My Secret Life

black hole

I love this image I found of a black hole.  A cubbyhole that is almost as familiar as home these days.  I am learning not to be afraid of it, which is why this image of flowery abundance works so well for me.  It can be a safe space, or even act as a conduit to another world, something like ‘worm holes’ at the macro level of the cosmos, or ‘strings’ at the micro level of our subatomic support system.   But you do have to learn to trust the darkness, the unknown.  I am finding that I can maintain hope when sailing without a rudder, or unable to see the movement of the ground in front of my feet. It is not a particularly colourful world, naturally, but I remind myself of the vibrancy of colours quite easily using my imagination.  I am not sure how long I will be hiding my secret self in this black hole, but hopefully as Christmas passes so I will emerge into the light again.  Christmas seems to bring to sharp relief Elle’s absence.  It feels impossibly hard to get over this.  While I am sure with time our grandchildren will bring a new magic to this time marker because they do not carry the sorrow of the loss of Elle inside them, for now Christmas brings its own brand of darkness.  That does not sit well with the spirit of the season though which heralds the arrival of new life; a baby whose reappearance year after year is simply and purely to remind us of the ever present opportunity for rebirth, of how to cleanse ourselves of the old and soiled ideas, and where to find hope for a future that is full of light, peace and love.  In order to make a massive difference to this world all that is required is for us to try a little harder to be more honest, more discerning in what we support by what we say, to reject judging others, trust more, worry about ourselves a little less and care about others a little more. In my secret life all is so clear, and good will prevail, but as soon as I switch on the news everything is fractured and broken.

I love it when a plan comes together.  I did not consciously set out to juxtapose birth and death in the same piece but hey, life got in the way, as it usually does.  That is when I am reminded that all is not yet broken but is as it is meant to be.  It is consciousness that truly is key – I understand this fully now, and by bringing up our own level of consciousness we can draw many others into the ripples of our wake.  So perhaps I am wrong to say ‘worry a little less about ourselves’. It is all about our selves.

In My Secret Life

In my secret life
In my secret life
In my secret life
In my secret life

I saw you this morning
You were moving so fast
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past
And I miss you so much
There’s no one in sight
And we’re still making love
In my secret life
In my secret life

I smile when I’m angry
I cheat and I lie
I do what I have to do
To get by
But I know what is wrong
And I know what is right
And I’d die for the truth
In my secret life
In my secret life

Hold on, hold on, my brother
My sister, hold on tight
I finally got my orders
I’ll be marching through the morning
Marching through the night
Moving cross the borders
Of my secret life

Looked through the paper
Makes you wanna cry
Nobody cares if the people
Live or die
And the dealer wants you thinking
That it’s either black or white
Thank God it’s not that simple
In my secret life

I bite my lip
I buy what I’m told
From the latest hit
To the wisdom of old
But I’m always alone
And my heart is like ice
And it’s crowded and cold
In my secret life

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen / Sharon Robinson

In My Secret Life lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Time Ghost

LC photo

I am working and, once again, listening to the Universe.  I got a common response at 1am in the morning.  A few days ago I wrote my first poem.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a brilliant poem or not.  What matters more is that I create.  It is in creating that I exist.  It is only our earthly projection that requires that we ‘shut up’ if our creations are found lacking.  If I exist then I can do living.  My poem came into existence on 7 November, and as I did some tweaking this morning, I realised that I wrote it on the second anniversary of his death.  He is the man I longed to touch when Elle died – my friend who never knew me – Leonard Cohen.  I will never stop showing up again.  The Zeitgeist is where we who live belong.



Atlas shrugged, and Earth crashed.

So tired of our empty ways.

Who will blame him?

All has crumpled as if Nothing.

Now I bend, blindly

I sift and shift, but only rubble.

Wish that it were just a thousand kisses deep.

Where is my beating heart?

What is left of my mind?

What meanings?


There are no meanings.

Words fail me as tyrants rise again,

Our rags of light torn to shreds by the Nothing.

And the sun slinks away,

Light dimming as he goes.

Where’s the glory

As Time turns up empty handed?

Hope bows her head in despair.

My eyes ache to turn inward

And my ears seek the warmth of his voice.

Are you there my old friend?

I love to speak with Leonard

Ah tis sad, but he has left the House.


Added later:

A little while before publishing my post a message arrived in Messenger from a fellow traveller, but I only saw it later.  Kurt Vonnegut is definitely on my shelf of favourite authors.  I loved his insightful thinking and quirky plot construction.

This is a good example of the weird and wonderful conversation I have going on with the uni-verse, a single poem of my own making gets its reward:

“… The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Faith vs UFOs

Let it be still, and it will all gradually become clear.

Lao Tzu

Who doesn’t recall having had light-hearted conversations around dinner tables and campfires over the years, discussing the likelihood of the existence of UFOs aliens?  Most of us would be quick to say that we have no problem believing that life exists somewhere out in the great cosmos.  It is highly unlikely that in the infinite universe we are the only living beings who are self-aware.  The odds on that being the case are infinitely small!  When faced with the usual question, ‘but why would governments hide this fact from the public’, I would give my usual answer:  “They daren’t validate the claims because it would shatter the foundations of our civilisation. We depend on history staying the same, and it being ours only, in order to keep moving forward in an orderly march on the future.”  Something along those lines anyway.  It seemed pretty obvious to me.   I could see how evidence of aliens from other planets would create fatal cracks in the world’s religions. Was our God theirs too?  And, if we were created in his image, how come there seemed to be ETs in other ‘images’?  What is God doing with all these other children? Aren’t we enough for him?  Are we really no more than one big experiment of many others?  I can see how it would cause a new and devastating fear to set into the hearts and minds of the world’s people, one that would easily outshine the fear of nuclear war. But somehow, at the time, I personally didn’t feel conflicted.  It was a different time in my life.  I wasn’t truly absorbing what I was saying – after all it was mere speculation.  There is so much we think we know until we really feel the weight of its knowledge.

Oh for the comforting half-ignorance that existed for me until today!  Over recent months I started to become aware that people I take seriously were supporting some of the claims that I had considered more outlandish with regard to our world.  Ideas like UFOs and extra-terrestrial settlements have already been established on our planet, or under our oceans, and even within the depths of the Earth.  Eh, I thought, a little too weird for me.

Yesterday, and through Greg, my brother, mentioning a talk by Graham Hancock without him knowing who he was, I made the effort to go out in the on-going inclement weather to hear him and Gregory Sams speak.  It was the last day of the Amorevore Food and Arts Festival at Casa Maca, here in Ibiza.  We went together and I was so grateful at Brother Greg’s timely little push.  I even did something I don’t usually do – I sat in the front row!  I had listened to many of Hancock’s talks and lectures on YouTube so it wasn’t that I was hearing anything for the first time, but there was something comforting in his ‘familiar’ presence. I got a real sense of his commitment to the subject of not only engaging or experiencing spirit entities as a result of hallucinogenic substances like LSD and DMT, but equally, experiencing his comfortable demeanour when talking about extra-terrestrial activities.  I particularly enjoy the format of two people sitting talking to each other about what they have learnt over many years, while sharing the discussion with an audience.  Greg Sams, once I had looked into who he was before going to the talk, was also an interesting speaker who had earned his stripes over the years, at the fringes of ‘new age’ thinking.  I shared his enthusiasm for the consciousness that exists in all things, and particularly his awareness of the sun as more than just simply another star on the cosmos – it is our star and it communicates with us.  Like him, I too have anarchistic tendencies when it comes to the effectiveness of the state in taking care of all the needs of all its people. He and Hancock believe we, the people, have the ability to self-organise, and would do a far better job of caring for our communities than any state government could do.  National borders may have served their purpose in the past but with our movement towards globalisation they are unfit for purpose.  He has written books about both these subjects.  But I imagine that we are stuck with the current structure for a while to come yet. I recalled with Sams, after the talk, a twice-experienced moment with a setting sun in a remote region not far from Montagu, in the Western Cape.  As I stared at the setting sun, something one can only safely do during these late-in-the-day moments, I was taken so far backwards in time, that I physically experienced the planet before humankind walked the Earth.  I know it will sound a little bizarre, but not to me – I know what I felt, and it was more a powerful sensation than a vision.

Last night, back home with Peter, and about to start cooking, I heard mention of UFOs as Peter looked for something he wanted to watch on TV.  I called out to him to record the programme for us to watch after supper.  Little did I know that I was about to set in motion the opening up of a can of worms!  It was a serious programme, and incorporated footage of a press conference that took place on 9 May 2001.  It had been put together by someone called Dr Steven Greer, at the Press Club in Washington DC.  These days, with so much fake news about, I like to do a crosscheck, so first I checked that the news conference had actually taken place, and yes, it can be found on YouTube. Then I checked the name, Dr Steven Greer, and I was surprised to find that as soon as I put into Google ‘Dr Ste…’ up popped his name at the top of the list, so that gives you an idea of how many people are Googling him.

Almost all the people sitting on the panel were high up officials in Central Intelligence, the army, the navy and the air force, air traffic controllers, airline pilots, and members of other similar organisations. They all testified to the fact that there had been substantial sightings and experiences of UFOs and even extra-terrestrials.  They kept their testimonies short, undramatic and precise.  It didn’t seem to have much impact on the news at the time, but there again, it was only a few months later when the world’s heads were caused to swing around violently to face a much greater and immediate problem – that of the Islamic fundamentalist threat.  There was even talk of the bodies of aliens at the Roswell site following an alleged 1947 crash of an alien craft or two, and it all started to feel ‘stomach-churningly’ real. Recently I learnt that The Pentagon had been, or continues to, run a secret multi-million dollar programme to investigate UFOs, which has been reported quite widely, and in The New York Times.  Now I find that my foundations have been shattered!

Why I am so troubled is that it is only in the last week or so that I have felt that I am beginning to get an understanding of how consciousness works as part of a unified   matrix, a mathematical algorithm of great beauty, by which we understand, and are part of, the living world and the universe beyond.  There was something so sweet about it.  The pieces of the puzzle seemed to be flying into position, and the picture that is emerging is ethereal, quite literally, and how it can all be explained through numbers.  It is fascinating to look at how the ancient philosophers interpreted life and the cosmos in terms of numbers.  Plato came up with a single number of everything, the ‘nuptial number’, and most interpreters argue that the value of Plato’s number is 216 because it is the cube of 6, i.e. 63= 216, which is remarkable for being also a sum of the cubes for the Pythagorean triple, i.e. (3, 4, 5): 33+ 43+ 53= 63.  The number hits my sweet spot in every way.  Numerology speaking 216 adds up to 9 that is three lots of three, 33 – this has been a very important figure of numbers for me ever since a dream I had in my early twenties.  He even has a Tyrant’s Number.  There may be nothing to his numbers but he certainly understood thousands of years ago that answers to the universe could be found in mathematics, as did the great thinkers of many ancient civilisations.  Why would they have known this?  Interesting stuff, and I am just beginning my explorations of the ancient and modern philosophers and mystics.  Suddenly my picture has gone grey and very blurry.  I now know the question I couldn’t think of yesterday at the talk, and the one I desperately would love to have heard them answer.

“I have a question for you both.  How do you square away your faith in spiritual entities with your belief in extra-terrestrials who appear to be studying and observing us as if we are no more than fish in a glass bowl?  Faith speaks of A Oneness, a world in which we matter as we ‘polish’ our reflective facets and ascend the ladder of divinity, while the other is as if we are nothing more than a simulation, a living version of someone else’s algorithm, or something akin to an experiment for reasons unknown to us.”

I am now going to have to see whether I can answer this question for myself.  It is going to take some work, but I will get there.  I have no idea whether I will like the answer, and perhaps I will have to settle on a compromise again.  Something I did before Elle, my younger daughter, died when I told her that I had settled a few things in my mind, and that I no longer felt compelled to trade scientific knowledge for faith.  I was going to accept the unanswerable nature of those questions I couldn’t answer for myself.  More lately it felt like I was slaying science. It had become an flimsy obstacle to my burgeoning faith, but this – this following so soon afterwards – this felt like a fatal blow!  Perhaps I had been asking to be tripped up.  Take courage though, Jennie. See how the universe laid a plan for me to go to the talk, and remember the coincidence of the programme on TV. Perhaps there is method somewhere in this madness.

For now, from this icy crevasse into which I have slipped, I look up at the immense cloud evolutions happening above me.  They, more than anything else, have become a great source of release of existential dis-ease for me these days.  I shall let go of my worrying thoughts for now.  They do me no good!  There is really little that is more satisfying than the natural world.  I am glad I still have so much more to learn, or perhaps I should think rather in terms of unlearning…now that gives me something new to think about.


Unified Grid of Dots in Detail

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” 

Salvador Dali

I have this recurring sensation going on that I love life even though some of it sucks really badly.  I have been doing quite a lot of checking in on myself lately. Firstly to check on my mental well-being, and equally, on my intentions, particularly with regard to why I want to write, what I want to reveal of my thoughts, and just how honest I want to or should be.  I have this idea, or perhaps it really is a compulsion, that I want to witness what is going on in my internal life. I know that may sound a little crazy and a little more than a touch arrogant. What gives me the confidence and self belief to go on with this foolish idea.  For one thing I no longer fear opening myself up to ridicule, albeit a little daunting, and really I can’t see that I have anything to be self-satisfied about.  I am not super intelligent, nor super talented, and certainly have never been super good at anything I have taken on, therefore no super good achievements in this lifetime, and that includes not being a super good mother or wife, and in all the other relationships that exist in my world.  I am an ordinary person in an extraordinary world.  What I ‘witness’ though may just be of some interest, if not of useful purpose, to help someone else know that they are not crazy. That would be nice.

I sense that a ‘big change’ is happening, a really big multi-dimensional change all around the world, words that have been rolling off my tongue for a few years now as though there was no tomorrow! It was my greater generation that proclaimed the dawning of The Age of Aquarius.  Most of us got a little tired of waiting!

When I first started writing, a compulsion that started the first day of the first New Year after Elle died, I had no idea that I was setting off on a journey that was going to give  purpose to my life.  Obviously not to take away from the purpose that exists in continuing to be a mom, a wife, a sister, a grandmother and a friend, but that inner meaning that makes all else matter.  The book I completed a while back, and a few days after the first anniversary of Elle’s death, now seems to me to be naïve, but beautifully so, and equally has provided me with so many new beginnings or starting points, and a multitude of ‘dots’ and memories that will never allow my ink well to go dry.

In my book, Good Grief: Take Me by the Hand, I wrote about an instant in the middle of a Pilates class, as I glanced up at my own image in the mirror wall ahead of me.  While it was a short moment it was also a big realisation; that our bodies are truly temples, and everything we need to know is contained within us, a saying that we are all familiar with.  Now I feel able to take that moment a little further, and it is because of the fact that ‘in quantum physics all particles are connected to all others and to every observer in the universe’.  Another way of saying the same thing is that science encourages us to view spacetime as a web or lattice, and physicists seem to be intimating that they are close to arriving at the equation that Einstein longed to complete before he died – a theory of everything, or a unified field theory.  This lattice or net can also be described more poetically as:

“… there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each ‘eye’ of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.”


This is a translation of a quote that comes out of the Huayan or Flower Garland school of Buddhism, and the earliest texts seem to date back to around the second century AD, and is a description of the Web of Indra.  I took out the first line as that would have placed it into mythical times – Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra…  I can’t see the difference between what was said then and how the vision of the unified field in physics is described today.  Each of the jewels in Indira’s Web is thought to be a soul.  This really appeals to me, and is not original to me, but I often wrote in my book of seeing us as diamonds, jewels of light, and that we come to earth with one or more particular facets to polish through each lifetime. I love lingering over the idea that wisdom will land in our laps as and when a facet is polished enough to capture those all-important reflections from all the other jewels around us.

Everything we need to know is contained within every one of us, and this is where another commonly repeated phrase comes into its own – we are connected to everything and everyone in the universe – so whatever knowledge is out there is also within us all.  One could even say that going to temple, or church, or any sacred space can be equated with the journey of going within, in order to learn about ‘everything’.

What actually got me writing this early morning was being ‘awoken’, or rather, being first in a state of semi-lucidity, as if someone was knocking on my door until I fully awoke.  I may well have said that this happens to me quite a lot.  Up until about two years ago I was unable to recognise these moments for what they are, as I have no doubt that they have always been happening to me and every single person who has ever existed.  Dreams I knew about a very long time ago, but that there was communication that I could tap into constantly flowing through and around my mind would have been something I only associated with mental illness, for example, schizophrenia.

This morning it was a square image in my mind’s eye that was dragging me out of sleep.  It felt unreadable yet familiar, and seemed to contain a focal point.  I felt like I was being pushed to recognise it, but no matter how hard I tried I could not couple it with anything else I had ever seen.  I made a mental note of the image and hoped to remember it in the morning, but after switching off the light, I thought it best to make sure I did so promptly wrote it up in my notebook.  I was keen to return to sleep as I was looking ahead at a busy day, but then……an interpretation started evolving!  And that was it – I wasn’t going to be able to sleep……so here I am.

My first thought was that it was an image of a race, why I have no idea, but I commented to myself that it felt more like a marathon.  But then a correction came through – it was an image of a journey, my journey, which was identical to everyone else’s, and this was just a detail of it.  It was starting to become recognisable.  What I saw was a tight grid-like pattern of dots, and I realised that these were probably those same dots that I began joining up after Elle died, but this was not the picture I expected them to reveal.  It certainly and strangely was informing me as much as any picture could have, and brought together all my thinking over the last couple of years into a neat square package.  It is all I am to be shown, and yes, the dots are certainly connected, and yes, this is only a detail of the infinite universe – an infinite number of dots!  I must do a painting of it, and why I mention this fact is that, while thinking about it, I thought I might paint a dot for every day that I have lived, or journeyed through life.  It has just struck me that the word ‘journey’ if one looks at the first syllable, ‘jour’, is French for ‘day’.  My inclination to investigate moments of synchronicity drove me to look up the  derivation of the word, journey, and it travelled from Latin to French to Middle English, and comes from ‘a day’s travel, or a day’s work’.  Sweet!  Perhaps the reason for its original familiarity is because about three years ago I bought a painting from my friend, Christina, which is purely a series of tiny coloured dots in a grid formation.  We have been through a lot of our exploratory travels side by side.  Even deeper synchronity as far as I am concerned.

To round off my morning’s thoughts, the following works well as follow-up thinking that was originally following up on leads that coincidently lead back to this morning’s thoughts.  Follow that if you can!

Last night before going to sleep I was trying to find, somewhere on the vast network that is Google, a story I first heard somewhere back ten to fifteen years.  I had watched a documentary about an indigenous tribe who continue to live high up in the Andes Mountains of South America, and how concerned they were becoming about climate change that had begun to impact their crops because the rains were less predictable and more infrequent.  It ‘told’ them that something was going wrong with the outside world.  They had consciously eschewed all contact with the ‘developed’ world, although they had always been aware of us.  (I assume that their knowledge of us was transmuted through the unified field, or perhaps the wonderful Web of Indra!)  Because of this worrying development they had decided to allow a young tribal member of their choosing to be taught the language of the outside world so that he could convey their concerns to us, and to tell us that we need to change our ways. He told us also the story of who we are. We are ‘little brother who decided to leave the tribe and its eternal ways, and venture off on a journey, but that some day he would choose to return’.  (I can see that it would benefit us to ‘return to learn’ because there is no doubt in my mind that they are our superiors, as are most indigenous tribes who have maintained their close association with the feminine spirit of nature.)  They have never felt uneducated or inferior to us, but equally their humility has also always kept them compassionate towards ‘little brother’. I couldn’t find what I was looking for (keywords weren’t working for me) on Google but I think I am remembering the gist of it correctly.  I have been thinking about this ‘little brother’ story over the last couple of days, and then it struck me – ever since Orwell wrote his book, 1984, we have been concerned with Big Brother watching us. And where do we imagine this Big Brother to be hiding?  Well, everywhere, behind everything, and now even in the massive almost AI brain as represented by Google, the very place I was looking for answers.  Again very interesting to me is that a ‘true and benign Big Brother’ has been watching us all the time, and not just of late.  We would do well to find this tribe and try to learn all we have forgotten from them, instead of watching stupid programmes on TV called Big Brother.  Oh, we of little faith – another meaningful saying!

Now that I have found the courage to be more honest in what I want to write about, or rather, not hide what I really wish to say behind some silly coding, I will return to blog another day.

Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge.jpg

Oh where dark meets light

In amongst the hours of dread

Joy screams eternal


This early morning, facing the rising sun, I sat looking out at the constantly changing pine covered hills in front of me, with just a few homes dotted here and there.  Yet again I found my gaze drawn to the ridge of the hills.  I considered that those distant pine trees, silhouetted against the skyline, could see what lies on both sides.  It made me think about my mountain climb through a forest of grief, only not just a climb but carrying with me the rock that is trying to hold my heart together.  Then I thought about mountaineers, and I wondered whether this is what motivates them to climb mountains – to see the view on the other side.  Perhaps many of us are motivated to move forward in our own great and small endeavours in order to see what lies on the other side.  Maybe it is a God given intuitive motivation, or at least ancestral, to keep us challenging life and ourselves, in the hope that we can move towards a better future.  With this thought floating around in my mind it struck me how important it is to understand that everything we do today matters, because our todays become set-in-stone yesterdays, and we can’t stop the tomorrows from arriving as urgent todays.  Our every move alters the view that we will see on the other side.  We take great risks when we don’t consider seriously the consequences of all our thoughts and actions; we need to make better choices for our future selves.  We are so much more, and equally so much less, than simply a pair of butterfly wings fluttering out there somewhere in the world.  I know because the Buddha tells me so.

Chinese Paper Lanterns

Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world.

Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.

Let your soul take you where you long to be…

Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar,

and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.

Erich Fromm

This morning, in my loving and much loved truck, a white double cab Hilux, mood heightened by my music, I found myself calling out, “Elle, I don’t know what the fuck is happening, but whatever it is, it feels right and it feels good.”  I also said, “For better or worse this is how it is now, and that is okay with me.”  It goes without saying that I had a pretty exciting start to the day.  I would never have thought, just over two years ago, that Kate and I would each have a rewarding and meaningful blog, in our eyes at least.   I also couldn’t help registering that for at least twenty years all my emotions were so measured.  Never much more than a little up or a little down.  I also stopped singing because my voice wasn’t good enough, or some equally stupid reason, and now that has all changed.  Not having sung a note for at least twenty years it took about six months of daily singing, after Elle died, to bring it back to something that didn’t split apart on the higher notes, and before it was able to hang around the right pitch such that it satisfied my own ears.  I have even learnt to open my throat!  It will never be a good voice, but it is definitely good enough to give me pleasure. Naturally, I also can’t help drawing attention to the disguised deeper meaning between a low emotional involvement with life and not feeling like I have a voice worth hearing.

Whatever this journey is about, and however much deeper it runs than the eye naturally sees, I am always grateful for the fact that I have found new meaning to my life after Elle.  How would I forgive myself and the gods otherwise.  Not sure whether I forgive her for leaving us, though!!!  But she knows what I mean and forgives me.  Fear has gone from my life, and clarity has rushed in to take  its place. There are times when darkness and pain roll in across the plains, but the winds of time soon drive them away.  It is not for me to ever know whether I am ‘on the right path’ but, in my madness if that is what it is, life feels worthwhile and rewarding.  I see dots joining up where I thought answers could never be revealed, I feel more alert and definitely I feel more alive.  I don’t believe that I am lucky or privileged.  I do believe that this journey is available to all of us travellers through this life – and perhaps it was sloth and resistance that kept me blind to it.  I have found a way to live with, and recognise the value of, my own peculiar voyage, and I am content that I have found a means to express it by attaching my musings to Chinese paper lanterns and sending them off into the internet of ether until my candle burns out.  I remember and note, Chase, the ones we all sent off at the scattering of the ashes ceremony.  Seamlessness.

By way of explanation, I have had the feeling that a few of my cars lay claim to a consciousness of their own.   My latest incarnation shows a lot of love, and knows I love it back.  Proof of my madness – I leave that for you to decide.

A Moment in the Life of a Little Red Vase

The heart will break, but broken live on.

Lord Byron

There was something about Elle, and I don’t think just for me, that was puzzling and enigmatic.  I have lingered long, through darker and lighter times, recalling the following memory of special moments spent with her.  It also serves as further proof of the benefits of giving deeper consideration to the relevance of synchronicity, and what revelations it may be highlighting that assist us to keep moving forward on our individual journeys through the school of life.

This is what Carl Jung meant by synchronicity:  it occurs when events that have no causal relationship come together, and in the process they reveal a deeper meaning.  In the majority of cases this clashing of two events will more often be put down to mere co-incidence.  While I have been sensitive to synchronicity all my adult life I am sure I have missed much, and certainly not always understood all the meaning that was intended.

Peter’s mother, Tinker, was a part of our girls’ lives for many more years than my mother.  She was one of the most stoical women I have ever known, and a force to be reckoned with.  And she also beat me hands down on stubbornness!  Her love of her family, her mischievous and playful ways, and her desire to get as much out of life as she could, was a great inspiration to us all, and particularly noted by her grandchildren.  She died on 7 March 2016.  Her life had become physically hard, and included a substantial amount of pain during her last years, but she continued to want to live, and was game for anything and everything.  Elle, unbeknown to us, had been regularly calling Tinker from her ‘casita’ in the last couple of months of Tinker’s life.  It was only when I told her that her gran was unwell, and suggested that she call her, that we learnt of this.

After Tinker died, and in early May, the family had organised a memorial for her in the church next door to her much loved home in Chesterton. After the service we returned to Peter’s sister’s home, and were all given the opportunity of choosing various items that would mean something to us from amongst Tinker’s everyday possessions.  Elle, in her characteristically simple manner, wanted only a couple of small things.  One item was a little box.  The other piece she brought into our kitchen once we were back home.  It was basically broken glass.  She asked me for something to put the tiny shards into.  She then explained to me that she had wrapped this six-inch fluted red glass vase, with an image of a spray of flowers on the side of it, in her shirt, and put it in her cabin luggage.  When she opened her bag it was shattered.  The glass was around one millimetre, maybe less, in thickness.  All that was left in tact was the base, and the rest of it was in pieces, and most of them frighteningly small.  She asked me to help her put the vase back together using Superglue!

I didn’t, for once in my life, voice my opinion that this was an impossible task.  It fills me with comforting joy that I held my tongue, and instead I said ‘of course’, and we began straight away on what felt, even at the time, like an intimate journey together. Elle had quite shaky hands so it was decided that she would apply the glue, and I would accurately place the shard in its position, hold it in place for a while, and then she would clear away the excess glue.  Only one piece could be glued at a time.  Day by day it slowly grew back together.  It was only when thinking back on this event, after Elle died, that I realised some of the most remarkable elements of the process.  I don’t have a memory of her searching for the exact piece that needed to be glued in next (there needed to be a sequence of placements), and neither do I remember us completing the job.  I think that she completed it by herself.  This only adds to the mystery and magic of the process.

It was either the first or second afternoon after arriving back on the island that we visited the three girls who had been her housemates from sometime in May until the end of August.  Claudia came with us, and it was something we needed to do, for them and for us, but it was all about sorrow and tears, and a deep longing to understand what had happened and why.  The girls were naturally in a deep state of shock.  Before we left they asked if there was anything we wanted to take away with us now from her room.  Her room was as if she had just left it for a moment – clothes strewn around, a mattress on the floor surrounded by books, notebooks and Spanish newspapers.  Peter noted later the relevance of all the Spanish newspapers.  Elle was determined to improve her Spanish.  We were all in a trance of shock!  I could hardly bear to look around the room, but my eyes were immediately drawn to something familiar on one of the shelves – the little red vase!  When I picked it up it looked like it had never been in pieces!  The fracture lines were barely visible.  There were also no little telling spaces anywhere, except for one triangular piece missing from the gilded and fluted top edge.  It was seamless except for that one gaping omission.

It took only a moment for a thought to spring to mind. Elle had ‘demonstrated’ how it was possible to put our family back together again, even though, yes, there would always be one vital and meaningful piece missing. We chose to put this valuable little vase into the coffin with her, a white dress, and a single white rose.  I do have a photo of these items, but a part of me wishes I still had that little vase, especially when courage drains from my hurting heart.  Of course the colour red never escaped me either – there was something distinctly heart-shaped about the memory.

Blog on Blogging

I have certainly questioned what it is I think I am doing by blogging.  I know that I can never be sufficiently intellectually qualified to have the ability to know when a question is a very good question to raise, or what is the best answer to any given question.  And yet I do feel that I am beginning to find a way to cohere my own thoughts, or join up the dots of what were always more random and abstract ideas I had, some of which seemed as though they might be quite good, into a way of seeing that is beginning to make more sense of my world.  But am I side tracking from what would be a better way to spend what time I have left?  Am I lazy not to be out fundraising, or should I rather be helping people to make things better in their life by digging for water so that they don’t have to walk miles to find it?  Should I be giving up what I have accumulated in my life, and find out where I could serve humankind in more useful and practical ways?  All those may be true.  But they don’t feel like they fit onto me, or at least I don’t know where to get started even.  More importantly, I can’t imagine myself doing them.  That feels fundamentally true.  So then what?  I am enjoying applying myself to learning, to writing and reading.  It feels like a change is happening within me.  Can this be good enough?  So then what?  Well, if I am going to go this way what point could there be to it?  All I can think of is that at least I could serve as a witness to all the many experiences I have noted in the last couple of years. Perhaps this is a valid use of my time and of me.  I really hope so.  I shall endeavour to be honest and to question my motivations and my intent. And I shall carry on blogging, for now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I may be called elsewhere. Nothing stays the same, but equally you could also say nothing ever changes.  Which is true?  I like to think of that as typical of the many heads and tails that life provides us with.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.
“Certainly,” said man.
“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.
And He went away.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Synchronity, Jung and Me

Rather apt subject for my very own Red Book!  Have you ever felt that there appeared to be enough meaning to a surprising collision of two events that made you think:  there must be something more to this than mere coincidence?  If so, you may have experienced what Jung calls synchronicity.  And I don’t just mean when you have been thinking about someone you haven’t seen for a while, and within a short time they phone you.  That may be ESP, but doesn’t necessarily imply synchronicity.

I have been alert to synchronicity certainly since around the age of nineteen.  This is also the age I was when a growing disassociation from a church-based Christianity started to metamorphose into a more personal and heart-felt interest in the deep workings of my own spirituality.  At some point later in my life I gradually crossed over to the side of doubting that there was any possible framework on which a spiritual belief can be supported.  Science, and the likelihood of alien life forms, ensured that my faith would keep on eroding. About a year before Elle died, and having joined a meditation group next door with a very special lady called Val, I seemed to draw this period of my life to a close.  I told Elle that I had reached a faithful landing, and that I didn’t need to have all the answers; I was comfortable knowing that all my life’s experiences pointed more to the likelihood of truth lying in the spiritual realm than not.  Now I find that it is  scientists, psychologists and philosophers who are giving a foundation to a greater and deeper understanding of my world.

I have been listening to many lectures by different people on the most recurring figure in my life, Carl Jung, who I now understand better in my own left-handed right-brained abstract way.  I have been led to a book that has made Jung more accessible to me, and more particularly, his definition and understanding of synchronicity.  It has provided me with confirmation, including the ability to better interpret and gain a greater understanding of the meaning of those moments that I always knew were, at the very least, significant.  The name of the book is Synchronicity, Science, and Soul-Making, by Victor Mansfield.  It serves me well on the three subjects that I find are the greatest help in developing my faith:  science, psychology and philosophy.

I am going to use an example of an occurrence of synchronicity in my own life to illustrate why I have always held that these moments are of the utmost importance.  But first I need to give the outline of Jung’s definition, and a few other thoughts.

Jung first described his theory in the 1920’s but it wasn’t really taken seriously until a lecture he gave in Italy in 1951 to a number of intellectual thinkers of his time.

Simply put, his theory is this:

Synchronicity is the experience of meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.

The following is an example as given by Jung in his book, Synchronicity, to explain what he means by the term:

“…My example concerns a young woman patient who, in spite of efforts made on both sides, proved to be psychologically inaccessible. The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably “geometrical” idea of reality. After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself. Well, I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab — a costly piece of jewellery. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the windowpane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, “Here is your scarab.” This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could now be continued with satisfactory results…”

Jung was well versed in mythologies and ancient cultures, and he knew what the symbolic meaning of the golden scarab was.  It was sacred to the Egyptian’s God of Creation, Resurrection and Immortality, or put another way, rebirth. It was even believed that the beetle carries messages that bring our attention to renewal, spiritual maturity, and the powerful influences of the invisible side of life.

With a bug in mind I can’t help remembering Elle’s haiku seven years before she died, and mine in response since her death:

Obscure miniscule creature

Little ugly bug

How often have you been seen?

Little bug I see you now

Oh the Bodhi tree

Fly away and on with me

Back to Jung, this confirmed that the meaning of the event ran even deeper than just the most incredible coincidence.  This example is the first of many he used to illustrate his theory.  He believed, as do many of his followers today, that almost all anxiety and depression, and its further deepening psychoses, was as a result of a dissatisfied subconscious; a subconscious looking for deeper answers to the meaning of life than just being told to make the most of a world that has no intrinsic meaning – that all that has happened since the beginning of time is purely coincidental.

The optimum idea though is that the coming together of two acausal events should bring with them a deep meaning that adds something to one’s inner movement towards one’s own higher intelligence, or, as it is most often called, to the individuation of the psyche or self.  In Jungian psychology this is described as a process of inner transformation whereby the personal and collective unconscious are brought into consciousness and, over time, are to be assimilated into the whole personality.  If the process is more or less successful, the individual will become a well-functioning whole, rather than a fragmented, probably ineffective and therefore a non-directional personality.

Again perhaps this condition of non-direction has more to do with the plethora of ‘mental illnesses’ of today.  So few of us give attention to the state of our souls, because ‘soul’ has religious connotations, and not many people in the West have any form of contemplated and internalised faith.  I am always astounded, every time the subject of mental health comes up, that all the elected-to-speak experts talk about is how important it is to acknowledge their illness or disease, but no one seems to be interested in asking the question – why are so many people, particularly our young people, suffering varying forms of mental dis-ease.  I think the numbers are around one in four people who will suffer some form of mental illness in their lifetime.  Well, I think these numbers are unacceptable, and certainly indicate that something about modern life is going horribly wrong.  The advice being given seems to be saying that while yes, we should talk about it, we should not be baulking at the idea of giving out earlier, and without deeper investigation, more medication for depression and earlier.  Give out Ritalin to more ADD or ADHD children, despite the many destructive side effects.  (I am a bit cynical of who has been driving the direction of the latest studies!)  I believe the way Ritalin works on ‘overactive’ children is to suppress the part of the brain that supports play, which I understand to be a vital component of learning what it is to become an adult, and how we develop our socialising skills, which already children are not given enough time to do before being sent to school at the age of four and a half years old.

There is a lot more that can be said to substantiate Jung’s theory, and also to explain it more deeply.  I highly recommend the book if you are interested.  I found it to be both intellectual in its approach while equally being being accessible to anyone interested in learning more – I always think of this as a sign of someone who really has a good grip of his/her subject.  It is not necessary to make the written language bear proof to your intellect – I came across enough of that while studying art at university. It seemed to be the required credentials for most post-modernists!

There have been a number of occasions in my life when I have witnessed interesting coincidences, and while many of them carried some interesting meaning, I would not call them an example of Jungian synchronicity.  There have also been many moments when I would say I experienced ESP and other paranormal experiences.  Again, unless they led to a transformational experience, they too would not fall into the said category.  But I have experienced enough that do qualify.  It also makes perfect sense to me as to why there has been a greater cluster of synchronised events since Elle’s death, and equally that events of the past have revealed their meaning to me through the illustration of synchronicity.

First of all, the event:  about three weeks after Elle died, the family and our friend, Zoe, decided that it would be a good idea for Zoe to take on Elle’s car.  Another three weeks later, and with the car parked outside Greg’s home, the moment came for us to take it to our mechanic to give it the once over.  I would drive Elle’s blue Seat, and Peter would drive ahead of me.  We arrived at Greg’s, and before going in for a coffee, Peter and I decided to make sure it would start.  If we were not intending to go in for a coffee, Peter would have dropped me, stayed in his car and I would have followed him straight away in Elle’s.  It mattered from the point of view that we were together when we opened the boot of the car, and that we were not in a hurry at the busy mechanic’s shop to clear the car and hand it over.  It points to the emphasis placed on the meaning of the moment, and gave us time to respond to what lay in front of us, and to how it was presented, which also served to raise our awareness by piquing our curiosity at what we observed.

I was anxious about the whole procedure.  I turned the key and it started without any hesitation.  I gave it a good ‘rev up’ and switched off the engine.  As I walked around the car I suggested to Peter that we should make sure there was nothing left in the boot.  It was simultaneous with this point that I realised that internally the car was most unusually spotless, empty and dust-free.  When we opened the boot there was a single pile of three items. Curiously, at the bottom of the pile was a plastic bag containing twigs that Elle must have collected from somewhere, and for something.  On top of this was a rather dilapidated straw hat.  Finally on top, and facing correctly towards us, was a photo that Elle had printed onto glossy A4 paper.  Across the top of the horizontal photo, almost filling the whole page, were three sentences Elle had written.

Peter and I recognised the photo’s content straight away from a story that Elle had told us around the April or May in the year that she died, and our attention was secured.  Again there are many steps even as to how she came to tell us the story.  And without the earlier story there would have been no synchronous event.

The background to the meaning:  Elle entered our kitchen from her ‘casita’ shortly before leaving to go to work.  She had no shoes on her feet.  We often saw her this way at home, but I was curious if she intended going to work like that.  She told me that she had no shoes to wear, rather odd, so I said that as I was about to head off into Ibiza town, and would she like me to get her a pair of flip flops. She said yes, but make them as plain as possible.  I knew what she meant.  A couple of days later the exact same scenario happened, and this time I casually enquired as to what had happened to her Havaianas.  Peter walked into the kitchen at this moment.  She immediately started with, “Oh, Mom, Dad, I nearly died the other day.”  This was not an opening line we had ever heard before from either of our girls. She went on to tell us that she had been sitting on a beach, and there was a cliff behind her.  Her attention was drawn to a tree clinging to the cliff-side, close to the top.  (I don’t remember asking her which beach but somehow, perhaps ESP, I kind of knew the area where it was, and a friend was able to pinpoint the beach and tree for us later.)  She went on to say that she got an urge to climb to the tree.  It was mostly loose shale, and about half way up she felt that her flip-flops were making her ascent harder, so she decided to take them off and collect them on the way down.  It was only when she reached the tree that she looked down for the first time.  She said it made her scared, and she knew that the only way out of her situation was to keep climbing the cliff to a track above her.  So much meaning in that too! Once safe she had taken a photo from the track.  She had obviously thought a lot about the whole experience.  She then printed it, and had written three sentences across the top on the part that is the white border around it.  The sentences are:

Fear comes from looking back.  Error comes from doubt.  Keep moving forward.

Peter and I both knew that this was no ordinary moment. His initial response to the first sentence was that he always expected fear to arise from looking into what might happen next minute or further into the future.  And he wasn’t altogether wrong on this.  But both of us instantly saw how that could be the wrong direction to expect fear to come from. It is so clear that looking back into a time, when Elle still, lived pulls us deeper into sorrow and grief.  And most certainly error can come from doubt.  If one moves forward with full knowledge and understanding of what has gone on before, and commits to the movement, all should have a better chance of working out right.  Nothing makes more sense to us today than the advice ‘to keep moving forward’ into our futures.  I certainly recognise that the moments that slay me all happen as a consequence of looking or even glancing back.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t control the moments I spend with Elle, and these can equally be in her and our future.  Because I have this option I am not so deeply fearful when I choose to look back to a time when she was here with us, but generally I don’t allow myself to linger too long in that space.  While Peter and I think that Elle wrote those sentences for her own benefit and not ours, we remain within the requirement of acausality.  We both feel that something, perhaps her subconscious, motivated her to write them, and to create that incredible clear and totem pile, so that we wouldn’t and couldn’t miss the inherent meanings unless we were ‘blind and stupid’.

The synchronicity:  while quite obvious, I will just lay it out for the sake of tidiness. Elle had died.  We opened her car boot, and it and the interior of her car is incredibly clean.  (The day before she died she had shopped for art equipment to give an afternoon workshop to children at Pikes on the day following her death.  The fact that she had taken these couple of bags into Greg’s house from her car which, if left, would have made ‘the totem pile’ feel less personal to us, and equally, the fact of its cleanliness, made us all the more aware of what was left in the car.)  Those are the two events:  her death and the photograph.  Also, the two events had no causal links, that is, neither event caused the other to happen, but when juxtaposed they exhibited more meaning in the sum of their parts than each event taken as separate.

The deeper meaning:  I have already outlined much of the deeper meaning we took from this experience of synchronicity.  But more than this it served to give purpose to my step as I ventured deeper and deeper into my faith.  How can one give up on life and family, on beliefs, and a faith in the purpose of life, when you don’t feel completely abandoned in your grief?  I can see that something was at work in Elle too, perhaps a preparation for what was on her horizon.  There are many times I wish that if only things had worked out differently – all those ‘if only’s’ – but when I am at peace I know that something far bigger was at work in all our lives.

This is one of the stories of the incredible synchronicities that have occurred in our and my lifetime, both before and after Elle died, and not just for her immediate family.  Who amongst you feel sure and strong enough to call this out as pure coincidence?

Elle's car gift.jpg

Elle’s picture, and if we needed more meaning still, the boat in the bay belongs to the ex-husband of Elle’s mentor on the island, and he died in the same year as Elle.  This element translates as:  if you aren’t taking sufficient notice perhaps this will deepen your understanding of the importance of this photo.  It has its own inherent synchronicity.

August Elle, Lavender Bushes and Zac

August will always be a time of the year when I spend more than my usual amount of time with Elle.  I have got braver over the almost two years since she died.  This month doesn’t feel, at least so far, quite as deafening as the first August.

I have had a couple of ‘telephone boxes’ since Elle died, and it took me awhile to recognise that I have one here too in our latest lodgings.  They are always outside.  Makes sense.

August got under way with a number of Elle moments, and just this morning I had a flashback to a beautiful memory of Elle that visually will never dim.  It comforts us to know that Elle met both of our black guardians, Zac and Kito. Zac came first in September 2015 and Kito in the December.  We knew we wanted two dogs after Oscar died earlier in the same year.  They were to be of a similar age but not brothers.  I don’t know whether it is true or not, but we were advised against taking two dogs from the same litter.  There is often a hierarchy amongst a litter, and we might just end up with feuding siblings. Zac and Kito, although very different in their natures, are good friends.

This morning a hunter was out in the forest behind us.  Whenever there are loud bangs or lightening Zac becomes a quivering mess, his tail drops, all his usual bravado evaporates, and he starts to shiver uncontrollably.  We can’t think of any experience that he could be remembering.  Kito is not bothered at all.  It usually takes Zac a good hour of stillness before he trusts the world and emerges from his fear.  I was standing in the vicinity of my latest ‘telephone box’, giving him comfort, and into my mind popped the thought that perhaps it causes flashbacks to a terrible moment soon after he joined us.  The accident happened shortly before Kito’s arrival in our lives.  I have a white Toyota Hilux – not a small car, and I was returning from somewhere and carefully negotiating the swing into our carport.  I was moving very slowly because I knew that Zac was around, and having checked where he was, I thought he was safely out of the way.  But he had suddenly changed direction and decided to run around the front of the car.  This part is difficult for me to revisit – that instant when you know that something terrible has happened, and then you hear a stomach-wrenching cry of pain.  As soon as I saw him I knew that there was something very wrong with his hips.  Initially I lost it, and my wailing brought Elle running out of her casita.  She calmed me down instantly with a look, and carefully picked Zac up off the ground.  Even though he was in terrible pain he allowed her to carry him over to our bed of lavender bushes.  She carefully put him down between them, then sat down beside him.  He was instantly calmed albeit still in great pain.  I took myself in hand and managed to get hold of the emergency vet.  I will never forget the sight of Elle and Zac sitting and lying amongst the lavender.  It only struck me this morning that she probably knew exactly what she was doing when she placed him in amongst the lavender bushes – lavender is known to be soothing.  We took him together to the vet’s surgery, and while we waited to be seen, he lay calmly across her knees.  One hip was broken in a couple of places and the other was out of joint.

Zac and I were so lucky that the surgery was successful, although he now has some permanent metal in his one hip.  It was so hard, after the early convalescence, to make sure that he didn’t run.  He was meant to do no more than a trot but he loves to flatten out and run like the wind.  He is now back to being almost as good as new, but we do see the odd hop mid air, perhaps caused by a little ache in his hips now and again.  There are two reasons for our happiness.  We still have our loving, intelligent, mostly brave and cutely self-conscious little boy, and a ‘big brother’ to Kito.  But more importantly, we can return to the moment with no added sorrow, and allow our minds, both Peter and me, to linger over the vision of our beautiful gentle Elle sitting amongst the lavender bushes and under the olive trees, keeping puppy Zac calm and confident in that scary painful moment.  Elle also chose to come with me a week later to collect a much happier Zac.

Our boys, Kito who is never far from my side, and Zac who feels equally tied to both Peter and me, were called upon to give us love and support just under a year later.  And what’s more, we know they remember her too.