Monday, 30 January 2017

Step by Step

At various places in time I was referring to my then, upcoming return to Ireland as a "walk-a-bout." Now that I have been here four weeks I can most certainly affirm I have most certainly done some walking.

Somewhere within the "windmills of my mind" where oh so many realities and fantasies are entertained.. At some point who knows, maybe I'll even discern and get sorted, which is which; I was pondering, wouldn't it be fun to lead, walking tours?

Recent evidence to that end, might suggest, I relegate my involvement to occasional participant and enthusiastic soloist..

You see, if you were to join me on "my tour," you would have to be prepared for a somewhat open-ended schedule and remain hopeful, you would see what you "expected" to see, while embracing a "letting go," of those very expectations, mindset! 

Today, I set out for my first unaccompanied stroll around Cork, Ireland. I had a particular coffee shop in mind; having received info the previous day, both on the caliber of the coffee and the independent shop's involvement in a local weekend event (featuring .. you guessed it, local independent coffee shops). I sat at breakfast at my hotel "studying" the tourist map the hotel gave me. I might well be taking liberty with the word study; if one were to presume that meant, I was getting anything from it and/or retaining it.

I don't know, maybe some sense of it all impresses on me - then again, maybe not. An area (George's Quay) was given to me yesterday, by the local who informed me of the shop. I set out with the street names of the first couple of streets/junctions I will encounter on route, and off I go. I not only wanted to find this coffee shop, but I wanted to take in some of the city along the way and I wanted to spend some time sitting and writing. I believed to be true, that the first part of the walk would take me through a part of town I experienced yesterday with some friends. I was duly impressed that I actually saw the shop we had visited yesterday. So then while "celebrating the small victories;" after all, I had been correct in my assessment that the new destination would take me through "familiar" territory. As it turns out, that is pretty much irrelevant with regard to reaching the new destination via a pre-determined route.

There was a very fine drizzle throughout the a.m. which wasn't a problem for me personally, however it was reeking havoc with my map. As it happens, after I got to the end of my first referenced street and I did see a sign for the second street - which ended rather abruptly, the map wasn't a particularly useful reference anymore anyway. It had appeared; according to my interpretation of the map, this second street was going to take me most of the way to the area where the coffee shop was - so it must carry on again!  This presumption meant I'm now about to venture into the matrix of streets and alleys that one might say are "off the grid" (if a grid existed) and that meander hither and yon..... Even when I consciously intend to get a fix on a landmark before taking another branch in the road, it's possible, I'll never see it again! What this means, is that should I "decide"the labyrinthine series of twists and turns is not going where I want to be, then back-tracking along the same route, with the idea of a course alteration from some known starting point - most likely won't happen.  I generally stand firmly in, being "here" (now). Where my resolve can become eroded is, I don't always know where "here" is.

I wandered through the rabbits-warren-esque streets - shops, sights, colours very quickly saturate my consciousness and before long my "here" forgets about the "there" I was trying to find...

I "found" one of the shops participating in the event (Cork Coffee Roaster's). There I was given the opportunity to sample three different blends of coffee they roast. After listening to the very comprehensive description of each coffee - which frankly was pure poetry, I realized I may never be able to consider coffee in the same way again..  Here was someone that knew coffee and as I absorbed her eloquence; I was reminded me that anything, can be elevated to an art form and held in reverence.

I carried on my walk, along the way I saw a number of different tattoo studios (all presently closed) I wasn't looking for one... unless it turns, out I am. The locked doors ensured that for now, none of them would present as a distraction from, whatever it was I was doing..

Eventually I came to the "other" branch of the river which place me in the southern sector of the city. Of course that didn't mean I was anywhere near the coffee house, however I was closer than an hour previous when my meandering took me back to the north side - just farther "down-stream."

Before long as I wandered along the river I saw a beautiful cathedral... initially I thought it a good a time as any to both see inside and have a quiet little sit... I'm not a card-carrying member of any particular religious/spiritual affiliate. I can and do, at times benefit immensely from just being in some of those "temples." Of course I could, can and will,  say the same thing of being at the seaside or deep in the woods.... Often, but not always it might be better if there isn't a service going on... The purity of the silence is cavernous.... I have presumed the energy within is that of sanctity. Now I have to acknowledge at least some of that, I bring in with me (it has nothing to do with what is specifically practiced in there - it's more how I see myself in relation to that.....

Anyway, it would seem that wasn't why I went up there at all. The cathedral was locked up.. I noted a sign that outlined service times and "tours" I allocated that information to the maybe I'll drop around another time, but maybe not, because this is now and then, I might be looking for something entirely different.

I took the opportunity for a few photos and while walking around the building I learned there was a labyrinth on the grounds. I'm in the process of refining the manuscript of a book that I'm writing about a forty day practice of walking a labyrinth in Victoria. The signage posted gave some background info on the history of labyrinths (which might well augment my intro) and some guidelines around "walking the labyrinth." I read them with curiosity, though you might guess, after walking one forty days in a row... I came to an "understanding,," through the direct tutelage of the labyrinth itself.  Or as I consider in the book itself, people that built the labyrinth, others that have walked it, the ancestors of the land it occupies, my own ancestors......... 

Most recently (after having walked this particular labyrinth) I ponder a labyrinth to labyrinth connection (in this case Victoria to Cork). Now I suppose I can no more establish this as true for anyone else than anyone else can deem it impossible for me. Beside that, in that place where experiences like this "gel" for me - which will not stand to the scrutiny of "empirical evidence" I can't explain it and fortunately I don't have to.

The labyrinth is a deeply holy place for me (so I came to know).... I had no real experience with one before that which became the basis for the book. I assert "it" called me.. The day it began, I had no "intention" of walking a labyrinth..  I did leave my apartment to go for "a walk." The area of town where the labyrinth is wasn't even specifically, a destination.

My reference to "holy place," can now for me only be said to be superficially true. The labyrinth in Victoria certainly is beautifully laid out - constructed of two different colour of bricks. Even the geometry of it's appearance does have a "sacredness" about it. However it is the walk that can potentially reveal the power of the labyrinth. It is a portal (minimally) if such an event can be deemed minimal one can walk from the "outside" to the inner sanctum of their soul.. What more sacred "altar" can one approach than this? Even if it is discovered while visiting the altar there have been desecrations (sometimes by the visitor themselves) it can be the beginning of a resolve and intention of reparation, reconsecration and renewed reverence.

I'm sure the inside of the cathedral is beautiful. I've never been in one where I didn't become present, to divine expression seen manifest, through the hundreds of crafts-people that built these structures. Just the same, the union of manifest world and internal universe; as experienced through the "sole" of my feet upon the labyrinth - heavens above, earth below, witnessed by the most extraordinary trees......  utterly...  (scrumptiously, the cat's pyjamas) as good a description as any.. given all will fall short...

I'd say... "ya can't make this stuff up..." however I suppose I could - but seriously, why would I bother....

After I left the labyrinth I took in a few publicly displayed street art exhibitions ... now walking in the general direction of the coffee house.. You might wonder how I could make such a bold assertion. Well first of all I had by this time walked in most every other direction - so the process of elimination kicked in..... that and I asked a women on the street, if she knew of "Filters" coffee shop? "I've not been there but I hear it's great coffee" (I'm thinking yes, I've now come "full-circle" that's what kicked off this walk...) - "you're heading in the right direction, just keep going.... she says!! "Enjoy!"

I found the shop - which was fairly tiny and full. This was a clear indication that I wasn't going to sit in and write. I got a take-away cup and walked back across the bridge over the river. Once on the other I noticed a street sign - it was the street that I was originally "meant" to be on. On that street was a memorial to commemorate all those that had died in the various struggles and fighting for Irish independence. There is some significance in this for me... that I'm not entirely clear about. I have had my awareness of it expanded in various ways since getting to Ireland. It deeply saddens me that there are those that were executed for upholding freedom, independence, autonomy. With deep respect and compassion for all those that this history has impacted... it is not my intention to diminish their ownership of this history... 

I have long been a man without (a known) history.... this history is my history ... My heart clambers to hold to the threads of recognition; at the same time, fears the insult to "true Irish nationals" and their refusal to acknowledge - a place for me in this history... 

This morning I walked across the street and a few doors down to a coffee shop I had tried to access the day I went for this "walk..." at the time it was closed.

When I got in today and sat down... I noticed a bank of shelves, full of books on different periods of Irish history - "the Rising," biographies about individuals that I now know (from various museums I've visited) were some of the signatories on the Provisional Government Proclamation and they were subsequently executed... there is a copy of that very document (as there was on the side of a building on the street with the memorial). Both the hotel I'm staying at and the coffee shop, are on MacCurtain St. the proprietor at the coffee shop (after I began a conversation with regard to the collection of books and memorabilia in the shop) told me, was a former mayor of Cork who himself was executed.. He is pictured with a group of men on the wall of the shop...

If I had come to this shop earlier ... it may not have had the same impact, as coming here after my walking tour....

As I've said, my home my whole life, has been "Victoria, Canada" - a place that continues to venerate the British monarch that became the cities name sake.... I came across, again, on the same street as the memorial, a poster for a public gathering ..... the caption reads: "Vulgar Victoria - Famine Queen"
"Why is she honoured in our street names?" Dignity & Respect? Given the history of colonialism - the taint that continues to permeate the city of Victoria - the question is still, every bit as valid - Why is she honoured?

Indeed - "Why?"

In my continued conversation with the coffee shop owner, I mentioned the public notice I had seen and showed him the picture I had taken... he said he had heard of the "planned event;" but hadn't heard of the date, it had been scheduled for. Maybe it's all .. "just a coincidence" ... 

In summary, when walking a labyrinth there is a presumption, of a clear objective.. Here I stand at the entrance .. and I want to get to the centre. The pathway winds and weaves; sometimes it takes you directly along side the centre, only to then turn away and take you a considerable distance to the opposite side - no longer near the centre. Eventually the continued journey takes you to the "core."

You might get the impression that following that pathway is actually not going to get you where you're meant go.

I wonder, if one could see the "walk they are taking through life" from a "higher perspective;" they could then see, that even though they believe; that currently "this," is going NOWHERE! the bigger picture view, might reveal - that in fact, you are not lost at all. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Pursuing versus Succumbing to (The Divine)

The all-powerful omnipotent "Google," informs me that it is 7,061km from Victoria where I have a flat, some additional stuff and there could be some random mail accumulating; to where I'm currently residing Derry, Northern Ireland. Oh sure I'm taking liberties with what it is to reside. But for all the fuss and bother given to the idea of a "fixed address" - if you stop and think about it, the address is fixed, I'm not currently fixed, within it. I don't think I can reside anywhere, other than where I am, therefore today, I reside in Derry.

Now having said that, if one was to try and reach me, through "snail mail" - good chance I'll be residing elsewhere, before the letter arrives. Of course I know, there would come a time, when the fluidity of this current reality, would be subject to the influences of Immigration laws (domestic and international) - so while I'm enjoying this sense of expansiveness; I consider deeply that any future manifestation of "living arrangement" might well take on, a more varied form.

The relative distance from the one address, to where I currently find myself, was brought in as a contextual benchmark. Clearly, I have come some distance to be here (which most certainly includes an "as within, as without" element). At the same time, I'm considering such things as "time," financial resources etc. as they might be allowed to influence my "itinerary," by which I mean for example, such ideas as: I've come all this way and spent "all this money" and I need to go here and see this, and do that........

This incidentally isn't the "software" being allowed to run the show....

Doesn't that just drain ya, even reading it..... the point is, it does me! So as I have mentioned, in other posts, I don't have a "carved in stone" itinerary and the day this post began (with a considerable more "active" day in between) and much the same today... I don't feel compelled to go, do or see anything..... I could, I might.... but I would feel absolutely no sense of loss; if I were to instead, honour a deep soul-quenching ahhhhhhhhhhhh...... by relaxing in my hotel room (doing some of the things I love to do) a little reading, a little writing and some random eating and sleeping.....

Ya mean you went all the way to Ireland to take a nap????? 

Well, not specifically! However, while there are times upon avenues of "personal growth" and/or travel experiences, when most certainly, I will "push the envelope" and seek some living experiences, outside "my box." There are also other times, when an act of self-love and soul-nourishing focus (for me) is to release the need to be "doing," and get on with some quality "being," which for me sometimes takes the form of the most delicious extra nap time!! (as well as the reading/writing etc.) It doesn't actually matter, if I'm on the other side of the planet (from where I habitually existed) there are times when my cup is ringing out a resounding "running on empty......." and just like one of those "Crystal bowls;" as the mallet/wand is brought more deliberately to bare on the rim of the bowl ,so it rings out more emphatically it's song .. so it is with my "empty bowl.." Though the similarities would end there. The increasing resonance of my "empty bowl" would not provide a healing or regenerative medium within which to relax or meditate. The longer it is ignored the more "ratty" it's presence is apt to become.

At that point, actually ideally, before that point is reached; it is up to me to, "replenish the bowl." (Emphasis on: "up to me.") It's not someone else's "fault," if when I'm reaching this state and they would like to "get together," or have a request of me; and I then make something other than the empty bowl - my priority. They simply made a request or suggestion - if I gave a yes, when I needed to say no, thanks... but this time.... no thanks (could even say, I hope you will, or please, invite me again....) I would love to get together and........ but right now: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I have "more time" in Ireland...... I will have more time in Ireland again (this will most certainly not be my last trip here......)

Think of it this way... how exotic is the imagery, of having access to a room/flat/space in some distant land, within which to "retreat" and write or paint or........

Imagine if I had ..... such an opportunity.......

wait a minute.....

I do!

It just so happens that - I find equal measures of inspiration, prosperity and even the divine ... in a good nap..... Anytime..... Anywhere!!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Waking Walk

I am not an old man
Nor new upon the scene
I've known the hard lines
Now I seek between

A natural curiosity
Keeps me seeking, where lines are lost
I've held so tight to righteousness
A bitter toll I found, it cost

I've admired many people
Though I emulate them not
I seek the best within myself
Don't wish to put them, on the "spot"

It matters not, by what degree
I've cheated, lied, or oppressed
A walk toward my forgiveness
Is to see the truth addressed

I'm clear that I'm no better
My choices are my own
Don't look to me as leader
Unless in my mirror, yourself, is shown

What a wondrous journey
A life on planet earth
The dash delineating birth and death
Is to walk myself as worth

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Didn't See That Coming (which perhaps let me see)

In a clear case of: "things are not what they seem" - I was stopped on the streets of Derry (Northern Ireland) by a gentleman that to me, appeared to be dressed in the nomadic attire of somewhere decidedly, not here. Especially given that the region was currently experiencing intermittent snow. I am seeking to expand myself and acquire a more "worldly" repartee, however, my travels have not specifically included places that would help me pinpoint where he might have hailed from.

The man was in robes (of sorts) his head adorned in something looser than a turban - but that conjured for me some imagery of the "east." Of course maybe I've been influenced by all the Nativity scenes I've seen over the past while. And of course, let us not forget, what the Sam Hill do I know about the east? I don't even know who "Sam Hill" is!

He stops me with the address, "Excuse me sir." The rest of his commentary completely escapes me. Let's bare in mind, I'm traveling - and seem to be maintaining some variety of an altered state (no I'm not drunk). I'm also hopefully, out the other side of a respiratory ailment that has added an additional need to exercise many a double take..

I have begun many an interaction - only to discover, the other party is patiently awaiting my reply and I haven't a clue, what they just said. It's not inattentiveness - I'm listening, it's just that though the language is familiar the inflection and phrases are such - that something just short-circuits and I'm left  standing like the proverbial deer in the headlights... I actually feel myself about to respond and suddenly the realization jumps to the fore - I can't! So I suppose, I am exercising the "better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.... maxim.

So somewhere in my "language center" (which is clearly missing the most recent downloads) I determine he is asking me for directions...

I'm thinking, the joke's on you my friend, you're speaking to the guy who might just be innately capable of taking the words of the hotel restaurant hostess and serving them to her for dinner....

"You can't get lost in Derry" she insists. Clearly she underestimates my unique gifts and talents!

I begin to tell him, I'm not from here, only arrived yesterday (truly it remains to be seen, if I ever see my hotel again!)

"No, No, No sir - you don't understand" - Now there's the supreme understatement for 2017 already proclaimed!

Turns out he, has stopped to give me direction....

After a couple more runs at it, he gets through to me....

Do you know, the Bhagavad Gita?

Though I've likely already diminished any further credibility on my part... just so ya know, he spoke with a very thick East Indian accent...

What can I say? Well, yes I know the book by that title exists... but I can't say I'm familiar with its contents.

Boom... Instant manifestation, there's now a copy in my hand!

As he expands for me the illusion of the mind - he deftly flips through "my Gita" and points out supporting scripture? - could have been a menu for the bistro down the way - I wouldn't have been able to discern in that moment.

I'm enjoying his enthusiasm; all the while a little baffled by the continuing puzzle: "how is it that wherever I go, seemingly now, more literally than ever, do these sidewalk prophets find me - like moths to a flame?"

It's not alarming, I can't even discount that - it's all part of some curriculum, I may stand to benefit from. It's just that it happens, a lot!

I do sometimes wonder, do I give off some kind of "Jesus" (or in this case "Krishna") - if ever there was someone needing saving, get a load of this guy - Vibe?

I've now got my ow personal copies of the Bhagavad Gita, "Chant to Be Happy" - the power of mantra meditation and "The Perfection of Yoga."

My friend had a wee handcart with a whole library on board.

Perhaps he thought as I was going downhill (let's confine that to the topography of the street I was heading down when we met) and he was traveling up - I'm the logical choice to shoulder a few extra books?!!

Though this wasn't the sum total of experiences on my first day of exploration around Derry - it did leap considerably outside any "expected experience;" even though, I would have said previously, I came here, without preconceived expectations!

Idle Thoughts

Through the deafening silence
I listen.
Far beyond the thoughts,
That my insignificance
Superimposed upon the infinite
Conjures the likelihood
That at any moment
I could be dashed
Like the waves
Pummelling the shoreline
Fundamental elements rendered
Mist, carried on the breeze
The web is nourished
The continuance of life
Is fed by release of death
Perhaps the ultimate fulfillment of "to be of service."
Can I then see fear, as a less formidable barrier?
Living life with unbridled passion
Squeezing the very marrow, from each experience
Loving each, as though I've met, the face of God
Perhaps until the divine can be found in the mundane,
The divine will always remain - Mundane!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

I Met the Heart of Belfast

There have been on occasions, references and inferences to the Simple Minds song: "Belfast Child" associated with me. My "Irish"ancestry (on my biological father's side) is shrouded in far more mystery, than what I "know" of it. However having now spent nearly three days in Belfast, for what it's worth, I did sing on the streets today.

The opportunity was presented to me by a hulking story-teller I met in front of my hotel. I was waiting for a new friend, himself a resident of Belfast, to pick me up. He had graciously offered to take me on a "mini-road trip." I was standing waiting and the story-teller who I came to know as "PJ" just appeared. In my previous travels (well actually it can occur most anytime) some rather notable character "just appears." They don't "approach" I don't see them coming, it's a bit like I turn my head one way and then back, and there they are, bigger than life. And then it's on, instantaneous interaction.

I have met a vast amount of the most beautiful souls on this trip already. My heart is full and continues to be engaged in, how to contend with that much love. I suppose that's not actually the truth, more than likely that is no riddle to the heart - it would be the mind that might want to play with the notion. These people have blessed me in ways known and likely in ways, I've yet to discover.

This encounter is distinct in nature. It in no way diminishes the experience and connection with the other folks. This is more an experience that I liken to angelic - I have no idea why, and though as I said earlier, they aren't necessarily limited to times I travel; they do seem to increase in frequency, when I'm away from "home."

"PJ" was a formidable presence. Easily well over six feet tall and rather broad in the beam. He had hands the size of ham hocks, which I observed as his handshake swallowed my hand. They were also very animated, weaving a language of their own, in unison with the oral presentation, of the stories that would unfold.

Now with regard to "PJ's" demeanour, it could be said that he was somewhat inebriated, however I was quickly able to read, that this in no way, posed any sort of threat. This in itself should be a clear indication, that the stage is being set, for some damn fine story telling!

We hit it off immediately. Right from his opening greeting "how ya getting on, kid" (which I did need to ask him to repeat - it took me a moment, to get in sync with his high octane infused lilt). Once the answer to his second question determined me to be from Canada - any pretence of our being strangers  was gone - now it's mates, for sure.

"Ah Canada"..... he croons. I'm already thinking, maybe we should start the anthem that way.. he's making it sound pretty good!!!

"Do yeh know, who the best singer/songwriter of all time is ....... he riddles. "I'll give ye, a hint, he's from Canada.

What can I say.... I was in the zone..... "Gordon Lightfoot" was my immediate answer.....

"Ya, yeh got that right.... How the feck' do ye know anythin' 'bout Gordon Lightfoot.....?

At this point I'm thinking, well we're getting on so famously, now doesn't seem the time to mention the scope of my knowledge about Gordon, is rather finite in nature.....

Anyway, I'm elevated to near legendary status for providing the right answer and apparently cued just the right memory reels of his, after which he recounted his experiences at Gordon Lightfoot performances here in Belfast.. Has he been here.....? I don't know.... but his is Gordon (Feckin') Lightfoot, he could have been....

He told me, the disbelief palpable - of the "young people" staying down at the hostel ..... not one of them...... none.... knew who Gordon Lightfoot was!!!!!!

"You just can't educate people with that kind of ignorance...." he says.

Thank God, his line of questioning didn't reveal any of my ignorance. It's not far from the surface and he coulda scratched the top of quite easily... had he decided to be more probing with his questioning....

He told me stories of "Father Flannigan" and "Digger McGee"- both figured to be, something the stature of the biblical Goliath. As I said, "PJ" was no half-pint and he spoke of these characters as if they dwarfed him.

What I can tell you for sure is, "ya don't go feckin' with Father Flannigan!!" He goes on, "I was a wee bit rebellious in my youth......"

Ya don't say, I've heard of those rebellious types (I'm thinking...) doing my best not to tip the hand of my illustrious history.... To no avail - ya can't bullshit a bullshitter........

So he decides, he's going to "smuggle in some cigarettes" in the handlebars of his bicycle.... I suspect I need not tell how that went... Why? Because you don't feck, with Father Flannigan!!!!

"Digger McGee" was apparently someone he fought in his "amateur career," who had hands even bigger than his.... if you can imagine!!

As the story goes, Digger got his name because he used to use those shovel size mitts, to dig potatoes (bare handed) "he used to kick the shit out of me...... every time!"

Except once......

"He turned his head to look at the referee, and while he was distracted..... boom - caught him with a right.... and he went down (wait for it...... "like a sack of spuds.....") ah the poetry of life.....

So after the fight Digger calls "PJ" over and tells him, "it's my treat for dinner.. best meal money can buy....."

And then around we come ... full circle and Gordon Lightfoot is back in the space..... he sings me a couple of abridged clips of "Rainy Day People" and "If You Could Read My Mind....."

"What else did he sing....?" he queries.

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" I replied.....

"Ah shit ya.... how does that go?" he asks.

And it happened ... The Belfast Child sung again......

Neither one of us could get a handle on the lyrics ... but we rocked the melody

He gave me a hug that could well double as a chiropractic adjustment and I was strangely moved by the whole experience.....

He asked me if I had a couple of quid "for a cider or something, to get me through until 3:00....."

I said, "now then, this won't bring about your untimely demise will it .... I couldn't have that on my shoulders....

"Kid" he says, I'm a hard-core alcoholic .... ain't no harm goin' to come my way.....

Those stories and this guy, pure gold..... worth two/three quid easy....

Just then my friend arrived... we were off to "Giant's Causeway....."

A fitting destination, considering my time spent with a giant of a man, with a heart and story's to match....

Unforgettable! Bless you P.J.

The Fact of the Matter is... It's Good to Matter!

All hail, the powers of reciprocity. I raise this matter and offer this reverential gesture as the "visit count" to this blog site just breaks the 5000 hits benchmark. Upon the conception of the blog, this was utterly inconceivable. Well frankly, it wasn't even a consideration. I got the "guidance" back then, that if I wanted to be a "writer," I should write. This might well sound obvious, however, at the time for me it was evolutionary (if not revolutionary).

I had up to that point, written a number of poems and short narratives, which were virtually invisible.  They resided on my hard drive, where no one was to bare witness to their content. Somewhere along  the line further guidance crept in, formed in the question: "What makes you think, that what you write is "for you?"

My answer embarrassingly all to frequent, "ah, well I didn't really think about it...."

"Well then," (the guidance continues) "consider that you are "inspired" to write, because at least one soul somewhere, is asking to read what you will write." Once I got beyond the - "shit, that seems like an awful lot of responsibility" thinking; I soon began to "feel" the validity of this. You know, that place... when something rings true for you.... and whether you are over the moon excited about it or not.... it cannot be denied or unknown.

I had no idea regarding, who, what, when, how...... Where's this going? So without any knowledge of online blog platforms I began. Frankly I still don't have much knowledge of online .... anything! It was some considerable time after I started..... I was just writing and posting at varying intervals and while poking around on the site, I discovered this "behind the scenes" feature. It counts visits (not who, or any other personal details - one would need to post a "comment" to emerge from the veils of anonymity - just literally the numbers). I was truly flabbergasted to see the numbers......

This is for me an example of something I would do - even if I didn't get paid for it. It is something that I do, without getting paid for it - maybe it always will be....

I find the blank page a very hospitable environment, For me it provides a vehicle through which my inner landscape gains some voice..... I suppose because I don't have editors and deadlines, content criteria etc. I don't at all resonate, with the sentiments of those, that express this utter intimidation conveyed to them by an empty screen. Here I find a interactive environment that at times is more easeful than some "social situations."

My "style" is uncut, authentic and raw - the page invites it and it can't possibly be judged, until it's read. At that point I feel, I don't care. I presume, that the same call that invites me to write, nudges me along with "suggested" stylistic and content guidelines. This rapport is sacred and the integrity of this relationship will be upheld at all costs. It won't necessarily have "universal appeal" - it's not intended to. So then, it will continue, in an uncompromising form.

I "know" when I've missed the mark - I once explored an "online opportunity" to write marketing copy. The whole experience was flat for me. I simply could not present barbecue XYZ, as being so superior to the other five models. For one thing I never used any of them and more importantly, I didn't give a shit.

So then, it is not just the act of writing that grabs me - content absolutely matters. To me. That there are those that read this blog at least suggests, it matters to them as well.

So the "numbers" are not where it's at for me. Having said that, it does afford me a sense that what I'm doing matters to someone else. As I have indicated, I get a great deal of satisfaction - writing. I allow myself to dream beyond the current reality of my writing. Just the same, I will continue if it never expands in breadth or scope. What I do does not occur in a vacuum - where I am the only one fed. Nor is it an act of pure one-sided service of others - as I do benefit immeasurably in the participation.

The reciprocal exchange between writer and reader is one of interdependence. I am so grateful to have reflected in those "numbers," that I am contributing something that matters. I can tell you that is a priceless gift that I receive.

I'm clear, I know exactly how it feels, to believe that I'm not making a useful contribution, that what I am doing "doesn't matter;" even, to (albeit mistakenly) believe,  "I" don't matter. I wouldn't wish those feelings on anyone.

I thank you (whomever you may be) with all my heart, for the time you take from within your life to spend it - reading the varied content of this blog. Without exaggeration it is entirely possible, that your presence offers a far more significant impact on my life, than I can offer to yours.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Ode to Dundalk

Your embrace entwines heart and soul
Ensnaring hidden places, previously unknown
The stones themselves
A time defying ancestral call
Love-soaked for a lifelong yearning heart
Hear their lament
The windsong through the trees
Feel their staccato kisses
In the falling rain
A forgotten love reawakened
Equal parts balm and lance
How might I reconcile
Present life's loss
To a reunion
With the love of antiquity
Perhaps that benefit be maximized
Seeking explanations, ought to be abandoned
A moment spent seeking reason
Is a moment lost, to a heart-felt celebration
How then, can give way, to profound gratitude, for what is
Riddling might then, be over-ridden, by being & embracing
Home, may be where the heart is
But, there is no telling, where the heart may, find a home

Friday, 6 January 2017

Chaos Considered

What then can be said, of the embrace of chaos?
Attempts to contain it
Fruitless, as trying to lasso the tide
I will not claim to define
The chaos of another
I'm powerless over it's occurrence
Form or duration
Mine is absolute,
Power over,
How I manage myself,
In the face of chaos.
I define it's onset
I will choose the time of respite
I determine
The sanctity of my vessel
And at what point
The maelstrom shifts,
From teacher to abuser
It is mine to navigate
The tempest of the open sea
To the harbour's safe oasis
Peace within chaos
Is my intended destination
For those that seek
The familiarity of chaos
I will not join you there
My purpose
Upon entering
The house ablaze
Is not to join you in the inferno
Though I acknowledge my eventual return to ash
I leave you to your chosen fate
To reckon within yourself
The invitation
Ushered on the wings of chaos
For your dismantling
Chaos asks:
Do you know the way
To the eye of the storm?
The flames of chaos
Can forge a mighty blade
Seek then,
To visit a short while,
With no illusion of residing.
The distinction
Between building up
And tearing down
Is a matter of degrees