Last month I had a pretty special experience. I am on a course where I am learning the wonder of the woods: first for myself, and then how to take other people there to share the magic. One thing we have particularly been encouraged to do is to offer stories at the fire pit, in the ‘oral tradition’ (i.e. memorised and performed, rather than read out).
Standing in the woods at night round a fire telling a story to 20 lovely people is a deeply primal and moving experience. The first time I did it, I chose a letter written by Chief Seattle in 1852, the dying voice of an ancient moral code that was being replaced by the new, unproven, European civilisation. I was thankful I could blame the woodsmoke for the tears in my eyes.
For the second time round (which will be at the end of this month) I have decided to tell a short story of my own making. Writing it was fine – it just kind of popped out one day. But even thinking about delivering it has turned out to be surprisingly tricky, and that’s without even being stood by a campfire. It can be difficult sharing stuff that’s close to the heart. However it’s a real privilege to have the chance to do it, and I’m looking forward to trying.
Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to tell their story. Often it is because it’s too traumatic, or there is no-one listening.
This is where Nina Burrowes is stepping in. Dr. Burrowes has been a psychologist for many years. Now she is the Cartooning Psychologist. How cool is that. But why?
It’s because she has found that academic work, although well-meaning, usually ends up in an archive, maybe having been read by a handful of fellow academics. Nina’s area of work is people who have experienced extreme vulnerability, through rape or sexual abuse. The journeys and resultant human stories that come from this are epic – trauma, loss, rediscovery, courage and compassion. They are real but they don’t get told round campfires very much. Stories like these not only give a voice to a very vulnerable group of people, but they also can teach us about ourselves. So she’s going to tell them.
As a psychologist, she has recently worked with a group of women who are on this journey. She just published a very readable research report that describes the healing experiences they had when they began to confront and tell their stories, together (here it is).
But as a cartooning psychologist, she intends to transform the story from a research report into an illustrated book. Through their simplicity, humility, and sense of fun and humanity, cartoons can sometimes communicate in a way that normal words and pictures cannot. This is particularly true with gritty, difficult themes and issues. This book will not only be a useful resource for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, but can also help any reader learn about their own relationship with courage and vulnerability.
People doing important work tend to need support – including Nina.
Here is a link to her website that decribes in more detail what she is doing, including the research report she has just published.
Here is a link to how you can support her and allow the work to get done, if you feel so inclined (it’s not just about funding).
Discovering and telling your own story is a wonderful and precious experience. Discovering and telling other people’s stories is something else; it is a remarkable service to humanity.
Good luck Nina.
It is estimated that 13.7 billion years ago, a great big noisy explosion released energy and elementary particles which began to create the universe. Over billions of years, these particles assembled themselves into complicated things like the Great Bear, Andromeda and planet Earth. All created by extreme violence, followed by relentless experiments over long periods of time.
The creative destruction continued, and on Earth there have been five great extinctions apparently, including:
- 430 million years ago, when most of us were in the sea, 60% of the unlucky ones like clunky trilobites (who did well to get things started, but were a bit shit in the bigger picture) got wiped out. The survivors got back to their slow work
- A really big one happened 250 million years ago, when 96% of species were wiped out. Life on Earth today is descended from the remaining 4%, which slowly but impressively bounced back to build dinosaurs, and ancestors for wasps and dandelions and people
- The famous one happened 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs got it from an asteroid. Many fledgeling mammals escaped and were granted extra time to evolve into ever more complex life forms
Violence has played a big part in making the world as amazing as it is today, and still does. Tigers are amazing because they have cool camouflage and massive teeth to crunch deer. Deer are amazing because they have rotating ears and quick reflexes to get away from tigers. The more millions of years they violently co-exist, the more complex and clever they both get.
Humans are amazing because we can make medicines and plastic forks and cities, which are also violent and destructive. The big problem is that our progression is a million times faster than traditional evolution. With every passing year we jump to new heights, and so does our violence and destructiveness. Humans are not evil, just as an asteroid is not evil, but both are remarkably damaging. Some say we are potentially heading towards a sixth extinction… caused mainly by us, as well as the slow rhythms of the planet.
Homo sapiens, like the trilobite, is turning out to be a bit shit.
I imagine Earth will deal with a few more extinctions and make plenty of new life forms before the Sun runs out, so this is a short term issue, and not much of a problem for anyone except all of the planet’s inhabitants today.
I wonder, since homo sapiens v.1 is so quick and clever, whether we might be able to evolve ourselves over the next 50 years into homo sapiens v.2.0, a species with a future. This would surely be better for all organisms than the alternative: of Earth re-affirming its creative destructiveness, cleaning out the closet, and building better models over the next few million years.
What would homo sapiens v.2.0 look like? More awake perhaps, snapped out of their stupour of superiority, aware of the system they depend on so they can keep their fearsome power in check. More sophisticated so that they can find ways to live that operate respectfully and within nature’s laws, rather than borrowing selfish me-time outside of them.
This evolution is an individual challenge as well as a collective one, and it is every person’s destiny to face it in their own lifetime, whether they want to or not; DNA can’t help here. For me, a useful indicator of whether I might be on track for version 2.0 is whether I am still seeing and doing things in the same way as I always have done, in the way I was taught. Because if I am, I am still generously contributing to the next juicy extinction, as ignorant as a trilobite, but vastly more responsible for what’s happening.
I have discovered a new land. Many others have discovered it before me. I’ll call it the realm of I DON’T KNOW. The only land I used to know of was the realm of I KNOW. But it seems to me that this new land is the only one that truly exists.
I KNOW is the realm of the superhuman: occupied by professionals who are paid to be experts and so cannot ever be (seen to be) wrong, and fathers whose authority relies on always being right. Armed with knowledge, there is something for another person to fear, and therefore respect. Other people are a means to an end. Everything is right under the nose, in sharp focus; there is no need to look up.
I DON’T KNOW is the realm of the human. It’s where mistakes are made and learning has room to happen. It’s where vulnerabilities can be visible, so there is something for another person to properly like. Other people are human beings. It takes a while for the eyes to adjust, but after a while the horizons seem endless.
I KNOW is the realm of Business. It describes the way things operate today, our system. It occupies the centre. It follows the principles of economics and is intensely brainy, competitive… destructive. It is driven by desire, expectation, and the need to make things happen; it’s busy and “in control”. I KNOW is cognitive and bureaucratic – dogmatic and hierarchical. It is safe in the knowledge that it has the answer to anything – the answer is to do more of the same thing. Ignorance, veiled, is its most dangerous trait.
I DON’T KNOW is the realm of possibility. It can’t be seen, but it can be felt. It occupies the fringe. It follows the principles of nature and is dynamically creative, simple and free. It is nourished by curiosity, humility and silence; it’s restful. I DON’T KNOW is instinctive and intuitive – spontaneous and primal. It is safe in the knowledge that uncertainty prevails, and that’s OK – the purpose is to explore, humbly and with wonder. Ignorance, revealed, is its most powerful virtue.
I am trying to turn my back on knowledge, business, intellect. Not in disgust, but in order to look in some other direction. What direction? I don’t know. What will it look like? I don’t know. All I know is I like the realm of I DON’T KNOW.
Facing this direction, less burdened by desire and competition and expectation, feels more human. I feel more able to observe what is actually happening rather than listen to, or yearn for, something that is supposed to happen.
I’m trying not to look for answers. My questions change too fast anyway.
But I still get the funny feeling that for wherever I may be going – and for any problem to be solved or dream to be pursued – the answer lies in not knowing.
“Live each day as if it were your last”…
A familiar phrase, and a wonderful notion. And utterly impossible to actually carry out, like trying to teach Twiglet, our pet stick insect, to dance.
Nevertheless, I still find something pretty wise and compelling about it. The idea of getting over petty things and attending to what’s really important is worth trying out. Tackling the whole idea of Life is probably a bit ambitious, so I thought I’d start with Pizza.
Untangling any big, knotty issue can start with one pizza, and can go from there. If a person stops for a moment and just carefully chews a morsel that they can get their mouth around, a chain of events will inevitably unfold and solutions will begin to present themselves. I believe this, utterly.
For several months now I have attempted to condense the Living Life idea into pizza (apart from March, when I wasn’t eating gluten or dairy) with a little experiment following these rules:
- Eat alone (preferably at Franco Manca, the most delicious pizza in the world…ever)
- No distractions: no books, doodling, chatting with waiters
- No multi-tasking: no loading of forks or cutting at the same time as chewing
- Chew each mouthful thoroughly, just like mama said
- Pay attention to the pizza, and only the pizza… but everything about the pizza
Forget living my whole life like each day were my last – it is a struggle enough to eat a pizza like it were my last. There is so much compulsive productivity and distraction to overcome. It’s the same feeling as meditation: all I need to do is sit quietly…why can’t I stop thinking about dinosaurs?
But my goodness, there are moments when the pizza tastes amazing. Hey, I’ve never really tasted the tomato before! And even the anticipation on the walk to Northcote Road is pretty intense.
It now feels more like pizza is something I experience rather than something I do to myself.
It has begun to extend to chocolate. I began to notice when I wolfed down a mouthful of choccie as if it were a snakebite antidote, not a moment of delicate enjoyment. I began to apply it to cuddles (with children and wife mostly I guess, but now I’m good to try it with anyone). Perfunctory cuddles while at the same time running through a mental to-do list are better than nothing I suppose, but a deep, primal cuddle is a transcendent feeling. There’s definitely a subconscious thing going on there which I don’t understand; I just know that I love it, as two people’s heartbeats gradually synchronise.
All these things make life feel simultaneously a bit lighter, deeper, richer. It is a vitalising experience to allow myself to really feel something, and that awareness inspires a universe of possibilities.
How easy it has been in the past to work so hard and end up with nothing. To feel like I have given it everything, but realise I have merely burnt calories being busy, and given little of my true self.
Recently my wife and I wept, because we felt we had passed a threshold where our children were no longer babies. Were we happy or sad? That depends on whether it felt like it was something that we were truly, wholeheartedly there for. Had we remembered to immerse ourselves in one of the richest human experiences possible, or had we mindlessly gobbled?
This I know: it’s about the pizza, nothing but the pizza, and everything about the pizza.
Oh iPhone, for years you’ve been used as a crutch
But the truth is I don’t think I need you so much
When you sit in my pocket you speed my life up
And the scientists say there’s a chance that you’re nuking my nuts
Just as Google’s bewitching site visitor stats
Are digital crack
That bring out in bloggers a panic attack
I felt such release when I chose to step back
So it’s time that a piece of my spellbinding app stash got scrapped
It’s no good deriving a sense of achievement
Relying on Map My Run’s measurement features
To pace me at 5 minutes per kilo-metre
As if running slower might leave me beleaguered
Creating the utterly pointless distress
That my exercise session is less than an outright success
It’s fun to draw oversized GPS flowers
But I realise when I’m back in the shower
That my sweet mobile temptress has forced me to hustle
And not hear the rustle of soft new spring leaves
Or hear all the robins and ravens and blue tits and blackbirds who sang to me as I sped past them perched high in their trees
Don’t matter if I managed 8.1k
Or just 5 today
What counts is I actually got on my way
And I didn’t avoid it
And bounced round the Common with a carefree and unfettered mind
It’s nice to run blind, my phone left behind
And to find that when it’s more simple, I simply enjoyed it
And Facebook connection is not where it’s at
’Cos I honestly doubt there is anyone out there
Who’s mildly discerning
Bombarded by updates and news feeds and meetings and unfulfilled yearnings
Who might even give the most flying of fucks or the slightest of craps
When it tweets automatically that I’ve completed a lap
Electronic hooker and cortisol pusher
Get out of my face
You make my pulse race
You stiffen my hairs
You make my entire system think I’m being chased by a murderous pack of wild bears
My smartphone connects me
Streamlined with Beirut and New York and Beijing
And meanwhile the beauty of ordin’ry things
Quite escapes me
It mis-shapes me
It slips me rohypnol, sometimes it’s like my phone date rapes me
So I’m freeing up space in my phone and my head
Return to the source from whence I got misled
It’s not a divorce, it’s reunion instead
Less apps to addict, hypnotise and distract
My three year old son can no longer run off with my phone and punch virtual cats
One thing I love about early spring is frogspawn season. At primary school I used to be fascinated to watch the transformation take place before my very eyes in a large tank in the classroom. A person on Streetlife is offering handfuls of the stuff…if only I had a pond.
But I don’t. So this year I’ll have to use myself instead, despite being slower and much less reliable than your average tadpole.
Having lived for much of my life as a mere tadpole in the creativity pool, it feels that the past year has seen tiny legs start to sprout. As I notice certain patterns slowly form, and old “industrial” habits slowly slough off, what is it that I have learned for myself about creativity?
1. There is no creativity gene, it’s a case of how deeply the innate ability has been buried away
2. Confusion and failure seem to be part of the process, and it’s important for me to co-habitate with them for a while. Having spent some time learning this, there’s so much less to fear from them any more
3. I can’t just sit down and Be Creative. I can only wait for ideas to come to me, and grab them when they do. The secret to this would appear to be to do something totally unrelated to whatever it is I think I want to do, and then Whoosh! something jumps out. Various things that seem to work for me include:
- Distancing myself from the familiar (my initial departure point was my career)
- Questioning what I used to take as obvious (some people can find this irritating)
- Exercising (this seems to work unfailingly…usually in the shower afterwards…unless, of course, I ever expect it to work or start trying to make it happen)
- Whittling spoons (works for me, but whatever rocks your world)
- Reading a lot of new, thought-provoking stuff (for example, here’s a list)
- Experimenting: Trying out lots of random new things, purely for their own sake (parkour, fasting, speed poetry, mentoring, balloon sculpting, rap)
4. Thoughts and ideas are pointless if they aren’t turned into experience. I keep forgetting this. But when I do remember, I get a lot out of taking a few experiments further and totally immersing myself in them for a longer period, so I can find a way to integrate their wisdom into my life (writing, cartooning, meditation, improvisation, slacklining, barefoot running, bushcraft, sprinting, early rising). I suspect there is something interesting that connects a number of these together. Perhaps it’ll come to me in the shower one day
5. Solitude is essential for me, but I can’t get anywhere without the help of supportive, free-thinking, funky folk. Meeting a new world of people like this has perhaps been the most important thing that has happened
The great thing is that there’s nothing that can be directly controlled; the most that can be done is to bring about encouraging circumstances. This sort of thing clashes directly with the ’management theory’ that dominated my thinking in the past, and where my position on the above points would have been something like:
1. We hire talent. We can’t exactly nurture it
2. Confusion and failure are NOT AN OPTION
3. Unstructured time is pure laziness. Get back to your desk and do something productive
4. Focus is good – I heard that on my MBA. How do we monetise wisdom and what are the margins?
5. We’re all for teamwork. And if you outcompete your team-mate you get a reward!
There’s a lot that would benefit from a bit of metamorphosis.
What I love is when I find people, bullfrogs who actually know what they are talking about, more clearly articulate things that I have stumbled across in my own experience. For example, this lecture by John Cleese or the people at the School of Life.
As for me, I’ll keep at it and hope for an arm to poke out one day.
I have found that there are wonderful lessons to be learned anywhere you look, if you have the time and inclination. Two friends of mine have a lot to teach me about the universe, both through the medium of food, so I thought I’d stop and listen. Zoe Harcombe is a nutritionist and author who is spectacularly turning the subject of eating on its head, and Tara Wood is a biologist stuntwoman who set up an amazing holiday company 10 years ago called Wildfitness, where you learn priceless lessons in the benefits of eating, moving and living in the way that evolution designed us to.
Recently I read Zoe’s latest book on how the human body (and mind) really interact with food (Why Do You Overeat?) and a blog post by Tara proposing an intriguing one-month eating-and-exercise challenge. Having also watched a Horizon documentary on fasting, I thought I’d have a play with my food and see what happened.
Here’s what my version of their suggestions involved:
1. Horizon’s fasting experiment: 2 consecutive 24 hour fasts per week for 5 weeks (basically just dinner on Monday and Tuesday, and normal eating the rest of the week)
2. Tara’s eating experiment: No gluten, dairy, sugar or alcohol (I threw in caffeine for 2 weeks too). Exercise intensely at least twice a week (this brought me nicely out of winter hibernation. I generally did 5 mile barefoot runs with chin ups back at home)
3. Zoe’s eating experiment: Meat, fish, eggs and veggies (plus a bit of brown rice) only for 5 days. From then, no mixing of carb food (grains and potatoes) with fat food (meat). And no processed food, only real, whole food
Number 1 can’t of course be combined with the others; I did it at the end of last year. But I thought I could supercharge 2 and 3 by doing them both together, and did so during March.
What I learned…
…about the world
- Wheat and dairy and processed sugar are EVERYWHERE. Seemingly in everything in Tesco apart from raw onions. Probably even in car batteries these days. No wonder we’re so highly strung (especially when driving). I was regularly caught out until I became vigilant
- Wheat and sugar are like crack, and so ’impulse aisles’ are like crack dens, designed by the devil himself (who works in the sales & marketing department). It’s food porn! I shuffled through these aisles clutching my wholefoods like a priest through Amsterdam fumbling his rosary
- Anything that ends up in any sort of packet and still claims to have nutrition, would appear to be brazenly lying. I only appreciated last month how shocking this truth is
- Pubs are a total write off if you’re avoiding fake stuff. Until you discover icy soda water with squished lime quarters in it, which taste like mojitos
- People in local health food shops are really nice and ought to be knighted. So are local butchers, except they hold meat cleavers which is a bit menacing
- I used to think hunger was an intolerable feeling and that I had to eat every 4 hours. A 24 hour fast is a real myth-buster in this regard. It’s easy really; so eating snacks is purely compulsive. That’s a lot of mindless eating I’ve done
- Not having to eat eliminates the need for hundreds of food-related decisions in any given day. You basically gain an extra 3 hours to use as you please
- Fasting does not make me obsess about food, except for just before dinner. But controlling my diet does; it can take over my life and there’s the danger of becoming a real bore
- Ruling out ingrained recipe habits makes me try cooking new stuff. Chicken and vegetable stew, so delicious it made me dance around the kitchen. Tofu scramble? Hey, that’s really nice
- I supposedly ate healthily before; I now see this in a new perspective. Since wheat and sugar are like crack, cutting them out made me weak and pathetic for the whole first week. And rampantly hungry. Who is that crazy person in my head, who makes me want to lunge for croissants or do an armed hold-up in Ben’s Cookies? Well, he’s always been there, I just never introduced myself to him before. The glucose monster is still lurking, but at least he has lost his hiding place
- Eggs are magic. So is bacon. I ate 60 eggs in March. Probably not to be repeated, but eggs were definitely my saviour
- Willpower is finite. I tried at first to fight and prevail with unassailable willpower. But forcing myself is quite exhausting and not much fun. Especially when the experiment is scheduled during my daughter’s birthday party (parties)… lots of home baking of cake and brownies, and the crunching of Pickled Onion Monster Munch. There’s only so much willpower available to me, so something would have given way unless an outlet was provided. Luckily, roasted macadamia nuts tasted like millionaire shortbread. And I never knew that brown rice crackers could get me so wantonly excited. It goes to show what becomes possible when my settings go back to zero. (But is Booja Booja ice-cream really too good to be true?)
My healthy take-aways
1. It’s OK to start something as a curious experiment with no particular aim (this was certainly never an exercise in weight loss), but if it doesn’t quickly find a compelling connection to some bigger ideal, it will – and should – quickly fall away
2. This quickly turned out to be a big exercise of my willpower muscle. It was pretty tough at times, saying no to urges so much. But I was driven by the vital awareness and self-discipline it was bringing, realising how it applies equally in other areas of life, such as overcoming fear (of failure and the unknown) and desire (for the trap of familiar normality, and the comfort of consuming)
3. Perhaps the biggest thing from all this was to see once again, that when my world gets turned upside down, I experience creative destruction. Old beliefs and habits get destroyed, and I discover valuable new possibilities. These experiments always leave me miles better off. More aware of myself, more conscious of the world around me.
It just so happened that this experiment ended on Easter Sunday.
Did I use my beefier willpower muscle to come down slowly?
Of course I didn’t (must have been the egg thing).
Not giving a fuck is something I have been jousting with for a while. I have heard different examples of how important and even admirable it is, and it usually sounds fun, but it kind of conflicts with one of the other big themes that also has emerged – compassion. How to untangle the two?
Apparently there’s a bit of my brain (round the corner from my PFC) which is there to inhibit me from impulsive actions, like swearing in front of my mum (hello Mum). However, although inhibition can be useful during family dinners, if given too much leeway it can severely restrict my freedom to act, frozen in place for fearing how people might react.
I have been enjoying improvisation classes recently with some fantastic people called the Spontaneity Shop. The First Lesson of Improv: do not give a fuck about what people think. If you do, it’s not their fault, its your’s (because they probably don’t give a fuck). Therefore, fail publicly and spectacularly.
Sensitivity to judgment and fear of failure kill the chance to do something worthwhile (and certainly anything spontaneous). With me it seems to bring on a reaction of attack or defence – randomly chosen, mostly unjustified. It seems a great idea to address it. A guy called Jonathan Fields has written a lot about this subject. And here’s a whole guide to NGaF from a popular blogger. The main message of all of this seems to be: criticism can hurt, but nothing cripples you quite like the Inner Critic. Silence it!
Not Giving a Fuck sounds like good advice.
But in my experience it can easily become a bit vicious. Taken too literally, as well as perhaps feeling liberating, it could surely cause me to verge on being sociopathic. Applying it beyond personal affairs, to other people’s situations, is probably the worst interpretation of the strategy.
And that’s maybe where the Second Lesson of Improv comes in: be relentlessly positive.
So this is how I have come to see it… Seek to patiently understand the reasons behind other people’s actions at all times, while not taking incoming fire too personally. Especially when it involves the people closest to you; it’s simple to walk away from people who don’t matter.
This realisation was especially helpful for my wife and me last year, when having left my career and engaging myself in random stuff, we were in the midst of not having a clue what was going on or where things would go. Perfect conditions for exotic moods and thoughtless behaviour on both sides. Once we both snapped out of it and consciously decided to try and understand the other person, and in the meantime not take stray comments to heart, things improved dramatically. There it was, the fusion of NGaF and compassion.
For me Not Giving a Fuck works best not a rejection, but as a positive decision, to release myself from my own expectations, or what I imagine other people to be judging. To not take things so personally, tangled up in my own insecurities, which in turn allows me to stop and listen (Improv Rule #3). In more gentle terms, it’s the idea of Letting Go. It’s feeling more compassionate now.
Recently my 6 year old daughter has wanted to talk through the options available to her when she dies.
On the menu she sees heaven (or hell), reincarnation, or going ‘back to the mud’. She’s quite keen on the reincarnation idea, and at the moment she wants to be a butterfly (although she doesn’t like the bit about only living for a few weeks).
While talking to her, I found myself being especially careful not to influence her in any way, just help her think about it. I made a conscious effort to hold back my own beliefs. A good thing too, because, shining a fresh light on these beliefs, I found they were pretty unhelpful for any conversation. For example:
- Reincarnation: utterly ridiculous, obviously. Rising again as a butterfly with human thoughts? Caterpillars thinking about what they’ll have for tea? <snort>
- Heaven: equally ridiculous. An invisible land of happy ghosts? Physically impossible. Just a silly story to scare people with
It struck me that my reasoning was little changed from when I first imprinted it in my head. It was purely automated, having been formed long ago and not questioned since. And I realised these beliefs are highly unsophisticated: blind to any symbolism, metaphorically retarded. And I didn’t actually believe them; they were just words and actions I was mindlessly repeating and going along with.
My rationalising robo-brain can destroy my imagination and close off possibility. Although it’s a good thing I didn’t state my “beliefs” out loud, it’s also a great shame that I had nothing better to share than a crackly old recording. Being a healthy influence on a child is a wonderful thing, and who better than a father to tell stories and help conjure images that fuel a sense of wonderment?
Maybe I am a collection of borrowed molecules created a long time ago, which will go elsewhere once I give them up…the glass of London tap water I’m drinking has previously made up the brain and finger cells, and then peed out, by eight other people already apparently. Perhaps some of my carbon molecules will one day travel up a tree and end up being used by a butterfly, or my toenails will help fuel a power station in a million years…it’s true enough for dinosaurs.
It’s not like I have cracked the meaning of the universe, but it is a big jump forward from a cynical and literal (not to mention egocentric) vision of myself trapped in a beetle’s body, craving a nice pizza. At the very least, it feels like more inspiring material for a worthwhile spiritual discussion with my daughter.
The aim here is not to present a neat argument for reincarnation. The interesting thing for me is that ideas and beliefs are fixed things, so beliefs I have adopted, often at the age of 6, remain unchanged if not consciously revisited and questioned. This can add up to a rather misleading simulation of reality that I can be devotedly stuck to, which can damage not only me (even though I’m none the wiser) but also people close to me. Beliefs need to die, and be reincarnated, in order for me to truly experience life and contribute to others doing the same. And it seems to me that the first step is to actually stop and notice…then interesting transformations start to happen.
I’ll spare further Buddhist contemplation on this post. But I don’t doubt I’ll spend some of this afternoon wondering where my breath ends and the air starts, or where exactly are the boundaries of a tree. If I get stuck, I’ll ask my daughter.