Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Weyhey...



So this is what discovering chocolate looks like...




Thursday, 24 January 2008

Uncertainly,



Part of my need for a narrative structure is the need for certainty. I'm crap with open endings and so much of my compulsions are driven by the need to know where i'm going and what will happen. And now i sit once again with uncertainty and i twist. I twist and twist, like an itch which yearns to be scratched. And i must not. I have identified the underlying discomfort beneath the scream and it is uncertainty. Live with it. Understand this demon - my demon.

Why do i fear uncertainty? Where does the fear come from? Can i learn to live with it? Can i learn to love it? What can i discover from this demonic reaction to this fact of life? What does it reveal about me?

Uncertainty means... a lack of confidence in myself ultimately. I fail to believe in myself... an inherent ghostliness in the creation of my own persona. A fear of the future. Is the solution then to start creating a persona, to Thatcher-like pull myself up by my bootstraps, or simply acknowledge this will-o-whispiness and let go. Articulating it part of the process...and where could this lead?... The demon with no face. A mirror with no reflection.

...

Is the fear of uncertainly the presence of attachment?

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Baby baby...



I started Ghin on a bottle yesterday evening. He instantly knew what it was a loved it. I was delighted and disappointed at the same time. My baby is growing up - and won't need me to feed him with my body any longer. Women after speak of missing the night time feeds. I never understood this until it was time for the bedtime feed and then when he rejected the bottle a part of me went oh goody!!!

He now sits in his highchair, flipping through a peekaboo book, feeding himself a carrot stick snack and sipping from his bottle with Aptimil in it. And he look so grown up. He swings his body from side to side listening to Corelli. He'd do the same for Alphaville. Sometimes, over the past few weeks, especially since he turned one i look at him and wonder when did he grow up. How did i miss it? He watches the coal tits hop anxiously from branch to branch and shouts at them, pointing with great vigour and urgency. He gives flying kisses out of his ear. He shouts for dad! But everyone else is Ba! Including me. Sometimes when he's really fed up i'm mamamamama...He picks up the mobile phone to go Lo? into it very deliberately. He has mad hair. I must take more pictures. More more more....

I was giving Oisin drawing lessons this morning. Well we were both sitting and drawing. All this time i have refrained from 'influencing' him because i thought he has to develop his own style. Another learning. People have to learn the bascis before they develop their own style. His own style has been little stick figures and he wasn't happy about this at all. So i got some wax crayons out of Heidi's and began drawing with him. We started off with a scene from The Knight and the Lady and then Speed Bonny Boat (with Blackout and Scropinox in between. It turns out that all he needed was some coaching. So now had Bonnie Prince Charlie, a sailor and Pippi Longstocking on the boat. Oisin is a clown - a natural clown. He reminds me of my dad - and the clownier aspects of his dad. But everything is a joke - and that is the big lesson that Oisin has to teach me.

The point being...



What is the point of meditation - or any soul work for that matter? I'm beginning to think this...and it can be best summed up by this story...

Trungpa Rinpoche, the man who wrote Shambala, approached a guard dog. The dog was foaming at the mouth and barking wildly. As he passed, the chain on the dog broke and it ran straight at him. Instead of running away, or freezing in terror, he ran towards the dog. The dog surprised at his actions ran away.

Life is never ever going to be easy. No. Even if i did order it perfectly around me something is bound to come along and surprise me. Something that i will have no control over. Like war. Of famine. The plague. Black death. Piano falling out of the sky. Man leaving a bag of dog poo outside my gate. Anyway, the point is that a thousand and one things can take place everyday that will throw me off balance. The point of any spirit work is to be able to, like a skillful martial artist, almost intuitively anticipate these blows and then parry them, by learning from them. It isn't easy. There are my demons, and other peoples demons to make it more interesting. And the demons of our ancestors who are invisible and myriad. The truly skilled warrior is able to recognise the extra ingredients the demons add to the mix and to learn from them as well. Plunge into the heat of battle and leave your heart at the lotus feet of the lord.

I have since discovered that each moment is about this battle and the more spirit work i do, i think what's supposed to happen is that the more i am able to stay in this battle zone while being serene and calm. It's like the prophets being placed in the furnace. You are able to stay in the white heat, see the heat, acknowledge it, feel the burning - but paradoxically, not be burnt. And the way i'm slowly doing this is to notice everytime i get annoyed - which is a form of self-protection, weirdly enough - it see what the underlying emotion is. And then to breathe out light and love. Is it difficult? Feck...nothing could be harder.

For instance, there is a dog that insists on having a shit at the gates of our house. Yesterday the owner actually left the nicely parcelled bag of shit at the gate. Now i was really annoyed - really. I wanted to punch the man's face in. Then i thought, no, being annoyed is the unskilled reaction. Pitying him - saying he's a sad man - is also the unskilled reaction - it's judgementalism. Why do i feel this way - what's underlying this? And i looked. It was fear - was this man racist and was he putting this bag there because he was trying to intimidate me? Then paranoia - i'm being irrational i said as i doublethought myself, of course he isn't racist - or is he...? Then sadness, why would anyone do this to me/ to us? Then even a deeper sadness - please don't do this to me. And a weakness, a powerlessness. Feeling invaded and hurt - and having his successfully having hurt me. If indeed that was his intention. In fact it may not have been and he may just be a inconsiderate person. And i stayed with it, but without the downward spiral that it night bring, or the negativity. I just observed it, like clouds over the water. (I wonder if i'll ever be able to say they are beautiful ... those bizarre sad painful feelings?) Then i was able to relax. After admitting these feelings of pain i was able to say, it's alright. It's alright.

I'll just clear up after them. And i'll just keep clearing up. And as i do that i'll send out gentleness and love to this spot. And the man who did this.

And now when i get annoyed i stop and think why - i realise i get annoyed about a million times a day. So much of work to do. But it has to be done. It's like getting rid of junk i've had for such a long time. And still so much clutter to clear...

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Vajradhara The Primordial Buddha of Indestructible Blue Light



I am Vajradhara who grasps the balance of the worlds
I am the principle of judgment,
of order, of organization in the universe
My music is the rising and setting of the sun,
the music of the spheres,
the sound of the judge's gavel and the executioner's sword
I maintain things as they should be
I am the essence of the Law
I am the primordial buddha for those
Who value the celestial order
Who follow the institutions and the pathways trod by the founders
Who obey the teachings as they have been handed down
I am the origin of the universe for monks and nuns
And those who walk the sure and slow pathways to the heavens
I ease their way, and treat them fairly
I protect them from the forces of chaos and disorder.

For those on the fast path,
I am the gatekeeper to the Void
I hold the keys which open the bright mandalas
The labyrinths of minds,
both personal and universal
Through my bhairavas,
I work with karma, and concentration, and insight
Through my bhairavis,
I work with emanation, and manifestation, and creativity
I direct the traffic on the roads of spirit.

I am the appeals court judge of Karma
When guilt and innocence are clouded,
I enter
I hold high the vajra,
and the lightning of truth shoots forth
All confusion is clarified in the brilliance of divine lightning.
My emanations guide the souls to their appropriate fates.

In initiations, I guide the novices to the right paths
For their personalities, desires, and past deeds
I keep them from harm,
until they are ready to fight
The fight of their lives,
against their own darker emotions.

Then I give an ally,
who looks at first like the enemy
A bhairava in wrathful form,
who looks like an attacker
But is really a defender.
The novice will learn the narrow path of the spirit
And how to tell reality from illusion.
His earthly guru will teach morality,
philosophy, and concentration
His bhairava will lead him inwards,
walking with him
On the road to the Great Emptiness.

Earthly teachers give exercises,
which demonstrate the illusory nature of all things
Bhairavas teach directly,
by dissolving name and form
Traditions and lineages teach their favorite deities and mantras
My emanations strip off personalities
Like peeling a fruit.

I am the Buddha of beginnings and endings.
I greet the novice,
and set him on his path
And I bid him farewell as he steps into Emptiness
The great vajra balances the worlds
and the weight of Justice is upon my shoulders.

Narrative hiatus/midlife crisis



I do feel the narrative breaking down - mine that is. Or at least the effort at attempting to sustain it. I wonder if i should just try and listen to what life is telling me? What happens if life is not saying anything at all? What if there is nothing but radio silence? And then will i end up on another absurdist kick? Or worse still nihilism? What if life's music isn't amazing or comforting? What if i don't like what i'm hearing? What if there is no truth in here or out there? Is it a bit early to discover the glamour of the mask hides the terrifying vaccuum, especially since i might have another 40 years to live, statistically speaking? And then if that is the case does it all then come rushing in, all imploding like Alice's House of Cards? Does it all come falling down around my ears as i slip into the rabbit hole? I don't mind curioser and curioser - i'm terrified of emptier and emptier...and then what do i convery to my own children? Is this what they call a depression? Or being depressed? It's so boring to be drepressed, i always used to think. Does life not hold much more than this and is all my rushing around to keep this essential truth at bay?

Maybe it's just that just requires loads of effort and right now i'm just too bloody tired. I akm up at 3 am though - which means that i'm not that tired. I was hoping to go for a run after i put Ghin to bed, but that's when the cold and rain got to me. I'm so tired of running in the dark as well. Oh....have to go now, Ghin will start crying...

3.43 am



Ma left for Taiwan yesterday. I had forgotten she was going and called the house anyways. I settled Ghin in the high chair and punched in the numbers. No answer. Her mobile phone was not receiving calls either. I waited. What's happened? i wondered. Then i remembered. Was she already in Taiwan? My sister then called later that morning. Make sure you call your sister, my mother had told her. She called, sometimes i think that Jacq is the older sister. Jacq is responsible for so many boys in her school. She sounded just like my mom when she she said hello. And my mom sounds just like Mama. Is my sister becoming Mama. She had just gone through the gastric flu and was recovering. Man, what's happened to your voice, she said, hearing my husky tones. My dad then called later when he heard about my voice. You opk, he asked. Ma's in Taiwan, but you can call anytime. I'm not so good with the phone calls though, he said. But you can still call.

Talking to my dad is very strange. He doesn't really say anything, although it's not because he doesn't want to. He just doesn't do the phone conversations the way Ma does. She fills me in on everything - the weather in Singapore, the political scene - especially if it includes political scandal - it's the Ministers' pay rise that has everyone talking now...the family's saga, the news about Yati next door, my grandmother's health, Chinese New Year preparations - all the thousand tiny things that life is made up of.

Oh i'm soooo fed up. I can't wait for summer to come round. I've had enough of winter and the wetness and the cold and the heating bills and the mucky garden and...just tired of it really. It's been a long time since i've felt like that a bout the seasons - working in the RSPB meant that i appreciated them when they occured. The RSPB - how far away it all seems when it's really just down the road. I need to change something perhaps. Or maybe i just need to sit still for a bit. I began listening to the radio on the web and then turned it off because i realised i was just filling my life with sound for the sake of it. Escapism from the things i need to do like the accounts. Like the housework. Like the diapers. I just need a break i think. A good long hillwalk.

Friday, 18 January 2008

The Power of Love



Last night i sat with Ghin and watched the Top 20 Greast Love Songs on the magic TV station. It was really fun. There was George Michael being butch with not one but two women - in the most unconvincing way possible. Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet was proclaming how true and funny something seemed in his long jacket, looking like a failed extra from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Jennifer Rush was insisting that she was somebody's lady and he was her man, Robbie William and Gary Barlow wanting someone back for good. It was interesting not just for the retro fashion and lack of special effects, as well as slow editing, but because i had never seen many of these videos. When i was growing up in Singapore we did not have music TV and the local bootleg video circuit made good money with badly copied Top of the Pops episodes which were so far out of date that they were probably single handedly responsible for the overly long reign of large specs as spotted by DLT. We'd get these tapes and arrange viewings in friends houses, dead chuffed at how 'dangerous' we were being. Ooooh, tapes of music videos, how on the edge are we? It just couldn't have been further from the truth. We were so square and sad that it wasn't funny. There we were copying out the lyrics of Domo arigato Mr Roboto, stopping and starting the tape. Trying to make out Dexy's Midnight Runner's armpit hairs through the snow on the screen. Thinking that Duran Duran was the height of sophistication and that it was perfectly the most radical thing for a man to go about fully made up in dreadlock calling himself Boy George. Oh yes, we were hip.

Now when i look back, it's funny. I wonder what Oisin has in store for me by way of rebellion and dangerous.

Brave new world



If i am learning anything at all it is humility from doing the housework. I was cleaning up today in Oisin's room just before the boys set out for school. I was tired, fed up that i was cleaning, that everyone didn't seem to care about messing the place - and that i was once again going about picking clothes off the floor. And then i realised that i WAS getting annoyed. That's interesting, i thought. In the past, this would have resulted from what i can only describe as 'cleaning with attitude', often charaterised by the phrase 'if i've cleaned this place once, i've cleaned it a thousand times' and lots of sullen chucking of clothes into the laundry bin. This time i did not get angry...and saw that the underlying emotion for the anger was INJUSTICE. I was thinking that it was VERY UNFAIR that i was the one who had to clean the room up.

UNFAIR. That's an interesting word/idea isn't it? The fact is, i have come to discover that on a personal level life is unfair. It is unfair that i had a great family and a dad who spoiled me. It is unfair that all i had to do from the ages of 6 - 21 was study and have lots of fun. It is unfair that i was not allowed to go for 'functions' until i was 18. It was unfair that we have two houses - one in Belfast and one in Donegal. And as it was pointed out by a sexist woman that it was unfair i had two sons and no daughters. So life is unfair. Whaddya gonna do about it?

Personally, i've decided to chuck out the unfair idea which has caused so much unhappiness in my life, and replace it with compassion. It's a lot harder than it sounds. Because underlying or overlying the feeling of unfairness, is pride. And there is a lot of pride attached to the actions which has resulted in the idea that things are fair or unfair. Least of all, the pride that must take a backseat when you need to admit that you're wrong - and fairness has nothing to do with it.

I do not know where this leaves me, what i do know is that, i am able to feel happier now that i've dropped this unfair shit. Life is what it is - you win some, you lose some. And in the meantime there are a few lessons to be learnt along the way.

How many actions have resulted from the fear and pain/hurt that we have felt, especially when we were young, learning patterns off parents and generations of ancestors before us? And then you have therapists telling you over and over again that these patterns are valid. That you are entitled to be angry and that you can rehearse this anger, that you should feel pride in yourself, that occassional hanging out and letting lose is good for you... it's weird how hard wired these things are in us. And yes, you can do all these things - but there is a big difference in doing them aware and unaware.

So drop unfair/and fair is my learning for today. It is what it is. You want it to be different, make it so - and don't be surprised when someone says that the new world order you've created is unfair.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Don't know why....

A friend today commented on how tired i was. I'm tired? She's just given birth to a new baby, has three children and is in the middle of moving house and I'm TIRED???!!! I feel like such a wimp really. Compared to her i'm living a life of complete self-indulgent luxury. I am a bit perturbed though about the 'situation', but can do little about it beyond hope that time brings some resolution. I don't feel comfortable with not trying to 'do' something, but i've decided to not 'do' anything and just get on with my own life. After all i'm not a crazymaker - not anymore anyways...

School now and stuff. I must get things in hand now with so much. The houses, the garden, school publicity, not to mention the running which has fallen by the wayside since Bali. I do feel a general yeechiness. But quite a few people are feeling a general yechiness. It might just be the weather, the stars, the coming bad weather/low pressure.

Ghin is growing up by the day - today he refused to let anyone talk after he had decided we should leave. Everytime i tried saying anything more to Anita he would interrupt with what can only be described as speechifying. He made talking noises and arm gestures, insisting that no one be able to say anything and everytime we started up again we would start up too. In the end i had to leave to shut him up.

I have discovered the most amazing facemask. It really isn't a facemask as it turns out but a mixture of ground seaweed powder and it smells powerful - like the beach at low tide in the middle of summer. I had this really flaky skin and slapped some of it on - and now the skin is as smooth as a baby's bottom. It's really cool. Oh i'm so scattered that it feels very much what's the use...

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

My how we've grown!


Ummmmm sugar puffs.....


The Out to Lunch festival has a really impressive line up this year mom...


Awwwww, cos i can turn it on too...


Look aren't i cute eating this apple?


Come on, give us a smile....

So i'm sitting here, trying to catch up with my stupid writing. I have been thinking about writing fiction again. I so miss it, expressing and feeling the world again in those tactile, luminescent colours. Only i know that in order to write fiction i must enter into a totally different space. Now the problem is, that my fiction space is not a good place for me to be personally. It's a place where i become emotionally unstable and quite scary to be with - most notably to myself. Once Rilke (and i in no way compare myself to him), said when they told him he should get his bipolar condition seen to, But i might scare away my angels too. It's really like that - you bring in the angels, there is no garuntee that the devils won't follow in through the open door.

I keep thinking that perhaps with all this meditation work, i'm now less volatile and can take what comes. I'll have more control of the situation. However, even if i was to go there and dip said toe into water, (or unsaid now), there is a question of time. There is no question as well that my brain has become mushier than usual. When i say mushier, i mean where words, concepts, etc are concerned, i seem to have developed the attention span and cognisizing ability of a ball of lard. Possibly the lardball would do better. People would say things to me which are quite simple and i'd go what who where? oh... isn't that shade of blue very pretty. My vocabulary seems to have shrunk as well. Words which used to come to me so easily have now got to be rummaged around for in the basement of my memory. It's a sight and a half to see me before the computer staring into the thin air before me, straining as if the words will appear before my eyes magically...if i am lucky while i am driving three hours later they then appear. Oh yes, that's the word i was looking for...hmmmm.... Oh dear. Ghin have you just done a shit. I suppose i do have an excuse....

Possibly, speaking about shit, the least most favourite part of being mommy is that i have to wash Ghin's shitty diapers. It really is awful. I haven't quite gotten used to it even after all these months. Thankfully he'll be potty trained soon...? Possibly in the next year or so. I have hope. His cousin, it seems now says poo-poo when she has done the deed. The deed without a name... from the Scottish Play, of course...

I'm just rambling now. But i'm hoping, perhaps that i will find the time to do some writing. Occassionally i will feel like writing poetry - or rather poems come to me. And then i forget them and they're gone. It's really frustrating. So i plough on. Maybe just maybe...maybe this year...

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

It's good to talk



Sometimes i think that we get sick so just that we know what it feels like to be well. I was so bloody sick after the Giant's ring last week. A really bad chill resulted in fever and hypershivering. I had to cancel dinner with a friend i hadn't seen for months and i dressed up in a scarf, hat and track bottoms over thermal underwear and sweated profusely in bed 0 but was cold all this time. Thing is, i had been taking Lemsip and Anadin Extra now for the last three days and my skin had been transformed into some sort of flaky sandpaper. It was dehydration, i know, but it was also all those painkillers going through me. So i decided that was enough of the painkillers and i was going to just have to wait this one out.

I lay back, the symptoms of the flu-like chill were beginning to appear again. My feet, my legs, my arms were beginning to ache and shiver. What am i going to do, i wondered? It's so bloody awful. I don't want this. I don't want to feel ill. I want to feel better. Go away go away. And all the time it was getting worser and worser and then i thought, i'll breathe. I'll do some meditation. And so, with Ghin lying beside me, just fallen asleep, i began. Breathe. Breathe. I feel my feet. My feet ache. I feel my calves, my calves ache. I feel my legs, my legs ache. And i went all the way till my head. And then i relaxed completely into the flu and continued breathing. Then the pain began to subside and the sweating eased off. I want to heal myself i thought. Heal myself, i said and then something else said to me, no do not heal yourself. Change the pain into a golden light and feel yourself expand with it and then send healing to all the things in the world that need healing with this light. So i thought of the rainforest, mostly the rainforest actually. And a deep peace like a cool long drink came into me. And at that point i began feeling a lot lot better. After that whenever i felt a 'tremor' of illness it seemed to 'right itself' again. I'm certainly going to try that again if i fall ill.

And Lemsip, if it doesn't work.

Sometimes as well we go through unexpected occurances in our lives, possibly to see how evolved we have become. It's as if the universe sets little tests for us to see if we've learnt anything. Most of the time i fail these tests miserably, especially if it's like a surprise test. And by surprise test i mean i don't see it coming. Tests that i can see coming are, standing in a queue, or being caught at red lights in heavy traffic, situations which you'd normally classify as quite stressful, or potentially stressful. Ghin crying like a maniac. Receptionist at health centre who sees herself as gatekeeper to Wizard and me as insect. I'm quite good at these now. Red light meditation. Slow OAP on Road meditation. Annoying driver behind me meditation. Whinny pimply adolescent serving at counter meditation. However sometimes life just throws one in to see if you're complacent if it's real learning or just ego. Ah ha, it'll say when i stumble, see it's bloody ego isn't it. You've not learned anything at all - your pose is simply a new trick. It's not REAL deep tissue learning woman. And the big stick comes down to thwack me over the shoulders - wake up wake up!!!! You're supposed to be awake not on auto pilot you smug git, life says.

Such an incident recently took place. I can't mention details, but suffice it to say i wasn't prepared. It was an ambush actually i felt not thwacked over the head, but like a rabbit caught in the headlights. After i had scraped myself off the road and limped away to the nearest blood bank, i did 'thinking'. Firstly, i did not get angry, which was good. Because i was actually really wounded and hurt - and i stayed with that. I stayed with that and cried. I am sad, i am hurt, i am in pain. Stay with it. I feel self-pity. Stay with that too. I feel so unjustly treated. Stay with that. All those silly vulnerable emotions which i was told were silly and vulnerable. Emotions which usually were glossed over for something more bellicose. Like yelling. Or outrage. Or disgust. Or murder. You know, the usual feelings. AGGRESSIVE ones. Keep my heart open, breathe, do not let anger form a layer in a faux attempt at self-protection. So it was interesting to do this sort of thinking. After the hurting and the crying of course. Not getting angry was also interesting.

Then i wondered what am i going to do about the situation. I did think i should go over and 'talk' and i then i wondered what possible use should or would 'talking' have.

Three things then occurred to me in rapid succession. First, the words 'it is you who say i am'. They are the words that Jesus says when he is asked by Pilate if he is the King of the Jews. You see when someone insists on one thing and you insist on another, what happens is that there is a conflict of narrative. And then you are so going to want to ensure that you are right and the other person is wrong - and someone will then have to back down. What happens when no one backs down - thermo nuclear war, what's what. And as some graffitti on a study carrol in Exeter said Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity...So what's to be done then?

What then swiftly followed was the phrase, which Bhudda says as he places his hand in the gesture of mudra on the ground 'the earth is my witness'. The truth is that no one knows what this truth is or the right narrative will be. Only the unseen eye of truth itself - and where is that? That's what the earth is my witness means. Because not even my heart knows the truth - no eye in existence can see the truth - only the fourth, fifth, sixth realm of conscious/unconscisness knows it. In that no place, resting the truth there calms me. I know what i have done because the earth has it in its keeping. It is beyond having to testify or speak about it. Or justifying it to anyone, including myself.

Finally there is truth in action - our actions will bear us out - you can talk and talk and talk, but in the end, if it does not translate it action, then it is nothing. You can have all the beliefs or knowledge or faith but if you do nothing about it or make no attempt to do anything, then it is as good as not having them at all. It's a bit harsh that - but perhaps the better way of putting it, is experiencing reality directly without deception or running away. And i know that talking about it is not the same thing as going through it.

Yes, stay awake, stay awake that's all the universe asks of me. Stay with the feeling, myself and the person before me. And struggle. It's ok to struggle. We all struggle. That perhaps is the most wonderful thing about being human, the struggle. After awhile i begin to look forward to it, to embrace it. A little masochistically perhaps - bring it on, as Marie says. Bring it on. To say i know you. There is this lovely story of Milarepa a Tibetan monk who lived in a cave and his demons came to visit him. He then shouts at them, How lovely of you to come and visit today. You must do the same thing tomorrow. Come often, i so enjoy our chats. It's great isn't it? I'm really looking forward to the day i can feel with such gratitude when my shadows come calling. Twas nice talking to you.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Coverage







Here's a film clip on the Irish News website: http://www.in.tv/news296.php

We were on the front page of the Irish News today - and mentioned in the Irish Times. We also got on Good Morning Ulster as well as the noonday news with an 'as live' feed. It was really really great.

My quote there is for Pa, who will be thrilled that i had a quote in the newspapers cos he likes that sorta thing. Really tired and a bit bunged up now.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

A year and a day


Laiose Kelly from Dublin poses with Harpers for Tara


Marie Burns and Laiose play on the embankmment of Giant's Ring


The media


Laiose and the cairn stones


The harpers and Max at the cairn stones.

Can i tell you what an incredible day i had? Please.

It began at 6 am. But actually it began a lot earlier than that. I dreamt, all night, about Tara. The most vivid part of the dream we were in a huge house and there was a party in honour of Tara being held. Then someone said to me, the band is here and we all ran to the windows to see. And out of the mist there emerged an entourage of people. They were all young - in their 20s and 30s - and they had this appearance of incredible presence. But they were also so very normal. I remember in particular one of them, a young man, with curly hair, he had crooked teeth and they were laughing and merry making. They had their King in a chair and they came to me. they gestured to an empty chair they had brought with them and asked, Where is your King? Bring your King. I don't think they meant Elvis either.

I woke at 5.30 and Ghin was laughing. I laughed back. And then had to get ready to leave by 7. I finally got away at 7.30. And then it was the Giant's Ring followed by home and the Giant's Ring again. Meida coverage was wall to wall. But i knew it would go well. In my mind's eye there was the Da Danaan, laughing and...singing. Tara will be saved. It must be.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Tara! Tara! Tara! Pt 2



It's amazing the whole thing has taken a life of its own now. Laoise Kelly the harpist with the Chieftians is coming up to play at the Ring. Here's the latest press release. The Green Party say that it's too late. How can it be too late when they haven't done it yet? It's shocking the ignorance and stupidity, not to mention greed and ugliness that have gone into making the decision in the first place. We hoped that it would be reversed, but obviously a deal was cut and it will not be reversed.

Here's the press release anyways. If you're local please try and be there are noon.

SAVE TARA CAMPAIGN IN THE NORTH
EMBARGOED UNTIL 8 JANUARY 2008, 0000HRS
7 Jan 2006

TARA! TARA! TARA!
Musicians and poets North and South get voices together to Save Tara

The Save Tara campaign was marked in the North with a stellar gathering of musicians and poets on 8 January, the international day of protest to preserve the site.

Laoise Kelly, harpist with the Chieftains, Marie and Ursula Burns, Belfast harpists and actress Roma Tumultey were just some of the names which turned up at the Giant’s Ring to read poetry and play music. The beautifully preserved henge on the outskirts of Belfast is a near double of Lismullan, the henge found near Tara which is slated to disappear forever under the M3.

Campaigner and artist, Anita Greg, said, “We are deeply upset and disappointed that the government have decided to go ahead with the building of the road which so many people are opposed to. We are still hoping that at the eleventh hour they will take note of the change circumstances and think again. We appeal to the Green Party to reverse the decision made by the previous government.”

The controversial road was proposed six years ago in order to take the increasing commuter traffic between Navan and Dublin. However, when construction for the road began, the area was found to be filled with artefacts dating back to the Neolithic Age, including a gigantic woodhenge now called Lismullin. The site was voted by the Archaeological Institute of America as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in the world in 2007. Work was stopped and when excavation began, a wealth of artefacts was uncovered. However the site was handed over to the Roads Agency over Christmas and construction is due to begin soon.

The Save Tara campaign maintains that it is vital to preserve, not just the Hill of Tara, but the surrounding complex. Ms Greg said, “It is clear that we all feel very strongly about this and this is seen by the number of artists who have turned up to lend their voices to this issue. It is not just our history and culture that are at stake – it is also our future. People who know where they have come from will know where they are going to. This attitude towards Tara is very short sighted. There is so much information coming to light and we don’t really know how they fit together yet. There could be a tremendous breakthrough for Ireland and the world and the area must be looked after for future generations. Whereas the traffic problem is temporary and it is very possible that the motorway will shift the traffic jams further into Dublin. In contrast, the destruction to our heritage is permanent.”

The crowd who gathered at the Giant’s Ring held a ceremony in solidarity with Tara. The birthday of Amharghin Doran, who was a year and a day old, was also celebrated. “We hope,” said Ms Greg, “that he and other children will carry the spirit of Tara – which is that of music, poetry, and harmony with the land, as well as imagination into the future, where it will not be destroyed or drowned out by the noise and fumes of traffic.”

His mother, Stephanie Sim, environmental activist said, “It is important that we take into account the way in which we go about creating a future. The so-called policy of road improvement has been seen to fail everywhere. Furthermore, all the latest evidence that shows it is strong, caring communities that people want, not atomised societies which spend inordinate amounts of time in cars. We need investment in public transport and meaningful local work.”

With the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, Ireland must also find ways to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel, the campaign said. “It would be far better to revive the existing railway which could be compromised by the building of the road,” said Ms Greg.

The campaign also made its way to Stormont to bring the message and signatures from those gathered at the Ring to the Green Party. “We hope that the Green Party, the only other all-Ireland party, will take our message to the Ministers for the Environment and Transport and Communications in the South and ask them to develop more imaginative strategies to carry us into the future,” said Ms Greg.

Ends

Save Tara in the North (www.tarataratara.net)
Anita Greg: 02890802842, 07944969373, anitagreg@gmail.com
Stephanie Sim: 07914586162, stephanie_simdoran@hotmail.com
Ursula Burns: ursulaburns@hotmail.com

Other facts about Tara/Lismusllan site:

1. The 2,000-year-old site is just over a mile from the Hill of Tara, traditional seat of the ancient Irish Kings and site of St. Patrick's conversion of the Irish to Christianity in the fifth century A.D. The discovery of the massive Henge, measuring more than 260 feet in diameter, confirms the long-held belief that the area around the hill contains a rich complex of monuments.

2. The extraordinary amount of archaeological remains on the Hill of Tara--burial mounds, religious enclosures, stone structures, and rock art dating from the third millennium B.C. to the twelfth century A.D.- makes it Ireland's most spiritually and archaeologically significant site.

3. Construction of the new M3 highway, meant to ease traffic congestion around Dublin, threatens not only the Hill of Tara's timeless quality, but also newly discovered archaeological sites in the surrounding valley.

4. The European Commission have initiated legal action against the Irish government over the M3, charging Ireland with failing to protect its own heritage, as well as not promoting public transport.

One year on

We celebrated Ghin's birthday with a few friends this evening. He was teething and wasn't really up to it. Tomorrow's going to be a big day with the action at the Giant's Ring. It should be good fun, if nothing else. Already we've got Radio Ulster and i'm hoping for a bit more as well.

So, here are the pictures anyways... enjoy.


The cake...


Birthday boy


Lara and birthday boy


Oisin and Jago indulge in a bit of panto

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Tara! Tara! Tara!

SAVE TARA CAMPAIGN IN THE NORTH
EMBARGOED UNTIL 8 JANUARY 2008, 0000HRS


6 Jan 2006


TARA! TARA! TARA!
More imagination needed to save Tara and build sustainable future for Ireland


Note to Editor: The Save Tara campaign will hold a ceremony at the Giant’s Ring at noon on 8 Jan. There will be music, theatrics and poetry. Harpist Ursula Burns will play. A cake will also be cut in celebration of a baby’s first birthday to symbolise the future of children and the environment in Ireland. The campaign also be at Stormont at 1.30 to present a cake in the shape of the Lismullan henge to Brian Wilson, Green MLA. Please contact Stephanie Sim on 07914586162 for more details or to arrange an interview or/and photo opportunity.


On 8 January, the Save Tara campaign found its way to the Giant’s Ring. The beautifully preserved henge on the outskirts of Belfast is a near double of Lismullan, the henge found near Tara which is slated to forever disappear under the M3.


Campaigner and artist, Anita Greg, said, “We are deeply upset and disappointed that the government have decided to go ahead with the building of the road which so many people are opposed to. We are still hoping that at the eleventh hour they will take note of the change circumstances and think again. We appeal to the Green Party to do what many of its members have elected them to – reverse the decision made by the previous minister.”


The controversial road was proposed six years ago in order to take the increasing commuter traffic between Navan and Dublin. However, when construction for the road began, the area was found to be filled with artefacts dating back to the Neolithic Age, including a gigantic woodhenge now known as Lismullin. The site was voted by the Archaeological Institute of America as one of the top ten archeological discoveries in the world in 2007. Work was stopped and when archaeologists began excavating the area, they uncovered a wealth of artefacts. However the site was handed over to the Roads Agency over Christmas.


The Save Tara campaign maintains that it is vital to preserve, not just the Hill of Tara, but the surrounding complex. Ms Greg said, “It is not just our history and culture that are at stake – it is also our future. People who know where they have come from will know where they are going to. This attitude towards Tara is very short sighted. There is so much information coming to light and we don’t really know how they fit together yet. There could be a tremendous breakthrough for Ireland and the world and the area must be looked after for future generations. Whereas the traffic problem is temporary and it is very possible that the motorway will shift the traffic jams further into Dublin. In contrast, the destruction to our heritage is permanent.”


The crowd who gathered at the Giant’s Ring held a ceremony in solidarity with Tara. Ursula Burns the renowned harpist played and candles were lit as part of a ceremony. The birthday of Amharghin Doran, who was a year old on 7 January, was also celebrated. “We hope,” said Ms Greg, “that he and the other children will carry the spirit of Tara – which is that of music, poetry, and harmony with the land and as well of imagination into the future where it will not be destroyed or drowned out by the noise and fumes of traffic.”


His mother, Stephanie Sim, Green Party member and environmental activist said, “It is important that we take into account the way in which we go about creating a future. The so-called policy of road improvement has been seen to fail everywhere. The building of roads only leads to more cars and heavier traffic, which leads to more roads again. Is an ugly grey sprawl to replace the forty shades of green? Is Ireland to become a soulless, oil-dependent suburb? Most disappointingly this road goes against the latest evidence that shows it is strong, caring communities that people want, not atomised societies which spend inordinate amounts of time in cars. What is required is an investment in public transport and meaningful local work.”


With the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, Ireland must also find ways to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel, the campaign said. “It would be far better to revive the existing railway which could be compromised by the building of the road,” said Ms Greg.
The campaign also made its way to Stormont to bring the message to its Green MLA. “We hope that the Green Party, the only other all-Ireland party, will take our message to the Ministers for the Environment and Transport and Communications in the South and ask them to develop more imaginative strategies to carry us into the future,” said Ms Greg.

Ends

Save Tara in the North (www.tarataratara.net)
Anita Greg: 02890802842, 07944969373, anitagreg@gmail.com
Stephanie Sim: 07914586162, stephanie_simdoran@hotmail.com
Ursula Burns: ursulaburns@hotmail.com

2008



It is absolutely critical that i do two things - run everyday and write everyday. And then i must empty the bins, do the dishes and the laundry. This is because if i don't do this, i feel really, really, really crap. (It is probably a sign that i am slightly neurotic, but we all are and i figure they are probably better neuroses to have than say, having the urge to go on an mass killing spree, like George Bush.) The three weeks while Peter was away in Bali i wasn't able to run - and like the path not travelled, this really made all the difference. I was grouchy, i felt fat - even when i wasn't (which make me really, really grouchy, a throw back to the days when i was borderline anorexic, possibly -) and i was so tired. Then after he came back, there was Christmas and holidays and all the attendant chaos and overeating that brings (i went through a few boxes of liebekuchen.) It's only now that i'm beginning to get back to some sort of rhythm. Also, i hate to admit it, but when i didn't get running, i did feel resentful that i didn't have a 'life of my own'. I think it means that i didn't have any real 'me' time. (It could also mean i'm addicted to running.) And because i didn't get to destress, I also began to drink again - it was really funny - on the day before Peter was due home, i went to get a bottle of organic white wine - the first booze i bought in three months - which lasted about three days. However, after that there was Christmas and while it was two glasses max a day, it was still drinking, which i said i wouldn't do. Since then though, i'm back to no more booze.

On New Year's Eve, Peter asked me, what my resolutions were...no resolutions i said, just goals...i'll now pin my colours to the mast and list them publically. So for 2008...and we'll review this at the end of 12 months...

Personal
1. Run everyday
2. Write everyday
3. Practise Zen everyday in a practical, wommanist way e.g. not getting upset when Oisin behaves like a six year old
4. Watch less TV (probably the only real resolution...)
5. Garden properly

Family
1. Get houses sorted - including insulation
2. Keep control of budget
3. Develop routine for kids with or without holidays
4. Organise family holidays (already done holiday to Singapore, but that's easy)
5. Tax credits
6. Keep on top of housework

Political
1. Get Steiner website up and running
2. Keep Class One website going
3. Continue to shop sustainably for family and home
4. Keep on top of Green Party stuff

I think that's pretty good going. It's small, small stuff. However i am into small, small stuff now. Recently, i read this wonderful essay by Thich Nhat Hanh. It's from his book Zen Keys. I reproduce bits of it...

Our picture of an enlightened person is of someone very free who possesses spiritual strength and is not pushed around by the currents of society. The practioner, once enlightened, sees herself in her true nature, knows herself, and possesses a clear view of reality - the reality of her being and the social situation. This vision is the most precious fruit Zen can offer. The enlghtened person's way of being is the most fundamental and beneficent contribution to society and all life that she can make...

Contemporary man is dragged along in a producing and consuming treadmill to the point where he begins to become a part of the machine and loses mastery of himself. Daily life dissipates our spirit, eats up our time, and thus does not leave the opportunity to become aware of ourselves or return to our deeper self. Accustommed as we are to being constantly occupied, if these occupations should be taken from us, we find ourselves emputy and abandoned. Still, we refuse to confront ourselves and instead go off in search of friends, to mix in with the crowd, to listen to the radio or television, to get rid of the impression of emptiness.

...

Oh to be there and have the self-possession of a tree, or a cliff, or a cloud.

School, please



Three more days to the start of school. Three more days. I can't wait till it begins, not because of childcare, but because of the routine. It is really tiring. As a full time mother you never get away from your work. People talk about the office being full time now because you take your work home with you. As full time mom, your home IS your work, and it's always there, nagging at you. Bins, sinks, bathroom. Clothes, babies, food to be cooked. Garden, etc, etc. And hoe inadequate i feel that i am full time mom but my house is a tip. It's not that bad a tip, but i wish it would be neater. However, yes the routine of school would be really welcome.

Jac sent me a press clipping of Bim who is now Singapore's younbgest divisional police chief at the age of 32. It got me wondering to all sorts of things. It actually made me think of Rumpelstiltskin. You know how the miller's daughter gets a larger and larger room each time she suceeds at her impossible task of turning straw into gold. Everytime you get something done, something which was quite hard and pressurising, they'd give you something even harder and more pressurising to do. And they say this is a compliment. It means that we have trust in you. It means that you're capable. Capable? Are you mental? This is some kind of a reward? More work? Any way, at the end of it all, a small, wizened dwarf then comes alomg to collect his dues and you go, uh sorry, no. No can do. And of course he gets very angry. The truth is that no one really does everything on their own, right? You have loads of other people helping you out, but there's only one position for promotion, and guess what, it ain't the small dwarf who's gonna get it.

Anyway, i thought, good for Bim. And i also thought, Bim, the poet. Bim, the writer. Bim the boy who dreamt. And of our walks, conversations, ridiculous laughing. Of wondering and hoping and doubting. Of imagination and dolphins...And i thought it is a million miles away from anything we had talked about. It's not what i would want for myself, but good for him. And then i thought, what do i want, as the cot which now doubles as laundry hamper stared unblinkingly at me in a remorseless sort of way... I have no idea what i want. And then i heard something whisper, stop beating yourself up - let it go, breathe. I did feel much better then. And then i looked at Ghin asleep, right now this was what i wanted, to look after him and to make sure that when the time came, he wasn't afraid to dream.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Getting organised


My Cho Cho diary which i had to get from Ang Mo Kio's Mall.

I keep saying that i need to get organised but Ghin keeps waking up and he's really really becoming an active little boy which is a lot more work than an active little baby. Sockets, cables and sharp corners are all fair game. Anything which has a heavy object attached to it from the top of the table is also especially attractive. He also still loves books. If it isn't nailed to the floor it's a toy. We're now going to St George's Market and then it's off to a bookstore of some description with Liz. We are all tired at the fag end of winter. I went for a run today and nearly sprained my groin. Roll on 2 Feb - the start of Spring.




Ghin inspects the heating bill and inquires why we don't have better insulation. He says that cavity wall infill drastically cuts down heat loss.

And it snowed...


I can't tell who looks happier, Peter or the snowman...


Oisin tries out his new sled. Mush mush...


In Stormont - Pingu and Pingo


Family shot - there are so few of these...


Boyz and mommy - yes, i HAVE put on weight....

And what a snowfall it was. Large generous flakes floating over the whole night filled our gardens, bare branches, covered the tops of roofs and tucked themselves into every possible ledge. and it styaed the whole night so that in the morning, what appeared to be a cursory snowball fight turned into a full scale Lapland wonder scenen. Oisin was thrilled. When will Santa be coming mommy he asked me, the cheeky bugger. Peter got a sleigh and off we went. The only one who hated it was Ghin who spent the better part of our trip to Stormont yelling at the top of his cords.

I had to slip and slide down the hill back home and didn't even get a try in the sled. I love my son.