Accidental monk… kinda.

In the catholic tradition I was raised in, to be a monk meant a man living with other men, praying every day and living rent free in a monastery. Maybe it’s the same now, I’ve not done much research in that department but I’m listening to a podcast about mystics and many male christian mystics were monks.
And… I 100% resonate. (Adding here, I know nuns are traditionally women but I always felt more monk like than nun. Why? Don’t ask me!)

This whole modern monk thing came as a shock to me. How the fudge am I resonating so deeply with these teachings? I don’t see myself as a highly religious person, I certainly don’t align with the whole one role for man, another for woman. But, I’m most happy when I learning about spiritual practices or diving into ancient spiritual philosophies. And there’s a lot to learn, but when I feel a little burnt out by all the information hoarding, I tend to lean into the words of christian mystics for respite.

I am totally adoring and LOVIN’ Jesus. He’s a dude, he’s the dude! I never feel he’s not with me. Ive never felt weird talking to him or acknowledging he’s by my right side, all the freaking time. I don’t tell people, I’ve kept pretty quiet about my depth of love for Jesus but, for sure, it’s gotten stronger over the last 18 months. And it’s never felt like a thing I needed to shout from the roof tops, it’s always felt a part of life, like eating or pooping. Is what it is and kinda necessary.

I didn’t choose it either, this deep love for Jesus. In fact I didn’t want it, for over a decade.

I guess we’re chosen by what will essentially deeply move us, as if we chose it ourselves, maybe it wouldn’t move us so deeply. It would be ‘ego’ driven, and as satisfying as that can be, our ego wants more of it and then more after that and more after that. I never wanted more of Jesus, in fact the less I wanted, the closer I came to resting in christian teachings. The less I wanted to know, the deeper I felt called to meditate and low and behold, there was Jesus, just hanging out, like a serendipity meeting in the subconscious.

It’s not always easy to explain but I never felt called to have a family. I knew, from a very young age there was some spiritual depth that was for exploration, not children or general life happenings that may include a house or marriage or both.

I remember being sat in the back of my dads car when I was younger, we drove past the local church and I heard ‘I’m married to God’. Those words struck me hard. WTF. Nope, how can you marry something that doesn’t physically exist?

But I’m getting it, very very slowly getting it. I can’t explain it, but that’s what mysticism is, isn’t it. The mysterious, the unexplainable. And monk life, I get it, with added luxuries obviously. I think I’m kinda morphing into some modern, punkass monk, but without the monastery and the robe and the penis.

And some days I feel like every single second I’m in prayer, nodding to God. Others I feel like a hot, steaming earthy puddle… and I used to believe these were different states, but they’re totally not. God meets us EVERY WHICH WAY. The more I recognise that, the more contemplative life becomes.

So, accidentally I’m very much living this quiet, prayerful, messy life… like a monk, kinda?! And I hated it at first, and now I’m between hate and love but I’m met by God, wherever I am.


Hunter gatherer brain

ADHD. The research has been intense, to the point where I’m like ‘wait, what am I actually trying to figure out here’. I lost the thread. I’m learning the pattern, my consistency in forgetting why I’m doing something or why I started and never ‘finishing’. Basically because I forgot – I dropped the firewood so I had free hands to go get more.

And is this such a big deal? According to society, yes.

The pressure I’ve put on myself to finish. And why? Because I’m not productive enough? I’m not progressing in a way I was told humans are supposed to? When I think about school, I remember the windows because I focused my attention towards and outta them, a lot. Noticing cloud formation and zoning into outside, that came easy. I was told I zoned out, but actually I was plugging myself in. The natural world settled something super primal within. I didn’t think that deeply into it then but as I still stare at the sky, I realise just how pacifying it is.

Retaining facts and figures, I just didn’t and still don’t give a shit about it.

and why is that important? Because when I stared outside, I got in trouble. “You’re focusing on the wrong thing!” But my brain didn’t think so. And why was my focus of attention wrong over someone who adores maths or logical thinking. AND the struggle has been REAL trying to focus on stuff that I truthfully don’t care about just because I wanted to ‘get’ somewhere. BUT that left me feeling so fucking stationary (and stationary SUCKS).

So in my deep-end dunk into ADHD, I came across a concept about ADHDers having a hunter gatherer brain. Wait, what!? Something clicked.

Movement, noticing tiny detail but not having to focus for too long, small sounds sounding MEGA (because that’s how you hear prey or predators), more movement, craving the danger and adventure (otherwise you’d never flipping go into the wild to find your food), intense focus from one thing to another to another in a super small time frame (checking your surroundings, what’s safe? What’s not?).

I’m adding here I’ve checked Instagram three times since beginning this piece and and also switched up my Spotify playlist.

And ya know what… I’m not even gonna give myself a hard time about it. I’m a fucking hunter, gathering for my tribe and my tribe need me.

There are so many ways we can reframe the beliefs about ourselves and the way we ‘fit’. My ADHD ‘diagnosis’ has been a revelation, in that I can dive more deeply and honestly into what works for me and what I’ve been doing that’s actually left me totally flat (which is a lot!).

The unexpected path… a dream for this wild hunter 🙂

A picture of me active in my favourite pastime… you’re welcome.

Tuesday inspiration…

I don’t actually have anything inspiring to say here. I rarely have anything inspiring to say. Maybe I think that I’m not inspiring and those who know me would disagree. They may think me the most inspiring person yet fail to express this as how often do we say to people ‘you really inspire me’.

I don’t. As I write this I wish did. I think I will. I think I’ll make this part of my interaction dictionary…

“you’re incredibly inspiring”

Who would I tell?

Honestly? every one I guess. Who hasn’t inspired me. Even the person who I find annoying as hell has inspired me in many ways (and the whole ‘you can see in others the qualities you have yourself’… grrr, isn’t that a game-changer!)

So, Tuesday inspiration to myself is go and tell someone they’re fucking amazing!

Oh and bees inspire me daily… I drew a pic of just how much. You’re welcome.

Freedom

The last few months…who am I kidding, the last 18 months, has got me assessing what freedom actually means, to me. I’ve not thought too much about freedom before as I realise the super privilege position I’ve been in. I’ve lived a life, be it not always within mental dynamics, that’s felt on the most part, free.

I could decided upon where to go and with who. Yes, I know we can get woven into relationships that once explored can have us questioning just how free we are around certain people, but without the intensity of that exploration, we can mainly choose our people.

So much has happened during this pandemic to send our nervous systems into a spin. Control has been taken away, we’ve been told how to behave and where to go and with who (or with no-one) and death, we’re exposed to figures and realisations, every day. I know you know this, we’re ALL in this. These experiences are not individual. This trauma has not just been affecting the separate self. It never has but we’ve liked to think it was. For centuries the notion of communicating our struggles and fears was kept ‘secret’. And as the world has begun to open up, due to whatever reason (social media, global connectivity etc) about just how complex and uniting our personal struggles are, we witness many of our anxieties and human responses to environmental stressors are indeed, shared. And now this global pandemic, this shared experience of restrictions and fear and doing things we’d have shook our head to a few years ago. Not only are we all in it, but we’re talking about it, globally, and maybe this is the most exposed we’ve ever been to collective trauma as information is instant now, from all corners of the world.

But…

Within these restrictions and difficulties of feeling personal choices not being so personal anymore, something incredibly expansive has happened, personally (and probably to many others too).

My faith has strengthened, big style! My relationship with God is my favourite. My meditation practice has also lengthened (because there was literally fuck all else to do!) and I’m not sure I would have found out about my ADHD brain if I’d not had such an intense time of reflection. I live with my folks, and as a 39 year old living with both her parents, the struggle has been REAL. It’s also been super healing and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so whole and surrendered as I do now.

I can’t even explain it as I’m under no illusion, I know shit is gonna get tougher . We’re not outta the woods, and maybe we never will be. Maybe humans are supposed to be in the overgrowth. With the trees and ferns and weird bacteria that live on EVERYTHING and because we can’t see it, we forget it’s there.

I know the mystics talk about freedom being within our faith. Within our relationship with God. And boy, does it take a leap of faith to say ‘God, I know NOTHING. You do. Show me.’ And then you’re shown this shit show of ‘difficulty’ because you weren’t flipping listening and you begin to listen and then this incredible thing happens… we get dunked into unexplainable freedom for literally a few moments until it’s gone again. Yet I have more and more faith it’ll be back, when God sees fit.

So freedom, it’s a funny thing. I feel so grateful to live in a time when restrictions from government still includes access to lattes and fresh fruit and chocolate (for now, anyway). I’ve not starved and my home has been a safe haven, which I know for many is not the case. Not even sure I care that I can’t go to many places as my brain doesn’t like too much choice anyway, it’s chaotic enough without adding more decisions! So I’m lucky. I’m privileged to be able to reflect upon freedom as the act of reflection itself and the time to do so is, in my eyes, freedom.

So, maybe my freedom hadn’t been taken away at all. I got to see just how flipping lucky I am to say ‘I can’t so this right now but I will. For now, I meditate’… as I write this, I’m becoming utterly aware of just how free I actually am.

What does Love even mean?

Happy Monday!

Diving deep, what does Love even mean?

HA!

So, this Love word pops up EVERYWHERE.

All you need is Love. God is Love. Return to Love. We are Love. Love is our eternal being. I LOVE you.

And I love the word Love but what am I loving? The concept of love is super appealing, isn’t it. That we are beings radiating an energy that EVERY ONE is aspiring to feel or to be. That when we Love, it’s smooth. It’s a ride we’ve been lining up for our whole lives. We spend time, money, effort, we dedicate ourselves, often without conscious thought to this concept of Love and being in it or being it.

WHAT IS IT? Because I’m betting it means something for you that it doesn’t for me. And the feeling of it when we meet someone and we say those words, I love you, that’s tangible, isn’t it. It’s almost something we can touch and taste and the feeling is beyond overwhelming. Love songs and romcoms and poetry, we mostly resonate with the attraction thing. Lust, right. It gets in the way, or it is the way. I dunno but I fucking love lusting. I also know it’s not what we’re taught in spiritual teachings Love to be.

God is Love. Now, that’s not so tangible. And ALL the Love references in New Age stuff and quotes that float the internet like feathers in the breeze. That’s muddier. I get it, unconditional love. Really though, have we EVER loved unconditionally? Is it an unattainable concept… and is that the point, make it totally unattainable for the human and they’ll spend their whole lives feeling crap as they’re never quite getting ‘there’. Talk about guilt. Not just a catholic thing, huh.

And to not love things, material stuff as much as you love an idea, a concept, well they both feel as empty as each other if I’m honest.

So, what does Love mean?

Is it so fluid that it’s not meant to mean any more than it means to you in the moment you’re feeling it. And is it an expression, a momentary need, like when we graze ourselves and we scab. Love is the scabbing, the protection as cells come together and heal.

Love heals. We’re not in states of Love all the time. I can get so flipping angry some days and that’s bloody healing too. Anger heals. Imagine that. To not be afraid of anger, to see it as vital as Love. Is Love conditioning as we’re less likely to lash out. Less likely to disrupt others. To question. Oh, to question. Love is blind.

Humans have created the word Love. And like everything we create, it’s open to interpretation. I’ve Loved so hard I would fight for it. I’ve Loved so hard I would crack and die a little if I didn’t have it anymore. And I have. So, maybe Love is the container with ALL the other emotions. Or maybe Love is whatever the fuck you want it to be.

What’s normal anyway?

The more I read about neurodiversity, the more I wonder where the bar of normal is. Is there a brain, a neurotypical brain in a laboratory somewhere where ALL activities within our brain are compared against? How was the concept of normal structured and who, with what brain, decided upon the activities within a brain that would warrant a label if it were different from said ‘normal’ brain.

I know, a lot of questions for a Friday. Fridays are ease down days, getting ready for the weekend days. But who the flip developed the concept of weekends and working days anyway! As is apparent, I’m questioning everything.

As Seal said ‘we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy’. The 90’s, my dream days. The days of my prime developmental growth. The days when I felt ok to want to be something ‘out there’. I used to visualise hitch-hiking across America, that was my dream. To live so freely that I didn’t own anything. And that felt ok. It felt do-able. Now, it doesn’t. I’m going a bit off topic here but the point is, I feel the concept of normal has become really narrow, hardly anyone fits it but it’s STILL used to measure our behaviour. Technology has much to with our modern concepts of reality, for sure. It’s opened up so much but narrowed the human existence also. The need for a phone and computer and tablet and WiFi and apps and SO MUCH SECURITY. I never remember my passwords and have to constantly reset them. I never understand why I can’t just talk to people and computer always says NO. So, back to this normal, neurotypical brain, are we consistently living within a constricted reality? If it wasn’t computers it was industry or some other way society was finding ways to ‘progress’. And is idealisation of normal purely compliance to rules within each and many eras of evolution? This then leads to capitalism but that’s another post.

And the irony is, it would have been the neurotypical brain that catapulted us outta one era, into another. It was the neurotypical brain that invented the machine, the computer. Medical advances – neurotypical thinking! And still today, ‘advances’ we’re seeing daily will be springboarding from neurotypicals. The artists, the poets, the novelist, the dancer… need I say more.

So, ‘we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy’ is genius, the truest words. Thanks Seal! Crazy is what’s keeping the human existence beating. Crazy is the electricity that keeps humanity creating. Crazy IS our survival.

So, what’s normal anyway?

ADHD-er for life

I’ve not written in a LONG time as, well, writing is HARD! And you may not be one-tincy bit bothered as who am I but an occasional writer of stuff who rocks up every now and again on WordPress. And the hard time I’ve given myself about NOT writing as much as I’d set out to at the beginning of my not-quite-writing career has been mega. So, I gave up the concept of writing as I thought ‘writing is HARD so it can’t be natural for me to do it therefore I am NOT a writer.‘

But…

Turns out, writing isn’t the hard thing. Concentrating is. Because turns out, I’ve ‘got’ ADHD.

I’m 39 so this is a later in life discovery for me. and I’m not one for labels and a few years ago I would have literally turned my back to any ‘diagnosis’ as I was living in a deep ‘I’m so fucking spiritual’ world.

But…

OH MY LORD. The past 18 months has been wild, for everyone. I don’t know a single soul not influenced and effected by what’s been unfolding. And for me, it’s been spectrum realisations. And also letting go of ‘I’m so fucking spiritual’ because reality check, I’m just as spiritual as a fly and flea.

In the last year my dad has discovered his Autism (which brought its own healing) and consequently this led to MUCH hyper focused research on my part into neurodiversity as, well I like to feel like I’m knowing something about something. I felt like a nodding dog when reading the stories shared by women who also had a later diagnosis of ADHD. ‘Wait, that’s ME! I bloody align with everything they’re saying!’ HERE.is.my.TRIBE.

And the thing it, it’s not about needing the label of ADHD. It’s about a discovery of WHY my life has been sculpted the way it has by me. WHY I’ve felt so much like an alien in many social and working environments. WHY I’ve found committing to any relationship so flipping difficult. WHY I couldn’t hold down a job. WHY I couldn’t complete projects, any project unless I literally had someone holding my ass up telling me I CAN, and that only came through course after course after course. WHY I can’t focus for more than 30 mins without needing to move, get up, sing, shout, stare out the window or do a wee just to see a different set of walls.

Bloody hell, the realisation has been a revelation to say the least. And it goes deeper, much deeper. I had my assessment a few weeks ago and I’ve been ‘diagnosed’ with combined type. And this is what I think I’ll be writing more about, the neurodiversity spectrum. The WHOLE spectrum because as it turns out, nothing I thought to be fixed about me, is. Now begins the process of integration and re-evaluation of my life, my expectations, my self-belief system. It’s ALL different. The grief is real. The shock is real. The excitement about how these shifts will ripple through my entire reality, is REAL.