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Archive for October, 2006
We have invisible pigs in our house. They come at night, wearing green velvet waistcoats and smoking hats, carrying very large combs and mess up the children’s hair. Unfortunately I have not been able to train them to remove nits. There is an epidemic of the dammed things and they are an interesting study in patience, tolerance, determination and shame.
Naturally occuring amongst all school children their presence endows a certain shame on the family. I know it doesn’t really, but actually, at a deep level it does. They are seen as dirty and need to be shied away from, the natural reaction of anyone you disclose the nit thing to, and eventually, after many letters from the school because they just re-infect one another, you find it has been several weeks of “dealing ” with them.
There is a hideous herbal thing that stinks but works well, then there is the chair in the doorway to get full light, with a child wriggling on one’s lap. Going through and cracking eggs is interesting. Patience, tolerance, a sense of humour go hand-in-hand with grim determination and a strong stomach. The live adult nits really chrunch and are bloody….. but that time with one’s child lyiing there is extremely wonderful. It is such a primal, old, across time, space and kingdoms, something that women have been doing for millenium. Something that monkeys do, too. It is strangely fulfilling in a world gone technical and high speed. To sit and stroke, pick and ‘deal’ with these tiny things is a powerful message in being grounded, and I really do enjoy it. I just hate the letters from the teachers. But doing this tiny thing that links me back into a worldwide history and the past, I love. What else does that? A natural labour. Grinding wheat (which I never get to do), physical imtimacy (without modern toys), cutting plants, bathing babies, cooking without machinery…….. It is quite fascinating to think about it.
It was fine being filmed preparing and eating breakfast. There are so often cameras around that neither of the children batted an eyelid or behaved any differently than usual.
Baptiste and I, by contrast, were more aware of the energy drawn by the camera. I was more conscious of my speech, taking care not to reveal too much about myself and Baptiste was totally tongue tied by the experience. I chose not to push him as it would have to have been done on camera and would have had a totally negative effect.
I was looking forward to being filmed getting rid of Louis nits, but the tape had run out, so that rather gloriously turn of the century action will have to be saved for another time.
Otherwise we have found a rather nice shop. I am thinking about it a lot and wondering whether to go for it. It is in a good area, up and coming, lots of footfall. I will sleep on it and see what i think in the morning, when we are meeting an estate agent there.
The conversation turned again, without any instigation by me, towards the subject of men with shaved heads. Much dismay from the female side, I need to say. And it has led me to look at how much hair is involved in the New Reformation that we are all being drawn into.
Buddhists shave their heads. Why, I am unsure, but Hindus do, too. They leave a little tuft, at the back. Some say for being pulled up to Nirvana, others disagree but cannot say why.
Sikhs grow their hair as long as possible, beards and all. Glorious, flowing manes that are then tied away and covered in Turbans. A sign of strength and an aid to meditation.
Muslims shave their heads and the moustache. Why the moustach? I have never had this explained. Jains cover their mouths. Mostly women have to cover their heads and bow them low.
Catholics wear a cross. Anarchists and anti nuclear have their thing, vegans seem to need it tattoed on themselves. We are being increasingly identified by our beliefs. Increasingly there is a securalisation through our identity as well as through our beliefs. So each branch has the perfect way and everyone else will rot in hell with no help at all from those who “are on the right path”. It is all so charming and Middle Ages. The press do the pillorying and the Muslim extremists then kill off innocents to prove that their God is the right one. Such fun and really too wierd. I feel as though we are sliding back in time to the Reformation. To the mid 15th century. There will be public hangings and burnings soon, along side the suicide bombers heading off to their promised virgins, all lined up waiting to be deflowered in the name of a Glorious Eternity. Do they get asked if they want this, the virgins?
I can see a fatwa coming. I will stop.
But coming back to the general daily fashion for men to be shaved, I feel that we need a change. Who are they identifying with? It seems it may be a lingering tail off from the 80′s Gay Scene when men needed to be seen to be healthy in the ravages of the HIV crisis. They grew moustaches and big muscles and shaved their hair. Perhaps in the delightfully equal age that we now inhabit, (irony, please do note), there is a need to be supremely butch and as long as there is no moustache you are very straight…….. I have not yet explained it to myself and I need to. I was at the GMeX on sunday last week, dismantling a show and 50 out of 55 males there were shaved. All the security staff were shaved. Most of the male visitors. It is too wierd.
Half term, by contrast, has been excellent. I have almost not worked at all, just played and relaxed and dreamed very intense dreams. School does not start til tuesday, but tomorrow I head off into the melee of chartered surveyors and finding a shop or two.
We started watching the Secret last night. The DVD with all information that will change my life forever. The thing kept sticking. I confess to giving up after 30 or so sticks, but it was interesting. I have thought about my thoughts a lot, since. It does make everything up to each one of us which profoundly goes against the current state of play in the world. It will be interesting to see if it get universally adopted and all litigation of blame is stopped because the Secret says it is your fault……. You made it happen by thinking it so. I will keep an eye out. Not only on my own thoughts, but on the global thoughts, although it could all be my fault qat this point. I could be held responsible for all the world’s ills because of my own personal attitiude towards the world. Gosh. That is a trifle heavy, but no less than the writings of the Advaita Vedanta, that says it all exists because I am here to witness it. My thoughts have made it so.
What is interesting, and not to diminisht the film in any way, is how I know this stuff, lots of us do, but why don’t we do it? Will we now do it because it was on TV? Is that what will give us the impetus to take it to heart? The fact that it was on our screens? I think I would say yes.
TV has become the new altar. It doesn’t matter what is said any more, it is just the fact that someone is up there that makes all the difference. Utube rules because suddenly TV is in the hands of the masses. It is no longer TV catering to the masses, it is TV made by the masses. The masses have suddenly gained control over content and it does not appear to be on a parr with the assumtions that the BBC make about what we want to watch.
I wonder where it will all end up? But there is no end up. Only an endless spiral of always needing things to be changed.
We are literally swimming in packages of jackets and skirts. It is impossible to cross the floor of the sitting room. Endlessly labelling like an automaton is making me realise I should be doing that part in India, not here.
We have settled more firmly into the idea of a shop and are now looking to get organised with one by march next year. In six months. Big decision not taken lightly. Yesterday, a gloomy wednesday afternoon, was spent trawling around Balham, Clapham, and other possible areas. Northcote Road looks the most likely candidate right now. I slept really badly last night as I digested the concept and thoughts int me. We have so much beautiful stock just sitting here. We do the odd sale here and there at big shows, but the rest of the time it is just sitting, waiting for someone to fall in love with it and take it home. With a shop, that is going to happen much more easily. So finally, after much stopping and starting, I am, we are, decided.
And then my grandmother came along and reminded me that she was a shop keeper and I felt much, much better about it.
Deirdre made a spreadsheet of what sells best and it is as I thought: clothes, music, DVDs in that order. Clothes need to be touched and tried on. Sitting on a website they have no life. They need life.
So, big deep breath, I am about to phone up about a shop……
This does not mean I will not still do all the other things that I am notorious for, I will. I look forward to the challenge of fitting it all together.
I must confess I have had better days. Today is not going my way. That is OK, but I don’t like it. I am longing for today to be over. Not really longing, but impatient for a different cast on things.
I will not go into the whys. No need. But what is more interesting to me is how we always need someone else to be the bad one. Someone else to blame for our misfortune. We may start out admitting culpability, but pretty quickly we can push the responsibility elsewhere. I also find it rather mesmerising how much I try to minimise the bad, wrong, uncomfortable sensations. I want them to go away. I want to shift sideways out of feeling the way I feel into another reality. One where all is fine and I am not learning a painful lesson. The lesson is just seeing the insanity. What is the definition of insanity? repeating an action expecting a different result. I was repeating an action today and could not see it. After I saw, and there comes the pain.
Half term. What to do with children in Half Term. There are many very expensive options and many crowd filled ones, too. We have scalectrix under the kitchen table and a memory game on the floor in the sitting room. An evening of We will rock you is looming, as is Mary poppins…….Posted in
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It has been a whirl of joy, the last few days.
The Indian Dentist closely followed by a Sainsbury’s commercial, immediately followed by the delights of three days in Manchester.
The dentist was a trip. The sign outside had 5 dentists all with the same name. A great, long peeling sign, swaying gently.
He was small and felt it. I told him I did not have too much love for the dentist’s chair and had sensitive teeth. (I thought I would not leap into the truth too early. I messed my teeth really badly with cocaine.)
He did not enjoy the experience of meeting me and in a rather masochistic way I tortured him more than a little. He kept sighing whenever I squealed in discomfort. Finally he leaned back with a long sigh, but kept his delightful pimk mask on and asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was involved with addiction recovery and yoga. There was a movement in his cheek that never quite made it to his eyes. I assumed it was meant to have been a smile. Folding his arms and sighing again he asked me if I felt there was any value in teacheing yoga to addicts. I didn’t feel there would be much value in answering him and just shrugged. He suggested we continue the conversation another time. In a fit of insanity I asked him what led him to believe we were destined to meet again.
I opened wide as he did his Steve Martin thing over me…….
And then saw him with friends at Polo later in the afternoon. We did not chat.
Next was Sainsburys. I have not been on a film set for many years. Plates of cold bacon sandwiches. large bellies being heaved around, but not as many as I remembered. And this wierd thing that I see everywhere; men with shaved heads. What is this strange fashion? Why does most of the male population want to move through the world looking like a naked penis. I don’t get it. Is it some macho thing to be bald? Is it a secret club? I would love to know. I find myself in rooms where every man is hairless. I am sure they were quite attractive once, but now… Maybe it is the end of the age of Pisces and they all want to look the same and go out with a fuzz. Apart from that the shoot was fun. Delightful, funny people. A team of 10 make up and hairdressers who were great fun, wonderful artists to work with and a short day. I was surprised.
Manchester was low key. Three days at GMEX. Lots of men with no hair, and selling, selling, selling, in between waves of jetlag.
Now I am home, I am flaking madly.
It is funny, almost surreal, the speed with which one moves from one world to another. Sit on an aeroplane for 9 hours and life is totally different. Almost as though it is a film set being changed around you but you cannot see outside porperly so you don’t really notice the new scenery and cast being moved in. You get off the plane the same person, a little shaken, but essentially the same, except nothing in your experience is similar. It is all different. I am intrigued by all that we take for granted, all that we just accecpt with out thought for what it really is.
I have spent a week away, in a very different land. Few responsibilities except for my own personal safety, and much of the time I had zero control over that, and now, with this transition of a few hours I have huge responsibility, a completely other life that moved along without me and I have just moved along and slid back into it.
I am sure I make no sense, I don’t mind.
I am working on a commercial today, as a body painter. I retired. Now I am not retired. Retiring is not as easy as it sounds. Little by little it has been chipped away until there is no retirement left. I am a body painter again. For today, at least, and a couple of days in december, and a couple of days in january. Who knows what more. I must confess to being nervous. I have not been on a film set for 8 years, unless it has been my own. I woke at 4am with jet leg, I suppose, and have lain there for an hour repeating I Am. The nervousness subsided and I feel fine now. All is ready, except I don’t imagine that I have the right personality for the film industry any more. I will be good. Be quiet. Not answer back and do as I am told. Such fun.
This is a version order, the film industry. Men with big bellies full of bacon and eggs, women scuttling around wishing they were like the men, but cannot stomach the required eating. The pecking order, the hierarchy. The system that one has to slot oneself into and not rise above or fall below your station. It is a wonderfully archaic system of rules, masochism, arse licking and desperate climbing. I have not missed it for a moment. I am interested to see what it is like so many years on.
I am off to meet the Indian Dentist. I am not a good dentistee. I still react as a child to the experience of sitting with someone elses hands inserted far into my mouth whilst using drills and bursts of freezing cold water and air. It is odd, the things we are expected to get used to.
I was watching a DVD of Yogi Bhajan teaching yesterday, and he was talking about how our magnetic field was designed for us to move at 4 miles per hour, and we now move around at faster and faster speeds and that it is not surprising we loose our sense of who we are. It made an interesting kind of sense.
I move through the streets of Jaipur on foot, by rickshaw, in a tuk tuk and in a car and look at the stall holders and shop keepers, the women repairing shoes and the Sikh men selling tyres. They sit all day, every week, every month, every year, all of their lives, in the same place, held in place by an indisputable belief in Karma. That if you do this life well, you get a better one next time.
45% of the population have no running water. They wash at stand pipe in the street. A lot of the untouchables, the lowest caste here, who clean up rubbish and keep India functioning, are converting to Bhuddism and Christianity to get out of the place where they are reviled and literally untouched. From there they can take up professions, education and jobs. How will the rubbish get cleared. Who will there be to feel superior over? Interesting changes coming.
I remember when I first came to India, 15 years ago, there was no satellite, there were not millions of zippy little cars everywhere, the clothes were not all polyester. Progress is a wonderful thing when you perceive that you have nothing.
I am pestered by a friend here to buy him a digital camera in London, but it has to have 10 MILLION PIXELS!!!! SO exciting, like having a huge willy. Photography, especially digital photography has to be one of the new great lies. He will then need a computer, photoshop or similar, a printer, special photographic paper, really expensive inks….. Or to take the card to some really bad print shop, pay a fortune and get appallingly bad images back to pile in a drawer somewhere, but at least his sucess will be measured by this tiny, but HUGE!!! camera that a friend brought from London.
I don’t mean to sound judgemental, it may come across as if I am, I am just sad that it is impossible to remove the veils of illusion. They have to suffocate you before you can throw them off. Anyway, who am I to say that the polyester is not marvellous? It does not need ironing, colours do not fade, the new computer will mean he can experience junk mail in all it’s glory…. It’s amazing what we accept and get used to.
The mantra I Am continues to undo my world and its’ structures, nowhere more strongly that here. Moving through the Indian life, rich in filth, beauty, death and reality I find that I get a different perspective on I Am and the consequences of using it. Over the years I have used many mantras, all of them strong and potent, but nothing has torn away the veils of illusion quite so startlingly as this. Edifices crumble, not buildings, but the structures that we make around us for the mind to believe that it is fine and being fed. Here the world is unravelling in front of me. There is constant chaos. Not in the traffic or the form filling, but in the total, in your face, reality of the Wheel of Karma and the need for each one of us to fight our own Demons. I cannot change anyone except myself and as the limits are stripped away and things are seen for what they are, peace descends.
I am not “there”, I don’t want to be “there”, please let it be a long journey to “there”.
Yesterday I was with a friend, an Indian man and his family. They have a Guru who recently told them that I was not realised. I have not met this man, but he informed Vimlesh and told him to tell me that he could just touch my forhead and Bang!, I would be enlightened. I have repeatedly declined the offer and smiled without reaction at my friends attempts to tell me that my practice is wrong, his is the right way. Yesterday we were trying to talk about politics with his 13 year old son as translator. Vimlesh got started on Muslims and it was facinating to see the hatred and total unwavering hatred for them and their approach to life. I sat and mentally qustioned why he would feel like this if he was so clearly on a spritual path and did two hours of meditation and pranayama a day. I wanted to judge his practice and found it rather amusing how we all jostle for supremacy on our chosen routes to the Divine. And as I lay awake in the night, refusing to let the hotels’ spirit into my room, I was thinking how individually we always need a baddie. But it is not only as individuals; the world needs a baddie, or several of them, millions, even, and Muslims, in an orgy of blindness, have become that hideous thing that everyone can point to and feel superiority over.
I do business with a number of very devout Muslims who are currently deep in the throes of Ramadan. They cannot eat or drink anything after 4am until 6pm. They are great to deal with, erudite, amusing and clearer in their dealings than most of the other traders I work with here. Yet I, too, can comment and rail against them en-mass.
I am starting to see that the I Am is taking me out of reaction and into acceptance. Having struggled for years, in recovery, with acceptance, it is in being here, totally present to the imminent possibiltiy of illness, death and annihilation that I can just be. Trust me, it passes. I felt really ill yesterday and had to nail my mind to the here and now not to feel really scared as it wanted to run through the list of possible illnesses and their consequences upon my experiences.
Where does medical tourism fit in here? I bumped into a friend yesterday who had just come from a dentist. A very good dentist. Massive amounts of work on his teeth had cost 21 pounds. How delightful. I am off there tomorrow.