Natty’s back!

Well, hello…

How are you?

Its been a while since I have written anything on here (my last blog post being more than a year ago), and I don’t really have a burning desire to say anything in particular at the moment, but I just bought the (nattysays.com) domain name for this blog, so I feel like I had better write something, in the interests of starting off on the right foot!

So here I am. I’m now a writer. After the many years of my life as a writer involving me doing all my writing for myself, random ramblings on social media, the odd word slashed across a canvas in paint, or Posca pen, scrawlings in my journals, working sporadically on the half finished (or is that half started) books and screenplays that I have been working on for years, the odd thoughts jotted down on napkins (or toilet paper if I’m desperate)…

After all that, I can now safely call myself a writer and feel good about the fact that I actually get paid to write!

Its lovely, it really is.

I recently went on an overseas trip with my parents and my son, to England, Ireland and Spain, and we flew in and out, and around, and had to come through immigration a few times. Each time we came through and I had to fill out the immigration form I would put ‘Writer’ in the part where it says occupation. It gave me a real buzz doing that, especially as each time I wrote it, it started to sink in more and more that I am actually a writer! I now get paid to do what I love. I’m living the dream! (You know the one that says “do a job that you love and you never work a day in your life”, yeah that one.)

That is fairly true, although when it comes to SEO content, I really do think of it as ‘work’. It feels more like work because I am squeezing words out of myself, like wringing water out of a cloth. It doesn’t flow as easy as when I have gathered information about a person, or a place and my brain starts to thread the story all together like a rich tapestry of bright colour all splashed together beautifully. In fact if we are talking in colours then I would say that most of the SEO content is generally a kind of a greyish or brownish colour, with the odd splatter of reds, pinks, yellows, blues and the odd green. Because basically I am just taking an idea and writing about it for the sake of putting one or two words into a 500 word paragraph, so the words do not feel as authentic as when I’m writing someones story. A real true story. Of real people.

My favourite part about being a writer is when I interview people and learn all about their interesting stories and write it up into an article. In fact, I start to write it up in my head even before I get back to my computer, and sometimes after an interview I will come home and sit down at my computer and just type out the whole article straight up, like my brain has already written it for me. There are times when I am driving through the hills of the Hinterland back to Maleny, and I feel so complete as I realise that I am actually getting paid to do something that I love doing. How exhilarating!

When I say I am a writer people often ask me what I write, and I rattle off whoever I am writing for at the time, but I really do think that to really be a writer, and to be fulfilling my soul, I need to write my own story… In all its many multidimensional patterns, textures and colours, and bringing that to life, a record of my life’s work, of the soul that is me, with all its many different aspects, spaces and faces.

So that is the purpose of getting this blog up and running. I want to inspire myself to write my own story again, and one way to do that is to start blogging again, because for me its that act of just writing for nothing that empty’s the well, and pretty soon you find that the well is filling up with a whole lot of something…

And that’s the good shit. That’s the stuff that’s coming from the heart…

So yeah, I guess I had to go out there and become a writer out there, before I could come back to really being a writer in here… So bear with me as I empty the well, and hopefully, pretty soon there’s going to be some gold coming to the surface!

Watch this space…

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I’m sick and I need something from the shop…

I’m thinking of starting a FB group called ‘I’m sick and I need something from the shop…’ and if people are sick then they can post on there and someone who is in the area will bring them whatever it is that they need from the shop… Wouldn’t it be cool if the world worked like that and strangers would be helping each other just because they can?

But then again, in all honesty, if I was not in bed with the sweats would I actually feel inclined to go to see someone who is manky and in bed with the sweats? Probably not. In fact, I’d probably make a wide berth, or at least wear one of those masks that surgeons wear, if I did go… That’s the thing about being sick. When we are sick we have so much time to think, while lying in bed, and after the initial ‘sleep 12 hours thing’ has worn off. So much thinking time in that liminal phase where we have rested enough and sweated enough to have some sense of reality, and feel happy enough, but are not well enough to get up and start doing stuff yet.

I’m actually feeling a little starved for human contact what with my son being away for a few days. A friend asked me what I would like for dinner and suggested that she bring over some apricot chicken, so I’m not doing too badly and eagerly awaiting her arrival actually, but I am one of the lucky ones, this time. Usually I am lying in a sweaty pool of my own filth and crying because I want a cup of tea, or some food, and feel too sickly to get up and organise it myself. I think a website for people who are sick and need bread, milk, oranges, throaties, or something like that brought to them, would be awesome. But I guess it would take the whole community to jump on board, otherwise you would just end up with one do-gooder going around and getting worn out looking after sick people! And it wouldn’t last long. Another friend suggested that if people are contagious, the person bringing the item/s could just pick up the money and leave the goods at the door, to save those uncomfortable moments of trying to not breathe in front of the sick person while simultaneously trying to appear friendly and caring… ha.

Perhaps this website could also extend to bringing movies, since there is not much to do in that liminal state, except watch movies. One could read, and I have certainly wiled away a few sweaty bed-ridden days reading myself, but watching movies takes a lot less work on the eyes and at least the plot is still going on even if you start getting tired and close your eyes for a moment… So far today, I’ve watched two movies, Cocoon and Moby Dick, and I cried my eyes out during the end of Cocoon when the young boy jumped onto the boat to try and go with his Grandpa (I hope that wasn’t a spoiler for anyone. If so, come on, the movies been out since 1985!). I’m not sure if it was my body detoxing some emotions or what, but I bawled with all my might at that point in the movie. Then watching Moby Dick, while it was quite poetic in the telling, wasn’t very fun at all until the end when Moby took revenge on all the whalers. I’ve still got Star Trek and Dodgeball left to watch but neither of them is really grabbing me at this point. Give it a few hours and I’ll be gladly watching anything to take my mind off the silence.

Its funny how things work out to give us exactly what we need. I really needed to slow down. I’ve been having many a late night over the past few weeks, drinking much more than I usually would, and generally not looking after myself… Ugh… It brings to mind something that a friend of mine says often… “Clean up or get cleaned up!” Its so true. We have to listen our self, that internal voice and knowing, otherwise matters get taken out of our hands. I’ll be mindful to listen a little bit closer in future and actually listen when my body is telling me to clean up.

And on that note, I’m going to have a hot shower and see if I can wash away any of this mank before my lovely angelic friend comes over with dinner…

Thank you universe, for great friends!

(Oh and by the way, I’d love some throaties…)

The Machine Is Consuming Itself

It is eating itself away with its own greed.

When we look at this in the context of the university system, as one aspect of this, we see that they sell more and more degrees for jobs that don’t exist, (in universities around the world), and dangle the carrot of ‘social prestige’, ‘public acclaim’ etc, So they are attracting more and more people to spend their money, or sign up for a debt. They are selling it as a great opportunity to learn something that may or may not provide our downtrodden masses with all the answers that they might need in life to survive in the modern world, specialised to a field that they are interested in; one that serves the machine.

But what they are doing in the process, inadvertently, is educating the masses to wake up. The same masses that the machine devised the mainstream schooling system for; as a way of keeping them compliant, subservient to a patriarchal system, designed to adhere to a doctrine of absolute power, rather than free will. 

So we are waking up to our potential. We are sharing our knowledge with those around us. People are unplugging from their televisions and choosing to plug in to a reality that better serves their journey as an energetic being. Re-learning and re-awakening to the ability to see beyond the fabric of what is, essentially, an illusory reality, dictated to by our own projection onto it. Meaning that we are omnipotent. We are ‘the creator’. The creator is not some fanciful bearded man in the clouds casting his fear, vengeance or love upon us. That has been a part of the illusion too. The story of how we are separate from creation, and from each other. When really we are the co-creators of this world in which we live; of this universe. We are choosing our reality by the thoughts we think, by where we put the power of the present moment. We are the creator of our own reality. This is the ‘free will’ that the machine has worked hard to control for centuries.

And as a result of these paradigm shifts many of us have become free thinkers. We are the educated masses, (the 99%) who are waking up and realising that we are holding a ticket to a circus that we no longer respect, or have any interest in being a part of. A system that is dying, and one which is responsible for a world full of ‘shoddy products and even shoddier ideals’ (Terrence McKenna, The Challenge, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Xca_aFTEo). So we are taking this newfound knowledge, and waking up. And before you know it there are more and more of us awake, and we are starting to develop a movement, that is spread out over the world, and calls itself by different names but is essentially the act of taking back ourselves; spiritually, physically and mentally.

While this movement grows and grows to the point where not only are we unplugging from the mainstream, and forming smaller, localised communities of like-minded people, but as a collective we are questioning the status quo. Asking how long we have been asleep? And collectively we are taking these skills we have learned and applying them to awake those who are still sleeping. We are organised, strong-willed and technologically aware of how to use the system to rally ourselves against those who would keep us slaves, shackled to an illusory reality, unaware of the immensity of ourselves.

We have all these educated people coming out of universities, with no jobs to go to, and no desire to work in them anyway, and they are looking for something to do with their time, so they are writing books. These books are all saying the same things in different ways and different languages but they are all talking about waking up. We have You Tube videos that talk about waking up. They talk about the shift. Everyone is talking about the shift. Reading, watching, listening, feeling, talking about the shift.

It is only the machine that is denying the shift.

We are the awakening that is happening right now, as the machine consumes itself.

There is no spoon…

I feel like I just had a brainstorm/lightbulb or an awareness of sorts about this intimate relationship business. Now I could be right, or wrong, and I’m open to discussion… Either way, it came about through thinking about a couple of recent experiences and I’d like to share my process  and how I came to this realisation.

I bumped into a friend that I’ve had a crush on for a while, recently, purely by chance. Oh yes, we’ve acknowledged that we have this physical attraction, on a previous occasion, and bumping into each other so serendipitously was both exhilarating and delightful.

So during this chance encounter, we spent some lovely moments in a garden, eating the various leaves and shoots, and marvelling at how we could eat a whole sandwich out of the garden (except the bread of course) and even the condiments (after tasting some hot mustard leaves and then a spicy horseradish leaf). And then suddenly while we were standing by the strawberry plants he leaned in and seemed to be about to bend down to look at them more closely, and as my heart went boom, boom, boom, I just knew he was going to kiss me.

And he did.

It was lovely. The fragrance of him. The moment. The kiss.

So it is that moment that I keep coming back to. That serendipitous moment of us bumping into each other at this place, and then spending this time in the garden, and the lovely kiss by the strawberries…

The funny thing was, that very morning, I had the realisation that perhaps I am not going to be in a relationship, and I let go of the idea of being with one person. I decided that maybe it was not meant for me. Perhaps I need to be on my own, so that I can grow at my own pace and have my own space of mind. Maybe I’d just be content with having moments of love and laughter and joy that needn’t turn into anything serious and heart-wrenching.

So, having let go of this desire to be in a relationship (or at least becoming willing to let go of it), I have this experience which causes my heart to vibrate just so and to feel a little bit excited about the touch and scent of a man. So as the time passes I think upon this experience in the garden, and I wonder about if there will be a next time that I meet this person, and another kiss, and so on, and so on… Then amidst all this lovely musing and reminding myself that I don’t want a relationship, my thoughts go to that place where I see clearly how things started with my ex-partner in a similar way, serendipitously, and innocently. So softly, and how they became so very hard and ugly in the end.

I remember how another friend remarked to me a few weeks ago that my ex and I made the deep connection at the point of this enormous physical attraction that we had for each other, and the mistake we made was that we tried to carry that on and build a relationship around it. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was true, but just now as I had my lightbulb moment of awareness, I see that it was.

So then I’m wondering if that’s what many relationships end up being… Two people meet at the physical connection, and then decide that it’s so wonderful that they want to keep experiencing this same feeling for the rest of their days, so they decide to keep it. Then along the way, they each grow in different ways, and as they do, one or both parties make all these sacrifices in an attempt to carry it on into a lasting relationship. And often, in the process they fall flat on their faces, or drag it out and then fall flat on their faces. Or they stay together forever, unhappily going through the motions and sacrificing this or that of themselves for the rest of their days. Either way it seems to end in pain and misery with so much built up anger at each other for not living up to be this fantasy person that they imagined they saw in that moment by the strawberries in the garden.

Which leaves me with the idea that it is ok to have this delightful, delicious physical attraction, to savour that moment in the strawberry patch, to be open to another moment just as beautiful, but to be ever watchful of the mind and vigilant to not allow it to dream past the physical attraction, and to simply see that it is what it is.

A delicious moment; nothing more and nothing less…

And that brings me to my next question, or thought, that perhaps we humans aren’t designed to be monogamous. Perhaps monogamy is buying into the illusion that there is only one right person for us. Perhaps there are many right people for us, and that we are supposed to be fluid and changing. Perhaps we are supposed to adapt as we change, and move on to the next person who will be better able to fulfil us as we grow, and us, them, and be fulfilled together, or apart. In my experience, people are growing and changing at very different levels and speeds, and unless both parties are compassionate and willing to grow and change with their partners, then there is always going to be that experience where one is sacrificing parts of themselves to keep the picture looking like that illusory idea that they have created together.

So, perhaps in the words of Neo from the Matrix, it’s not about trying to bend the spoon, it’s about seeing that there is no spoon. It’s all an illusion and we can choose to believe as much of it as we want, or as little. It’s up to us. Here. Now.

Chasing Tails and Chasing Tales

I feel like I am always chasing my tail and never really fitting in anywhere…

When I was in NA on the Gold Coast I never really felt like I fit in. Then here I am in Maleny and still don’t really feel like I fit in. And when I was at school I never really felt like I fit in. And then when I lived in Brisbane I never really felt like I fit in anywhere, except maybe for a few years while I was in the rave scene, but perhaps I am fooling myself and really having a drug addiction and hanging out with other people that have a drug addiction doesn’t really count for fitting in. Then when I was in my family of origin (when I was a kid) I didn’t really feel like I fit in at the time, but now I feel like I fit there now, but that might be because I don’t see them much and when I do I am a novelty of sorts because I live so far away that they don’t see me that often.

I did feel like I fit in when I was with my band ‘The Forky Road’ in Brisbane, and it was clear that I fit because we wrote some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. (But then again, I am biased because I am the one that wrote them.) And am I just having rose coloured memories of those days? It was hard work keeping the band inspired and nagging them to come to jams every week. But they loved it, when they were there, as did I. We had some good laughs. Oh, I miss those days of creating with like-minded people. I could be as much of a dick as I wanted and sing out all my feelings in whatever way shape or form I wanted. Hip hop, bluesy, jazzy, folky, operatic at times… whatever it called for, I’d empty the well of emotion at least once a week, maybe twice if we had a gig coming up…

Is this a phase? Is this me ‘having a moment’? I’m not sure. I guess it is. Its likely that in a week I’ll be looking back at this blog and wondering why I was so honest, why I shared my heart so openly and wondering who read it, and are they thinking I’m a dick because of my realness. Then I will remind myself that realness is the only way to go because that’s me. Real. Ms Real. I should change my name by depol. Or whatever it is. Is it de-poll? I’m not sure. I’ve heard people talk about it.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to this ‘best of’ Sting album all night and its now on its third or fourth round. Perhaps its time to change the music… Perhaps that’s a metaphor for my thoughts. Maybe I should change the music of my thoughts. And yes, that’s definitely true, but I’ve been trying to do that for ages and haven’t managed to do so. I’ve tried writing it out and perhaps it is helping a little. I’ve written thousands of words over the last few days in my attempt to write this shit out. I was also painting before and that felt good. Its a slow process I suppose, this coming to where I am going. Its one step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time on this road to being.

Or is it? I’ve read enough Buddhist teachings and other worldly teachings that simply state that when we let go of grasping we are actually there, already. Oh, it seems so hard until it doesn’t. When it stops seeming hard, it suddenly starts feeling so easy… Funny that.

What happened to the thrill of chase? I used to love that. But now, it just doesn’t seem so thrilling anymore… I just want to be there. Already.

Craving

So I spent the morning hiding in bed from a cigarette craving, with a hot water bottle. It was lovely.

Of course I’m very well aware that I was actually hiding from myself, as essentially I am the cigarette craving. If I wasn’t experiencing some thought or desire that the craving obviously stems back to, then there wouldn’t be any craving and there wouldn’t be any need to stay at home in bed, rather than being out in the world enjoying my day off work.

I felt fine this morning when I woke up and did 15 minutes of meditation at 6:30am. There weren’t any cravings kicking around the place at that hour, but in the broad daylight of 9:30am the cravings seemed to be out in full force, knocking repeatedly on the side of my head and trying to get me to cave in.

A ‘theta-healing’ lady that I visited yesterday, told me that cigarettes (smoking) is just a smoke-screen from seeing some part of ourselves. Apparently there’s a part of me, or more likely, a sum-of-parts that I’ve not been brave enough to look at until now. Or perhaps I’ve been getting glimpses of it when I’m not smoking for those three days-a month, and each time I go back to smoking so I only have to look through the haze at it. It makes a lot of sense as to why I’ve been battling so hard with it. In fact, I actually have a pretty good idea what the thing might be.

Honestly? I think it has something to do with loneliness (or not being fully in the presence of myself). At this point I feel the need to be clear about the difference between aloneness and loneliness, as I learnt from my old friend, Osho. According to Osho there is a tremendous difference between loneliness and aloneness. “Loneliness is a negative state, it is the absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself. Aloneness is a presence, overflowing presence. You are so full that you can fill the whole universe with your presence and there is no need for anybody.”

So I’ve noticed that I often feel this craving to smoke when I am feeling this lack of self. Triggers can come from any direction and they get through the chinks in my armour at the points where there is a lack of self. When I am not fully present with myself, when I am needing or wanting some other person/thing/experience to fill the hole. When I don’t feel quite right. When I am full of me and sitting completely in my self, present, know and love who I am, then I have no desire whatsoever to smoke. I have no desire to have anyone or do anything other than whoever and wherever I am right now. I am already complete. Full of me. (I wonder if this is where the saying comes from ‘she is so full of herself’? I actually think it is a good thing and maybe the tall poppy syndrome thing has fooled us into thinking it is better to be smaller and deflated somewhat so as we don’t annoy other people with our full self presence…)

Anyway, I see that up until this time, and for many years, since I was 16 years old, smoking has been this filler. (At times there have been other fillers also such as alcohol and drugs). But over the last 3-4 years smoking has increasingly been something that I do not feel good about. It is a filler, but it only fills so much and there are still leaks in the hole. Smoking no longer serves to fill the hole adequately and it creates all these other icky feelings and thoughts that make it counterproductive.

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago and he pointed out that I’m simply addicted craving itself. The cigarette is actually meaningless, it has just become the ‘face’ of the craving. I identified this clearly when I was in Vipassana and I my head kept coming back to thinking about my ex partner. After many days of excruciatingly painful time spent in my head back and forth thinking about the relationship and wanting it and then throwing it back to the ether, I finally realised that this person was just the name that I put on this feeling of craving, this lack of self. I didnt want that relationship. It was not right for me. My craving actually had nothing at all to do with him. He was just the face that I put on my craving. It could have been anyone. It could be the next person I meet if I don’t sort this out before I go into another relationship! And in reality that isn’t fair to myself or the person that I am having a relationship with for them to be simply filling a hole that is supposed to contain the presence of myself.

Oh yes, this is real. Real stuff.

The Zen of Sweeping

Wooden floors need a lot of sweeping.

Initially I mentally groan at the thought of it. The effort of getting the broom out, lifting the rugs, moving the furniture and actually using my body on such a seemingly mundane act. But once I’ve started, I almost relish it. When I’m in the middle of it, swooshing the dirt across the floor into a neat pile I start to feel relaxed and almost at peace as I navigate the dirt around and gently get into those nooks and crannies. Its a matter of remembering to do it though, and actually getting started when I do realise that the floor needs sweeping (which seems to be quite often, almost daily, with wooden floors).

When I am in the process of sweeping, (if I haven’t caved in to using the vacuum cleaner with its noisy mechanical whirring), its almost a Zen activity. As I progress through the task, I feel my mind coming into a place of quiet contemplation. With each stroke of the soft brushes on the wooden floor, I am lulled into a place of no-thing-ness. That place that Osho talks of. The space between the exhale and the inhale.

There’s a Zen proverb that goes: “before enlightenment; chopping wood, carrying water, after enlightenment; chopping wood, carrying water”. I often remind myself of this when I get to a point where I start feeling like I want to run off and live in an ashram in India, or a hut in the hills of Northern Thailand. At those times when I feel that I cannot possibly be a spiritual being and still live in the world with all its needing and prodding and poking. When my mind feels tormented and I remember longingly the bliss I felt during that 10 day silence during my Vipassana retreat, I think of that proverb and remember that even the Buddha chopped wood and carried water, and lived in the world. Then I remember that that is what life is about, doing all these small things, but remaining in a state of mindfulness while doing it. This is the essence of enlightenment, mindfulness. Neither having craving, nor aversion to anything I do, but just being present with myself in each moment.

This is why I think sweeping is such a Zen act. It is like meditation. It brings the mind back into itself in a way that vacuuming cannot do. It focusses the mind into that smaller space, into the tiny specks of dirt, in the same way that the anapana breathing, of Vipassana meditation, brings the awareness of mind to that tiny triangle at the entrance of the nose. Fine tuning the mind.

The Zen of Sweeping