It never rains in Southern California.
Last night it rained here in Orange County. It rained hard, it rained for a long time, and it was decidedly chilly; which is a change from the perfect weather I’ve come to expect here. In SoCal I have come to expect perfectly blue skies and perfectly warm sandy beaches. But then, nothing is ever truly perfect, not even you or I, and it is our own imperfections that make us who we are.
Each person is unique, and each of us bears the scars of our past, suffers the stresses of the present, has hopes and fears for all possible futures. Each of is a kaleidoscope of conflicting thoughts, emotions, and character traits. All of us has character defects and personality problems to one degree or another.
Each of us has been hurt, suffered, tried and failed, and had Pyrric victories. Each of brings into the present physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and spiritual wounds from the past. Right now all of us has difficulties to overcome or tolerate. We may have emotional, financial, medical, relationship, or spiritual problems; or all of those and more.
But then, we are not perfect.
There is no cure for imperfection. There is no mileage in blaming others for our pain, problems, and thwarted desires. And, yet we do blame our partners, lovers, ‘friends’, employers, the government….. for our own imperfections. We become angry, depressed, frustrated, impulsive, jealous, judgmental, and sometimes dangerous. We criticise and blame.
Why do you look at the mote in your brother’s eye, and pay no attention to the beam in your own eye? – Matthew 7.5
Some say that Life is difficult and painful. And that it is only through suffering that we can ever hope to achieve enlightenment. All I know is that it has been my own wants, lusts and desire for instant gratification that has caused my problems and pain.
The way to freedom from suffering and pain is through self-control in body mind and spirit. Striving for perfection is to chase a wraith… an illusion. Better to strive to grow, to develop and evolve, to be a ‘better’ person today than we were through all of our yesterday’s. Better yet to walk the warrior’s path with grace, honour, honesty, and openness towards an enlightened future.
I strive each day to be more accepting, less judgmental, more honest and open, kinder and more understanding than I was in the past. I try each day to be fitter and healthier in body, mind, and spirit.
But then, I am not perfect.
if I am not careful I can become Mr. Hyde
The News from England is utterly depressing.
We have a pretty serious argument with Russia over the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter, just a stone’s throw from the 13th Century Salisbury Cathedral. Some of our left-leaning politicians seem to support Russia over this atrocity.
Up in the North, (actually south of where I live), there are ongoing scandals about the grooming of young white girls for sex by much older Asian men, (mostly Moslems). Because the fear of seeming to be racially prejudiced the police and everyone else with official responsibility has been turning a blind eye to this for years. (Not just in the North ~ Asian men all over England have been engaged in this disgusting criminal practice for decades.)
Meanwhile, anyone from outside Britain with anti-Muslim views, who wants to take advantage of our freedom of speech laws and actually talk about it here is banned from entering the country.
One of best-loved comedians, Ken Dodd, has just died. One of his one-liners; ‘I haven’t spoken to my wife for 18 months. I don’t like to interrupt her…’
And, the weather here is about to get worse… again. Cold, gales, grey skies, rain, thunderstorms. What fun. I’m glad I won’t be here to see that because I fly to Southern California in 2 days. Sadly poor Marmaduke won’t be my travelling companion on this vacation. I’ve decided to heed my own advice, (borrowed from hordes of previous travellers), take half as much luggage as you think you need and twice as much money. Leaving England right now will be such a wrench, (irony).
England, this Sceptred Isle, this other Eden, this precious stone set in the silver sea. ~ Shakespeare, Richard II.
I won’t be following the news at all while I’m in California ~ I don’t want to be depressed while I’m on vacation.
the beaches of Orange County
When you are tired of California you are tired of Life.
Orange County in Southern California is one of my favourite places in the world ~ say right up there alongside Tuscany in Northern Italy. I’m visiting SoCal next week, but here are some pictures from my last trip there.
It’s very nice to be able to afford to go travelling.
I’m just about ready and prepared for my next long vacation, which starts on this coming Thursday.
Today I booked a car to collect me at the garret, for 06:00 on Thursday March 15th, as my flight leaves from Newcastle upon Tyne airport at 09:30. I then have layovers in London Heathrow, and San Jose International in Santa Clara County, before I eventually arrive at John Wayne airport in Orange County California at 20.32.
I’m renting a Toyota Rav4 at John Wayne, and then I have a shortish drive, so I expect to get to get to my accommodation sometime around 22:00.
If you add in the 8 hour time difference between England and California, that makes the journey exactly 24 hours. Why does air travel always take so long? Even if everything goes to plan?
Poor Marmaduke isn’t coming along on this trip ~ because when I looked at the layovers I decided I’d just take one carry-on bag.
Poor Marmaduke has been in tears since he found out.
I expect to be back in the garret on Wednesday April 18th ~ after another 24 hours of travelling.
I will be in touch while I’m away.
Some places can’t be discovered without getting lost.
The deep introspection is there, along with much self-awareness and self-study. Monday December 11th, while possibly being the most psychologically painful day of my life, was also a cathartic epiphany for me. There are new beginnings turning to a new direction. I believe these new beginnings are a spiritual regeneration for my soul. I am aware that my personality is expanding, turning towards goodness, emotional stability, self-awareness, self-confidence, and well-being. With the help of the Dreambook and Planner I am learning who I am, and discovering who I can become. I am beginning to understand the lessons given to me, and through that I am becoming the master of my own life.
It is a new dawn for me.
Wisdom cures so many things, except loves lost forever.
adulteress betrayal cuckold dreaming
erotic flirtatious gratuitous harlot
infidelities juicy kissable lusting
men naughty occult provoking
qualmless rape scary tart
unholy vixen witch
the converse of this post will appear soon
Only I can change my life ~ no one can do it for me.
Life is about change. Without change, without variety, without some stress in Life, all will stultify and diminish. Without change there can be no growth, and without growth and development all things will wither away and die.
I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend. ~ Thomas Fuller
But, as the Serenity prayer tells us, there are some things that we cannot change, some things that have to be accepted, and the wise learn to know the difference. I can think of a myriad of people, places, and things I cannot change. In reality no one can change another person, unless that other absolutely wants to change. This is why it is mostly pointless trying to talk to most addicts in an effort to make them change their ways. This is why many relationships, and many marriages, end in failure and recriminations. This is why there are wars.
A while ago I resolved to stop trying to change others and instead decided to work on myself to become a better person. That is now my lifetime’s project, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes I make progress, and sometimes I go backwards a couple of steps or more ~ it’s like a man walking into a gale, sometimes he wins and sometimes the storm wins. In the last few days I think the wind won more than I did. In the last few days I went with the wind and my negative emotions, and that meant I really staggered in the wrong direction. In other words I totally fucked-up, again. For me, going with the flow is usually the wrong choice.
Life will do it’s best to deceive you. You may get knocked down, but you must always get up again. The mark of a really great boxer is not that he never gets knocked down. A really great boxer can get knocked down, but he will always get up again. And that’s up to and including Mohammed Ali in his all prime and pomp.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ ~ Thomas Edison
The English language is filled with wise sayings, allegories, parables, and proverbs. As you would expect a lot are by Churchill; ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often…’ Then from Scotland we have the allegory of Robert the Bruce and the spider, which gave us the saying; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…’ But we also have almost the converse of that saying…
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ~ Albert Einstein.
The Goddess knows I have been there often enough ~ every time I took a drink I expected it to be different from the last time, and it never was. But, somehow I usually got away with it.
Back in my illustrious career in banking I once went into a meeting on Madison Avenue with no ideas and nothing but blank pieces of paper in my briefcase. I had got good and drunk in the Plaza the night before, so I both looked and felt far from my very my best. But I stood up in front of the board of the world’s biggest advertising agency and tried just one more time. I told them not what they wanted to hear, but what I wanted to make happen. It worked. The thing is I didn’t give up, and I didn’t try to change anything except myself.
After that almost debacle I resolved to make a big change by giving up banking for good. It was the wrong change ~ I should have given up booze for good. Back then I didn’t have enough serenity within me to even think about being sober for life.
Right now, today, all I try to do is be the best Jack Collier I can be, sober. That is difficult enough for anyone. I realise that life is difficult and painful. I know that the causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and the blaming others for my faults. I now know that I can’t change others and I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do, and how I react to people places, and events.
I know that the warrior’s road to freedom from continual distress, pain, and suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, spirit… and that’s a hard road to walk in honour, honesty, and truth. I try to always walk that road, and often I fail. But, at least I try, and perhaps not one in ten men even do that.
The world and the sky is ours if we want it enough.
The clearest way into your mind is through a wilderness.
all these pictures were taken with a compact Lumix by the girl riding shotgun.
Don’t be ashamed of your story ~ it will inspire others.
When nothing is ventured, nothing is gained, so what’s the sense of running away from your own life. The good things just don’t fall out of the sky, they have to be worked for. But we have to do the right things, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people. Trying to force the best that Life has to offer doesn’t ever work ~ we have to work with the rhythms of the Cosmos, and not against the flow of the tides.
The great rhythms of nature, today so dully disregarded, wounded even, have their spacious and primeval liberty….. Journeying birds alight here and fly away again all unseen, schools of fish move beneath the waves, the surf flings its spray against the sun. ~ Henry Beston.
Little did I realise when I was an overpaid and overworked international banker how little I saw of nature. What I saw were offices, the inside of cars, trains and ‘planes, hotels, airports, other offices, and city streets. I earned a hell of a lot of money, but money is a false God, and money never made me happy. Today I can be happy to walk by the sea, to look at the sky, to enjoy the vast curve of a distant horizon, to listen to the murmur of the surf and the mournful cries of the gulls. Cars, trains, and ‘planes still have their place in my life, but now it’s only a minor element of who I am ~ cities are no longer the be-all and end-all.
Perhaps it is the night of despair where you are, and I am certain that you are not sleeping soundly. If you are dreaming at all, I hope you are having sweet and pleasant dreams, but I’m certain that you are not. I am certain your dreams are weird and disturbing, turning into nightmares. Try and leave those night-terrors behind you for a while. There are enough nightmares in the real world without us having to suffer them during our sleep.
The world turns, it may be day-time here, night-time where you are, and somewhere the dawn is breaking and the birds are awakening. The Cosmos is like a giant time-piece, it has a rhythm of its own ~ the Cosmos keeps its own time. Be aware, just like the rhythms of a friendship and love between two people change and develop, so the Cosmos is a continual state of change. We need to enjoy the moonlight while we wait for the sunrise.
We are a part of the Cosmos, we are where our physical bodies are, but our spirits are everywhere. We exist in this time, but we also exist in a myriad of pasts and possible futures. I want, need, and desire that the future that awaits me is chosen from the best of all possible alternative realities. I can close my eyes and imagine ideal pasts, presents, and futures, and in all of them I hope I can spend some cool times with people I care for, cherish, and love.
We are made of starstuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. ~ Carl Sagan
What have we dreamed and who have we lost? In my ideal times we are entirely friendly, trusting, honest, open, caring and loving. You know what? I don’t think that it’s too much for me to pray to the Goddess to help me to attain my own earthly versions of nirvana. It may seem strange to you but I pray to the mother goddess, and in her form incarnate; Aphrodite. I dream of he Goddess Aphrodite, still looking for the place where we belong together.
I am excited about where I can go in time and space, in friendship, love, and sensual pleasure. The cool things I could possibly do, and the cool places I could visit. It’s about being able to fly, about having the courage to live life to the fullest, to enjoy every moment of every day. Someday soon I will build a tiny trailer, and someday after that I will build something much more ambitious, like a school-bus RV, or a tiny home in someplace beautiful, with a wonderful view of the dawn and sunset.
Shit happens all the time, but one has to remember that; as there is no growth without suffering, there can be no pleasure without pain. There is a reason we were brought to this life, all we have to do is trust and take one small step in time. Such are my beliefs.
It’s not all sweet and elegant lies. Shit happens, but Magic happens too.
Recovery is possible ~ but first one has to admit that there is a problem.