Category Archives: Spirituality

Monochrome Monday ~ Utah Landscapes

sometimes we have to go back to seeing the world in black and white

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Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

It’s a long road to my recovery

Hospital Introspection

knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom

I think that it’s acceptable for me to be apprehensive, introspective, and a little depressed ~ I’m pretty certain this is day #5 of my lying on this hospital bed.  I haven’t been able to get up at all, because of the tubes, drips, and because moving is painful for me.  Being immobile on a hospital bed, with very little control of my own life, and very little privacy isn’t a joyous time.

At least the catheter was removed this morning, right after the phlebotomist took my blood for the umpteenth time.  Nobody tells you that catheter removal is painful, and that there’s probably going to be blood.  At least the nurses make me a cup of tea after they wake me up at 5 a.m.  I thank them profusely for that.

As it happens I am not looking forward to going for a pee.

I have been trying to make the best of things;

We ought to hear at least one little song every day, read a good poem, see a first-rate painting, and if possible speak a few sensible words.  ~  von Goethe

My concentration has come back sufficiently for me to do most of that ~ the sensible words thing may still be eluding me.  Maybe the things I write on here contain a few sensible words.

One good thing has come out of this, I have realised that many of the people who know me on here, genuinely care about me and my welfare.  I am pleased to call them my friends.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I like the California desert

I wish I was there now

Survival from Illness

hospital is brief moments of fear interspersing long periods of boredom and pain

It’s my fourth day in hospital with kidney problems.

I see an oncologist tomorrow, I think it’s just routine.  It’s also very scary

But, if I get though all this with my health intact, it will be a supreme and liberating experience for me; annulling routine expectations, providing new contexts and challenges, widening my horizons and opportunities.  I believe that this scary episode is testing my abilities, nourishing my honesty, individuality, stoicism, irony, humour, fortitude, humility, and the complexity of my character.  I hope I come out of this a much better person.

Above all this is a reminder of the shortness of our lives, and that I should make the most of what is left of mine.

Instead of being scared, stressed, and depressed, I should try to look on the bright side of things with humour and humility.

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Jack Collier

jjackcollier7@talktalk.net

This picture helps me feel calm and peaceful

Distant Love

it hurts not having her close
it would hurt worse not having her at all

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and I loved her

she wasn’t here

yet I adored her

even from afar

and I desired her

wide oceans apart

distant yearning

to possess her

I still love her

enchanted amour

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

dancing to tunes of love and hope

Truth and Openness

there is a magic in truth, and honesty, and openness

eclipsing the truth

Everything I write on this blog, at least everything I have written recently is the brutal truth.  I don’t hold anything back, to the best of my ability I tell you exactly what is in my heart.  The post I wrote yesterday, Why I’m Still Alive, is a case in point.  I could have dressed that story up, made myself look a little better, perhaps garnered more sympathy from you.  But, why would I do that?  If I am going to write anything at all about myself it has to be true, and not just part of the truth, but the entire truth.  There are some caveats; I am not an Ernest Hemingway nor a Philip Roth, and the format I’m writing in is a blog, and a blog post needs to be fairly short and pithy.  But over and above all that, this is me, and everything I write is coloured and edited by that simple fact.

Also, but only to a certain extent, I choose what to write about.  Some of my posts I just know I have to write, and they flow onto the screen without any conscious thought, those posts arise fully formed from my deepest subconscious mind.  Ergo, they have to be true, because I’m not even certain that the subconscious knows how to lie.

Why write this painful stuff at all?

Because it’s therapeutic, because I like to know what you think about me and the things I have revealed to you, because if I didn’t write this stuff it would go around and around in my mind like a rat on a wheel.  It’s cathartic to write the brutal truth.  If I lied, or told less than the truth, then you would know, and most likely you would respect me less.  However, how easy it is for people to believe the lie.

How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again.  ~  Mark Twain

Most liars can’t remember all the lies they’ve told, and if they’re lying by omission what they have said and what they haven’t said.  It’s easy to for me to remember the truth, but if I ever lied I’d have to keep referring back to old posts.

A liar should have a good memory.  And a liar’s worst enemy is someone else with a good memory.  ~  Quintilian

Some say that everybody lies all the time.  And that a little white lie never hurt anyone.  All I know is that all lies are toxic and destructive, especially lies of omission.  Trust me, I will always tell you the absolute truth.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

thou shalt not bear false witness

 

Why I’m Still Alive

when all that’s left are the empty promises

the sun was going down on my life

Christmas had come and gone.  I couldn’t remember the New Years’s at all, time had slipped from 2019 to 2020 completely unnoticed by me.  It was January 7th 2020 and I had been smashed and broken to another low rock bottom.  My life was a slow-motion freight train wreck at the end of the line in a place called Hell.  My mind was numb and empty, my soul was tortured by demons of my own making, my body was suffering from a lack of food and too much booze.  Part of me wanted to die, part of me hoped I would die, and a small part of me entertained dark thoughts of painless suicide.  Walking into the cold North Sea would kill me, but that would mean I had to get out of bed, leave the garret, and walk the hundred or so yards to the beach.  That was never going to happen.

But something happened.  Call it sheer bloody mindedness, call it being protected by a guardian angel, call it the universal unconscious helping me, but I did something positive.  It took a while.

First I got myself out of bed, went to the kitchen counter and poured a half-full bottle of vodka down the drain.  Thought about coffee, but I knew I’d throw up.  Drank some water, threw up.

Bathroom and alcoholic constipation hurts.  Stood under the shower in my filthy clothes and stripped naked there, soaped up some.  No chance of my risking a wet shave.

Got dry and left the wet towels in the middle of the garret, on the floor, discarded at random.

Combed my hair, got dressed in clean clothes, even clean socks.  Looked at the clock, it was just on half-past-six, and I didn’t know if it was morning or evening, nor did I know what day it was.

Collapsed into my armchair, exhausted and shaking.  Sat there for a long time staring at the wall, my mind empty, my soul in pain.  I could see scuttling things out of the corner of my eye I knew weren’t real, weren’t there at all.  Electric shave.

After a long long while I made myself a coffee, felt like throwing up but didn’t.  I knew that somewhere out there someone or something was sending me all good wishes.

My thoughts and feelings were being led by demons down a dark road that only led to bad things, so I picked up my tablet as a distraction.  Tried to play solitaire, not enough concentration.  Instead I read some posts by the very special people I follow.  I read a post by Rhapsody Boheme about The Wolf Moon, and the special things that could happen then ~ transformation, renewal, rebirth…..  And here, The Wolf Moon was at 19:21 hrs on January 10th, 2020.  I resolved to stay sober until then.  Before then I would clean the garret, only demons will enter a place that looks like a pig-sty.

At around 19:15 on January 10th I darkened the garret, lit some scented candles, and put some soothing music on the record player.

19:21 on Friday January 20th, 2020 a sense of peace I had not known ever before in my tortured existence, the music playing was The Memory Of Trees by Enya; the simple vocal refrain on that instrumental track is Be Yourself.  It was a profound message, and I knew exactly what it meant.

My life hasn’t been the same since.  My life is different and better, and improving day by day, hour by hour, and something or someone is still guiding me.  If you are suffering as I was, I know that you can have that too.  Nobody with even an ounce of goodness in their soul is abandoned forever.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

infinity came for me and lifted me up

Paleo Diet Myths

agriculture is all about profit, it’s never been about health

The first thing to know about the Paleo Diet is that it has bugger-all to do with the Paleolithic era of man, which actually lasted from about 3.3 million years BC until about 14,000 years ago when the Paleolithic era morphed into the Neolithic Era.  During most of the Paleolithic era people weren’t even what can be called human.  During all of that time ‘man’ used stone tools, ‘lithic’ means ‘of stone’, and the for all of that time ‘man’s’ diet was whatever he could kill or gather from the environment around him, wherever he happened to live.  Acorns don’t feature heavily in any popular diet I know of.

Since The Wolf Moon on January 10th this year my life keeps getting better and better ~ different and better.  I have made a conscious decision to turn back the clock on my lifestyle and live more like our Neolithic ancestors did ~ in terms of diet and exercise that is…..  And so help me, a proper Paleo Diet is a good starting point ~ there is a difference between some popular versions of the Paleo Diet and what is good for you.

First, what isn’t included in a Paleo Diet; refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, grains like wheat, barley, and rice…..  all of those will make you ill, maybe cause cancers, and eventually kill you.  Also avoid; Legumes like beans and peas, dairy like milk and cheese, (make your own mind up about eggs), most vegetable oils like corn oil and sunflower oil, trans fats like you find in margarine, look for the words ‘hydrogenated’ and avoid that like the plague.  Don’t consume anything with artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin, these are nasty and will hurt your body, cut down on salt.  Don’t eat processed foods, nothing from cans, no pre-prepared meals in an aluminium or plastic tray, nothing labeled ‘diet’ or ‘low-fat’.  If it looks like it was made in a factory don’t eat it.

Don’t buy take-out ~ you don’t know what’s in it, and have you ever seen around back of a take-out place?  Dirt, rats, cockroaches, dangerous filth…..  Don’t eat at restaurants too often.

What should we eat, what am I going to eat?

  • fruits and vegetables, but not legumes like beans and peas.
  • nuts and seeds, good luck on buying acorns.
  • lean meats, grass fed if possible.
  • Fish, especially those fish rich in omega-3, like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna.  Cod and haddock are good too because you know they must be wild-caught.
  • Use good oil from fruits and nuts, extra virgin olive oil is my staple.
  • Potatoes.  Strictly speaking I shouldn’t eat high starch food, but I’m not giving up on a jacket potato with my steak.

Also I do not ever take medication, the side-effects aren’t trivial, they are effects, not innocent side-effects.  Most medication will make you very sick sooner or later, and all medication is addictive sooner or later.  Avoid alcohol and drugs, do not use pot, it will give you schizophrenia, do not ever ever even experiment with something like cocaine.  The effects on your brain never, ever go away.

Along with a good diet I will also exercise like our neolithic ancestors, and they walked.  Imagine walking down a herd of bison.  How far do you think you need to walk to exhaust a bison?

Some say that modern processed foods are a boon.  And that take-out pizza and beer makes for a healthy diet.  All I know is I want to be fit, healthy, and looking forward to a long life.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you want to drink,

stick to a little red wine,

or a good British beer.

Tunes on Tuesday ~ Leo Sayer

he loved her against all reason, against all hope, against happiness

I remember when Leo Sayer used to sing wearing a Pierrot costume.  I thought that was pretty cool, at the time.  But have you ever been in love…..?

I know all there is to know about unrequited love.  It hurts.

Please listen with compassion.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the tears of a clown

The Danger of Expectations

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
and you’re not in this world to live up to mine

I didn’t expect her to do that at the dinner table

One of the reasons my life was such a mess was that I had some expectations from a relationship that were no longer being met.  I was and am far too attached to a woman, and being in love with a woman always leads to expectations, and in my experience expectations always leads to bitter disappointments.  Those disappointments were making me very confused, is it infatuation, lust, desire, love, an emotional need, or a dysfunctional friendship?  And how does a normal guy find a way through that Dionysian maze?

Expectation is the root of all heartache.  ~  Shakespeare

No matter how hard I tried I could not free myself of the expectation that I deserved an emotional, sensual and sexual friendship where the love I thought I felt was returned freely and fully.  That is the big danger of having expectations, often they are unrealistic, often they lead us to believe that we deserve something or someone, and quite often our expectations are a million miles from the reality of any given situation.

Also expectations are passive, we don’t need to actually do anything to have huge expectations.  Expectations are the result of feelings, and I should know that feelings are often false and the result of twisted programming hard wired into our subconscious mind before we were seven years of age.  Feelings are not real, and our feelings often have fuck all to do with what’s going on in the real world.

We should never blame people for disappointing us, we should blame ourselves for expecting too much from them, or expecting things from them that they can’t give to us, or don’t want to give us.  We should never blame others for our own negative feelings of anger, jealousy, misery, resentment, sadness…..  Our feelings belong only to ourselves, we should own them, and if our feelings are distressing us don’t try to change the world, that’s too difficult, we should change ourselves instead.

Expectations can be as trivial as expecting a nice day, as important as expecting a pay rise at work, or as destructive as thinking you love someone who doesn’t love you.  Unrequited love is incredibly painful, trust me, I know.

We always want what we can’t have, life is so cruel that way.

Some say that if we don’t expect the good things from life then all we will ever get is dross.  And that we have a right to expect to get what we want the most.  All I know is that I’m still trying to find a way to stop loving someone.  You’d think a man would know.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

and I expected a great beach-front hotel

Tunes on Tuesday ~ Vincent

starry starry night

This is a song from my past, by a great singer / songwriter.  He looks damn young here.

When in New York I always stayed at the Plaza, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd.  The picture looks better in real life than any mere impression can give.

Please listen with compassion.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

a product of tortured genius

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