Wednesday, 7 August 2019

South Africa's terminal illness.

Sometimes you have to recognise what the numbers say. Sometimes you have to measure what your soul desires against what the tide of reality pours against the skin of your desiring.

Last night I stood holding the hand of a terminal patient. His eyes looked back into mine, but without the sense of any outcome. The last time I saw that look was in the eyes of a dog I had to put down.

I see the same look now in the eyes of the country in which I grew up.

I hate being told what to think, feel, act, decide, love. Especially love. Because love means connection, and if you love your country, you feel connected to it, at an important level and in an important way.

These obtuse so-called leaders of South Africa, vying for power and position as they are, really do escape that sense of love for the land that we intuited as we grew up. And I use that word "we" advisedly. We were free to love. The landscapes, the skyscapes, the city-smells, the tastes and tests of home, the loneliness of truthful language, the erotic expectation that life would always be good and fruitful, the touches of hope that held out important expectations that have now come to nothing: when you love a country, you honour something that is felt , known and grounds itself irreversibly. African sunrises and sunsets.

This is all valuable and romantic.

But the soul of the city has overcome the country's soul. The politicians have fulfilled their promise of emptiness and disappointment, and worse, destabilisation, death and eventually, the total destruction of what once was a powerhouse of discipline, desire, purpose and punishment for failing.

Failure has become the purpose now, in this weird, dry and spiritually bankrupt country. Maybe JM Coetzee could write more novels: I don't have the time.

He lectured me and I walked out, really bored. Another kind of lesson.

Sometimes you have to recognise, not suggest.

What do you do when a country's pulse fails, when breath becomes too expensive, when heartbeat accepts a flattening landscape, when skin shudders away from a purposefully dark cruelty?

Well, what I do is count years, watch what youthfulness does, and reckon that human yearning is for something, but nobody knows what.

Let me tell you that youthfulness is a wrecking-ball in South Africa. The education system promotes bullies. That's the truth. I've been in the classroom. My leadership was destroyed exactly so that thuggery could be freed. I'm against thuggery, myself. No chance. The thugs are designed to beat all.

This is the actual curriculum for education. So you can see what's coming.

I'd like to smack the well-paid faces of educationally employed hypothetical humans. They're educated enough. They know what I mean.

With others, they've killed the country.

The terminal illness boils down to incoherent, deliberately truncated consciousness, diminishingly focused on rhetoric that breaks artificial ideas. Rail against colonialism, but destroy paintings, #everythingthat isn'tmemust fall, while trains burn, buses burn, trucks are hijacked, farmers murdered, mob justice dispensed, brazen robberies race on, and best of all a rogue ex-president resurrects ?

South Africa's corpuscles can't cope with dreams against this kind of counter-reality revolution. I was taught to fight, taught to kill. It's just that now I have the freedom to choose my target whereas in the apartheid years I found I had to choose against the target they gave me. Which I did. Whereas the enemy they described was something I couldn't find, now I can.

n the one hand I could attempt an aggressive path, hector the perpetrators of corruption and incompetence and kill them one by one: it's tempting, but needs an effective stealth which eludes general affirmation. Bit like chemo, you take out more than required. Stray bullets and bullies  speak the same language.

You mustn't become part of the terminal language.

So for now, I simply point it out. I do the Story Clinic. The real story is important to know. The situation in South Africa has turned a corner, and become terminal. There's no return to a previous health. Sorry about that.

So do we kill or heal? Is it chemo or counselling talk?

Tough call. Depends on who's listening, or purposefully not listening.

I'm for holding the patient's pulse and listening, intuiting the tide that the body uses to move on.

I hate being told how to love. I do not love what this country's so-called leaders use as rhetoric to call anyone to offer their sacrifices. I sacrifice nothing to Zuma and Silent Cyril. They offer no love, you can sense that. And as for the spoilers, Malema Inc, with them trade love for lucre.

The usual.

Most unfortunately, the diagnosis is there. Terminal.

Nothing left.

Sorry for all.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Biofocusing, smudging the self, and health.

Please don't leave out the comma. I don't want to smudge health, just the self.

I've worked for some time on biofocusing,  a healing modality, and the time seems to have arrived. As I sit in my garden, listening to birds apprehending spring, even though it hasn't arrived according to dates, they certainly sense what's in the air.

The living body is part of a fierce yet delicate ecology, and I've been grappling with Martha Beck's sense of "oneness". I get all her four steps, and I wish I could have articulated them myself: wordlessness, oneness, imagination, formation. I knew them before I read her book, and I'm stuck on the "oneness". So I'm writing this to help myself either into or out of "oneness".

Authentic writing always comes with a dose or tinge of vulnerability, and I suddenly recognise that my entire academic career has been motivated by the need to get away from vulnerability. I don't want to spend my life weeping in a corner, and I haven't. I've spend my subterranean life watching the tides come and go, hiding from floods and fear, using my energy to move between swimming, suffering and sinking, and now I've come to the realisation that these human skins are more like live cell-phones than semi-conscious containers of the self.

There is no "self". Gilbert Ryle hit the button when he referred to "the ghost in the machine". I've had the experience of being selfless, and it wasn't like a Mother Theresa moment. It was just a swirl of images that came from everywhere and moved everywhere, and the madness of that very small momentary me, experienced itself gone, and the waters of watchfulness were complete, and entirely unmanaged.

The point of biofocusing is to grant attention, as fully as possible to another being, and to hold the intention of healing and wholeness. To know more check Lynne McTaggart. I've followed her class for six months. Much works. It's like asking is it just me or is there more? The more is the answer.

In fact, the "me" has to accept that smudge that I don't know how to do because I've had to fight so hard to be a "me". Obedience was a prerequisite, politeness a necessity, niceness a passport to acceptability and acquiescence a way of turning me into a parting-with-money candidate.

Biofocusing means to turn attention to the simplicity of being alive and what this imparts. My interest in this respect is about health and healing. I'm not sure that illness is necessary, and to the extent that it isn't, I'd like to remove it. Medical science has its own way of approaching this, but is often hijacked and distracted by corporate interests. Doctors are educated and trained in certain ways but not others. Biofocusing uses as much human attention as possible to achieve as many healthy solutions as possible. The ecology of who we are and how we work as organisms is relevant here.

And these two notions smudge. Here's to saying "I'm an ecology" rather than "I'm a person". Or "my name is Walter".

My organism is identifiable, especially for tax purposes, but its delimitation is non-existent, if that's not too ironic to contemplate. We could think that the elements of our living are simply placed on an orderly table of rows and columns that know all about our mass, molecular number and availability to bond, and that's true enough, but the subjective suddenness of the whole thing isn't neat at all. The smudge between living and more living has never yet been put into words without making us startled and scared.

The story of humanity is ours to create, not something to follow as a slave would accept shackles. Instead of rambling on, I'd say that the self isn't a priority, it's a smudge between all possible worlds and the reason and purpose why we're alive is to create whatever makes sense. And a necessary part of that purpose is our wholeness, our health. Much has worked, if not conspired, to allow us to arrive here in all our linguistic splendour, talking both clarity and crap in equal measures most of the time.

Biofocuisng wants wordlessness, and then oneness. I begin to recognise that some aspects of oneness require honesty that has been shut up by early influences. It's up to each one of us to identify and explicate those to ourselves. I have Martha Beck's book "Leaving the Saints" waiting to be read next. Perhaps that will help me even more. My own journey was to leave the Christian Brethren. I look at that wavering path with disbelief, now, wondering how words could possibly interfere with wisdom to the extent that they do.

So I'd recommend biofocusing, especially to those whose bodies are demonstrating stories that aren't readily decipherable. Maybe we can deal with sickness, illness and pain on levels that include but aren't limited to medical science. That's my purpose.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Naming death.

I feel that we are under a terribly false impression about death. Have a look at the small poster I came across while I experienced my death as a professional educator in South Africa. While there were many teachable adolescents in that school, the thugs simply turned their backs and swore my mother, as the saying goes, made it impossible for me to teach anything, and the principal preferred her salary to reality. That's the way it goes in South Africa. The situation could not be helped to heal or blast into a better reality.

That's the background to the poster.

To name death we have to name more, or nothing. I grew up in a death-defying context: the Christian Brethren who had triumphed over death in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

No way. I felt their grief before I learned to speak, they weren't any different in their sense of loss to the rest of the world. They hurt, and hurt badly. And I wanted to do something about that, because, in spite of their tight and truthless belief system, they were kind, careful and caring people. And many of them taught me love. So the gap between their dogma and their intent lives was big, and I took that gap, being myself.

To go into the gap between language and experience, I'd say, learn to wait, and see which words emerge. As a poetry therapist, I recognise there's a sense of truth that's possible, but not always applied to words.

Leaves die each autumn, the tree remains for years and years. Cycles die down and return, solstice, equinox, and there are many kinds of time in the cosmos, star-time, sun-time and whatever cycle of time you prefer to set as default.

Our terror of death is largely because of human-inflicted trauma, the effects of which are hugely underestimated, no matter the historical time-lapse. Fear is a human construct as well as an instinctive impulse, and the instinct has been hijacked as often as possible, from an escape from hell, to insurance against everything.

So I'm going to rename death. We do not die. Sure, this organism goes to dust, once the heat and liquid go to the next cycle, but the thing to grasp is that the awareness of awareness is not so important as a permanent agency. I've had the experience of disappearing as an agency. It wasn't fun, but it was real. For some bewildering time, there was neither subjective nor objective experience. It was all one. Bliss? Forget. More like the weight of the cosmos resting on one horrified human who recognised that being in the flow was not being there at all.

We tend to pin much on personality and affection.

It goes.

Death is not like that. The music of the cosmos bounces. Counterpoint is important. Melody seems to lead, but chords are really, really strong. And then you have voice. Pop sells, hey, and rightly so. What I'd name death as, is Presence.

I feel that Presence doesn't die. When you go, you magnify and are still there, a few times more than you were before. What was you fills up a whole lot more. So it makes sense to be fruitful and beneficial. And if you don't like these ways of being, stay away from me.

I don't identify with the word and name of death. To me, it's not the opposite of life. So far as I'm concerned, you get life, more life and very much more life. It's the meaning of life that we have to name, and use the gift of language to do so.

The easiest way to name life, to my way of thinking and feeling, is to communicate. Language finds a way if you really want to communicate.

So do bodies. Bodies, far from being matter, mucous and movement however slow, emit light.

That light vibrates at a particular wavelength and makes a unique sound.

If you listen to your voice, its often embarrassing.

So I suggest you use your voice to name death differently. It's not that we're going to disappear forever. Part of that is true, thank God. But the bigger thing is just as true, that we come back with more comprehension, more communication, more connection.

Check just three sets of eyes in the next twenty four hours. I do think they'll tell you this.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The language of healing.

The language of healing is a lateral staircase. Often people want to adhere to one or another set of words, be it esoteric, Christian, mystic, strictly rational, nutritional. Take your pick. But healing isn't language bound. The body doesn't use language to keep itself healthy. The layer of language is a late and complex development and doesn't create communication as much as it formalises communication. That's not so helpful, because the body is not a formal item. It's part of a wild ecology, and one of the least helpful things we can do is suppress that wild ecology by attempting to contain it in formal language. To contain what does much better on its own.

I've found a way to bypass language in respect of healing, and the name of this is biofocusing. We simply pay attention to what's happening in the living body, and attempt to decipher the sensitivities that emerge, and to respond accordingly. It's a bit like making love without touching. Total respect, sensitivity, vulnerability and sensation. Certainly not sexual, just exactly as subjective as can be.

I've found this to work in many cases. I have the good fortune to be able to walk in and out of our local hospital whenever I want and to pay attention to patients in this way.  I don't always have the opportunity to ask them what they experience, but I sense that there's much unburdening, and movement.

The language of medical science is certainly not like this. Medical science is strictly quantifiable, explicable, efficacious and accountable. At least in theory and sincere attempt. Naturally, there are many glitches, skid marks and deaths, yet the language of medical science holds sway, at this time, having reached a place of industrial purpose since the Renaissance, and that's a fruitful direction, but not a widely authoritative one. Doctors speak with authority because their role wants them to. That's okay with me so long as they know the limits if their authority. If you have a look at you'll see what I mean. Lynne McTaggart and Bryan Hubbard do penetrating work.

Healing is more intentional than linguistic. Treating an illness is not the same as paying attention to the body, because the body holds really important emotions that are usually completely overlooked when it comes to medical science. Read "In Shock" by a doctor, Dr Awdish. In my experience, the body is an unfolding story. That's how I experience my own body. In my experience the body is a complex vibration, a chord of energetic focus. That's what I experience on an hourly basis.

So I've come to realise that the thousands of ways in which the body keeps itself healthy, unconsciously, automatically, persistently, arrive as images and impart crucial things to which we ascribe sincere yet inadequate language. As a doctor of holistic medicine I try to hear what the body declares, as well as what the person is saying. When there's a major discrepancy, it's more difficult to deal with the real issues.

The language of healing isn't triumphal. Witchdoctors, gurus and gods don't play a role. And always beware if you have to part with a load of money for a promised miracle. To know more, and especially if you face a difficult diagnosis, or a burden, make contact. and   

Friday, 17 May 2019

How did you lose your intelligence?

"Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains". Jean-Jacque Rousseau.

A major part of being in chains is losing your intelligence. Being alive and being human carries an almost automatic consequence of losing intelligence. The formal world is a frightening thing. It makes you comply. I have a total hatred of compliance yet I understand instinctive obedience. It's always good to fit into the bigger picture for the greater good, but the stories these humans tell about the greater good are deadening.

Neurons have a way of working as they are meant to work. So do synapses. Each element in the human body and on planet earth has a job to do, and it simply gets on and does it. So where does it all go wrong with sickness, disease, illness, poverty and bad behaviour?

And what's the actual problem with conscious awareness and the deep feelings that are linked to being alive and aware?

Work out where you lost your intelligence.

I had the good fortune to re-make contact with a teacher who never taught me but was a presence in my primary school. Miss Marsh. I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning her name. In those days she smoked, was blonde and pretty, and according to the church in which I grew up, unsaved, and going to hell. I am deeply embarrassed that at a very young age, even though I'd written my first book of poetry, and bound it, too, I gave her a tract one morning, explaining how to get saved. I can sort of remember the half-silly smile on my face as I explained what I was doing, and I very clearly remember the studied blandness of her voice as she replied, although I can't remember exactly how she replied. I do remember that she was very diplomatic in her response.

So many years after, thanks to Facebook, we linked up on that primary school's page and I asked her if she remembered me. Yes, she said, I wore glasses and I was intelligent. That made me think. Yes, I had high marks all the way through primary school, and into high school, and then they dropped. The headmaster called me, and asked why. I couldn't answer.

I had lost my intelligence for the time being, and would not regain it until very much later if ever.

What was supposed to happen during the hormonal rush called puberty did not happen effectively. Sexuality hit, and hit hard. Emotions lurched into heightened sensitivity and could make no sense. And I wasn't allowed to be intellectually curious and intelligent. My thinking went underground because it had to. If I didn't agree with the current in which I happened to find myself, I was going to hell in a basket. If I spoke out against the current in which my awareness wavered, I would be an outcast. Both my parents had no doubt about that, it seemed. The entire tribe, the church known as Christian Brethren, and here's the difficult part, many wholesome good people, some of whom I'd grown up trusting, and talking to spontaneously, agreed to that verbalised current of belief. It was dangerous for me to speak. Having a rebellious streak, I spoke. But not for long. It felt fruitless, futile and deadening. Which it was. Today I am still angry with morons in a pulpit, enjoying the publication of their own versions of their fears disguised as faith.

I've had the good fortune to live long enough to work out where I lost my intelligence.

It never dies, it simply goes underground, or in other circumstances, never grows up. When I observe others, it doesn't take long to work out if we are going to communicate intelligently or not. It seems to me that not I, but the body, is extremely intelligent, intelligent enough to communicate beyond the ultra-violet and infra-red frequencies in which we live, and right into the quantum realities which begin to become apparent. For example, read Paul Levy, Joe Dispenza, Brain Weiss, Rana Awdish, Gill Edwards, Tim Freke and many others. In one's own story, the place, time and manner in which your intelligence has been hijacked is important.

It's good to know that your body's intelligence is intact, no matter what they do. And if you happen to feel a deep, desperate sadness that this is what life has presented, as I have today, feel glad that your body mourns, and knows how to mourn spiritual futility. Because that means that spiritual awareness persists, despite human interference.

I have a great interest in the table of elements, because more than the social construct , of who they might think I am, that's who I choose to be. I am a lot of oxygen, hydrogen, quite a bit calcium, I depend totally on the KNa pump, and plenty of other traces. And all of these speak, loudly and coherently into the sin of humanity, which misses the mark.

What kind of a fool misses the mark on purpose?

I think not many humans are as stupid, evil and abusive as Hitler, Zuma and others. I am embarrassed
to live in a nation which has tolerated Zuma. We did our best to get rid of Verwoerd and PW Botha. Then we tolerated Zuma? And our educational system has utterly collapsed, on purpose. And silent Cyril is going to do better because he knows when to keep his mouth shut? Does he have the guts to open it and speak truth occasionally? This one isn't a leader. It's a cash flow manipulator.

Not on my watch.

When we accept shyte, we lose intelligence.

As a six year old I gave my heart to Jesus, because it was expected of me. A good, compliant child. And I was baptised at twelve, because it couldn't be postponed. The water was cold, the ritual dead at one level, and very much alive at another. The body knows.

Bread and wine mean nothing to me when I'm alone, but everything when there's conversation and communication.

I have a really alarming intelligence when it's allowed to work. The network is huge. In fact it's overwhelming.

I want to make this clear: cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence work together, absolutely. They're supposed to communicate with each other, and if they don't, their diplomats are sent out.

When diplomacy fails, and communication is refused, human communication might be rubbished, but the body remains intact. There's something very special about the human body, and we haven't yet honoured that. Our general intelligence needs to recognise itself, but there are quite a few who work against that, for their own purposes.

That's irritating.

I don't like the feeling of not being intelligent because someone prefers it that way.

And todayI rejoice in the body's intact wisdom. It chooses how to action intelligence. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Stories, success and getting honest about secrets.

Ask anyone who they are, and what they want to tell you is all about their success. That's normal. Good feelings are better than bad feelings, and success is supposed to feel good. Achievements, confidence, powerfulness, likability, esteem. I've known these, and yes, they do feel better than fear, timidity, rejection and disappointment.

But I'd recommend a short-cut to knowing and owning your story: get honest about your secrets. This seems to be contradictory, and so it is, but it's a requirement in respect of getting to the heart of the story. Many stories are about a pivotal secret, and I'd think that one's life has a few pivotal secrets that  are kept far away from the public persona that we prefer to exude. In a story clinic, an exercise that I'd work through is to invite participants to draw, not write, their very private secrets. Symbolically. To revisit those formative secrets that we try to keep from consciousness, since consciousness is a shared thing. Consciousness is a strange combination of physiological and spiritual awareness and it's true that when severe trauma happens, consciousness shuts down, steps aside, changes shape. Spiritual awareness in contrast to physiological awareness sharpens up, not as a rule but as a strong possibility. Near death experiences, rape, death of a loved one, prolonged cruelty and so many other happenings can lead to enhancement of spiritual consciousness. And because this kind of consciousness is not easily shared, it remains secret, which is a pity.

So if you have secrets that go deep, and scare you, and you certainly would not be honest about them,  get to grips with being honest at least with yourself. Draw a picture, create a simple symbol to focus your attention on a secret, one at a time, and then write down the feelings you felt or feel, and be sure to recall a mix of better and worse feelings. They can't all be good or bad, because that's not how deep secrets work. The shock of loss implies the closeness of relationship. The stolen sweet versus the fear of being discovered.

Pivotal secrets are the hinges on which cosmic doors open. Humans have a way of trying to close that which is eternally and ultimately open by using words unwisely. We need to remember that words are the froth, not the currents of communication. We tend to leak, copiously, that which we vainly attempt to hide. The body doesn't lie. That mad construct we call the self gets up to all sorts of tricks, not realising the currents that throw up froth.

In short, I'm saying: it's not necessary to confess secrets to the world at large. A friend or a priest could work very well. Your choice, your trust. Primarily, let your body talk openly to itself. With emotions, attitudes, words, beliefs and choices. Get to know how your feelings flow. Give yourself permission to change key words. Get sceptical about your beliefs and make choices about your doubts. If you hate, ask exactly why, if you love, ask how. Test what knowing feels like, and when you experience that animal-like veering back from the secret stuff, deliberately take your attention away from it, and feel the wind, heat, spray, or whatever is in your face. Let that remind your heart that another step in your story is possible. Because it is. Your heart knows that. Secrets are important, not damning. They arise when danger is implied. Obviously a thief hides for reasons different to those of a bullied child. Yet the glass behind which both hide is not to be polished but removed so that the actual stuff can be dealt with. And the irony is, no-one is able to hide behind themselves. I've come to notice that each twitch of the face is a dead give-away.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The reason for South Africa's demise has nothing to do with colour and everything to do with calibre.

The numbers in and of South Africa aren't gong to crunch well. My actuarial instinct says sorry, but the prognosis is poor, and time is running out. And the country's thinking and feeling is not about getting the story right but about believing the unworkable stories that the politicians want you to accept. We're heading for a watershed election in May this year, where official opposition parties are likely to change lanes, after which the rhetoric will become even less sensible.

So the Story Clinic wants to make a statement here: change the complaint about colour to the call for calibre. Sure, there are so many valid points to make about slavery, colonisation, colour-bars, prejudice, and perverted social purpose, yet decisions are what create movement at the end of the day, and if you decide to get victimised and lost in a fruitless verbal vomit, you might get the dregs of your imagined emotions out, but that won't necessarily cure the sickness.

Colour-blame is not a fruitful basis for analysis. That way there's always an us and them, and you can tweak the numbers to make it now, for the imagined future, or for the whole of history. And colour is too obvious. You can plaster a label on a colour because you can see it. Turn the lens inwards. Test yourself. No matter your culture, colour or climate, that's the real call.

How does a democracy keep a Zuma president? How does an ANC try to silence its obvious secrets of abysmal corruption? And how does Cyril pretend not to know? And really, a DA banishment of all things that might smack of colonialism while classrooms are allowed to collapse with righteousness? All the while the unfair treatment of blacks and the unfair treatment of whites colours thinking and feeling overwhelmingly. An EFFing mess....

Calibre has to do with being fit for purpose, exactness of execution, proof of character and some evidence of stepping up to the plate when called. This seems doomed in South Africa, and I'm simply being actuarial, not pessimistic. Add news headlines, which admittedly are not exact stories, to the litter, crime, corruption, untold carelessness and casual attitudes that have replaced good sense, and you won't need the political or economic analyses that columnize our pretended characters.

Let the Story Clinic be clear: if South Africa is to move out of its red light zone which isn't sexy at all, but really and dramatically dangerous, it needs to stop thinking and feeling colour, especially the black and white rubbish, and to start getting calibre. Which means beginning with oneself, and doing what one can. And truthfully, not merely strategically. And a combo of these would be good, if we could possibly get it on the menu.

Maybe Cyril could meet me at Ocean Basket. He could lose his gloss, which will go, in any case, and I might get the three-way calamari, all white at bottom, but with different tastes. And the house wine, if I'm not mistaken is Two Oceans. Hey Cyril, let's beat EFFing Julius and sue them for not being One Planet! The attorneys would love......and all the parties could use green as another camouflage....