slow

species

There’s a group of five boys from the primary school opposite my block (which was my primary school) who come every school morning to the swings at the park next to my block. I’ve spotted them a few times before. Now that I’m trying a new morning routine, I’ve been spotting them every day.

There’s something loose about their bodies. The way they are with one another. Sometimes someone pushes the two who are on the swings, sometimes they all watch. Those on the swings do not hoard but fluidly slide off and let the next person have their turn. It’s easy, and they still are boys, chatting endlessly and being a little rough sometimes, and curious, and active. I wonder what it would be like to have a boyhood.

This morning, even though I’m a solid ten floors away from the boys, I feel the need to act less creepy. Stop staring. I look up and out at the other rooms in other blocks with their lights on. I watch the green buses slide away from their stops. I see people walk and run the track, which is still wet from rain. It’s cold.

The boys gather their things and make to leave. They are languid yet brisk, moving as a mass. When they cut across the running track, they hardly give way; the runners and walkers have to navigate their path through this group with speed or agility or grace. They are hardly disruptive or rude but this ease feels striking to me who is always giving way.

As they disappear from sight into a sheltered walkway, I turn back. The emptied swings are still swinging from leftover momentum, loose and languid and brisk.

Warmth and warmth. There is a flame that I carry, and it is my life’s task to cultivate, protect, honour, nurture and celebrate it. I’ve mentioned this to S, that for a while last year, whenever I meditated, I felt and saw a fullness in my mouth that was expanding, like a pau or just some mass. It had no clear name or material, just this expansive and expanding shape swelling, taking up all the space in my mouth. It felt like my joy, or my life.

I lost touch with this sensation when I started spinning last July, losing myself to the anxieties of romantic desire. And now, today, I’ve finally arrived back in the warm joy of me. And that sensation and image is back. This time the shape is held at the centre by some constricting thing. It looks like a very very fluffy dog with a tiny vest on it. The shape is constricted but is still full, still expanding.

I am thinking about the concrete, external ways I want and maybe need to grow now, because I’m ready to take on my next form. To embody that larger impending self who emanates power and uses her wisdom and courage to lead. I can almost touch her. I am learning not to fear her, but to trust that power can be used for good through me.

I finally admitted to myself to today that I’ve lost sight of the way of being that I cultivated for much of last year. I gave in to false urgency, I let my anxieties take over, and I leaned into a less aware routine with greater attachments and fear-driven behaviour than I’ve wanted to face. Part of this is because of my new relationship, and the attendant anxieties that have been quite overwhelming. I did choose to turn away, run away. Now I want to walk back to myself, without drama, without disappointment. I do deviate, I do sometimes have to run away. Right now I am ready to go home.

I want to also keep in mind that, while life is always in flux and I do change, there are some principles that can be useful almost all the time. Accepting impermanence doesn’t mean I give up on my centre. These are the principles that work for me, that I want to hold on to:

  1. You can always go slower, so go slower. It creates distance for observation, awareness, waking up.
  2. Meditate every day, even if you have to do so in transit.
  3. Emotions are vital forces, forms and information. You should take care of them. But remember that they are not you and they can always be transformed. In the process, do not repress. Observe, recognise, transmute. Where possible, articulate: write or speak them out.
  4. Create a life-level priority list and allow that to determine where you apply your focus, energy and thinking. Allow it to determine what you will let go of, or ignore entirely.

Mars in Gemini stations direct, ending retrograde but staying in post-retrograde shadow (natal 8th whole sign house)

What I’m learning from the last months of wiggling-woggling my relationship with Buddhism, is that there is no out. Not just in the ways the teachings address, like facing your emotions and suffering, but also in engaging on the aesthetic plane of human being. I have been practicing detachment from the superficial and artificial, only to discover that any attempt to disengage fully is its own scam. Everything carries an aesthetic that takes its effect, and to ignore this plane is also a kind of hubris.

And perhaps, after all, I am very sensitive to certain aesthetic modes, in ways I cannot give up on. They have been a great part of my world-making, my survival, the driving curiosities that keep me going. I am invested in beauty, in material amalgams and manifestations that evoke joy, devotion, salvation. I have been saved so many times by beauty.

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I am thankful to learn about my triggers and to grow, but god I would like some downtime, more cream, more ease with it. The fall into 2023 and these past two weeks have been very intense, very dense with revelation, relief, inflammation, shock, quick change. I am deeply tired. I have a long list of things to journal about, to process, to work through.

I’m irritated though to see how the recent anxieties around (having, not having, being involved with) money are a blatant inheritance from my parent(s). Like, not their fault for not having the means to wade through and unpick their trauma, but this is just. This is so much. To not only heal the trauma they inflicted on me through direct action, but also the quietly transmitted anxieties they carry in their more mundane behaviours and speech, which I’ve observed and internalised since infancy. ANNOYING

Well. As I’ve learnt from Mark Manson, Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga — it’s not my fault, but it is my responsibility. And as I’ve learnt from activists, friends, life — pleasure is vital. And as I’m still struggling to fully embody — there is time. We have time. I don’t have to save my whole world. Heck, sometimes I think what my world really needs is celebration, frivolity, beauty, generosity, world-shattering pleasure.

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Suffering may be an inevitable part of life, but it doesn’t mean it’s fair, that we are at fault or deserving of it.

Many mundane errors are nobody’s fault. Most mistakes I make are my responsibility but not my fault. Not things to feel guilty about, or to carry like stones.

  1. I want to walk the Eryan Ping Trail in Taiwan. I want to walk many trails in nature from now on, I want to touch life and body and peace that way.
  2. This moment of clarity about us feels like it might last. Despite my anxieties around being misunderstood, I trust what I see and feel. I will be brave, I will leap with you.
  3. This morning was a radical moment I remain shocked and confused about. It’s too unreal to fully absorb, much less accept. That a genuine mistake I made, an accident, was released so simply. You chose to let go despite your anger. And just like that, I’m the only one left taking it out on myself. The guilt I’m used to clings to me, I can’t accept that I don’t have to be forgiven.
  4. I have decided I will go to therapy. My years of slow healing on my own need a boost toward the crest of release I see in the horizon. I’m going to touch my freedom. I’m going to fall into life.

I may be acting rather carelessly, going for so many large-group social events as the solar year closes. As I’ve noticed for a couple days now, my shell is thin and my soft inside is particularly exposed and vulnerable right now. It has been easy at these gatherings to feel pangs of shame, and sharp desires to disappear from view. Something about being this sensitised also makes me act strange, keep distance, further marring my ability to do the social dance well. Being tired makes me more reckless with myself, too. I need to recalibrate, I need to be quieter, disengaged, missing. I also need to expel some heavier things or at least set them down so I can sleep better. A lot of fear has awoken in this time. A lot of loving and crying and forgiving is needed.

I should stage a disappearance for a few days.

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(addendum)

Mercury retrograde conjunct Venus conjunct natal Neptune in Capricorn (3rd house)
Sun conjunct natal Jupiter in Capricorn (3rd house)
Pluto in Capricorn slowly pulling into conjunction with natal Uranus in Aquarius (4th house)

It is a physical pain that I’m feeling, an ache expanding through the shoulders from the heart, like muscle ripping apart. Something feels inflamed, diseased, curtailed, diluted, muddied, tilted. I feel a mixture of shame and fear, but mostly shame. I can’t quite see myself right now. Or rather, if I don’t look hard at myself, the image of me in my mind quickly devolves into something miserable, crushed.

From the transits, it looks like a period of some delusion/ illusion and miscommunication in relation to siblings, IRL conversations, neighbours/ neighbourhood. Also in relation to beauty and romance. The intensity of that conjunction is probably also feeding into the exhaustion of seeing, parsing, evaluating, extricating myself from situations of disconnect, bad judgement, disappointed expectations around beauty, grace, admiration, pleasure.

Learning how to love and be loved well is truly a life’s work. I push through the tedium of confronting myself (and with grace, patience, generosity) toward the hope that love becomes easier through consistent effort to heal and transcend my wounds. I would like the slippery flow of a honed heart, good hands.

A life in itself is also so much. So much maintenance, repair, care, admin, resource management. Come 2023 I would like to further shrink the realm of Things in my life, to something simple, gentle, focused. I want more energy for being (as myself and with others), experiencing, learning, arriving, leaving, dancing through all weathers. May this path be channelled through me, and flow with easy devotion.

I read something which made me miss a certain tenor of writing and speaking. To meander through the swamp of words and string two far-distant cousins together, coupling them to emerge uncommon genetics of feeling and seeing. How rusty is that mode of making the world? What is it to write desires, destinies, myths? I want to re-enchant my long-form writing, I want to lose myself in the elegant orgies of language.

Rx Mars in Gemini square transit Moon in Virgo conjunct natal Venus in Virgo

Hit by some serious food poisoning that’s left me weak and dehydrated. The night was nightmarish, waking up every few hours to go to the toilet, medicating and hydrating as sensibly as I could through the haze of pain and exhaustion and nausea. We do forget the joy of being baseline healthy in our daily lives. This was a sharp reminder.

I felt that consciousness split again, where the child-me who was suffering was dissociated/ hazy, while the guardian-me was tracking medication hours, getting water, saying soothing things as the child got more and more frustrated and sad. Early this morning though, past the worst but still feeling quite awful, the dissociation faded off and a hard pang of loneliness kicked in. I was reminded of being ill alone in the UK, that one time I thought I was going to pass out, and wanting desperately to be held, stroked, soothed. I thought about you, about me who is afraid of scaring you with my intensity, and in all the pain I burst into sobs.

What do we owe each other? Dare I ask for more, knowing on some level that I want everything? Desire and fear are difficult bedfellows. I don’t want to fear to lead desire, and I don’t want to fear my desires. I suppose I must keep stumbling through, living the trial and error of it! Less calculations, less weighing, less charting every outcome before taking steps forward.

I often re-describe myself to myself, looking for coordinates to point toward in locating some self. I have said often that I find it difficult to see myself, that I write in order to think, that everything I can say can be said because I’ve written it in some form before to myself. I owe my self to writing, to the continual act that has drawn me out of oblivion, away from the edge of dying, toward a voracious living.

By describing, I bring into existence, I give names, I give bodies to myself. I am always losing them. So I keep describing anew, I keep reinventing and constructing a me that can know a you, can be in the world. Sometimes I think I am always this close to losing myself permanently, becoming a shell which is possessed in turn by whatever wishes to use it. Perhaps this is not far from what I actually am, anyway. I know that many energies and directions enter me, instructing me, melding me into action. I am a happy, divine tool, emptied of fear and anxiety about what I must prove.

Today, arriving home after a run, I thought of what I had told you about my vision of being a monastic. How that vision has followed me for years, and possibly lifetimes now. How your entrance, your provision, your daring, your grace, has disrupted this through-line. You are a redirection, a necessary prophecy. Regardless of where this leads, I think I must use this life differently. Not turn toward what is instinctive and familiar but toward what I am being called to do, and the human inheritances I am only now beginning to allow into my life. Play, desire, sex, petulance, tantrums, lighter friendships, adolescence, childishness, impulse. Can I give in to the child in me who has waited so long to appear? I will, I will. My beautiful, sweet creature, I want nothing more than your joy, your glee.