Orienteering: the bodies we take around with us

I recently did an online 5-min meditation (through a yoga site I’m a member of) which had me visualising a tiny, personal sun above my head, full of pure, liquid golden light, able to be accessed at any moment. I was told to visualise scooping from this sun the warm balm of radiant love and smearing it over the parts of my body that needed it (reader: I did this literally, not just in my mind; so glad no one was watching), and allow it to cool and harden as armour and protection. This isn’t the first time I’ve been hit over the head with an image of the sun being a ball of love; I once received a clear, booming message during a meditation, a few years ago: ‘when you feel the sun on your skin, picture it as my love sinking in’, which I then made into a painting so I could harden it into liquid (/paint) concrete (/paper) and keep it as a reminder.

The other day, a friend told me he was learning to walk again and mentioned the north star. The north star, I’m sure Galileo would agree, is the centre of all things, and so it seems quite silly to me to realise that I actually don’t know how to find it. Something about a belt, a pan and a certain level of brightness. I own several belts, but can’t remember the last time I wore one, I cook in pans daily and although recently described as ‘the most intelligent airhead I’ve ever met’ think I’m sort of bright-ish, so what’s going on here?

I am in the mood to do an overhaul of my north star, once I’ve located it. He and my personal sun need to have a meeting, the agenda of which might be significantly influenced by the concept of the Life Book (which has people reimagining their lives holistically, by getting down to the nitty gritty of 12 identified areas – health/fitness, family, character, intellectual, love/relationships… etc.) and which will certainly involve a degree of book-closing and book openings (some quite literal; for one thing I want to read Tristan Gooley’s Wild Signs & Star Paths, which apparently will have me able to notice telling signs in nature and orientate myself within the outdoor world with much more success than ever before). And the north star has stuff to say. It seems to make its presence known in a blinking fashion during heartache, or perhaps in the days/weeks pre-empting it; then it appears confused and faded, or twinkling mysteriously, perhaps in all manner of bright colours (like outdoor Christmas lights; though not the awful electric blue ones, which to my mind should be illegal) such that you are not really sure whether you’re in the right place at all, and if the person you are (or considering being) semi-infatuated with is in fact a terrible match for you despite some utterly wonderful qualities, and merely struck by the idea of you, perhaps because you seem to carry a small sun around above your head.

Afterwards, the north star coughs a little and is luculent again, dreamily constant, as though it’s been there all along (which it has) and merely been masked by some passing, diaphanous clouds that seemed to make it appear somehow altered (maybe even blue). Although appalled that you accepted less than you deserved, or that you faltered, that you got things quite wrong, it is too busy being utterly sure of itself to bother to be angry; it just shines on. It is ready to reorient whenever you are, emitting truth graspable by the naked eye. It applauds the fact that you were open, without particularly looking at you, and forges boldly on, being entirely stuck to the correct degree. A north star, even if not infinite, is patience, certainty, strength in reserve, and wherever it is, I am probably always walking underneath it.

 

Advertisements

How to break up with a book (and other stories)

Finding a book you can be happy with is exactly the same as finding a lover.

First, you assume there will be serendipity. You go to all the right places; you see what covers take your fancy. The lighting is all wrong in a supermarket (and you are not swayed by ‘3 for 2’) and it’s hard to read in a club; you hope, then, for recommendation by a mutual friend. Your friends think very hard for you (they are happily committed to their books; they can’t wait to meet the book you eventually decide upon), perhaps even suggest a name or two, but the hope is short lived and your friends find your taste unpredictable.

You sift through memories, then, of all the books you’ve read in the past (some will multiply this number by seven, some will divide; there is a certain pride reserved for those who have taken years to read one single book), and think about what exactly you would like to be different (or the same), this time. Some people slip up here, and re-read previous tomes; this never ends well and if you once were together and then decided to part, each shrinking backward, then warning horns should be blaring; the readerly experience cannot un-yellow in absence alone. That is basic fact. Continue reading

Online dating: great, but actually a little bit rubbish

(I once read that one clear symptom of being British is that it is impossible to intone the word ‘great’ without sounding sarcastic. ‘Great’ is a word most naturally reserved for sarcastic occasion. Ever since, in cross-cultural exchanges, and due to this absolute truth, I have performed a small inward giggle and self-enquiry whenever I allow the word to flutter free from my voice, which isn’t often (but the word is usefully efficient and gleefully positive, so it does get out now and then in emails, etc.); and also, unlike most of the people who self-describe their category of humour on dating sites, I don’t think sarcasm is a particuarly inspiring humble-brag, so I usually err on the side of the gentle, far more British and authentic ‘quite good’ or ‘quite nice’. Therefore, please take my use of ‘great’ in the above title as evidence of my uncertain and unstable opinion on the subject of today’s pondering.) Continue reading

Dating; not a series of picnics

Ah, dating, that awful, brilliant, awful thing…

I don’t ever want to be a heartbreaker. I’ve had my heart ‘broken’ (let’s say temporarily bruised/punched/squashed) a couple of times. It’s horrific to be on the other side of things, alternatively, and I have even taken breaks from dating in the past purely because I can’t deal with the guilt I’ve felt at being the one to turn someone else down (I know how I want to feel about the person I end up with, and I would rather not accept less). Feeling less for someone else than they feel for you is an awful feeling and communication of that fact is a delicate moment (and I know exactly how painful it is to be on the other side of it). Continue reading