Monday, March 31, 2008

BOOK REVIEW - Nancy Klein Maguire - An Infinity of Little Hours

Nearly fifty years ago, five young idealistic men each walked alone down the same path, towards a gatehouse, and rang the door bell. A rectangular peep hole opened and two curious eyes looked quizzically out. Each man introduced themselves, the bolt slid back, they were expected. As they entered this doorway they were willingly saying good bye to the material world, and devoting themselves to know God, with an ever increasing intimacy. They were entering Parkminster Charter house, a Carthusian monastery in Surrey.

The rule governing a Carthusian monastic life has remained substantially unchanged since St Bruno formed the order 900 years ago. What we read about in 'An infinity of little hours' is how these five 20th Century men fare in this 11th Century monastic lifestyle. They leave the materialistic world, to enter this brutally simple cloistered realm. Apart from half the daily services (mostly in the middle of the night) and a weekly walk outside the grounds, there is little that is communal about this experience. Each lives and practices alone, in silence, within their 'cell'. Here they study theology, pray, meditate on God, garden or carve things in their workshop. The 'cell' is sparsely furnished, with little by way of heating, which is considered a luxury. Twice a day someone knocks on a hatch in the wall, and you open it to find a meal. Human contact is minimal, just enough to be a blessed release, and to stop you going crazy.

The narrative follows each of these five men, through their personal trials and tribulations from 1960 & 1965. In this period they move from being novices, to being accepted into the order. After five years their final profession approaches, where they may take final vows. Only at this point, when they are about to devote the rest of their lives to the Carthusian life, is their spiritual aspiration realistically tested. Not everyone who enters Parkminster finds the lifestyle suits them. Sometimes the Order has to refuse entrance to the order, if it considers someone to be temperamentally unsuited. You cannot survive here on idealism alone, this would only make you ill. If you cannot fully surrender to the solitude, whilst remaining at peace with oneself, you may be encouraged to leave. Some are even told to get married, to go and live an ordinary life. Of the five men, whose story is told here, only one made it to his final profession, and is still a Carthusian. Of the others, one realised he was unsuited, one was asked to leave, one realised he was a homosexual ( denounced in the rule), another became severely ill as a result of his earnest, but misguided devotion to privations. This lifestyle is not easy by any measure, conventional or unconventional.

'An infinity of little hours', is a richly detailed and fascinating book. It is very well compiled, from numerous interviews with monks, done over several years. It re-tells the small, intimate facts about the daily routines of monastic life. Nancy Klein Maguire writes to inform you, she' doesn't come across as remotely polemical or biased in her viewpoint. She simply presents, as best she can, an actual persons experience, cleanly and without comment. Leaving you to interpret and make up your own mind. It revealed much to me, about what happens when ardent religious aspirations meet the frailties of human nature. The psycho/physical responses which can manifest when one renounces something naively or prematurely. What she describes here are very human responses, and these are often deeply moving. Each of the four men who left, decades later ,do not regret their time at Parkminster. They see it as the most important event in their lives, one that changed them irrevocably. So much so, that even though they now have quite secular lives, they still feel as if some part of them remains removed and distant from it. Their hearts have been so permanently reorientated by their life as Carthusians, they have been unable to deeply re-engage with the ordinary world thereafter. Though this was obviously written about a Catholic religious movement, I think it does have something more universal to say concerning the nature and manner of a spiritual quest, how the challenges of the simple life, have to be tempered with sensitivity and growing self- awareness.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

DIARY 58 - Amusing yourself in the shallow end

When we get home from work of an evening, David & I have our tea, and listen to whatever is on the 6.30pm Radio Four 'comedy slot'. I say 'comedy slot' ,placing it in inverted commas, because amusement by the contents is not guaranteed. Some of these half hour slots are painful to listen to, as the thirty minutes are clocked up, each one singularly bereft of humour. The comedy sitcom is often the worst culprit - the recent 'Rudy's Records' with Lenny Henry,being a classic example of witless radio comedy. There are some good radio sitcoms - 'Revolting People', 'Old Harry's Game' ( both by Andy Hamilton ) and 'Claire in the Community, but these are few. Other styles of recent Radio Four comedy programmes which lacked a funny bone are - 'The Lawrence Sweeney Mix' so called 'improvised comedy' which was like being left out of an 'in joke' for half an hour - 'Count Arthur Strong' which gets re-commissioned, in spite of it lacking any entertaining feature worth recounting here. The old stalwarts -'Just a Minute', 'I'm sorry I haven't a Clue', 'The Now Show' and the 'News Quiz', remain good value for money, years, if not decades ,after there instigation. I can't see many of the current crop of new programmes lasting the test of time in this way, they are far too shallow.

There are themes being currently exploited in radio comedy. With the success of 'Down the Line' there are a number of 'media parody' programmes following in its wake - such as the recent 'Listening Against'. 'Down the Line' is now into its third series, but it's already losing its edge, sounding predictable and tired as a comedy format. There's also a rash of programmes, (rash as in mildly irritating, requiring frequent application of balm to reduce the inflammation) where people are encouraged to talk amusingly on air about there wacky ideas - the originator being a programme called 'Genius'. The latest variant is 'The Museum of Curiosities', which is almost a stereo-typical BBC Radio Four programme, with an unstated, but obvious, intent to be both 'informative' and 'witty'. Anchored by John Lloyd and Bill Bailey, it usually has two eclectic boffins, with a stand up comedian for insurance, in case the boffins turn out to be tedious bores. Each brings an item they're interested in, the odder the better, which they wish to put into the 'museum of curiosities'. The reasoning behind this programme is slight, but it does fall into the mild, unoffensive end of the comedy spectrum. At least it doesn't make you instantly reach for the off button. The offensive, shallow end of humour, is populated by the likes of 'Ed Reardon's week' ,and the ubiquitous, curiously eternal (or do I mean infernal?) 'Quote Unquote'

Anyway, to get round to what I really wanted to write about, in reference to this week's 'Museum of Curiosities'. One of the contestants, though I'm not sure that is what they are, perhaps contributor might be better, was a woman called Martha Reeves ( no, not of 'the Vandellas). I'd never heard of her before, but she interested me, because she apparently spends half of her year on solitary somewhere up above the Arctic Circle, and the rest of it writing (she writes under the pseudonym of Maggie Ross) and public speaking. Her entry into the museums vaults was ' silence' itself. She came across as having a healthy, if not iconoclastic perspective on the Christianity she appears to be a serious practitioner of. She said one thing which really chimed with me as true; she described the Church of England as being a bit like a swimming pool, where all the noise and splashing takes place in the shallow end. This, I'd say, as an observation, has a more universal application beyond the CofE, to most religious institutions, even the FWBO /WBO to which I belong. It certainly is my impression that frequently most of the unhelpful criticism, carping, divisive and disharmonious frothing at the mouth, emanates from 'the shallow end' of the FWBO / WBO's combined multi-purpose swimming pool.


On Saturday, David and I went for our early morning jaunt into town, to read a newspaper, and have a coffee in the Cafe Nero in Heffers Bookstore. It's our usual haunt of a Saturday morning. Provided we get there early enough, there is always a seat,its not thronging with folk, and better still - no misbehaving brats! There is usually only a scattering of lone punters, and the four middle aged nerds ( of both sexes) who avidly do crosswords together every week.

Whilst we were being served by a young girl, her middle aged and mumsy co worker batted her eyelids and swapped innuendo filled banter with the very tall young man, whose hair looked like it had been fixed at 60 degrees to his forehead by high winds. The conversation and the glances both of them gave him were doe eyed, often sexually tinged, asking whether he'd like a slice of passion cake in an overtly flirtatious manner. So distracted were they, she almost forgot to stamp my loyalty card! We took our cafe lattes and cakes, leaving mildly embarrassed, but also slightly amused. Unwittingly bearing witness to this 'coming over the counter', so to speak.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

DIARY 57 - Getting the abbey habit.

On further reflection I believe my visit to Ely last weekend, was reconnecting me, imaginatively at least, with a source of sraddha ie. beauty - the beauty of cathedral architecture - the beauty of an ideal - the beauty of human beings embodying that ideal - the beauty of an ideal being put into active practice. There was precious little in Ely, and even less in Norwich, that had a sense of spiritual vitality or a devotion that was alive and kicking, nothing I felt a conscious connection with at least. But my heart was finding something in the ambiance or ether to rekindle the flickering flame of my own devotion - what I place my heart upon.

Though I have no current desire to become a monk, I still have a compelling and long lasting interest in monasticism, in all its forms - Christian or Buddhist. Whether I could cut it in a monastic situation, is an open question. Though there were strong aspects of it present in my four month Ordination Course, which I really loved, and on some level still miss - the regular structured practice, the programme you surrendered yourself to, a sense of brotherhood and shared spiritual endeavour. My reading and studying of monasticism has given me a strong sense for what the draw backs are - a tendency to rely on rules and rituals, settling into formalism, spiritual conformity, lack of challenge, and losing the cutting edge of practice. In fact, not dissimilar to the issues a lay practitioner deals with. Either way its about balancing 'a life of activity' with 'a life of calm'. Though the emphasis appears to change depending on whether you're in a lay or a monastic situation. Within 'a life of activity' its finding time to cultivate 'a life of calm'. In 'a life of calm' its keeping in touch with 'a life of activity'. All practice needs testing in the fires of experience. to establish what has been permanently been attained, and what is merely conditional on circumstances for its existence. You need both to retreat from the world and to engage with it positively, and not to see the world as a threat to your hard won 'calmness'. The life of a monk, to me, is an archetype, and represents Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels on some mythical mysterious level. It may be a mistake then for me to take this literally as an unfulfilled desire to become a monk, (though I have to hold that possibility in reserve) Monasticism, I believe, represents my sraddha's aspiration to take the current level of my practice deeper.

We live a very domesticated lay lifestyle do David & I. 'A life of activity', in and of the world, whilst neither of us crave that much materially from it. We each have our interests we pursue, to the extent we have money or space for them. We both earn well below the national average wage, but are not unhappy, feel deprived, or struggle with that. It is our choice to live as practicing Buddhists in this way, in a loving relationship, which neither excludes our interests, friends, or spiritual practice. The only limitation on the latter are the physical circumstances of our current flat, which lacks a separate space in which to find 'a life of calm' - a room in which to meditate. That said, we do what we can within this constraint, without it becoming a focus for discontent. Which is not to say we don't experience dissatisfaction or unhappiness, because from time to time we both do. We are human after all. Those of you who regularly read this blog will know all too well, how much I struggle with the perceived imperfect nature of my life. Small things which are not quite right, easily become overblown intense sources of frustration - 'If only this thing wasn't here I would be happy and content.' These sources for discontentment come and go, one seemingly replaced instantly by another. The constant bug bear is 'I'm not doing what I need to in order to be happy, content and fulfilled.' But there has never been enough time to do all I want, so someone is being unrealistic here, something has to go, some toughened carapace has to be shed. It occurs to me more and more, that limiting choice and aspiration, asking less of life, not more, is perhaps a better approach if I really want contentment. It would certainly create less causes for frustration. A place for calm within the activity.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


All that can be said with certainty
is that every talented beginner is like a wine in ferment,
filled with something he can vaguely feel but not yet express.
Still, even as he flounders, he is forging ahead


DIARY 56 - Catastrophies & Cathedrals

Another mixed week for Customer Services - of progress and clarification on the way forward, on the one hand, whilst on the other, emotional turbulence for individuals breaking the fragile cohesiveness of the team, once again. When I joined this team, it seemed it was both over worked and over whelmed. I began by approaching this on a practical level, working on planning better, starting to set boundaries, take away work that didn't fall within our remit. Though this has been to an extent useful, this week it dawned on me that the difficulties the team experiences are mainly ones of emotional, not practical inefficiency. The former primarily rules the latter, and not vice-versa. You can try to focus on just getting the task done, but it's quite often sabotaged by individual reactivity or a psyche caught in a storm. We are not currently a team renowned for our robust good health either. Most of my time, as Manager, I'm helping people who appear to be mentally floundering under the weight of their work. I feel like a professional life guard, forever saving people from drowning, but rarely able to coach people into swimming more effectively. I also expend a great deal of energy keeping my own head above the water line, for everyone's sake. Every week, its this, more than anything else, that wears me out. By this Thursday, however, I was in angry bunny mode, not to be crossed without taking out health insurance. It feels, at this particular moment, like I've stepped over a significant watershed - no longer prepared to tolerate the intolerable. Perhaps the time for this approach has now come.

I hurriedly tore myself away at 5 o'clock on Thursday evening, in a sort of blind panic, as if I must escape the clutches of some imprisoning monster. Once released, I could engage with my planned long weekend. I had the impulse to get away from Cambridge, breath some different air, catch up with myself, and, hopefully, acquire a new perspective. What to do? Go to the coast? No, David & I are going to Sheringham in less than a month, for a weeks holiday. How about visiting some favourite cathedral cities - Norwich - Peterborough - Ely? I needed to get out of an urban, traffic congested environment, so, much as I like Norwich, this imperative ruled it out ( Peterborough even more so) When Friday turned out to be a bright, early Spring day, I set off for Ely. Often, I attack my leisure time as if it were another assault course I have to succeed and have a productive time in. Above all I must not waste it. On this day, there was no need for hurry, my walk could be as measured and mindful as I liked, my attention broad and curious. Arriving at Cambridge rail station, I hopped on a train, and twenty minutes later I was there.

Like many East Anglian rail stations, Ely's is on the outer edge of town. Industrial estates and supermarkets huddle around it, like a corrugated shanty town that's been tidied up. One's first impression would be unfavourable if judged only by the view from the train. Ely's eternal saving grace is that its cathedral ascends from out of the black marshland, and is visible for miles before you get there. It rises serenely above these tawdry temples of commerce, built for the servicing of unbridled mammon. Without it Ely would hardly be worth a visit, except perhaps to empty ones bladder in Tescos. I headed straight for the cathedral, for a spiritual space, whose contemplative atmosphere I seemed to be craving. I pottered around happily for hours, looking in as many unexplored nooks and niches as I could find. I found myself sitting reflectively in the Lady Chapel as a dutch choir rehearsed, their beautiful voices combined into a seamless unity by the acoustic. I stayed on to watch them perform a lunch time concert under the lofty grandeur of Ely Cathedrals famous lantern, which unfortunately produced a less satisfying choral sound. They sang Mendelssohn's 'O for the wings of a dove', a tune I instantly recognised, even though the words were in dutch. I used to perform it solo, when I was a boy soprano chorister. I found myself tingling with nostalgic emotion, as I reconnected with a sense of myself as a child who once so enjoyed singing.

Like many of our ancient cathedrals, Ely has transcended, if not traduced, its simple monastic origins. Dedicated to the broader needs of the many, spiritual or otherwise, rather than the fortunate few of its founders. These days it has to pay for its upkeep, and justify its presence. Entrance comes, not as a result of piety, but via an admission fee, to shop and eat, to be guided or shown a video presentation about its historical relevance. A cathedral exists today more for the cultural consumption of its architectural glories, than its spiritual vitality or legacy. I tried to imagine the place stripped of these contemporary aberrations, and the many elaborate mausoleums of noblemen and bishops, which clutter the aisles. I wanted to envisage it as a place constructed for monastic brethren, which at its height housed probably upwards of two hundred men, both choir and lay monks. Building such a vast space dedicated solely to quiet prayer and devotion, could seem, to modern eyes, a ludicrous, if not vainglorious act of folly. When you think how poorly the medieval population of Ely would be housed - building a vast cathedral of this magnitude must have been a huge drain on local resources, if not an extravagance. Though, Joseph Campbell once said that you know what a civilisation places most value on by the nature of its highest buildings. In the 12th century it was to provide a spiritual house for the worship of divinity. These days, the god of materialism has triumphed. The multi-national conglomerates and banks build the towers we stand in awe of, and worship. These are vain buildings, obsessed with there own appearance and celebrity. They never make more than a half-hearted attempt at pointing heavenward, because that would distract our attention from them.

In the late afternoon, as I wandered along the river bank, with half a mind to head for home, I heard my name 'Vidyavajra' being called. It was Will Sullivan, sat outside The Peacock Tea Rooms with Sinadevi. I used to work with Will in the Ipswich Evolution shop five years ago. He will soon be leaving for Guyhaloka and his four month ordination course. I enjoyed spending a brief time catching up with him, before he permanently vanishes into the Spanish mountains -to come back as someone else entirely. That was me eight years ago. I can sometimes feel as if I've been trying to find my feet again, ever since. I believe that by visiting ancient Cathedrals, by connecting with the apparent simplicity of our western monastic traditions, I'm trying to envisage some sort of imaginative framework or sanctuary for my own Going for Refuge. That's very vague I know, but I'm probably too deluded to notice if it was right in front of me. When I reflect on my current situation, I comfort myself with the words of George Grosz - ' even as he flounders, he is forging ahead', because I know that can be me all over - feeling like I'm floundering, even as I'm forging ahead. I must not take this weeks particular moment of emotional floundering too much to heart. Would I ever do such a thing?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

CD Review No 11 - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Fourteen albums on Nick Cave's distinctive musical muse appears not to be deserting him. After last years eruption of noise and sonic blues experiment in The Grinderman project, something was bound to spill over into his other output. The triumphant amalgam of his wilder side with his balladry on 'Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, marked a creative resolution. So a further radical revision of his creative process was probably inevitable. It was going be interesting where he'd chose to go too next.

On first hearing, 'Dig!!! Lazarus Dig !!!, seemed well below par, lacking the rush of adrenaline that grabbed your attention, the way that 'Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus did, from its first track. These songs have a more open ended, rambling, improvised style, both lyrically and musically. Tunes are stripped back to bare incantations, verbal rants, or Cave's trademark dry wit, love of literary reference and word play. The often damaged beauty of a Cave love song, appears to have been largely sacrificed to enable a renewed thrust of experiment with form to take place, these songs are structured and executed differently. With aid of the The Bad Seeds, he has over the decades, repeatedly played with, flouted, or transformed musical conventions. The result here is a sometimes uneasy mixture of mature sophistication and unbridled rawness. It certainly defies any expectations one might have had of them. Guitar and violin tape loops swoop and clunk, coarsely plucking out a background rhythm, as on 'The night of the lotus eaters' or there's the all out stomp of 'We call upon the author to explain', or 'Midnight Man'.

Cave, now in his fiftieth decade, appears lyrically to be ever more obsessed with the sexual act, these are cruder songs, less about love, and more about the rampant, uncontrollable lust of a lothario. The title track, has a semi-biblical persona, the eponymous Lazarus, who bares comparison with a character from his earlier mythologising storytelling style. Only on the track 'Jesus of the Moon' does Cave tease you with his renowned fondness for darker, morally ambiguous situations, and subject matter. What initially appears to be the recounting of a man leaving a hotel, and a woman, behind after a night of love, unsettles you once it becomes clear that he's left her murdered. As an album, it has a feeling that its a record of a transition that's not quite fully got there yet. It does, however, hold your interest, with enough innovation and breaking of his own conventions, to maintain and justify his reputation.

DIARY 55 - Other People's Storms

The week started off positively, I felt I finally had the personal space and resources to access, and be quietly creative. For the first time I felt on top of the situation at work. I had a number of very useful and productive meetings. It was good to feel this, though it was to be only a brief sensation. I hope it is a sign that I am making personal progress with handling things better. However, by the time I got home on Wednesday evening I was feeling totally exhausted , my eye balls ached, felt tender and sensitive, as if I'd been forced to stare intensively at one spot all day. The same feeling returned even stronger by the end of Thursday too. This may,on a practical level, have been simply the result of too much close and detailed computer work. I went to bed on Wednesday night before nine o'clock and slept through til six the next morning, which is quite a rare occurrence for me. It was also the night I had the dream recounted below.

David has been away for part of this week in Walsall, he has been helping set up the computer system in a new shop that windhorse:evolution is opening there. Whilst this means I get some time. and all the bed, to myself, I do I miss him not being around, it's like one of the stabilisers that keeps me upright has been removed. After three years of living together, perhaps this aspect of our relationship can become a bit invisible to me, until he goes away. This week we've begun looking more seriously for a bigger place to live, deciding how much more we think we can pay, and getting some idea what is available. There seems to be a fair amount available in our price bracket at the present moment. The next step will be pro-actively going to see some properties. Our experience last time was we needed to respond pretty promptly, as good properties disapeared off the market very quickly.

Today, ( Saturday 8th March ) I've felt quite internally upset and irritable, in part a response to an really uncomfortable nights sleep. However, I think it goes a bit beyond that, to a general sense of unease with my current state, the way I inhabit my being. I appear to be being constantly buffeted by 'other peoples storms.' Other people's psychological tornados, whirling and tearing around, and through, my experience, unsettling my often precarious equilibrium. It can all leave me drained of energy, inspiration and vitality. I appear not to know how to defend myself from being affected by this in such a pronounced and unhelpful way. My external circumstances do seem to be having an undue strong emotional influence upon me. I do care about the struggles and difficulties that my team members are going through, but their well being is becoming far too closely aligned with my own. My resilience seems weaker than normal, and so easily collapses these days. All my creativity goes into staying a positive and stabilising presence, whilst all those around me have their seemingly daily or weekly wobbly. Personal initiative deserts me by the weekend. I spend most of it in recovery, recharging my batteries up for the next week to use up. But, I am allowing myself to be psychically sucked dry to a dessicated husk, week on week. This cannot be a healthy state of affairs. I have my limits, and I'm currently pretty near them a good deal of the time.

DREAM SEVEN - A psychic storm

I'm lieing in bed, half awake/half asleep. Someone says 'there's a storm brewing.' I look out the window and pitch black clouds are coming in from both the east and the west. The clouds moving in from the east side of the window start to fold and twist themselves into the recognisable swirl of a tornado. The tip of it flexes as it rapidly moves towards and through the house I'm living in, and passes directly through the centre of me, and exits out the other side of the room. The tornado doesn't appear to destroy anything. It affects my psyche more than my body. The feeling is of having been invaded and warped by external circumstances, which leaves me both physically and spiritually exhausted.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

CD Review No 10 - Vampire Weekend

It is such a refreshing change to find a gem like this. Light and sparing in their musical sound and arrangements, Vampire Weekend are four unpretentious college boys from Columbia University. Their paired down sound, mixes world music energy and joi de vivre with a spare rock asceticism. Names like Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, The Yachts and Paul Simon pop up to rub shoulders with the sprightly spring of music from Soweto. They bare all these very lightly, the emphasis is on fun, with much the same feeling of unbridled life enhancing hedonism as the early Beach Boys.

Lyrically Ezra Koenig's words are witty and literate, a trifle opaque in meaning, but you sort of get the sense of it somehow. They appear to be part of a trend these days to simpler and unadorned pop music. What you hear on CD, is what you'd get if you saw them live. No flashy over production job here to smooth over the cracks. The simple delight of 'A-Punk' can't fail to lift even the most world weary and cynical of hearts. There's not a single bleak moment of nihilistic introspection or angst ridden gloom across all the eleven tracks on this CD. What a relief !! In some peoples books that might make them a little suspect. Their style of presentation might be clean, fresh faced and preppy, but the music is intelligent, playful and definitely has somewhere purposeful to go.

DIARY 55 - Blowing raspberries across the wasteland

It's early in the morning ( 4.30pm ), I'm barely conscious yet, but a growing headache has made me get out of bed. Outside gale force winds are rattling the sash windows like angry ghosts wanting to gain entry. This is creating an overall unsettling atmosphere, inside and outside. I want to feel more light hearted and easy going about stuff, but there are angry ghosts rattling at my windows too. So, I've got up. I'm listening to a new CD by Vampire Weekend, which arrived on Friday, its ebullient energy is lifting my spirits. I'm thinking, as I write, I really must not write another blog entry entirely filled with my trials and tribulations. 'Come on Vidyavajra snap out of this !!!'

For the last month David & I have been making a real effort to meditate regularly, usually first thing in the morning. We've achieved this most days in February - Hurrah!!. The fact that its been an emotionally turbulent month is totally unconnected of course - oh! sarcasm, how easily it creeps in by the back door, let's reassert the positive shall we! - I think the discipline alone is helping both of us, after quite a long period of erratic or no practice whatsoever - that's true! It's not of a substantial length yet - hey! lets give ourselves a break here. This week, I've tried to get my leave and that of the Team at work sorted out. Money permitting, I'm intending on doing two retreats at Padmaloka, in Norfolk, which is one more than last year. That is a positive 100% improvement on 2007! - so you have achieved something during this dreadful week then? So I am doing my bit to create the supportive conditions, if it doesn't work then I'm going to be a bit buggered aren't I? A bit of an aggresive despairing tone there, careful!

Apart from writing on the blog I've not touched any other sort of writing. I've just lost impetus and interest, work is just drawing too much out of me. I feel creatively drained, so I'll have to be patient - so you're feeling a bit crap about this, turns into - this doesn't appear to be the moment where I can get the work/life balance right - sounds a bit like a rationalisation to me -I need to go with the grain of this moment rather than frustratedly push against it ( my usual response) - Hmm, a bit better, but could be just self-denial mascarading as spiritual practice - There is , however, a part of me thinks that this might be a good practice for me, just to be happy relaxing, doing nothing, and give up the anxiety driven creativity for a while - Yeh, you do a lot of that,( note ironic tone) sounds like an ideal of how you'd like to experiencve it, rather than how it actually is -There is something in this manner which can lead me away from the 'stillness, simplicity and contentment' I've so long aspired to - go on torment yourself further will you, still not achieved this yet, eh?-Though I can't escape a certain barren feeling internally, of a country devastated by the constant barrage of an enemy. Whoever that enemy is? Woops! truthful, but getting a bit morbid there, let's avert our attention and hope the crap will go away. Blow raspberries at it, instead of kisses.