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Thursday, 18 February 2010


R2D2 Projecting onto Princesses again...

The comic Rodney Dangerfield, once said "My wife´s a water sign.  I´m an earth sign.  Together we make mud."  But really, we do create a third intangible thing when we get together with another.  But what is it?  And do we see it, or do we project something else while hiding the truth from ourselves?

I think most of you know that I am courting an older man.  Difficult to call him really my boy-friend, since long past he ceased to be a boy.  And yet it is one of the longest relationships I’ve had.  It is definitely the one with the least tension, least arguments, least problems and where love has been able to peacefully grow.  He is earth, I am air.  No mud huts.

You can imagine that it was not easy.  It is not easy.  It is like being gay and coming out of the closet.  Except there is no closet.  There is no “May-September” young-older night clubs, magazines, or flags to wave.  There are people who have and are in May-September relationships, quite a lot of famous people actually, but no social standards, no guidelines to follow.

And so it begs the question…what is a relationship.  Why am I living in a partnership with this person.  To what end?  If you are a come-cocos (a coconut eater – or rather someone who thinks too much), it’s quite a tough cookie.  In relationships that are socially more freuquent, then the question is not so evident (though it is still there, just hiding like Anne Frank in her attic).  But what drives us to live, share, sleep with someone else?

I’ve been mulling over this for some time and the conclusion is somewhat embarrassing:  I am unconsciously following, as if along a ploughed path, dreams and fantasies that I have in my mind.  These were created when I was, ohh, all of the age of…



What a year.  I was a right little busy bee making up wonderful romantic ideals.  My first idea of true romantic evening was a fantasy (never came true) of watching “Pretty Woman” with a wonderful boy eating pizza on a blanket on the middle of my lounge floor.  Yep, the Cinderella Complex.  That old favourite: I dreamt of being pushed up into a perfect self and henceforth perfect life, thanks to my prince charming.  I needed only to look out from my upper floor window, no work on my behalf needed, and smile, laughingly, charmingly at Richard Gere overcoming his fear of heights with a rose between his teeth.

I remember sitting at my homework desk, with my pink paper and the white lines, with my pink heart pen writing down the list of the characteristics I deemed necessary of my ideal boy hero.  He must be handsome, funny, intelligent, musical, sporty, rich…

Thirteen eh?  A ripe age for dreaming. I remember sorting out my life, what I would be like by the astronaut year of 2000.  I would have children by then and be just like…and again I embarrass my adult self somewhat more…the family in “Back to the Future”.  You know when M J Fox comes back to the future and he’s sorted out those pesty problems of the past.  As a result he has a family in a spotless, white, glorious kitchen, sun shining in through the windows, mum and dad have just come in from a fun, exciting, evenly matched game of tennis, they are smiling, the children are doing their homework happily and are smiling and the baddie, now turned goodie, is super happy in the garage cleaning the car, aware of his inabilities and happy to be working, and is smiling.

It didn’t actually happen for me like that.

But all that dreaming, all that Pretty Woman and Back to the Future, all that sure idea of what life is about, didn’t leave me when faced by a strangely different reality, it went underground and became my secret template without me even knowing it.  It became the glasses that I wore for discerning if my relationship was going right or not, without me really knowing it.

The thing is that with an older man those projections just broke down.  Shattered.  Really, I cannot ask of him to be sporty and (this is the deal) I cannot dream that he will become sporty.  It’s impossible to change him into my hero.  I cannot project onto him the “sporty” characteristic on my pink paper list.  It’s just not going to happen.  I cannot tell him to start climbing mountains, or mountain biking (he cannot ride a bike).  And so I cannot blame him for when I don’t go (which believe me, I have done many a time with other boyfriends).  He is just not going to change much, or be much else than what he is now.  And somehow, it is a huge relief.  It is a clear level playing field.  I am not projecting things into our relationship that simply cannot and aren’t going to happen.  And it leaves me able to more fully appreciate what is there, like comprehension, an ability to love, complicity... 

But still what is a relationship?

I don’t really know, but I know a little more about what it is not.  I wonder if it is simpler than we project.  Since the simplest things are often the most difficult. 

I don’t want Richard Gere to get jealous, but Rainer Maria Rilke is definately a poetic hero.  In his book Letters to a Young Poet he writes “Try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or like books written in a remote foreign language.  Do not search now for answers that cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them.  And every thing has to be lived.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually live your way, without noticing, into the answer some day.”

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Inner Self

Image: Jardines del Laberinto de Horta

A friend once told me a simple idea that has stayed with me for years. We are like a garden. Inside our garden we can plant whatever flower or vegetable or tree we like, with or without grass, with or without a rockery, and if you like plastic gnomes, just go ahead feel free. We must discover the conditions of your ground soil, for some plants may struggle while others thrive. Care for our garden with water and light or leave it to grow wild. We can leave it in a complete state if we want to. We can do as we like. But it needs constant work for it to be weed less and lovely.

Let us presume that we have an interior garden that we particularly like, we have done it up just so, just as we like so that we are as comfortable as possible within the conditions that we have been given.

We may allow into our garden who we like. But that person really should respect our garden. We don’t want them to be stamping on our pretty flowers or making mud of our grass lawn. And yet often we forget and allow Tom Dick and Harry to harry around.

And so we must learn to control who is allowed in and who is not, on our own grounds. Those who we feel will not respect what we are growing, we can bar entry if we feel necessary, it is our garden to do as we see fit. We can leave them at the gate. Maybe they’ll move on and leave us in peace or if they have the time and patience they can look through the gate. Maybe they’ll begin to appreciate how delicate our little garden is, how uniquely planted all of the beautiful flowers are. Perhaps with time they will become willing to enter our garden with respect and we can change, if we want to, our original admission policy and let them in.

There are others who see the inherent beauty and can help us to make our garden more us. They see the potential of the plants and help us to fertilize to make them stronger, they see sad plants and can help us to cure them. They bring new seeds. Once fear of change is conquered, we are can glad to allow these people to visit our garden of pleasures.

So who do we attract to our garden? They say energy attracts like energy and if we are positive, for example, we will be able to share our garden with many other wonderful positive people as they pass through and sit in our deck chairs for a while, bringing with them the sun.

Indra’s net is a Hindu idea that we are all diamonds on a net. Each diamond is a garden. Each diamond is a soul. Each diamond reflects all of the other diamonds in the net. So let us make our little garden, our diamond, no matter how insignificant, just to our liking and allow the people who are close to reflect and bathe in the beautiful colours. Like a stained glass window of our petals. We are born with an uniqueness, as each snowflake is different. Think of that and marvel if you may.

We each have a talent for arranging our gardens in different ways, we each can do things easily and effortlessly that others find difficult. How do you want to grow your garden and who do you want to allow in?

Who do you enjoy sitting in your deckchair with sharing each other’s sunlight and doing your bestest to disperse the clouds?

Postcards from the Labyrinth

Image: The first film i went to see without my mum!

Dear Family and Friend,

The time of year has come where we have to doubt if we can ever believe ourselves ever again. Two weeks into New Year glass of red in our hand remembering the night, bright eyed (the champagne) and innocent, when we declared to the world and to ourselves what virtuous thing we are about to do. Today, that pureness of festive good will having met the light of 12 whole days, seems to have got lost with the tv remote down the back of the sofa, and we realise that we haven´t actually reduced drinking alcohol at all. Trainers are neatly lined up still at the back of our wardrobes and you find yourself unable to stop yourself from scoffing chocolate every time you go into the kitchen.

But we still have chance! We can prove to ourselves that we can gyrate our bad habits out of the orbit that we are presently flowing in. (Everyday is really a new opportunity, but don’t say it too loud else we’ll be doing an awful lot of stuff tomorrow.)

So today, I’m starting on my New Year’s resolution. It is to open up and share a little of my inner world. The thing is that in the past I had no problems sending out group mails, because I was travelling, and I felt I had the postcard right to email home. I was treading into new territories, I was experiencing new adventures, and I needed to feel that I had an anchor back home so as to not get lost, again.

These days I have become stable. On the outside world it is really my only news. I have been teaching English for 9 years (albeit in lots of different academies, orphanages, universities, countries), I have been living in Barcelona 7 years (albeit in 10 different houses) but now (drum roll please),


..for the last 2 years, I have become absolutely stable. Yes, yes, feel that rush of fresh air woosh through into stunned silence…

I work in the same single establishment, the UB, I live in the same house (the longest I think I have ever lived in one house as an adult) and I am going out with the same man, which is coming up to record breaking proportions.

But constancy is not totally alien to me. What I have been doing almost steadily since I’ve been travelling (it all began in Patagonia in 1999) is an internal journey. Nepal in 2004 got me on a new track and recently I just finished a two year masters in Jungian Psychology and Psychoanalysis. I’ve been going at it some. And now, really I’m in the same situation as when I set out from Heathrow with Chris 14 years ago. I need an anchor. I need to send post cards of where I have been on this internal adventure so I don´t get lost in the labrynths of the mind. Now, all of you on this list have walked some of this journey with me and we have something special between us because of our joint experiences, our shared learning and the love created through them. And as a result, to show my infinite gratitude, I’m going to bare face use you: I need an audience.

I need you now as an extended family the same way that me and my little bro needed my mum and dad on our Special Theatre Performance nights while coming out from the small hiding place behind the curtains of the double patio doors to say “I say, I say, I say, what do you call….” Mum and Dad would laugh hysterically (not exactly at the joke) and clap politely at the end.

Maybe you are going through a New Year’s resolution to reduce your inbox to a manageable amount and respect to you (but remember to send me a mail so I can remove you from the list). Conversely if you want to send this onto other people, feel free. And if you want to add your tuppence worth email me, and you want to have a knees up discussion for all and sundry, I’m also going to post the notes on a Blog.

But no discussion today, just like a first day of class. Me prancing around and trying to be affectionately nice and then doing a register. Students leaving dazed.

It’s not too late is it to say Happy New Year is it?
Happy New Year.
Thanks, mil thanks for anchoring me.
Lots of love

Happy Christmas Solstice and a Merry New Year

image: a julia set

Dear All,

¡¡Happy Christmas and New Year!!

The Christmas (Winter) Solstice is the time in which the sun sends the least amount of light in comparison to the dark. It is when our ancestors feared that Set (the god of darkness and chaos) would win over his brother Horus (who has a surprisingly similar CV to Jesus and we could say represents Platonic light and order). 

The other day I was thinking about it, toilet paper in hand...can you imagine a time without refrigerators, without shops and food supplies coming along motorways in lorries, but just you and your tribe watching the cold, seemingly dead earth. You’ve just had a bad harvest year. You are hoping to get through this winter again…without dying. Some you may not see each other again, especially the older and the younger ones...It is a time of family closeness.

The pilgrims going over to the Americas the first couple of years would not have survived the winter if it weren’t for the native Indians who helped them. (Who they later killed of course, but lets forget that again).

We live out this drama watching Luke Skywalker fight his asthmatic father while complaining the heating is a bit low and the chocolates aren’t up to scratch. Physically, it seems we have lost sense of Xmas.

But there are other levels of this light-dark struggle that are not just physical. And so I wish for you all in this celebration of light, that as you eat, you enjoy, as you contact or see your family, you appreciate their lives even though they drive you crazy, and that you have a god damn good knees up where ever you are. 

As the New Year once again breaks through chaos to create a new order, I wish for you, as we each make our journeys around our suns, that in the dark inevitable patches of individual chaos that each of us will face, that your light, deep down, will be a constant source of comfort and you will have strength to maintain the connection with your natural inherent beauty and perfection.

Will I break the alcohol side of my diet to celebrate Christmas? Is Rudolf´s nose red?

Thanks for being in my life, near or far.

Lots of love and Christmas Cheer

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.~Anais Nin

Dear All,

¡¡Felices Fiestas!!

El Solsticio de Navidad (Invierno) es el tiempo en el cual el sol proporciona una menor cantidad de la luz con respecto a la oscuridad. En ese momento es cuando nuestros antepasados temieron que Set (el Dios de la oscuridad y el caos) vencería a su hermano Horus (que tiene un Currículo sorprendentemente semejante a Jesús quien podemos decir representa luz y orden Platonico). 

El otro día pensaba en ello, (con el papel de higiénico en la mano…) imaginé un tiempo sin frigoríficos, sin tiendas y provisiones que vienen por las autopistas en camiones, en el que solamente existe las personas y su tribu que sienten el frío y miran una tierra aparentemente muerta. Acaban de tener un año de mala cosecha. Esperan pasar este invierno otra vez…sin morirse. Alguno de ellos tal vez ya no van a ver al otro otra vez, especialmente los más viejos y los más jóvenes…Es un tiempo para la cercanía familiar. 

Los Pilgrims que fueron a las américas no habrían sobrevivido las primeros años de invierno si no fuera por los indios nativos que les ayudaron. Olvidemos que luego les mataban...

Seguimos viviendo esta drama mirando Luke Skywalker lucha a su padre asmático mientras que nos quejamos que la calefacción está un poco baja y los chocolates no dan la talla. ¡Feliz Navidad! Físicamente ya se ha pierdo su sentido.

Pero hay otros niveles de esta lucha de la luz-oscuridad que no son solamente físicos. Y por eso te deseo que en esta celebración de la luz, cuando comas, disfrutes, cuando contactes o veas a tu familia, aprecies sus vidas, aunque ellos te vuelvan loco/a, y que pases muchos momentos bomba. 

El Año Nuevo viene otra vez emergiendo del caos para crear un nuevo orden, por eso te deseo para ti, cuando a cada uno nos marque nuestros viajes alrededor de nuestros soles, que en los zonas oscuras de caos individual, que es inevitable, veas su luz al fondo, por que será una fuente constante de consuelo y tendrás fuerza para mantener la conexión con su belleza y con su perfección inherente y natural. 

¿Romperé yo la dieta con respeto al alcohol para celebrar Navidad? ¿El nariz de Rudolf es rojo?

Gracias por estar en mi vida, cerca o distante.
Mucho amor

-- Y el día vino cuando el riesgo que lo tomó para quedarse apretado dentro del brote fue más doloroso que el riesgo que lo tomó para florecer.~ Anais Nin