Opening and drinking a Coconut looks really hard work!
Opening and drinking a Coconut looks really hard work!
I heard some interesting quotes today. It emerged from within the context of a conversation between several people, about suicide.
“Be good, do well and right and let the world sink.”
On the contrary:
“Death is not a one person ticket, it’s a group fare.”
Living is also a group fare. So you see the paradox we all exist in.
Slam. Through a sheen, thick as a hospital curtain, Toby hit hard and cracked knuckles against the blindfolded skull of his attacker. It had been a stunning strike. Adrenaline fuelled, and knuckles resonating from the impact, Toby found darkness, and it swallowed him like a Slag landslide from the hilltops of the valleys. All was black. But then it was sharp white, blue, beige. There was an incessant ringing in Toby’s ears- maybe from the adrenaline, the slap. Flashes of street lamp Orange hounded his peripheral vision, blinking into his eyes sporadically as though having just being lit, at the beginning of an evening. That indecisive period of the street blinkers- as though reluctant to rise from a daytime of slumber, ready for the night shift which lay ahead.
Bay 4, Ward 6.
There were patients up and out of bed everywhere. Staff Nurse Alice was tending to one of the three out of a possible ten bays allocated to her care that night, and all eight in this bay were up; demented by condition and frenzied by confusion and a full moon. It was about 5am, ten out of twelve and a half hours of the shift down, and Alice was running on that last reserve of adrenaline. The kind of adrenaline which emerges, only to those who have forced their body to smash through the great wall of fatigue, and have nothing left to cover but the final laps of the night’s obstacle course. She had energy enough to focus on beginning the drug rounds, alright. Somehow, the brain has magic tricks saved for enabling Olympic champions to pull through for Gold in the sport of endurance concentration.
Imagine then, the fallout which becomes the athlete who treads the tightrope for an outcome of the whole race, when unexpected flying obstacles are thrown into their track, causing a devastating fall which costs them the race. This happened in the form of an almighty blow to the back of Alice’s head. There was a sudden onset of an electrical thud to the base of her skull, followed by the feeling of a strangely refreshing coolness to the left cheek, and the world on its side. Which is certainly not where Alice had left it.
‘Shit! What the FUCK was that!?’ she heard her own voice yell out, before any chance for professional boundaries to impose their barrier to swearing and maintaining an essence of calm amidst a testing storm. Suddenly she was cheek to cheek with the face of the cold floor, and there were red and white slipper socks dancing around her nose, as if threatening to kiss her. The confused chaos of startled patients, sung like two poorly tuned instruments; battling with the air, were above and around her like a sudden choir.
‘Oh, bloody hell’ thought Alice to herself, and the floor. The problem was, that she should by now have been motivated by the sudden surge of adrenaline, which had taken hold, like it should, for the fully functioning human body. It was indeed there, coursing through her, as if powered by martyring Bee stings. That’s all it was though, all it had become since starting work as a Nurse, most strikingly, however, since starting on Ward 6, in particular. The ‘mad house’ as they all called it, or ‘purgatory’. Like the holding cell for those human shells; which were once the chariot within which consciousness and a person’s soul could ride.
Dementia, however, had somehow managed to capture fragments of a person before their body was necessarily ready to call it a day. As if memories- the essence of a person’s identity, sense of self and understanding of the world they were conscious in- were akin to Iron filings, and Dementia a terrible magnet. It would hover over the person, occasionally passing them by and sparing the fragments, but all too often, snatching up the Iron filings like an impossible black hole.
So, a person was trapped in a kind of Purgatory, in this sense. Since they were no longer completely alive as themselves, but were not yet dead, their mind snorted away like dusty powder, bit by bit, just waiting to die- so as to enable the pieces of mind to catch up and meet the rest.
Alice battled with the acknowledgement that she really, really, did not want to get up off that floor. To lay there horizontal, and just to sleep instead of stand, was such a convincing argument. Especially as the back of her skull began to burn with a sharp flame, where the blow had landed. Above her, however, reality pressed on- surreal though it was- two out of six beds out of the bay were emptied of their contents, and the patients like the linen, sprayed out along the floor. The other beds were beginning to shuffle. Obscenities- muffled by the chewing of blankets and the burial of heads under pillows- were starting to pass between the beds, as though beds themselves had begun their own private conversation of curses among one another. The twist being that none of the beds were actually engaging, in such a thing as a straightforward string of conversation with one another- they were all chattering to themselves, seemingly drunk.
There was medication to administer- drips needed attaching to flimsy cannulas. Bedside cabinets craved the turn of the key to release syrups, pills, tonics and false teeth. For no nurse was there ever such a fine reality known in the solace of the floor.
Alice tried calling for help, she had one Support Worker, June, for the shift, and hoped to the heavens above that she’d be in a bay near enough to hear the cry for assistance, above the mewing of buzzers across the waking ward. As it happened, June was luckily near enough by, to have heard Alice’s call.
In the middle of a slow shuffle, June appeared, moving between bay three, and the patient toilets, arm in arm with a patient in the middle of the corridor, helping her to the toilet. 80-year-old Beatrice was armed with a Zimmer frame, and this was useful for more than just the one reason, of mobilising. June treacherously removed her interlinking arm from Beatrice’s, and managed a split second side jump to the right, leaving Beatrice heading onwards with the momentum of her body supported by the shape and physics of the frame. Beatrice didn’t fall- she kept upright and moving forward, which was the miracle needed to enable June to run to Alice’s assistance in bay four.
‘We’ll have to pull the curtain back across, quickly!’ June observed with an edge of mania whipping up the octaves of her vocal chords. By this time, Alice had used the bedside chair to hurl her bottom half up. The morning meds hung balanced, and resting on a nearby seat. Alice moved determinably, elbows kept supported by the chair arms, knees protesting against the injustice of forcing a torso upright again. Toby was in full swing, and ‘Reg’, who was to Toby, the mugger before his swinging punches, in the altered reality, which had been projected by Toby’s mental state, into the room. Mr. Skindle, or ‘Bill’, was beginning to dance with his own chair, in an attempt to dodge the unsettling volume of sounds confronting him.
‘You get that side, and try to push him back down in the direction of his seat!’ Alice instructed. June obeyed, and using contortionist’s manoevuers, she swished the curtain between Toby and Bill’s beds with her right hand, whilst using her left knee and leg to curtail the flailing Bill from leaving the safety net of the chair.
In that moment, June made a quick decision- the scenario was indeed lively enough to warrant pressing Bill’s bedside buzzer, to illuminate yet another dull orange bulb with its yawning howl, in the hope that there would be at least one other nurse able to see and respond. At the very least, June still had a patient mid-journey to the toilet, and with seconds having passed, anything could have happened to Beatrice’s balance by now. If not to help us stop Toby, she considered, then at least just to take over helping Beatrice to the toilet and back to her bed, next door, uninjured.
‘Are you alright?’ Beatrice suddenly remembered to ask. ‘I’ll be alright when Reg has been sedated, and Toby stops bleeding. You need to try and grab Faye or someone to give me a hand. I’m going to have to fill out a Datix, whenever on Earth I have the time, after running all these IVs.’
Alice continued elaborating to June. ‘That actually really hurt, Bea. Can you run and get Faye or even one of the bloody doctors to come in here, ASAP!?’ Alice almost choked on her own sentence, but with relief, it was already starting to drift away. She could confirm she’d heard herself speak the words. ‘Did that sentence come out in my voice?’; she shuddered in confusion. ‘I think it did, I can hear the words again in my mind like an echo. The echo is my own voice, I’m sure of it…’
June could only hope that Beatrice was managing to stay in charge of gravity, and its increasingly sporadic pattern of abundance, which commonly afflicted many of these patients, not to mention the staff. She took one look down and immediately grabbed any pillow she could find, to slip under Toby’s head as the blood spread, almost tranquilly, across the white slip. She observed Toby’s respirations. ‘Fast, at least twenty-four per minute, at best guess. Colour….’ Here at last, came the justification to act. The colour had drained from Toby’s cheeks, like an artist’s canvas of pinks, crimsons, and greys; as if hit by sudden tragic flooding. This had cruelly afflicted the rich canvas, until it became not an art but a dishcloth; wrung out, the colours were dripping; pale greys and ruptured reds wept outwards and down. Paler and paler. Then glass eyes rolled skywards, and to the left. As if fixed on a hallucination only the fading patient could see.
She pulled herself into action, yanked the red emergency buzzer away from the wall, and the wail of the alarm caused carnage, and some rhythm to be found within an unknown quantity of footsteps, drumming their way down the corridor, louder and closer by the second.
‘What’s happened!?’ exclaimed Jessica, one of the nurses on shift who had been up in the side rooms all the while.
‘Attach pads’. The radio was annoying Toby’s brother, sat in the passenger seat of his older brother’s car. ‘Why is it speaking in an American accent!? It’s supposed to be British Broadcasting Company, not chuffin’ Brooklyn Bolton Canada!’
‘Canada is not part of America, Michael, you can’t use Canada for that. California. That’s American, call it Brooklyn Bolton California if you need to repurpose the BBC algorithm. To fit with the America thing, the wrong accent, like you say. I do agree with you though, I want to hear the weather forecast in my own British accent, where it’s actually relevant.’ Toby interjected.
‘Right, I mean anyone could find themselves in this car listening to radio, and thinking, why am I in America! How did I get here, did I just drive? Did I just DRIVE to America?? And that’d send anyone crackers, thinking they’d somehow managed to drive through the entire Atlantic, to make it across to New bloody York, without even realising. It’d fuck anyone’s head up, that. They need to keep it in a British accent, so people don’t start thinking England’s gone and slipped down to the States right under their noses.’
‘Right.’ Toby replied, trying to end the matter. The last thing he could care for today, was the audible and involuntary unravelling of one of his brother’s un-hinged rants about matters so Philosophical, they had to be unhealthy. Toby knew not of any other soul in the world, who could get so carried away- genuinely swept off the landscape of reason and into the distortion of those splintering eyes, of Picasso’s Weeping Woman. He had always felt a strangely sad kind of pride, for his younger brother, who had been born into this world three weeks early, already with an imagination so feral it would blister the heart and mind of their mother.
While it would indeed be interesting, Toby reflected, to venture into the caverns of Michael’s mind for a day, just to see what was actually going on in there, he certainly didn’t fancy having to navigate through his real life behind such a strange screen. Besides, where were the radio presenters who spoke in their more familiar Welsh accent? It was a question Toby snuffed out as quickly as it had floated into his mind. He had not the energy to think about questions, and the like.
‘You’re so… so, s-s-s’ Toby began to respond, but couldn’t find the words to fit.
‘Just, I don’t know. Complex. Like a calculator. I never had any kind of clue how the damn things managed to magically summon up digits that were always, always correct, mathematically. But they did. Your mind reminds me of a calculator, Michael. Blasted mystery plastic thing, with its blasted weird ability to, just know.’ Toby regretted that he’d ended the observation with such a positive, definite conclusion. He didn’t want to think that all the endless stories, headaches and conjecture of Michael’s theories were comparable to a calculator. The thought that these non-linear tracks of mind drivel, which grew like Bindweed from between the teeth of his own brother, could be anything as solid and true as a number, was positively hurtful.
They continued the journey, past the point of the cobbled road and into the bends of city buildings, in silence. The part of the journey over the cobbled roads was too noisy to speak over comfortably, anyway. Soon enough they’d get used to the drumroll sounds, they would loiter in the ear like shallow puddles- background noise- as he focused on the steering. The buckaroo. Just had to get through it, and then the road would suddenly hush; ‘shhhhhhh’, it would go, just like a mother. The road would answer, reassured, quiet. And smooth. Horizons were opened and the journey was awake.
You can look at the scene from a greater perspective, so imagine you drop in on this scene while you loom over a large, formidable and ultimately playful map. The map is blue and green, and it is punctuated by dashes of white, here and there. Sometimes this white is bigger than elsewhere, sometimes the white seems to ripen with sheer abundance of having something continuously added to it, constantly. So that it gains weight, and then strangely becomes lilac, into purple, graduating onwards into navy blue, before becoming indistinguishable from the deeply blue sea.
There are many scenes just like this, for you to investigate and zoom in on, but as it happens, this is the spot that charmed your eyes and begged to be amplified, via a magnifying glass. The details have already spoken for themselves, but you can see Toby’s car right there, suspended it seems, on a horizontal string, which connects one side of the sky to another. It is the road, to them, but to you, you can see and feel, you can even smell and hear, the depth of that bubble around them. The hills are so green, the sky is so white, it seems like the blue bits are the clouds, but you know from your perspective that the cloud is only a dot. Upon a green, textured and wavering scene.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.” ~ Rumi”
On a Tuesday, in April 2014, we said our goodbyes to a wonderful, awe-inspiring, beautiful friend, Emma.
Her soil was dusted in glitter, and the land under which her body lies, will bring new life to a tree, among many others. The memorial woodland is a forest (to be) of souls embarking upon new journeys in another life.
You could liken it to C.S Lewis’ ‘Wood Between The Worlds’, or a train station of trees- the branches intertwining and linking together like a vast network of railway tracks, where the souls can commute to new destinations, yet always have a base. Unlike most train stations, however; this one is obviously divine and beyond comparison to anything we really know.
While her funeral was inevitably filled with immense sadness, it was comforting to see just how many amazing friends and family members gathered bravely to bid farewell to Twigg. In a way, the multitude of a vibrant and colourful crowd, conveyed a reflection of the flamboyant, kind and brave individual she was herself. Let us all commit ourselves to ‘dance in the rain’ through the storms to come- it brings an unexpected euphoria of freedom and the shimmer of the wildness within ourselves, for those who haven’t already danced in the rain yet….
I’d reflected: Every now and then in life, we meet a soul who is truly wonderful and like no other in many ways. Emma Twigg- the first time I ever met you I was drawn to you with a powerful intrigue, admiration and electrical energy.
You have taught me personally a great deal through inspiring a kind of outlook upon all things, and a lust for living to the full, and to dance to my own rhythm of madness, sadness and gladness just as you yourself did so freely and beautifully. I find it really bloody hard to sum this up over a typed up post you won’t necessarily see yourself- but who other people who’ve had the great priviledge, of knowing you, will surely be able to relate to and recognize within their own memories.
So I write this for them- You my lady are so obviously deeply and vastly loved by so many other souls than just me, and our reasons are diverse in their contexts but so consistent in their content- We love in you the magic, the kindness, the adventure, the energy, the compassion, the taste and the rhythm to which you have always loved to dance, and the inexplicably bright spark burning within your soul which i’m sure has inspired many others to seek for within themselves.
Right now, i’m putting a lot of focus into planting new life where I can, and eventually a few of us are hoping to get an Ash Tree (you said you really liked these!) planted somewhere for you as promised- somewhere many of us can come and dance under it in your memory, and contemplate where your soul is going now- what life it will become this time and what kind of new experiences will it bring and receive? Maybe you’d be a tree this time anyway- since in the life we knew you in you traveled so far and wide, and perhaps your soul may now be seeking to settle as a new form, existing in one place for some time.
Who on Earth knows though- we cannot predict; all we can do is positively continue to cherish and to actively plant your memory around us in a way that even when we too, are moving on from this life, it will remain consistent in one way for the Earth and it’s creatures.
Like, for example- i’m sure eventually many a bird may appreciate your tree as a nest and a place in which they can hatch new life into the world, then watch with a kind of sad, proud joy as their young eventually learn to fly off from the twiggs (sorry about that silly pun thing) into new adventures of their own as they take to the skies.
I do not know where to end this post, for fear of ending up writing an actual novel, so i’m going to make the decision to stop it here; for there is too much to be said of you and I will not be able to do it justice no matter how long I write. Don’t ‘rest in peace’-live on elsewhere (wherever this may be) and continue being in peace! You can rest too if you like obviously, but you get my meaning! Keep on dancing.
I miss your sunshine many many days. I miss your dancing many days. Although there are many people in the world, and many yet still to meet, it frightens me a bit that I won’t meet another exact you, no matter how awesome, and interesting, people are in all their many unique ways!
There was so much more I wanted to talk to you about, so much more I could have learned about your whole philosophy of life, the little finer details about the travels you had, and the wonders within them. I know we already did share travelling tales, but there is no limit to the amount of potential sharing to be had with these things!
As you always knew.
I am glad you didn’t have to witness the disgrace the UK made of itself in the last general election and EU referendum, though. God, i’m looking forward to seeing something more positive politically I must say.
Never mind though, one shall dance it off, just shake it all off in the requiem of the rhythm.
Rainbow: A bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain. I stumbled upon some writin…
Source: Rainbows are free
I stumbled upon some writing about the emergence of a wonderful, off-grid, alternative and ultimately natural, human gatherings of a ‘Rainbow Family’ or ‘Rainbow Warriors’-Whichever you prefer to call the collective movement. Here is the low down:
‘In the isolation of the woods gather tribes of the miscellaneous and open-minded. From gays, punks, Christians, sectarians, nudists and Krishna followers, to Nomads and conspiracy theorists, like a vivid palate of paint; they meet at the annual Rainbow Gathering.
30,000 people attended the largest Rainbow Gathering in history, which took place in Washington State in a publicly-owned national forest. When this large, rainbow gatherings become something like a micro society; a utopian city that even has neighborhoods, where everyone is welcome.’ (Source:Rainbow gatherings)
“Some say we’re the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it’s safe to say we’re into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles.
We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world. Many of our traditions are based on Native American traditions, and we have a strong orientation to take care of the the Earth. We gather in the National Forests yearly to pray for peace on this planet.”
I am personally convinced that the way we live now, that is- humans in the modern society of Westernized culture in particular- is not only disharmonic, rasping and stressful. It is also dangerously out of tune with the way the human mind and body is programmed to survive and thrive. We are by nature social beings. We are by nature, part of nature itself; and this means we should by no means fall under the oppressive fallacy, that we are agents without choice, and we MUST work as essential slaves to generate profits for faceless organisations, day in, day out, without being free to choose otherwise, because money is the trap which keeps us dependent upon ‘earning a living’; in order to keep ourselves fed, sheltered, existing by record and name- and therefore with ‘identity’.
A person once shared some valuable insight with me, when I was going through a period of mental strain and precarious balancing between the state of breakdown, and the illusion of ‘sanity’ and ‘sound mind’. She told me that one of the reasons regular bouts of intense exercise, and outdoor venturing, was so fundamental to maintaining a healthy frame of mind, body and function, was because of how we are by nature and evolution, programmed and hardwired to respond to stress triggers. So as many know, stress causes an increase of Adrenaline pumping through the body, muscles and blood, because a stressor would naturally indicate it was time for ‘fight or flight’. A perfectly reasonable and effective reaction which has enabled humans to survive and evolve to their current state.
However, the way we live now (in the Western world) doesn’t usually necessitate fighting off predators, or fleeing for your life on a daily basis. The hardwired cognitive response to stressful and challenging situations, however; for example in the workplace, meeting deadlines, managing debt, bullying, discrimination and demoralizing conduct etc., is still well and truly active as it ever was before, and so despite the different nature of the stressor itself, the physiological response to the stress remains the same. Adrenaline levels surge, producing anxiety, panic, sweaty palms, raised heartbeat and general discomfort.
The problem is, all this discomfort would once have had a productive outlet; the fighting off of the stressor, or the sprint for your life, heightened sensitivity to detect the nearness of the threat. Now, the stress will often occur sitting in an office, getting a bollocking in a meeting at work, being stuck in traffic, being panicked by financial problems, debt, social and relationship conflicts, etc. What is the missing ingredient to the new type of stress and response?
It is the utilization of the excess adrenaline. Without burning it out, by exercise and exertion, or even just walking and dancing, the balance of these neurotransmitters in the brain (and therefore body) is not reset. This is one of the things which leads to stress and anxiety as a more Chronic condition nowadays, and a huge contributing factor to increased levels of mental health illness, physical illness, and distorted thinking which inevitable leads to the paranoid, unhappy, anxious and easily rattled social circumstances which make up societies which seem plagued by distrust, unease, violence and intolerance.
The modern world seems to me to be the beginning of the end of human social well-being, health and prosperity. It is nature and gatherings within nature, which we need to return to, in order to regain our understanding of what it is to be human, and what it feels like to live beyond the cage.
This brings me back to the main point of interest which triggered this post: Rainbow Family Gatherings, as one of many off-grid, eco friendly and nature driven alternatives to the crush of the way human societies have come to exist in an insidiously oppressive form.
Rainbow Warriors, and their open to everyone gatherings, offer a means of escaping the trap. Within the community of like-minded people that practice the ideals of peace, love, respect, harmony and freedom. Participants widely believe that the modern lifestyles and systems of government are unsustainable, exploitative, and out of harmony with the natural systems of the planet. The rainbow family is an expression of Utopian impulse with an added touch of bohemianism and hippy culture, which refer to mainstream society as “Babylon” and consciously express an alternative to consumerism, capitalism, and mass media. These gatherings happen annually all over the world, and have proven a durable phenomenon for over 40 years.
They wake up with the sun, and several sacred ceremonies begin to take place. There are discussion circles where all ideologies and beliefs coexist in harmony.
It is worth checking out more about alternative living technologies, communities and eco-conscious movements. Check out Rob Savoye’s (A Rainbow Focalizer) home page here for more information and resources about how to get involved:
Promising ideas to bring forth ideas for improving and expanding upon our city’s urban greenscapes, sustainable and overwhelmingly positive green city of Sheffield! Proposals include two massive biodomes at Parkwood Springs MTB trail, increased dirve towards bringing allotment and growing spaces to a wider range of the Sheffield community… In all, green, sustainable, adaptable and innovative moves in the right direction for revolutionizing the way Sheffield businesses, urban development projects and economic revival can take root and thrive!
In short, this is the gist:
The ideas put forward by the students and scholars at Sheffield University, which will be showcased during this year’s upcoming Festival Of The Mind; ‘Fifty Ideas For A Better Sheffield runs at CADS art complex in Smithfields from September 20 – 30. Entry free.’
Some of the comments in the Star’s article hint at a troubling underbelly of pessimism (or realism, call it what you will), which comes across in a somewhat skeptical tone as told by Ivan, 24, who is running the project through the Shalesmoor, Kelham Island and Neepsend Network development agency which he manages; “The trouble is once the course work is finished, it’s marked, put in a drawer and no-one ever thinks about it again.”
However, an obvious mind for practical solutions to realistic obstacles drives his reasoning behind deciding to invite a much wider audience to take a look at these project ideas and discuss, and indeed there will be an abundant supply of useful, inspiring and thought provoking information on offer at the exhibition. Ivan has concluded: “This exhibition isn’t just a mine of ideas, it’s a mine of information as well.”
One reason I know I will be attending, is to gather ideas and invite feedback about how some of the showcased proposals can inform and help shape the future for my own aspirations about restoring Sheffield Ski Village, by turning parts of it into an ‘edible park’, community hub of leisure which can and should be laced with gardening and green spaces.
I know that here in Sheffield, We all cherished the spirit and communal joy Sheffield Ski Village once brought to our city for folk to enjoy, and likewise, we still take great pride in being called ‘the greenest city in Europe’… What is NOT valuable and equitable about a city determined to fight to remain Green, Socially Innovative and Creative?