Did my first 5K for a long time today. I finished it in about 30 minutes and I know that’s not at all fast but it feels like an achievement to me.
Fun fact: sweat is 99% water and 1% fat and salt. I became intimately associated with this fact today.
Bonus information: I have popcorn in my teeth at the moment. Popcorn is one of the least appreciated torture devices of the modern world. You sit and eat it in the cinema and then, when you’ve done, you have to sit there in the dark with popcorn between your teeth for the rest of the movie. Such a strange world we live in.
You know how, the other day, I was saying that I’m addicted to stories? Well here’s something ironic: I forgot to take a book with me today! Well actually, that’s not strictly true. I have a book but I’ve just finished reading it. What I don’t have is another book to start reading immediately afterwards.
Yes, I’m a serial book reader. And I’m feeling oddly bereft at the moment.
Which means that I have to get my hands on a book fairly quickly lest I resort to reading the …
Hey! Wait! Just realised that I got loads of books with me! Amazon give me a free book every week with my Prime membership and even if I run out of the dozens aybe hundreds) I have on my Kindle then I can borrow books from the library and read them on my phone.
To love and to fear to lose is not to love at all. Abandon yourself in love. Fall to your knees. Lose love, And you will gain. You will fill yourself up. You will harmonise with the universe.
What the heck?
Sometimes (most of the time) I have no idea where I’m going with my words. In fact, they’re not even my words because they just flow into sight like a boat on a river of emptiness. My mind, in fact, is an empty mess. No, wait. It’s a full mess. The message is that if my mind is empty then it’s beautiful but if words appear in it then that’s when it becomes a mess.
Really, I should question this stuff (my preconceptions) more closely.
I’ve filled my mind with all sorts of Buddhist concepts that have had the effect of smoothing the wall of my mind over as if it’s a beautifully plastered wall, all flat and white. It’s not even an interestingly flat wall; the kind where if you stare at it for a while and shapes appear like elephants and heads of famous people in clouds. It’s just flat. When I try to defocus my mind and let a shape appear I hardly ever get anything. There was this one time at my nannan’s that I saw concentric, luminous, green rings growing over and over in my mind like smoke rings, but I doubt that that would be interesting to anyone. Certainly, my nannan wasn’t overly impressed and she loved me, so what hope do I have with anyone else.
Hi, my name is Robert and I’m addicted to stories.
You can chart the things I write on this blog by what books I’ve been reading and what movies I’ve been watching. I’ve been reading about love and so the last few posts have been about love. Before that, I was reading about something else and my posts were about that thing. And before that and before that until you get back to when I was born and my parents started to fill me with their stuff.
I work nine to five and in the cracks between that, I fill my head with stories about other people’s lives.
If I stopped sucking on the story-teat then where would I be, though?
Today, at work I spoke to a dozen people and more about all sorts of things. One person asked me about spreadsheets, another gave me a recipe for soda bread, another helped me with my presentation, another told me about a job that was coming up in her department, another talked to me about my worth as a person, another said that I would be missed at the team Xmas party and said that he would buy me lunch, another and another and another; enough to make up a life if I let it be one.
But then, when I stopped working and went home, I stopped living.
I cooked a meal with my wife and we sat and ate it and she went off to live her life upstairs and I started watching another movie downstairs while I washed the dishes. And then the pots were all watched and I started another movie and had a piece of chocolate and had a cup of tea and typed this on my blog and then I’ll watch another movie and read a book and listen to some music and learn a little Hindi and then it’s going to be time for bed and my life, that has been lived in the middle of another person’s invented world, will be over for another day.
It’s easy enough to realise that love’s the key to everything; all you need is a few decades of self-reflection and some lucky breaks with your reading material, but it’s more challenging to do something about it. Like, now that I know that I need love in my life, what am I going to do about that?
Let me set one thing straight: I’m not looking for love. I’m not sitting here wishing people would love me more. No. I have plenty of people in my life who are willing and able to love me. What I’m saying here is that I need to love more. Means that I want to know how to open myself up to loving … the world more.
By ‘the world’ I mean everyone and everything. Means that I need to … Well, it means that I want to open myself up to the possibility of being hurt. Love equates to pain for me. Yeah, I know that sounds twisted. And I’m not saying that love = pain is true for everyone. Just for me.
When I think about it (yeah, it’s a nasty habit, I know) it might have been Buddhism that screwed me over.
When I was a teenager I fell in love. Then she left me. Then I cried. Then I stopped crying. Then I read that Buddha said that the world is full of sorrow because we desire stuff and we can’t have that stuff and when we lose that stuff we cry. So I stopped wanting stuff. I stopped wanting people. I stopped loving stuff and people. And I didn’t cry again. (Apart from, you know, during slushy movies. In the dark.)
Sound trite when you say it quick, but that’s how my heart got hardened.
How do I find love when love causes pain? Things come and things go like slippery fish. I can’t hold on to them. If I try to then ,when they go, and they always do, then I feel the pain of my loss.
Emotions. I know what they are. I read about them in books. I know the dictionary definitions. I remember knowing how to feel them. I almost hear but seldom bear the scars of tears. Deep inside me I feel an echo of sorrow. It tries to rise before I push it down under again. Drown.
Being alone in the light is not much different from being on my own in the dark. Alone is alone. Peace is quiet. As quiet as the grave. I didn’t even wait to die. I just lay down and stopped.
I have always searched for and tried to embrace peace. I tell people I just want a quiet life. I have not searched out love. I avoid connection, attachment and association; anything involving an exchange of love.
Here’s something I realised:
Peace, and the search for it, has separated me from humanity. Love would give me a connection to humanity. If I embraced it. In fact, it would give me many connections. Many, many.
You know it’s not the stuff that happens to you that grinds you down, right? Yeah, that’s right: it’s not that stuff, it’s the emotions you decide to show that push your face into the dirt or raise you up to face the heavens. And when I say decide to show I mean that you’re the one who makes the decisions around there.
Anger causes stress. Stress wears you out. Happiness smooths out your muscles. Happy muscles in your face make you look beautiful.
Well here’s a picture to illustrate how beautiful one looks when one smiles.
These days; these visual days, I like to start with an image …
… ’cause, you know, an image is a squashed-up set of words.
Look at a scene or a photograph of a scene (or even a line drawing) and then try to describe it.
There’s an infinite depth. Much more than yeah, that’s a church amongst some trees on a sunny day. As much as you know about yourself, that much you can say about any given scene.
I read today that a cloud is the soul of a river. Nice words, right? It means that … well, I guess you can work it out yourself.
I saw the river Ouse today. It was getting high. Not in the way that you get when you take drugs. It’s been raining here and the banks of the river Ouse are getting shorter and shorter as the hours go by. Soon there will be water on the riverbank. Maybe it’ll creep over the fields, slide down the roads and come knocking on our doors. Little pig, little pig, let me in. And I say no.
I could describe the river as nearly high or I could use 677,116,801,854,743 more words. Each drop of water comes from somewhere.
When Davey Sivaticus died of TB in 1856 his last cough was caught in a handkerchief that ended up in the laundry. When Sally Beaver of Acomb, York rinsed toothpaste from her mouth, she spat the water into the sink and washed it away. When you breathe your breath is full of water vapour that you only see on a cold day, but it’s there in summer too. I splash through puddles and then the sun takes that water up into the sky.
Eighty-six thousand four hundred stories per person for every single day times by almost eight billion. Use one word per second per person over the space of one day and that’s what a river is really like.