Sunday, 6 June 2021

Leaving the country.


 The four words are really inadequate: I've left the country. 

But I have. 

The Covid 19 was the main cause, wiping out our hospitality business, yet the Covid canal, like the Suez and Panama, can experience ships going sideways rather than forwards. So there are more reasons to leave the country. 

Take a thief, a scoundrel and a stupid person like Zuma, protected by the ANC. 

Take a hollow, expensive suit, like Ramaphosa, protecting the ANC. 

Take the electorate, the subservient, uneducated, impoverished, unprotected, ill-advised supporters of the ANC. 

And then take into account the crumbling national infrastructure: electricity, education, water, municipal delivery, post office, deeds office, and each national office you can think of. 

The formal, legalised national-speak has changed from my growing up years to the present. If I had published this blog in the seventies or eighties I would have been arrested before blogging off. 

Not now. The ANC and its leaders really don't care, so long as their pockets are kept full. Their reputation and honour mean nothing other than internal party political manipulation for the sake of power-survival. It used to be called petty cash, and it was possible to steal this, in petty ways.  But the national cash cow is  the main target, and it will be eaten alive. No bull. 

That's my swan-song in connection with the political rubbish. The NP leaders were bullies, the ANC leaders are supremely greedy and the next lot, no matter the party, will be ruthless. 

But that's not about leaving the country. That's about the country leaving itself. 

I will remember running along Cape Town streets, train journeys to Johannesburg, learning to learn in what used to be schools and universities, which is what I've loved most, apart form the steaks, Cabernet Sauvignons and my old Volksie, the city and its styles, the sky-scapes, mountain-scapes, and my solitary walks on Kommetjie beach, in the sun and in storms, coming back to the warmth of whiskey and a cigar.

I will remember all of this and so much more. 

My homes, the wind, rain and wishful thinking, and the mountains: Table Mountain, Twelve Apostles, the Amatola and the Cederberg. 

And Devil's Peak. 

And how love, conversations, scrutiny and care have followed me in my path in that country, thanks to so many, many people. 

I have left the country, yes, and am amazed to find out how much has not left me. 

I understand very little about love, but its stickiness, like honey, is difficult to wash off. 






Saturday, 5 June 2021

Where does my story start?


 I grew up with the given idea that biology explains everything. You start at conception, you do whatever you can to live a healthy and well-lived life, if something goes wrong, the doctor will fix it, and eventually the body fails because of something organically malfunctioning, and then you die. 

You have a beginning, a middle, and an ending, as stories are supposed to. 

There's a lot to be said about this, but let's pay attention to the start, the beginning of your story. 

By way of a preamble, your body and your being is more like a story than anything else.

Some pointers before we begin: emotional imprint, genealogical predisposition, historical context, natural communication. "Natural communication" means that neurons behave as neurons in spite  of anything else. 

If you're able to grasp that you're part of a cosmic process rather than an individual person, you're more than halfway to knowing that your story has no discernible beginning. To make it easier I could say "as well as an individual person" but this individuality is more of a hindrance than a help. 

Sure, your body was conceived, gestated, born, grew up, and here you are. 

It didn't do that in any individual way. Bodies look individual because they can move about on their own, but that's as far as it goes. Not even thinking is really individual. 

The emotional imprints from mother to foetus, historical context to formation of attitude, and genetic predisposition to physiological conditions, and the way your neurons get set up, all add up to the mystery we call consciousness. 

So you can decide where your story begins. 

Mine is cosmic, but I would advise a smaller nest than that. It's better to know your mind than to get lost in it. 

In Story Clinic we suggest that you begin spontaneously. Don't start formally with "I was born....etc, etc."

Attention is crucially important, probably the most valuable attribute of humanity, in focusing cosmic capability. So we would ask, what does your attention seek right now? Let's slow down out of the normal stuff of dailiness, and allow your body to speak and attend to what's being communicated or required to communicate now. 

"I'm hungry."

"I'm tired."

"I'm angry with..."

"I'm frustrated with..."

"I'm enjoying..."

"I'm thankful for..."

Or we could allow for some moments of imaginative reflection, and begin with a spontaneous memory. This is a fruitful kind of beginning. The neurons are good at doing it for themselves. 

So your birthday is a milestone, not a definitive beginning, and the Akashic records are a library, not a book. 

And the Alpha of the alphabet was an invention, not a discovery. So even the language that you use to decipher yourself is not a totally adequate tool, although helpful. 

Your story starts where attention engages. Where it engages is up to two things, as I perceive it, what your imagination presents, and what you choose to do about it. For Tolkien, it involved a ring, for C.S. Lewis a lamp in a snowy world where animals spoke, and for Emily Bronte, a rattling at the window, and a haunting dream. 

If you give your imagination that same gift of attention, a unique, strange, strong and valuable beginning is very likely to emerge. 











Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The Waterman Practice and Story Clinic.

Everything is a story, so here's the connection between The Waterman  Practice and Story Clinic. I thought hard about what I'd like the rest of my life  to mean, and I took the things I've built: qualifications and experience in homeopathic medicine;  qualifications, training and experience in energy medicine; a doctorate and a lifetime of dealing with stories, what they are, what they mean, how to listen to them and tell them and understand them; and qualification and practice in poetry therapy. 

I've spent sixty-five years living and being both patient and impatient, and now, quite frankly, impatience wins. 



For now, let's look at The Waterman Practice umbrella and Story Clinic. The Story Clinic is older. 

Stories gripped my entire being before I could read or speak. I grew up in the Christian meta-story, and my soul recognised the currents of reality that the close people couldn't articulate. People need to believe stories to work out their practical ways through life. The vast majorities of these stories aren't true, just vague approximations of journeying. 

The work of the Story Clinic is about the balance between respecting and challenging deeply held stories. From gender to ethnic to faith to scientistic stories, people hold to what they think they can tell themselves, because they feel they can't go further. 

Of course they can. And one's health is more dependent on this than you realise. 

The Waterman Practice is about approaching healing, health and wholeness through contact, connection, communication,  clarity and comprehension. 

These are more like feelings than concepts, and the feelings that your stories articulate reflect an underlying reality rather than the superficial chatter.

We seldom give ourselves the time and space to examine this. 

There are many, many approaches and stories out there to grip your attention because you have a need for better health in one way or another. They all clamour for attention. 

The Waterman Practice is different because it pays attention to your attention. That's challenging because that's the very thing that's baffling. You want attention because you don't feel well with your own attention? 

But I don't want to get complicated. 

The Story Clinic is about listening to your own language, telling your stories, realising your limits, chosen and unchosen. 

If you want borders, you'll stop there. If you need passports, they can be obtained. And if you require new languages, that's possible. 

Awareness of your evolving story is a magical thing. 

So The Waterman Practice shows you how to move from being an unconscious author to a purposeful narrator. Your voice, biological and metaphoric at the same time, is able to say much and in many ways. This is just one of the basic tools of the Story Clinic. 

There's a lot to put to good use in The Waterman Practice. 





Monday, 5 October 2020

Four questions I'd like to be asked.



One. 

What touches you? To answer this question you need to be aware of what really does touch you, and if this is the case, your self-awareness is taking you towards self-knowledge. If you can quickly list more than five things that touch you, you know your feelings quite well. If you battle to find the first one, you should spend more time in your heart. 


Two. 

What do you fear the most and when did you first begin to experience this fear? To answer this one, you would go back to pre-consciousness, as an infant, a newly-born, perhaps even a neonate.We tend to think that language describes reality. It is more the case that the sense of reality and perceptual formation work together from pre-conceptual and pre-conscious experience through the whole of life, giving us an amazing power of perception, if we freed ourselves enough to use it. 


Three. 

What do you choose to feed your soul? Choosing to feed your soul deliberately gives you the insight to know that your emotional reality is entirely up to you. Your focus is your soul-food. Snakes use this to get their literal food. 


Four.

How has love imprisoned you? If you can make sense of this question, you should notice that your most profound and urgent feelings are capable of trapping you rather than setting free your vast capacity for constructive creativity. 

Your name, your date of birth, your profession, your favourite colours, your preferred food are easy details: try a few penetrating questions to get to the interesting stories. 


Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Covid-19, the end, and what I'd say.



Our stories of what's happening are what we believe . I've taken some moments to consider what might be said about what's happening in the world at this time. Most of what's going around is stupefying rather than clarifying, and there are some things that we could learn. The first that comes to mind is that what's gripped human imagination is the fact and fear of mortality.


The stats that produce fear are what they are, and there are plenty of other stats, too. In Peter Porter's poem "Your Attention Please" the somber words "Some of us may die. Remember, statistically it is not likely to be you" come to mind. But I think that what's driven the realisation of this pandemic is that you and I could well be dead quite soon. Politicians want a nice, quiet, obedient crowd of voters, and if they don't do something to allay fears, they won't be seen to be leaders. So act they must.


But in my view, what we call leadership produces nothing but followers. And in following we become nothing.



Doing what we are enforced to do, believing the stories that we're supplied, accepting rhetoric that's designed to make us accepting, we walk into the nothing of ourselves, and thus, when I regard the end of what we've accepted util now, the end of capitalism as it's been driven by forces no longer sustainable, the end of shallow communication, the end, I hope, of hollow values disguised as democracy and practised as political will, all I can really do is regard the end my this, my own organism, and ask as dispassionately as I can what it's aliveness has been for.

Let's assume I'm going to die in six weeks. Reaching as far as I can into soul-speak, what would I say?

I'd say:


Choose your stories as consciously as possible. Go back to the oceans that allowed you to build, launch, navigate and berth your boat. No one has to be trapped by the trappings of leadership. Learn to hear what your voice says by engaging in clarifying conversations rather than vehement creeds. Learn to hear hearts as well as words, and don't assume for one moment that the heart is full of love and light. It's more holographic than moral, and encompasses the entire spectrum of turbulence and connections made possible by the table of elements. So I'd say get to grips with your own heart, allow it to express what it desires most to utter. That way you make your self vulnerable to your mind, and can act more wisely and decisively in respect of your more informed choices. At worst, we're a bundle of competing instincts, at best a conscious narrator of aspiration. And beware of premature statements of triumph as the journey unfolds.



I'd encourage the conversations, those stories that release the living energy that's specific to you. These are what create the newness that's upon us. What feels like the end is obviously never the end. Somehow there's always a narrator who observes, and turns the chaos into a craft. 

Monday, 6 April 2020

Love is a verb



Many problems are linguistic rather than real. The idea of love is a good example. In English "love" is an abstract noun: "I am looking for love" as well as a verb: "I love pasta".

Let's get rid of the noun. If you're looking for love, you'll never find it. It doesn't exist as a thing, or as a state of mind, or emotionality, or spirituality, or anything like that. Or even an understanding, or a contract of affection. If you're looking to analyse, seek, define or otherwise nail love down, I say it's not going to work.

You do it.

We talk of making love as in sexual or erotic communication, and that's fair enough. Good physical feelings shared are good to do. But to achieve that you have to do something. Staring into your lover's eyes tend to go to the next level of action.

Love isn't something you tap into. It's more like something you intend, create, achieve, activate, enact, inspire, work, design.

You do it.

The motivation is relevant. Whether indifferent, compassionate, caring or efficient, if it fulfils the need that's there, it's what has driven the action. When my plastic surgeon is paying careful attention to the BCC on my forehead, having removed, replaced and sews the skin, and I notice his totally focused eyes as he darts those really fine stitches, is he thinking ching-ching, his supper, his cycling or does he simply love what he's doing? And is he really thinking about me at all?

I don't know, but the need is fulfilled.

So I sense that if you pay careful attention to what's needed, required and relevant to solve an emotional, spiritual and otherwise real problem, you're doing love. So long as you do it. I have killed a few animals on purpose, to cancel unnecessary suffering. So you understand what I mean.

To do love is not easy. This requires discernment, discipline, courage, conviction, honesty, truthfulness, clarity, conviction, and at the end of the list, action.

So if someone can tell me what that feels like, for them, that would be a story worth attention.




Friday, 29 November 2019

10 reasons why the sense of story is important.



1. There is no such thing as reality. Human neurology posits n amount of stories in a second, and settles on an aggregate which is a shared hypnosis, useful for the time that it remains useful.

2. That which communicates most strongly and persuasively uses the sense of story to do so.

3. One's own sense of purpose and power arises from engagement with one's sense of one's own story. That's why conscious engagement with being alive is story-based, and largely unconscious until you start checking your story for real.

4. It's unlikely that there's any ultimate story. What happens after you die isn't necessarily factual. Any kind of stories may arise, and we can't be decisive from our current limited knowledge of what the cosmos is.

5. The stories that you tell yourself have a way of cascading into more of themselves. So a decision to follow a particular sense will take you in that direction. No decision means the likelihood of random default.

6. The stories that politicians and preachers tend to purport are suspect. Any authority figure should be testable for credibility. Doctors, too.

7. Facts in themselves are not always evidence. We are able to create stories about facts.

8. Most theories are unproven stories.

9. Conscious awareness is an evolving story.

10. The sense of connection is a neurologically- based shared story, seriously enmeshed with shared sensitivities and emotions, sometimes worded embarrassingly ineptly.

11. If you read the story sensitively, intelligently and alertly, there will always be more to it that you think.