Recently on my 40th, my life flashed before my eyes in photos captured by my loved ones.
My partner had laboriously taken the photographs, put them in chronological order (though anachronisms did abound, where in one photo I’m an impetuous teenager and then next a happy child! Blonde, brunette, blonde again?) and set them against piano renderings of Coldplay’s music.
This video below, is the most touching, the most beautiful gift I’ve ever received along with my birthday party which came to life with all my friends spread out near and far geographically coming together and making themselves felt in my heart. Life after all is made up of experiences (as Aytug, a fellow Toastmaster would say), which are really emotions that bubble up within us. To deny this is to deny our humanity and the gift of life.
And no one touches us like our closest ones.
Our parents who raise us with their hearts and minds, the good, the bad, the ugly, their own traumas, fears and anxieties, they are the first ones to mold our minds. Then come the friends who see us, hear our hopes and dreams, who too are battling the matrix that is their parents’ worldviews.
And if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon the occasional commercial artist (David Bowie for me) who’s fearlessly explored the depths of his own subconscious, brought out his inner space alien for all to see, love, hate and destroy, then you may push past the norms of your own household.
One of my most vivid memories as a child, dumbfounded by the sheer number of murder mysteries penned by Dame Agatha Christie, was to write a few books of my own. I had formulated titles like “Mystery of the Velvet Gloves” and “What the Butler Saw In the Mirror”. The cover designs with those elegant black velvet gloves and a round mirror cracked from side to side still come to mind.
Oscar Wilde with his heartbreaking fairy tales of self sacrifice like the Happy Prince statue who destroyed his physical being while ensuring immortality through the boundless spirit touched me deeply in those early years of childhood. I recall being drawn to the symbolism of dreams, the personality types, palmistry and reading facial features. There were books of this nature in my paternal grandmother’s home. As to whether she was the reader or my grandfather or whether it was dad or his sister, I don’t know. It makes me curious what those who read the books made of them.
For me, far from getting stuck into the world of superstition, the study of the occult seemed a glimpse into the common bond we share as human-beings. Reading Greek myths, particularly Edith Hamilton’s collection, I could see that those stories gave birth to modern concepts like government. Just as there are government departments that oversee activities such as business, trade, agriculture, war, social and cultural affairs, there were deities that offered assistance in these areas vital to functioning of individuals and societies.
Early on, it was clear to me that I saw past the objects as they are. I could see what they implied and what emotions they stirred up. Based on those emotions that came to the surface, the actions would follow. If you pay deep attention to movies, you will see how objects are assigned meaning that surpasses their function. Those particular objects, when they do appear, signal a change about to come.
For example, the telephone in The Matrix is a portal between the real and the made-up Matrix. The bells in “It’s a Wonderful Life”are the reminder of the spiritual world and angels in the physical realm.
And in our ordinary, every day lives, there are signs such as those we see in the films. You just have to pay attention.
An example I can give you is the appearance of itchy spots on my back. In all likelihood they’re a viral infection known as shingles. Shingles don’t appear in healthy individuals. Indeed, one’s body doesn’t suffer unless there’s mental stress that may be suppressing the immune system. The real virus, you see, is the one that’s hacked my operating system, my mind. It’s the Achiever in me, who’s freaked out that I’m 40 and I haven’t yet written my masterpiece.
As computer viruses hack programs and prevent them from working, emotions like anxiety, worry and stress, when not released, prevent us from living our purpose. My purpose as a writer? That’s easy. It’s to write and be published and earn a living from writing.
So, I had to think about whether “The Achiever”, the one that’s freaking out is helping or hindering me with his judgments. I have to have a talk with “The Achiever” and tell him, it’s going to be written and to give me some space and then look at my commitments for 2020 and remove anything, even volunteer work, that’s going to take my focus and attention away from writing and progressing with my book.
And I have to channel the mother in me, the nurturing one, to wake me up gently every morning at precisely 5AM, so I can sit down and write for an hour. What I write isn’t to be judged but simply considered a gift from beyond that I can later shape and structure to be appreciated in the real world.
Over to you…
Looking back on your childhood, what was the sort of life you thought you’d have? What did you think you’d be doing and how would you be relating to other people, animals and nature? In your day to day life today, how do you honour those childhood aspirations?