This Time Last Year

This time last year I would have described myself as depressed. I’m not now.

I’ve not been writing philosophical essays so much recently. Writing in that way for me tends to come out of introspection, often fuelled by depression. I’ve been in a good mood generally recently.
I’ve been writing more raps again. It’s easier to write fun raps when you’re in a good mood, I was writing philosophical raps, deep raps, political raps and emotional raps alot over the past two years as my soul burned through the crucibles of anxiety and depression, but fun raps were few and far between.

So, from what I can tell right now, three things in particular have helped shift my mood and focus over the past year. My relationship, the Balanced View training and a Jamie Catto workshop. (Edit: and travelling.)

(Edit: I am generally a very independent person so it is both difficult and ‘edgey’ for me to give thanks to trainings and workshops for personal development. I am proud of the personal development I have done on my own through introspection, contemplation, meditation, and relationships and not in the context of courses or contrived situations but everything flowed quite naturally this year towards these trainings and workshops in my own free time.
Shadow -> I don’t like giving other people credit for my emotional state or my wisdom but I am willing to learn humility and I have to be honest, so credit where credit is due.)

Now I’m not just happy because I’m in a relationship, I’m happy because I’m in a relationship with someone that helps me examine my shadow without being judgmental or critical. But I would not say a relationship is a good way to get out of depression, I would say acknowledging and accepting your shadow side is a good way to get out of depression, loving YOURSELF, the good and the bad, is a good way to get out of depression. It helps me to appreciate myself when someone else, someone awesome, appreciates me. So yeah, glad I’m in a relationship but a relationship is not a plaster to stick over sadness. I’m glad I’m in a relationship that has been deep, emotional and positive growth for both of us. I appreciate her, and I appreciate myself, and I appreciate the fact that she helps me to appreciate myself. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself it’s hard to accept someone else’s love, in my experience it is best when you are partnered with someone who encourages you to look after yourself before you look after them and in my experience it is disastrous to be in a relationship where you are encouraged not to love yourself whether through subtle criticism or blatant abuse.

I must admit, I have to slightly reluctantly pay homage and give thanks to the Balanced View trainings in the nature of the mind (and reality.) Only reluctantly because I spent 8 years resisting and thinking I got it already but I have to admit it showed me things about myself I had not noticed or had hidden. So I am very grateful. I always vibed with their central teachings when I first came across it ten years ago but did not resonate with the format or the community. Alot of that was just resistance due to the fact that I generally defined myself in opposition to organisations and institutions, generally critical of organisations and institutions and couldn’t associate deep wisdom with conference rooms and projector screens. But it’s a positive institution, it’s a positive organisation and they do indeed communicate deep wisdom in conference rooms and projector screens (also in person and face to face.) What else put me off? The complete devotion of the community. I don’t know why that put me off, maybe I was screwed over by a cult in a previous life or something, but complete devotion to anything is ff-putting to me. But the members of the community seem to be happy and seem to consistently get real and practical progress in their lives and the devotion seems to be a pure and honest appreciation for the way the teaching has helped them. I continued to attend the occasional open meeting and then when I was at my lowest 2 years ago I started to attend some of their day-long and 3 day long trainings in the nature of the mind. This might have been the most useful in not being restricted by depression or anxiety, it helped me not judge my emotional state and not identify with the depression (it’s not who I am, it is simply something I am experiencing and that experience will g back t the nothing it came from whether I do anything about it or not.) It helped me normalise anxiety – everyone gets anxious, whether for a moment, a day or a month, and we all have our coping mechanisms. The less I considered them to be real things that had power over me the sooner their appearances lasted shorter and happened more infrequently. It’s not a psychological thing, and it’s not a cure for any medical condition, it’s just a perspective that opens you up to wider experiences and less restrictions. Despite my 8 years of resistance – I recommend to just about anyone.

I attended one of Jamie Catto’s workshops, entitled What About You? That’s something else I have to thank my girlfriend for, she was at least the 4th person to recommend his workshop (actually most people were recommending I do his shadow-work workshop but if I wasn’t already doing shadow stuff I never would have had the courage to ignore my anxiety and attend his motivation workshop.) Now I know I just called it a motivation workshop but I’m not sure that’s the word he would use to describe it. I will just describe what it did for me, I would describe it as a workshop that identifies my wildest dreams, grounded them in reality and then gave me both the practical and emotional tools to do it. Suffice t say I would not have done my crowdfunder if not for that workshop.

It’s all multi-dimensional and all of the above helped each other. Balanced View trainings helped me function in a relationship in ways that were more benficial for me and my partner, my partner helped raise my self esteem further and convinced me to do the Jamie Catto workshop but I might not have if I hadn’t learned through Balanced View to not be restricted by anxiety etc.

So, yeah. There are likely to be sad times in the future. And anxiety is still a frequent experience, I just rarely allow myself to be crippled by it (and try not to judge myself when I do.)

The phrase “Love yourself” has come into my lyrics more and more in the past 2 or 3 years. If anything is important (in our short lives on this tiny rock in the vastness of space), it’s important. Being loved by someone else wouldn’t matter if I didn’t love myself. Indeed even in this relationship when I was finding it hard to love myself I found it hard to believe anyone else could love me. We each hold the intelligence of the universe in a usable way, we are each an expression of mother nature, we are each highly complicated biological organism capable of love, art, and keeping our blood circulating without even having to consciously think about it, and we are all made of elements born in the centre of stars. Love yourself, you’re amazing.

There were other friends along the way and other experiences that helped put me back in cheerful mode. A big thanks to Thomas of Wildheart, and the Lost Cabaret crew as at Wildheart I found new members of my tribe and the Lost Cabaret cast provided like-minded philosophical, lovable huggers in London. Ashearon and his Quantum Shift also provided a vibe in London I didn’t think I would find. Passing Clouds (after 5 years of recommendations I finally went there in Winter 2014 and have kept going back all year.) The Hive. All my classmates and tutors on my Steiner School course as well, really supportive, lovely, lovables. Travelling across Europe with Dan and Flavio, that too was special. Making friends all over Europe, being reminded that I can go anywhere in the world and be loved for being myself. Thank you all for a year of growth, a year of looking at my shadows and learning to love them, a year of pushing some boundaries and dissolving others.

I really didn’t want to move to London in winter last year. And now I really don’t want to leave.

There are more people to thank. More moments to be grateful for. But that will do for now and apologies to anyone I happened to miss out during this train of thought.

This time last year I would have described myself as depressed. I’m not now. Thank you x

Thankyou Jamie Cattohttp://jamiecatto.com/workshops/

Thankyou Candice O’Denverhttps://www.balancedview.org/en/

 

 

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Part 7 – Euro Tour Summer 2015

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IMG_20150811_144554Part 7 – the philosophical one with the poem at the end… SWITZERLAND DAY 2

Performed in the Absinthe museum today in the little Swiss village that invented the stuff. Performing with Daniel Waples on hang and Flavio Lopez on violin.
Still getting over the vibes from Ozora and the appreciation in Budapest. Steiner kindergarten teacher training has not eradicated the travelling bohemian musician vibe even a little bit evidently but I know which one has the advantage of a steady income and which one has the advantage of adventure.
Balance. Feeling grateful and philosophical. Probably waffle some more shortly, but although there are tests of patience and imaginary borders that shouldn’t exist to cross (who drew those lines anyway), after 2 years of floating mainly between depression and anxiety I guess it’s worth saying I’m content today.
Okay, I’m content now. Everything changes, anxiety is an every day thing really. No independent nature to thoughts, feelings or emotions, just flux, ebb and flow.
Been jamming on my lyre in a church this afternoon after the absinthe museum, the sun is shining and it looks like the story I started writing 10 years ago is actually going to turn into a real comic book. Still got a gig in Amsterdam to come and Wildheart Festival in Devon to compere. All good reasons to smile.

Epic gig this evening in a garden overlooking Swiss mountains followed by an even more epic jam. In the home of our amazing hosts Odile and Hedley, two of the loveliest people I’ve ever met – so welcoming, so generous, so interesting. Hedley used to be a doctor in England, he’s now learning to play the accordian and lives in Switzerland with his Swiss wife Odile who is a teacher, the friendliest, bubbly, adorable host you could hope for. She also organised our gigs we called her Mamajah (a combination of mama and manager.)

The gig at their house was amazing, people of all ages came, two of the music students who attended the masterclass performed. Toddlers chased the bubbles I blew. Dan amd Flavio played exceptionally well. I sang, I rapped, I danced. When most people went home around midnight we drank absinthe and jammed for another 3 or 4 hours with added cello and didge.

Odile and Hedley were more than patient they were encouraging and encouragable.


Estreya fugath…
Estreya fumar…
Si buenos noches
Rhythm like Swiss watches

Handpans and cellos beneath shooting stars
Fiddles and didges bridges venus and mars x2

Sipping absinth, thinking mad things
Where’s the cat been, and having mad dreams

From waterfalls to Batman doing his bat-thing
They used to say absinthe causes bad scenes

All I see is laughter, song, relaxing
And dancing observing others romancing.

A new view I spy with my middle eye glancing
New view on absinthe and reality – the whole damn thing.

Estreya fugath…
Estreya fugath…

Handpans and cellos beneath shooting stars
Fiddles and didges bridges venus and mars x2

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Sometimes I’m Selfish and Greedy (but I’m usually a nice guy.)

Sometimes I’m selfish and greedy. This is the trait I dislike in people the most and the trait I dislike in myself the most, and the trait I am most ashamed of. Apparently I’ll have less anxiety and self-esteem issues if I learn to wear my ‘shame’ until I’m no longer ashamed of it.

It’s the trait I dislike in politicians, I see it mirrored in David Cameron and the Tories in general etc. I see it in the fracking of our land and in the selling of our NHS. I dislike selfishness. I therefore sometimes over-compensate and don’t give myself the things I deserve.

I find all words are insufficient, rather that we have infinite shades of emotions and experiences but we only have a finite amount of words to describe them. I used to refer to myself as lazy then I realised I work really hard and obsessively on things that I love doing and just don’t do things I don’t love doing, so lazy was an insufficient word to describe my relationship with boring work. Give me an hour or two and I may have found better or different words to define the aspects of my self that I currently describe as selfish and greedy.

Due to the fact that I think poverty in the past was influenced by this fear of admitting it I will specify – I want more money. And sex. And sugar, I can be very greedy when it comes to sugar. Despite the fact that I know it’s probably parasites that want the sugar, and it’s very bad for me. I tried to quit sugar, I failed. And meat. Wish I could kick the meat habit again but my mum’s a phenomenal cook and I’m living with her again, but it’s not her fault, it’s not the fault of circumstance – I’m selfish.

I think in my personal story lazy was a judgment put on me that I internalised until years later I analysed it. But selfish is a judgment I put on myself, it’s what upsets me most about other people and it’s because it’s what upsets me most about myself. BUT note I said SOMETIMES I am selfish and greedy, it’s just an aspect of self I’ve been repressing.

(I still think I’m usually selfless and generous cos that’s what makes me happy. There’s an unavoidable paradox in the selfish desire to be of benefit because being of benefit makes us happy. But I usually try to be selfless and generous. But not always. I should not ignore that shadow.)

Edit:

Although I am sometimes selfish and greedy I fully love and accept myself. I am everything, I am also selfless and generous, I am infinite abundance, I am love.