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24/11/2023

from certainty to wonder - from narcissistic fantasy to meeting the other. taking a step from certainty leaves the body displaced and shaky (on one leg) until ground is found and known - like losing and finding soap in the bathtub

 

how many legs might be needed to feel stable? a horse galloping through the sea occasionally loses one to a sudden drop and remains with momentum. 4? 5? how many legs are enough, or indeed too much? 

 

the number not as important as the awareness of the many legs that rest, waiting for ground when we take a courageous step that brings the legs into being

 

i’m reminded of rilke’s ‘der schwan’ - how this creature lumbers across land ‘labouring through what is still undone’ on 2 feet until, meeting waters that ‘receive him gently’ he ‘condescends to glide’. the legs that served awkwardly surrender into the current of the waters that places him ‘in his full majesty, ever more indifferent’

 

his legs give way to a vessel of majesty and are no longer relied upon. the ego, in lacanian terms, ‘a signifier that has been taken possession of by repression’ here symbolised by the swan’s legs, no longer stumbles awkwardly in a desire for recogition. instead, it falls away into what lacan terms ‘the Other’ - ‘the locus in which is constituted the i who speaks to him who hears, that which is said by the one being already the reply’

 

the swan surrenders it’s legs and is met by waters that reveal ‘his full majesty’. majesty here not belonging to the swan but rather an expression of the contact where swan’s delivering himself into a lack of legs meet the waters that carry him. the dichotomy of legs and land dissolves into a paradoxically codependent, yet equally distinct function of buoyancy and gravity

 

the function of the subject in language as always already objectified in the anticipation of signification, but ‘the Other extends into the subject beyond language itself, in the constitution of the subject as it enters into language’. a state where the promissory illusion of legs are simultaneously known and discarded 

 

of note too is how the swan looks to ground when walking awkwardly yet looks ahead when surrendering into water. it does not need to place its head under water to validate the necessity of lacking legs. to do so would drown the swan as it would be in a constant desire for ground that was not there. the swan liberates itself from repression through its surrender into lack - its legs are no longer used to bear its weight and the swan does not challenge the water 

 

reverence, joy and majesty

23/09/2023

it was one of those earth redefining shits this morning 

the type that separate devil from soul and leave one empty and full 

a cleansing not just of one’s internal dimensions but of life itself 

a lens recast in golden light 

blend melon and fage yoghurt you get cod liver oil flavours in your burps 

childhood romances and playing outside reminisce of autumn turn winter food shopping trips with you 

i’ve been tired of keeping myself asleep while awake to prevent my sleep from making me feel alive 

no more 

i’m here, heaven send 

heaven here with me, in me, of me i ask why i didn’t take this shit sooner 

god i am not you but of you i see 

i am not the devil either 

i flush that bitch down the drain 

i am not god and i am free

25/09/2022

service has many qualities. submission, deference, respect, care, duty. contained in service I believe there to be a most important gift. service is not with intention of gain, loss or any worldly outcome. service has a quality of pointing toward the divine. service is not to be confused with an act of the divine, but rather a way of honouring a non-self other. it is a way of pointing toward a not-self. not known and so not capable of being pointed at, but pointed to in trust; that fickle, important thing. trust that self alone is meaningless. trust in meaning that brings it into being. but if this trust is held in contempt by a society and its people, by the way it educates, interacts and propagates; if meaning is distorted through crude translation to convey ignorance, what then. how do you heal the womb when it is riddled with cancer. poor womb. laugh with soft eyes and settled breath. i find this most difficult

19/09/2022

the queen's funeral was today. tnh and elizabeth died this year. i felt them in qigong tonight. a reminder that we breathe the same breath and that through practice we act as conduits to the world we bring into being

10/06/2022

feeling down but standing up? you are wrong

08/04/2022

harmonise. collect. accept. accountability vs control. theses themes are a few that have made up ribbons of enquiry the past few years. there is a quality of being held in each of them. as if i were settled in a hand crafted bowl. this bowl precious not in utility but in the stories and memories that have collected about its identity. the collection of interactions that have made this vessel a suitable, trusted companion in which to house myself. i am learning to hold and to be held. to be both the contents and the vessel - a reality that has me simultaneously experience a weightlessness and urgency. i am down in devon at the moment as spring chaotically battles with the last throws of winter. light has returned. birdsong at breakfast. i am not sure if taste has returned to the air or if this new awareness is consistent with a general opening of myself to the season. british winter does not agree with me. i seem to have gathered some things that do not belong in my bowl. housekeeping is creeping its way up my agenda. see what’s what, where and maybe some time for how and why later on. pretty tired of thought lately. looking forward to the sea tomorrow morn

25/03/2022

reflections walking freestyle across a field. slowing down makes potential possible. where i might have walked from a to b i now start at a, and at some point in time will arrive at b. unlike before, the path emerges as i tread. in that unknowing, the boundary of relationship between who i am and where i’m going dissolves. breathing deeply plays a huge part in this

04/01/2022

behind the veil of self-importance lies a world beyond thought, a place with nowhere further to go and everywhere to explore. sometimes still, sometimes violent, always true to its necessities. a place where want is replaced with belonging

09/08/2021

there’s a tension between the materialistic desire for things to be fixed/known and the knowledge/experience that everything is in a state of entropy. most of us aren’t brought up to be comfortable with being degrading bags of flesh. we’re caught in this seemingly paradoxical conversation between flexing our materialistic/socially constructed significance and defecting to the reality that we will all return one day to the soil. can’t help but think a conversation that speaks to the ‘isms’ might be one about how we grieve - both the loss of something had and lack of something not yet gained. ideology has yet to enable space enough for expression and reconciliation of grief. communists: displacement (the hurt is too great, we can not associate with our experience); capitalists: deflection/projective identification (the hurt is too great, let’s associate with things that protect us from our experience) - interesting how these ideologies push away from contactful conversation, but in different ways. one through making less of the self-experience, the other through making more. funny thing about perceptual frames is exactly that - how one looks informs what one looks at. if we're trained to look through a certain view, the world seems to make sense that way - as if any alternative view were impossible. what's quite nice/meta about trading - everyone follows their edge and with significant levels they all line up - promotion of trading to end humanity's suffering? alas, for every trade there is a counterparty - so to say trading ends humanity's suffering is to assume we can correctly price and distribute everyone's value proposition in such a way that makes lack and loss obsolete inter-personally and inter-temporally, in perpetuity or we can get over our being had by this side quest of significance, notice where we stand and speak from this place

24/03/2021

the divergence between shape, symbol and identification, however small, results in magnitudes of scale differences across time - an answer is never the answer - a question never fully formed. a line that is straight is a deviation from the line that is not

09/02/2021

holding onto grief is an attachment to death, an unwillingness to move - like stapling autumn leaves to branches, scorning nature. holding onto grief is lack of expression - it eats away until the once soft inside is hollow, caved out, craving fullness - mind hears this as ‘get out of me parasite’ - caving out of the soul continues until there is nothing but a shell. bids to extract the pain instead carve out ever more important parts of self until what is left bears little semblance of a life worth living

07/02/2021

woke up this morning and lay in bed irritable. my back and neck hurt and i couldn’t get comfortable. i’ve felt like this for several weeks, maybe even months now. bad sleep and painful back/neck. i check my phone and scroll mindlessly. a post pops up on lament. i click and am taken to a video on loss of lament - how, in our modern dystopia, we are becoming ever disconnected from ability to connect with loss - increasingly feeding from a mirror image through virtual platforms and social media - enforcing a brittle ego-ideal in each interaction as justification for worth. i recognise this in my own experience - something i’ve known and turned away from in an ‘in-out’ battle over 12 years - open to being touched and closing off from deeper contact. allowing myself to feel, exposed to joy and suffering - closing off to numb myself from overstimulation. typing in ‘lament’ on youtube i find a video on gaelic lament. griogal cridhe c.1757, fhir a chinn duibh c.1650, cummha mhic criomain c.1746. a final song ‘tha mi sgith’ - tha mi sgith ’s mi leam fhim - i’m tired and i’m on my own. warm tears roll down my cheek and i’m reminded though i may be tired i am not alone. a memory of grief stirs and i’m transported back to chicago on the afternoon of 12th september 2016. my heart is broken and i am in a place i do not know awaiting return to london. walking down a road coming to what i later learn is the 4th presbyterian church, i walk inside and up these empty, expansive stairs. i open a door and find this room - beautifully spacious - a celtic pattern on the floor, glass chandelier in one corner overlooking the city - a piano just beneath. stepping through the maze on the floor, i make my way over to the piano. i open the case and place my fingers on the keys. fingers exploring each key - a conversation of what i am allowed to be, to feel in this moment - i am no pianist and i am in someone else’s space. finding a combination that make sense - these are notes of my lament. i play with the pedal - touching the keys softly, firmly - expressing where i am in a language i’ve not spoken. vibrations of these notes fills and empties the room for the next 40mins. a guard walks in and asks what i’m doing. i do not know ‘i love this room’ i reply and continue - suspended in the play between the vibrations of each note and the resonance of those before it - a rich blend in which i feel a deep belonging. he keeps at the door for longer than a few moments then leaves. i remember this time fondly. a desire to reconnect with these notes fills my body as i lie here. i get up and i go over to the piano - searching for the notes. i thought i’d written them down on a piece of paper back in chicago and i wanted to find it. i find the folded piece under the books by the piano - amused by the carelessness i’d treated this now significant gateway to a meaningful part of my life - grateful i’d kept it. b,c#,e,b - the notes sound uplifting and i am surprised. i play them some more, moving up and down the keys. there - in the space between the keys i find that sensation - that joyous humiliating release. my body relaxes and i allow myself to be touched - letting go of significance. 

14/12/2020

i walk along the pavement on my way to the gallery. purposefully stepping with destination in mind. the ground a wet grey and the sky an opening of blue - a contradiction that intrigues. a shot of cold wetness up my leg - my right foot is soaked. fucker! I burst into a smile and thank the day for this moment

30/10/2020

Review: Digital social transformation & democracy; my-side bias; value investing 2.0 #15 How do we respond to change? Evolving the architecture through which democracy operates, the evolutionary basis for reason, musings on division, gamers safe from depression(?), Louise Glück: crossroads

06/10/2020

if not now, when?

 

i’m fearful of making immoral choices. a step out of line. a step that houses a thousand consequences

my home feels wide open, exposed and undefined. things come and accrue in pockets of neglect - small things, important things. it takes me time to figure out what they are and how they take up space. some things take up too much, others not enough. some things i'd have been better not to leave in the shadows. but here they are. here i am with them. part of my fabric - both of us transforming. it’s not the physicality of these things, the symbols, which suffocate, but the space which is taken up. the space i refuse to challenge in myself. they take up space within my home, and yet i do not know their name

 

how can i talk if i do not know the space of my own home? i can’t tread honestly with knowledge of things inside myself left unexplored. what use is language when what it symbolises is a perceptual frame? a frame that is undefined

asking questions i've no right to ask

what is the conversation I fear? having an open house, with all doors open? where things can come and go as they like? some come in and i greet them. but they stay too long, and others cause pain. or rather, they take up space. i feel like i need a guard at the door, though i’ve tried (and failed) this route with intellect. cognitive deflections only increase my sense of self importance, myopic control and delusions of simplicity. intellect only silences screams for a moment. and it's not true silence. being silenced is like closing a valve on a squealing pressure chamber. the noise stops for a bit, but volatility is likely to expand more violently down the line. i'm tired of silencing myself

 

controlling, intense, fearful

i’m fearful of missing the conversation that needs to happen. fear is one lens. on the one side, i’m defensive, aggressive, protective. i’m fascinated, obsessed with unconscious desires and seek to keep them at bay (engaging super-ego). fear defines the border facing the external world (not in physicality, but psychically). care defines the border facing the internal world (that which has been accepted of self, initially, too, by self)

i’m fearful that, in not knowing all that constitutes self, i won’t be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with myself, and so will remain detached from a life of real connection with all there is to experience; deep connection with others, stories and self. i feel a simultaneous sadness and raw drive to see and be seen

 

i want to lead a life of spaciousness. to hold myself with the care and intention i do others. i’m learning to trust in space, in the potency of expansive simplicity beneath the surface of my thoughts. glimmers here and there. i’m learning to notice times where i feel spaciousness inside. breathing into the raw, whipping sea spray of the cornish coast, swimming in the sea early in the morning, engaged in honest, confrontational, at-the-edge conversation with self/another

 

in this way, exploring the boundaries of my own ‘house’, aware and accepting of pockets of space within is my frontier; my conversation 

18/07/2020

i'm just going for a walk

to do nothing more than walk

i'm going to walk

to spend time in conversation with my steps 

i'm going for a walk

for no other reason than to walk

momentum in each stride

weight of me held by earth

transferring from foot to foot

i am walker

 

now to put on my shoes

17/07/2020

Review: Realism; empathic listening; creative practices; race & identity; empathy based guilt #14 How do we respond to change? Knotty topics including empathy based guilt; race and identity; 'I am' by John Clare; creating pockets of time for ourselves to be present and attentive to our selves. 

03/07/2020

Review: Sexual personae; cultural trauma; designer ethics; non-thinking #13 How do we respond to change? Designer ethics and universal morality; impact of cultural trauma on collective; developing being mind; Camille Paglia on sexuality and dialogue; Rodrigo - Fantasía para un gentilhombre.

19/06/2020

Review: Transparency; deep forgiveness; narcissism & humility; empathic listening #12 How do we respond to change? Deepfakes: seeing is not believing; transcending echo chambers with empathic listening; practices for self-compassion; Oh De Laval's expression; Bashō: cry of the cicadas.

05/06/2020

Review: Division; fudoshin; nationalistic identity; acceptance; just enough booze #11 How do we respond to change? As nationalistic sensationalisation spreads, Amin Maalouf explores constituents of identity, and the dangers of associating with just one aspect of self. National Ambassadors recommend culturally sensitive reading; practice of Zazen. 

22/05/2020

Review: Value alignment in AI development; morality; meditating on strong emotions; sleep #10 How do we respond to change? The King Midas problem in developing values in AI/ML; evolutionary roots of morality; meditating on strong emotions; sleep tips. 

08/05/2020

Review: Lacan on jouissance; intuition & subconscious mind; eye massage;  the weighing; critical open-mindedness #9 How do we respond to change? Lacan on drive; free writing practice for developmental enquiry; critical open-mindedness and how to practice; tension release; poem by Jane Hirshfield and a provocative dance production. 

24/04/2020

Review: Behavioural reactions to stimuli; -40$ oil; anti-fragile; connection in adversity; space to breathe #8 How do we respond to change? Why do we fail to prepare well for disasters? Oil price crushed and the future of oil producing nations. Nassim Taleb on Antifragility. Austin Powers on the importance of perspective shifting. Trust and community in physical isolation. Humility and the lung meridian.

10/04/2020

Review: Group complexity; sitting with fear; zen for sanity; from "I" to "It" and back; toward systems thinking #7 How do we respond to change? Species-wide disruption revealing our systemic nature; Thich Nhat Hanh on daily practices for groundedness; bringing awareness back to body; David Kessler on grief; compassionate yoga and David Whyte - start close in. 

27/03/2020

Review: Shadow work; home; finding firm ground; traders on uncertainty #6 How do we respond to change? Fear: biological, psychological? Something in between... Mark Douglas on how traders face uncertainty. Finding ground and compassion in chaos. Leaning into fear and the shadow. Gaston Bachelard on poetics of space.

13/03/2020

Review: Non-violent communication' gestalt cycle of experience; fake smiles; the happiness curve #5 How do we respond to change? The universal happiness curve. Making sense of subtle signs and observations. Authenticity vs radical honesty. Fake smiles and integrity. How do founders choose which advice to listen to?

28/02/2020

Review: Safe & unsafe certainty; supply chains under threat; equality; authentic communication #4 How do we respond to change? Safe and unsafe certainty in a world of uncertainty. The markets respond to COVID-19. What do we mean by equality? Getting good sleep. The importance of authentic communication in leadership and some stretches for back pain. 

14/02/2020

Review: Future of work; somatic memory; boundaries; joy in darkness; old school poetry #3 How do we respond to change? Pwc outlook on workforce of 2030, David Rooke and William Torbert on leadership; how the body holds onto trauma with Bessel Van Der Kolk. Why the darkness is nothing to fear. Boundaries: what they are and how to develop them. 

31/01/2020

Review: Diaphragmatic breathing; Ray Dalio economic outlook; death and endings; surveillance tech #2 How do we respond to change? Ray Dalio on the next paradigm shift. Thoughts on endings and continuity from other cultures. Explore the moral implication of compassion vs rational benevolence. Learning to breath well.

17/01/2020

Review: Development; Kolb learning cycle; brain lateralisation; being and doing #1How do we respond to change? Esko Kilpi writes on human development in the 21st Century. We explore a conversation between Iain McGilchrist and Jonathon Rowson on brain lateralisation and 'trueness' of perception. Mary Oliver reads Wild Geese for us. 

30/08/2019

baby in the quiet carriage

 

context: several people working quietly in quiet carriage - me reading book titled ‘pathological altruism’. all carriages have plenty of space. two people take seat behind me and begin talking. within 10 seconds, person opposite me turns and informs them it’s a quiet zone. they are quiet for rest of journey. 30 mins in, a person with baby enters quiet carriage. the baby makes shrieking noises. the parent plays with baby. the carriage grows tense. no words are spoken to parent. below are reflections on the remaining 2hrs 40mins of my time on this journey 

 

why, as a social contract in context of ‘quiet carriage’, is baby allowed to make noise when friends conversing are not? why is the piercing shriek of a baby more allowable than the soft murmur of unaware adults? in labelling the carriage ‘quiet’, the variable under question is decibels - not number of people, not smelliness of food, not wealth - decibels. If carriage is to respect the social contract of ‘quiet’, surely it makes sense for constituents of carriage to hone in on the greatest outlier(s) of social contract? 

 

but what is the social contract? respect designated area unless capacity/extreme circumstances dictate otherwise? uphold the needs of child rearing parent above those of ‘average person’? what about of ‘average people’? at what point is the need of parent outweighed by that of group and vice versa? does context matter? what part does culture play? where does burden of responsibility lie? mind begins to clutter and persists

 

strictly speaking it is not baby, but parent of baby who breaches social contract in context of ‘quiet zone’. with plenty of space in other carriages, i label parent first as ignorant and then as obnoxious. i remain in this state of judgemental paralysis for 25mins or so - wanting to get up, not getting up and building in anxiety. what is this anxiety? guilt? i feel anxious around the appropriateness of response to their imposition on quiet. quiet is important to me - disruption gives rise to righteousness in me and i don’t want to go overboard. i feel guilty for not speaking up about my needs. i feel guilty for not standing up for what i perceive as a collective desire for quiet. i feel guilty about hiding behind my desire to protect them from my desire for them to be quiet. i feel guilty for wanting them to be other than they are. i feel more and more anxious the more conflicting thoughts i try to solve in a reductive way. mind continues to clutter, becoming increasingly rigid and inflexible 

 

conflicting thoughts intensify and i become further attached to ‘my right for silence in the quiet zone’. does it bother me? why does it bother me? self absorbed parent. self absorbed me. a desire for quiet turns to a binary want for silence. i remain seated. anger simmering. ’silence that fucking thing’ i think. i look over at person across walkway. they wince with each shriek and shake their head - face darkening with anger. seeing their anger manifest physically is the mirror i need to catch myself. my face softens and i laugh internally - had by my self-importance. sitting in stillness for the next hour as righteous anger leaves my body with each breath. clutter dissolving

 

judgemental thoughts reduced - mind clearer. baby still shrieking. can it be as simple as ‘this is a quiet zone - you are not quiet - please be quiet or leave’. yes, it could be, but i get a feeling that’s not ‘it’. i’m still attaching to a want for things to be other than they are

 

i’m reminded of the contextual labelling of space as ‘quiet zone’ - and my subsequent attachment to ‘quiet’ in this context. my attention turns inward. what is this ‘quiet zone’? mind begins to mull. to attach to label of ’quiet zone’ is to seek validation of an internal need (my need for quiet) from an external source (a zone outside of self). buddhism teaches this only leads to further suffering - it’s also my experience. there is no such thing as ‘quiet zone’ other than with oneself. falling victim to desire for control of external is therefore an admittance in denial of one’s own chaos. surely that’s where to focus one’s attention

 

breathing in, i find stillness in my abdomen. breathing out, tension released. this practice takes me through to my destination

 

reflecting on journey: there is a soft unspoken way of relating in this world that requires self-ownership, mutual cooperation and respect to function - some people get this, others less so. one thing i revisited today: we don’t desire/despise what we’ve accepted in ourselves

11/02/2019

the quality of water 

 

when wind blows over lake

or ocean

the water’s surface descends into a boiling mass of disturbance 

ripples, waves, commotion 

and in this moment, disruption appears to be the intrinsic quality of water

 

yet soon the storm passes, and with it ripples fade, waves reducing in magnitude. soon the tempestuous writhing mass returns to a sheet of crystal, reflecting the sky, trees and surrounding environment. soon, chaos turns to clarity

 

the sea and lake are like this in perpetuity. calm, violent. still, momentous. yet their intrinsic quality remains the same throughout - the depths of both remain unchanged come wind, rain, sun or storm

 

mind is like this 

 

when untrained, all small things seem relevant as they skitter across the surface, and if we give them attention, so our mind will mirror their chaos. when we pay attention to deeper more subtle sensations, we see more clearly - connecting with a place of inner stillness

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