I have given up sugar. No, I’m not asking for a pat on the back, I’ve simply done something I’ve always wanted to do. But that said, never in my wildest dreams did I ever realize just how addicted I’ve become to it and how difficult it would be to let go of. Gripped by a kind of cold turkey, and I’m not trying to be melodramatic here, I’ve staggered through the week surprised by it’s sheer power over me. You just don’t realize how a simple little thing like sugar can actually dominate and overwhelm your life. Suddenly, waking up to a day without it is not a pleasant thought. I can’t begin to imagine the impact on those whose addictions go way beyond that of sugar. However, I must say it seems to be getting a little better, but as I say this the red lights flash. I’m only too aware of the danger of that kind of thought, but I’m determined to beat this.
Parker J Palmer is someone I respect deeply. In a recent post he wrote about an aspect of Taoism in such an intelligent way. What I so enjoy about him is his belief that no one tradition can have all the truth – that they kind of correct one another in their journeys in to truth. Here are some of his words from the post:
“Taoism counsels us to live our lives like water, but that does not mean “go with the flow” passivity. Taoism is all about nonviolent action. It invites us to flow quietly but persistently around the obstacles that stand between us and the common good, wearing them down as a river erodes boulders.
I don’t think Taoism — or any other wisdom tradition — has the whole answer to living well. Sometimes we must swim upstream against cruelty, injustice and untruth.
But rightly understood, Taoism is an important corrective to the Western obsession with force, even violence, as the way to get things done — which often results in little more than an escalation of violence.”
This last paragraph particularly grabs me.
Image – courtesy Pixabay
Strange how an absurd thought can enter your mind at the most inappropriate moment. I was in a shop yesterday waiting to pay for some stuff I’d bought, when suddenly the thought of us all being clowns in a circus, appeared from nowhere.
I thought about the thought and wondered about the place it came from. Judging by the thought it was obviously a place that had a mind of its own with no real rational connection to what was going on – I mean, paying for groceries and clowns, what’s that all about? At the same time it was all so creative. The clowns were bright in colour all doing different things and seemed so unaware of one another.
Then, a sudden jar in the form of a voice, “Excuse me, she’s waiting for you at the till,” shook me out of the world of clowns and colour and embarrassingly put me back in the world of the shop.
On my way home I thought about the clowns, their colours and actions and wanted to re-visit them. I realized then, you don’t visit those thoughts, they visit you. And when they do, are they really as absurd and disconnected as we think? Somehow I don’t think so. I’m still pondering on those clowns. :-)
I was reading a great post, Unexpected Pleasures, by Dan over at “No Facilities” and it reminded me of a call I got the other day from my one son asking me to meet with them both at the Tulse hill Tavern for a drink. As I slipped my phone back in to my pocket I thought, hell, that’s nice and in that moment realized just how much I’ve missed out on living so far away from them. Now, here I was, and we could simply call one another and go for a drink together.
During our chatting and laughing, in the midst of all the other chatter and laughter, I negotiated a momentous change in my life. Urged on by my one son I did something I vowed I’d never do, put ice in to my glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Can you believe that – PUT ICE INTO MY SAUVIGNON BLANC? A sheer travesty! But the moment it touched my lips I was hooked. Now, it’s bring on the ice.
However the real change was just sitting there with my two sons enjoying life and our togetherness and knowing that this was within our reach at any time.
Walking is one of the ways I’ve coped in life. For me sadness, anxiety and stress inevitably dissolve in the face of this natural and glorious flow of movement. Now, even more so, it has become part of my life. You walk a lot here. You walk to the bus stop, to the tube station, to the shop, to the pub and even to the spot where you’ve parked your car, if you have one.
I’m discovering that walking here is not just something you do at a specific time of the day as part of an exercise regimen, but something which is an essential part of life. I like that. Why? Because, if walking for me has to do with coping, then I certainly look forward to a surge of energy in that department of my life. :-)
They say variety is the spice of life. Well, shopping in England in what is in my mind a supermarket, is like the proverbial indecisive child at a birthday party-table eyeing all the goodies from one side to the other.
The diversity of foodstuff is mesmerizing. Take coffee for instance. I’m used to having a choice of two or three brands, simple; but yesterday my mind was overwhelmed by eight, and paralysis began set in. I just stood there wondering how the simple act of buying coffee could become so complex and challenging.
I was also struck by the listed ingredients, painstakingly inscribed on everything you buy, as clear and complete as the recipes in my Mother’s old recipe books. Then, the marvellous creativity in the packaging doing its psychological work on me by transporting me in to a world of art and appreciation. There was a moment, while eyeing all this, that I suddenly forgot why I was there. The thought, that I was perhaps beginning to look a little stupid, quickly brought me back to reality.
Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco and even the little Co-op down the road, I salute you and I look forward to much joy and gastronomical pleasure in my future wanderings among your shelves.
I find it deeply disturbing when a country who has the gift of the Mandela legacy denies entry to the Dalai Lama and welcomes with open arms Omar Al- Bashir, the author of genocide in the Sudan, and then helps him to escape international justice by putting itself above its own justice system. Something tragic is happening in South Africa and it’s so sad.
We are finally settled in the UK. Our journey went extremely well with a stop over in Dubai. We passed through customs without any hitch and our little dog, Stryder, also made the journey without any mishap. So Jane, me and Stryder are now breathing UK air, finally close to our children after fifteen years of back and forth travelling – such a good feeling.
We’re living in Dulwich about twenty minutes out of the centre of London. We’ve started completely from scratch – scary but so challenging and exciting. A new life is already unfolding and it’s hard to believe this has all happened within six months of our making the decision.
So, I’m back on line, happy,content, feeling fully alive, and O’ by the way, with the fastest internet connection I’ve ever used. :-)
We are now in the advance stages of our move to the UK. We’re leaving in about two weeks time. Our preparations are at a peak and demanding a tremendous amount of time. I’ll be signing off for a while and will see you all again once we’re settled in London. I reckon about a month. Look forward to posting and exploring your blogs from London. Thank you for all the good wishes and affirmation. I’ve appreciated it immensely. See you all soon – the adventure begins. :-)
Strange how in our getting ready to move it’s the small things that seem to make an impression. Just looking at this tap in our garden the other day, I couldn’t help but think of the many times I’ve turned it on and off and how the water from it has fed our garden with life and colour. I know the day is coming when I will turn it on and off for the last time and never do that again, nor ever see it again, accept in memory. I took a photo of it and it’s now part of the collection of photographic memories I’m building up before we leave for the UK.