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Archive for April, 2006
I had eight hours sleep, I don’t know what I am complaining about, but I am exhausted. I feel like I am trying to climb out of a pit called leave me asleep.
I am tired.
We have spent since last tuesday, with lots of help, putting together the house. Actually dissecting bit by bit. Cramming all that was not wanted on the voyage into little spaces, and then filling it completely to the brim with things that we have accumulated from the last 6 trips to India and all the filming and from China, Turkey, Afganisthan and so on. It does look good. Like a Bazaar, or a Souk. Things hanging, colours, sparkley elephants. Lovely things everywhere.
I cannot be objective. I try to look at it and see what it looks like to the new eye, but of course it is impossible. This morning, in my groggy sleepwalk to the computer I looked and tried to peel away my lenses of experience and knowing and tried to see it for what it is but could not. I just wandered through thinkiing Wow, this is what we’ve been doing for the last two years. How did I get here?
Eva, one of the women helping me over the weekend is writing a dissertation on identity. We were talking over lunch about how our identity comes from what we do. So I was trying to get used to the new identity laid out before me this morning, and at the same time, having decided to retire from body painting in July, I am trying to see how I will feel when I let go of something that has been a huge part of me since 1978.
A long long time. How will it be, not to have that tag attached to me, like a sales ticket. Information that identifies me. That has shaped me and given me purpose. What if all I am afterwards is a shop girl! Scary!
We watched Crash the other night. Infact it took two nights to get through it. it was an extraordinary film. Very thought provoking, very well done. I thought I had learned about how people are full of surprises, but the film taught me to think about another layer. I had lost my temper really badly with a postman a few weeks ago. So much goes missing because of the mail and I am really shocked that it is just left to continue. The theiving, it feels as though the fabric of our society is falling apart and no one seems to care. But anyway, he brought a packet that I had been waiting for for weeks and when it arrived it was open and wet, so I refused to sign until I had spoken to the sender in Italy. He disagreed and we fought. He then walked off. I felt bad.
I watch Crash and thought long and hard about all the anger and assumption and stress that we are surrounded by, and then how we pile all our own stuff on top of it. Anyway. The doorbell rang two days ago and a postman came down the path with a parcel from India. Oh it was a beauty, the parcel, covered in seals, hand stitched and just so exciting. I did not look at the bearer, just the gift.
I crouched down on the floor where he had put it and was running my hands over the box. He then came down to my level for me to sign and I laughed and said he did not need to, I would stand. He commented that I was in a much better mood and it was at that point that I looked at him and saw it was the man I had fought with. I took the opportunity to apologise and he graciously accepted.
Why tell that? Because I thought I had learned, in treatment, that everyone is fabulous if you give them the space to be so. And it is so true, they are. But I forget how important it is to be kind ALL the time. And not to take it personally. Life is hard and stressful and so many others are taking it personally, it has to stop somewhere. The more it is not directed at me personally, the easier it is.
Being vegan is really hard work. I think that is what is the hard part, letting go of butter and other fattening delights that fill the plate and the addictive urges.
I have to confess to feeling totally different. I realise that I addicted to dairy fat. I am 12 Stepping myself out of it and doing really well. Who’d have thought that digestive biscuits have animal fat? Or chocolate meusli. I was so surprised. It seems that dairy is all over the place and a conscious effort is needed to avoid it.
We had discussed finishing the dairy stuff in the fridge. There is lots of Halloumi and mascarpone, but given how different I feel, and what a huge change it has been I find I really don’t want to “slip” and go back because I know that I will go right back, all the way, as I am addicted to butter.
I think it runs in the family. I watch my mother with butter. Doorsteps of it on bread, in sandwiches. Blended butter and sugar instead of cream, which I know is no better, it is just to make the point about how much butter we grew up with. And all those awful “we didn’t have butter in the war” stories. I used to fold my ears shut when I heard that one starting. But somehow now I have a lot more compassion for what it must have been like to grow up in the war. Watching Narnia, an awful film, especially the really dippy fawn, I cried at the idea of having to send children away to total strangers. I know it was to save them from being killed, but Oh God it must have been so horrific to let them go.
I am acutely aware at the moment of how much pain you open yourself to, as a mother. The endless, subconscious fear of death, like an alarm bell ringing behind you all the time. Perhaps other parents don’t hear it, but I hear it so often and have to smile and let go even though the bell is ringing. And then wait for their safe return. How women could have stood at the train station and watched their children going off to God only knows what, I cannot imagine.
But then shit happens, doesn’t it? We are never promised an easy life except in the movies. Where sex is always great and love forever juicy.
I have been in contact with a lot of rape stories recently. So hideous and awful, but Shit Happens, and it is part of our route through life to accept, heal, learn and move on to the next experience. I know I would not be who I am if I had not grown up with those awful moments, been through the mill of a rebellious and abandoned adolesence, and then all the attendant joys of alcoholism and drug addiction. We have to have the awful moments to ripen us into ourselves. Hopefully that is where we go, inside rather than out. Many go out, and never come back, I know.
What this has to do with veganism totally escapes me, except as I write, I know that peeling away the layers of addiction allows one to really think and feel from the heart, and that is where I am now. I am emotional and want to cry and cry. But somehow, as a mother, I no longer do. There are so many other things that are so much more important.
Why do dogs lick their balls?
Because they can.
Now why would I, in my yogic state, ask this awful question? Simply because I have had to sit here and think about how to approach the woman who is currently working in my garden.
What could she be doing? Such a delightful soundscape of sweeping, cutting, scraping. The sun is shining, the sparrows are washing and arguing. The dogs are basking. I have lovely mantra playing. And all of a sudden.
She starts up a machine to blow away leaves. It is an enclosed courtyard surrounded by houses and flats. All the house doors are open and she is wearing earmuffs, smiling sweetly as she hacks the peace of the day into the sound effects from A Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
I must confess that I am now grown up enough not to run out into the garden screaming at her, despite the hysteria of both dogs who thought it was not quite loud enough, and I go and sit in the kitchen to ponder how best to approach the situation. I was partly a trifle worried about my husband’s reaction to hearing the machine, plus trying to get over the stench of deisel all through the house. I thought about progress and about how the things we most love, or certainly I most love, are the images of the olden days. Women milking buffalos, traditional costume, things being done by hand. Who are we to stop progress? Especially when it is loud, smelly and noisy. This is the big ecological dilemma being played out right here in my garden. Why does she use this machine? Because she can.
I thought about her thinking me mad, insane, odd, wierd, out there. I am used to people thinking that. I thought about her thinking I was bossy. Well that happens all the time. So nothing new there. I thought: How can I do this differently?
I am not sure I suceeded, but I went and asked her not to use it. Simple. She told me it was a machine she hated using………………
So now we have stopped progress, temporarily, peace reigns and she thinks I am a wierd, bossy cow.
All is fine.
I am stepping into a whole new area. In september we want to make a Super Foods DVD. For the immune system. Eating for health on a serious level. Aimed at those with immune compromising illnesses. Baptiste has been going along this route alone for a long time. Now we are all going vegan. Such controversy. Being the mother of two small children. It will be interesting to see what comes up. Luckily they kids are extremely gung ho about it. Louis has already started inventing recipes, one of which has made it to the book. We are writing all that we try out so there is a good selection of ideas to choose from.
We started on Friday. It has been interesting, just these few day. We had been getting used to the idea for a while by making serious juices and only eating vegetables at night etc, but to really commit was a surprisingly hard step. I lay iin bed on friday night and really missed butter, and then got extremely grumply as the realisations of what I was giving up really hit me: Going to Borough Market and not having a wonderful cappuccino, no croissants, no cheese. I don’t think you can really grasp the consequences of something until you are in it’s lap. Like marriage and childbirth, veganism is a big step and not to be taken lightly. Lots of no thanks is involved. Lots of being clear about where the yes comes in.
I have already failed, though. I made a risotto for supper on saturday and could not cope without parmesan cheese. So I failed a bit. Quite a lot actually. I dashed to Fresh and Wild yesterday and bought two vegan parmesan options to try and stocked up on the japanese stuff. We had sushi for supper. The children rolled their own. It was great fun.
The reading continues apace. I am now deeply into a book about Food as Medecine. it was going quite well until the chapter I read last night where he thinks taking Human Growth Hormone and HRT are really good ideas. The list of daily supplements was hysterical as you would need to be mighty rich to comply, that and the cost of hGH coming in at a $1000 per month.
I am amazed at what gets suggested. Really I am. I cannot tell you how hard I have tried to wash my vegetables in bleach, but just cannot bring myself to trash the weekly shop quite so badly. I will run the idea of Human Growth Hormone past my husband. In this book he was quite clear that you had to weigh the benefits against the consequences……… delightful.
I get stuck at the first hurdle. I sit here with the cursor blinking and cannot come up with a title. I suppose it makes me examine what I want to say, but sometimes I am not sure that is a good thing. Neither is sleeping late. I am not doing it any more. I just did it a few times last week, but it is as tempting as starting to eat chocolate again. I woke from a dream of a woman in labour this morning. She had one baby fine, but the twin died. Horrid. I dozed for a while and then did not want to get up at the time I had set myself.
I wonder if it is the menopause that makes the dreams so intense now. I cannot really get the point, and after so many years of such high drama whilst sleeping I do not attach much to my dreams, but they are certainly thrown into sharp colour recently.
I am starting to read for the next DVD. I am accumulating a mountain of books to plough through. I had hours on the bus on wednesday and began a book called Alkalize or Die! Terrible cover, terrible title, written by an apocalypse threatening maniac. He recommended washing vegetables in bleach and if you ate too many of your friends cookies, just throw up. Delightful. But there was some interesting stuff too, apart from only drinking distilled water and adding minerals to it.
I have moved onto another one entitiled Food as Medicine. Slightly more sensible. I am only a few chapters in, but have read that butter can kill me. And cheese. And milk. Oh God. it is endless. What with salt as well, there is no hope.
I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t drug, don’t coffee, barely drink tea, little salt. But now……. how will I live if I keep eating butter and cheese and the odd tiny cloud of cow’s milk in a cup of tea? What if I don’t give it all up.
On one level I am drawn to the extremes of austere liveing, which is how I see it. On another, everything that we, in this charming first world, think is a treat, is laden with stimulants, sugar, cows hormones, wheat, chemicals and so on. I know exactly what he means, but cannot understand why we can’t all see that.
Starbucks and Cafe Nero all over the place. Desperately churning out those massive mugs of steaming cow juice. All of them full of overweight people thinking they are having a treat. On one level it is brilliant marketing, but on another, why don’t we all get it?
I remember seeing that man who stopped thousands of us smoking. Alan Something. He saw it and explained it so well that holding a cigarette was total insanity seen and acted upon. But reading these Health books and desiring a decaf capp from Pret do not seem to be as far at odds with each other as I need them to be.
I can see that somehow I have to find a way to say it, on the DVD, where the insanity of what we do to ourselves is vibrant and alive without sounding like the proselytising maniac who wrote Alkalize or Die!
It has been days since my last writing. I have been sleeping in. Very unlike me, but lovely. I managed to sleep until 8am the other day. I don’t think I have had that pleasure for years. But oddly I have no desire to go back to the late mornings. I get so much done that it is a vast ease on the rest of my time to sit, early in the morning, in the stillness and just hammer out all that needs bashing.
The DVD went well. I keep on dreaming that I am filming and wake up in the night, really thirsty, in the middle of shots of vegetables. If I am not dreaming about the food DVD then I am having strange dreams in the film industry. Lost in Hotels, trying to get to the airport, pretending to be a punk hanging off the wheels of a plane in flight. I can assure you that I make no effort what so ever to interpret my dreams. The most fun was the other night when I saw my stepfather lying in bed in a turban in a hotel room. In my dream of course, but he was so cross that I had seen him it was delightful. I took great pleasure in telling the story at lunch the other day.
I have instantly moved on to the next project. Of course I have. I lay in bed on saturday afternoon, supposedly having a nap, and thought about what to do next. I promise I did not linger for long, but none the less, I thought about it. I think another cooking DVD would be good, I have already organised the subject and am now reading up on it all, madly.
In between there is a yoga and shopping trip to India that we want to do. That is going to take some planning, but will be great fun. In january, I think. Not too hot, great Festival. But it needs a lot of advance preparation.
It is now day four of the vegetarian cooking DVD. It is going well. I totally forget how stressful it can be, standing there all day in front of the cameras, legs aching, endlessly cooking and hoping it will all turn out OK. I find it strange how no one really talks about anyhting or engages in any way. I wondered if it was just the nature of the collection of crew, if I was really so dull and boring that no one wanted to talk to me, but have finally decided that the choice of crew is the Director’s and he will choose poeple who suit him and his way. He does not engage much himself, is not nterested in much about anyone else and so it follows that those he would like around him would be the same. I felt easier once I go that sorted. Now I have one last day of no engagement beyond what they see happening in front of them and the cameras. Totally do-able.
The other slightly knawing thing, apart from the squirrel that woke me up at four this morning chewing at my roof, is my photographic assistant. He has not got the plot at all as far as the photos of the finished dishes are concerned. He takes the most shocking still life pictures and I don’t really know what to do. One more day of all this hard work and his images are making me wince.
But otherwise the house in in total and extreme chaos. There is stuff everywhere and at the end I would love to lock the door and walk away, but I can’t really see that happening. I am going to have to gird my loins and put it all back together again. The thought is too awful. That and the idea that I may have to cook even one meal in the next week. And on top of that there is still so muc food and the Abel and Cole delivery piles itself on top, the fridge is full and and and and I wish there was someone stroking my forehead talling me it will all be alright in the end.
I walked into the sitting room the night before last to see my 3.5 year old daughter stretched out on a pile of cushions. Her arms were stretched out on either side. Her head lolling to the side and her legs long and straight with her toes touching.
She had a big smile on her face and her eyes closed.
I asked her what she was doing. “I am being like him”. Like who? “Like him up there, Jesus” She looked up at the ivory crucifix above her head.
I think it bodes rather well for her future. Slightly Adams family, but fun none the less.
Otherwise, we have started filming the cooking DVD. Oh my God. I forget how stressful it gets. I bought a very beautiful Smeg cooker which does not work. They have wired it gasses up wrong and say they cannot replace it for three days. Such fun. 12 crew later and we are supposed to start on cooked food today. Luckily the oven is electric and the current is attached. There is an enormous jib arm in the way at the moment, so I can’t check. But I do have to come back to that lovely saying. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. And I think he must be verging on hysterics. We shall see.
I had some bad moments whilst filming yesterday. Standing there, inforbt of all the crew, think “what am I doing. What on earth made me want to do this. Who on earth will buy it. Will it work. Am I wasting money. Can we stop now and send everything back. Arghhhhh!” And other such delights. It is getting easier, but rather like childbirth and marriage, it is impossible to visualise all that it will be before you get there.
We are just gearing up for another day. Am I looking forward to it? I will reserve comment. The cooker is freaking me out. But it has occured to me to whiz someone up to Brixton hill where there is a shop and buy another one if Smeg get smug.
I am scared and I feel like a child. I have set in motion so much over the past year, and here goes another project, beaming itself out into the ethers, but I am having the pre-production fears that always come before I do anything big. This is big, a vegetarian cooking DVD. I sat in bed with my P.A. ~ it is the only way to escape the clutches of the internet and the phone and the children~ we sat there with a big frilly pillow each and constructed the shooting shedule and wrote out the processes needed to build a DVD. I was hoping I would feel better at the end, but I don’t. I feel more nervous at seeing how huge the project is. We have so much to shoot. I know it is so because there is so much to say, and I could make it less, but then it would not be saying what needs to be said.
There are so many people involved now that it is really big. I lie at night, listening to the squirrel knawing at the rafters, thinking about how to make it work, how to put it all together, who to visualise each part. The nights can be long. Really long. But now there are only two days to go. I am about to go to Borough Market to get the last bits and pieces. The kitchen is piled high with boxes of stuff and I feel very responsible.
I have a most irritating thing that tells me I am stressed, and it is here now. I get terrible tinnitus. A roaring in my ears. White noise that screams RELAX at me.
I rang the homeopath and said I was stressed and the dissaproval was palpable. Somehow we are not supposed to be stressed and continue. We are supposed to be stressed and stop immediatly. As if it is a bad and naughty state of being. For me it is a state that comes with deciding to live my life how I want to live it. Not to get a job working for someone else, but to invest the money we have in projects which have integrity and that touch people in a non-corporate way. It is stressful. Great fun, too. Liberating, scary, overwhelming and Oh! so priviledged to be in this situation.
When I was pregnant, with both my children, I decided that I did not want scans. It is interesting how refusing the norm is stressful. I did not want the invasion of the scanning energy on my babies inside me, so I refused. Had no medical intervention at all. I was accused of medical negligence by my Doctor, but continued as I had lost so many I decided to trust the Universe that I would have the child I was meant to have and endlessly scanning it was only going to illustrate a total lack of trust in the process. But it was stressful to step out of the loop. Especially as a birthing teacher. I knew too much. I had lost too much for it to be easy. But it was perfect. My children are Divine, as are all children, they were born Divine and perfect. All that wasted stress. I need to learn how to put it somewhere else. How to transform the vibration into something else.
Like three weeks ago, before I went to India. I was highly stressed. The death of my friend had shaken up so much I was, we all were, really conscious of the tenuous connection that we have to this Hectic Life. I left feeling as though I would die on the plane and never see my children again. A really tragic parting. But here I am.
Time to be fine with everything. Trust all of it. Put in the footwork, but trust there is a plan.
I have an eye infection. It has been going on and off for several days now. I caaught it from my daughter who cleared it in 36 hours, but with me it is around for longer.
It is interesting what it brings up. The vanity, the irritability, the fear and the longing that it will pass. It is also bringing very strange dreams of things never seen, and of people long forgotten. Strangely disturbing nights where I have no control over myself or my surroundings. I must confess to not enjoying myself. And I am at a loss as to what to do about the discomfort and have now reached the point of considering allopathic medecine. I am shocked, but there it is. Homeopathy is not yet turning the corner, and I am filming in a few days.
I am trying to see if it is linked with the filming. If I fear something that I have not named or thought about, beyond making a bad DVD. So this morning I will write the principles behind making the project and bring it into line with Devotion and all that the word means to me in terms of Sacred Food. This is the one area that I have not nailed to the floor. I think about it and have all the thoughts floating iin my head but have not emptied them onto the page.
I am also in the middle of a long article on child abuse, but have not finished it yet. Perhaps it is old stuff there. So I must sit and write. Clear all the thoughts and I may find my eye clears, too.Posted in
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