Sky Fire

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Bitterness and Resentment

The tagline for this blog was, for a long time, ‘Contains Bitterness and Resentment’. I even had a t-shirt to match. For a long time I did. I was bitter, and I was resentful; of my father, of my brother, of my ex-girlfriend. Of my employer, people more successful than I, moneyed people, popular people, smart people and funny people. But all that changed. I’m not sure when it changed, but the manifestation of that change was mostly me being kinder to myself and learning how to not give a crap about how other people felt about me. Not everyone will li- Look, someone already said it better:

“Check this out: when people don’t like you, nothing actually happens. The world does not end. You don’t feel them breathing down your neck. In fact, the more you ignore them and just go about your business, the better off you are.”
 – The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck

I read that post a long time ago and it really resonated with me. It’s so true. We’re infinitesimal compared to the population of the planet. 99.99% of the world doesn’t even know we exist. Those who do not like us are irrelevant and inconsequential.

So I guess I should come to the purpose of this post. I’m aware that people don’t like me. I’m told that some people do not care very much for me at all. I’m informed that some people are hanging onto their bitterness and resentment towards me; carrying it around with them and allowing it to infect their lives both on and off line. So I’m writing this to tell you to get over it. Get over me. Hate is baggage, bitterness will eat you up. The people you surround yourself with will see it and it will in turn affect them. It will affect their opinion of you. The only person you’re hurting by holding onto resentment is you. It really doesn’t matter.

“The Buddha compared holding onto anger to grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You, of course, are the one who gets burned.”

Lots of love x

Remembering lost loves

I think that probably for the rest of my life there will be days which are significant because of Clare. January 14th 2012 is the day we met. Purely by accident. She asked me to dance, I said no. I bought her a drink instead. I asked for her number, she said yes.

It was five years ago. Only five years. So much happened in those five years. One day – I promise myself – I will write it all down. I’ll share what happened. The good, the bad. The battles with ex-girlfriends and ex-husbands. The struggle to be accepted. The passion. It seems like such an extraordinarily short period of time for such an extraordinary woman to be in my life. I feel cheated. I feel like someone took her away from me. All too soon.

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I miss her so much. The touch of her skin. The taste of her lips. Her smile. The way she held my hand. Her enthusiasm for life. Her compassion. Her fire. Her spirit. I miss the way she would dance up to me in a playful manner and try and wrestle or tickle. I miss her laugh. I miss talking to her. I miss the way she made me feel like I could do anything and be anyone.

I give thanks every day for those years she was in my life. It was sometimes painful. It was sometimes ugly. It was sometimes frustrating. It was sometimes difficult. But it was also the most amazing of times. I am fortunate. I got the best of those years with Clare. The pain of losing her hasn’t diminished. I feel the hurt all the time but I have learned to cope – mostly.

But here’s the deal. I accept the pain. I embrace the pain. Because I know that is because she loved me and I loved her. It’s because of how much she meant to me and how much I meant to her. The feelings of loss are matched by the feelings of love. It hurts so because I loved her so.

Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend. You’ll always be my wonderful special lady and I will always, always, love you.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne, Holy Island as the sun went down on a Saturday late afternoon in January. I don’t think I ever experienced such peace. A silence fell across the place, looking out over the water towards the mainland. I’m not religious. I wouldn’t even dare to consider myself spiritual, but there was something quite special about that moment. No traffic noise, no kids shouting, not even the sound of sea birds to disturb the tranquility of that place and time.

Click here to view the photo album of my trip: Lindisfarne. January 2017.

I put Lindisfarne on my 40 at 40 list because I’d seen photos of the scenery, the castle, the views. I wanted to go and see this for myself. There was no other reason than that. I know of St. Cuthbert, I know of the significance of the place, but that’s not what it was about for me.

Friday evening I spoke to CS about taking a road trip. I looked at the tidal times for crossing the causeway and it was clear from midday until 8pm. Providence? Perhaps. We set off Saturday morning aiming to arrive after midday. I think now that it would have been cool to arrive earlier and see the causeway under water, watch the sea give way to tarmac, and our path clear. The day was unnaturally warm for January, cloudy but dry. Perfect conditions for exploring.

I’m told that Holy Island is ‘manic’ in the summer; that we’d have been swimming in tourists. We were pleased we’d come when it was quiet. Our walk around the island, past the (closed) castle, along the rocky shore, into the lime kilns and along the lonely coast was disturbed by just a handful of people. I loved that. I don’t like places ‘ruined by tourists’ (the irony of that statement is not lost on me) or to have to dodge around people or tolerate noisy children. Especially somewhere like that. I think going in the summer would have been a dismal experience, even with bright sunshine and warmer temperatures. Experiences are impaired by those also experiencing.

We completed our circuit of the island, getting lost and disorientated by the dunes at one point, and then headed back towards the village and the Priory – which was also sadly closing just as we arrived.

But then I suppose that’s the issue with spontaneous trips. No planning, just going off and doing. You’re not always going to get it right. Although to tell you the truth, I’d rather do it my way than be thrust into expected patterns of behaviour.

We stopped at the Manor House Hotel for a quick bite before going up to the lookout tower to watch the sun set. It was a fitting way to end the day. No noise, no people, no words said, just a shared moment. Calm, peace, solitude. Looking out over the water you could feel the significance of the islands.

img_4974Click to view full size.

I want to talk about Twitter for a moment.

Some time ago I posted on here about Twitter not being real, about it being a ‘a meaningless yet useful tool for communication’. How haughty and superior I was, thinking that this thing didn’t matter to millions of people, that real connections weren’t formed in 140 characters, that people couldn’t love and hate – in equal measure – within it’s databases.

Perhaps me posting that entry was a sign to the universe to shaft me, because since then, Twitter or rather the connections made within, has been very real. And occasionally emotional and occasionally painful. If I was brighter I’d probably talk about how relationships and connections are changing in the digital world and how social media is the catalyst. We ‘meet’ people we wouldn’t normally meet. We connect with people from different walks of life. We share facets of our personality which we may hide in the real world. There’s a degree of anonymity and safety which comes from communicating over vast distances and virtual mediums. We can be who we want to be. We can fly whichever flag we choose to fly. We can put on masks, take off masks, filter, alter, amend, enhance. We can love at a distance and not get hurt. We can display hostility at a distance and from behind locked private accounts and suffer no consequences. No one is waiting around the corner to cause us harm, sticks and stones may break bones but names over the internet cannot hurt, right?

Each Twitter handle, each online personality, contains within an often vulnerable real person. A real soul capable of feelings, capable of hurt, capable of lies, capable of harsh truths. Pull back the masks and filters and alterations, amendments, flattering angles and inside there’s a Me or a You. Step away from the protection offered by a virtual medium and there’s a world of hurt in the real. We’re capable of forgetting that. We’re capable of seeing these transient connections which we make and not understanding the gravity of them. Not grasping how important they can be. To some people those connections are incredibly real, incredibly important, exceptionally vulnerable.

What’s my conclusion? Perhaps that I am guilty of not seeing just how real these connections can be and treating them with disrespect and disdain. Perhaps that I am guilty of expecting the masks and filters to translate into the real – they seldom do. Be kind, be cautious. I’m going to learn from my errors, learn from my mistakes, take lessons from very recent and very real experiences. If someone gives you a piece of them; be that in the street or on Twitter (masked, filtered or other), treat that piece with respect and kindness. Because behind that small piece of @ there is a real person who is reaching out and putting themselves at risk. They can be hurt.

Sorry…