Higher Purpose

“Why did it take you so long to return to us?”

“I was afraid.”

“Of what were you afraid?”

“I don’t know if they… ” Khalann gestures towards the black figures standing like sentinels in front of each of the standing stones in the circle, “are malevolent or benign.”

“Do you trust me?”

“I’m unsure.  I don’t know who you are.”

“But I am you.”

Khalann furrows her brow, feeling uncertain.  Then she nods, recalling the quest for connecting with her higher self.  But she looks so – ordinary, like a mother whose children are now grown, she carries the same lines upon her face, as if weary of her life experience. Khalann had somehow expected magical auras and energies to emanate from this higher self, like some angelic being.

“You don’t look like me.”

“How would you have me look?”

The woman shapeshifts to look more like Khalann.

“This?”

She moulds again into a older man.

“Perhaps you’d prefer this? Oh, no.  I see you were expecting this.”

Khalann smiles as her expectations are met and an aurora of light flows from the being before returning to her original form.

“Appearance doesn’t define me.” Khalann barely whispers the insight she is given, “or anyone else.”

She turns to face the guardians, one standing by each of the stones. Their faces were shadowed by their hoods, but this time she prepares herself for what she might see.  The first looked up slowly as if acknowledging Khalann’s presence.   Khalann’s breath is taken as she is drawn into the space inside the hood.  There is no face, but instead a galaxy.  No, not a galaxy, several galaxies.  No, it is more than that. Khalann realises that she is gazing upon the universe itself.

Her higher self reminds her of the reason Khalann has returned.  “They are your guardians and guides, ask of them what you must.”

Khalann instinctively gives herself over to their energy and enters their world.

She loses all sense of time and place, all sense of her self as a material entity.  She experiences a deeper wisdom, not in the form or words, just a knowing.

As she returns to full awareness, she is sitting with her back to a standing stone, and tries to grapple with her experience.

She isn’t aware of having asked her question, but the answer is clear in her mind.

“My highest purpose is to be.”

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Story inspired by Calen’s Sandbox Challenge no. 76: What would you say is your life’s highest purpose?

Featured Image: Public Domain

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I am …..

My hand drifts upward.  It carves a path, parting the air like curtains.  Halfway upon its journey, I slice it down again, hiding it behind the curtain I’ve created.

I can feel their eyes staring, despising my willingness to answer.  I hear Bonnie’s sigh of relief, knowing she won’t be picked on.    It’s our unwritten accord.  If she sits behind me, Miss won’t see her and then she won’t have to answer any of her stupid questions.  Except I don’t think they’re stupid, I want to answer them, it makes me feel clever.  But the staring eyes stab at someone who’s clever.  So I say they are stupid questions too.

From the corner of my eye, I perceive Bobbie’s enthusiastic endeavour to gain the teacher’s attention.  Perceive is a good word.  I learned it out of the book that sounds like a species of dinosaur.  The book told me it is another word for ‘see’.   Miss likes the words that I take from the book.

“Miss, Miss!”

Miss barely disguises her groan.  Bobbie never answers the question properly and Miss doesn’t like to tell anyone they’re wrong.  I’ve noticed that.  Like, sometimes I get it wrong when I take a word from the book, but she doesn’t say I’m wrong.  She asks me what the word means.  She did that when I used the word prodigious to describe mum’s fat belly.  I didn’t want to say fat, as I know she doesn’t like it.

Miss asks Amanda instead, but Amanda has it wrong.

“That’s an interesting idea, let’s all consider it.  Think back to our plant experiment, what did we find out that would suggest Amanda’s idea works?”

Bobbie waves again.

“Miss, Miss!”

Bobbie’s ideas never work.

Miss is a doctor of philosophy and she loses her patients.  I’m not sure how she does it, I don’t think philosophers have patients, but my mum says she loses her patients too when she’s annoyed. And she’s not a doctor.  Once I tried to be helpful and told mum she should look in a surgery.  That only made her lose more patients and she had one of those rants about me being too clever for my own good.  I promised her I’ll try not to be clever in the future, but that made her babble on about how I made her lose more and more of her patients.  She mustn’t have any left.  It’s been two days since she lost any.

One day she got like that and I ran away to the bathroom and locked the door.  I spent a long time looking at myself in the mirror.  I was wearing those blue and silver ribbons in my hair that Rebecca is jealous of.  Her cousin told me that she thinks I show off too much.  The blue and silver ribbons were one of the many examples she gave me of my show-offiness.  As I looked in the mirror, I got an answer that explained everything.

I am an alien.

alien

 

My mum and dad aren’t really my parents.  They don’t look like me.  They don’t think like me.   They prodigiously tell me I don’t act like them.    No-one likes me, except Miss, but she doesn’t count.  If she likes you, you get teased about being her pet.

Miss has eyes that perceive everywhere.  Her attention shifts around the room until it rests upon me like an unwanted flea.  I look at my hand as if it has a will of its own and frown at its obstinance.  In vain hope,  I look behind me to see who she is looking at.  I don’t want to answer now.  I’m an alien and I need to keep it a secret.

Bonnie shrinks, but Miss isn’t looking at her.  Everyone is looking at me.  In my mind, I am escaping in a ship to the darkest reaches of space reporting on Earth’s lost patients and wrong answers to questions.  But the eyes don’t go away.  I make another report.  Humans have eyes that dig into your skin like the tips of a monster’s fingers.  The teacher says something I can’t decipher.  She doesn’t speak alien language.  I look hopefully toward Bobbie who is furiously waving his hand.

It occurs to me Bobbie has one single idea that works.  I don’t want to steal it, but I do.

I straighten myself up, and take note of all the eyes narrowing, accusing me of being teacher’s pet.  I clear my throat and proudly turn to face my tormentors.

“Please, Miss, may I go to the toilet?”

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Written as a combined response to Calen’s Sandbox Challenge No. 60 and the University of Iowa’s ‘Storied Women’ online course assignment.

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I am a bug

I am the bug, upon which you tread.  Is it because I am small?

six-legs-for-web
Know me, for I am whole

But how tall are you that you must demonstrate your might through indifference, violence and control?    You give me no more import than a grain of sand, and value me less.

Our mother knows my worth.  You reside in your castle shielded from her wisdom, adorning yourself with the ornamental trappings of meaningless wealth.  But of course you know best.  All that you accumulate and hoard is testament to your status and power.  You wrap your ego in a veil of short-loved tweets whose existence is no more corporeal than the dream that faded in the haze of your worries about a day that has not yet come to show its face.  You pull your blanket of followers, likes and loves about you, to comfort you in your isolation.  You find solace in the metal cage that connects you to your farce.

But I am here, the bug, upon which you tread.  And I stand taller than you.

For beneath your feet lies a world so much bigger than your own.  With each lived moment of my life, I will feel a connection from which you are severed.  I am whole.  You are sick.  You search for cures in the chemicals of your own making, destroying those that our mother has provided.  You are drowning in your sea of despair, floating vainly to the surface with another scheme to make the world better by serving it with destruction.  But you are no longer adapted to the waters from which you came.  You stand on two feet and stomp on the seeds of your sustenance.

But know me.  I am the bug, upon which you tread.  Under the canopy of forest’s protection, I thrive.  As can you.  Between the interconnected roots of ancient trees, I thrive.  As can you.  I do their bidding for their will is mine.    I am in communion with the mycelium that runs between your toes if only you’d take your shoes off to know us.  We filter the poison from the earth that you have provided to keep your waters clean.  Together, connected, we thrive.  As can you.  If only you’d join us.

You have lost the mystery of being whole.  You create your own detachment to stand taller than I.  But at the moment your ego dies you will know how very short and insignificant your life has been.  Return as a bug, whole and as large as the universe you fail so miserably to comprehend.

There are problems in your life for which you have an obligation to never give up trying to solve.

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Inspired by Calen’s Sandbox Challenge No. 59: The Problem with Tigers.

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People Can, People Do

“About what do you worry?”

“About what is there not to worry?”

I point to the pictures of scars in the landscape from the machines we’ve created in the name of progress.

I point to the grief of a child, estranged from family, friends, food and a future as she sits neglected in a camp the world is too afraid to discuss even at a presidential debate.

I point to the bees that did not survive the winter, huddled together, frozen in time, the only testament to their short lives.

I point to the demonstrators wanting nothing more than for their life to matter.

I point to the report which conclusively states that it was a missile that brought down a passenger plane.

I point to the couple arguing who can only find a solution to their problems in the depth of the liqueur that destroys them.

I point to the fluorescent pool of stagnant water, afraid to know what has caused it.

I point to the mountain of bills that keeps potential and creativity locked inside the vortex of paid labour.

I point to the debris of aspiration, hope and joy.

“But worry is but an expression of compliance.”

I furrow my brow, confused.

An image from the catalogue of my mind emerges.  I’m worrying at a maths problem and can’t let it go until the solution magically appears before me.  Later in my life I’m alone, have no more than pennies in my pocket and no place to stay.  By the end of the day, I have made a new friend who feeds me in exchange for nothing more than conversation, gain a live in job for the summer and a £10 note shuffles at my feet, the breeze capturing its crumpled corners teasing me to catch it first.

 

Poppie-Wave-for-Web
Even poppies grow midst desolation and destruction

 

In every problem lies a solution.

The furrowed brow becomes uncreased, replaced with the dawn of realisation.  Worry doesn’t solve problems.  It keeps you complicit in their escalation.  But hope is radical.  Problems present an opportunity to be great.  People can, people do.

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Inspired by Calen’s Sandbox Challenge No. 57 (or 2 of the second book):  Hmmm that could be a problem.

For a journey of self-discovery, feel free to jump in at any time.

Featured Image: A composite of photos of “Poppies: Wave”. This sculpture is one of two which comprised the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, an installation that initially showed at the Tower of London.
Poppies: Wave was on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where these images were taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Waiting

ring-of-brodgar-in-the-rain-for-web

You stand in bare feet, the morning dew healing their calloused soles and washing them of your sins.  You feel the pleasure of the grass lightly tickling the skin between your toes.  They curl over the edge of the cliff.  The waves crash on the rocks below and the breeze catches your hair.  You dare to defy life, open up your arms and breathe in the energy of the world.  In that moment, you consider leaning forward to feel the rush of air, that spontaneous irreversible act where the face of death appears before you.

You step back.  It is not death you fear, but pain.

You enter the dark pool of nothingness that I present before you.  You lower yourself into the eternal silence, infinite and lightless space of nothingness.  And for that moment you feel it.  The merging of your atoms into the blanket of the universe and become, just for a moment, nothing.  It is a place of perfect safety.    You cannot be seen.  You cannot be heard.  You cannot be touched.  You will come again, to linger longer.

I am waiting.

You ask me for a guide: to know beyond the boundaries of the senses.  Dissatisfied by the comfort of the warm caress of the sand, the hypnogogic paintings that swirl before your eyes, skeletal and animal-like beings, kaleidoscopic colours, and the unearthly aromas you conjure in meditation, you walk instead, to the circle of stones.  You know me when we meet.  But how quickly I lose your trust.  What is it you fear when I give to you the guardians of the stones?    Is it their malevolence or your own?

You seek again, and you know where you must go.

I am waiting.

 

Inspired by Calen’s Sandbox Challenge No. 56  – based on books which encourage self-discovery, the second book challenge has just begun.  Why not join in?

 

Featured Image: Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

 

Gaia’s Hand

My father has recently told me of the time he was put on a train in London, with his name attached to a cord about his neck, to go to the unknown home of complete strangers in the country.  It was both a terrifying separation and an exciting adventure.  Concerned for the physical safety of children with the threat of bombing attacks during WW11 this was a common experience.

It wasn’t until after the war that children’s welfare came to mean more than protection from bombs, physical safety and nutrition.  Commissioned by the government, John Bowlby conducted research into the psychological effects of maternal deprivation – absence of the mother.  He concluded that long term separation is associated with ‘affectionless psychopathy’ who’d be incapable of meaningful relationships in the future.   Thankfully, my father’s time away from home was kept short.

Bowlby’s work was a great political victory, it paved the way for mothers’ return back into the home.  After their awakening, it was socially dangerous to have them continue to think their place was in society as equally intelligent and physically capable people.  It wasn’t until the late 1970s that Rudolf Schaffer concluded that children did indeed require “mothering”, but it didn’t necessarily have to be the mother or only one person doing it.

Whatever the politics of the books, this new branch of developmental psychology paved the way for a concern with not just the physical welfare of children, but also their emotional.  Parents were blamed for all manner of adult problems.  Obsessive compulsive behaviour was due to harsh potty training.  Anger at the symbolic loss of a parent, let alone the actual loss, was key to clinical depression.  Parental double binds and contradictory messages are sure to have you hearing voices that aren’t there.

My kids must be mother resistant, I can see they are well-adjusted adults.   Although I have no illusions.  I’m sure they share with their nearest and dearest how much I fucked them up.

This concern with emotional development and psychological well-being has given rise to a veritable empire of self-help, life-guru and psychotherapy industries.  And we love it.  We climb up to discover the clutter in our psychic attics, dare to dive into the darkest depths of our psychic cellars and then unblock our chakras, zen our lives, start the day with mantras of positivity, learn it’s alright to feel angry, let it out while finding our voices in a primal scream and go do some shopping therapy to make ourselves feel better – because we DESERVE it.

No we don’t!

In the grand scheme of the vast universe, we’re tiny little creatures with a relatively short life span and the world would be a great deal better off without us.   If we wake up and look around us our world is seriously sick and we are both its cause and its side effect.

We have managed to create a social system that keeps us entirely enslaved to seats in a classroom receiving a one-sided story of how the world was, is and should be.  We’re told we’ve got to get a good job, defer our childhood need for instant gratification for some golden reward in the future: a mortgage, bills, and debt, while the system bleeds as much labour from us as it can.   Stress is the biggest killer of our age, yet we worry about the terrorists, our neighbours, our weight, our appearance, not making the grade, what our colleagues are saying about us because we sure as hell are gossiping about them, cancer, dementia……

And that’s ok, there’s a wealth of products to consume to help us to alleviate all those worries and there’s always a self-help book, psychotherapist or guru to help us deconstruct ourselves and put us back together again.  But why? To continue being happy slaves?  It’s little wonder we need this plethora of healing aids to cure of us.

I’m about to willingly embark on a bout of auto-therapy and engage in a journey of self-discovery and healing and somewhere inside me thinks you’d love to hear about it too.  And I’ll be reading about your personal journeys too.

But what if we change the script?

Our current script has ‘me’ taking centre stage.  But what if the star of the show is ‘we’?  I don’t mean a collection of many individuals, but that the ‘we’ is more than the sum of the individuals it comprises and more important than any ‘me’.

Psychology has itself shifted toward this new gestalt.  The International Congress of Psychology was held in South Africa in 2012.  Papers that presented included titles such as:

  • Mobilising compassionate critical citizenship and psychologies in the service of humanity
  • Psychology: Addressing society’s needs
  • Global developments in the science and practice of peace psychology
  • Psychology in context: A critical approach to social and cultural background of psychological knowledge
  • Community psychology: Theories, methods, communities and ideas

Community psychology by Montero Maritza of Venezuela? I like the sound of that.  What if we changed our journey of discovery from ‘all about Eve’ (the ‘me’) to ‘all about Gaia’ (the personification of interconnectedness).

For the next reflective challenge that I undertake (it starts September 20th, so some of you know the challenge I’m referring to), I am going to attempt to write with her hand.   As I have no idea what I’ve let myself in for, it’s going to be interesting finding a new voice to do it in.

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This morning I read and was exposed to several ideas that are RESPONSIBLE for the above post!  Many thanks to the following:

Calen for providing the challenges (my individual psychology rant aside, I do know how valuable it is to engage in self-analysis and embark on a journey of self-discovery. It can be readily seen in the insights that people have in their responses).  Which brings me to:

Spiritual Dragonfly (who has most definitely grown and developed in response to Calen’s challenges)

Raili (who presented a challenge to look beyond ourselves to our friendships)

Pachamama Alliance (for their game changing course – section on stories).

Featured Image: Okan Çalışkan (publicdomainpictures.net)

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