Monday, 27 December 2010

3. An understanding

My parents have a cat. Her real name is Vesper, but she also goes by another: Evil Cat. Okay, so she's not really evil but...

Vesper is a rescue cat. Some time in her past, she was treated badly. She has a bit missing from one ear, and only one canine left which sticks out from her bottom jaw and tends to catch on your skin when she rubs against you. The cat is very loving, and wants a lot of love. In fact, so much love, that she'll pat you on the arm if you stop stroking her. She's very cute. But there's another side to her too. Randomly, out of nowhere, she'll attack you. The claws come out and you'd better move your hand away quickly.

The first time she attacked was bad...I wasn't ready. But the more she does it, the more you get wary of her. But I'm starting to look for the tale-tell signs, so that I can understand why she does it. I still show her love but I protect myself too.

Vesper and I have come to an "understanding". She can stay at the bottom of the bed, so long as she doesn't attack me. So far, it seems to be working.

I haven't felt so bad today; perhaps because tomorrow is my birthday and I'm looking forward to going out with friends. That, and I decided to go swimming which always cheers me up (especially the sauna). Little things. But they mean a lot.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

2. A new routine

I'm trying to start some new routines to keep my mind away from things that hurt, and one of the best ways is to get myself active. So I went jogging today.  I'm using the Interval Training technique - a combination of alternating paces which is supposed to be the best way to increase your cardiovascular fitness quickly.

Despite the cold and an old injury playing up (a torn tendon from my badminton days), it was a beautiful start to the day. I watched the sun rise, while a lone raven croaked as it flew up above. I didn't see anyone, so I'm guessing they were all sleeping in.

There is something very therapeutic about running. It releases endorphins into the body, which make you feel better. And, apparently, when we have high endorphin levels we feel less I'm hoping that it'll help me feel less pain...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

1. A Change

When James Blunt wrote "Goodbye My Lover", he couldn't have written a more perfect song that describes a break up. (See below). They are far better words than I could ever come up with, especially now.

I'm still in shock, I think; I'm still checking my mobile in the hopes of a text, a message, anything that will take this pain away. I've even checked my stars and I-Ching readings in the hopes of an answer. But there is something dignified in accepting defeat, I think. And it's true that we were just so different; we always knew it would be difficult. But does the end have to be when you're least ready?

Christmas wasn't lost. I ate more than I thought I could, and spent time with my sister and her family. It was lovely, actually, and it reminded me how friends and family are always there for you when you need them. For that, I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

42. The question of self

I woke up from a dream. I have no idea what it was. But I lay there in the darkness, the duvet pulled up to my chin, and the cold air on my skin. There was an owl calling from the wood across the way, and the hot water tank clicked as it switched off.

It was one of those times where you have no idea if you're dreaming or awake. Perhaps I was being influenced by the meditation I had had during the previous evening's class, but I began to wonder about things. Particularly, the question "Who am I?".

Rene Descartes, a 17th Century philosopher, wrote "Je pense donc je suis", meaning: I think, therefore I am. In other words, if you question your existence, then you must exist or, at least, your mind does.

I had an introductory book on philosophy once, I didn't get on with it. In fact, I recycled it. The truth is, though, I find life is something pretty fantastical, and the details can be mind blowing. I find it no surprise that people have spent lifetimes contemplating it. I mean, it's amazing! We're made up of billions of atoms that are separated by space...and yet we're solid at the same time. How does that work?!

I was starting to meditate on Emptiness a while ago - something that gets you to question the true nature of things - and my teacher asked me if I had found my 'self'. It's a joke, of course, because the more you look for 'self', the more you realise that you can't find it. But I never truly got a good understanding of the concept.

Last night, I asked myself how I could define who I am. Do my thoughts define 'me'? Or my deeds? My history? But then the parameters would always change and 'who I am' must change too. Which would make sense, because I don't feel like I did a year ago. In fact, I don't even feel like I'm the same as last week.

So. If who I am is always subject to change, I realised that perhaps the question "who am I" should really be: Who do I want to be?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

41. Fitting In

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt like the odd one out; the one that doesn’t quite fit in. I’ve been on the sidelines looking in to a world that I’ve never really quite connected to.

My sister once asked me, when we were teenagers, if I was a hippy. I used to wear long flowing cardigans and liked to meditate even when I didn’t know what meditation really was. I wasn’t into boys (go figure), I certainly wasn’t into “Take That” or “Boyzone”. I couldn’t be bothered with fashion or make up. I was just me, and that’s the way I liked it. There was only one problem; when people began branching off to find groups that they seemed to belong to, I never really found mine. Not that I was alone; I just never felt like I fitted in the group that I’d fallen into.

For eight years, I worked for a small company and a large proportion of my time was spent alone, so going into a working environment with a lot of people hasn’t been easy. It’s been a strange mix of craving for company and a shyness that I’ve never quite shaken off. 

When I first started this new job, I found myself spending a lot of energy into trying to fit in, but with no television – by choice – and no interest in celebrity gossip, diets, or shoes, I found it difficult. It was like school all over again, and, I admit, I got scared.

As the weeks went by, I began to realise that I can't be any different from who I am, and I wouldn't want to change, even if I could. I really don’t like television or Facebook, diets or exercise plans. If there is anything that I have learned over the past couple of months, and from reading buddhist philosophies, is that life doesn't have to be about “fitting in”; it’s about being your self and letting others in.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


It's funny how some things that were once a daily ritual become lost to you. You forget. It never happens intentionally. You just wake up one day and realise you haven't done that "something" for a long period of time. My blogging was like that.

It was never an intentional decision. It just stopped as I began a new journey. Or maybe I was just at a different intersection of my old journey and I just chose to change the direction in which I was going. But it has not all been flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants stuff, of course, even if it feels like it.

Anyway. So here I am. Writing again. The words - the typing - almost feel alien to me. Has it really been that long?! I mean, it's winter already; we've had snow (which really does mean that it's winter); it's nearly Christmas, and I'm almost "30-something" and not just 30.

The truth is, I don't really know what to blog about now. I feel a little lost and out of touch. So. While I'm thinking on that one, I shall leave you with a photograph of the snow. It's still here, a week later and the drive into work is beautiful, though a little scary.