Moving into Stillness – inspiring teaching

purposeyogaschiffman Tuesday was one of my favourite yoga teachers.  She was also deeply involved in the Phoenix Trust that brought yoga to prisons.

She infused calm into to her class and her ways of talking yoga into me were exquisitely evocative.  In the early part of the class after we had relaxed in Shavasana  and come to sitting position, she would read a passage from a yoga book, to set the tone.  And at the end of the class she would read another passage, often from the same book creating a powerful topping and tailing..

One of her favourite books to quote from was an old and well thumbed copy of Erich Shiffman’s book ‘Yoga – The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness’.  It was often only a paragraph, but it always touched me core deep.

Before I left for the States, Tuesday was one of two yoga teachers that I hired for a private session so I could record it and take them with me.   So, I have listened to her often and still enjoy my practice with her.

As I embrace yoga more deeply, I’ve found myself acquiring yoga books. One of the very first was the very Erich Schiffman book whose passages inspired me.

I’ve been looking through it, starting to read it again in depth, versus the dipping in I’ve done here and there.. and I am once again entranced and taken into my body by his wording.

It’s obvious to me that he is writing from the very depth of his being and he is a skilled linguist, using various ‘hypnotic’ formats that lead the reader to go within and have their own personal experience. He doesn’t force anything, he simply dangles the suggestion and the equivalences.. and it really works even his opening line talks of what he proposes being possibly the most heart-ening belief you might hope to be true.

Those words are so well constructed. He acknowledges that beliefs are hopes and that if we believe wisely we can experience all kinds of ‘heart-ening’ outcomes.. And think about it.. the word ‘heart’.. in a chapter that is steeped in love, about love, about goodness..

stillness-schiffmanHere are the opening words to Chapter 2 of his book. The chapter is called The Core of Goodness.

 

 

 

He begins by saying

This is the most important theme in this book. It is also one of the most heartening ideas you might ever hope to be true. Because it is so important, let’s go slowly.

Wow!  And when you read his words below you will begin to notice in your body how you feel and be inspired.. the more you read, the more you feel this presence… this sense .. this possibility… so find somewhere peaceful to sit comfortably so that it is effortless to absorb the energy of his words..

“As you sit quietly and immerse yourself in the peace and stillness of your own centered being, you will gradually begin to experience yourself in an undistorted manner. 

You will sink below or rise above your usual sense of self and instead come upon the undistorted, clear, conscious experience of Being – YOUr Being.

You will experience yourself as the specific conscious expression of an infinitely expressive Consciousness, Mind, Presence or God. You will thereby intuitively know that you are more than physical and human, that your spiritual existence is guaranteed, immortal, eternal and true and that your Original Nature is absolutely good.

You’ll know that you are creative energy, Spirit, a unique expression of God’s infinite Self-Expression and that at your core is Goodness. This is what you’ll experience because in some mysterious and uncompromising way, this IS what we are. We are all made of God Substance, Consciousness, Love.

As you sit in stillness, experiencing the energetic feeling-tone of You, you will invariably begin to feel exquisite inside. You will begin to feel at ease, deeply relaxed, natural, perhaps for the first time in a long time….. and as you relax, and as you feel the energy you are made of, you will begin to feel loved. You’ll find yourself feeling this way, inevitably, eventually, as you relax inside and allow yourself to become increasingly in touch with the loving goodness that is already in you… and it is already in you because that’s how you were built. Love is the all constituting substance of Being. It’s what you are made of and you did not create yourself.

When you sit quietly and let go of every false self-definition, of everything you think you know about who you are, and then BE what’s left, what remains is the untarnished presence of who you’ve always been and still really are. This untarnished presence manifests – shines-as pure, clear awareness and unconditional love. When you experience your essence, you will feel this natural lovingness within yourself without having to do anything.

That was the first page. It goes on for a further four pages.. a veritable entrancement… it is then followed with an exploration of ‘heart breathing’.. and so much more.. Profound, inspiring and empowering…

 

teachyouAnd I love his advice on teaching yoga.

 

From Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffman

 

And here’s one of the rare links to Erich Schiffman giving a relaxation session.. If you like auditory, you’ll love this

namastelonghair

 

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Fake rituals v natural flow

It’s a good thing that I truly don’t give a rats ass about Christmas or the Holidays because there is no standard for me that says if I don’t do this celebration, I am somehow lacking something.

I asked one of our neighbors who has been divorced for 30 years what she was doing at Christmas.  She lit up as she said ‘I am going to have some nice food, watch TV and thoroughly enjoy my own company.   Yay!  I get it completely.

And I am a social kind of person. I love a good get together for no reason other than a group of people want to commune in some way and maybe to celebrate something.

I was the 15 year old who sent my father a note on some celebration or other saying that I wasn’t going to participate in Hallmark’s commercial drive this year.

I love breaking bread with friends engaging in deep conversation and uproarious laughter. I love to hear people’s stories and tell them my stories.   I love to share energy with others in a reciprocal way… and I hate that in some way we have been memed into believing that we must do this holiday or that one.

In the 90’s I used to run a part time flower stall with my then partner.  I would see guys coming home on Friday night, late, buying flowers to ‘appease the wife’. They’d tell me ‘I’m in trouble’ or ‘I forgot this’.  I used to say ‘why don’t you just buy flowers for no good reason other than to make someone smile?’.    We did a good trade on Valentines day because everyone felt obliged to make some gesture, usually a boring dozen red roses, hastily picked up or even ordered from the most expensive florist.  This was not caring giving, it was ‘ought to or else’ giving.   What would happen if people didn’t need an ‘excuse’ day to show love.  What if it were a regular thing, spontaneous or planned?

The Holidays are a celebration of excessive consumption and a commercial junket carefully crafted with the purpose of  extracting as much wealth as possible from as many people as possible.  The meme of giving associated with Christmas has been hijacked by the maniplators so we feel as if we’re in some way doing good by buying our kids the X-box super duper latest version or feeding people excessive portions of rich food.

The commercial world colludes to present a snow covered white picket idealistic scene of holly and turkeys and lights and snow with a cosy fire inside ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ carols round a light bedecked tree, everyone warmly dressed and smiling blissfully as people bask in joy and happiness and contentment.   That’s the illusion we are chasing and perpetrating.

Even if we do manage to achieve something akin to that, there are millions of people who are suffering deeply and for whom this time of year is just a reminder of social isolation, deprivation and lack.  Humanity is becoming more and more infected by the meme that our goal in life is to have enough money to life the life we are programmed to want.

Often the Christmas thing creates lots of stress, drains resources and leaves many prticipants with a hangover of one kind or another.   Why can’t we just get together with family and friends because that’s a cool thing to do.

Why do we have to do all our ‘goodwill’ and ‘caring’ once a year.

Christmas has moved away from honoring the spirit of  Jesus or what he stands for.  It’s just another day where kids get greedy for toys and adults get just as greedy for food and drink that we’ve  been manipulated to think of as a route to joy.

It’s lovely to get together for any reason with people we enjoy and who enjoy us. It’s torture to be forced into a fake assembly where everyone pretends to get on and under the surface stuff goes unsaid. Yet if these gatherings where there is discord could be a ground for exploring the hidden emotions peacefully and making resolutions to resolve them…

It’s a fake ritual for fake reasons and without any true spiritual foundation it sucks.  It’s not Christmas any more, it’s the Holidays.   The Holidays for no reason.  In nature holidays are celebrations based on life. Holidays are when you celebrate the completion of work.

Living close to the earth puts you in touch with the flow of nature.. your actions are dictated by the natural changes that occur every day.. Instead of looking forward to anything, we experience what is.. In the spring new life begins.. we see the trees budding and plants poking their heads through the soil.  Lambs are born and humans plant seeds in land that has been tended and cared for from the previous growing season.

Every day we make no waste.. for our food waste becomes compost or fodder for animals.. the poop from the chickens feeds the earth.. our pee diluted with stored rainwater adds nitrogen to the soil.. The fall of leaves in Autumn begins to mulch the ground and provide a warm home for dormancy..things begin to decay…

Throughout the year we are gathering fuel, fallen from the forest, managed tree felling.. storing it up so that it seasons and is ready for the winter…

What did we lose when we lost our daily connection to the natural environment and all-encompassing consciousness.

And, what has to  happen for us to reclaim and embrace this once more?

Posted in Return to Earth, The system is broken | Leave a comment

Sunny’s story – 1 – 2013

A story begins where it begins. Tomorrow my story may begin 40 years ago but today it begins here.

I sat in the back of the cop car, handcuffed, watching through a blur of tears and window bars as the landscape of my life disappeared. The house faded behind the trees as we sped down the little dirt track away from my home, my doggies, the land, the community and the man I loved.

It was a typical, hot, sunny, sultry  North Georgia Mountains August day – August 20th 2012 to be precise.  I had just hung out the washing on the line and was walking back to my house, barefoot through the grass when I heard the words ‘Ma’am’. I turned round to see a cop emerging from the trees behind the garage.

My first thought was to run.  I wanted him to put a bullet in me and end it.   Instead I froze.  I realize now that he wouldn’t have shot me unless I’d indicated I had a gun and was going to use it. Instead he would have thrown me to the ground with 10,000 volts from his taser. I could not escape my fate.

Two hours later I was being shunted into the sheriffs office to be ‘processed’.

Standing in front of the computerized fingerprint machine I knew that it was only a matter of time before they discovered I was an illegal immigrant.   If I’d entered the country illegally there would be no record of me, but I hadn’t.  I’d been fingerprinted on entry.  

They made me strip and put on a set of ‘oranges’ and a pair of matching fake crocs. I had no underwear or socks.   I was given a plastic box containing a mini set of toiletries, a worn white towel and a thin, blue plastic covered foam mattress, two sheets and a grey blanket with blue checks.  A male cop marched me down the corridor and opened the door of D wing where I was assigned the top bunk in D5, one of only 8 cells in this small women’s block.

My husband found out when he got home from work and rushed to bail me out.  The UK debit card he used failed .  There was $10k in the account.  I watched out of my narrow cell window as came out of the jail, got into his truck and sat there crying.  I banged on the window and caught his eye… the sadness and depth of despair was palpable.   Fifteen minutes later I was called to the front where I was handed a piece of paper stating that ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement s] had put a hold on me.

I went back to my ‘pod’ and lay down in the empty unused shower room. I cried and cried until there were no more tears.

My husband had been arrested on the same charges a week earlier than me and had been bailed out by friends.   On the recommendation of a drug dealer I befriended in jail, he hired a lawyer giving  him virtually every cent we had.  The lawyer was paid to defend my husband and influence my case.  Two phone calls later he had got my bail reduced and persuaded the bondsman to go surety for me, despite me being an ‘international flight’ risk.

If he hadn’t done that I’d still be in that jail today, awaiting trial.  As I filled out paperwork with the bondsman I saw my beloved standing behind the glass and bars. The next 48 hours would be decisive. The hope I’d held onto for two days was shattered  when, at 8 am on Wednesday 17th October 2012, 6 hours before my hold was due to expire, the ICE man came for me.

I was now officially in the custody of the Department of Homeland Swastika and I was transferred to Irwin County Jail in South Georgia 6 hours drive away from my home and my husband.  My last ‘meeting’ with him was a 30 minute visitation, behind a glass screen, talking through a telephone, with one hand pressed against the glass and tears in our eyes, just  the movies except this was for real. It wouldn’t end after 2 hours of screen time.

I clambered into the front bench seat of a transport van.  There was one other occupant, a young South American male, sitting in the back. He was in a straight jacket and had a plastic gag strapped round his mouth.

I was kept in Irwin County Jail for three months.

On the 17th January 2013, I was hauled from my cell at 1.30 am and told to pack my stuff. It was time.  I was finally being deported; barred for 10 years and likely forever because of the felony charges hanging over my head.   I had lost everything that I truly loved.  And now I guess I have a few Orange is the New Black stories to tell.

I came back to my parents home in Eastbourne on the South Coast of England with a heavy heart.   I had spent most of my life escaping the clutches of my mother and her fear and neuroses and cover up lies.  I had vowed never to return committing myself to a life where I could neither work nor drive.

I had led a life of adventure finally running a workshop and coaching business and being published 3 times by Harper Collins.  I became depressed about it all and heard the call to adventure yet again.  I wanted to go into the woods and write.  I meeting my husband, and joining his mission to return to earth, live simply on the land, learn the old timey ways and wake people up.

Sitting on the plane gorging myself on plane food  I said to myself ‘when I get back I’m going to make Eastbourne ‘edible’ . I had no idea how I was going to do that but I trusted that I would find a way.   And I did… almost.

I’d only been here two months when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After his death in October 2013, I faced the death of my own freedom.  I became a reluctant carer for my mother.   I don’t like my mother and both my brother and I suffer from a pile of unresolved anger in relation to her. Now that she has dementia, there is no possibility of resolution.   I vowed when I jumped to America that I would never return not even if one of my parents died.  I guess this is some kind of Karmic destiny.  I find myself in another kind of jail that has no bars but is equally as oppressive.

Every day I experience my mothers dementia, irrationality, depression, grief and fear.   I am being unwillingly re-inoculated with everything I fought so hard to shake off.  My own sadness and depression is fuelled by hers. I pull away constantly to save myself from this energetic vampirism but ever moment I spend in this place, I feel my energy being sapped away.  

And I am poor.  I live on a carers allowance soon to become a meagre state pension.  I did not make provision for my old age.  I didn’t want to.  I wanted to trust that it would all be OK.   But until I can escape this system, I see no hope in a world where everything is about money.    I have lost my best friend and spiritual partner and the animals I loved so deeply and the land that revived me and the community that I had grown to love and I find myself going through the motions of living

Sometimes I feel such a darkness come up on me as I stop being in the moment and think and cogitate and project and let fear lead me…

One friend tells me that the darkness is here to grow our souls and that it is through these challenges that we will ascend spiritually.  When the darkness is upon me I hate it, as I resist rather than flow through. Sometimes all  I want to do is go back to bed and watch TV and gorge on unhealthy crap.  Sometimes I feel as if I have lost all faith in humanity and my ability to emerge.   And even as I write from a place of more hope I have edited this gloominess to reflect the other side.. the over the hill.. th enext event horizon.

It’s as if the dark side of me wants to destroy any spark of who I am deep down as if coming from a profound self hate.  At the time I despair.. and ask can I mine those depths and find me again.   And in those moments, I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

I am 61 years of age and have lived a life of wild adventure. I cannot see how the remaining years of my life will pan out but I know that I do not want to grow old eking out a living in a cold studio flat cut off from life and nature.

I have a dream of living in community, on the land. All I have to offer are my energy, gifts, skills and knowledge and a tiny pension which I would gladly give in return for a place that I can call home among people young and old who are dedicated to caring for this planet and each other.

In these times darkness is a constant companion.. the energy of the world is disturbed and rumbling and fearful as people close down in the face of financial and planetary crisis.  I fear for what will come and I don’t know if we can turn it around because so many people are asleep in a matrix-style illusion that is cracking open every moment.

Yet there must be hope.. we have to come back to the here and now and do what we can.. If the doo doo hits the fan then better to have lived and tried and striven than to have bent beneath the dark yoke and given in…

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Why we need to return to earth

returntoearthToday, Sunday October 25,  is the first day of ‘daylight savings times’.. where we arbitrarily decide to apply our labels to the seasonal phenomena because it facilitates the techno-plastic way we have of living from children having to get on buses or trains or in cars or walking alongside traffic, to learn.. to adults who a large proportion of their life labouring at what we don’t love so that we can buy the ‘plastic’ salves that help you  escape the pain and stress that way of life brings.

natureflowI believe that we are optimized when we flow with the natural rhythm of life. We are designed to function at our best when we rise and sleep in synch with the sun.. Our being feels at peace when at one with the harmonic integral music of nature. That is the homeostasis we seek.. our bodies are constantly shifting to achieve that state of perfect flow.

However, we have imposed a rather stinky cacophany of interferences into the natural rhythms of the planet, the elements, the beings, plants, humans, animals that divides us from that of which we are a part of but not apart from.

I sit here as intermittent bird song is silenced by  the sounds traffic, it goes past and when it stops, I feel it in my body, the release.. I think the body tenses at the sounds, even minutely and is therefore out of a state of relaxation.. it is in some kind of deeper fight or flight reaction to the auditory intruders… When I look out at this ‘beautiful’ view, it is punctuated with buildings, noise.. yet when I walk deep in rurality, I hear, smell, see, feel and taste only natural energies..and I’m betting when you do that you notice the difference. stress2

Here in the plastic version of life that we have created so voraciously we have gotten so out of synch, that our bodies,and our souls are corrupted, twisted.. and ..of who we truly are.. And the more that happens, the more we need to engage in activities to heal, including trips out to the ‘country’ to get a whiff of it. This state is akin to smelling good wholesome healing, healthy food while being forced to eat processed white bread tarted up with toxic additives.  We have to run along pavements or go to the gym or a chlorinated pool to ‘exercise’.. when all the exercise we need can come from just being.. on the earth.. being part of it.. living on the land..

naturalflow2We feel the yearning to return to earth and many of us find ourselves barred outside the gated exclusivity that is what it means to ‘own land’. The land offers us a chance to be with the earth on a daily basis yet the masses do not own land.. and therefore are barred from this experience, bought of with public green spaces as some kind of sop. Hmmm… didn’t that happen not so long ago.. when people were separated from the land and moved to ‘not so green reservations’ and the land so divided and sold up that the earth became a commodity and those who had ruled those who had not. Same thing today..

The Matrix is the perfect metaphor..

herojourneymodifiedAt some point everyone will crack. It might be a single moment accruing from many others where we go ‘this ain’t right’.. or ‘there must be something else’ or it may just be a nagging awareness tick tocking through us.. as we begin to wake up and hear, see, feel the call in many different ways.

Once the cracks manifest, there is no fixing it back to how it was.. and cracks beget more cracks until we start to see through the mist of life as we know it.. and hear, feel, see, smell and can almost touch the call . At some point we will not be able to tell ourselves any more lies and we are driven towards the edge.. preparing to take the leap into our  next heroic journey..

We do have some history of this. We made it through 9 months or so of living in a womb, and we trekked through the birth canal.. [most of us] and we’ve experienced a few ‘life hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes and fires’. We’ve endured multiple ‘heroic journeys’ in our life.. taking leaps of ‘cliffs’, being thrown unwillingly into the deep water or had our world set on fire or been stuck in the mud.

We’re actually quite good at this stuff..stressfreezone

Before we, as a species, shoot for the moon, maybe we need to find our roots in the earth..

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Jail Tales – The day they came for me

A story begins where it begins. Tomorrow my story may begin 40 years ago but today it begins here.

I sat in the back of the cop car, handcuffed, watching through a blur of tears and window bars as the landscape of my life disappeared. The house faded behind the trees as we sped down the little dirt track away from my home, my doggies, the land, the community and the man I loved.

It was a typical, hot, sunny, sultry  North Georgia Mountains August day – August 20th 2012 to be precise.  I had just hung out the washing on the line and was walking back to my house, barefoot through the grass when I heard the words ‘Ma’am’. I turned round to see a cop emerging from the trees behind the garage.

My first thought was to run.  I wanted him to put a bullet in me and end it.   Instead I froze.  I realize now that he wouldn’t have shot me unless I’d indicated I had a gun and was going to use it. Instead he would have thrown me to the ground with 10,000 volts from his taser. I could not escape my fate.

Two hours later I was being shunted into the sheriffs office to be ‘processed’.

Standing in front of the computerized fingerprint machine I knew that it was only a matter of time before they discovered I was an illegal immigrant.   If I’d entered the country illegally there would be no record of me, but I hadn’t.  I’d been fingerprinted on entry.  

They made me strip and put on a set of ‘oranges’ and a pair of matching fake crocs. I had no underwear or socks.   I was given a plastic box containing a mini set of toiletries, a worn white towel and a thin, blue plastic covered foam mattress, a sheets and a grey blanket with blue checks.  A male cop marched me down the corridor and opened the door of D wing where I was assigned the top bunk in D5, one of only 8 cells in this small women’s block.

My husband found out when he got home from work and rushed to bail me out.  The UK debit card he used failed .  There was $10k in the account.  I watched out of my narrow cell window as came out of the jail, got into his truck and sat there crying.  I banged on the window and caught his eye… the sadness and depth of despair was palpable.   Fifteen minutes later I was called to the front where I was handed a piece of paper stating that ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement s] had put a hold on me.

I went back to my ‘pod’ and lay down in the empty unused shower room. I cried and cried until there were no more tears.

My husband had been arrested on the same charges a week earlier than me and had been bailed out by friends.   On the recommendation of a drug dealer I befriended in jail, he hired a lawyer giving  him virtually every cent we had.  The lawyer was paid to defend my husband and influence my case.  Two phone calls later he had got my bail reduced and persuaded the bondsman to go surety for me, despite me being an ‘international flight’ risk.

If he hadn’t done that I’d still be in that jail today, awaiting trial.  As I filled out paperwork with the bondsman I saw my beloved standing behind the glass and bars. The next 48 hours would be decisive. The hope I’d held onto for two days was shattered  when, at 8 am on Wednesday 17th October 2012, 6 hours before my hold was due to expire, the ICE man came for me.

I was now officially in the custody of the Department of Homeland Swastika and I was transferred to Irwin County Jail in South Georgia 6 hours drive away from my home and my husband.  My last ‘meeting’ with him was a 30 minute visitation, behind a glass screen, talking through a telephone, with one hand pressed against the glass and tears in our eyes, just  the movies except this was for real. It wouldn’t end after 2 hours of screen time.

I clambered into the front bench seat of a transport van.  There was one other occupant, a young South American male, sitting in the back. He was in a straight jacket and had a plastic gag strapped round his mouth.

I was kept in Irwin County Jail for three months.   More stories here Jail Tales – 1 Depression and learning to play the system

On the 17th January 2013, I was hauled from my cell in Irwin County Jail at 1.30 am and told to pack my stuff. It was time.  I was finally being deported; barred for 10 years and likely forever because of the felony charges hanging over my head.   I had lost everything that I truly loved.  And now I guess I have a few Orange is the New Black stories to tell.

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Attraction Synchronicity Surrender

ATTRACTION, SYNCHRONICITY, SURRENDER I will need somewhere to live soon be it in two or 12 months. This place will be sold and the bank gets nearly all of the proceeds.

When I share this, it’s interesting and sometimes amusing hearing the suggestions, concerns that people come up with from different paradigms.

A relative said ‘will you get yourself a nice little flat or cottage?’ and proceeded to tell me about a friend who’d sold up [key point I ain’t got anything to sell up!] and now rents in Axminster – Sweet but not sure it’s me! This well meaning person also said of the huge 60’s coffee table in the flat ‘that would make a nice little coffee table for your new place’.

‘Whaaat.. that would take up half the space I expect to be living in’.  That is an item for auction to Brighton trendies. It’s a solid, beautiful retro piece. I can do far more with the money than I can with a showpiece coffee table.

It makes complete sense when you know this person lives in a committed long term marriage, shared ownership of house, small mortgage, is houseproud and works for a reasonable salary. Their world is so different from mine.

Someone else way on the other end of the scale suggested I could do up an ambulance and live in that. Have you ever seen the fitted storage space in an ambulance. It’s ace and really sturdy..

I love that idea, and I know that on my own, without mechanical skills’ I’m not sure I’d be able to manage a mobile home. That is definitely something better down with another. I saw that movie ‘Into The Wild’! Do not go it alone is the message!

Someone recently posted something about a co-operative housing scheme and I looked into that.. very low rent, nice area – Hove – ish.. bit busy for me..

Another friend had visited a wilderness woodland school place maybe 40 miles from here, where the owners live on site and are trying to build self reliance skills education. My friend had talked about me with them and they want to meet me. Who knows? I immediately thought ‘caravan? live in help?. lots of possiblities opened out..

I see all of these as synchronicities and part of the thing they call attraction. It’s really about having a sense of the big picture of what you want.. not details.

Contrary to most theories, mine says… know the feeling of the whole. And the words I use for that are ‘I want to live in nature’ qualified by ‘I want to be able to put my feet on the earth when I open my door’. I have a sense of wanting community of people willing to work with the land, live simply where work is ‘living’ and people do what they do best.. sharing skills, childcare, food preparation and growing.. the whole shebang.

And I speak about it.. I tell people so I am putting it out there This is my form of prayer. Privately I pray for it by asking ‘give me the place where I can be at my best’ AND we have to remember ‘letting go and surrendering’ knowing that maybe we still have to go through some to get even stronger and evolve even more.

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Dear Facebook Diary Friday Jan 22nd

I just got off the phone with a lady from the Council Housing [now known as Homemove Allocations Team ha ha]. I filled out a long application form in May 2013 and received a letter in Jan 2014 telling me that it wasn’t processed due to a ‘technical error’  With caring for my parents and trying to deal with so many issues relating to ‘returning to the system’ I’d been ignoring this for a whole year!
I’d gone through what, for me, was the pain of form filling] because being on that list meant that I had a doubled chance of getting a place at the small over 55’s ‘sheltered housing’ apartment block I’d put my name down for . [I applied cos they take pets and if I got in I could at least have a base from which to operate and consider my next moves without too much stress].

She revealed that a member of staff had only scanned in every other page of my original form and that they now ‘publicly flogged’ those who erred in such a way. Made me smile. But it was good to know the detail of it. I always wondered about what ‘technical error’ meant in that case.

I had put off filling in this form again, unconsciously for two reasons, one of which only became clear to me just now. First off, I hate the IDEA of filling in forms. The dread that comes with it like some burden YET, paradoxically, I actually enjoy filling in forms and always have. I like sharing information..It’s a trait I have in buckets. Give me an online survey and I’m there.. words flowing!

The second reason is that I remembered I’d made a mistake on the new form they’d sent me. Every time I’ve opened it since then, I’ve seen that mistake and thought ‘oh no, I need another form’ and felt all negative about having to even pick up the phone. That’s what happens when waves of depression get stirred by one tiny thing and I go into inaction mode. Chill out and do nothing.

But today I’d made progress. I’d made the call. I asked the lady on the phone about the mistake and explained my particular situation, not a tenant, not an owner etc. She laughed. ‘We get all kinds of crossings out and children draw pictures on the forms’. I’d been putting it off cos I was thinking how some forms used to say ‘keep it in the boxes’ ‘use black pen’ etc.. because they were read by optical readers. Now they scan them. And apparently mistakes don’t matter as long as the info is clear.

Then she said ‘we’d need a letter from you about the probate’. They just want to know that I’m not scamming them and inheriting a 400K house and still wanting to be on the social housing list. ‘I wish I told her. I’d buy land and start a community’. So it is a little more complex but I feel much better now and I made her smile and she me and we ended with laughter in our voices. AND before I said goodbye and thanks I thought of the person who’d made the ‘technical error’ and suddenly it was in a big context of what’s happening in this world.

The system IS cracking. Not enough capacity for too many needs. Everyone is stressed to some measure – but the higher up the pyramid of wealth you are, the less you feel it.. but it’s creeping up and affecting everything. I’d worked in the council education department for 6 years and then it was a ‘doddle’ Working for the council was a very cushy number in terms of flexible hours and benefits. She’d been there 16 years and noticed how different it was. Much more work, much more stress and having to deal with a lot more angry disenfranchised people.

It’s affecting all of us. We had a meeting last night of our voluntary group.. and I realised that every one of the five of us around the table were experiencing the cracking, illness, financial demands, housing demands, too many demands on time, family stuff.

We are all suffering.. and what is happening is holistic.. nothing can be separated from the whole.. It means there is no blame, there is only understanding of what makes something happen or someone do something. And understanding leads to compassion which leads to feeling for others more.. knowing the circumstances. The only way we can resolve this is holistically, taking into account the ramifications of all our actions on the whole and finding whole solutions.

What a process we have to go through to emerge. We are in turbulent times both physically and psychologically. Our base is not as secure as it once felt.. the mismanagement of all before us and ourselves has made it so. WE HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER WAY.. and I doubt it will be via the system that fracked up in the first place.

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