It’s amazing what we humans do to justify our existences. This is my fiftieth blog entry, would you believe.
It takes a few hours to do a blog but it takes days beforehand, churning through ideas and possibilities… and then, one day, I wake up, forget all that, and just start writing. That’s what happened here. I was refilling my tea mug, having just got up – vanilla tea with a dash of coconut. It came. I had to get it down before it was lost in the side-alleys of lapsed memory. It’s all to do with opening up a space inside where creativity erupts, as if out of nowhere. Though actually it comes from the compost fermented in the preceding few days.
Sometimes, as a writer, you can plan things out, but sometimes you just have to start – start with anything. Well, something interesting. It’s all about having something to say, and creating it using words that draw in readers regardless of what you’re actually saying, and the combination makes for good writing. Plus a shot of inspiration – something sparky that comes out of nowhere, oozing out between the lines. We humans communicate in far more frequencies than words, and gifted writers can say more than words.
This might surprise you, but in my own life it took a long time to find my words. It came in stages – ages 14-16, 20ish, 30ish and 36 – having written five unpublished manuscripts. Before that, as an Aspie with a rather complex brain, I was in a kind of deep, silent confusion. The world was telling me things that didn’t accord with my experience. It told me things about myself I couldn’t identify with. It made me into a ‘strange boy’ who would sit in the corner, while everyone else did normal things. At school, I just didn’t understand what we were there for. I was an autodidact, just waiting to go home to get on with my studies and projects.
Why should A + B = C? Will someone explain? Why should children suffer to go unto Jesus? If God is Love, why should we fear Him? (And why use capital letters)? Why do cars pump exhaust at you? Why should God specifically save the Queen? With Jupiter in Pisces and Moon in Gemini, these kinds of questions irked the young me.
I was the boy with glasses who got picked on and beaten up. But around age fourteen something clicked. I remember two things (my memory is shot, so this is remarkable in itself). Feeling inadequate and holding back, I was nevertheless pushed into speaking at the school debating society. Some kids were getting ready to laugh at me. I won hands down, completely forgetting my notes and holding forth fluently. I found my voice and, well, from then on I was good on-stage. But I still had a struggly quandary going on in myself, especially with understanding my personal position in life and how to work relationships.
The other thing was cross-country running. In Liverpool, football was everything, and speccy-foureyes was no good at it. But when we started long-distance running, Mars in Scorpio found his power. I delighted in hanging round mid-field for the first half of the run, and then accelerating just as the big football heroes were flagging – and I’d love passing them, heading for the front, hehe. That was great! It taught me that anything is possible if I have the will. This lesson applies just as much now, going through a cancer-induced endurance test. Out of this come a second strength and miracle possibilities.
It was LSD that changed everything. Age 16 (it was legal in 1966), I was given some California acid by a Scouse poet and we tripped out on the dockside in Liverpool. Suddenly I slotted into myself. I had a clue – saw the light, the beginnings of a calling. Uranus and Pluto were conjuncting over the Sun in my astrological chart (historic in itself), and my life changed, on that day. It was a ‘turning in the deepest seat of consciousness’. The strange boy went stranger, and something snapped together. It was okay to be me, as I was. From then on I was on a search for truth.
Well, I found some, only some, though it was worth the journey and it continues today, even in late life. Truth is big and deep and wide. So big that you can’t actually fully get it, and there’s no final answer – though we humans have indeed tried. Anyone claiming The Truth is missing something. When I was involved with the Council of Nine, they’d always refer to ‘What you call God’. Yet it’s here within us, a kind of deep knowing, a feeling of alignment, integration, anchoredness and vastness that reveals itself to each and every one of us at certain moments in life. What we do with that – many people reach for the next can of beer or stand in queues at airports – is entirely up to us, and some of us do say Yes. Hello, you.
But even then, over the decades, for me it has been an ongoing battle between saying Yes and saying No – and also I’ve studiously avoided the question, as we all do. It’s criminal, really – the crime of avoiding doing what we’re really here to do. The crime of retraction. It’s kinda easier to ‘settle down’, get a job and get drunk at Christmas – there’s so much pressure to join the Great Turning-Away. We must conform to some extent, even if you’re a weirdo like me, because we’re all here amongst humanity and, unless you close yourself away somewhere, way away in the Siberian taiga, or even attempt a compromise version like me at the far end of Cornwall, our fellow humans are all around us and we live in the civilisation and time of history that we live in. And we chose to come here.
Aspies call our so-called syndrome ‘Wrong Planet Syndrome’. Problem is, it’s tricky looking at the world from the viewpoint of a stranger. Sometimes you even look at your own mother or your lover and think Who is this?. It’s double-tricky, because most people around you think you have a programming error – a mental health issue – when actually it’s simply that an Aspie is programmed up with a different operating system (like Apple and Android). But Aspies are in a minority, and now we’ve been lumped into an autistic spectrum that some wisecracker with a doctorate thought was a nifty way of reclassifying everyone. And other neurotypical thinkers thought, yay, that’s useful, that explains things… and now we’re stuck in a new, more padded, box. Well, fuckit, I’m not having any of it.
I’ve been a victim many times over, yet something in me deeply believes that victimhood doesn’t really exist. Even if I’m ‘mentally ill’ – and that depends on your viewpoint – it’s still my prerogative to rise up. With some success and quite a lot of failures, I’ve made some progress. It’s about fully occupying one’s space and knowing, deep down, that you’re up to it – you embody it, it’s yours and you can do it. Even when you get beaten down, you can rise up, resist, turn the tables, make things good, move forward. Some of the most exemplary people I’ve known have been through the jaws of total disaster. From this viewpoint, Ukraine is now a crucible of accelerated soul evolution.
Though it can be hard, I prefer being unusual than normal, even when I’m misunderstood today and pay a high price, even charged by close loved ones. For loved ones it’s difficult too, and I really recognise that. I’m a strange mixture of a hermit and a public figure – and it’s the bit in between where I screw up, in personal and closer relationships. I fail to meet up with expectations and behavioural norms, or to deal well with some aspects of human guile and complexity.
Psycho-normals see Aspies as complex beings, but to ourselves we’re simple and straight-up and the rest of the world is complex. It becomes more complicated because most neurotypicals regard themselves as normal when they’re far more way-out and human than they allow themselves to be.
It’s like French and English: both peoples think they stand at the centre of reality in comparison to the others over there – and all sorts of trouble arises as a result, even though we’re related. My reality is better than yours. We’re doing this to Russians and Chinese at present, reducing and dehumanising them in order to justify things we do to them – and they do the same back, and look at the mess we’re in.
Yes, I’m a victim, so that entitles me either to droop in self-pity or to strike back hard, and to feel fully justified in either. That’s a really complex syndrome, and it affects individuals, social groups and nations. I’m one of the downtrodden, so let’s fuck the banksters, the toxic males or the rich whiteys because there’s not a single human amongst them, and they deserve it.
But there’s something very, very real to victimhood too, and you definitely feel it when you’re locked up in jail, refused your fortieth job application or looking down the barrel of a gun. We should indeed support victims, and injustice is a key issue in today’s world. But just because we were victims earlier in life, or even in another life, it doesn’t make us victims now.
Just because I have elements of PTSD from seeing a few too many really bad and wrong things, it doesn’t justify my being hard-hearted toward my friends and loved ones – and I’m so sorry to those who have had this from me. I really mean it. (I’ve been on a Neptune opposition Saturn over the last year, and that’s why this confessional stuff is important just now.)
It’s complex though, and nothing exists in a vacuum. Palestinians often say, ‘Why do Jews give us such a hard time, when it was Europeans who gave them a hard time?’. (Also, a wide-eyed, naive Aspie might ask, why do some Palestinians give Israelis a hard time back?) This is the kind of thing we must resolve, and Ukraine is its current nexus of attention, but there will be more horrors until we stop. Please don’t act shocked and surprised when the next round breaks out. This goes deeper than diplomacy: this concerns mass psycho-spiritual, social and cultural change. We just gotta do it, if we are to survive. As much in our own lives as in war zones.
I have been party to this crap too – I have dirty hands, and I’m not unique. It’s important to feel the responsibility and consequence but not to shut ourselves down with guilt and shame. I did it, yes. It’s time for me to forgive everyone who has done similar to me. The past cannot be undone, and it all hangs around what we learn and what we do from now on. Stepping over the craters to hug our adversaries is a really crucial thing to do. Because we’re all in this mess together.
You might wonder why I’m writing this stuff on a cancer blog. Well, these kinds of thoughts are part of my healing, the resolution of my own story. I’m trying to work on this stuff so that I can be a bit more at peace when I pop my clogs. Hopefully. That’s the idea. Not that this kind of cancer (myeloma) or my disabilities can be undone, but it’s all to do with happiness. Basic happiness is the greatest healer around. If you’re underlyingly happy you can make something good of anything. The happiness of opening up, unburdening, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance. And of having some food in your belly and a roof over your head. And the happiness of togetherness.
Here’s something. I’m cooking up tentative plans – yes, plans, for the first time in nearly three years, since going down with cancer. If I can muster the energy and some people to help set it up, I’m thinking of doing a ‘magic tour’ of a few places in Britain, to create an opportunity to meet up. One might be round Glastonbury. I don’t know if it’ll work yet, but this idea has quickened my heart. I want to bring something to you. It’s early stages, and much hangs around finding a good local organiser in each place. I’m in process of writing a proposal and blurb. So watch this space. One of my podcasts sums it all up: the one called Soul Evolution.
Here in my faraway eyrie, I think of you all – I really do. I’ve been alone, feeling rather desolate, for what feels like a long time, and something has come from it. Since I can welcome guests at my home only in ones or twos, I want to create some temporary magic spaces, perhaps round campfires, for friends and soul-relations elsewhere in larger numbers, for a few hours of time-travel, close encounters and lightbulb moments. Would that interest you? I have a strange gift of frail strength, love and tears to share, and I have a few friends upstairs. But I’ll need a good armchair. And you’ll need to switch off your phones if you want me at my best.
Bless you all, and bless everyone. Bless even the world’s worst assholes. The swallows outside my window have just burst into tuneful twittering, as if to agree. And it’s now lunchtime and I forgot my breakfast and pills, so I’d better stop…
With love, Paldywan.