The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

And now? Now that the crushing tide of work has abated briefly, just long enough to take small sips of life again. Now friend, what do you find? Being still floods me with a gentle anxiety, a deep sense of being alone in a vast universe, yet intricately, inexplicably connected to others through gossamer threads and entangled roots like trees breathing deep beneath the earth. I can still hear the pulse and taste the ache of every brave soul that walked into my life in one way or another this year. I feel raw but alive.
As a gift to you, my motely crew, those few who land on these pages looking to catch a glimpse of yourselves, I offer a few pearls from Alain De Botton’s gratitude list.
Love and Courage

– Most of the 78 organs in our bodies have performed pretty reliably since the day we were born.
– We don’t need to be afraid of starving – or even of being very cold.
– Every year, if we just stay in one spot, there are at least two weeks of perfect weather. – We are never too far from a very hot bath.
– We’ve sometimes been surprised by how things turned out.
– We can with complete impunity fantasise about the people we can’t have.
– We’ve come a long way since the early shyness, incompetence and fear.
– Everyone messes up their life quite a bit.
– Of course we couldn’t have known.
– Compared with what we feared in the rockiest patches, this is almost OK.
– We’re still here.
– There were no outright catastrophes today.
– A few times, we really experienced what love felt like.
– A few times, we really felt understood.
– Many of the people we love are still alive.
– There’s always music.
– Without asking anyone, we could go into many shops and buy a treat.
– We could disappear for a bit.
– We’re no longer trapped, like children are.
– We still have quite a lot of time left.
– Children of three or four are, intermittently, reliably sweet.
– There hasn’t been a war here for a while.
– You can turn on the tap and clean water comes out for almost nothing.
– We can leave the places we were born and raised.
– There’s always someone suffering just in the way we are.
– Everyone is weird, we just don’t have access to their inner minds.
– The silent majesty of a clear night sky.
– We’re very normal in the number of idiocies we’ve committed.
– We don’t have to take ourselves seriously.
– We can feel heroic about the ordinary.
– We have managed to learn a few things down the years.
– There are lots of beautiful people we can take pleasure in looking at.
– There are people who have loved us, even though we didn’t totally deserve their affection or devotion.
– A few bits of our body are really rather beautiful.
– Our parents met and managed to make love successfully. And their parents did too. We so nearly didn’t even exist.
– People who didn’t absolutely have to took a serious and benign interest in our education and development.
– Things really do look better when we have slept.
– Many of the world’s most interesting people have written down their thoughts and ideas.
– Other people are usually shyer, sweeter and kinder than we’d anticipated.
– We’ve perhaps found one good friend.
– We can write everything we feel down on paper.
– We can, without too much effort, order a bowl of French fries.
– We once really turned someone else on.
– Others forget the stupid things we’ve done faster than we do.
– Sincere apologies tend to be gladly accepted.
– We can reinvent ourselves – a bit.
– We didn’t turn 18 in 1939.
– Parents keep on loving us even if we largely ignore them for a few years.
– Children continue to love us even if they say they don’t; and even if we were not always perfect parents.
– By the time we are forty, nothing we did or thought at the age of twenty will seem very important.
– No-one can stop us having our own thoughts.
– We can get to hear the jokes and stories of the funniest people on the planet.
– In the middle of the night, and in the early morning, we have the world to ourselves.
– It isn’t what happened to us that counts; but how we choose to tell the story.
– We do not know what will happen in the future.

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F@ck 2016!

F@ck 2016!

What an incredibly crap year! Anyone feel any different? Come on raise your hand…please, prove me wrong. David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, my relationship, Donald Trump, Brexit, Allepo…the list goes on and on. And oh, did I mention my relationship? Yes?! Well, to borrow a phrase from my father who is currently visiting from the UK “for now, I’m only interested in relationships that happen above the belt…”

This year has been like holding an excruciating yoga pose for what feels like an interminable amount of time. The temptation to numb out, collapse, hide, feel riddled with anxious self pity and depression is ever present. I don’t always hold the pose and am often out of balance. But then I write in my tattered little notebook, take myself into the ocean, or up a mountain, I meditate and drink red wine while staring into flames somewhere out there, but I also pack school lunches, fix broken hinges, feed the dogs, eat pizza, sleep poorly and think too much. And do you know what I’m starting to realize? That it’s going to be alright even when it isn’t (and that’s often). When things turn to crap personally, socially even globally we can’t afford to numb out or fall out of balance too often because shit matters and we still need to care about important things, like what brings us together, being of service and doing the right things when nobody is watching, we need to resist all this crap and negativity that is currently part of our experience on this planet. We need each other.

For me, it will be about small things that lead to ever increasing change. My father and I are reconciling after a long and arid drought, I will give extra love to my children, friends and animals. I will calmly say no to things that no longer serve me and preserve my energy to nourish my inner and outer world in meaningful, purposeful ways.

And I’ll still fuck up often and that’s ok too.

May peace be with you

May peace, love and resilience find its way back into our world.


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