Looking Back In Time

The Flavour of Love (10th December 2009)

For no apparent reason on my way to work today all I could think about was the colour of love, or more specifically the colour of my love. I not only considered the actual colour of my love but the flavour of it too, its essence, its taste and its effects. I know in the most general terms love is considered to be red, maroon, mauve, pink, purple, magenta, crimson, vermillion, violet or some other variation of these colours. I think it is mostly the dull minded who lack creativity who would consider the colour of love to be one, or a variation, of these colours. I would like to believe that love is not limited to any one definition or experience and therefore the colour of love can be as varied as the plants of the planet or the sands of the universe or the spirits of the galaxy.

I think the colour of my love is something dark brooding brown, enchantingly solid, thick with the seriousness of itself, undoubtedly and candidly  there, yet remaining mysterious enough to invite even those who don’t believe. It has a richness to it that is of the most natural and nurtured type, that yearns to spread that richness to all that it comes in contact with. It is strong and ever lasting yet it is not fixed because it changes in cycles like the seasons of the planet. At times it changes from its dark brown shade to a much lighter variation until it at times becomes greener, with the lushness of growth and expansion. When it is green it can be anything from bright lime at times of rejoicing to khaki green at times of consoling and even to jade when my own internal beauty is recognised.

Then of course throughout its expression my love has a hint of orange that shines as streaks and other times appears as dots, all the while giving off a radiance in a sense of its own humble pride. These three colours, brown green and orange, are of course just the main colours since they are so dear to me. The truth is I suppose on any given experience of love other colours I have not mentioned become dominant in my expression of love. It changes from partner to partner from experience to experience, all the while remaining true to its fullest expression. I learn I weep I grow I love…

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Time and Relationships (An incerpt from my journal)

The Demented Puppy (4th December 2009)

The rain continues to fall in a constant haze of light rain, just light enough to be a ghostly drizzle but constant enough to leave a moist coat on all surfaces – stationary or moving. It has been like this for the last couple of days – who knows how many exactly – and it is starting to feel like we are under siege from the most unlikely of sources. The rain they say has been shy in this area for a long time, prompting some to cry out that this has been the worst drought we have had in many years. But this can surely no longer be the case as the heavens continue to leak, so badly they make me wonder if there is no place for plumbers in heaven. And as the gentle drizzle continues to bless us with its harshness I am warmed from the inside by a feeling of being found, a feeling of being acknowledged, a feeling of being in love.

As the rain falls the skies remain grey as pensioners’ hair, and as the ground soaks the moisture I am reminded of my own emotional state. I feel wet I feel soggy with raw emotions released by the most natural of forces, I feel like I am drowning in an ocean of love, and for once I am not afraid that I cannot swim. In many ways I am inchoate in the coils of love but in other ways I am an old servant matured through rigor, obsession and perseverance. These past few days, which have turned to weeks, where the rain has fallen unabashedly in a time of widespread thirst I am rediscovering a love that never went away during a time when faith is low.

Today I am not ashamed, like the rain, to confess the depth of my feelings, for they are my reality and I bask in them with gluttonous fervour. My ex of old, my lover indeed, my soul mate through this journey has been found again, our paths intertwining for another eternal dance. Our reunion has been strange in ways I cannot explain for while we are letting ourselves get lost in each other’s passion we are very much still guarded, hiding something else stronger behind a veil of logic. We have both become more sensitive and timid in our engagements, lest we become victims of our own blindness like once before, so long ago it seems.

I feel like a love struck puppy ailing from its own naive precociousness, tripping over my own intentions as I try to mask my giddiness. I cannot help but feel vulnerable when I am around her, to feel completely helpless to her beauty, her charm her irresistible appeal. I feel I could spend a million days appreciating her allure on each day, discovering something new, something more succulent, something to worship. As I lose myself once again to all that I love about her I feel a sense of freedom like a weight has been lifted like I no longer have to hide behind a mask. I feel a sense of purpose as I am being what I have been created to be and I feel alive after so long.

And even though we continue to hide from each other not sure whether this is really happening, not sure if this is not an illusion, we seem to be willing to let it happen. On days like this I am not gripped by the fear of not knowing, instead I am invigorated by the ability to risk it all again, that strength to remain religiously held in my convictions. For if I were to ever stop believing in love I would cease to exist just as surely as the planet would shrivel up and perish without the constancy of the rain. Whether she represents a reality or an ideal is not for me to decide. Whether she is ultimately good or bad for me is not for me to decide either, because at this stage I am just in awe of the things she makes me feel. It has been too long and this sick puppy is not ready to be medicated yet…

Bleeding Nightmares

I really hate nightmares. I guess by their very definition they are
not supposed to be likeable. According to the Free Dictionary Online a
nightmare can be defined as 1) a dream arousing feelings of intense fear,
horror and distress; 2) an event or experience that is intensely distressing;
and 3) a demon or spirit once thought to plague sleeping people.

To the first definition I would add ‘confusion’ and while I am at it
I would also add ‘often characterised by physical effects such as increased
heart rate, profuse sweating and deep seated nausea.’ To the second definition
I would add the words ‘unfortunate’ and ‘inconvenient’ anywhere in the
definition because these two things almost always accompany any good
nightmarish situation. Then to the third definition I would add to the end ‘or
a person who has the ability to achieve the same fetes as a demon or spirit in
another’s life.’

The dream I had last night seemed to have aspects of all three of
these definitions wrapped up grotesquely into one to create what it is that I
experienced. I dreamt that I was expecting my ex girlfriend’s baby and I was
over the moon about it. I remember the dream from the part where I was cleaning
out the outside room at my mother’s place in anticipation of my ex and the baby
coming home. I cleaned the room thoroughly decorating it with all sorts of baby
things and practically dancing and whistling away in absolute bliss.

Then at some stage my mother grabbed me and told me that she needed
to discuss something important with me. She then told me that perhaps I needed
to think things over since there were things about this “pregnancy” that just
didn’t add up. Firstly, according to her knowledge the baby was only due in two
months and secondly, she doesn’t remember seeing my ex actually pregnant. It
was at that stage that the facade of understanding came crashing down. I too
suddenly realised that actually I hadn’t seen my ex pregnant and all I
remembered was her saying she is off to the hospital to go fetch the baby –
FETCH the damn baby!?!!

Of course in the dream I took my anger out on my mother and then in
true suicidal fashion, on myself as well. The rest of the dream was just pure and raw anger,
confusion and fear. I felt absolute frustration at the fact that nothing in the
dream actually made any sense or had anything to do with where I am in my life.
The setting was all wrong, in a home I didn’t recognise, the people were
behaving uncharacteristically and the feelings I felt were very much out of
character for me and where I am in my life.

Or were they? I am inclined to fathom that my anger and frustration
at the end of the dream and especially when I woke up were because of the fact
that it seemed like something had penetrated deep into the part of my
subconscious riddled with fear and unexpressed desires. The most infuriating
part was the fact that I was so giddy about having a baby with my ex whom I
worked really hard to get over and the fact that she dooped me into believing
she is pregnant smacked of dynamics that kept me under her fist when we were
still dating in reality.

If anything this dream has stirred feelings that shouldn’t be there
like the rotten leaves and junk at the bottom of a shallow pond. Ghosts of the
past have been given an audience, if only I am the seer, the viewer, the judge
and the convicted. What I do not understand is why has my subconscious has gone
through such an effort to create an elaborate dreamscape just to make me see a
truth that I no longer see as truth. I no longer love my ex in that way and
know that I would never have her baby. So why then has my subconscious suddenly
turned against me in an insane act of cannibalism?

One of the things one has to grapple with after a nightmare is trying to figure out where
it come from and why  it occured. According to Wikipedia, nightmares can have physical causes such as sleeping in
an uncomfortable or awkward position, having a fever, or psychological causes
such as stress and anxiety. Eating before going to sleep, which triggers an
increase in the body’s metabolism and brain activity, is a potential stimulus for
nightmares.

If I had to choose one of the above mentioned reasons for me I
would go for sleeping in a bad position since my sleep hasn’t been the greatest
over the past two days. As for a fever, stress, anxiety and bad eating habits,
well, I am pretty sure it isn’t one of these since I am on holiday and in a
very good place of internal well being.

Whatever the cause is I am left somewhat baffled and peeved off actually. I
feel exposed by my own internal workings, as if there is nowhere to hide and
nowhere especially to hide thoughts, feelings and desires that I do not wish to
be discovered. It is especially true that I certainly cannot hide these things
from myself or even lie to myself. Maybe bad dreams are all about our
subconscious reminding our conscious that it doesn’t know everything and it is
certainly not in charge of everything. Maybe this nightmare was exactly what it
was, a really good wake up call. Well subconscious, you definitely have all my attention
now…

Sinking Madness: Home at the Bottom of a Well

I’ve
fallen long and far enough now and I have finally hit the surface of the water
at the bottom of the well. I have been in free fall for so long now that I was
starting to wonder if I would ever hit any water at all – at least something
that might be a bit of resistance against the awfulness of the fall. I have
been in free fall so long that I was no longer frightened of the fall itself
and so I had stopped swinging my limbs wildly and just lay still as I fell as
if I had nothing else to give. But now I hear the splash and its echoes that
hit the walls of the well, the echoes filled with tension, harsh laughter and
almost insane relief.

The tears
have finally come and I am able to cry after what has seemed like an eternity. There
are tears of relief at the fact that I can still connect with myself as in the
free fall I had become numb to myself allowing the hardness of undesired loneliness
to dictate its terms to me. There have been tears of sadness at what has
happened in the last months of this torrid year, tears that admit that it has
been rough and I have been at times almost helpless. And of course there are
also the tears of anger at what has transpired and how it has made me feel
while I have been a willing participant in it all.

As I sit
here and write this through my tears it feels like two worlds are about to come
colliding together splintering my veneer and sending shards of every part of my
very being in all directions. As the lonely year that I spend away from home
comes to an end and I prepare to return home I feel unstable as I do not know
what to anticipate, for I have changed and home has changed, making my concept of
home something quite ungraspable. Strangely enough, even though I don’t know
what to anticipate all I seem capable of thinking about are the negative things
that might await me once I leave here, this place that has been home while I wasn’t
thinking about home, until of course I started thinking of home.

The return
of nasty habits, the return to shady dealings with shifty characters and the
return to a murky world that I fought so bravely and for so long to overcome. That
was growing up, maturing, separating, becoming. I sense the pressure as it
builds within me clouding my judgement and confining me to ruins even before I have
done anything at all. I hear my own voices of destruction taunting me and
reminding me of how weak I am and how ill disciplined I am. I listen to them
conspire and condemn me to my own horrors, automations and desires, base and carnal.
“You ran from your home even when you still lived at home trying to find home
on the streets amongst friends and foes!” I hear them say, ii hear them true.

I have
been avoiding this for so long that it feels good to hear them all now, for do not
make the mistake to believe that I fear them. I accept that these abominations
of my being are part of who I am and I carry them wherever I go. I am happy
that I am paying attention again, that I am hearing them clearly and being
spurred into action by them. The action I take is not that they would wish me
to take. Instead I am galvanized to take action against that which doesn’t
serve to empower me and make me feel good about myself.

I feel
good about these tears because the mere fact that I am crying tells me that I am
listening to myself again, that I am connecting to myself again and that I am
indeed never quite alone. “Of course you are never alone you are here with us!”
The voices hiss. But I am not bothered for I know that my age is such that I know
I will overcome this for I have been here before – many times. And what time
teaches, nobody can take away from you, especially if you remain impartial to
your own truth. “Yes!” The voices all say in unison.

This is a
good cry, a rich cry like the sudden and unexpected splashes that occur from
unexpected movements in deep wells. I have gone under the surface in that deep
well and now I sink in the mysterious water and its great vastness. I am not
afraid. This is my water, my being, where I know and accept that I am eternally
alone. I embrace myself and am buoyed by my rediscovery of who I am. I will not
be broken. They say in chorus “You shall not be broken, we shall not be broken.”

Silence: a Thinker’s Worst Nightmare?

“A thought a day
keeps the madness away.”

I often wish I could switch my thoughts off just
for a whole day so that I could take a breather from all the thinking: the
planning, the hypothesizing, the worrying, and the projecting. I am a thinker,
as compared to being a feeler or a doer, which means I more or less spend most
of my time in my own head formulating the ideas, the themes, the scenes and the
melodrama that is my life.

This can be quite harrowing at the best of times as
any thinker will tell you. Most of the time ‘inside your own head’ is the best
place to hide, far from the clutches of the public reality, behind a veil of
cynicism scoffing at the unsuspecting world, drawing sharp conclusions about
all around you and feeling fully nourished by your own decidedly unique
personality.

But then there are those times when your own
derision – which is often your most natural weapon – ironically turns on you,
in an insane act of cannibalism, bludgeoning you for some mistake you have
made. These are bruising times for any thinker when your own thoughts make a
mockery of you while you are fully aware that it is you who are just attacking
yourself and sardonically laughing at the morbidity of it all.

So it seems that
what once was the safety of your own inner world, where you would make scathing
– largely ineffective – attacks on everybody else, is now more like a bunker
full of clowns blasting bazookas at each other.

I really sometimes wish I could shut them all up
these voices in my head that at times are the board members who assist me in
making executive decisions and at other times are the popcorn throwing peanut
gallery.

But the question is would I really want to do this? Shutting down the
thoughts of a thinker would be equivalent to sacking the blue collar labourers
of a factory: production would come to a complete standstill. And what then?
Without the manpower to continue production a factory loses its purpose just as
a thinker without thoughts loses his/her definition.

My greatest fear of shutting down my thoughts,
whether permanently or temporarily is not that I will be without definition but
more a fear of what will surface from the void left by the banished thoughts.

There are those sticky and nasty little things called feelings, which are the
bane of any thinker’s existence, the kryptonite to good reason, and the giver
of fuel to irrationality, uncertainty, outer chaos and inner madness. Yes,
feelings are definitely that part of human nature least understood by most
thinkers as thoughts and feelings seem to be as compatible as bubblegum and
hair, a Play Station 3 and manicured hands and nails, and pink bunny slippers
on a hulking, oily and phallic mass of a tensing male bodybuilder.

And what of all those other unspeakable things that
rattle, hiss and grunt from the murky corners of the subconscious? Don’t these
very things like to rear their bobbing heads at that exact moment when the
thoughts are silenced? All these things that don’t speak any language known to
man, that make sounds that aren’t always defined by the standards of man’s
world. All the images real and imagined, the desires fulfilled and unfulfilled,
the dreams realised and shattered, and of course all of the ghosts recognised
and ignored.

Oh yes, the silencing of the thinker’s mind is the
invitation of a whole cast of subconscious abominations, least of all the
silence itself.

The silence.

Silence.

The absence of thoughts, the emptiness,
the nothingness, the…silence.

Yes it is rather tempting when it promises to
be the real thing where the thinker doesn’t need to fear an invasion of his own
inner world by all the other faculties less used and yet just as important.

Perhaps that is the greatest lesson to all us thinkers out there (and in here
he he he), to learn to create that peace that we avoid so much, to silence the
voices and the thoughts and allow nothingness to take over.

 Perhaps in that
nothingness the genius of what we could possibly be will shine through defining
us as something greater than mere thinkers…

The Death of Nelson Mandela: Time Travelling Back to January 2011

I’ve often caught myself at odd moments wondering what would become of this great nation when Nelson Mandela died. After this past week where media reports, internet social networks and everyday trivial conversations were rife with the supposed ill health of the former president I realised that in 2011 I am not the only one wondering about that same question. As a relatively young democratic nation still bundling our way towards a united national mind state we have relied heavily on our former president, using him almost nonstop as an unflagging symbol of hope, as our very own unique icon that can give our previously tainted national identity a bit of a gleam, our very own living saviour capable of fetes never before witnessed in this country – or any other for that matter. There can be no doubt about Nelson Mandela’s stature, his unyielding humanity, his aura, built by years of living a principled life, leading from within, teaching us something about ourselves and greatness that exists.

 

Even the most ardent sceptic or unpatriotic fascist has to admit that the man has lived a life worthy of praise, close to godliness and one that we should all learn something from. I would know because I too fall into this category – no, perhaps not of godliness, but somewhere between what some might perceive as scepticism and unpatriotic idiosyncrasy. You see I would like to think of myself as one of those individuals so obsessed with self discovery, individual endeavour and nonconformity that I am often caught going against the tide mostly for good reasons but occasionally just for the sake of it. In doing this I have become one of those people that dislikes seeing the nation still trying to eke the last bit of hero magic from Tata uMadiba, the original man who over the years just never seemed able to fail at churning it out, whether he felt like it or not.

 

As a nation I think we should be mature enough to admit that we have milked the Madiba cow almost for everything that it is worth. Year after year, event after event we have asked the old man to come out of his private life in order to serve the nation once again. And now it seems he must do it again, when he is ailing, to come and save us from the horror of living with his inevitable death. I doubt that there are many 92 year olds out there living with the demands that this great man has to live with at this late and theoretically golden age when one should be left respectfully alone to contemplate the prospects of the afterlife. It was difficult for me to watch him being driven around Soccer City in a golf cart last year for the opening of the 2010 Soccer World Cup waving humbly at a rabid crowd intoxicated by a special kind of self deluding glee that only Fifa, and the South African media can create. But there he was – seen in short snippets by those of us who watched the poor TV coverage that only showed the last bit of his fairy tale ride around the colossus stadium – producing that same magic we all know him for, inspiring us and making us feel special.

 

This past week as the speculation about Nelson Mandela’s health did the rounds I asked myself a lot of challenging questions about this country, about myself and about my purpose in this life. I found myself thinking about how as South Africans we have become masochistically contented by our own struggles that we have created, and continue to create, long after Nelson Mandela freed us from our previous struggle. We illustrate this continually by our reluctance to let go of our very own world icon, Nelson Mandela, this same reluctance that sees us scared to free the inspired heroes within all of us, who will ensure that we overcome any struggle within and without.

 

I think one of the greatest things that Nelson Mandela gives us as South Africans is that feeling and knowledge that we, as a collective unit, are a great nation worthy and capable of creating great leaders. On an individual level he has freed us from within and allowed us all to dream about a future where we can fulfil personal dreams while helping and nurturing others. I for one know that I am living the dream that Nelson Mandela made possible. My work on the Transnet-Phelophepa Health Care Train allows me to fulfil personal dreams by constantly healing, sharing and being with people while simultaneously learning from them. This past week in Bloemfontein, our first of the 2011 tour, was one where we had to dig deep and find inspiration where there wasn’t none. The flooded station, caused by the tireless rain, where we had to work threatened to disrupt our services and the constant logistical problems made life more difficult than it could have been. But because we as the staff of the Phelophepa have an inspired vision, great self belief and unyielding dedication, just like Nelson Mandela, we were able to stay focused and surpass our targets quite significantly – which in itself is a great thing considering that this is our first week where we were working with basically a new staff compliment.

 

I know that I do not fear the death of Nelson Mandela because he has awakened something within me that can never die. This past week I was fearless – the only thing that might have frightened me just a bit were the huge green toads that were all around the station due to the floods – and held onto the desire to make a difference. I feel privileged to be able to have lived in the same time era as Nelson Mandela and even more so to be able to live a fulfilling life because of his efforts. My wish to him is not necessarily a speedy recovery, but it is that he may find peace in whichever way that he deems he should get it. I do not think that anything will be lost should he not make it through 2011. Even if he does make it, I have accepted that his time will come sooner rather than later. At least he will continue to live in part through the example of humanity that we continue to display in our work onboard the Phelophepa…

 

Loving Mist: A Child Villain’s Fetish

“You
can never outgrow your inner child but you can rejuvenate your outer adult.”

I don’t know about you but I love mist and
that has nothing to do with my morbid fascination with horror movies – horror movies,
at least when they were still about suspense, creativity and genuine thrills
rather than gore, insanely copious litres of split fake blood and shock tactics
that now come in 3D (such as in the latest Final Destination). Mist for me
brings atmosphere, sets the scene and makes life seem like a real movie – which
I really do believe it is (I do! I do!).

Ever since I was a child in a boarding school
located in the Natal Midlands, which is rich with forest greenery, brawny
mountains and flowing streams and rivers, I have been fascinated with mist as
there it added to the mystic and beauty of the place. Many mornings, and
sometimes whole days, spent there were filled with mist and it would just bring
out the best in me. As a young child I was quite excitable and had an
exaggerated imagination so I would go into overload on such days and giggle to
myself like a villain who just devised a genius, but ill fated, plan. I would
run in mad circles trying to feel the mist on my face, or be part of it somehow
and nobody would understand what I was doing.

I don’t blame them since I am not quite sure
what it is exactly I was doing either. All I remember is that it is as if mist
would release or ignite something within me, as if I was part mist and the mist
was part insane little Xhosa boy and together we would define natural beauty or
artistic madness or whatever it is that we fundamentally are. I know that
feeling has stayed with me into adulthood and recognise it on days when the
mist is out doing it’s thing, bringing mystery, suspense and supple beauty. It is
as if when the mist is out I am at once connected with my youth and I cannot
help but feel like that evil genius of a child and I sense that same ridiculous
giggle build up inside from an innocent place.

Even the various definitions of mist drive me batty with childlike mirth.
According to Wikipedia mist is defined as a phenomenon of small droplets suspended in air. It can
occur as part of natural weather or volcanic activity, and is common in cold
air above warmer water, in exhaled air in the cold, and in a steam room of a
sauna. It can also be created artificially with aerosol canisters if the
humidity conditions are right.

The only
difference between mist and fog is visibility. This phenomenon is called fog if
the visibility is one kilometer (1,100 yards) or less (in the UK for driving
purposes the definition of fog is visibility less than 200 meters, for pilots
the distance is 1 kilometer). Otherwise it is known as mist. Seen from a
distance, mist is bluish, and haze is more brownish.

Religious connotations
are associated with mist in some cultures; it is used as a metaphor in 2 Peters
2:17.

Mist makes a
beam of light visible from the side via refraction and reflection on the
suspended water droplets.

“Scotch
mist” is a light steady drizzle, the name being typical of the Scottish
penchant for understatement (and of Scottish weather). One could also be
forgiven for thinking “Scotch Mist” is a kind of hangover one gets when they
have been drinking neat whiskey the night before.

Mist usually
occurs near the shores, and is often associated with fog. Mist can be as high
as mountain tops when extreme temperatures are low.

Fortunately for
me today where I am, in Saldanha Bay the mist is occurring both from a nearby
shore and a nearby mountain and so I feel doubly blessed. I feel besieged by my
inner child while I try playing the adult, grown and professional. I think I am
losing the battle though since the child with the imagination always has the
upper hand and on days like these I am grateful for it…

Saldanha Mist

That's my view from my train office window...