Sunday, 26 June 2011

With Friends Like These...


Imagine if you had a friend who was always putting you down? If you’d known that person through childhood, but as you grew, they had become more and more hostile towards you?

They’d tell you you were too fat, or too thin… that your face or body was just the wrong shape… that your nose was too big, or your eyes were too close together or too wide apart… that you were ugly…

They’d remind you of all the mistakes you ever made; all the things that, with hindsight, you could have done and should have done, but didn’t…

They’d tell you you were useless, fit for nothing, not worthy of love… and they’d do this when you were at your lowest point… kicking you while you’re down, over and over again…

And, sometimes, maybe when they got drunk, they’d try to kill you… cut your wrists, strangle you or throw you off a bridge…

You wouldn’t accept this sort of treatment, would you?

You’d tell them to get out of your life. In fact, you’d probably have the police do that for you.

Strange, then, that we accept such sustained criticism and destructive negativity from ourselves – truly the one person in the world who is always with us, and who we should be able to rely on at all times.

Are you friends with yourself?

Many people aren’t, and that’s likely true for the majority of our species. I know it was the case for me until last year.

We torture ourselves, then make the excuse that it’s okay… like a battered spouse who feels they can’t escape from their abusive partner, so they accept it.

It’s not okay. We don’t have to accept it.

Next time you stand in front of a mirror, listen to your thoughts while you look at yourself. If there’s any criticism, know that it comes from the dysfunctional, egoic mind and not from your true self.

The storage device in your head is not you – it just records what you’ve done, where you’ve been, who you’ve met and what you’ve seen - and when it mocks, insults or criticises you, it only does so because it’s not working as it should.

Accept only positive, productive, encouraging thoughts which nurture your true spirit and free you from self-criticism and self-doubt.

Become the friend that is always there.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Flashers of the World Unite


If you’ve never flashed before, here’s your chance! And no, I’m not talking about DMing me photos of your special bits like that congressman from New York… although, ladies, I promise not to tell anyone if you do! Or you could email them?

I digress…

After suggestions from a few lovely readers, I’m running a Flash Fiction competition on my blog over the next week.

Flash Fiction is the writing of ultra-short stories, using a prompter word or phrase and a very limited word count – of 200 for this competition. As well as being a fun and satisfying exercise, it’s also great writing discipline, in that you have to get the most out of that space by making sure every word counts.

There are a few examples of my own flashing here, if that helps you get a better idea of what I mean.

The competition will run from today until noon next Saturday (BST), after which I’ll post a selection of them in another blog and open a vote to decide a winner.

Although there will be no prize of shiny things, the overall winner will be rewarded with the esteemed title, thus:

Grand Flasher of the Order of Lesism

Right… so… the rules…

You have a word count of 200. If you exceed that, not only will you be disqualified from the competition, but you’ll also be evicted from your home and shunned by all your friends and family… and any pets you may have.

Entries should be posted as a comment on this blog post. If, for some reason, you can’t make a comment on the blog, email the story to me at Lesismblog@gmail.com and I’ll post it there myself.

If you use text-speak, I’m going to call the police and have you charged with mental assault. Please also remember to use spaces between paragraphs, and drop it through a spell-checker if that’s not a strong point of yours?

Please don’t use binary. I am not C3PO.

The competition closes at midday (British Summer Time) on Saturday 2nd July… 2011… AD…

The prompters for this competition are:

Whimsical way of the world.

The postman always rings twice.

Stormy Beach.

We are not alone!


(Big thanks to @Kirie1st, @Flickimp, @Gothiechick and @Kez007, respectively, for those suggestions!)

You can use any one or all three of them, either directly as a quote (for example, in dialogue), or as a theme for the story.

You can submit multiple entries.

Please don’t be disappointed if your story doesn’t make it to the final cut, next week. I don’t think I ever won one and it never did me any harm… not in the long term, anyway… the counsellor was really good.

Looking forward to reading you all!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The First Rule of Lesism


The first rule of Lesism is that there is no Lesism.

It’s just a word.

There are no more rules other than that one.

I’m not trying to start a new religion or cult and the truth is that there are no members of Lesism – not even me… and if I joined, I’d quickly ban myself… unless Keira Knightley joined at the same time, of course. Then, perhaps, I would make it a shower cult… but I definitely wouldn’t invite any more members after that. We’d just soap each other and laugh.

I do, however, live by the words I write.

I wouldn’t explain the change from taking an age to get to sleep at night, to doing it in minutes, then lie in bed through the long, quiet hours, lost in my thoughts.

I wouldn’t suggest people snuggle their cats rather than shoo them; recognise that even what may be perceived as mundane can be beautiful, if you look at it from a fresh perspective; or live in the moment to experience true life… without doing exactly that myself.

I wouldn’t write about what could be termed personal tragedies, then explain the strength and peace that comes from understanding the duality of the mind, unless that was my experience.

I don’t look for sympathy… I just try to explain, because my life has been transformed.

I want to be a guide for others, to take them to this very simple truth we share.

I’m authentic. I’m true to myself and I’m honest in expressing that in my blog.

I’ve said a few times that I’m only 100% most of the time. I still have low moments – I am a human being, after all -  but I can shift out of them in literally the blink of an eye.

That’s my reality and it’s what I hope to be able to teach to others, by documenting my experiences and the remarkable shift in my consciousness since early last year.

What’s difficult to express in this blog is the massive change that has occurred since my awakening…

I know I’ve given insight into my past, but there are less than a handful of people on Twitter who knew me before this transformation.

I was lost. I was a mess. I never thought I’d escape.

I wore depression like a badge, with an accompanying card that I showed to everyone to explain why I was the way I was. I took my meds and accepted that life would never change… that I’d always be a depressive… and that someday I would fulfil a destiny of suicide.

Now, I’m happy nearly all the time… and if I’m not happy, I’m never far away from returning there, with a smile.

I’m resilient. Whereas I used to fall down and just lie there and whine whenever life threw me a punch, now I just stand back up.

And seriously… if you’d suggested, two years ago, that I would ever be like this, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have said it was impossible.

Yet… here I am…

If you’ve read my Awakening blog, you’ll know that there was a very sudden shift in my awareness and I do firmly believe there was a mystical element to it… again, I’m certainly not afraid to tell the truth… the impossible happened and to this day it feels like a genuine miracle. I’ve been very lucky.

However, the guidance I would like to offer does not rely on anything except what you already have – because there’s nothing special about me that isn’t also special about you.

You don’t need crystals, a carp pond, perfectly aligned furniture, a library of spiritual books, a meditation chamber or a mystical friend with a special hat.

You don’t need to believe in angels, or unicorns, or friendly goblins, or god.

All you need is you.

To live a peaceful, happy life, all you need to do is distinguish between your reality, in the moment, and the thoughts in your head… to understand that you are life and life is around you and in you… and that those slashing memories that keep you awake at night and blight your days are just electrical patterns in an often dysfunctional, onboard computer – which you can control.

Now…

… some people aren’t going to agree with me on this, but this is my truth. It’s not a truth that needs defending and while I’m happy to discuss my experience, I’m really not going to argue about it.

This is my reality. This is my life. This is how I exist in a state of almost uninterrupted peace and happiness, rather than in a fog of constant self-torture and self-deceit, as I did for decades before.

I’d say, without ego, that I am of above average intelligence, but quickly add that I’m not the most knowledgable man in the world… and can be a buffoon at times.

Since my awakening, I’ve read four books on the subject of spiritualism – two by Eckhart Tolle and one each by Dr Wayne Dyer and Diana Cooper.

Although I know there’s an awful lot more to learn, for now, I’m not reading anything else on the subject – the reason being that I’m writing my own book and don’t want it to be a regurgitation of other teachings.

My awakening was almost identical to Eckhart Tolle’s experience, as explained in The Power of Now… but he, and both those other authors, have many, many years of study and practice to reflect on when writing their books. There was a period of some twenty years from Eckhart’s awakening to the publishing of The Power of Now.

Someone asked me on Twitter, last month, words along the lines of: “Do you really think you’re qualified to write about enlightenment so soon after your awakening?”

Without question, yes I do.

I think there’s great value in showing others that you don’t have to study for decades to achieve inner-peace; that you don’t have to pore through hundreds of books, trek to holy temples in the Andes or Himalayas, attend seminars, go on retreats or consult gurus to make sure your couch is facing the right direction.

If you commit your life to a regime of searching, you will search… and if you’re lucky, you’ll reach that moment where you understand that what you were searching for was there all along… you were carrying it wherever you went… and that you never had to search for it after all.

Inner-peace… this same blissful state I express the experience of in my blog… is available to you right now…

It’s there, now, waiting for you to remember the way in.

It’s… here… in the present moment… in your reaction to the Universe both around and inside you…

Immerse yourself in the moment and all of your fears and worries will dissolve. There is nothing here to hurt you, emotionally… just the joy and peace of true life, and happiness rises out of that state like water from a mountain spring.

You are not your thoughts.

You are the soul who thinks them.

You are the consciousness that witnesses all of this wonder.

For some, this blog may be enough to shift them through the dimensional doorway that leads to a new understanding of themselves, but others are going to be rolling their eyes and tutting loudly, while shooing their cat and constructing an argument in their mind as a reply to my words.

Arguments don’t interest me and I won’t give them my energy. This is my reality and while I won’t force my understanding on others, I am more than happy to offer advice and encouragement, where I can.

Something good is happening through this blog. It has surprised me that so many people are reading, and sharing, my experiences. It’s being read in 77 countries, now, and that’s incredibly humbling to consider.

For the first six months, up to the start of May, it had just short of 2,000 hits. In May, alone, there were 4,484 hits. So far, this month… since June 1st… it’s received an astonishing 16,928 hits.

My ‘Klout’ score is 74, with a ‘network influence’ rating of 79.

Now, I’m not mentioning these figures with a self-congratulatory smirk on my face, while simultaneously trying to pat myself on the back… but because I want to highlight the crucial component in this very encouraging start to what I want to do with my life from now on, and that is…

You.

I’m just writing stuff, but it’s you that relates to it, shares it, comments on it and gives me the support and enthusiasm to keep typing away.

You’re the ‘network influence’. You’re the Klout score of 74. You’re the mind-boggling hit count… not me.

I know it may be a little frustrating when you see my ‘scheduled Tweets’ appearing in your Twitter timeline at all hours of the day, but I hope you can have patience and recognise the potential benefit of what has become a truly international endeavour.

Perhaps there will come a time when someone who is desperately in need of help clicks on one of these links at just the right moment in their life to draw them back from the edge of a darkness they couldn’t scramble back from.

The primary motivation of this blog is to help people realise that however bleak life may seem to them, there is a way through… and that peace is their birth-right, rather than a thing of luck and chance.

I’ve been to those dark places and here I am, now, Sunbathing. There’s no arrogance in saying that of course I wish to pull people back from the brink of suicide, or from spending their whole lives in misery, and I’m certain that one of these days, we’ll do just that…

… as a team…

… you and I and them…

… as One. ;-)

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Tale of Two Kitties

Scratchy (left) and Itchy
I’ve got to warn you that this is a long blog, involving the death of my cat, Itchy, with a summing up of my awareness of the whole episode, now. It may be difficult for some of you to read…

I first met my kittens, Itchy and Scratchy, before they were named and before I ever considered that they’d be coming home with me, someday.

I was introduced to them, their siblings and their proud mother when a friend of a friend showed me them, all curled up together, in a bedside cabinet she’d taken the bottom drawer from in order to create a nest space.

There was plenty of purring from their mother, and the occasional, high-pitched ‘mew’ of squabbling for kitty-titty and milko. I looked in with a huge smile on my face and watched them all for a little while. Kittens are, of course, excellent.

As I am now - and I do realise I’m blowing my dating potential - I was living here at my mother’s house. I mentioned to her one evening, soon afterwards, that I’d seen the kittens and she gave a big ‘Aww’.

We’d had cats and dogs (and a menagerie of other lovely creatures) before, but at that time there were no pets. I didn’t consider that we’d be getting any more, as my Mum had often said: “No! We’re not getting any more pets!” It seemed a resounding resolve.

For some reason, when I told her the colours, she said that maybe it would be lucky to have two black cats around the house!

That was all I needed to know…

Six or seven weeks later, with the very enthusiastic support of my brother’s girlfriend at the time, I was sitting in her car with a cardboard box full of meows, driving our two new, ultra-cute friends to their new home. Her and my brother lived and worked at a hotel in the Lake District, but from her joy at seeing them, you’d think she was taking them off for herself.

One of the kittens was very curious and full of energy, pushing her head up through the closed box as we travelled, trying to get out. As much as I wanted to play, I guessed it would be quite dangerous and distracting to have a scurrying fluff-ball running around a car while it travelled at speed, so I had to restrain both myself and my new friend’s eagerness for a time longer. While she – as we soon discovered – was so bright-eyed and eager to see the world, her twin brother was much more timid and reserved, sitting quietly in the bottom of the box, looking quite lost.

When we got them home, the little girl quickly went off to explore the house, looking in every nook and cranny and probably piddling in a few of them, too. Meanwhile, her brother just looked around and shivered. He got a lot of cuddles and seemed to prefer that to going on adventures with his bold sister.

I’m not sure if it’s because my brother's girlfriend was bossy or blonde that we gave her the honour of naming the kittens… but she did, and whereas I would have given them splendid, noble names, she degreed that they would be called… yes… Itchy and Scratchy.

Itchy was the boy and Scratchy, you’ve probably worked out, was the girl.

As Itchy found his courage and started his own expeditions around the house, the energy of teamwork with Scratchy began to shine. They were inseperable. They slept together, played together, fought together, ate together and even ran up my legs together when I was opening a can of pusso chunks. Forty tiny daggers in my thighs, but it always made me laugh, despite the blood loss.

Scratchy was quite an aloof, independent soul, compared to Itchy. She didn’t like being picked up and preferred to do her cat thing rather than hanging out with the humans, whereas Itchy was a complete hug monster. Within minutes of my mother getting home from work and sitting down on the couch, he’d be up on her and sitting inside her coat with her.

He’s sit on my chest and put his paws on my face, padding and purring, and he’d chew on my beard when I had one, his big eyes filled with perfect contentment.

As they grew and plucked up the bravery to leave the house by themselves, they went everywhere together. I’d go out in the night and hear two tinkling bells, but never be able to see them until they bounded out of the darkness at me for a stroke and the promise of din-dins.

I’d be sitting in the living room and the curtains would ruffle and soft thumps would announce their return. Whenever they didn’t immediately come into the room, and instead stayed behind the curtains, you could be almost guaranteed that closer investigation would result in the finding of plump earthworms, which both kitties would just stare at with gret curiosity.

They were beautiful… so full of love and life… a great team… perfect twins.

Thirteen years ago tonight… at around 10:50pm… that union was torn apart, along with my heart.

It was the height of Summer and after a long, perfect day, I put on my shoes (I already had the rest of my clothes on) and set out to the local garage/filling station, to buy some cigarette papers. It only takes a few minutes, there and back, down the path to the bottom of my village and across the main road.

When I turned onto the main road - which was and usually is very quiet at that time of night – I noticed two things…

There was a black cat on the grassy verge, at the side of the road. I didn’t know for sure it was one of mine, but my heart leapt, because the other thing was a large van heading fast around the bend, approaching us.

Both were too far away for me to do anything.

I hurried into a trot, moving onto the road, and as the van neared, my mind was willing: “Stay. Stay. Stay.” The cat was turned away and I way praying he’d move in the direction of the hedgerow, if anywhere.

Time seemed to slow down.

At the very, very last moment… where if he’d hesitated a fraction of a second longer, he would have been safe… he ran…

… out into the road…

… under the wheels…

I was already moving towards him in a dazed jog as the van came to a halt.

He was lying on the tarmac, kicking his back legs, still trying to get across the road, but moving nowhere, and even before I got close I knew he was seriously, seriously injured.

I knelt down beside him as he writhed and I put my hands on him. I didn’t know what to do.

I saw the collar. The sodium light had bleached the colour from it, but it was Itchy’s collar… glittery and frayed… and as he pushed with his back legs, there was that tinkling of the bell that always told me he was close by.

The driver of the van, a guy, had walked close. He asked, concerned: “Do you know whose cat it is?”

“He’s mine,” I said.

(Obviously, I must have been in shock during that reply, because… it’s an accepted fact that he was never mine but that I was, in fact, his…)

I picked him up and he was struggling, still trying to twist himself upright and get to the other side of the road.

To my absolute horror, I saw his injuries more clearly as I cradled him in my arms. His jaw had been broken and twisted and… nightmare… one of his eyes had been crushed out of the socket and was hanging.

I tried to put it back in as I carried him across the road and laid him on the grass beside the hedgerow, but it wouldn’t go. My hands were wet and tacky and in the sodium light it looked black, like oil, but the grim realisation was that it was blood.

I knew he was dying and I wanted him to die, then.

The driver of the van asked if there was anything he could do, or anyone he could phone, and I asked him if he had a plastic bag. He said he’d check the cab.

I put my hands around Itchy’s neck and readied to break it… to snap him out of the suffering and send him on his journey. His injuries were massive. I wanted to kill him… because I loved him so damn much.

I put pressure on and he let out a gargle which made me stop immediately… the crazy contradiction being that, though I was trying to bring his death, I didn’t for a moment want to hurt him.

The van growled behind me as it pulled away. The driver had taken the opportunity - while saying he’d look for something I could wrap my little guy in - to drive off.

Without the idling engine, it suddenly became very quite.

I knelt over Itchy. He was just lying there, breathing heavily. His shattered face was hidden from me.

He was letting go. No more struggling.

I stroked him and tried to comfort him as much as I could. I told him I loved him in whispers, my face close to his ear.

Then, it felt like the whole Universe fell into a deep silence to frame what happened next…

He began to purr.

It wasn’t a rasping or choking or anything of struggle…

It was a loud, rhythmic, contented purr.

Tears were dripping from my face onto him, and amidst the torture, it was a moment of beauty to hear that wonderful sound one last time.

He was off his tits on kitty endorphins and he knew I was there, loving him with all my heart until the very end.

And then the end came. The purring stopped. His chest stopped moving. He was gone.

It was such a beautiful night. With a clear sky, as it was then, it never gets dark at this time of year. There were stars out. It was so peaceful, but I’d shifted into some surreal phasing of reality and my heart was breaking.

I left him there for a few minutes and went to the shop, in a daze. Under the fluorescent lights, the tacky black on my hands, forearms and shirt was revealed as a dark red, already drying and flaking in places, but congealing in gelatinous drops elsewhere.

I got my cigarette papers as an afterthought, after asking for some carrier bags that I could use to transport Itchy’s body home in. I can’t remember what I said. There was concern, but no… it wasn’t my blood.

I got back home and took my bundle inside. My Mum was watching the TV and stood up when she saw I was carrying something that I shouldn’t have been.

“Itchy’s been killed,” I said. I broke down as I laid his cooling body on the kitchen floor.

It wasn’t right. It couldn’t possibly be true that my little guy was dead. I loved him far too much.

I don’t recall any more words from that night… just the sense of deep, awful sorrow.

I remember my relief when Scratchy came in through the living room window. She was a little barrel of kittens – absurdly large for her petite frame. She trotted over to me, sitting on the floor, and I told her about her brother, but she didn’t even sniff the body… it was as if there was no connection between the spirit of him that she loved and the shell that was lying there.

The sense of loss in the aftermath… of feeding her alone… one bowl… of hoping there was some mistake and he’d jump down behind the curtain with a big, juicy worm for me to rescue… every waking moment was unbearable.

Nine days later, she gave birth.

I’d prepared a ‘nest’ for her in the living room cabinet, taking out one of the lower draws and filling it with bedding.

She called me when she was ready, with a new, croaked meow, and I sat with her as she pushed out little kitten sausages and her instinct of care took over.

I was there for their very first breaths in this new world. Four beautiful, helpless, utterly adorable new friends, wrapped up in the love of their doting, very-surprised-looking, wonderful mother.

The poignant irony of the death and life, life and death cycle was not lost.

Two of those kittens were Titan and Orion, my boys, now. Their sisters, Bruiser and Piper, were adopted when they were a couple of years old.

Thirteen years on… Scratchy runs in from the garden, up the stairs and meows at me to let me know she’s safe and well. She always does it. I’m the first person she makes for when she gets back in the house.

I lie on my back, on my bed, and she sits on my chest and headbutts me with kitty love while I stroke her. She drools and puts her ear against my mouth as I whisper to her: “I love you.” Hehe. I do it lots and I mean it with my whole heart… think what you want.

I’m often reminded of Itchy, and though I cried writing this (of course), the pain that was once attached to his memory is no longer there. The love is, though, and that’s what bring the tears.

It took me years to come to terms with his death. I was traumatised and my mind must have ran that simulation thousands upon thousands of times, taking me back into the agony over and over again, knowing that whatever it showed me or how many alternative endings it could suggest, there was one certainty… I couldn’t do a thing to bring him back.

Combined with the other problems in allowed myself to believe I suffered from, I know that agony was heightened. I know I should have dealt with it and let go way sooner than I did, but my life has been just how it has been.

And yes… I know some people will be chortling at this story and thinking “It’s only a cat”… but he was my little guy and there was so much love there. He was a member of my family, not a peripheral ‘pet’ that was shooed and treated as an inconvenient burden on the weekly grocery budget. He was loved. He is loved. For those who don’t understand… well… I have compassion for you, all the same. ;-)

I went into my mind, writing this story… but now I’m back here, right now, where I am. Any pain that I felt when I immersed myself in the past, to recount these events, is dissolved by the present moment. It is just thought and nothing to harm me in the moment I live in.

I would say this is the most traumatic incident in my life… you could argue that the passage of time has healed the wound, yet if I put my mind back there, it still brings an emotional response.

However, the only way I can feel that emotional response is if I actively put myself into that situation again, inside the mind and - apart from today - I’ve chosen not to do that.

Consider it this way… you know Bambi is a sad film, but unless you actually get the film out and watch it, you’re not going to cry about it, are you?

Wouldn’t it be madness if you were breaking down and weeping all the time because you had Bambi’s Mum being killed looping over and over in your head?

So, Itchy’s death doesn’t hurt me any more… unless I choose to load up that recording and watch it. The same is true for all events that I would have, in the past, considered hurtful.

I’m sure - unless I die first - that I have more experiences of close death to come, but I know that nothing will ever be as prolonged and tortuous as that experience.

I’ll honour the dead by living to the best of my ability, remembering them with love and letting go of the pain that I could only ever be inflicting on myself – those I would mourn would never want me to suffer.

Naughty Kittens!
Kitties Two
Titan, Scratchy & Orion
(P.S. If this resonated with you and you have the will and ability to contribute to my ‘fighting fund’…  donations would be most welcome through PayPal, at ‘Lesism@btinternet.com’. Anything would be greatly appreciated!)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Perchance to Dream


Insomnia can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of the dysfunctional mind. As well as the direct frustration of being unable to sleep, the physical and psychological fatigue caused by the inability to enter that deep state of self-repair will affect your reasoning and reactions throughout the following day, enduring that sense of misery and affecting your relationships with friends, family and colleagues.

It can also be deadly.

I have no scientific figures to offer, here, but I would suggest it goes without saying that the exhaustion that results from the lack of anything close to a good night’s sleep is a significant factor in many fatal accidents. When you’re so weary that you can barely make sense of the world, your coherence and judgement goes out of the window, and if you’re driving a tonne of car or a hundred tonnes of truck at a time like that, you’re so much more likely to make, literally, grave mistakes.

Now, I’m sure that there are many genuine physiological and medical reasons for experiencing insomnia - I’m not a doctor, so I can’t offer any advice there - but I would venture that the majority of cases are caused by one thing…

The critical over-thinking of the dysfunctional mind.

(Reader’s Voice: “Oh ffs… he’s not going on about the critical over-thinking of the dysfunctional mind again, is he?”)

Quiet, you!

It used to take me hours to get to sleep – an average of at least two or three, but as much as four or five, and, of course, there would be some days where sleep didn’t come at all.

Now, it maybe takes fifteen minutes… often less, rarely more.

I guess a lot of people will be able to relate to the following…

When I was experiencing insomnia, it was because, when I closed my eyes, my mind began racing… and not just 100m stuff with a finishing line and a round of applause when it had reached there, but crazy, off into the forest and over the hills sort of racing… there were no boundaries or natural conclusions to the stories that were being repeated, over and over, in my head.

I could be recalling the events of the previous day and situations where I felt I should have done or said something differently… then shift on to beating myself up for not doing better at school… then off into the future to wonder if I actually will end up as a tramp, shouting at buses and wailing each time I see a pencil… then back to the time I punched Martin Clubs at junior school and he involuntary spat a Tune (medicinal ‘candy’) - I felt quite guilty about that, and the look on his face, afterwards.

At this stage of the day… when you should be shutting down, resting, recuperating and repairing in that sweet, unconscious bliss… that you’re forced into being alone with your mind.

It’s just you and it – and it is an it… the mind is not you.

You become a slave to a machine that, rightly, you should be controlling… not the other way around.

This can be a time of true mental torture, where you’re locked in and reminded of all your perceived failures, regrets, mistakes, losses… as well as being bombarded by confused hopes and predicted fears for the future.

There’s nobody there except you and it.

There are no distractions to take you away from that confrontation. It’s like sitting in an interview cubicle with a bad cop, knowing that there’s nobody outside the door to rush in and help you when you start screaming.

So… how did I make the change from spending fitful hours trying to get to sleep, to the bliss of just being able to drop off so quickly?

I stop my mind from thinking. When my eyes are closed and it’s time for sleep, it doesn’t have permission to butt in on my peace.

That’s not to say I can’t draw on thoughts when I choose to… it’s great to end the day with a smile… but nothing negative is allowed.

If a fleeting, negative thought does break through into that silence, the recognition of it means I can send it scampering away again.

Some people will read this and assume that they just can’t do this… that they couldn’t possibly stop thinking… but please bear in mind that I can only highlight the comparisons between ‘then’ and ‘now’ because I’ve experienced both polarities.

There is nothing I’m doing that you cannot do.

So… how do I achieve this state of tranquillity that leads to swift sleep?

This is probably the point where a lot of self-help blogs would lead you to a bargain $19.95 super-excellent explanation with 10 pointers on GUARANTEED sleep-bringing skills… recently reduced from $2995.00!

This is free, of course… though you are also free to send me money, if you wish. Tee-hee.

Well… there’s a combination of two things, but both are entrenched in the practice of present awareness…

Firstly, I discern that my thoughts are just thoughts. They are not important to my life at that stage of the day. Even the good thoughts are just electrical patterns in my brain. There is a use for thinking, in that it can help you analyse mistakes and learn from them, or compel you to do something in future, but when you’re trying to get to sleep, they are counter-productive to that aim.

Secondly, I fall into the senses. Behind my closed eyelids, I stare out into that infinite void ahead of me, gazing as I would if I were sitting on top of a mountain. I listen to the background noise, to my own breathing, the sound of passing traffic, accepting it all as part of my awareness. I mean, I don’t get annoyed and feel violated if a truck rumbles along my road at 4am. I just listen, without thinking. Then I feel my own body (no – not in that way!)… the rise and fall of my chest, the softness and warmth of the blankets.

When you move into your senses in such a way, your mind has no option but to be silenced, because you are experiencing life… you’re in the moment. The reflection and projection of the mind will only ever take you out of the moment… and that’s when you lose the peace that enables you to sleep.

If you think this all sounds like witchcraft… consider, when you are exhausted  – after hours of struggling to sleep – and you finally slip off, what happens in order for you to fall asleep, at last?

The answer is, of course, that at some point your mind stops thinking and you escape into unconsciousness.

So, venturing into your senses quietens your mind to the point where you can find that same escape.

It’s a very simple practice, and I know it works, because I do it.

Make a deal with yourself… when you’re in bed and your eyes are closed, it’s time for sleep. Whenever you catch yourself thinking, just stare out into that void… push the thoughts away… you don’t need them, they're not helpful and they’re not welcome.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Just Being (Video)


One of these days, I’m going to have a script… and some make-up for the camera… and I’ll hold the phone far enough away so as not to appear to have cross-eyes and a Moon face.

And how come nobody has ever told me about me having ‘hamster mouth’ when I talk?

Anyway… apart from that, I’m happy! :-)

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Legend of the Pussy Warrior (Video)



“They said there was a cat that could never be stroked…”

I was working at a small pub in Devon, England, about five years ago – living just above the bar (in a room on the next floor, rather than in a hammock or anything silly like that) – and the building, being in a quaint village in the rural outskirts of Exeter, had a thatched roof… so obviously, it was a bit of a no-no to smoke inside it.

Because I generally used to be up until the early hours of the morning, chilling out after a late finish, I’d go out into the kitchen courtyard during the night, to smoke.

There was a little shed there that contained pots and pans and spiders, and I could sit there in all weather to feed my foolish addiction without worrying about accidentally arsoning anything.

These were times of quiet contemplation, when the hustle and bustle of the busy brunt of the day was over and done with, and I had that vast chasm of sleep to look forward to, before it all began again.

One night… something took me out of my reverie… a noise…

… the tinkling of a bell…

I don’t do drugs, so I knew it wasn’t a fairy.

That left only one explanation…

A CAT!

There was a cat that I hadn’t met!

Now, I pride myself on my rapport with kitties and – wherever I’ve ended up in my life – there’s always been a cat for me to make friends with, and there was never an occasion where I’ve tried and failed to forge that bond.

“Hello, little kittypuss!” I said, rising slowly from my chair, when I saw her walking along the top of the coal bunker at the back of the yard. “How are you?”

She stopped in her tracks and looked at me.

I purred.

She turned in a flash and darted through a hole in the hedge, and within seconds, the sound of her bell vanished with her into the night.

“Nooooo!” I cried, falling to my knees. “I just wanted to love you!”

Mournfully, I dragged my sorry limbs to bed.

The next morning, I was talking to the manager, Mike – who also lived above the pub (in a separate room, with his girlfriend… nothing kinky going on between the three of us) – and said I saw the cat, but it ran away.

He told me, in no uncertain terms, that that was a cat that would never be stroked. He had worked at the pub for a couple of years and had never even got close. He told me to forget about it… to put it out of my mind entirely… never to let the ridiculous idea cross the tracks of my fantasy/reality boundaries ever, ever again.

But I wasn’t going to give up my new dream…

Weeks later…

… well, you only have to see the video to know that I am a man who makes his dreams come true!

I showed my video evidence to Mike the next morning and he actually spewed his breakfast onto the floor, such was the twist of envy in the pit of his stomach.

But he was an honourable man and after he regained his composure, he marched me into the bar, to the cash till, and changed my bar-tab name on there from ‘Les’ to ‘PUSSY WARRIOR’.

I are legend (in the rural outskirts of Exeter)!

Quite embarrassingly, though, there was an old couple in the pub that night, and for some reason, I bought them both a drink close to the end of time (in the sense of last orders, rather than through fear of some quantum calamity) and as I rang it into the till and added it to my tab, the old lady… who must have been in her 70s, smiled and said…

“Ooh? Pussy Warrior?”

I think she winked, too, but it could have been the remnant twitch of a recovered stroke, so I didn’t say anything.

The Smoking Sanctuary

Friday, 3 June 2011

Lesism Live (Video)


This is my first foray into video blogging, recorded in nearby woodland I mentioned in my previous post ‘The Woodpecker at the End of the World’.

If you’ve read that already, you may be pleased to know I returned to the spot I sat at with a smile on my face. There were no flashbacks and I wasn’t carrying rope. It was a tremendously tranquil and stunning evening.

This video clearly shows that I am currently in a state of flabbiness… but I’m actually very happy about that, because I’ll be able to show the physical transformation that I dedicated myself to in my ‘Rebuilding the Colossus’ blog, yesterday.

Although I’m not about to give up the written word, I will be posting more videos over the months ahead to show what I promise will be dramatic changes in my body. I mean, you’re not going to believe me if I just write that I’ve manifested into a manfox, are you?

I hope it's not as uncomfortable to watch as it was for me! I'll get used to it... I guess...

Rebuilding the Colossus

Arnie has more muscle on his fingers...
I don’t believe in coincidence.

When I look over my life, every major and minor event, every tragedy and fleeting moment of joy, every perceived victory and defeat has led me directly to where I am, right now, tapping at this keyboard…

… and I am truly happy and at peace within myself.

Looking back, briefly, it seems that everything that every happened happened for good reason, because it brought me to this moment.

I have no complaints at all.

I wish for nothing more than I have right now.

From an external perspective, it could be argued that it is impossible I’m authentic in expressing this state of tranquillity…

I mean, I’m 37-years-old, back sitting in my bedroom at my elderly mother’s house. I’m out of work, I have no relationship, no money in the bank. I have debts and don’t know how I’ll pay them.

Likely more than half my life has gone by and I don’t really have anything to show for it.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing next week, or even tomorrow.

So how could I possibly be happy?

Well… because…

I am.

I’m just being.

If I was still gripped in my old, pre-awakened mindset, no doubt I’d be crippled with fear, worry and regret right now… yet I’ve got a smile in my eyes and a glow in my heart as I write, because I’m not that man any more.

This is my reality, and resisting ‘what is’ is as futile as asking the Sun not to set, or the tides not to turn.

I know things will change and - without wanting them so badly that it takes me outside the beauty of this moment – I have my plans and ambitions, even if I don’t know the exact route to achieving most of them quite yet.

One of the things I’m about to put a focus on, though, is changing my body through a process of actually looking after it… properly… at long last.

I’m thinking that - now I actually love life - it would be very wise to take care of the machine I’ll be travelling in for the next few decades; fuelling and maintaining it on a level that I’ve never really considered before and transforming it from something of a chugging oil guzzler into a zippy, nitro-boosted supercar.

The thing is, a week ago... though I had already made it an intention to ‘get fit’… all that would have entailed was a daily walking and weights routine, alongside the input of a bit more protein into my system to help build muscle. I bought a couple of tubs of chocolaty whey powder last Friday to do that job.

Then, at the weekend, a ‘coincidence’ occurred…

Just days after my new resolve, I received an email from a woman in The New World of the Americas, and after some very gracious words about my blog, she asked me:

“I am curious (only because I have done my own “studies”) how much, if any, has exercise and nutrition played into your clarity and on your journey?”

I pondered it for a bit… and I’ve got a beard at the moment, so it was some proper, fingery-chinning pondering, too…

Since the awakening, apart from a new obsession of stomping up mountains whenever I can, I haven’t set myself to any serious regime in way of either exercise or nutrition. I’ve been fuelling my body with cheese sandwiches, mainly. I’m not a scientist, but on pondering this woman’s email, I suddenly realised that’s probably not a very good diet to be attempting to get fit on.

My envisioned exercise approach was simply to burn more calories and take in more protein. I may have lost the weight and looked a little more toned, but it’s almost like trying to repair a car by spray painting it. Maybe the outside would look fine, but I’m sure it would still be a mess underneath.

Now - after this 'coincidental' email - my eyes have been opened to the fact that I should be doing this properly and taking a more wholesome approach to match up the state of my body to the peace in my mind and soul.

Also, I hope that – through this process – I can inspire others to start looking after themselves, too. I mean, as a lifelong tubster with only brief periods of being at a healthy weight, it’s very unlikely that I’ll do what I’m setting out to do…

… but I’ll do it.

And if I can do it, so can anyone else who chooses to.

It’s far from that I’m unhappy with my body. I just have the clarity, now, that I can give myself a much better chance at living a longer life if I really put effort into taking good care of it, so that’s what’s going to happen.

Whether I have more contact with the woman who emailed me or not, there’s an Eastern saying that’s appropriate, here:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

I’m ready.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Start of Something Good

... no limits...
May has been good for my soul.

I began the month experiencing quite severe back pain that pretty much immobilized me, despite being given some heavy-duty painkillers by my doctor. I was also given a sick note, and my search for a new job was postponed for four weeks.

On reflection, it was as if something was telling me to hold my horses and concentrate on what I really wanted to do with my life, rather than chase down yet another dead-end, live-in job in the mountains that would inevitably crush my mind to the point where I knew it was best to leave – as has been a pattern in my life.

With no other option than to let my body repair itself, I decided to use the time as wisely as I could and put a focus on disseminating more widely the message of present awareness that I’ve been blathering on about to anyone prepared to listen, since February of last year, after my awakening.

As well as working on a book about my own experiences since that life-changing day, I’ve enjoyed building up my blog and ‘networking’ on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve met so many great people through this process, and I am so thankful for every new friend I’ve made.

What has been so heart-warming and encouraging is that I’m getting great feedback now, from all across the planet… though Antacticans are still slacking on that front…

I had 4,484 hits on my blog in the past month, compared to less than 2,000 for the entirety of the previous SIX months.

People are reading from the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Norway, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Cyprus…

… Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Chile, Macedonia, South Africa…

… Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Thailand, Estonia, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Azerbaijan, Greece, the Bahamas, Finland and the Ukraine.

I’ve received so many positive comments, Tweets and emails and it’s reinforced the understanding that I’m definitely on the right track, in doing something I have a true, burning passion for – the simple aim to help people feel happier and more content about themselves and their lives.

I want to thank all of you for the support and good humour you’ve shown me over this past month. You’re all greatly appreciated, and I would give you a big hug if I could!

It feels like something good has started… there’s a momentum building that has come about only through determination… and I’m walking the right path, now.