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Coastal balm

Dear Rich,

Myself and Derek walked a coastal promenade today. It was milder. A frosty morning run warms a freezing body quickly. However with that same wind, that coastal walk could shave you. But today, I gladly unfurled my scarf. It was busy with cyclists, dog owners aplenty and non-dog owners, I felt we were in a minority.

We walked and talked. We went as far as the boatyard and muddy trail. We discussed Basketball and Sumo, its intricacies, skill and size. We chatted about Russia, CIA and this shit-tip of a country in its current state. We talked about Belfast, the film. It was wonderful but I was aware of spoilers for Derek. He is still to go. When you know stuff and it excites you, it dampens enthusiasm when unable to animate scenes. No harm, it can wait. I skirted with a latte, but passed.

Alone, I read this aloud twice before I went. I felt better after. It definitely worked.

When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth.

This invitation to friendship with nature does of course entail a willingness to be alone out there. Yet this aloneness is anything but lonely. Solitude gradually clarifies the heart until a true tranquillity is reached. The irony is that at the heart of that aloneness you feel intimately connected with the world. Indeed, the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind.

John O Donohue.

Best,

Tom

Tram again

I boarded a busy tram, city bound. I didn’t sit in any middle seat. I don’t like them. I stood. Warmer now, I dabbed my eyes, moist from walking into a freezing wind. Last night I’d heard of tearless onions. Jeez.

I could stand and still read, one handed. Rebecca Solnit – ‘Hope in Dark, Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities.’ Slim but packing a punch and a half, Steve Collins style. Rousing, so far.

I confess. I am a booklover. They take me elsewhere. I feel rich immersed in their company. I choose carefully, from others appendices and ‘Five Books’ website.

A Pandemic still exists amongst us. Life is not without risk. I think it depends on how you look at it and risk. People are so close. So many different hats, I mostly see people’s eyes, looks more like an on-board thief conference. I read material from an experienced doctor who believes most of us have been had. In silence, I agree.

Standing, smells distract. Body odour and sweet scents and sometimes spicy food aroma’s sneak out from pores. Its a relief when doors open and cold air saunters in. I breath different, take in more hour and suffer in eloquent silence. Yesterday was my last on crutches. It was a year since my last tram and I’d forgotten lots.

People talking aloud to each other or on devices, some sharing intricate details publicly and others uttering bullshit. I never recall a time when people are so open in public. I notice all windows are open.

Tomorrow I plan to board at 05-30 from York Place. First one to travel out of town to see if I can be alone on a carriage and experience my current opposite. See what smells then.

I recall some lyrics from ‘Summer In Dublin’, Bagatelle. They resonate.

“Take me away from the city
And lead me to where I can be on my own
I wanted to see it, and now that I have
I want just to be left alone
I’ll always remember your kind words
And I’ll still remember your name
But I’ve seen you changing and turning
And I know that things won’t be the same

I remember that summer in Dublin
And the Liffey as it stank like hell

Thank you.

John’s writing and ideas continue to inspire, soothe and guide.

His wisdom and craft still provides wonder.

His presence still dancing within, unfolding out with.

A Winter walk against a cutting wind, along this beautiful coastal promenade invites a sharp awareness.

Still helping refine a daily approach.

Knowing enough for today IS progress. Not kidnapped by ‘more’ is never enough.

Sit safe under this ceiling, thankful to eat a simple meal.

Steady progress, aware of optimising potential. But each day, each hour is not a sprint.

Contemplating, sitting and wrestling with questions for living a purposeful life.

Questions, a place to go to when lost and empty. To unite light and dark.

Create welcome space for connecting, chatting with people who matter to you. Helping untangle inner alienation.

Paying attention to momentum of mind-talk. Where it might take you, astray and on track.

Walk slow alongside rows of daffodils.

Carving a toy from a discarded branch, for a child you are still to meet.

Difficulties and suffering thats passed helps manage that which awaits arrival.

Offering gentle kindness of word and deed in each day to friends and strangers.

To go to sleep at night with a smile, lighter.

And doors will open again when you wake.

For you to walk and think with a conscious outlook delved in conscientiousness.

To warm your breathing and spirit,

in your exercise towards earnest truth,

feel Johns presence. (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008)

Ubuntu, tick.

Rich.

Tom here. Been a while. Please see my latest offering below. Enjoy. Watched Naked Gun today, has hardly aged, not like me – ha, ha, ha! I’ll say it before you do.

Catch up soon.

Root out cutbacks, steep hills carry cost of living rises.

Sleep better, tick

Eat better, tick

Exercise more, tick.

Worry less, socialise more. Well, not quite yet a tick.

Already sense more light in each day, tick.

Pay less attention to disorienting politics, big bold tick.

Ubuntu. “an authentic individual human being is part of a larger and more significant relational, communal, societal, environmental and spiritual world”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_philosophy

Live it

Hello Rich.

I found our recent assignment hard. But eventually knuckled down to it. Here is my effort.

Enjoy and Yappy Hew Near or Nappy Yew Hear,

(just toying)

Matt.

The life you haven’t lived.

I could have…

I should have…

Stacked!

Decisions enter into actions from choices, lessening what you didn’t do.

Life’s a rich fertile campus, if you wish it to be.

Put perception under a microscope. It tends to filter a certain focus, close up and clear.

Seen opportunities acted upon, no longer sunk under piles of untouched aromatic washing.

Feel better about being while doing.

I chose to taste and eat a Clementine because I peeled its skin. It leaves a distinct aroma on fingers, skin particles under nails to be scraped clear with a tiny knife.

What lurks and festers in thought identifies that which remains undone, eventually becoming expensive to mental health. Feel cold winds penetrate deeper inside.

Acting inspires, it unknots an undergrowth of babbling thoughts,

towards a life acted upon and lived.

Prevail peace

Feeling each foot, I know where I sit and stand.

Time and events move me along each path with learning and perspective.

Having met with shock, your pale face still stares back from each mirror.

You know you are burrowing for simpler ways.

Be at peace inside with an intimidating character while they fuss and order. Blood coursing its way around their body, felling their longevity.

Meet their anger with kindness and benevolence. An invisible slap kissing a tyrant coiled up in their own temper. Hiding their vulnerability. A deep want for love as a child seeps out.

And away, let her go.

Stoke your inner light-heartedness.

Feel your feet on this soft grass.

Here begins certainty for a next step.

Weighted courage

Walking alone and sometimes conversing in company, learning to be a more self-contained self. What you miss and gain from walking. Legs outstretched, forwarding momentum in exploring options and thinking towards a fulfilling job. Pressing for uncomplicated time. Impulse shouts ‘act now’. Courage adds weight to self worth.

Sitting to explain, you know but you are just in from walking and want some quiet time. Your mood coloured better than reflections of a low grey sky. Sitting, thinking aloud in comfortable pastel surroundings. A sliced orange on your plate. Someone’s work of art to absorb. Beauty perseveres and cuts deep.

Considering your connections, wondering what you do for them? When simply being might not be enough? They have all stood at their threshold blocks and flung their verbal darts. And in the presence of solitude you recount such interactions. On longer walks you reconcile difference and an ease, a peace emerges.

Yesterday you were alone on a swing in a park, deepening perspective. This photograph paints a lonely silhouette, a darker painting. Above, last light faded into darker skies as gravity halted you to a slow stop. You sat still, only your balance on trial. You felt your bodies weight upon a rubber seat. Removed your hands from each chain. Balance and be, hands on knee’s, head bowed. There you experienced grace in stillness. Your encounter with gravity remained, as long as you rested still. Until a distant barking ruptures tranquil waves, startling you.

Gravity wins, there was no competition to confess to. Eyes at their most full, tears fall. Dreaming of tomorrows yesterday reaching into next year. Turning pages. A refusal to return to older ways. Regretful lessons to heed. Each day enabling an entry into your growth, even amongst difficult hours.

Act now to craft a better past, you whisper. You rise, shift your weight and walk towards home.

Taking off

Dear Sir,

I have reconciled with my moving on, thank you for everything.

From stuck to unstuck satisfies contentment’s definition.

I have reached an ending. It will not be another year like last. Momentum enjoys forward and backwards motion. Take time to take a stand for self. Take time to stand still, rest and reflect under these dancing tree’s. Mid-December and its a balmy 15 degree’s.

I’ve got a lot of love. I am not afraid. You know you have helped coax me back from a dark edge. Your caring is not something I have experienced before from an adult. It took me a while to warm to you. Too good to be true mentality. You stuck with me. Saw things I didn’t know existed within. One thing I noticed, you never rolled your eyes at me once.

I felt tense and angry when initially entering your classroom. Deep discomfort churned my head and stomach. Being at a crossroads and knowing what to do, what direction to step towards is new for me too. But you know what, it feels good. Feels great now.

Acceptance of me was key. Acceptance of my starting position needed recognition. I was in constant battle with a past done to me. I have left that behind. It no longer strangles me. Years of being used and undervalued presents costs. It did to me and my attitude. I was trapped and had fight in every pore. Sad, but real.

Thank you for your commitment. I remember our first one to one and you asked me what matters most in my life. This was one of the hardest questions. I didn’t have anything for you that could match any sincerity of yours. I felt I would cheat you if I bullshited. I still sense that safe silence. What you generate sir, is… is precious. and I don’t say that lightly.

This is a decision I could not pass up. I know we talked about most eventualities. I have chosen the Navy. I will not fail in my trying. I feel as free as I have ever done. Unglued from an initial paralysis. No longer confused. Confusion no longer needs outsourcing to any numbing substance.

Last night I slept well. I can manage these new stakes. I feel fear but I know this will help guide me. Its comforting knowing I can manage it from inside my own head. As long as I keep building bridges sir.

I feel excited. All my Christmas mornings churning around my body. Wow.

Wish me luck, I know you will and I know you do. I will treasure your invisible presence and keep in touch.

Thanks sir,

Steve (not my real name) 🙂

Hi Rich,

When it is said by big representatives of big organisations these days that expressing worries about poor and dangerous practice is becoming more welcome and easier? Its harder to believe.

Language of ‘dealing’ with, ‘circling to protect and ostracise’, ‘othering by bullies’ and ‘reputations to protect’ fails to promote openness and transparency.

You will remember I confided in you when I teetered on whistleblowing’s edge. I didn’t know how people worked in this culture then and there being a likely backlash. That was 8 years ago.

Polished and empty words ‘ do all we can’ and ‘never happen again’ are so far from their truth, they fall out of their lying mouths like leaves from Autumnal tree’s. If only they would hold themselves to account.

A headline this morning echoes false promises – ‘Edinburgh council lacks ‘safe culture’ for whistleblowers’. Of course it does. When you know the real answer is a resounding ‘Yeah right’, irrespective of loose intentions.

But its not the council, its people. People at the heart of actions and attitudes. People orchestrating systems for and against. A contrived them and us approach.

Epicurus spoke to me this week in a book – in my own words, ‘steer clear of politics and business for a more content life’. He is onto something there!

Furthermore, from https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing

What is a whistleblower?

You’re a whistleblower if you’re a worker and you report certain types of wrongdoing. This will usually be something you’ve seen at work – though not always.

The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general public.

In many ways you are protected in law. But as we realise many people and organisations know that but fail to care and make that matter. Because they are above that sort of thing.

And if its from a government website, it must be true. You know thats bullshit too, right?

Anyway Rich, just getting it off my chest.

Chat soon,

Tom.

A calling from Ben Okri

‘What we need is existential creativity…’

‘There is a time for hope and there is a time for realism.

But what is needed now is beyond hope and realism.

This is a time when we ought to dedicate ourselves to bringing about the greatest shift in human consciousness and the way we live…

It is now time for us to be the most creative we have ever been, the most far-sighted, the most practical, the most conscious and selfless.

The stakes have never been, and will never be, higher…

For we are on the verge of losing this most precious and beautiful of worlds, a miracle in all the universe, a home for the evolution of souls, a little paradise here in the richness of space, where we are meant to live and grow and be happy, but which we are day by day turning into a barren stone in space.’  The Guardian, 13.11.21

Hi Rich,

Read this the other day. As I write, I can hear my candle’s wick burning. Its that quiet here. Listen, can you hear it yourself?

The words above are certainly worth reading a few times and reflecting, holding these words, these sentiments alight.

See what stirs.

See what calls out to you, if anything.

Consider this, “the most creative we have ever been.” This resonates. Makes me look out at bare tree’s, their skeletal form under a blue winters sky and wonder what’s next? What to create of this life? These days?

That fits both “selfless and conscious” activity.

That weaves in “live and grow and be happy” while holding a duty to self and a service to others peppered with meaning.

Bears pondering.

Yours, Tom