The world is a big place, with many chances and opportunities, but our path is woven in the stars, and the best we can do is to gather up all the silken shining strands, and make a big fat braid out of them, and swing the hell out of the damn thing.

I’ve made mistakes and I’ve made good; and I feel sometimes as if I have lived several lifetimes. But it’s in those lifetimes that I’ve learnt that joy lies in giving your limited time, energy and emotions to the people who know you and love you; who have faith and confidence in you; who have fought battles with you and walked with you through the storms that have come. We can’t choose everything, but what choice there is, we should learn to take and make and bake the crap out of!

Joy lies in knowing what you love, deep down, and then finding the courage and developing the skill to chase it– chase it hard, chase it everywhere it leads– chase it down rabbit holes deep into the ground, where every single one of us will eventually end up.

It’s in taking the time to do what evokes happiness in you. Because, you know, nothing and no one can “make you happy” or “bring you joy”. Everything we feel is what we have cultivated in ourselves. We can only give as much love as we are capable of, though the well deepens with empathy and compassion; we can only feel as much happiness as we have taught ourselves to feel and let ourselves experience; we can only give as much as we know how to give, and in the way that we know how to give. All that things outside of us can do is bring out what we already have.

Most of all, joy lies in deciding what to fear; if to fear. Every moment spent in fear of things beyond our control is a pitifully wasted moment. None of us knows how much time we have here. I have seen and heard and experienced and witnessed lots of things that should make me hesitant and cautious and frighten me. And it has, in the past. But, you know, I have been given much for which to be thankful; and from that, I’ve earned and learned and built other things, for which I am also thankful. And fear would make me waste all of that; everything that I have dived into, heart, body, mind and soul– the way I have always and ever done anything and everything (is there any other way?). Fear would make me waste everything good I have ever done with my life.

So, I will not fear. I will spend time on people and activities I love. I will find my courage and develop my skill. I will mend what I can and accept what I can’t. And I will gather up all those silken threads that weave my life, and make a big fat braid, and I will swing on it, and enjoy the scenery, and be happy and grateful and the best damn version of me.

2015: Back to the drawing board.

When I’ve gathered myself together and worked up the courage, greased the wheels of long-ago J-School lessons and made peace with the memories of several lifetimes, I shall start to write again, here:

A Petal with Mettle

Petal because I’m hypersensitive and breakable; and I think I have mettle, because I’ve fought my worst fears to have my adventures and experiences. I doubt that that will change until I well and truly give up and, well, die. Essentially.

I never want to be static. I always want to be willing and happy to learn. I want to be solid and stoic and calm, but I also know that there are deep parts of my personality that don’t want to be. They want to be curious, spontaneous and inquisitive, childlike and a constant beginner; to dance in the lights as much as hover in the wings.

But there’s one thing the whole choir of voices in my head agree on, and it’s this: we want to write. So we shall. Eventually.

2014: A year of lessons and gratitude.


What I learnt in 2014:

  • Every person is a process, which means that every relationship is a process. We are changing all the time, our dynamics are changing all the time. Every cell in our body is changing in every second, and in every few years, we are literally, physically a different human being.
  • Change is natural. It is the most natural, most certain truth on earth, and of the deal of being alive on earth.
  • If you resist change or hanker after the past, it will only turn you bitter, frustrated, resentful, cynical and angry. You will surrender any power to change; you won’t stop growing, but you’ll be dragged into growth in whatever haphazard, reactive way.
  • The only thing that belongs in the present… is the present. The past and the future don’t belong in the present; they must be dragged, like wraiths out of time, ghosts out of their dimension. That’s why they grate against the present, against us, and cause depression or anxiety or bitterness– because they do not belong here.
  • Very few situations are ever all good or all bad. In fact, situations just are; they’re neutral. We give them meaning and value. And that meaning and value changes over time, our perceptions of those situations change over time, because we change over time. But what we will remember the most, what will never leave us is how we felt at the time. I am suddenly reminded of those lyrics, “In the end we will only just remember how it feels.” Which brings me to…
  • We decide in each moment how to feel and what to think of something. That is an ideal situation, of course, but with patience, mindfulness and time, we learn that skill– the skill of being present and claiming any agency we might have in a situation.
  • Mental illness, like depression (or bipolar, or chronic anxiety, etc.) strips us of this agency, of balanced perception, of choice in how we view the world; it takes over like a huge black cloud and blackened windows, pours tar into your chest and squeezes your ribs and heart and mind and soul shut with blackened twine. It is the biggest waster of human energy and talent on earth; it steals from both rich and poor the ability to feel positive emotions, to act, to care, to feel anything at all.
  • Every story has more than one side. Woe be the person who only listens to one. And bad journalism.
  • A sense of wonder, an ability to be excited, amused and amazed, are conscious choices, and they must sometimes be consciously fought for; sometimes one must even decide if one is willing to face the consequences of choosing to retain these things. In the same way, it is a choice to take the responsibility and consequences of remaining authentic, vulnerable, and loving.
  • Those of us who have the space, access and luxury of knowing or discovering what it is we love best to do, to do it, to live well, and not to be persecuted for it, are the luckiest of all. I hope we all discover for what we are put here, the courage to do it and keep at it, and the luck to be appreciated for it.

Congratulations on what you have all built and survived in 2014, happy new year, and may 2015 be all you hope it will be.


Advent Days 23 and 24: A good sense of humour….

… and an easy laugh.

The non-blogging can be explained, I swear. I have spent the last two days paying with my sanity and composure for being in denial in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Toys R Us is NOT a place for timid souls in the week leading up to Christmas, as I discovered recently– too recently for me to have forgotten the high-pitch cacophony of, “this Daddy! Mommy! I want this I want this I want THIIIIIIS!!!”.

But I have a reasonable sense of humour, so I managed to float through the place in a kind of slightly bewildered haze with a beatific smile frozen on my face. The bewilderment came from the sheer number of choices… But! I really must express my profound dissatisfaction with all this cotton-woolly over-cautiousness. Where are all the chemistry sets of old, with real chemicals and things that can go bang if you mixed it up right? Or the little paper-wrapped pellets filled with sand and gunpowder that went SNAP! when you threw them on the ground?

Everything is so tame these days.

I also managed to elbow my way through each aisle, then keep my spirits up in the Very Long Queue To Freedom Beyond the Cashiers, because I am easily amused. I have never before seen a bunch of parents so frazzled and wild-eyed.

I should say that I’m grateful I didn’t have my own screaming brat to deal with, but I was a lot more grateful that I could witness this pre-Christmas phenomenon from the outside with an easily-tickled sense of humour.


Advent Day 22: Lego and princess tents

Up until recently, I didn’t really know how to play with small humans. They’re quite a mystery to me, having been quite a serious, thoughtful, worried small human myself, prone to spending hours reading, building a sandcastle complete with moat and dams to protect it against the encroachment of the sea, concentrating on slowly forming very tall drip-sandcastles, or playing Lego in a blanket fort.

So, I did not become the child-friendly variety of adult.

Until recently…. when my aunt set up a pink princess tent for my very small, still-portable goddaughter. The little ankle-biter started putting all her fat-Lego pieces into the fort, so I went and sat inside and started making random things. That’s when the small human crawled inside, emitted a screech and a giggle…. And we ended up sitting there in amicable silence for the longest time– I clipping pieces together to make things, she pulling them apart with a satisfying “click”.

I even ended up having a wonderfully calming and entertaining time. She finally likes me a little more.

Yup, I’m grateful for princess tents and Lego.

[Mind you, if my “biological clock” (pffft, please; I question its existence) ever starts ticking, I won’t just press the snooze button… I’ll throw it out the window onto the pavement downstairs.]