A Bit About the World and Me…….

For some reason I seem to be a kind of ‘save the world’ type of person. There are probably many reasons for this i.e. I’m an INFP if you believe in the Myerrs Briggs analogies or perhaps I am really trying to save myself to take on a more analytic concept. Whatever the reason why doesn’t matter as I know my intention is heartfelt.
So I wake up every morning to yet again be confronted with society’s worst crimes, both against each other and the planet.
And then I have to figure out why, as is my nature.
In my career in mental health I have come across probably thousands of individuals with a huge variety of issues and they have taught me more about mankind than any book.

The steepest learning curve were to be found when I worked in secure units in forensic psychiatry. For those unfamiliar with the term, these are specialist units set up to deal with mentally disordered offenders who have committed crimes including murder and every other crime one can think of. These people have largely come from dysfunctional and abusive backgrounds and to be frank it is unsurprising that their lives took such a turn.
Although this is the extreme end of the spectrum, the problems albeit different by degree, are similar throughout human behaviour.

The average person in Western society seems to have very little understanding of their own and others inherent psychology.
Carl Jung stated
” We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real
danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are
pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche
should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.
(Jung 1977 : 436).
He also frequently mentions the ‘shadow’ “which is a term he used to describe the unconscious which contain the more crude and baser elements of our psyche.

Though evidently man’s inhumanity to each other and other species is multifactorial, education would at least impart a possible degree of awareness as to regards ours and others actions in the world.
Perhaps a start would be to teach psychology at school along with the other sciences as it still seems to be percieved as a Cinderella subject. However nothing could be further from the truth.
In today’s society, more than ever, it would be highly beneficial for all to understand psychological phenomena like transference, projection, reaction formation etc. It would enable us as a society to see where destructive behaviours in ourselves and others emanate from.

Unfortunately numerous groups know how to manipulate human mentality.
Many people believe other races, cultures or even those of different ideologies as ‘less than human’
( as they may feel threatened in some way) and thus dispensible.
These groups can often whip up support by appealing to racist or nationalist prejudices. By doing this, in analytical terms, they are appealing to our injured selves and to its associated narcissistic rage. Again this would more than likely be unconscious in most individuals

Thus unless we as a society somehow address our cultural blindness to the ways of the human psyche, I fear the unconscious aspects of our minds will continue be enacted in the outside world in the form of interpersonal violence, wars, racism et al.

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Cockroach Berry

An ode in the form of a tanka to the aforementioned fruit I found in my garden in England. It’s originally native to Brazil.

red cockroach berry
upon fragile stalk enthroned
red cockroach berry
upon fragile stalk enthroned
sense of loneliness
to be so far from home
together we exist, alone
ense of loneliness to be so far from home together we exist, alone

Otherness……..

Just around the corner, just out of sight, lies the otherworlds.
They’re always there of course, sometimes seemingly more so than others.
None of our five senses can incorporate them however, it’s our sixth and intuitive one that touches on otherness.
The slight movement in the dark shadows, the glimpse of a figure at the top of the stairs, knowing ancient eyes watching you in the forest and the brief catching of a long lost voice.
Our crude five senses try to rationalise but deep inside we know the truth.
For within our dreams we can become aware of the other realms that lurk not far.
Of monsters and magic, of dark and light, of graveyards and Edens, complementing and adding to our linear life experience.

It is the realm of dreams and visions, where the mythical land of supposed fantasy resides. Here be heroes and legendary beasts, kings, queens, knaves and coquettes.
All the masks that we may wear as we carouse life’s path.
In their persona’s we get a glimpse of ourselves and in themselves a glimpse of us. Mirrors reflecting mirrors, ever moving, ever evolving, swapping one role for another as befits our situation.

The otherworlds simply reflect our human transience, our brief existence on the stage of life, playing many a scene in a variety of caricatures until the end of the play.
For at the end, for all the energy and gusto, the dust of the performance will settle and will become a fleeting memory amongst other fleeting memories layed down in the archetypal psyche of humanity.

As One…….

As One………….

Sitting here upon an old sarsen stone on the hilltop over looking the river valley, I reflect on the true wondrousness of Nature and her infinite beauty.
Albeit early November, the heavy rains and recent high winds have taken their toll on the trees and bushes in view.

Much foliage has been washed or blown away leaving large portions of the fauna appearing comparatively skeletal beneath the setting Sun.
A fresh breeze struck up bringing the heavy earthy smell of sodden mulch to my nostrils, instantly whisking me away to my childhood playing hide and seek amongst the bracken in the local woods.
The Sun lower in the sky now, creating a deep amber glow across the horizon, casting the illusion of rivers of fiery lava between the slender stretches of cloud.
The fields, trees and hedges appearing to glow with new life under the gaze of the last vestiges of muted auric sunlight.
A couple of acer trees, their leaves seemingly ablaze with ethereal vitality as if in defiance at the ending of the day.
Even the trunks and limbs of a row of nearby elm trees appear blood red in the evening light.
A murder of rooks overhead caw loudly out to each other as if also in protest at the demise of the day, restricting their hunting until the morning sunrise.

In moments such as this, I easily lose my sense of self amongst the rich and exquisite tapestry of Nature’s views, smells and sounds.
I am the buzzard circling majestically, high above the ground, acutely aware of any movement below.
I am one of the ancient Yews that circle the hilltop, bearing silent intuitive witness to the seasons passing.
I am the cold crumbling stone masonry of the old castle, built aeons ago in the dim mists of time.
I am also this very earth, porous and yielding to the elements above yet an ever present memory to the thousands of years of history enacted upon me.

Any hint of separation of myself and all that is, was and will be has been lost forever. For I am too destined to always be an eternal part of life on Earths great cosmic dance.

Your Eyes………

Your eyes are, after all, the gateway to your soul.

All the past hurts, pain, joy and love you have experienced are their for those who can ” see ” to see.

You have battled for forty years, first to try and save yourself then to save close friends, family and children. To protect them, to feed them physically and emotionally.

Despite all the physical and emotional scars you have received over time , you have stood strong.

You have lived your life without religious belief or any crutch to keep your spirit aloft. Your religion has been simply of having a pure and compassionate heart. A natural, uncomplicated spirituality which resides in your human soul, untouched by the mind, one in which your actions have always reflected your innermost self.
The years have taken their toll, physically and emotionally. At this very moment you need a crumb of the love you have given to be returned. Your heart needs to feel warmth and gentleness of another, someone who can see you. Someone who recognises your strength and your suffering, who completely accepts you as you are.

In whose eyes reflect deep human compassion, compassion that will be eternal and unwavering.

An unspoken acknowledgement of ones truth, of being accepted unconditionally as a human being, in all their own raw vulnerability.

Once received, your mind and body visibly relax, you no longer have to pretend to be fine. All the energy utilised to maintain the facade of being able to cope is released.

You know that you will never be truly alone, that there will really be someone who cares and understands.

And if warmth and compassion can reside in one individual then it must reside in others.

That there is always hope. That despite how desperate the situation, if one looks hard enough, trust in humanity can be restored. It is never always going to be easy, but having made that human connection, there will always be hope.

Thoughts……..

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
― J. Krishnamurti

I love this quote❤️
It’s quite simple in its sentiments but at the same time has far reaching implications when looked at in its broadest sense.
Although I don’t feel society is profoundly sick in its worse sense, it seems at the very least misguided. I know that many people have no issues with the way they live their lives and the societal environment within which they do so .
However myself and many other ‘sensitive’ / empathic individuals, from the conversations I have had, do indeed struggle.

We are after all acutely aware of the suffering of others, animals and even our planet.
We can pick up on subtle energies around us to the point of psychicism at times.
Our sensitivity heightens our perception and reaction to injustice, violence or abuse of any kind and generally and we are warm, caring and selfless as our predisposition could not allow us to be anything other.

This degree of sensitivity can effect us in many ways, not least of which our mental health.
The media constantly bombards society with high impact imagery in the form of soundbite adverts, movies, music and other information. Many people seem completely unaffected by this and in many cases seek it out and avidly share viewpoints on the gorier details of programmes or the news etc.
The promotion of the individual and the gathering of material wealth runs through the whole of western society, even seemingly at the expense of others in terms of one upmanship.
The reporting and treatment of others portrayed as outside our remit of concern ( that is those whom are of a different ethnicity / culture / country or social class) can be biased and punitive.
With many of our peers, friends and colleagues being of a not dissimilar mindset, this can leave us feeling isolated and unsupported.

Therefore it is no surprise that many of us succumb to mental health difficulties. In fact it would probably be more surprising if we didn’t!
Personally I suspect many people in todays society feel similar but possibly to a lesser degree.

Being empathic, for me is a spiritual gift. Whereas seemingly with the majority of the populace, spirituality plays little or no part.

” Modern society came into existence during the industrial revolution, when large portions of the population were driven from small towns into big cities in search of work and opportunity – instigating the birth of a mass society. While the development of a mass society generated benefits through the intensification of the division of labor, it also brought perilous problems. “This new form of existence…produced an individual who was unstable, insecure, and suggestible.” (Carl Jung, The Fight With the Shadow)

Perhaps the way the western world has subsequently developed is an artificial antidote to a factitious malady.
Maybe empathic / sensitive individuals have somehow remained unaffected by societys current burgeoning ideologies hence wishing for a simpler, more heartfelt existence.

The Invisible Illnesses

Although mental illness has often been described as one of those ‘invisible illnesses’, it can be equally and even more afflicting than the more visible physical ones.

Many of us afflicted are found in all walks of society e.g. politicians, servicemen, doctors, shopkeepers and window cleaners to name a few.
We may have anxiety / depression / PTSD / psychosis or some disorder of personality but most of the time, upon a quick appraisal, we would seem no different to anyone else.
There is no physical test for such malaise, only the subjective assessment by a ‘suitably qualified other’. We can often feel invalidated or ‘weak’ in some way.

However the truth is far from that.
It takes an amazing amount of strength, tenacity and courage to carry on a day to day existence under the burden of such a diagnosis.
We can wake up every morning not knowing how we are going to feel throughout the daylight hours. We often cannot predict how we will cope and this can fill us with feelings of dread.
We often carry on caring for others, going to work and socialising despite the fact that every moment can feel torturous as we seek to maintain an outward facade of ‘normality’.
We frequently do this to support our loved one’s and peers, when deep inside we only really want to curl up under our duvet and await a better day.
We can often only hold ourselves together with a combination of medication, alcohol and drugs which can act as a transient form of putty to temporarily fill the gaps in our aim to present as a functional human being.

So although we probably won’t accept it or find it difficult to believe, we are deserving of acknowledgement if only amongst ourselves.
So I raise a toast to all those out there with those hidden illnesses.
We are truly remarkable people, unfortunately this too can remain unseen.