Monday, May 21, 2007

The Hardest Word

Don't cry for me blogosphere! The truth is, I never left you! But it has been a while, so I've probably got a little bit of explaining to do. But how to explain a 17 day absence from a blog I dared to call The Daily? An absence that amounts to 17 consecutive failures to honour my eponymous promise?
  • The dog ate my computer?
  • I've converted to Scientology and have spent the last two weeks conversing with my inner Thetan?
  • I'm Dr Who's new assistant and was engaged in battle with the Squidmen of Beta 3 in a universe far, far away?
  • The Chief locked me in the Ministry until after the local elections to prevent me wreaking any havoc on Tory candidates?
Ok, none of these things are strictly, or indeed in any sense of the word, true. The truth is something less sensational, the truth is more complex, and, possibly, the truth is only half as interesting. Frankly, you can't handle the truth.

OK, that's not true, either, I've just always wanted to say it (full marks to anyone who can source the film and the actor). But it is a bit of a long and winding story, so strap yourselves in if you're still interested....

About two weeks ago, before we adventured with Sam and Lucy and the IT strumpet (never underestimate someone who can speak in HTML - Geeks Know Things), I was blogging about a guy called Matthieu Ricard. His fantastic book, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill encourages the use of meditation and mindfulness as a way to cultivate one's happiness. I'm still reading it, in fact, and his simple ministrations have proved the catalyst for changing my understanding of, and approach to, some of life's more challenging moments.

I've also been reading Danny Wallace's great book 'Yes Man' which describes - in the most endearing and entertaining style - Danny's decision to say 'yes' to everything life throws at him. I would really recommend it. This book reminded me of a conversation I had with my Dad a while ago. I had commented on how busy his social life was (slightly resentfully as compared to mine) and his answer was surprisingly simple.

"Oh, that's because I say Yes to everything," my dad explained, "Whenever someone invites me to anything, as long as I'm free, I say yes."

This premise struck me as noteworthy at the time, and Danny Wallace made me think about the power of being open as a way of living your life. So I took their advice, and about two weeks' ago, I decided I would try to say yes more, and to consciously try to be more open to the world around me. There have been some fairly interesting consequences to that, actually, some of which I have no intention of writing about here, but the direct consequence has been that I've been much busier.

In the last two weeks, I have met more people than I had previously met in the first three months of the year, been to more places, and consumed more wine than my doctor would be prepared to smile indulgently at. Now, I smile more, and I definitely laugh far more than is recommended in most psychological assessments. I've sung in public (over this weekend I performed with the African Women's Forum in Gunwharf!) and danced with strangers and I can honestly say, life has been better. I dare say I've been a better person.

One of the places I've been saying yes to at every available opportunity is Southsea's Peace Cafe on Castle Road. I'm duty bound to tell you to visit the Peace Cafe because it is Awesome with a capital Ahhhh! and I know you'll love it. Moreover, because it's the Peace Cafe, it will love you right back, and believe me, that doesn't happen often over a latte. The Peace Cafe also has its own Cake Fairy who works magic in the form of sponge, fruit and chocolate, and the loveliest owner of a modern business since the shopkeeper in Mr Ben. Although I dread the day when it is as busy as Costalots in there, I urge you to go. Now.

It was in the Peace Cafe a couple of weeks ago that I met Sue, a wonderful pixie woman with the most gorgeous energy who also happens to be 'a little bit psychic' as she put it. This turned out to be 'a little bit of an understatement' because when she began to talk to me, I felt as though she had been secretly living inside my head for the last 6 years, possibly longer. I'm not going to tell you everything she said, but suffice to say it had a huge impact on me and proved the catalyst for a whole world of change in the way I understand myself and the rest of this crazy-beautiful world.

The night I met Sue, I wrote in my diary that her reading "was the emotional equivalent of having my head thrust repeatedly down the toilet and it being flushed on each entry." The meeting was unexpected, the subject matter the very last thing I wanted to discuss with a stranger, yet her final words rang with so much truth it actually made my eyes water to hear it.

"You must focus on accepting yourself. Not you as others see you. Not you as you want to be. Not you without Him. You. Who you actually are."

I've been working on that golden nugget of advice for the last two weeks. I think I'm even getting better at it. I'm sorry for the sudden silence. I'm sorry it had to last so long. I hope it was worth the wait, and it's good to be back. I can't tell you service will be normal, but it has resumed.

A very big thank you to Sally Jones for telling me to have the balls to take a break from the blog, and for teaching me about colour, make-up, the nature of boys and being nicer to myself. Thanks to everyone who wrote, phoned, emailed, commented, texted and turned up at The Heights in the middle of the night to tell me they missed the Daily, and especially the Chief for managing to moan at me about it and make me feel missed all at the same time.

T-shirts in the Queue

Sally Jones Changed My Life
We're All Good People

What Would God Do?

Millipedes Leak Cyanide - Mind Them


Anonymous said...

Sooooooooooo good to have you back!!

Anonymous said...

there are several occurances of not being abe to handle the truth... god i'm such a geek!! "A Few Good Men" Col. Jessep / Jack Nicholson. But has also been spoofed in The Simpsons, Shark Tale, 3rd Rock From The Sun. Also there is the evita reference in the beginning!

And in the famous words of Val Lambert from Emmerdale Farm (1972): "Well, Chas should have been around for him then. Absence makes the heart grow fungus!"

Glad your back

Was Moon and Meady without you x

Kitty Kat said...

Welcome back beautiful pioneer.

We are the lucky ones to have access to your writing-whenever and however it is done. NO RULES APPLY! Thank you.

Proud of you buddy X X X

'Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.'
(Buddha 563-483, The Dhammapada)

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
(Buddha (563-483 BC)