I finished work and walked to my car. For a few moments I sat in the driver’s seat with the door still open, feeling the fresh evening air, aware of the big tree nearby and the fields surrounding me. I felt the pull of the outdoors, a longing to stay there a little longer. But I also wanted to get away from work so I drove home, still feeling torn, wistful for the cool air, the big tree.
I decided it would be a disservice to myself and to my husband to arrive home not feeling right, so I parked outside town and went for a walk. (Previously I had written off the idea of going for a walk after work when it is dark, except for around the town. In the summer I sometimes go for a walk across the fields after work, and of course even in winter I can do this on my days off.) I walked out of town along a footpath and down little lanes and roads, a circular route that we often do in the daytime but that I have never done in darkness. I stopped to hug a tree, feeling its body against my belly and resting my cheek against its bark. It was such a little thing, but it made such a difference, doing something different and realising I can have a proper walk after work even in wintertime.
So the next day I thought, that was so good, I’ll do that again. Likewise, with doing a good yoga session, not eating late, and continuing writing an article, I made plans for the evening based on the previous evening. But when the end of the working day came, I was tired and hungry, and it was raining. I didn’t feel like going for a walk. I went to the fish and chip shop and bought chips. At home, I ate a whole portion of chips, followed by two vegan ‘magnums’ (from Morrisons). Too full of food to do yoga now, so I sit down and write my article.
Yesterday it felt easy but today it feels hard. I feel in a funk. I’ve also got the bathroom to clean, as someone is coming round tomorrow, and duvet covers to change. I think, should I do all that now, and come back to writing later, should I stop altogether for today. Because writing is the most important activity, I keep writing and I do break through to a place where the work feels like its going well and I am back, enthused. I clean the bathroom, change the duvets, then, breaking more of yesterday’s rules re don’t eat late or stay up late, I eat a plate of nuts and sultanas, have a cup of tea and stay up writing. When I eventually feel like it I do plenty of yoga and really enjoy it and feel good afterwards. Everything gets done, I feel good and apart from the early part of the evening, I enjoyed the whole thing.
Trust the process… I don’t want to not enjoy my evening; enjoying the evening is more important than completing a manuscript; the two are interconnected; I want to enjoy the evening at the time of living it, not just afterwards in retrospect based on what I have achieved.
I can assist The Process by altering the order of tasks, by eating snacks (trail mix seems to be the thing to sustain me through an evening of writing, even though the little pieces of coconut are impractical and messy).
Learning to play the evening, not like a game, but maybe like a musical instrument, or like making something out of words…
Managing the dialectics of making and following through on plans versus doing what you feel like at the time. Every day is a day to both make and rip up the plan.
Because, what is more important? To enjoy the evening or to get things done? Same re life. Maybe by being a bit aware and a bit flexible, it’s possible to do both.
A little over a year ago I took ketamine for the first time and experienced the falling away of everything. I knew that the carpet was red and we had a woodburner, but those things were very far away. Lying curled up on the sofa, unable to move. In the centre of a sensation of nothingness/awareness that at the time I conceptualised as being like one bubble within a sheet of bubble wrap. Nothing physical was left, only feelings. Lying curled up on the sofa with my husband, I said: This is what love feels like.
Since then, we discovered the person I have referred to in previous posts as my ‘awareness advisor’. From there we realised that beyond all emotions, beyond love even is awareness, and made that the goal. Whilst raising our awareness we also explored the ideas around why we are here, what is the world, what is the real truth, and so on. The central idea is that we are living in some kind of generated reality, some may call it a computer simulation, some may call it a dream. Right now, I can believe that this world is a creation.
(If I were going to label myself, I could call myself a vegan, a minimalist, a hippy, an atheist, a creationist. But it’s probably best not to, as I doubt there’s a club for me to fit into).
A creation made out of my thoughts, and/or the creation of mine and others’ thoughts. At the height of being deep into all this theorising, I did spend some time contemplating everything being a creation of my thoughts, meaning, everything is in my head. Everything, even all the people I know. Now, when trying to embed a theory or wrap your mind around a strange new idea, it is useful to be completely immersed in it. This particular belief is also really handy for dealing with difficult people, and for encouraging oneself to look inside at ones thoughts, responsibility and actions. It can create more of a sense of personal agency, and that’s useful. It also helped me conceptualise my reality.
But, then here’s the thing: life is a richer experience when you regard it as real (even if you don’t believe it is). Riding these two opposing horses is I suppose what it’s all about for me right now.
And so by being really there within an activity or when with a person, it’s possible to engage completely, to have an experience to cherish and value whilst at the same time maintaining an underlying belief that one is living in a dream of one’s own creation. Because if that’s true, one has the agency to make each person to person and activity experience even richer.
But beliefs are objects too and it seems that as we declutter our possessions our beliefs seem to fall away too.
My husband saying that right now he does not believe in anything. Although it felt true, he felt disconnected and unsettled for a few days.
The ketamine experience, me desperately trying to hold onto the red carpet and the woodburner. If all we are left with is nothing, no possessions, no beliefs, what do we hold onto?