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.

 

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Meditations (also: Houses, Curtains and Boats)

elephantjournal article

Elephant Journal has just published an article of mine:

‘Where God Is: On Home, Travel & Displacement’.

It’s very personal and confessional, a bit silly and a bit serious, and gets to the root of my eternal cravings both to travel the world and to be at home. I could gaze at the beautiful photo they’ve used (above; credited in the article; heaven in sunlight and flaking paint; they even have a sunflower on the door) for ages. Continue reading

In Praise of The U-Turn

Like all sane people, I have occasionally had quite in depth conversations with my sat nav. When she throws her hands in the air, from her austere, square dashboard-universe, and commands her last resort (‘When possible, make a U-turn’) in her cut-glass, authoritative melody, she is giving up, or at least making a medium-sized sulky (not-angry-just-disappointed) show of it.

But this splendid brilliance called life would be deeply dull if we weren’t allowed to change our minds. How liberating it might be, I sometimes imagine in my most indecisive moments, to have to stick to your historical choices (even those you don’t particularly realise you once made), never to doubt yourself, never to wonder about the alternative possibilities you’ve shunned (or repressed or not had the guts to explore) along the way, knowing you need only power on through your once-made decisions to linear infinity, arriving, at the end, and with confidence, at some pre-determined place where outcomes are predictable, productive and planned.

But that’s a lot of P.

Continue reading