so I make no excuse for promoting her new project here.

I’m proud of all of them, these young people whose lives I’ve touched and I’m so happy when they come back to me and show me how their lives have changed and the progress they’ve made.

I’m looking forward to the days when my sunflowers bloom and pour so much beauty and light into my life and I’m grateful to the lovely young person who put them into my life.