Saturday, 13 January 2018

Attending Story Clinic

The reason why anyone attends Story Clinic is the beginning of the new story to be told.  An individual might want to get to grips with the story of being alive. An interest group such as micro-light pilots, stamp-collectors or boutique wine farmers might want to forge a new identity and project in respect of their focus. A town might want to re-negotiate its reason for existence. A school could want to re-communictae itself. A bank might have run out of internal goodwill, and want to re-assure its branches of a new normal. A hospital management team might decide on kindness to patients as well as clinical expertise. A president could think again, and decide to recalculate.

Here are some basic aspects to the bones of Story Clinic:

There is a huge space between language and reality. Be prepared to explore this. It's safe.

Formality is merely formality. It has no power, unless it is given power. Being alive isn't formal, and neither is being dead. And language is a non-formal convention.

The story that anyone finally believes doesn't make it so. The table of elements has a stable description, but the universe behaves beautifully and badly at the same time. Our planet, solar system and galaxy are all about chemical behaviour, mostly fire, ice, wind and nothing. But we're here to experience, observe and respond. And that makes the real difference.

Consciousness, pre-consciousness and unconsciousness are levels of arbitrary. Choosing on purpose is a huge privilege of being an alive human.

Much of spoken language is voice-box, throat, neck, mouth and facial posture. Mimic that and you've got the communication if not the words.

In Story Clinic we ask:

What stories have you kept to explain your sense of reality?
What made those stories rise within you?
Did they arise in healthy or unhealthy ways? (Your body will instinctively know the answers.)
Turn those big stories into chapters, pages or even one-liners. Do you choose to keep them, toss them or re-write parts?
Your body is part of a material as well as energetic story. To which word-sets do you limit yourself? How well do you know your internal ecology? To what extent do you recognise and respect your external ecology?
When it comes to external ecology, which stories attract your attention? Current affairs? History? Activism? Finance? Let your natural attention explain something about your story-relatedness to you.
Who are the significant people in your story? And from which era are they? And in what sense do you control or not control their presence?

There are, of course, plenty more story-questing ways of teasing your being into presence.  The healthy stories do this, while the unhealthy ones stifle, stop and stuff the soul into the unwashed sock of a contrived sense of reality that smells bad although we all seem to agree that it's necessary to do this. This is strange behaviour based on making ourselves acceptable to each other.

Attending Story Clinic is about paying attention to the experiment of being alive. And we are both the researcher as well as the research population. It's an exciting and fun way to play with normal and new, always with the purpose of understanding what healthy means and does.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Talking about love

"Love" is the biggest word in the English language, perhaps after "God". The biggest presupposition, an unlikely label for a preferred reality, for many just a desperate desire with no hope of fulfilment, a feeling with a really abstract label, a fascination with an unattainable desire.

I don't mind the word, but I have no understanding of what it means, in just one word.

"I love you" ??

Let's try again, imagining the scenario.

You are my child, I will always care for you materially, and emotionally.
You are my friend, I commit to communicating with you, in your best interests, always.
You are my spouse, I will always honour you, sexually, financially, communicatively.
You are my community, I will always be loyal.

But in each scenario, there's a further analysis to be made, more detail of an ethical purpose that depends on emotion, and the effects thereof.

Once you get the sense that love isn't a thing, but is alive, it starts to get slippery. That aspect of experience, that really important one is more like a lizard than the stone on which it's sunning itself. Notice it, and it runs, losing it's tail to distract your further attention.

So, go into the beauty of your soul, which is really there, and ask what the ultimate word means.

You may be surprised. Every word that proceeds from your mouth or heart is ultimate. "Love" is more like the canvas, your intentions and actions more like the picture that gets splashed, sometimes more, sometimes less attractively.

Your love?

What does your heart say? Your body know? Your skin fear or acknowledge?

I learn about love by observing bodies, especially when they ask for help. I hope that I know how to respond. Those real levels of requirement, like trauma, truth and touch aren't really up for much conceptual analysis. You know how to fix, or you don't.

That's my kind of medicine.

So when someone is really stuffed in the department of love, it's a good strategy to look at the heart, and not the words.

"God" happens to be there, too.

But  physiology is the short-cut to both. It's really fascinating to have all the answers literally in your hands.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Sub-atomic coldspeak and the story thereof

Language has been torn and tortured beyond sensible communication. What humans have done to natural emotion is mirrored in language. I'm not sure about the languages I don't speak, but for sure, English is bogged. Instead of aspiring to clarity and common sense, it's become a self-seeking and serving means of meaningless glorification.

Platforms for pronouncing markets, tendencies and trends arise with the words thereof, and the power of the utterance is mediated by the hesitation of those who are still thinking.

I am not impressed with the language of leadership. It changes too easily with the speaker's sense of what is good for the moment.

Vocabulary has become versatile. Say what the trends invite, and if you can coin a word to suit the world's attention, you could make millions.

Take a moment to consider politic-speak, market-speak, leader-speak, super-speak, back-away-from-me-speak, love-speak and every other kind of speak that has mesmerised and continues to fascinate human need for something that speaks promises and never delivers. Check coach-speak.

Speak and communication are differential. You can speak all you want and never communicate. Speech is organically engendered. It's living-tissue-related. It's warm, of the body, and the sounds are mere convention. The engagement is the thing. People converse without too much depth, because it's just a fun and necessary thing to do. Light-house-keepers know better. The next level of the body is the inorganic:  the atomic and sub-atomic game that's more difficult to sense because it's electron-based rather than molecule-based.

In time to come we will no doubt throw out almost all the nuclear terms, as we realise their relativity to nothing. But for the moment let's consider the coldspeak of that level of being that's seasoning in and out of livingness.

Certainly, bodies are born, live and die, but there's another story going on, when it comes to the elements that bind temporarily, have something to say and do, and then echo in the organic memory that records our ecological soul's requirements.

We may think we live our bodies, but I suspect that the elements are having a deeper conversation. Our planet is alive before we are, and that aliveness is less like a bubble and more like a cosmic suggestion.

It takes a little training to feel your sub-atomic strata. Obviously, you're not going to put that into words easily. Yet the music should come easily. That's the most obvious communication of all.

The story of sub-atomia is vividly felt, I think, but not easily expressed, because the language thereof is two or three steps removed from everyday chatter and chaff.

It may seem ridiculous to make friends with your electrons, quarks and bosols, but better shake hands quickly, because soon there will be new words, new worlds and perhaps better lonelinesses. The clever people are trying to read the neurons, but it's actually the other way round.

They're reading us. And they have an inside story with words that we'll never know. How super-cold is that....

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Who are you going to blame for cancer?

Human life hasn't had an easy time getting here and it faces no easy status keeping safe.

It's biggest enemy is itself. Ecology, the balance of everything that sustains our living planet, is not any servant of human agency. Economy, a man-made balance of artificial wealth, has seduced our sensitivities away from ecological reality. We are killing our planet because of greed, as any informed person knows. Greed begets greed, and the way of big business is to interrupt, disrupt and get bigger.

Not logical, as far as earth logic goes.

Ecological intelligence makes for a good partner with emotional intelligence, and the rub is that all living items feel emotion. Maybe even the minerals.

I was prompted to write these thoughts because of a thoughtless post made by some-one in respect of faith healers and hospitals.

Who do you turn to when cancer is diagnosed? What do you feel and think when mortality gets you into a staring competition? What can medicine do? Why do three more years matter?

The fact is that human bodies are delicately poised items of ecology. They are built to survive, make no mistake. This struck me forcibly when my son was born prematurely, weighing 850 grams, his head smaller than my palm, and his feet way below my elbow. But he was fine. Delicate as that situation was, that body was made to live. All bodies are. Yet, nothing is promised, and really, anything can go wrong at any moment because of something that slides off a fly's wing, or a microbe that craps under your toenail, or a worm in your gut that decides otherwise. The universe as well as planet Earth is not a well-oiled machine, and living tissue is prone to failure under circumstances beyond our control.

A delicately poised ecology requires recognition, respect and co-operation. While it's better to climb a tree than to be polite to a lion that's chasing you, there are things that take less urgency. Like watering your garden, if you have one. Like noticing and feeding the birds. Odd relationships have been formed that way. Like learning to notice and love the ground on which we walk. Tracking: not checking on our trucks kind, but observing who has come and crossed our path, and where the small grains of sand are earlier or later than the bigger grains: this matters, if you want to read the patterns of living earth.

Communicating with our own species: we're actually almost one hundred percent useless at this. While neurons are designed to communicate at all levels, quasi-levels and para-levels, our failure to say, mean and communicate has been thwarted by bad ideas that confuse and constipate that so-called mind.

If we were to think less and respond more truthfully and clearly, and never mind the social embarrassment, the delicately poised ecology might start noticing us for what we are, and not what what we would prefer to be.

I am not for not thinking, but for better thinking, which means that what we say should be more in line with emotional authenticity and less in co-operation with everyday chatter and impressionability.

I am for assisting with the healing of the people, and the world, and against the rubbish of destructive behaviour and attitudes, no matter their origin or agency.

We have always lived in a delicately poised ecology, and no enterprise on earth can change that, or diminish our responsibility. There's nothing wrong with crocodiles, though they eat us from time to time. At least we know what they are.

Is there something wrong with cells that grow without obedience to DNA? That's more difficult.

What can we do about it?

I have the sense that it's not about dread disease. If your lifestyle is wrong, let's get educated. If you're struck down by a rare disease, share your story. The doctors and professors do try, for sure, but they are not the PR for humans. They simply try their best.

The rest of humanity needs to do that, too. Industrialists, bankers, brokers, business of all kinds. If you're in it for the greed, or self-comfort, at least admit it, if only to yourself. Your body's immune system is organic, not economic.

I'm not picking only on cancer, that's just a headline. We do not live in a sick world, we live as part of a sick species.

So never blame God while we can change what we are able to change. Bear that delicate balance of ecology in mind with every real dawn, drawn breath and recognition that you affirm.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Hard science, soft science and story.

There are many approaches to understanding anything, and for my own convenience, I separate them into hard science, soft science and story.

Hard science, in my view, would depend on closed systems of language known as jargon, and maths and statistics. As a field of study becomes more and more narrow and tested for validity, its language becomes more and more obscure to the layman. Physiological jargon, which comprises many other kinds of jargon, including chemistry, physics, anatomy and links to pharmaceutical jargon as well as statistical values is such an example.
The study of electricity can be complicated when you get down to the level of electromagnetic movement. My physics teacher at school taught me that electricity was measured going one way, but that it actually went the other way. Most of the time is doesn't matter. If you move the switch, the light comes on. But if you want to understand it properly, you need to learn the jargon and be able to speak it someone else who knows it.

Soft science is more interdisciplinary. It allows jargons to make friends. Take NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, for instance. This blends psychology, psychotherapy, neurology, linguistics and sometimes hypnosis, but they prefer not to talk about that, usually. Musicology links vibrational resonance with performance with theory of all kinds, including anthropological differences of taste, meaning and movement.

Story is what the neural system does in order to produce subjective stability, purpose and change.

Ever noticed how archeology finds a tooth, a bone and a fossilised dropping, and comes up with a story and a picture of a new cryptosaurus? I'm not poking fun: this is the best way to go to establish anything at all. Advocates have to test each others' stories in court, and the judge and jury decide who to go with.

So, to simplify, hard science locks you into jargon, soft science allows stories to mingle and story is what it is. Or, more significantly, what you declare that story to be. Neural activity is said to connect the dots, but the story I perceive is that it actually creates the dots and then connects them. Your subjective role is crucial. "Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones". Thanks, Mike Dooley. Choose your dots, because if you don't they will arise more likely to be your enemies than your friends.

There are obvious dots, such as finance, legal systems and contracts, but they are all man-made and mean nothing in the longest run. How to live, how to love and how to say goodbye are ways of creating the dots we choose to connect. There are even more dramatic dots such as earthquakes, floods, plagues and droughts. These are not man-made, and require a different kind of reading and connecting.

The head doesn't think, it merely houses the brain. To separate the brain from the neural network is to declare the lines and stations more important than the trains and passengers. What you feel is important to you, and so you will figure it out, like how to avoid the next earthquake. This is useful, like anaesthetics.

The point is not to judge or evaluate hard science, soft science and story. Each of these has a real role to play, and all knowing is incomplete until every story is known which is poor expression and incomprehensible language.

But one story to cover everything in this universe? Never.

Studying fingerprints, unique as each one is, is interesting, touching and being touched is exciting, negatively or positively. Each time you point a finger and create a dot, something becomes possible. The story is the next step.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The story of death, and what it doesn't mean.

I was about five or six years old when I became aware of inconsolable grief. I became aware that when things went badly wrong, or someone died, people were strongly affected in ways that seemed irreversibly sad and desperate. What made this insight strange to me, was that they said comforting things to each other, which my ears and mind heard, and my guts knew to be false. The words were like leaves blown by the hard wind of loss: they were merely evidence of the strength of those gusts of desperation that no-one really knew what to do with.

Quite something for a six year old to perceive. Today I would say that the story of death is less mystifying than it has ever been before. Even though the human mind hasn't even begun to learn what it can, it's turned many corners since people were publicly executed, burned at the stake, drowned at the drowning-pole, hanged, drawn and quartered, and all the other horrible experiences devised by the contemplators of cruelty.

The pain in death is an ogre, and medical science has done what it can to alleviate that pain. But the pain of death is something else, and if one steps beyond the human sphere for a short moment, one can see our planet and the universe don't share the pain of death.

While life is there, strong organic systems and instincts help to sustain and preserve life. Yet organic life is a delicately poised ecological balance of give and take, host and parasite, cycles and seasons, aeons and nano-seconds, in which everything happens, all comes and goes, and movement and stillness mark significance that has little to do with the superficial wash of words.

Every living thing protests death, even shrimps and plants. (Read about Backster's experiments, I think that's the correct spelling). That's natural, and deliberate killing is generally inhumane.

Yet death is entirely unavoidable, and this must be the hinge on which the story turns. I think we should be taught of the wisdom of seasons, and the necessity of cycles and the fluidity of emotions from five or six years old. The sense of our stories should not be about the fear and horror of being snuffed out, utterly meaninglessly, but of participation in something so awe-filled that words fail, not because of fear, but because of grand generosity. That's the hallmark of being a human mind: to be able to recognize not only the generosity of what we assume to be our immediate universe, but to grasp that that's only the vaguest beginning of the multiverse.

We ought to feel that being alive is vastly important because it hold hands with so much more. What that "more" is, is no easy meta-story. Wording and storying that one is a matter of participation, and my sense of that activity is that it pans out into a mix of fierce joy and powerful peace. Like music.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The end of the world and the left-over story

It's a strange story to tell, but yes, the world will eventually come to an end, and all the political madness and economic eccentricities will have no meaning at all.

I have a strange theory that the world comes to an end each time some-one dies. We have not even begun to realize how living reflects heaven. The Western world believes in nothing, or heaven. The Eastern world......I don't know, I would need to experience more, but I sense there's more respect in those parts.

The brain creates stories, or at least, the sense of story, as it tries to make meaning of the body's experience. The body's experience is all one has to go by, but it goes all the way, if you have the guts.
The brain knows the guts well, but there's that little voice of the self that insists on getting up and declaring something, to try and make itself real.

The sense of what's real is something of a luxury if you're trapped. Trapped is trapped, and that's where most of us are. In emotions, lack of money, need for love, loss of loved ones, powerlessness, illness, pain of all kinds, purposelessness.

How does it end?

Is it a good story or is the end heroic bravado in the face of fruitlessness and failure?

I once asked a world-famous physicist if there are parallel universes, since this was in fashion. His answer still resounds within: "No-one can tell you". It seemed to me that his thinking allowed for much, but in the end it's up to you. I had a similar experience when I was studying religion, and my tutor was an important rabbi I never met, but he read my essay, and his remark was that everyone has to work this out for themselves, and you've done that, so well done.

You come to your limits, you don't know more, and your bank of feeling is full to overflowing. What do you do?

You choose. There's always something more to the story, or the sense of it, and don't you declare closure when you don't know the ending.

That's the point. You don't know the ending, and anyone who claims to, is over-enthusiastic.

You're allowed to choose the ending, and that's complex, because endings and beginnings are all mixed up. Ask the table of elements. I have a sense of these, because that's who I am.

The universe is made of fire, and I'm part of that whether I like it or not. The earth is a cooling bit of it, and somehow I got mixed up in that. When I know more, I'll tell you. For the time being, your sense of story is the most helpful path to follow. You're important, you're not important, you certainly have much to contribute. Your life counts, your love matters. Your words do not make you, but they steer your choices. Your decisions are important, but it's not you making the decisions.

Language is the hallmark of humankind, and it's a red herring, most of the time. The scalpel of truth knows the difference between what you say and what you mean.

Yes, the world will end, and you and I will be forgotten, as we know forgetting to be, now, but the table of elements is wiser than the awareness which we assume.

The left-over story is the really interesting one, and we'll be telling it because we can't get out of it. I think we're telling it already, however well or badly, all depending on how well we know and trust our body.