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Zeitgeist

Confinement

The current pandemic forces us all into an unfamiliar kind of confinement.

I am hard pressed to listen in this respect to the British Government advice on all that, given its track record of cock ups, incompetent hesitation and general inclination to politicise even matters like the need to act.

To me, it’s common sense to isolate as much as possible to prevent getting ill and, above all, help protect others. I also don’t much appreciate being questioned in a stern manner by two policeman, as I have been after having been spotted by a police drone, why I have to walk my dog in the park, alone, close to my home.

I appreciate there are fools out there who think they know better but to be threatened with a fine for walking my dog alone around my neighbourhood makes me uneasy and does nothing to change my view that we are currently ruled by a bunch of narcissistic, self righteous, power addicted, pitiful, incompetent half wits

and policed, in part, by partly well meaning but at times also hapless and clueless officers

who are to be pitied too for having to apply half baked, ever changing policies. I might not be popular saying such things but it’s how I feel and if as a consequence of four years of Brexit negotiations to achieve what is wrongly labelled as sovereignty a lorry driver has to surrender his home made ham sandwich when entering Holland, or a British musician needs a work permit to perform in the EU, then I feel even less inclined to believe that we are well lead on our way out of the pandemic through the ever changing rules put in force by this bunch of below average politicians. No, I’m not happy with all that but I do sense that a heavy dose of self imposed confinement is necessary to remain safe and well until it’s our time for the promised shot in the arm.

As confinement goes, I am quite surprised by its effects on me even if it’s partly to be expected. I live a relatively private life at the best of times but the thought of being unable to go to a concert, visit at a whim my favourite bookshop in town, the beach 20 miles north of where I live, this I find unsettling, the knowledge that I can’t that is, even if I might not want to go out into the cold right now anyway. This knowledge of ‘I can’t’ is unsettling indeed. I feel locked in, cooped up, restricted, confined basically. So I end up sitting in front of the screen working from home, know what I need to do to solve a work related problem, know how to approach it, but find myself unable to actually do it. It isn’t procrastination as I don’t put things off. I just don’t want to do them, it seems. Full stop. What I want is to get out. I want my freedom back. I want that confinement to disappear yet it won’t and so I end up doing little or nothing at all at times except getting depressed, irritable or angry or all of those. No point in telling myself to pull myself together. It’s not complaining either. It’s just as if I haven’t got the right petrol in the tank. I have yet to find a way to deal with it better and am taking some sort of comfort in some of my colleagues reporting the exact same.

Court grants prisoner permission to use his laptop in prison cell | News24

Confinement is hideous. It is, remember, a punishment for certain crimes of the more serious kind. It’s known to hurt which is exactly why it is that a certain prescribed length of it is considered an adequate punishment for wrong doing. The only thing is, we haven’t done anything wrong yet are confined anyway. It sucks, it really does.

The biggest comfort in all of this though, is the knowledge that we are not alone in all this. This confinement has hit us all. The risks of breaking out of the confinement are the same for all of us too. As are the pains of having to endure it. Shared suffering is suffering halved, a German saying goes. I go along with that.

Have I got another suggestion as to how to deal with it? Not really but here’s the thing, I found things to do which I wouldn’t do if there wouldn’t be in confinement. I started some DIY, I wrote a few new songs, I have reached out to old friends (not on Facebook!), I am reading more. Somehow I’m doing different things and there are unexpected rewards to be had or so I found. And I am forced to face more than usual the happenings in the world inside. Something we are all so very good at avoiding. There are treasures to be found there. And it beats the time.

And as far as this being perhaps forced a little bit more than usual to look inside is concerned, there’s also this chance to discover our true selves, and for that to happen we must allow the unconscious to have a voice. Carl Gustav Jung said to all that: ‘Looking outwards has got to be turned into looking into oneself. Discovering yourself provides you with all you are, were meant to be, and all you are living from and for.’

For me that look inside usually starts with looking at old photos.

I’m trying to hold onto that. Emphasis being the word ‘trying’. There’s little outside right now. I might as well follow C G Jung’s advice.

Seriously, in this seemingly endless period of involuntary pandemic induced confinement the road signs all point to the inside and the channels, paths and highways towards it are all open for traffic. We hesitate. Sure we do. We can be sure we won’t find stupid politicians there or crazy policies and regulations. We don’t know though what we will find but I as I have quoted before, the dark cave we fear most to enter contains the treasures we seek the most.

Perhaps there’s a remedy against this confinement after all. I shall try it. What else is there to do? You may want to do so as well.

Take care and good luck

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Zeitgeist

Happy new Year

We enter into 2021. Forgive me readers, for not sending you all my best wishes earlier. Brexit, this insanely huge step back now sealed, a raging pandemic, frighteningly incompetent leaders, a US mob attacking Capitol Hill…I seem to have missed the cut off point, we just seem to continue carrying on wading through an ever increasing quagmire of a mess.

We are dying in the thousands each day from this awful pandemic yet so many still defy clumsy rules to fight it. We are cooped up into our homes. Something I kept on trying to express in my writings throughout last year now comes to the forefront once more. We all, as individuals, are forced presently to draw from untapped resources within us. Untapped thus far by choice for it has always been easier to buy yet another thing for distraction, travel to yet another beach to search in vain for what can only be found inside through uncomfortable efforts and humbleness. Distractions are an easy escape at first sight from facing the realities. But right now no distractions will do. For me anyway. Facing the facts, accepting our ownership of having to help prevent more suffering, making cuts on our expectations and ambitions, making huge cuts indeed, from what we want to do, being really truthful to the facts, remain objective and, above all, remain kind and compassionate to those, condemned through no fault of their own, to live with us in pandemic induced confinement.

No, these are no easy times. And much is asked of us, in areas mostly where we don’t much like to spend much time and effort on. Compassion, patience, faith and hope where no certainty can be had, with no end in sight.

I don’t sleep much presently. I don’t fret in the dark hours awake at night but I do feel the strange but powerful drumbeat of the pulse of our time and it’s uncomfortable. We are not doing well. We hurt. And it shows.

In such times, it being cold and wet outside, I cherish a warm bed, full fridge, dry feet. Creature comforts. It could all be a lot worse. Yet there’s no certainty. There never is anyway but there are fewer opportunities right now it seems to find ways to deny that fact. Living in the present moment, letting go etc, I wrote about such things last year and, as I said, I am rereading my own thoughts these days.

Perhaps this really is the time to delve back to the inside and resolve what’s been plaguing us throughout our lives, and not go yet again to somewhere else pretending that yet another feast or party at yet another beach in yet another country can lead us to happiness.

It’s all here for the taking. Within us.

When I set out to write, and publish, my thoughts, I didn’t intend to write about politics and the evils of our time yet I found it requires mentioning these days as it does form the often seemingly dark canvas on which I live my life and you live yours. The two are intertwined, the world outside and the one within. Yet it appears that whilst we seem to be able to change very little – not nothing – of what is happening ‘to’ us, we can change very much what’s happening with us, within us. And on that latter aspect I shall continue to share with you this year what my thoughts are in that respect. For even on the darkest canvas a bright spot appears as a star of light. And don’t you have to go out into the darkness to see the stars? And the more stars there are, the brighter the picture will become.

I received a comment on one of my recent entries, from a man I do not know and who lost everything, home, job, family, all of it. He said he saw ‘my reflections that day as a guiding light for the day ahead’. This encourages me to carry on. Try make a little positive difference in your friend’s, neighbour’s or a stranger’s life and you will know what I mean. I also received a message, unexpectedly, from Swiss acquaintances which felt so good at the time and pulled me out of the inner mud for a moment at a time when I felt rather blue about everything. That’s what we ought to do. Help each other, lift each other up. Just as this ageing reforming alcoholic once told me in no uncertain circumstances: ‘we can’t always control what shit gets into our heads, but we can control very much how long it stays there’. A crude way of putting it, maybe, but from someone who knows a bit or too about bad times; there’s truth in it, is there not?

In that spirit then, may I wish you all a very happy new year.

Stay tuned.

Take care and good luck

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Zeitgeist

Christmas 2020

I would like to wish my readers a merry Christmas. May you find some peace today.

It’s a Christmas like no other I remember. My thoughts go out to those who work today, who worked last night, to those who have no work, to those in fear and despair, to those suffering from the pandemic in whatever shape or form, to the lonely, to those who can’t have peace in broken homes. My list is long.

It’s also the last Christmas before life in this country will change significantly. Our foolish leaders may gloat in what they call so sickeningly ‘a deal’ with Europe. With our European friends, so they call them. Throwing over board nearly 50 years of hard fought legislation over cooperation in an act of political vandalism which has no equal in my life time is not what friends do. Not in my book anyway. The utter self righteousness on display together with blind foolishness has finally reached a conclusion, one which will cause so much more suffering. And it’s been sold as a success to the gullible man in the street by narcissistic incompetent leaders who should know better and, frankly, ought to be ashamed of themselves. But shame is a currency of little value nowadays. It’s emetic.

History will not be kind with our times and with those who were supposed to lead us through them. Of that I am certain.

And yet, I will doggedly carry on caring for those around me, mend bridges I have perhaps too helped to let deteriorate. I shall exercise compassion where I can. I will not succumb to use the same tools that are the signs of our times. Lies, deceit, near fascist methods in forcing others to think along misguided initiatives and ideologies. I will continue to say what needs saying in these times where free speech is no longer possible without punishment, for radical wokeness and gone crazy political correctness drives fear into us.

I have never been a racist, judged people by their sexual orientation or religion but when things are not right yet we need to be afraid of saying so, then the ‘Never Again’ mantra instilled in my generation when we were young has not succeeded in getting through. When I hear the likes of Trump, Johnson, Gove…the lot of them, when I see the all SS style black clad border force officers in this country….I could go on and on .. then I cannot help but feel that the spirit of Goebbels is alive and kicking, that we have not learned from history, on the contrary, our leaders have perfected their lies beyond anything the Nazi propaganda machine appeared to be capable of.

I can’t change all that but I can make a difference in my immediate surroundings. That I shall continue to do. And I will call a lie a lie, a creep a creep, a wrong a wrong and never surrender my thirst for the very freedom so many gave their lives defending. There is hope in the little acts of kindness we are still free to show a neighbour or stranger even. We are still free to examine our conscience and act compassionately and kindly. We are free to forgive. We are freer ourselves if we do.

To all of you who over the year have been kind I offer my sincere thanks. To those I may have hurt I ask for forgiveness.

I wish you strength, fortitude, patience, hope and courage. We will need all of it.

Merry Christmas

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Zeitgeist

3. Advent – Gaudete

Only a few words this week.

It’s Advent. For me always a time of reflection, anticipation and a certain waiting for Christmas. And tomorrow is ‘Gaudete’ Sunday. It means ‘Rejoice’.

I abandoned long ago the joining of the chorus that decries the commercialisation of it all, the glitter etc etc…No one forces me to join in! Let those who love glitter, have glitter and be happy with it. Let those in need of retail therapy have it too. And let’s also decide to spare those who celebrate Christmas along Christian traditions from the usual cynicism by self proclaimed know-it-all’s.

Advent, to me, provides also a change from the dark and gloom of November. Short days. Long nights. Frost. Wet. Ugh…not my thing.

We all need something to look forward to, do we not? And the waiting in anticipation during Advent is part of it. For me anyway. It gives me hope. Ah, hope, and her little sister, joy, what would become of us without them? So, as in the meaning of ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, rejoice!

I am spending this advent in self reflection as every year, over all the things that happened, are about to happen, are happening, both within and outside.

And I am looking forward to Christmas.

Take care, enjoy Advent and good luck