How to be you.

I think there are a couple of things a person has to take on board if they truly want to know who they are.

  1. HONESTY

The first thing do is drop any pretence.

& FACE YOURSELF.

…and to do that you have to be on the outside looking in. You have to develop the ability to look at yourself as though through the eyes of another. You have to be willing to point out the things that you don’t like about yourself.

Are you impatient? Then acknowledge it.

Are you liable to exaggerate – then admit it.

Are you full of fear – don’t be afraid to say so.

ETC…ETC…ETC.

The point being that the human being (YOU), is a mass of contradictions.

It’s OK. It’s our experiences in life have made us what we are. It’s not your fault for within that life is the truth  that the ‘damaged’ person (YOU) is constantly adjusting. Constantly working at ways to improve. Always on the go. Working to make oneself, ‘better’.

That, I believe is a given.

Although we may not consciously be working to improve we know in our hearts and head that the way we are at any given moment can be improved. We are in short, ‘A WORK IN PROGRESS’. And that work can take all of our lives. Our ‘self-healing’ and that is the marvellous thing about being human we can ‘repair’, is a long term job. Upon saying that, there are of course, for various reasons some who have, sometimes through no fault of their own or by choice have buried the mechanism that enables us ‘improvement’.

2. RULES. BE CAREFUL OF SOCIETY’S RULES.

Of course every society needs its rules and laws. Without any kind of framework to guide and lead us, there will come, chaos.

I believe that most of those rules are within us. They are what make us human and allow us to survive (flight or fight) and live a life.

Some rules we are born with. Others become part of us as we grow and become part of the society and culture we live and become used to. We accept, wrongly or rightly our ‘way of life’.

But this does not mean that rules cannot be changed.

Rules can in my view, ‘wear out’. As we become shall we say, more sophisticated and knowledgeable we will know that some rules have outstayed their welcome and either need to be tinkered with or dispensed with entirely. Good examples of this are the rules that govern our sexuality and who we are allowed to be.

As time has gone on, we have become more aware that the human race is a jigsaw of parts that like any jigsaw can be pieced together to make, a complete picture. However, its a jigsaw that is continually being added to.

As the years, decades go by we are constantly being surprised on how many more pieces it takes to form the human race…and its not over yet. More parts/peices of the puzzle are yet to be revealed. More surprises await us and more ‘rules’ will have to be changed or dispensed with to make way for our complex and myriad lives. A society or culture that cannot look at itself and right its wrongs WILL eventually self-destruct.

BRAVERY (and the conquering of fear- see above).

Society only ever changes because of the actions of the few.

Most of us WILL NOT BE THE ONE who steps forward. Those with that kind of courage are few and far between. Most of us are sheep. We follow the flock…but that’s OK…as long…

…as long as we are aware that there will come a time when we will be needed and have to raise our heads above the parapet…but even then it will be too much for most of us.

The trouble is if we do nothing. If we refuse to put our mark on the ballot paper or join the march or the strike we could find ourselves on the losing side and more in the open and at risk than we ever thought we would be.

The point being that it is almost impossible to stay silent.

By this I don’t mean you have to wave a flag or express your view through a loud hailer. The truth is, total silence can be construed as you being, complicit.

I believe, you/we live our lives in conjunction/ in connection with others.

Whether we like it or not, I believe our lives are intertwined. We can watch from the side-lines, and we can believe that what we see has nothing to do with us and will not in the long run affect us. That is a mistaken belief.

The rules and laws that are made to keep a part of the human race down and controlled, touch us all.

We can of course, state openly that ‘WE DON’T CARE’ about what happens to others and go on about our lives in complete ignorance. The refusal to even try to understand what it like to be in another’s shoes, to my mind makes those that think like that, LESS.

Sure they will survive and there will be no retribution or come back of any sort but they will be, empty vessels. A non-contributors. Taking up valuable space. Fleshy, empty, bags of useless bones.

Counting down the days.

The Stratfordian

I admit I do have a tendency to be a  bit over-dramatic but hey let’s face these are special times. With what’s going on in the world (at least what we know about) it’s a great time to get whatever is bothering you off your chest (before it’s too late).

So what’s bothering me…?

It’s the passage of time. But that’s nothing new. It’s always bothered me since I was a kid. How fast it all goes. One minute you are as I said a kid, the next you are a father with kids of your own. How did that happen?

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is not only does it go too fast but, before you know it you’re close to the finishing line. Over. Done. And for what?

That’s how I feel right now. Near the end. Now don’t get me wrong this is not necessarily a complaint. I’m a little nervous but not scared. Apprehensive, yes but I’m of the school that thinks this is a journey of different stages so in a strange way I’m curious…even excited. Morbid to some I admit but this part of the journey (the living part) has been everything. Weird, frustrating, pointless (?), revealing, pleasurable (sex) plus a lot of other stuff that seemed to make it all worthwhile and by that I guess I mean, kids, offspring, children. No doubt they are THE THING that’s made it moderately worthwhile.

What’s brought this on?

Well a few years ago after a bout of breathlessness and a suspected heart attack (although that is now in doubt), I had some stents fitted. To cut a long (ish) story short – miraculous. I was back to er ‘normal’.

Cut too today…

The symptoms appear to have returned. Not as bad but they’re back. After a week or so of doing the typical male thing and ignoring them, I have been persuaded by you know who to book an appointment with the doctor.

So here we go again.. More stents? Big heart operation…watch this space.

I’m 73. No complaints.

OK. I’m not in the Ukraine or starving in some sun-scorched desert. I’m in the UK FFS with the only thing to worry about is the toad Boris Johnson (wash my mouth out with soap and water). I guess, like us all I’d like a bit more time. Selfish, I know but I’m trying to be honest. And as that’s the case, to be truthful I am a little scared of being fiddled about with again.

This has been a purely selfish post.

Musical thoughts; An old fart speaks.

So that’s the excitement over for another year. Glastonbury, come and gone in the blinking of an eye. Performers become superheroes and saviours of the world all on the basis of their constructing a simple melody that strikes somewhere deep in our consciousness, enlightening us and for a short magical moment taking us on a trip fuelled not by drugs but by the very vibration of the air around us.

Music would appear to be important in our lives.

Indeed there are some that are convinced that we cannot live without its vibrations. And so we have things like Glastonbury and other festivals and concerts etc that take us away for an hour or two to another place. A place of rest and escape.

Music can and does change the world.

Its vibration, the way it moves the air, its echo can infiltrate even the hardest heart and has the ability to make people stop and think. It excites memories and in between making certain people famous and a lot of money, it can give the listener, hope.

But hey, let’s not get carried away here.

Music is also fashion item and therefore a momentary thing. Once out of fashion its power is gone (until next time around maybe). One only has to look at the various musical campaigns to ‘Feed the World’ to note the short shelf life. People dance and react with fervour and passion until the beats don’t strike home anymore and the dance that they are performing looks suddenly clumsy, old-fashioned and embarrassing. So much for the poor and starving.

For all music’s and musicians’ macabre efforts to combining entertainment and deadly disaster, music cannot be denied its most useful purpose which is the passing on of information.

Music still plays the part that it has always done.

That of the travelling minstrel. The word will get around.

Music, although it does not have the ability in itself to drastically change the world it will always be able to inform and inspire. The other amazing thing about music is it gets to the parts other systems cannot reach and that is because of its ability to float in the air. To penetrate barriers, political systems and of course its magical ability to send coded and secret messages. It can also operate in disguise. Pretending to be one thing when in fact it is another. An iron fist in a velvet glove.

There is something weird/strange/mystical about music’s vibrations that will always make people stop and think…and thereafter…who knows?

Refugee crisis

The arrival today of the giant refugee puppet Amil in Stratford upon Avon today (I forgot) got me wondering about the world’s present day refugee crisis (who’s having the crisis by the way – the refugees or the ‘receiving country’) and the ferocity of feelings against those who for various reasons want to escape, run away call it what you will, from their present location.

I want to say that I don’t understand the anger against these people but of course that’s not true. There’s only one reason certain refugees are not welcome in this country and that’s based around the colour of their skin. All the other stuff about ‘economic refugees’ or ‘there’s not enough room’ etc, etc is all bollocks and designed to cloak and put some sense of respectability around racism.

There’s not even an argument to be had.

The proof of the pudding….as they say is proven by the fact that if you are Ukrainian and want to get your family away from death and destruction (a sensible choice) AND you are white, you are welcome.

If however, you are from a war situation and want to leave for similar reasons BUT are brown or black er…‘hang on a minute my friend while we check that there are no other reasons that you might want to locate in the UK’. Simple as that.

Personally speaking, I believe that ‘wanting to improve One’s life’ is a valid reason for anyone to go anywhere that looks more inviting and could quite possibly stop you from starving or dying.

*Although, I do admit I am baffled as to why anyone of a different hue would want to come to this predominantly racist country and suffer some more at the hands of the ignorant and stupid who seem to be overpopulating this country at this present time.

Mind you, at the moment we are only locking illegal migrants up or sending them to Rwanda. We aren’t using torture er…yet? (OK…locking up and sending people to Rwanda is a kind of torture isn’t it…but it’s a very British torture isn’t it. Subtle torture-polite torture.

I’ve often wondered who’s feeding our black and brown brethren the guff about the welcome to be found in the UK. Why doesn’t the truth ever get through? Unless of course the situation in their own country is so dire that the abuse they’ll receive over here is minor and at the moment won’t blow you or your kids heads off.

* (Probably something to do with our stringent gun laws).

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)

CONFESSION TIME.

I have to admit that I get some perverse enjoyment from telling people that I am an ex-priest who has, from day one of holiness, been losing his faith.

One:  I like to see the confused look on their faces when they realise they are confronted with someone who has so easily dismissed something they have been searching for or at least been trying to understand for most of their adult life.

And two: It’s not true.

To cut to the chase.

I have most certainly lost my faith but most certainly not in (for want of a better word), *God.

My faith (if I ever really and truthfully, had any) is totally gone in the C of E.

I have stopped believing in the Church of England.

And if the truth were really to be known, the only reason that they (CofE) became part of my life in the first place is because, they were there.

Like some huge blockade, I had to go through them to get to where I thought I wanted to be. They were/are the self-appointed gatekeepers. Custom Control.

They’re the Ones who led me astray and attempted to clone me. They are the Ones who put their grubby hands upon me, dressed me up in outlandish costume, gave me a script to read and let me go blundering dangerously, like a bad actor into the community.

So I blame them.

I blame them from disallowing true exploration into what was calling me.

I blame them for leading me away from who I truly was/am.

I blame them for supplying me with a false narrative and indoctrinating me day in (especially on Sundays) and day out.

I now realise that organised faith systems are always based on abuse.

And I am ashamed to realise at this at such a late hour.

I am ashamed that I was part of a system that basically told innocent people that they were not good enough and their only chance at something called ‘redemption’ would be to change.

I am ashamed because I could and should been concentrating more on the uniqueness of what each person in their own right had to offer. I should have been building confidence in realities not wishy-washy, pie in the sky when you die remedies.

I should have been pushing ‘WORTH’ not ‘worthlessness’.

I am truly sorry…it won’t happen again.

THEOLOGY FOR ALL

 

*God. This will be in part II (maybe).

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

 

 

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Since I’ve returned to painting (a long story for another time), I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’. This has always amazed me for a number of reasons.

First of all, because it sounds just like I used to be.

Painting (and writing) were the things I wanted to do more than anything in the world but for various and ever-increasing ridiculous reasons and reasoning these activities seemed miles away and ‘not for the likes of me’. A standpoint that I want to make clear came entirely from me. No-one else was to blame. Not mum not dad, not some errant careers’ master, nope just me and an outlook on the world that somehow had me lower down the food chain than was healthy.

At the beginning of my webpage I describe my art as ‘Naïve’. As far as I’m concerned all I am doing here is explaining by use of the word ‘Naïve’ is to say that I have not been trained. No fancy art school for me.

The opportunities to receive that kind of training were a mystery to me. And once again, no-one’s fault just me not paying attention. That’s how it was. That, if I’m honest is how my life has been. A life unplanned. Chaotic some might say. But that’s OK. There’s no going back to change things. And perhaps more importantly, no regrets.

How the desire to create whether writing or painting came to me, I have no idea. Like everything else, it just happened. The odd thing was, it came with a proviso.

If I was to do anything related to those things then, there was no way I could or would take any aspect of writing or painting as a ‘hobby’. No way would it become just a pastime. No way would I use it as just ‘filling in time’. It had in my case to be taken seriously or not at all.

Very commendable you might say but unfortunately that kind of attitude has its hardships, its ups and downs. The worst one to try and get over is the fact that no matter how serious you take yourself, it’s a pain in the arse if no-one else does. Which takes me back to those that say, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’.

These days we are obsessed with the official stamp of approval.

And I get that. Letters behind our name tell others that we have spent a period of time ‘training’. Exam qualifications tell people that we have passed some kind of test winning the approval of er…someone else. What those qualifications don’t do is tell anyone if we are any good (whatever that means). And therein lies my point…

We can all create. And what we make is unique BECAUSE there is no-one else like us. We paint, we write…LIKE NO-ONE ELSE.

That’s not to say we aren’t influenced by other artists, writers. Of course we are and that’s no bad thing. That’s how we learn of techniques, styles, methods all of which we can try ourselves. But here’s the thing…

Imagine knowing nothing.

Imagine doing it all for yourselves. Imagine exploring all the above with no guidance. How exciting is that.

Imagine coming up with something of your own pure creation. Imagine no-one ‘queering your pitch’ and telling you ‘that’s wrong’ or ‘that’s right’. Fantastic.

So to all those who say to me ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’ my answer is always the same. ‘YOU CAN’.

There’s no-one that dare stop you because the only weapons they have are ‘rules’.

Rules that have no strength, no power of their own. And who was it who said ‘rules are meant to be broken’.

An act of creation is art.

And your own personal act of creation overrules any challenge. It stands on its own. Released into the world and never to be repeated.

No matter how it was done. On a whim. Over days, weeks even years. No matter. You did it therefore it is unique. A one off.

And YOU, painter or writer are responsible.

MAGIC.

IFH.

Other stuff to read.

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

Facing up to it.

Well, I’ve tried everything to put it off. But I’ve finally put my big boy trousers on and begun facing up to it.

It’s my heart.

It’s not Covid. Long ot short. It’s not panic attacks and it’s certainly not some exotic and as of yet unnamed and undiscovered disease. I’ve tried everything I can to not face the truth. But I know in my heart of hearts (see what I did there)…

It’s my heart.

It’s the exact same symptoms that I experienced about three/four years ago when on holiday in Cornwall.

Shortness of breath. Tiredness. Uncomfortable feeling in the throat etc.

The same symptoms I had before being miraculously cured by the insertion of three stents into one of the arteries of my heart…but here we go again.

The Stratfordian

I’ve been to see the doctor and he thinks it can be handled by increasing one of the drugs I’ve been taking since the stents thing. So, following his advice I’ve increased the dosage and so far…nothing has changed.

Nope. It’s my heart and I’m off to see the Heart specialist…

Here we go again.

Wish me luck.

Rising as the cock crows

I must admit that I am not an early riser. Or, let me put that another way. I am intentionally NOT an early riser.

To be honest my days of rising as the cock crows are thankfully over. That was probably my all time hate when I was working. The hour at which you had to get up to go to work. I hated it.

However, do not get the wrong impression. The above confession does not mean in the slightest that I sleep until I wake naturally. Oh happy day.

Around here (Trinity Mead – Stratford upon Avon) although the Cock crow died out years ago, we still have an animal to act as nature’s alarm clock.

I write of course of The Dog. the stratfordian's art

In these parts every other resident appears to have a dog and in most cases a bloody noisy dog.

Let it not be said that I am a pet hater because I am not. I think tortoises are wonderful. But dogs of the barking variety are another thing.

For the life of me I don’t understand why every dog owner around here, at more or less the same time (early morning – are they in cahoots?), opens their back door to let the family beast out to bark in and at, the back garden.

It’s like syncronised barking.

This is how it goes…

Back door opens dog (s) runs out…barking.

Then, and this is the bit that really gets me, the barking commotion is followed by the human owner shouting at the animal…to stop barking.

What we then have is a performance that last for approx 15 minutes coming at ya from various near-by locations. Barking and shouting. Shouting and barking.

As the early hours progress I lie awake, listening to the pattern repeated over and over again, some far away, some close.

All over Trinity Mead, dogs and owners large and small  bark and shout. Shout and bark.

Until they don’t.

But of course by then it is too late. I’m awake and ready for bed.

There is  indeed no no peace for the wicked.

Dark and Light

At home with the Stratfordians

70 years on the throne

Being Nadhim Zahawi

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