Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Unplug from online to have a good time

I feel obliged to write something about why I haven’t been writing anything.

Dont worry, I hear the irony.
Which is one of the reasons I have been wrestling with this blog for so long. Yet my reasons for breaking my own silence now, are based on strong and evolving values I have for human interaction, sharing information and genuine communication.

I am writing it down, for those of you who don’t communicate with me in person. For those people I class as RL friends and loved ones who keep extra tabs on my adventures through social media and maybe need a nudge to update their conscious understanding of the meaning of true interaction. But yet I also write for those ‘friends’, acquaintances and associates that through the vortex of social media, have the opportunity to read what is posted about my life and judge me. Or most commonly misjudge me.

Anyway. Your opinion is not fact.
Your perception is not reality.
It is your experience.
It is different to everyone else’s.
That’s why it’s important to be open minded and discuss our experiences in a way that enables us to share view points and accept others.

So this blog is exactly sharing information so that you are informed and can go on to make your own decisions, build an educated opinion.

People form their opinions based on the meaning they impose onto their experiences and from information they glean from sources good or bad. This can be related to as your consciousness. Receiving information is part of your consciousness learning and evolving.  Sharing information outside of your comfort zone, keeps you from becoming stuck in a familiar pattern of the same old experience.

Yet, it shouldn’t matter what we know, its how we share our experiences (or share what we think we know) and how we interact with others while doing so, that really matters. We can hold the most opposite of values and beliefs, yet if we communicate them with love and respect, a shared understanding will harness an interesting and rich experience.

Some people voice their opinions based on their own narrow view of experiences. Stanbding from a singular viewpoint. Others give little consideration to communication, and for many communication does not involve actually being in the room where you can genuinely immerse themselves in the forms of verbal and non-verbal interaction. They live predominantly in the online safety of their feedback loop. 

So it is here, in this online domain, I must traverse for a moment or two. To put my truth out there.

I have been contemplating a choice about the way I communicate online. Do I engage with the current trend of instant response gratification or not? Do I unplug completely from social media or find some in between balance? And do I actually want to read status updates of sensationalised opinions and ill considered commentary on other peoples lives? Can I just disconnect from the machine and enjoy the connections and interactions that happen in RL? (real life)

So! We all know social media creates an experience of disconnect. Or you should do. If you don’t...look it up! Check out anything from the links I have at the end of this blog, or watch anything by Jaron Lanier, if you wanna get a quick understanding...

The internet is being used to further manipulate our experiences. Jaron calls social media ‘Behaviour Modification Empires’ and to be honest, I agree with him.

The more I research and the more I help people in my line of work as a counsellor, the more I see evidence of a dependence on social media validation which in turn breeds fear of rejection in the real world. And yet the internet was set up to provide free public information and a means of communication. But now we are communicating through web sites and applications that target our dopamine and market at us in a way that affects our decision making. “If two people wish to communicate, it should not be dependent on a third party who wishes to manipulate them.” So I’m growing concerned.

Concern for society's acceptance of being plugged in.
Concern for the mind set of group mentality validation.
Concern of the demise of consideration to an individual’s back story.
Concern for the subtle reduction of our Human Rights.
Concern that my privacy is already violated and I am not safe online.
Concern that the conspiracy some people see here, is being ignored by many because the internet makes everything seem so ‘convenient.’

But please, don’t just believe me, do your own research. Run your own experiments.

Because if you don’t. If you are sitting quite comfortably in your echo chamber of likes and familiar threads, your dopamine drained by a blatant algorithm designed to keep you plugged in and suggestible to mass opinion and marketing techniques, you are being reduced and controlled my friend.

Break free from the chamber and unplug!

If you really want to understand this. And how much we are being controlled, then check out this film. It is long (2 hours), its well cheesy in places (why oh why are they floating around in a virtual space ship hahahaha) AND its depressing and scary as fuck. But it’s ALL FACT. 

I recommend you sit down and watch it in half hour slots. Use a notepad and make a note every time you disbelieve something or feel strong emotions. Make a note. Every time. And go take those points you noted and do your own research. It will all bring you back to the same point. I’d love to know what you think about this situation we are experiencing. Get back to me with your views...

Social media is a tool for communication. But how valuable and genuine?

Communication has always been important to me. Whether it’s been the hilarious uplifting postcards I received weekly from my Nanna, the long emails from my mum when she moved away from home, or the hours on the phone with my besties when I finally left home. I’ll use it all, if its means I can keep in contact and keep up to date with the festivities and factors influencing your life. The delight is in the detail after all.

Communication can be an adventurous journey of differences that takes you to a place of understanding and knowledge.  Yet with social media, insta chat apps and even text at our reactive finger tips, it seems that our ability to reflect, relate and communicate a considered response is becoming a lost talent.

The past 6 months I have gone through a lot of stuff and during that time I have cut off the regular use of social media. I have even turned my phone off completely for periods of time. Purposefully reducing the opportunity for uninvited contact. 

I have undertaken a few experiments of limited social media use. I have found that living in the real world, in real time and reflecting on my experiences and interactions, has brought me to acknowledge that my life without social media is pretty expanding. Eclectic. Fulfilling. Abundant. Mindful and absolutely present.

I do not miss the fakery of online socialising. The catastrophising. The minimising. The demonising. The making of martyrs. Especially do not miss the making of dinner.

And absolutely not the intrusion of cookie led advertising. Nor the circle of perpetual personal comfort and agreement the algorithms will have you believe.

This modern world we find ourselves interacting within, these rooms and networks, all of this social sharing, this online dis-inhibition and facebook fantasy, is bringing us the opposite experience of what is intended from communication and connection. And a decision began to form for me. TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA.

I wish to share just some of the information that informed the processing to this decision, in the hope that others will maybe do the same research, but mostly so that my true friends will know to get in touch using my phone number, if they really want to share adventures or ‘like’ what we can actually do together. In person.

One of my experiments with usage was to treat social media the same way we used to screen our incoming calls on the answer phone. I glanced at it by way of finding out what people in my life are doing. Once I get an update worthy of response, I log out and call them up. Or go visit. Simple. When you look at it this way, as a source of useful information. It becomes apparent that most of what you read, is not useful. Not at all.

I also carried out considerable research on online dis-inhibition and factors of communication online for my online counselling qualification and discovered the following:

Only 7% of the way we communicate is attributed to the written word. 7%. The WORDS.

When using written text, the intonation is applied through the correct use of grammar, punctuation and semantics based on the understanding of the reader and...guess what...the voice in their head.

Whaaaatttttt? Oh yeah. You better believe it.

Literally how they read it.
So quite often, their mood. How people feel when writing is not often forthcoming (why do you think Faceache have emojis to tell others what you are thinking / feeling / doing)? Because it adds context.

Take these examples:
1-OMG! My dad just came home with a dog...

Can you tell if the writer is happy about it? Shitting themselves? Excited? Nervous? Is the dog for them? Do they like dogs?

Try reading it angry. Read it as if you were cooing over a baby. Read it over excitedly. Read it bored.

Can you hear how the way you read it in your head, can imply different meaning by your intonation.

Well all written communication is this way. It is not how its written, its how you read it.

If you get a message from someone you have a formed opinion about, say...a nagging friend who always seems to party. You may read it in a sarcastic way (do it!) and find yourself offended.

2-What are you up to tonight? Bet you are having a quiet night in with a book...

And yet the opposite (and many other explanations too) could be true...perhaps they are envious of your cosy plans and are making an opening for an invite to join you.

Maybe they are trying to explore your plans for a surprise treat.

Maybe they want to tell someone some news and need a friend.

Or maybe they want to brag about an awesome night they have ahead. And need a friend.

The point being, you need more information, you have to consider various possibilities.....all of NOT good communication.

Most of the skills required for genuine connection and sharing of information is nonexistent in status updates and text box word counts. If only 7% of communication is effective using WORDS, then we
are barely communicating at all using social media.

And, as I mentioned earlier, it is influenced by factors which can change hourly (mood, concentration, patience, compassion) or by factors that are unique to you and ostensibly your relationship with the individual who has written the words you are reading.

So if we accept that intonation as intended is not audible, and that when we are reading, we apply the tone ourselves. And in that we reflect more in how we are feeling when we receive the information and certainly how we believe we are perceived by the sender, than how it is actually intended.

In short, what you take from information, infers more about you, than the person communicating the information in the first place.

A point well made by Kali Muro’s who wrote a paper a few years back called ‘Conflict in Cyberspace’ stating that the person will project their perception onto communication if it is not clear enough. Leaving it open to transference and interpretation. Probably the worse thing you can ask for when trying to reach out to others. Mis-communication. we not really care how we are perceived online because we are merely reflecting an image of our self to our self?

Which leads me nicely to my final research point. Who are you online? What version, tailored or exaggerated you is presented? And why?

Online personality disorder is now a thing. No, really.
People are developing an inability to merge
their online persona with who they are in RL. Experiencing heightened levels of dissatisfaction with their identity and disconnect from actual face to face experiences.

In some cases this presents as the ability to ‘be more me’ online. Because it has a safety barrier of non presence, which allows the individual to feed only parts of their personality,  or degrees of all parts but only online, often aspects that are the easiest to accept and with limited challenge to their whole self, congruence and indeed accountability.

Online communication offers people a screen they can literally and metaphorically hide behind.
In some it enables them to hide themselves and masquerade as an alternative version, ‘be another me’.

Seeking validation for singular aspects of their identity without reflecting on how this fits with them as a whole being. Creating a dissidence between their RL experiences against a comparison of their online personality.

All very fracturing in a society with increasing depression, anxiety and stress.

Your online persona should mirror who you are in real life. Not provide a protective boundary that enables you to be more outspoken, more riske, more brave, more ‘yourself’. The risk here is that you believe that this part of you is validated by experience and feedback. It is not. It is validated by likes, emoji’s and word count. All of which are manipulated to keep you in this docile state.

Once you realise that much of this feedback is purposely filtered and fed to you to keep you in a state of compliance, you lose hope in the system and crave a real conversation. Well I do anyway.

I find it fascinating how people respond to each other in a vacuum of consideration. As if, in real life, if you walked into a room with an interesting discussion going on you would ever just drop a five word statement in and then walk out the room and go home.

How is that either sociable or real?

Neither should you be saying things online in a way that you would not say if those on your friends list were actually in the room with you.

I see this a lot. People over exaggerating, catastrophising, victimising and martyring people for their own validation.  And sometimes it is a careless abandon to semantics, but it is thoughtless all the same.

And I like my communication with others to be considered and thoughtful.

I have always considered the internet to be a fantastic resource rather than a virtual reality.

I am from Generation X.

The technology generation who can recall 'finding our way' around the internet without guidelines or parameters and indeed having to navigate peer to peer and often child to parent learning around internet safety and security. Let alone the emerging issues of social conformity of an online community and perspectives of communication that impact our ability to connect meaningfully in person .

We are only just beginning to see the effects of a variety of internet related addictions, RL vs. VR behaviours and risk factors which require better understanding and guidelines. People should have access to supportive navigation to transfer from one to the other safely (RL vs. VR), in a way that empowers self growth and diversity without demonising either experiences.

However it seems clear to me that common decency and the need to relate to each other’s values is key and should not suddenly change when we move from room to room of a building, nor room to room online.

Suler also predicted in a paper around online behaviours that  'Just how this new interconnectivity, where geographic constraints are abolished, will influence individual and social behaviour is unclear, but we know it will.' 

Although the internet has brought a world of experiences to the end of our finger tips much of the influence of this exposure is as yet uncharted. Rather like RL, relating our daily experiences between virtual and real life interactions must be communicated respectfully and considered.

Taking time to do it right online.
Or consider the prospect that it could be more meaningful done in real time. 

As you would when in a building and walking into rooms full of people, you keep your wits about
you, stand tall, steady and strong and stick to your values and core beliefs. The same is said for surfing into a new reality on the world wide web. There may be a seemingly protective screen between you and that world, but it is still your values and integrity that drive the platform of your experiences. As you limited your time online, your RL can expand and your conscious experiences grow.

This has certainly been my experience. Like I said earlier, don’t take my word for it. Experiment yourself.

So after a range of experiments and an overwhelming benefit from less social media time I have decided to delete my social media accounts.

I wish my disengagement to be counted along with many others stepping out of the X generation of cyber control and flexing our muscles back in the land of magical connections, signs of nature, smoke signals and body language.

We can use other technologies.

I am standing up against the insipid few who run our countries and spy on our lives, so as to manipulate us further. I will use my fingers to turn off and turn away and of course, use my voice.

I am sharing this with you so you can source your own  information to others to pass on. We can communicate with kindness and embrace our differences. We can share our diversity with compassion towards each individuals uniqueness. We can act on our own beliefs. We can uphold our values for an expanding consciousness. Ultimately we can save planet earth. We can be better human beings.

So farewell to those of you reading this through facebook, you can probably still find the occasional hippy blog over here on Citizen Rain. And you can definitely find me at the end of my phone number. See you in a field somewhere, on a road somewhere or up a hill somewhere.

Real Life beacons and it is immense. VR I gratefully decline.

Rewind, be kind. Dont be a dick. And mostly, be the real you, all the time.
Suler, J.R. (2002). Identity Management in Cyberspace.
Kali Muro: Conflict in Cyberspace
Mousso, M.  & White, N.(2004). Avoiding Online Conflict.
Michael Fenichel: Technical Difficulties, Formulations and Processes

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Absence makes the heart grow strong

Absence does make the heart grow strong. It makes mine grow more sure, more full, more absolute in my love for you.

Today as I missed you terribly, I felt huge engulfing sensations of utter impressive empowerment alongside a truth in my soul of our unity.

I know you will always let me be free. And I you.

I know you will always be with me no matter how far I go.

I know you will always support me no matter how much I change & grow.

I know you will always be with me. Are always with me. For we are in each other.

We know us. We are always us.

Being apart does not change the us, the companionship, the truth, the bond of us.

It just proves its strength. Its power. Its truth.

For being with you is the answer to all my quests. And the question?

Who is the one to love me like no other, like I am the best, to be each others favourite, to see in me something that allows me to be the version of myself that I like best.

Being with Ivor is my best. I do not jest. We are each others lifes quest.

Previously our hearts broken and put through many a test.

Now we are united, our heart & souls can heal, love the greatest and honourably rest.

I may be a wordsmith. But for you words are not enough.

They are not of enough strength, or profess enough power that describes our unique and awe inspiring connection.

All I am  left to acknowledge is this...

I have everything to give to only you. And I know you match me in everything back.

You are my one true love, my star travelling wanderer, my soul mate & twin flame.

YOU are the absolute end game.

All I see is you.

In everything I do.

You you you you you.

Ivor Gott the everything of Blou.

I love all of you.

I do.

Wouldn't change any of you.

Proud of you.

It will always be you.

I see everything anew & always in it, I see you.

I. Love. You.


Friday, 11 May 2018

Special People

Sometimes you meet extra special people
Who treat you nothing but kind
You do the same for these beauties, so of course you do not mind

and yet

It still comes as a shock to you
Coz you internally question why
They care for you to the moon and back
Around the world for you, they’d fly

Every time they do something amazing
You give something amazing right back
You all go round and round the reciprocal kindness track

Yet really underneath it all
Is the purest need to say
I love you deeply my friend
I could just be with you all day

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Adventures of a wonderful life

Sometimes things are so wonderful I cant help but pinch myself to check I’m not dreaming.

This weekend past we took my beloved campervan, Beryl for an overnight camp. Just a single night away under the stars to have a teeny tiny mini break. Its amazing how much of an impact one night in a campervan can make to your rest and refresh.

We aimed for the nearby forest of Ae but the gates were closed to the forest and river tracks as there was some serious logging going on. Huge lorries and gigantic areas being cleared so we cleared off and drove a little further down the road until the perfect spot revealed itself to us.

By the side of Kilder lake we found our perfect spot. A stunning combination of wide open mirror glass reflective still waters, huge blue cloudless sky, forest woods, quiet road and no one else other than the occasional dog walker and HUGE logging lorries (more on that in a mo...) We tidied up the area and set about collecting left behind scorched wood from previous fires and new dry wood to burn with the scraps we had from home.

The burnt fire sign amused us so much we bought it home.

We set up our van within minutes just needing a little lift up onto the chocks for bed angle perfection. we sat by the lake as dinner cooked, the rum flowed and my beloved made the most impressive fire wood pile and got a right good fire roaring to life in mere minutes.

As a car approached I watched in hysterics as my fire wood collecting extraordinaire realised that they had left an eight foot  tree  in the middle of the road. This sure had them moving quickly to prevent the car approaching round the curvaceous bends behind colliding with the temporarily dropped log. Disaster averted, car passed safely to the view of a mad sweaty elf standing holding a tree at the roadside. So much amusement on both our parts.

The rest of the wood safely collected and stored van side and not road middle, we lit pretty lanterns to help guide us away from the jetty edge so we didn’t fall into the lake. The huge licking flames from the fire cast a bright warm flickering light, blinding us to the waters edge as the dark sky enveloped us. Said lamps were soon knocked into the water by previously mentioned eight foot tree being swung onto the fire.

We chatted nonsense, laughed all night, sipped rum, watched the sky turn from turquoise to indigo to black. Then we lay on a rug under a thick woolly blanket and watched the stars appear and the fire sprites dance off into the sky.

As we snuggled and cuddled under our blanket a strange rumbling roar seemed to come across the water towards us. we sat up to listen and noticed huge bright lights coming over the road before us.

The noise was reverberating off the trees on the opposite side of the lake and getting louder and louder. After staring into the sound from the darkness for some moments and then staring at each like ‘whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?’ we soon realised it was a huge logging lorry hurtling towards us. We pulled the blanket close around our bodies and tried not to look directly into its many many headlights as it appeared speedily around the corner and lit up everything in its path. Including us and our over night cosy camp. Not just one lorry charged past but two, no three, total six huge lorries. All lit up, busy transporting trunks while honking and beeping at our gorgeous camp position and I don’t mean the fire...

They honked at us. We giggled. And waved back. Laying wrapped around each other in bliss, grateful that this was our Saturday night and we were neither driving to and from work or being subjected to the scary possibility of meeting those trucks coming down such a narrow and winding lane. No thank thee.

As we snacked on cheese and olives in front of the fire a huge white wall flash went across the sky. We looked at each other in surprise and then elation as we realised it was thunder! Another loud clap crashed in the clouds that were building behind us. A quick check on our phone informed us of the incoming amber weather warning for heavy rain. But we did not care. We have a van to camp inside and we both love thunder and lightning. Eventually big dollops of rain drove us back into the van where we left the door open, listening to the thunder roll dramatically around the skies above us, the pitter patter of rainfall increasing to a powerful deluge dance moving towards us from across the lake like a symphony crescendo. To the sounds of intermittent bird squawks, insect chatter and the rolling thunder we fell asleep in each others arms.

Sunday morning was pure bliss. The sky was grey, a constant drizzle drifted from the sky. But our hearts and souls were full of sunshine, full of contentment and joy. We wake and bake and snooze some more. Munching on treats and drinking dirty chai as we slumber under each other, under the sound of light rain blowing on the van and wriggling around the crumbs in our bed.

On our second awakening we talked about the future, laced a long single colourful weave into my loves dreads to make a permanent tie back and cuddled under the worlds thickest, heaviest fluff blanket. The world was a beautiful place. We rested well, ate well, snuggled really well and finally packed up to trundle home with smiles beaming so wide and so bright we did not need headlights to light the way ahead through the grey but not in the slightest miserable day.

Eternally grateful for such a simple, wonderful life. And my beautiful mental elf.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Blou Rain Hyland

Blou Rain Hyland

So this happened a few weeks ago but I have been too busy to find the time to write about it. What with university submissions, performance preparations and getting stuck into a new part time job and an exciting new business venture. 

But finally, its now's official. I am now renamed by deedpoll.
I feel true to myself and am finally Blou.

I made this choice after so much consideration and deliberation over the years.

I made myself an email address in 2007 – Blueloublou and thus started friends calling me Blue Lou.
I also started to connect with my second nickname Rain (from Lou-Rain) in 2009 when I set up my new blog Citizen Rain.

And then, in January 2017, my world fell apart and refracted. As I rebuilt it and put the pieces of myself back together I felt more Blou Rain than I had ever felt before. The time had come to finally own a name I felt represented my true nature.

It was based upon a number of considerations:-

  • A life long desire to get rid of a despised middle name. My mum openly regretted giving it to me, in an old fashioned attempt to try and please her adopted mother who turned out to be an absolute horror to us both. A name that I never felt connection to. Even as a child before I understood my mother’s history with it.  I have never used it, nor shared it. I am glad it is now officially removed, although spiritually it happened years ago.
  • My true first name, my official Sunday name, is Lorrain (yes without an e, its not a typo – and therein lies a whole new opportunity for many 'not using e' related stories. But that’s perhaps for another time...) Anyway my name was Lorrain. I acquired the nickname Lou when I was but a nipper and in my teens this was rediscovered, repeated and it stuck. I was glad to be Lou. It was more me, less Northfleet. Less Sharon Tracey and Lorrain from the estate or the office. (Prounounced Shaaaaraaan, Traaaaceeee and Laaarraine by the way.)
  • However in later life, in my place as part of my new home and community in the south west of Scotland, I met some friends who didn’t accept that Lorrain was such an awful sound for me to relate to myself. to be fair it does sound better in a Scottish accent. Yet it had connotations from my childhood, some ways the name can be pronounced, especially shouted, could send me into a PTSD place, formed by some of the abusive situations I had witnessed as a nipper. And I found myself frequently explaining some of this to my friends, as I requested they refrain from calling me Lorrain. "But its YOUR NAME!" They would profess. But still, no, I retained, my name is Lou. I only use Lorrain in a work capacity, or for official things like the electoral role.
  • I still hated it until wickerman, the year 2011 I think. During which, a good friend of mine and bum wiggling conductor of the local choir, purposefully and unwillingly on my part, first put me through community inspired exposure therapy to the tune of 70 plus choir members saying in unison “thanks Lorrain.” So big thanks to Graham Main. You started a yearly trend that in 2017 came to an impressive end when not only did the choir at Eden repeat the exposure again but including an audience of approximately one thousand people to call out "Thanks Lorrain.". I cried with joy and acceptance for the loving memories now related to this version of myself.
  • Yet my ongoing childhood obsession with planet earths resplendent display of the colour blue, (well all things blue really) and the acceptance that although I've been Lou to my darling dad & most friends for 30 odd years, it's just not quite how I feel about me, truly, since I set up my Citizen Rain blog almost 10 years ago. And so the blue lou rain ball began to roll stroll, grow and glow again.
Rather than shedding a new skin, I have grown a new coat. An imaginary majikal cape of armour, made from the shimmering sequins of my tiny fairy warrior inner being. I’ve added to who I am becoming, by being someone I was once was before. And yet I am a new version.
Blou Lou point two.

And it struck me, as I found myself signing into a building for the first time using the initials, B Hyland, that I realised the final homage here. To my mother. Mrs B Hyland. My birth mother, mother earth and spiritual guide. She would love the fact that I have taken her initial as my own, riding my vibration of the names I never felt honour of, yet taking on her initial with great pride. My new name is of great homage to my parents. Although they have not been together for over 20 years, this is something I feel I own as a reflection of myself and the amazing parentage who have supported me to the person I am today. Through my new name I honour my mum with the B for Beryl (Bezza to those who knew her) and Hyland for my wonderful and impressive dad. As I made this final discovery a piece of paper found its way mysteriously from a box in my office to the bedroom floor in my house reading:

"YOUR ONLY OBLIGATION IN ANY LIFETIME IS TO BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. BEING TRUE TO ANYONE ELSE OR ANYTHING ELSE IS NOT ONLY IMPOSSIBLE, BUT THE MARK OF A FAKE MESSIAH. - to my beautiful daughter, who I miss so very much, but love so dearly that you are always by my side. Take care Lou, All my love, Mum."

Proudly like a butterfly from its chrysalis, I rise with transformative splendour. I shimmy and flutter my invisible wings, stretch my arms wide and shake off the hardship of a long hard life lesson learned.

The final scars faded, the wounds healed. I raise my head proudly, face to the sky and call upon myself to always be grateful of learning, to carry the virtue of honesty and kindness in my soul and to dare greatly in the pursuit of happiness. Be Lou. I say to myself. Actually B Lou. Blou. 

So I made it official. Blou Rain Hyland.

Its ok if you forget and continue to call me Lou, as another friend pointed out last week, perhaps to some people the B will remain silent. I laughed. Its probably the only thing about me that could ever B silent.

Thank you to everyone who has offered me support and wisdom through my life journeys so far.
You know how far I have travelled and how much I have lost and gained. 
But now I feel whole again. 
And so begins the reign, of Citizen Blou Rain.

Peace, love and light, Blou

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Sick in the head and stuck in bed

Having a rock bottom, I hate myself day today.

Its worse when you know logically you are really blowing things out of proportion, that you have everything you could need to live a happy full life, that people love you, that you have a roof over your head, prosperity, food in your belly and many things in your bright future to keep you going.

Its worse because on any other given day I know how lucky I am, and compared to others I have no reason to feel so low.

I am literally making myself sick in the head while stuck in my sick bed.

Its attachment to achievement that drags me down. Validation through action so tightly ribboned around my present, that I cant gift myself the position of being ill.

I tell me and friends tell me – Its ok to not be ok.

So why do I lay here crying about how hard today feels for me?

My obvious good fortune on paper, makes things worse for me. Especially all the small meaningless tasks I have been putting off. All those things that will take 10 – 20 minutes.
‘oh I can do that tomorrow, it wont take 10 minutes.’
‘I can do that in the Christmas holidays.’ 
‘ach its Christmas, do it in the new year.’ its new year.

I look at the long list of things to do and berate myself for not having done them yet.

My neggy naggy voice (he’s called Ken) tells me what a waste of space I am. He tells me over and over that I am not as focused organised clever I like to think, because LOOK!!! here is the proof that you actually don’t get things done. Right here. Actual proof. Here is a list of things you should have done when  you very first noted they needed doing.

You are letting things slip, says Ken.
You are lazy, says Ken.
You are worthless, says Ken

And there it is. One day of feeling low and doing nothing and Ken tries to rewrite everything good I believe about myself.
Why am I like this today?

Have a experienced a trauma – no.
Have I done something wrong – no
The answer - I am ill. That is all.

And being ill is stopping me from thinking straight, from acting normally, from speaking with my usual compassionate filter. Ken should recognise that I have good reason for not functioning well.
I have a truly rotten cold. Not flu, (that is a different bug bear of mine, which I may explain another time) but it is a bad cold. My temperature keeps going up and down. I have limited lung capacity, excessive phlem, sore throat, a horrid cough and a banging headache. Along with all of these physical symptoms, somehow in between coughing up crap and blowing my nose I seem to have lost my sense of self and my sense of humour.

In fact people trying to have a laugh or cheer me up are severely pissing me off.

Usually on days like this I hide away from people. But I cant. I have a lovely lodger who does not deserve to feel the force of my forked tongue. I have a beautiful partner who I most definitely do not want to see me like this, let alone hear the absolute garbage that is spilling from my mouth.
I have a virus but it seems to have infected my personality too.
I have self loathing for being unable to function, even though I tell myself on a minute by minute basis to not be so hard on myself.

I am run down, my poison parrot, or as I like to call it the extremely loud and obnoxious neggy naggy voice in my head that behaves like the drunken asshole in the pub who we all placate but never respect, takes advantage and shouts as loud as possible about how little I am achieving. As if sleeping, healing and being able to get myself and my ferocious headache to the bathroom and back isn’t accomplishment enough.

Ken is trying to undo all the good I have done so far this year.

Even as I ponder that last sentence I struggle to think of what the fuck good I have actually done already this year...

So as the day wears on and I sleep the dopey sleep of those who use night nurse during the day I realise that todays accomplishments will be simple:

  • get showered
  • get dressed
  • be kind to self and others
  • go to house viewings
It is taking all that I have not to bite the head off of everyone who talks to me. So I find myself hoping the houses wont be suitable, so I don’t actually have to negotiate meaningfully with anyone.

As I said, its a day for making myself sick in the head when actually I am just stuck writhing around in my sick bed.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Phoenix Rising 2018

It all started with a kiss,
Ridiculous instigated game from inebriated bliss,
Nothing sinister, nothing insane,
Just a bunch of consenting pals, playing a game.

Except it was unpicked in hindsight, unpicked in fear,
That not all the kisses were friendly that new year,
In one particular couple it caused a fracture so sharp,
That the end bells tolled and cupid threw down his harp.

A mutual uncoupling became a one sided game of distaste,
With outrage and pain thrown all over the place,
The rewriting of good times, the dismember of truth,
Blew all the great memories like soot through the roof.

Dusty and dark, black pointless grains,
Scattered over the story of a love lost with no gain,
The subject of personal generosity became the name of the blame,
The last pieces of our life viewed through distorted broken glass pain.

Yet out of the bottomless pit of the self doubt that it caused,
Came a phoenix rising, climbing through the glass with blue claws,
Breathing fire so fierce to burn a way out,
And finally found the strength needed to get out.

You will not break me, I am free to fly!
I loved you as best as I could before I laid down to die,
Who I was through your eyes diminished me and made me cry,
I have nothing left to give you, yet I can promise I tried.

It took months of soaring upon my wings alone,
To see the truth and find my way home,
And now its over I have found something divine.
I have found myself. My spirit is mine.

I can shine so bright, without any fight,
I can twist and turn while grounded and during flight,
I have given more than I ever received,
I will no longer fool myself or by the games of others never again be deceived.

2017 you were a shit storm of a year,
But I learned so much, that I no longer fear,
Of what is coming ahead or what I have left behind,
Only the truth of my generosity now lives in my mind.

I wish you farewell, with the very last I have left,
To look back without heartbreak, no longer bereft,
And take what I want into the next chapter I’ve seen,
And bring all of my awesome into 2018.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

So so in...

And then everything changed
A marvel unravelled
Truths were told
Feelings declared
Skin was caressed
Lips were licked
Fingers were entwined
Backs were arched
And two became one

Everything became real
Majik shimmered around
Feet left the ground
Breathing the only sound
Hearts beat so fast
Smiles unending
As dreams unfold
Promises told
For our story has now begun

Monday, 23 October 2017

Being so in, being so low

Noone was hurt in the making of this story….but…well, actually…I was.

There is a reason its called being ‘in love’ and not being of love, or loved by or having love with another.
Its in love. Being right in it. In the moment. Consumed in. Given in. Falling in.
Its all so… I didn’t know how to be out again.

Do we ever really feel the love from another long enough to know how changeable and conditional it is? Or do we feel enough of it to then run around consumed in our own interpretation of what their love means, what it could be, what opportunities it holds, what dreams it can aspire to.
Are we ever in love with another or in love with our idea of being in love with another?

Right now I am heartbroken. I had a three day love affair. It was the most sensual love of my life. It bloomed from a place of long friendship, mutual intrigue and respect. From a place I have held treasured in my heart for so long. It took my breath away.

Being a couple of souls recently broken up from another love, we were super aware of all our fallibilities and the risk for emotional attachment and relationship centric issues. I thought I did a good job at keeping my expectations and attachment issues in check. We had a wonderful time in the moment of three days of sharing, laughing and sensual moments. It was the most beautiful thing I have felt in years.

Sadly it was to end. We both were not quite ready. There were feelings of guilt and pain threaded through some of the after effects. The timing was not right.

In that moment, we felt compassion for our healing selves.

In the discovery of how much we wanted to give ourself to another, we found we had not fully given into ourselves, and reached ourself fully. We still were unsure of ourselves, and needed to heal our doubt.

The power of such an intense lesson, to better yourself through the visions of what you want to be to another, to be the best version of yourself in the here and now, is a beautiful thing.

It made me sad because in all its intense beauty, it was there to remind me to slow down, find my inner self love. But I did not want to stop being in the moment with them.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Look forward, don’t run.

October marks the month when I thought I would be walking away from my current job and into a new life, and a new position in a beautiful company. I have wanted to get out of my current job for years, I am putting myself through part time study to qualify in a new vocation to do just that.

But this time last year, I didn’t think I could cope any longer and put feelers out, to move on.
I found an amazing opportunity to work with an inspiring individual in an ethical company.
But as time moved towards the decision to stay or leave, and as I weighed up all the pro’s and con’s, I got more messaging about my path, than I have ever received about a single choice I must make...
Those messages said - just be still.

Its a concept I have never applied in life. Not really.
I am a total go getter and problem solving activist.
But at that point in my life, every time I asked for guidance, the answer was - slow down and just be.

It has taking some effort to apply this to my life, at all. But the area I needed to apply it most, was at work.

I turned down the job offer and stuck my head into my studies.
As disappointed as I was, it felt right.
After all, I had a plan in place to get out. Just one more year!

Eventually crunch time came at my work. It became unbearable. Isolating. Unrewarding.
Yet rather than punish myself with feelings of dissatisfaction and the pressure to move on, I made a hard move to be honest with the bosses about my perception of the job in hand. I confronted their pace of progress verses my productivity. I explained my sense of deflation and frustration with the job.

Surprisingly, I was heard loud and clear.
Suddenly the job changed and it became something tranquil, slow and steady and dare I say it...easy?  It became the one area of my life where I could tick jobs off and find satisfaction, if I just re-framed it differently. It was all about how I looked at it, appraised it and approached it.

I still want and need to get out. I cannot maintain this approach whole-heartedly forever. It would be dishonest. But I totally appreciate that in my current time span, the job I am in, is doing what it needs to do, for me. It is straight forward and easy to complete.
It is, in honesty, a place of calm if, I let it.

I know that the end is in sight. I am months away from completing my studies and hopefully not that long away from selling my property too. Then, to coin a phrase, the world is my oyster!

I am a little sad as the marker passes by this week, but I cannot help reflect that all things considered, I am, exactly where I am meant to be right now.

After all, I have a huge amount of final study papers to submit for my university deadline of the 31st January. I also have six weeks of group work to deliver and write up, presentations to create and present, weekly classes to attend until mid December and a house to sell.

If I was starting a new job now, I would have added stress, deadlines and train travel into my depleting capacity.

So it strikes me. By not running towards my perceived destination, I have ended up there anyway. Or at least in touching distance of it. It is so close its palpable. Exciting. Enticing.

All I need to do now is continue the pace and cross the finish line and finish my own race with grace.

My planning ahead is finally coming to fruition. It proves to me...

Look forward, don’t run.