Friday, November 21, 2008

DIARY 83 - Everything begins with S

If I was to describe this week it would be dominated by words of a sibilant nature.

Not a lot of that around at the moment. Internal restlessness by day and a sleepless tumbling by night. Turning rancorous by Friday.

After my retreat, my shoulder discomfort abated enough for me to stop taking painkillers at night. But in recent weeks I've had to start taking them again. When I don't, I sleep my useful 5hrs, but its like I've been sleeping on a hard boiled egg all evening. I don't feel physically very relaxed.

Yes they've managed to not only keep us up past our bedtime once this week, waiting for the music to stop when they go out clubbing, but also to return at 3am with an inconsiderate fanfare of chatter and music.

Exactly how I achieve a semblance of satisfaction with my current work/life balance, is becoming an almost perpetual question. Work gives me little by way of satisfaction, mostly the opposite, so my own time has to be where I find some treasure. But this can be so fleeting, or I find it so filled with competing demands on my time, that I end up doing very little creative work that I find satisfaction in, or can be sustained. I'm finding this a deepening source of sadness and frustration.

Hmm, its at times like these I desire this so much. Everything can seem to have become so emotionally complex. I then have a strong urge to prune the expectations and demands I place on myself.

The students are only one thorn in the side of peace and quiet in our flat. We live right by the Newmarket Road, one of the main traffic artery into the centre of Cambridge. So congestion and traffic noise is pretty constant. Lacking internal silence I crave it externally - wishing for some reciprocity. I've also been wishing we'd been more pro active during the Summer and found a new and quieter place to live. Ah regrets! I have a few.

One of Sangharakshita's points for new and old members is that they should spend at a week or more on solitary every year. I've not been on one for over three years, and it is beginning to show. Much as I love living with David, in this flat we cannot help but be in each others pockets a lot. Finding personal secluded space is not easy to achieve. Going off for a day on my own, is occasionally possible. But that's not really like being on my own 24hrs a day, with only me and the clutter of my thoughts for company.

I've started reading a book by Abbot Christopher Jamison called 'Finding Sanctuary'. Taking the rule of St Benedict as his guide the Abbot perceptively draws out the salient points on how this could be applied to everyday life. So far its very good, accessible, not remotely preachy, in fact he's kind and possesses a great deal of human understanding. I'm finding the idea of lectio divina, thought provoking and intriguing, I may write more on this later. I've also bought another book by him called 'Finding Happiness' and 'A Book on Silence' by Sara Maitland. So I appear to be returning to my 'monastic' theme again, there's some life in it yet. I'm looking for a sense of direction from them I suspect. I've also revived my intention to go to stay in the Zen Mountain Monastery during Davids time away on the ordination course. I had yet another go at getting a response from them. This time I got one, and an encouraging one at that, so it may yet happen. Depends largely on whether I can get a month off from work in one go, which maybe the deciding factor.


Our oven has been infuriatingly out of action for three weeks or so. The electrician came once and declared there wasn't a problem. He must have just wanted to charge two call out fees or something. Last Sunday our sink got blocked, so we couldn't wash up or do any clothes washing. David's bike developed a slow puncture, which my repair didn't solve. All these were sorted out by the Monday evening, but it did seem at the time that reality was embarking on a cruel test of our patience and equanimity with things that go wrong. This leaves us with the outstanding issue of the shower head, which is usable, but the fixing that holds it upright has broken and we reported so long ago I've almost lost the will to carry on breathing. But I guess in this time of Polish plumber shortages, its not going to be considered a high priority......

I feel as though I'm a pan of water that's been left on simmer for too long.


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