Sunshine gilds my afternoon,
I hear soft susserations from the trees.
Open windows, just right breeze.
I am fondling soil between my fingers
digging gently at the edges with a
blade whose edge has long since gone,
feeling for moisture, taking death,
tossing fragments outside to turn
the end into the snake’s mouth again.
I pick a coil of shaped wood, small beads...
India in my hand again. Beach sand
between my toes, briefly, in the sprint
across blazing heat to the cool relief
of the wide ocean skimmed by flying fish.
These beads, these memories lie
coiled, foetally fatally fatefully
amid the warm tones of a wooden bowl
turned upon a halfway lathe in Lancashire,
neither at ground nor above, suspended twixt.
Did I make this? No,
my Father, maker of beautiful things,
my Mother, maker of beautiful things.
I am one of them.
July 5 2023
have been my companions for ever
dark flickering eyes
I see their breath rise
in the cold air
the steam flow from their flanks
on a hot afternoon
the smell of their sweat
makes my blood tingle.
I am at home
in the nakedness of the horse
I walk in woods
both empty and full
ringing with hoofbeats
to echo my heart
ringing with the cries
of a wild horse in the
calling me home again
Byron Bay, January 16, 2015
Inside an eight-ball. Not behind one. Actually, inside the black snooker ball, unmarked, flawless, just pure, plain black.
Inside, everything changes. There are no seams, no corners, no up, no down. Contrary to popular belief, the interior is not hard shiny black as is the outside, but soft, deep, welcoming and warm. In fact, the interior is ourselves.
Can’t sleep? Having trouble shutting down your mind? Do plans and thoughts and memories race to the finish line inside your mind, jostling each out of the way to be first to be foremost.
Imagine nothing? Focus on nothing. Think entirely about nothing. No thing. Not. A. Thing.
Or, since that is patently impossible, since the instruction “think” is an instruction “do” which instantly fills our minds with the infinite options of thinking... petals, waves, falling towers, changing seasons, birds, babies being born, people fighting, fences being built and crumbling, weather patterns, my itchy foot, the sock that feels twisted, my next adventure, what’s for dinner?, when are the parents visiting, that’s a ladybug! The list never ends in our monkey minds.
So. Get in your eight-ball and chill out.
Think about it. Just it. That soft, welcoming, almost touchless sensation of floating in utter calm in the midst of black. No light, no sparks, no sound, no nothing. No THING. Think about it.
When I was a child and couldn’t sleep, my Dad would tell me to think about a black velvet box. Actually, I have no idea if that’s what he really said, that’s what I remember. Now I’ve gone one step further, removing the straight planes, the seals, the up and down, the joins between the sides. Inside the eight-ball there’s nothing but rolling contentment. Black, featureless, gentle, even, peaceful peace.
Come and hang out in the eight-ball with me some time.
It's god whispering in your ear
don't touch me
how can you not
all the thousand pieces of your soul
every essential aspect of being
floats in a stillness of night
buoyed by the luxuriant moon
It's god whispering
breath sliding across your skin
don't touch me
how can you not?
It's god whispering
David P's Bangkok, May 2, 2015
It’s definitely a journey. As I begin to emerge from my healing cocoon and venture forth into the world, it’s a blessing that the earth is doing a similar thing. We are slowly – oh so slowly – inching from winter to spring, a brief and intense blast of the spring thing and before we know it, it will be summer again.
Transitions, change, stuff keeps happening and new alliances are formed. As I am aware of what is happening beneath the surface of my body, I am made aware of how much I don’t know. This is a daily reminder to approach life with a beginner’s mind. I am on a constant learning expedition. While I sat immobilised things wasted away, bringing things back into balance and power is a long, slow journey.
In order to walk, we use a complex system of pulleys, fulcrums, levers... muscles, tendons and bones. Walking is often described by those in the professions as controlled falling... which, when you stop and think about it, is pretty accurate. You swing a foot out in front of you and your bodyweight begins to fall towards the weight and momentum, but the million subliminal reactions and responses within the body instead create a planting of a foot, then a lifting and follow through with the other. Hips, shoulders, head and arms all sway and move to counter-balance the flow and with luck, the muscular strength in the legs prevents everything from crumpling into a ragged pile of skin and bones.
When we sit on a horse, the dynamics change. I’m so freakin excited to be on horseback again. Trying not to get ahead of myself of course. I note with greater clarity how when riding, the degree to which one’s legs bow out and bend around the barrel of the horse. I note the flexion in the hip, knee and ankle joints and the weight of the body supported both through the legs and through the seat. When the horse begins to walk, all sorts of exciting things happen, each of the four legs moving individually in the walk. As the hind legs move, the horse’s hips roll from side to side and forward and back, this creates a fascinating and frequently challenging figure-of-eight rotation that will highlight any lower back or hip issues in the rider.
Tension in the human body will transmit into the equine body resulting in the two becoming a bundle of nerves and tension. A deep breath and a calming exhalation not only brings stress or anxiety levels down in the human, but this lowering and leavening is also transmitted directly to the horse. Horses are such unique, incredible and profound healing helpers and educators, they mirror back to us some truths that we often find easier to ignore.
The union of human and horse is a fascinating and lengthy story dating back centuries. The Athenian cavalryman Xenophon’s Art of Horsemanship was written around 360BC. Born out of conflict and war, it still remains a useful tool in the understanding of the horse. Xenophon gave instructions on handling the horse, the relationship between groom and horse (what I call the yoga of the horse) and not just the rider, whom he proposed should be able to mount quickly from both on and off-side, and should ride “as though he were standing upright with his legs apart (not in a chair seat)”. This is an important distinction, we are not ‘sitting’ on a horse, we are ‘riding’. It is different.
The challenge of the horse (and yoga) is to fully understand and create a harmonious outcome leveraging the strength, suppleness, softness and power of our bodies. In my equine training we placed an emphasis on playing games and undertaking wild and wacky challenges to give us greater resilience, flexibility and accomplishment. Practicing skills in an undemanding arena before having to rely on them in serious or more demanding situations is the way to go. Learn to walk before you run. Some of my reference books go back decades if not centuries (I do have a copy of Xenophon’s book, although probably not an original). My copy of Mounted Games and Gymkhanas was reprinted in 1967, a mere 19 years after originally published.
Putting a horse into this equation of training and body awareness makes it more fun, more challenging and infinitely more rewarding when you achieve success. Accommodating another’s needs, fears, moods and physical or mental limitations is part of life. Adjusting our methods of perception to include a different species stretches the brain muscle and leads us into even deeper lessons... emerging the other side is like breaking the surface of the lake into the heat of the mid-summer sun. What an amazing sensation it is when something works out.
Keep looking up and enjoying what’s all around us!
IIt's been 37 days since I broke my leg. A lot of time for musings...
I grew in a world where people didn’t talk of sex, religion or politics.
I grew in a world where men were in charge.
I grew in a world where adults told children what to do
I grew in a world where I was told I didn’t appreciate what I had
I grew in a world where I was supposed to see a concrete box as a bonus
I grew in a world where construction and concrete were seen as progress
I grew in a world where our planet's health was irrelevant
not a single adult told me they could learn a single thing from me.
I also grew in a world
swathed in love
cradled in care
protected and prompted
Back in the dark ages, in a small village in the north-west of England, I took some sort of secretarial course after university-before-work-limbo-land.
The course included shorthand and touch-typing, something I’m practicing now albeit rather erroneously. At that time I think all the machines were large electric typewriters with exotic revolving balls and shiny right arms, put to bed at night with heavy plasticized covers of drab grey-green. The classroom was upstairs in a building veneered with dirty once-white stucco on the upper story, the lower sank below the level of the adjacent road as it swept down and around a curve at the west end of the village.
Other components I vaguely remember are something along the lines of where-do-you-see-yourself-in-five-ten-fifteen-years? Forward planning at which I was completely hopeless and whatever mad plans I set down on paper couldn’t have been further from the truth of what was to come. At the age of 21 I was still stuck at a desk staring out of the window trying to find the answers. The course also included, across the way in a rather dingy old one-storey brick building...
Programming. Reading holes punched in cards, index cards in long trays. Dark green cardboard, brass reinforcements on the corners of things and around holes. Writing programs as flow charts – ‘if this, then that. If that, then this...’ I think I understand the basic concept of every thing (there’s a statement!) - zeros and ones, offs and ons, nos and yeses, that’s all computing is. In the decades that follow like lightning and treacle, every nuance of colour, movement, shade, tone, hue... it’s all a combination of gazillions of yeses and noes that add up to maybes and just abouts to give the semblance of depth of reality.
I saw a few clips of ‘VR fails’ yesterday. My visceral reaction might be labelled as shock and avoidance, why? Why would one put oneself in such a divorced state? To completely sever visual, audio input and override it with something else... BUT while ambulatory in the world. I watched people masked in VR goggles launch themselves into space at whatever they were experiencing in VR, but in reality, they plunged head-first through the screen of a 44” TV, or into the wall, or ricochet off various hard-edged pieces of furniture. I guess this is the Darwin awards in full play.
I was thinking of the plumbing setup beneath my house which I can’t pop down to check on with my brokebackleg. A simple alarm in the barrels for the water treatment could be installed to trip when the level gets low enough for a restock reminder. Would a visual alarm be sufficient or should it be aural too? Or maybe, yes, we live in a fabulous digital world and I now have brilliant wifi in my home thanks to Starlink – I saw Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2022 photos of Elon Musk’s mum yesterday too. Talk about six degrees...
Anyhoo, so we can install a simple trigger in the barrels... to a wifi app of course. Since we can do that, we can install a ladder trigger that measures how much media has been used over time and send predictive shopping reminders or alerts for sudden increases in usage and all those fun kind of things. The installers/manufacturers will eventually include such things with the original installation and information will feed back to them to enhance development for future revisions. That would make sense wouldn’t it?
So the computer needed to effect that kind of response to a simple trigger... would be...
the size of a couple of small houses with a lot of cogs and wheels and interesting things turning and intermittently clicking and occasionally whirring and sometimes chuntering along... flickering reams of cardboard directives fanning past reading teeth and disappearing into a dark collection tray sucked deep into the maw of the brass-trimmed dark green Dream Team Most Progressive Modern Home Efficacy Butlering Automatrom.
This handy home-monitoring system can be efficiently operated by a mere six servants, four at slow time or when away from home. For operating purposes, it requires, per day, one ton of coal to feed a large furnace to power a small electrical generator to drive the various wheels and cogs and gyres and pipes and rods that constitute the functional guts of the aforementioned Automatrom. A large stock of goose grease and pig fat to keep the various moving parts moving freely, a bathtub of water to cool overheating elements, and a large stock of card with which to replace and add additional directives on a go-forward basis.
A blessed and inexpensive solution to the question of when to refill ones’ water softener or filter reservoir at home.
Or, a nano-chip less than a sixth the size of my little fingernail, plugged into a solar panel 6x6” 5min per day.
Or, an able body and a memory so I go take a look at things on a regular basis and act accordingly.
Such is life. Or is it?
The excerpt below is a random dip into my adventures with fantuzzi, the early days... this will have been my first visit to landjuweel festival in the netherlands.
On the first day of exploration we walk together through the tents, the people, the field, we go to the healing field and into a yurt, lie down for a sound healing session and I drift on chants, hums, the beat of a dozen drums, shake of bells and rattles, hear the hum and drone of healing sounds, in and out of awareness, feeling seeds drop to my skin, my lips, feel the weight of singing bowls upon my body, float in the warmth and softness of the fire's heat and the carpeted floor, in peace beside love, hearing the chant rise to bring us all back to unity, awareness, upright, sitting about the fire. We all sing together and the joy of life and unity flows through us each. 2Z plays and sings and I rise to dance as always filled with the beauty of this music that melts my bones and drives my soul. A girl close by me takes the guitar and sings a song of such bleeding beauty that tears come from me and I am humbled in her presence. We drink hot sweet chai and settle in the ambience that is a cradle of love and support. Finally on leaving, I see a girl in the doorway with tears falling over her cheeks, I embrace her in a hug, feeling that whatever her sadness I must connect to her and share some of the warmth I have right now. She says she feels alone... we are not alone here, in this place, we are all together and each shares love and compassion, the healing field and this yurt are centres of healing and she is welcomed inside as I release her. I know that she will find comfort there.
Recorded with the fabulous Fantuzzi at Kamalaya, Koh Samui. I am forever thankful that someone was recording this night. So often these small miracles happened on the road, only to be shared by those present at the time. Most often I have no lasting memory of the words that leave my lips in these trance-like situations.
A spontaneous spoken word moment drawing on images and memories from a sleepless night at The Sanctuary, Koh Phangan earlier that month.