Thursday, 25 August 2016

Smart(ie) Deadlines

Whenever I get close to a deadline, to be honest whenever I am slammed up so close to it that I can't draw a breath, I resort to the seeming smart choice, smarties. Comfort food, habit, I don't know, but they do seem to get me through to the other side of deadlines, largely intact and sane-ish, though with a slight wide-eyed buzz. I am sure that they are totally the wrong thing to be eating when stressed, in fact I know they are. But sometimes you need to switch off the constant lecturing from your head, and just nuzzle down into the "now doesn't that just hit the spot" space. In other words, you sometimes need to tell your head to just "shup!" Oh, and by the way, I don't love to share, they're mine!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Helping Hand

We all need a helping hand now and again. Accepting that hand doesn't make us weak, or vulnerable, in fact it makes us stronger. To accept advice, guidance, support when it is heartfelt given, is a self-renewing gift. We are nothing without our network of friends, connections, supporters, those who wish us well for our own sake, not theirs, and of course that network is and should always be infinitely reciprocal. Life is not about struggle, but about support, it is not an evolutionary lone fight for survival, but an acceptance of cooperation. Above all, it is about both giving and accepting the helping hand with a grace and generosity that we are all infinitely capable of. It is certainly something we should be encouraged to do a lot more often, whether as individual, community, or planet, and it is one of the saddest tragedies that we so often don't.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Travelling Feet

Got myself to thinking about travelling recently. I don't mean necessarily seeing the Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon and all, just pottering around the UK from time to time, getting on a bus or train, visiting friends and acquaintances old and new. Just connecting and reconnecting really, very much a "so what have you been up to?" sort of thing. It's good to be out on your feet, getting out there and doing stuff, and of course me being me, I immediately thought " wow, I could turn it into a really cool project!" So be warned, I might well drop in on you, and you might be part of a project.

Friday, 5 August 2016

I Am This/I Am That

I have never wanted to be boxed in as an individual. I loathe being compartmentalised, tagged, dressed up. Oh, this is John, he is this and he is that, so now we understand him, we have tagged him, there is nothing more to see or experience. That has always made me want to push the envelope of the conception of who I am to others, and indeed of who I am to myself. Nothing seems as tragic to me as complacency in self. To purposefully provoke a reevaluation of who I am to others and who I am to myself, I understand is a character trait, but it is part of who I am, so I live with it, and I have learnt to smile with it, and even to enjoy it at times. I want to be the full me, not part of someone else, Being me means being a smorgasbord, a pick and mix, a hundreds and thousands, pick your own analogy. I want to be who I am, not who others think I am, and certainly not who I think people would like, or admire, or want to be friends with. I am complexity, simplicity, contradiction, enigma, just like the seven billion other individuals I share this life with, and I think that there is great dignity in that smorgasbord of individuality. So I am thoughtful and I am stupid, I am understanding and I am dismissive, I am painfully shy and an habitual flirt, I am fiercely loyal and easily wounded, I am this and I am that.

Friday, 29 July 2016


So it was my birthday yesterday. The counter ticks over one more number, you celebrate, or commiserate, and then you carry on as if nothing much has happened. However, a friend mentioned in passing yesterday, about it being a brand new year for me, and of course that got me to thinking, as it does. 

I have never really been one for January 1 celebrations. Official new year always seems somehow remote, disengaged. It might well say that it is 2016, but it always seems to me to be a random number, that it could equally be 1463, or 2952. It is just a number and seems somehow removed from the personal experience.

However, seeing each birthday as a new year, seems somehow much more personalised, much more immediate. Setting ideas, intentions, resolutions for your own personal new year seems infinitely more possible than a generic January 1. 

We are who we are. We are the collection of where we have been, and where we have yet to go. It is a unique and special journey, and it belongs to us alone. Therefore a birthday, a celebration of  the years of your birth that have passed, and those yet to come, seems perfectly made.

So I am going with my own personalised new year of July 28 from now on. I'll celebrate January 1 of course, but the real one will be my own, my birthday. It will last as long as this body lasts, and then it will be done, and that is fine by me.

Friday, 22 July 2016

I want To Be An Artist

"I want to be an artist."
"And in real life?"
"Why does everyone always say that?"
"Because it's the way it is."
"No it's not. It's just narrow perspectives."
"Narrow perspectives? Where did you pick that up?"
"Pick it up? Why couldn't it just be me expressing myself?"
"You're doing that alot lately."
"Expressing yourself."
"And what's that supposed to mean?"
He sighed and looked away."Nothing."
"And you've been saying that a lot recently as well."


"You've changed." He said.
"No I haven't."
"Yes you have. You really aren't the same person anymore. Not the one I used to know anyway."
"People grow."
"They have to!"
"I don't."
"Change. Grow."

I stopped. I was going to say "yes you have," but you know, he really hadn't. In all the years I'd known him, he hadn't changed. All had stayed exactly the same for him. He was fiercely loyal, he was comforting, he was crazy, and he was adorable. I loved him dearly, but ultimately, to me at least, he was dull, suffocating, stuck. It was then that I realised that as much as I had gained towards being an artist, whether it happened in reality or not, as much as my life had grown towards that ultimate goal, there was much that I had lost in the process. Watching his steady fluid loyal gaze I realised I had lost my oldest friend, and he had lost me.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Karma, Instant or Otherwise

Sometimes karma seems to be instantaneous like the John Lennon song, and sometimes it's a slow bite. Personally, and this can only ever be personally, I think that you set up the parameters for your own karma. Steal from the old and dying, be vindictively uncaring to those around you, and someone is going to steal the bedsheets off of your death bed, just like Ebeneezer Scrooge, a crude analogy, but a good one. It's not really a balance as such, do good stuff get good karma, do bad stuff get bad karma, it's more a case of setting up intention. If you're an unfeeling bastard, stands to reason that you are going to be a magnet for like.

Friday, 8 July 2016

A Portrait

"He painted my portrait."
"What, like a reclining nude?" I giggled.
He frowned. "No, a portrait."
The innuendo fell flat. This was obviously a serious moment, for him if not for me.
"From life?"
"No. From a photograph." He shrugged coyly. "But he's good. He has no training, just sort of picked things up, you know?"
"Like you do."
He shrugged matter of factly. "Yea, like you do."
"Can I see?"
"It's on my phone somewhere. I'll show you sometime."
I caught his eye, but he glanced away. I really wasn't going to see this portrait, at least not for a while. Still...
"Must be pretty cool to have your own portrait. I'd love that."
"Well, it's his portrait, I just kind of posed. Well, via a photograph."
"Still." How many 'stills' before we could move on?
"Still." He half smiled and we were good to go.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Everything is Beautiful

Doesn't the song go "everything is beautiful, in its own way", and that is so true. It is a speciest belief that there is some form of divine unspoken hierarchy of existence, where humans sit on the top and everything else is graded beneath that. To project the artificial human need for hierarchy onto nature, where it has no meaning, is a self-ego exercise and therefore a pointless one. Every creature, plant, morsel of earth, every moment of water and air, has an equal significance. There is no such thing as a useful plant versus a weed, there is no such thing as a useful animal versus a pest, and of course, within the human world, there is no such thing as a significant human versus a useless one. Nothing can ever truly be insignificant, it exists, therefore it has significance. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Small Ripples

You have a lot to do. A lot of places to be, things to do and be before you give up this life. You will not move mountains, create movements, but you will send out repeated small ripples of the positive and the hopeful. Small ripples that will touch people and make small, but significant changes and shifts for the betterment of their lives. That is all anyone can wish for, and all anyone can expect.