experiences & expressions

behind the veil of self-importance lies a world beyond thought, a place with nowhere further to go and everywhere to explore. sometimes still, sometimes violent, always true to its necessities. a place where want is replaced with belonging


i walk along the pavement on my way to the gallery. purposefully stepping with destination in mind. the ground a wet grey and the sky an opening of blue - a contradiction that intrigues. a shot of cold wetness up my leg - my right foot is soaked. Fucker! I burst into a smile and thank the day for this moment


if not now, when?


i’m fearful of making immoral choices. a step out of line. a step that houses a thousand consequences

my home feels wide open, exposed and undefined. things come and accrue in pockets of neglect - small things, important things. it takes me time to figure out what they are and how they take up space. some things take up too much, others not enough. some things i'd have been better not to leave in the shadows. but here they are. here i am with them. part of my fabric - both of us transforming. it’s not the physicality of these things, the symbols, which suffocate, but the space which is taken up. the space i refuse to challenge in myself. they take up space within my home, and yet i do not know their name


how can i talk if i do not know the space of my own home? i can’t tread honestly with knowledge of things inside myself left unexplored. what use is language when what it symbolises is a perceptual frame? a frame that is undefined

asking questions i've no right to ask

what is the conversation I fear? having an open house, with all doors open? where things can come and go as they like? some come in and i greet them. but they stay too long, and others cause pain. or rather, they take up space. i feel like i need a guard at the door, though i’ve tried (and failed) this route with intellect. cognitive deflections only increase my sense of self importance, myopic control and delusions of simplicity. intellect only silences screams for a moment. and it's not true silence. being silenced is like closing a valve on a squealing pressure chamber. the noise stops for a bit, but volatility is likely to expand more violently down the line. i'm tired of silencing myself


controlling, intense, fearful

i’m fearful of missing the conversation that needs to happen. fear is one lens. on the one side, i’m defensive, aggressive, protective. i’m fascinated, obsessed with unconscious desires and seek to keep them at bay (engaging super-ego). fear defines the border facing the external world (not in physicality, but psychically). care defines the border facing the internal world (that which has been accepted of self, initially, too, by self)

i’m fearful that, in not knowing all that constitutes self, i won’t be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with myself, and so will remain detached from a life of real connection with all there is to experience; deep connection with others, stories and self. i feel a simultaneous sadness and raw drive to see and be seen


i want to lead a life of spaciousness. to hold myself with the care and intention i do others. i’m learning to trust in space, in the potency of expansive simplicity beneath the surface of my thoughts. glimmers here and there. i’m learning to notice times where i feel spaciousness inside. breathing into the raw, whipping sea spray of the cornish coast, swimming in the sea early in the morning, engaged in honest, confrontational, at-the-edge conversation with self/another


in this way, exploring the boundaries of my own ‘house’, aware and accepting of pockets of space within is my frontier; my conversation 


baby in the quiet carriage


context: several people working quietly in quiet carriage - me reading book titled ‘pathological altruism’. all carriages have plenty of space. two people take seat behind me and begin talking. within 10 seconds, person opposite me turns and informs them it’s a quiet zone. they are quiet for rest of journey. 30 mins in, a person with baby enters quiet carriage. the baby makes shrieking noises. the parent plays with baby. the carriage grows tense. no words are spoken to parent. below are reflections on the remaining 2hrs 40mins of my time on this journey 


why, as a social contract in context of ‘quiet carriage’, is baby allowed to make noise when friends conversing are not? why is the piercing shriek of a baby more allowable than the soft murmur of unaware adults? in labelling the carriage ‘quiet’, the variable under question is decibels - not number of people, not smelliness of food, not wealth - decibels. If carriage is to respect the social contract of ‘quiet’, surely it makes sense for constituents of carriage to hone in on the greatest outlier(s) of social contract? 


but what is the social contract? respect designated area unless capacity/extreme circumstances dictate otherwise? uphold the needs of child rearing parent above those of ‘average person’? what about of ‘average people’? at what point is the need of parent outweighed by that of group and vice versa? does context matter? what part does culture play? where does burden of responsibility lie? mind begins to clutter and persists


strictly speaking it is not baby, but parent of baby who breaches social contract in context of ‘quiet zone’. with plenty of space in other carriages, i label parent first as ignorant and then as obnoxious. i remain in this state of judgemental paralysis for 25mins or so - wanting to get up, not getting up and building in anxiety. what is this anxiety? guilt? i feel anxious around the appropriateness of response to their imposition on quiet. quiet is important to me - disruption gives rise to righteousness in me and i don’t want to go overboard. i feel guilty for not speaking up about my needs. i feel guilty for not standing up for what i perceive as a collective desire for quiet. i feel guilty about hiding behind my desire to protect them from my desire for them to be quiet. i feel guilty for wanting them to be other than they are. i feel more and more anxious the more conflicting thoughts i try to solve in a reductive way. mind continues to clutter, becoming increasingly rigid and inflexible 


conflicting thoughts intensify and i become further attached to ‘my right for silence in the quiet zone’. does it bother me? why does it bother me? self absorbed parent. self absorbed me. a desire for quiet turns to a binary want for silence. i remain seated. anger simmering. ’silence that fucking thing’ i think. i look over at person across walkway. they wince with each shriek and shake their head - face darkening with anger. seeing their anger manifest physically is the mirror i need to catch myself. my face softens and i laugh internally - had by my self-importance. sitting in stillness for the next hour as righteous anger leaves my body with each breath. clutter dissolving


judgemental thoughts reduced - mind clearer. baby still shrieking. can it be as simple as ‘this is a quiet zone - you are not quiet - please be quiet or leave’. yes, it could be, but i get a feeling that’s not ‘it’. i’m still attaching to a want for things to be other than they are


i’m reminded of the contextual labelling of space as ‘quiet zone’ - and my subsequent attachment to ‘quiet’ in this context. my attention turns inward. what is this ‘quiet zone’? mind begins to mull. to attach to label of ’quiet zone’ is to seek validation of an internal need (my need for quiet) from an external source (a zone outside of self). buddhism teaches this only leads to further suffering - it’s also my experience. there is no such thing as ‘quiet zone’ other than with oneself. falling victim to desire for control of external is therefore an admittance in denial of one’s own chaos. surely that’s where to focus one’s attention


breathing in, i find stillness in my abdomen. breathing out, tension released. this practice takes me through to my destination


reflecting on journey: there is a soft unspoken way of relating in this world that requires self-ownership, mutual cooperation and respect to function - some people get this, others less so. one thing i revisited today: we don’t desire/despise what we’ve accepted in ourselves


the quality of water 


when wind blows over lake, or ocean, the water’s surface descends into a boiling mass of disturbance. ripples, waves, commotion. and in this moment, disruption appears to be the intrinsic quality of water


yet soon the storm passes, and with it ripples fade, waves reducing in magnitude. soon the tempestuous writhing mass returns to a sheet of crystal, reflecting the sky, trees and surrounding environment. soon, chaos turns to clarity


the sea and lake are like this in perpetuity. calm, violent. still, momentous. yet their intrinsic quality remains the same throughout - the depths of both remain unchanged come wind, rain, sun or storm


mind is like this 


when untrained, all small things seem relevant as they skitter across the surface, and if we give them attention, so our mind will mirror their chaos. when we pay attention to deeper more subtle sensations, we see more clearly - connecting with a place of inner stillness