I sat down and meditated this morning for the first time in quite a while. The relief from the rut I was in was almost instant, the knot in my back unwound and the cloud of malaise, tension and distraction started to lift as the sun shone through.
When I make sculptures I find it opens me up. I have to write down my thoughts within a few hours of finishing or else, like a flower at sunset, my petals curl up and I am closed again until the sun warms me up another day.
If I wait too long the flow of ideas and consciousness are gone right up to the point where I am unaware I had them in the first place.
I made this sculpture over a month ago and as is normal I involuntarily hooked up with my unconsciousness, the dam was breached and the river of thoughts poured out of me.
I never find it hard work writing what I do, it just tumbles out of me and seems to write itself. I simply need to listen to the dictation and jot down what I hear. But I waited too long and the lock gates slammed shut, the tide held back and from that moment I have been unable to write, create or do anything but spend all my energy trying to avoid myself.
Sometimes a day, a week, a month or even a couple of years pass before I stop and realise that there is even a well within me that needs to be unblocked and left to flow. When the dam wall is holding back the flood a general feeling of stress and anxiety pervades.
If at that point I don't take the chance to check into myself then instead of the sluice gates being opened every now and then to relieve the pressure, I issue a diktat to the little crew of men who maintain the dam to build it a little higher as that will hold back the flood. As the wall grows ever higher it soon becomes so tall that I can't even see there is flood water being held behind it. And soon after that I *forget* what the dam is even for, it's only purpose is to grow taller and taller.
There's a few things in my life that I've done that have given me clarity but many thousands that have had the opposite effect. All of the latter seek to distract me from my anxiety with the unfortunate consequence of being temporary, increasing the low level stress and malaise I experience and moving me ever further from any clarity at all to the point where the distraction techniques need to be even more ruthless and destructive, none of which deal with the root causes at all.
The result is inaction, procrastination and fear and an inability to even be aware that you are descending in a spiral further and further away from the life giving rays of the sun.
Eating crap, eating too much, drinking alcohol, taking drugs. Interacting with your laptop, iPad, smartphone all at once at the same time as watching telly, reading a book and flicking through a magazine. Spreading your attention all over the place, like a micro thin smear of marmite on toast, never concentrating on any one thing entirely whilst the grains of your life fall out through your fingers as you squeeze tighter and tighter.
As I said earlier, this morning I sat down and meditated for half an hour for the first time in a few years and within seconds there was instant relief. The dawn sun peeped over the horizon and the petals felt the first kiss of warmth. As the earth slowly rotated and the sliver became the hints of a disc the core of the flower began to thaw and the petals unfurled like a clenched fist gripping tight onto its tension and fear.
And then I felt it, like the flower bathed in sunlight, I could see clearly once again. The workers marched up to the rusty wheel at the base of the dam and armed with metal bars wrenched it open with a loud squeak until the water began to trickle through again.
As the flow increased a pool of these words gathered below the dam wall and here I am watching the whirlpool dictate to me and typing out all these sentences as they swirl round and around.
It is with palpable relief that I am writing this and feeling a moment of clarity, the knot in my back is still gone and I feel lighter than air.
I must grasp this opportunity wholeheartedly. All I need to do is sit down and meditate again tomorrow. It's all too easy to shut up the sluice gates again and forget myself entirely. What a terrible waste that is.
There's a couple of times a year where I feel the need to take action and for me they are around the cusp of spring and autumn. Perhaps there's something that has evolved within us that in times past drove us to prepare for the growing season and to harvest and prepare for the upcoming days of darkness.
In the last couple of weeks I've felt the oncoming of autumn and with it have been delivered a gift. A moment to pause and reflect and take stock and ponder on what is to come.
Over the last few years I have created much less in total after a long period of almost obsessive prolific-ness. But during those less productive times I still felt compelled to create something to mark these two times of the year. It feels organic and something physiological drawn from within.
Thank **** there's a bit of me deep down in my core somewhere that's in cahoots with nature and the real world! Even if I sometimes I lose it down the back of the sofa and forget I even had it until I go looking down there for some spare change, it comes knocking to wake me from my slumber and slaps me round the face before calling me 'idiot!'
Or else I may have spent another year becoming ever more blind, getting fatter and feeling like my only connection to what's out there is through the diddy screen on my smartphone, endlessly waiting for a bell to ring like a dog under the tutelage of Prof Pavlov.
How much more fulfilling, compelling and thrilling it is to start drooling when mother nature rings her bell instead. The flowers have turned to seed and the days are shortening and at last I can see the trees in the forest once again.
And not a single bloody moment too late in the day!