Posted in Lost in Thought, Quizzes and Memes

Processing Skills and Moods

22 September? Don’t tell me the month is already nearly over… feels like it only just started.

What was the most astonishing thing that happened to you within the past 352 days?

I imagine a lot of surprising things have happened over the year, but the most powerful happened in the past three days… our household was briefly joined by a pigeon. It was a very quiet little bird, but I still feel I’ve been hit by a wrecking ball.

Do you have a skill you know you couldn’t get much better at than you already are?

Skills? I feel reluctant to think about this, partly because I’d end up writing a list. I seem to write lists for everything. It would get longer and longer, and I’d add every little thing I could possibly class as a skill, even natural (breathing) or something I’m terrible at (singing). Then I’d rate them out of ten, and re-sort the list so my best skills were at the top, after which I would look outside at the darkness and wonder what had happened to my day.

Since I would have gone to such a lot of trouble to work out my best and worst skills, the list couldn’t possibly be deleted, but must be stored in multiple back-ups along with everything else I’ve ever written down. After all, I might feel the need to refer to it again… some unwary idiot might ask the same question five years from now.

No, I don’t think I will do it, having thought it through!

What was your question again…?

What time of day or night best suits your most frequent mood?

This is a really tough question!

‘Now’ is often a good time, provided I don’t have something stressful to do like going to the dentist or cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the time of day; it’s more the content of it. The worst time of day tends to be very very early in the morning when you wake up fretting and can’t go back to sleep. Strangely, the best time can be bedtime, because you feel (hope) you’ll be safe from the rest of the world for a while. It’s a time to celebrate your own personal bubble by pulling close all the things that make you most comfortable. Book, drink, cosy blanket, long-suffering bear. Something to write in or watch (your journal and a YouTube video). Maybe a little iPad game that doesn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes for a couple of levels. I don’t mind the fact that I’ve played these same games over and over for years… it’s nice knowing what I’m doing, and you can’t be more than mildly addicted because you’re not paying for anything, interacting with anybody or striving to gain a new level or badge. You’re just enjoying the flow of the game, and you know you can pause it then pick it up again, or restart if you’ve made a bish of it this time round, and it doesn’t really matter.

My favourite games for this purpose are Trolls vs Vikings, Roads of Rome and Northern Tale. I also have Adelantado, but each level can take about 40 minutes, and some are pretty tricky… so I only play that if I have time and energy.

Having rambled on, I’m not sure I answered the question correctly, because you sneaked in something about mood. My most frequent mood. What’s my most frequent mood? Do I have to write one of those lists I described above?

As it happens, I don’t have to, as I’ve been keeping a mood spreadsheet for the past couple of months! It’s not very good and I keep meaning to design a better one. It’s the best I’ve got, though, so I’ll have a look once I’ve climbed the stairs and retreated into my personal bubble for the night. Perhaps while I’m doing that, the person asking all these questions should answer this one himself. Either that, or explain his thinking behind the question… was there a reason to wonder?

For what it’s worth, the ‘moods’ that seem to score highest over the past two months are:

strength
full of plans
creative
pretty worried
angry

It’s annoying to feel ‘creative’ or ‘full of plans’ last thing at night, especially as both impulses have usually been wiped out completely by morning. I hate to be worried last thing at night, especially ‘pretty worried’, which is mid-range intensity.

That’s probably why I play short iPad games over and over — it’s my way of temporarily switching off. I didn’t think anger would feature so highly, as I’ve been pretty easy-going and haven’t had shouting matches with anyone other than the ex-friend. That’s not a measure, though. I’ve sometimes felt angry at individuals for reasons I won’t reveal here, and at things said or done in politics and science. It’s better not to be angry last thing at night, as pacing back and forth can sometimes take the edge off, and you can’t pace back and forward in bed. You can kick the blanket off, I guess, and I’ve done that too.

‘Strength’ was the biggest scorer, though, which was a shocker! A lot of times I felt I had to just get on with things, carry on with chores even when distracted (cleaning kitchen and taking trash out when panicking about a baby pigeon!) and not be an attention-sucking drama queen even when upset. I don’t know if you’d call strength a mood, but it’s a mood-regulator, so why not make a note of it? If I’m playing Trolls vs Vikings a bit too much, I realize there’s something I’m not wanting to get to grips with, which means strength is low. If I’m drafting difficult emails and getting on with routine chores in the middle of life dramas, strength is high.

Strength is of little practical use at bedtime, when I’m probably going to wrap myself in my cocoon anyway.

OK, final answer! When I’m feeling strong, mid-morning is the best time. That’s when I’m more likely to deal with things, especially if geed on by worry, plans and creativity.

Today’s ramble is now at an end. 😛

Questions by Paul Sunstone.

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Posted in Blogging, Lost in Thought

Facing Change

This morning I found myself typing the following into a search engine: “when you’ve changed so much you don’t recognize yourself.”

I didn’t find much relevant in the results. They were mostly by people talking about something else entirely. They have fallen in love and are suddenly no longer interested in their old friends; they have lost trust in someone and wonder if they should give second chances; they regret their own actions but are no longer trusted by those around them. These are not what I’m talking about.

What came closer to it was a page about how major episodes of depression can change you; people think recovery is going back to their old selves and feeling the way they used to, yet it’s unlikely you’ll be exactly the same person you were. I know that feeling too, but it’s only part of the story here.

Surely most of us have these dizzying shifts in perspective as we go through life. It can happen quite quickly, over a few days… you go through a hard experience of some kind, and one morning everything looks permanently different. We might not understand what has happened, but our way of thinking has changed for some reason. What we are upset about is probably the realization we were mistaken in some way, are not who we thought we were, or don’t have something we thought we had or would have.

I miss that old comfortable groove where I could see the world in one particular way, rain and shine, day in and day out… but it was also a bleak groove, and was becoming bleaker as the years rolled by. I may have blamed myself sometimes, but have not been solely responsible for the growing chill in the world I thought I knew.

I said I changed, and I have, but it’s more as though I was lost and sailing in a mist, then the mist lifted and I could see my way and set a firmer direction. I always had contradictory views, but some started to make more sense and I stopped ignoring them.

My point is that these big changes in our perspectives don’t have to lead to loss of self and resulting depression; they can clarify and confirm parts of ourselves we didn’t understand before, which is beneficial and even healing. I would argue that they are always beneficial if we accept that such changes can lead us to a terra firma we would otherwise not have found.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog here, and I guess that the longer I’ve been blogging, the more distant I am from some of what I’ve written. Yet the old posts still describe how I was at a certain point in time. I’m not sure I can even blog the way I did before, because so much in me has changed. This is part of why I felt I couldn’t recognize myself any more.

I’ve talked about big changes, but small things also have the potential to affect our outlook. Not all do; you might be drifting placidly from day to day, thinking “I’ll have to try this thing, and change that particular habit,” then totally forget, and nothing happens. Then somebody or something comes into your life and upsets your boat, and you find yourself splashing about in the water for a while, spluttering up at the sky and thinking “I never noticed before how blue it was!”

Even if it’s a very short-lived thing, it’s not just a temporary experience… you learn something new from it and remember, and it’s all part of the change in your thinking.

As an example… two days ago, Storm Ali blew a baby pigeon out of its nest and into my house. That is, it fell from its nest and one of the cats brought it in. I tried to care for it but it died after two days — died earlier this afternoon. I tried to remain impassive about it but it was impossible. Yes, I knew I’d be upset, but was startled how hysterical I became.

Perhaps the pigeon tapped into something in me that was already there — an old grief as well as new. I had a similar experience when one of my cats died some years ago; normal grief overlying something much deeper.

Grief is about loss, of course it is, but there’s something more to it. There’s a cold wind blowing through the gap, and you’re reminded of the vast emptiness where we all end up. The heights of a cliff or a great bridge are terrifying enough, but petty when compared to the great void ahead of us. How can this happen? We must always be safe… and yet we’re not.

Perhaps ultimately we are, though, and we don’t know it. I was oddly comforted by a passage in a book I read years ago. I can’t remember the title and am not sure how accurately I’m remembering, but someone said he was dying out on the cold mountainside, and it felt as though he was becoming one with the stones. He was rescued, but I thought to myself it’s not so bad if we do become part of the world we’re being released into.

It’s small comfort at the moment, as I still want to protect and keep that brief little soul safe and warm, and have still not sent him out into the cold. Maybe his mother is grieving too… well that makes two of us tonight.

Posted in Lost in Thought, Poetry and Verse, Quizzes and Memes

Brief Thoughts on Mind and Society

About how many hours a day do you typically sleep?

Under eight hours. I never seem to manage exactly 8 hours or over.

Which food most tempts you to overeat?

Chocolate peanuts… I like Tesco’s. Even better, flapjacks! Or, if we’re not talking about sweets and cakes, I like Christmas dinner (I know that’s rather an obvious response!) I also hate waste, so have a bad habit of eating things just so they are not ‘wasted’. Perhaps I need to change the way I look at that!

If you were to retire, what would you do to keep your mind from losing its edge?

I’m not sure I would even think in that way… “I must do crossword puzzles every day to keep my mind sharp.” No no. It would probably be writing things down and reorganizing my pictures and data. I have already tried writing a haiku a day, but that becomes annoying and I just dash something random down to get it out of the way.

An example from the past:

have to get up now
am writing this the next day
morning flutters by

There’s also a casually-written one about one of Gretchen Rubin’s books:

happiness project
connect to deepen your bonds
never demanding

Can you see yourself planting all your flowerbeds with the same species and same color of flower — assuming you had a few flowerbeds?

The most I’m likely to do is have all the same bedding plants as edging, and even then they’d be in different colours.

The smell of a newborn, the smell of leather, or the smell of your best friend?

Leather…

What is the single best thing about society today?

The internet. I realize things are changing because of it, but there are good things as well as bad. Not only that, but I think the good things outweigh the bad. Take this as an example… we no longer rely on a limited selection of newspapers and TV channels for our news, or on local libraries for information — the selection of books in our town library is sparse.

Thanks for the queries, Paul. 🙂

Posted in Books, Lost in Thought, Music I Like, Quizzes and Memes

Headaches, Hate, and Self-Improvement

What anniversaries do you mark on your calendar and keep?

Birthdays. Halloween. Christmas. Passing reference to Easter. That’s it.

What is your favorite genre of painting: abstract, impressionism, cubist, surrealism, etc?

I don’t think I have a favourite — I like a variety. My mother likes Klimt, and I have a huge Escher book in the house — it’s beautiful.

How do you deal with a headache?

Drink water, open windows for fresh air… lie down if it’s bad enough. Occasionally I take a paracetamol. Usually, after a little sleep, the edge of it has gone. Also don’t eat too many nuts at once, as an excess of those can bring on headaches!

Is there anyone in your personal life that you profoundly hate?

Hate seems a pretty strong emotion — I don’t have that consistent a feeling about anyone, though there are those I dislike.

About how often does a catchy song get stuck in your head?

It’s a permanent setting! There’s always something playing in Radio Me. The two songs bothering me the most tonight are Why Does It Always Rain On Me (Travis) and Every River (Runrig).

If you were going to read just one self-improvement book, what would the specific subject be? That is, in what way would you most want to improve?

I don’t know about the term ‘self-improvement’. I’m more inclined to think “perhaps my life will be better if…”, which is not the same. Or I look at a self-improvement book and feel annoyed, and think “why do you think I need to change?? I’m not changing for other people!” It depends. I feel more of a need to understand human nature, most of the time, so, anyway… rambling aside… if there was a very new, important and life-changing book about anxiety that was taking the world by storm, that would be the one. Otherwise, it would have to be one about … wait, have just looked on Amazon for a range of choices. I could read books on mindfulness, happiness, self-esteem, fitness, assertiveness, ‘not giving an eff’, kindness, freedom from various addictions, self-care, self-discipline, anger management, positive thinking, wisdom, time management, dealing with stress, success, effective communication…

You know… I think it would be Gretchen Rubin’s next book that I’d read, whatever it may be. Although her main focus is on happiness, it’s a subject that covers a lot of ground and there’s so much in there that I find interesting.

The questions were from Café Philos. I could get used to these. 🙂

 

Posted in Lost in Thought, Quizzes and Memes

Six Questions from Café Philos

(1) What to you is the single most boring thing in the world?

Ennui itself. Complete lack of motivation, when every day is just like the last day and you can’t imagine doing anything at all… it’s the worst feeling. Beyond that, what do I look at that I find completely boring? The Labour Party! It’s not a conscious reaction; I just switch off and start drifting whenever it comes into the conversation. Other things: cleaning the bathroom, or being expected to read through a long list of terms and conditions or other legalese, particularly when I’m in a hurry to get things done.

(2) Your favorite time of night?

It’s that time just before bed, after checking all the doors are locked and the cats are fed and the plants are inside and safe from Giant Snails and the dishes are in the dishwasher (or have been put away) and there’s no food on the counter that could be in the fridge. It’s the moment you can finally pull the drawbridge up and do what you want. Suddenly the night is alive with possibilities.

(3) When was the last time you felt admiration for someone? What was it for?

I’ve felt admiration for a lot of different people over the past few days — I’m not sure I can single anyone out. My mother for her strength, balance and resilience. My sister for her hard-working and mostly good-humoured reliability. A friend for his kindness, intelligence and his curiosity about the world around him. People all over the globe for being honest and saying what they think despite all of the unmerited scorn and discouragement that comes their way.

(4) Can a couple argue and still respect each other?

Of course they can. 🙂 So long as they listen (even if it’s only eventually), are honest, and are not too hard on the other.

(5) What, if anything, is the difference between compassion and kindness?

I suspect the way I see both of these isn’t how they are defined, but perhaps that’s has something to do with the contexts they are normally used in. It seems to me that while one can have compassion in general, kindness is specific. You might choose to be kind to someone in particular or in a particular situation, while compassion is an attitude of mind. Or so I think? It’s certainly a chillier, more distant quality, whereas kindness is warm.

(6) When was the last time you learned a key life lesson from someone? What was it?

I have a feeling I’m still learning things from people and situations. I’m unwilling to talk about how they are making a difference till I’ve got far enough away to judge if the changes are good or not. 😛 Actually I can come up with a recent and not-too personal example… Jordan Peterson. Two things he said are famous the world over: ‘clean your room’ and ‘always tell the truth’.

Questions by Paul at Café Philos… many thanks for the prompts. 🙂

Posted in Lost in Thought

Question Hour in Café Philos

Answering some questions posed by Paul Sunstone at Café Philos. 😀

What is the most impressive invention in history?

The bridge? You’d need a lot of knowledge and skill to design and build these things. They save people miles of travel and last for years (at least some of them do). I think they must be terrifying to build. I suffered just walking across wide, safe town bridges when going through the aftermath of bad agoraphobia. 🙂

What has been humanity’s most audacious hope?

Simply facing down the odds, even when they are against us. The more they try to beat us down, the more we fight back. In particular, living out our lives surrounded by vast and unknown dangers, knowing full well we will lose everything and everyone before we reach our murky ends.

What’s more influential: Love or money?

I think both have their moments, but love (whether of a person, a community, a place, a way of life or a pursuit) is the healthiest reason to do anything.

Three words that describe your current mood?

Blank; content; filled with suppressed foreboding. I know that’s not three words, but I didn’t know if ‘forebodious’ was a word or not. 🙂

Which is more important: A long marriage or a passionate one?

I can see ways that both could be bad, as well as ways that both could be good. Ultimately, a long marriage sounds better — more stable, and possibly more outward-looking?

Name two favorite bloggers and link to their blogs!

Abbie’s Tree House

Unusual quotations, occasional anecdotes and a peaceful vibe. 🙂

Country Squire Magazine

Long, thoughtful articles which I always take the time to read — also recipes! I still mean to try that sausage hotpot from a while back.

Both blogs post regularly, and I would miss them if they disappeared.

Time to sleep…

Posted in Blogging, Books, Lost in Thought

Dare to Blog

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” — Brené Brown

Ten months ago, a certain book got me thinking about how it might relate to blogging. It also led me to consider how all the books we read connect together to shape our individual world views. They don’t quite fit together like jigsaw pieces, as each has something different to teach and might change our attitude in one direction or another, or bring us up short with “I can’t be sure about this after all… I’ll have to keep an open mind for the present!”

I will find myself agreeing with one book, only to completely reverse course on the next when faced with different information. It can be unsettling, but I would rather get a rounded view on things than make up my mind once and possibly be wrong for the rest of time.

As some may have guessed, the book that sparked off these thoughts was Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. For a while I was quite shy about mentioning that I’d read it, but it made me think about how we come across to others online and how we might be better to engage (or not).

Just as an aside, I almost forgot about this post you’re now reading! It was 99% mapped out in MindNode before being abandoned… life and self-doubt got in the way. I said at the end of my last post, Confuddled by Our Politicians, that I should stop using bits of my private diary and return to writing properly. That was when I remembered these notes.

Well, to start with, reading books challenges your own attitudes and brings about welcome change in your life. I used to blog a lot about deafness, anxiety and related negative experiences. Eventually I got cold feet and withdrew, deciding it’s only socially acceptable to be light and cheerful. Daring Greatly causes me to reconsider that, though I’m not 100% certain I would go back to those particular topics — maybe sometimes.

It’s not that we should descend into doom and gloom and have no good word to say about anything or anybody — far from it. It’s simply a fact that nobody’s perfect! People like to find a point of connection with others, and perfection isn’t it. It’s hard to have a satisfying conversation with someone who’s determined to talk about nothing but sunshine and roses. To sound a note of caution — in daring to put ourselves out there and engage, Brené Brown doesn’t suggest we pour out our deepest, darkest secrets to total strangers or slight acquaintances. Connection always starts with a first step of trust. Trust can be eroded, but it doesn’t mean you instantly give up on a person — we all make mistakes and deserve a second chance.

However, each situation should be judged on its merits. I wrote most of this post nearly a year ago and, since that time, I’ve come round to believing that we do need to keep our guard up and robustly defend ourselves where necessary. Friends, family, colleagues and even ‘experts’ sometimes lie, bully, and manipulate, and it’s really not good to be the always-amenable sheep. I hinted at that in a recent rambling and irrelevant post (which I don’t really recommend): Finding My Inner Monster.

There’s something I do recommend you watch when you have a spare half hour. Just yesterday I came across this video in YouTube: Doctor Admits KETO is Worst Diet in the World (WARNING: Ninja Level Sarcasm)

It is beautifully captioned… no autogarble. :-D.

Another video I found today, by Chris Kruger: “Ketogenic diets damage the liver and kidneys” – Is ketosis ‘starvation mode’? -How many carbs…?

I was thinking about the word ‘vulnerability’ as used in the book by Brené Brown. It doesn’t give us carte blanche to tell all our secrets or show weakness; it’s just about being human. The word I might have used in its place was ‘authentic’ — you hear a lot about writers needing an authentic voice. Then I thought again and realized it’s not enough on its own, but that particular Eureka moment seems to have passed me by…

OK, I had a wee think, and conclude it’s actually about accepting and being at peace with our own weaknesses rather than beating others over the head with them; that’s why it’s more than simply being authentic. Perhaps that’s the doubt that rose in my mind!

Humility is also important. Someone I knew described herself as ‘authentic’, but she could be brusque, opinionated, and didn’t like alternative points of view, no matter how carefully worded — so I found myself walking on eggshells rather than trusting that she would understand where I was coming from. Being authentic doesn’t mean we should be inflexible and dismissive of another person.

People need to feel valued (this is reminding me now of yet another book — Lost Connections by Johann Hari!) Perhaps that need in us is at the root of many unhelpful behaviours, such as:

(1) not allowing people to see our real selves
(2) putting up a false front of perfectionism
(3) defensiveness
(4) overreacting when criticized or questioned
(5) hiding rather than telling the truth

These in turn would lead to never wanting to admit we were wrong, as there’s an underlying fear that people would think less of us for it. There is a strong tendency in society to cut people down to size using ‘shame’ as a tool, and that can be damaging. Jon Ronson wrote on the subject himself in his book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. It was truly thought-provoking, especially where it relates to social media. Making people feel bad doesn’t help matters and might make things worse. See his book for exactly how much worse it can get.

When younger, I struggled a lot with the situations deafness could get me into, and never understood what that feeling was. How could you feel it when you hadn’t even done anything wrong? The mere thought that people were determined to misunderstand and judge you was unpleasant, even if you knew they were out of order.

What I got from the book should be relevant to blogging in the following ways:

(1) We need an authentic voice, while not oversharing.
(2) We can say what we need to say while looking outward… we’re not the centre of the world!
(3) We accept we are not perfect and might get things wrong or litter our text with typos.
(4) It’s better to get our feet wet than hang back and not engage.

I wrote the above list several months ago, and definitely needed the nudge! I still get cold feet about saying what I really think about things, and attempts to bring in a form of internet censorship are not helping: 5 recommendations to tackle disinformation and fake news. We are often told how difficult it is to sway other people from their opinions simply by talking at them, but suddenly that simple fact is forgotten. Everybody we talk to is apparently a mindless sponge, and has to be protected from careless words.

Coming down to earth again from my mini-rant…

It’s good to be light and humorous while guarding your privacy, but not at the expense of saying what you wanted to say. You do have to weigh your words and decide where to draw the line. You have to decide if what you have to say is really helpful, and if it would influence people for the better. Blogging is a balancing act, but so are many other things in life.

Reading a lot pulls you first one way, then another, but maybe that’s how you find out what works best. Gradually you start finding your feet. It’s how we are able to form a life philosophy, though it’s OK to change our minds based on new experiences and fresh information. I used to think changing my mind would betray weakness of character or lack of intellect, but eventually realized it’s normal. We aren’t fully rounded individuals unless able to accept, reconsider and change. This post is a case in point, because I feel I’ve been changing my mind about some of it in the interim!

In keeping the conversation fresh, blogging plays an important part in the media — perhaps far more important than has been realized up to now. While continuing to inform ourselves and tweak our world views, we need to keep that space free and unfettered, and not allow ourselves to be shamed or manipulated into silence.

Posted in Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Political and Social Issues

Everything Falls Short This Summer

2 July 2018

Went shopping for clothes, but most were really ugly. Big floral designs, material too skimpy. I said to M they were all more like the kind of garments you wear over swimsuits. She said maybe they were. My question is, why should everything in the shop be like that?

3 July 2018

Watched a Ted Talk: Useful Journaling

What he says about the uses of journalling is very true and I’ve experienced it myself. It’s why I still write, though, as he says, there are times you give up for a while… yet always pick it up again.

That Ted Talk was immediately followed by: Want to learn better? Start mind-mapping

It got me thinking at the end about how it could be used to tease through something that’s confusing to understand or discuss adequately. I get so confused about what people mean, what they say, what they want, what they know, and whether all of this fits together or not, that eventually I give up trying to figure it out. Perhaps this would be a tool that helps us find our way through the brain fog!

8 July 2018

I came across this in the Apple News app:

May’s Brexit plans ‘unworkable’ and a ‘fudge’, Sir Keir Starmer says. The shadow Brexit secretary said: “I’m afraid it’s got fudge written all over it.”

“Ah,” I said in surprise, “Finally we AGREE on something!”

This Chris Riddell political caricature in The Guardian was amusing, though I wondered why it was a swivelly unicorn instead of a cowardly lion.

13 July 2018

For three or four days I had hot chocolate with the 100% cacao I got from M&S, and some whipped cream to put on the top. I’m not very good at making real hot chocolate, even when I make a better fist of not allowing the chocolate to curdle in the milk. My current method is to melt a square of the chocolate directly in the mug, sitting in a pan of recently boiled water. It melts well, and I leave it sitting in the hot water when I put the heated milk in gradually, stirring it to mix with the melted chocolate. Then I put a dollop of whipped cream on top. It seems to work well, and tastes OK, then I reach clumps of resolidified chocolate at the bottom, and that spoils the drink. I don’t know how to get over that hurdle.

Was stressed this morning because internet wasn’t working and yet the router’s light was still green. I gave it time and it still refused to work. Eventually I unplugged the router, left it a few minutes, plugged it in again, and at last it worked! I hate it when it blocks me; it makes me wonder what I did to offend the gods of the internet.

Quite liked this video in YouTube:

President Trump Arrives at Blenheim Palace as He Visits the UK, the PM and the Queen

Was awestruck by the quiet, purring power of the Americans. There was something so strange about seeing a little bit of America here in Britain, as though they had driven over the hill from a neighbouring castle! I watched with the sound off (as usual) so our own pomp and circumstance passed me by somewhat.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Life and Family, Lost in Thought

Finding My Inner Monster

26 June 2018

Sadness strikes today, but not in a cataclysmic way. People are too trusting. It reminds me of HG Tudor saying narcs love people who are very trusting, but they themselves trust nobody. I don’t think being the sheep is a good thing.

(One of HG Tudor’s posts, relating to what I had in mind: Angels with Dirty Faces).

27 June 2018

Reading Lost Connections (Johann Hari). Like other books I’ve read recently, it exposes weaknesses in the world of science.

Jordan Peterson said we need to cultivate our own internal monsters to defend us against monsters in the world at large. That, is, very, TRUE. I grew up trusting that science was always scientific and logical and if something was said to be so, it was based on all available facts, but now that seems questionable.

Jordan Peterson: ‘Are you weak and naive, or are you dangerous?’

In that context, I even found myself thinking about my blow-up with the ex-friend. A few years ago I would have been upset. “Am I such a bad person; did I say something unforgivable?” No, of course not — I did my best without giving ground on what mattered. I’m completely at peace, because my inner monster finally rose up and challenged hers.

The day ended up quite cool again… sudden curling mist gathering against grey twilight.

28 June 2018

Oh, the heatwave! It was like a furnace in the sunshine, and was even worse in the car when we went home. I felt if we didn’t get that car moving and the breeze circulating, I would perish within minutes. We were flushed, but not as much as M. I gave her water, then we had pizza for lunch. The red flags in her cheeks had faded slightly by the time she went for her afternoon siesta.

I’d been promising myself a treat to celebrate finding my inner monster, and got ‘Pigasus’, a Maxwell & Williams ‘Smile Style’ mug with cheerful flying pig design. The artist is Donna Sharam in Australia, so, look, I got myself an Aussie gift without realizing. 🙂

29 June 2018

Had yet another nightmare about wolves. Was trying to stay safe overnight in a big building with several floors. There were children and other women, and we’d just moved in with lots of toys, clothes, food, bedding etc, and I was faced with the task of getting everyone to the top floor. It was already getting dark and we had to take the most important things and abandon the rest. I wasn’t sure the locked doors would hold, as the wolf pack was strong and determined, but we would build a clutter-wall in our rooms upstairs, and should be safe. Funny, though; I still felt the need to gather up not-so-important items that caught my eye. “Can’t leave that teddy duck lying there. It’s coming upstairs with us.”

M said she had a nightmare too. “I had a really strange one about sleeping underground in a sort of bear’s den.”

“Maybe one of your ancestors had such a home?” I suggested.

It wouldn’t actually surprise me, though I didn’t say that out loud.

Posted in Art, Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Political and Social Issues, Rants

Waking Up to Life

Extracts from private diary:

17 June 2018

Diary is getting fits-and-starty again. It’s gone grey outside again; no rain yet. M said it’s not been raining but she thinks it’s GOING to rain. The cats have invited themselves back in.

The following comment on YouTube tickled my funny bone: “I like how the EU is such a wonderful place that they have to barricade the doors to stop people from getting out.”

18 June 2018

Life is more interesting than I thought. Apparently intelligent and successful people make a real hash of things, including the very things they are celebrated for. It’s not just that we can make errors with far-reaching consequences for billions of people, it’s that what you think you know can turn out to be wrong, and the fate you think you have can be changed just by changing something simple and close to home. Unless you look into it and try different things, you never know for sure.

19 June 2018

There’s another reason why life is more interesting than I realized: when everything’s perfect and goes the way you expect, you learn nothing. There’s all this ‘in depth’ stuff to know about and experience, and you don’t even get a glimpse of it if things are going smoothly. You just assume people think the same way you do; that everybody behaves the same way; that you all know the same things; that everything you all know is true and always has been true and that there’s nothing more to it.

Then things go wrong! People don’t behave the way you expect; you do your best and things still don’t work out; you show people trust and affection and it’s thrown back in your face; everybody around you suddenly goes crazy and seems to be living in an alternative universe. You thought life would be easy, and it’s not. You make mistakes you always swore you’d avoid… and even though you can see they’re mistakes, you can’t get out of them no matter how you try. Or you realize they weren’t really mistakes; they were an inevitable outcome of a lifestyle that everybody lives because we’re all actually living out ‘one gigantic mistake’.

You take a closer look at people to try and suss out what went wrong, and realize many are as lost as you but some have crazy-good ideas which could change your life for the better. Others are too controlling and assume terrible ideas that could destroy all humankind or at least all quality of life, which is most likely the same thing. The whole point is, it’s not till things go wrong or the unexpected happens that you learn anything about yourself and how the rest of the world works.

Sometimes you don’t understand for a long time just what it was that occurred, and it takes experience as well as fresh input from others to help you work it out. If life was as straightforward as you assume at the beginning, it would be dull in contrast with the reality.

23 June 2018

02:49: Sat up in bed. I seem to (secretly) get mad with everybody on my birthday for getting me the wrong thing. In this case I said I’ve always wanted an art journal. I pictured myself sitting on a bench, sketching in a little black Moleskine, but what I received was a large white scrapbook. It came along with gilded scrap paper to paste inside and a Pritt Stick to do the pasting.

Just before trying to sleep, I was flipping through a papercrafts book and tried to imagine myself taking photos of trees and printing them out; pasting them into the scrapbook with fiddly decorations… dead leaves; sketched maps; illustrated mushrooms; quotations; snippets of my own story.

Nah…

Turned off the light and tried to sleep, but all the time I was thinking crossly about scrapbooks. I thought I might while away the time planning out what sort of scrapbook I could do, but got more angry instead of less. I thought about the book I was reading and everything in the world that was going wrong that didn’t need to go wrong, and I could feel a scream rising in my head. I got far too hot and had to push the blanket back, and my new birthday watch got caught in the folds and I struggled for a while to pull my wrist free.

Suddenly I had an idea…

Well, I didn’t say I would say what the idea was. 🙂 Even would-be scrapbookers are cagey like that.