It doesn’t matter so much what you do. The cause and effect will happen. The opposite will always be invoked, no matter how good or bad.
I had quite the internal crisis on Thursday night. I’d been to badminton club in Ryde, and lost every match except for the singles I played at the end of the night. The whole night I was feeling uncomfortable, feeling something odd going on energetically in the hall. It was like as if everyone was asleep in some way and something else was there.
I left feeling internally in pieces, pulled apart from the sense of stability and solidity that normally guides everything for me. I took my shoes and socks off, cranked up some music, and walked slowly through Ryde to some skips, and then to my bus stop. I felt as if everyone around was suddenly against me in some way. I got thoughts of where I could go and live instead. I thought of Bristol, South Wales, Switzerland, the Pyrenees, and Indonesia. All places where I’ve felt a feeling of freedom to be. It felt kind of urgent.
I feel asleep on the couch trying to write about everything. I woke at 5am and went to bed for an hour, before I had to get up for work. I was still in pieces.
It had rained a lot, and was raining a little when I got out. I got my feet soaked when I got off the bus because my shoes don’t resist water. I got to work. I was told a few minutes after starting work that I hadn’t clocked in. I had clocked in, but it hadn’t registered so – normally this means missing morning tea break as a result. The supervisor said I’d clocked out accidentally instead of in, and everything was fine. I went through the first few hours in my own world with my assembling job that I was going for a new time record for. I was going so fast.
At tea break I spoke briefly to Mai, a lovely Thai lady. She pretty much just wished me a really pleasant weekend, we didn’t have much time for talking about anything as she was on the earlier tea break and had to go. The energy was soft, and loving. Everyone on that table was soft and loving.
I went back to work, and started conversation with my neighbour, a new guy, Phil, that started a few weeks back but had been repositioned next to me the day before. We connected strongly. He came to the island from Manchester because he has family here. He’d like maybe to start a business around his cartoons he draws. He doesn’t know where to get started with publishing. He’s a quiet man, and gives the impression of being very reclusive. But his energy is warm, and loving.
After work I needed to go to Newport to pick up a piece of wood for a miniature door carving I agreed to do for a dementia project. Phil got on the same first bus, and there were a couple of other colleagues that we sat upstairs with. The energy was fantastic, like we all shared in this club of living together at the factory.
In Newport I got the wood and went to Independent Arts, to see the project assistant. She was really excited by my enthusiasm to take this on, and said she’d like to put my progress on their website, and have a grand unveiling of the door on the 24th April. I felt feelings of real adequacy. I felt, for the first time since leaving Somaskanda Ashram, that I can call myself a carpenter again. I realised that I do have the skills and ability to do this project.
I went looking for tools, and ended up buying some online. An investment – a jigsaw and a rotary tool. The rotary tool would take quite some time to sand it, but I can give the time. I will cut it with the jigsaw, then plane to a decent thickness, then carve patterns in with the rotary grinder. I can do this because I was carving into a meteorite rock with a rotary tool at Somaskanda. I am skilled.
I left home just after 7pm to go back to Newport for an Amnesty International meeting with Lucy. I heard from Tārā who told me all about Somaskanda – the first news I’d heard in quite some time to a place I feel so very much connected to. We met in Newport and talked briefly before getting to the meeting. I’d told Lucy I’d had a hard time and wanted an evening of good vibes.
The meeting was hot, way hot. I took my jumpers off but was still really hot. We were the youngest there by a long way. Most were very much retired. The Isle of Wight Amnesty group was set by Derek Stirman in 1962, 55 years ago. He was in the meeting. We were told he keeps quiet nowadays in the meetings as he feels he can’t contribute anything anymore because of his age, but that it was completely because of him that the group has been going the whole time. I felt like I was meeting a living legend.
They talked about different prisoners that they’re trying to help, and different events they’re putting on. I’d been quiet most of the time but ended up agreeing to promote some of the events, and I wrote a birthday message to a prisoner in Morocco about football (I was told he likes hearing about football and so I told him briefly what’s going on at my club, Newcastle United, with all the good vibes Rafa Benitez has invoked). I marvelled at the stone fireplace, and especially at the beautiful long stone shelf that stuck out of it. As a stoneworker myself, I saw this as something really accomplished and beautiful.
We left, it was raining a lot, and quickly the chair of the meeting picked us up and took us to Brading.
I suggested us going to the Kynges Arms pub on the high street, an Oldy Worldy pub I’d always wanted to go to but hadn’t been in yet.
We went in and immediately a girl came running over to Lucy and gave her a big hug. An old friend she hadn’t seen in a few years, since being her bridesmaid. The universe brought them back together here.
We sat at another table by the window with our drinks. There was an old well in the middle of the table. I was flabbergasted. The universe brought me back to the living waters.
Everything was all good vibes. Lucy asked me if I’ve ever done any building work, I told her about my first ever proper project I’d managed, and completed with David within our time limit, of building the shelter for Nandy. Of course Markus and Swami Narayana didn’t tell us their thoughts on it, they tended to keep their praise to particular planned-out moments. But it was brilliant. And it was David’s first ever building project (he didn’t tell me until after – I’d assumed he had some experience). He absolutely loved the project, and that’s what it’s all about in the end really. Loving what you’re doing. It really shows if you love it.
I said about wanting to do face masks sometime. I hadn’t had a face mask since I was 17, but always found them so relaxing. Lucy said she makes face masks, but normally they’re for ‘girly nights’ and realised how much of a gender stereotype that is. We agreed that I would be seen as gay by other men if I spoke of wanting to have a facemask. It’s a desire for relaxation, and for some reason it’s seen as extremely deviant for a man to want that. It brought my mind quickly back to the Amnesty meeting, when a call-out was made as to if anyone would lead up a Pride project to do with Amnesty on the island, and the chair specifically looked at Lucy and myself, and we both stayed quiet. I hadn’t ever considered myself within that grouping, but there are so many things that make me stand out from the ‘man’ stereotype. I feel uncomfortable when other men are sexualising women in any way (and this includes even ‘chatting up’ women at events based on their looks), and don’t actually see myself feeling an attraction to anyone based solely on their looks. I sleep cuddling teddy bears every night. I wear hippy trousers that are only sold in women’s sizes. And for years in the past would be confused for being a lady, because of having long hair and no beard. But then I feel that all people, regardless of sexual leaning and what have you, should have every right to feel ‘pride’ in being whatever feels natural. Whatever feels natural.
We left, Lucy caught her bus, and I had a brilliant puja at my shrine. To bed, and a night of crazy dreams, lots of disturbances throughout. But I’m here now. I need to retreat away sometimes, but will continue to affect things around me even if I have retreated. Sometimes a retreat is the most powerful action, or is the only thing that feels right.
And I feel all vibed up. The crisis of Thursday night brought a lot of things up. I doubted everything I’m doing. Now I’ve been given signs that I’m doing all the right things. And that’s all I need.