Island Blog – Needs, Things and Each Other

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I need, what I think I need and what I don’t actually need at all. What I need is one thing and what I think I need quite another. What I need is what we all need, love, community, friendship, social encounters, a roof over our heads, food for our bellies, heat to warm us on cold days and nights. We need a bed to sleep in, a pan to cook with, a plate to eat off. And so on.

The second need is the one ‘I think’ I need and thoughts, as we all know, can be fickle friends. As I dash to re-purchase this thing online, or jot that one down on a shopping list, I pause to question myself. Could I manage without this thing? Do I really need to Subscribe and Save on mascara for instance or Evening Primrose oil or Dog chews? Could I find, perhaps, an alternative once the one I have turns solid or runs out or better, learn to live without it at all? The answers are all in the affirmative (although stepping out without mascara is a scary thought) so I make myself wait a while in order to stop my knee jerking. The absolute necessity of most ‘things’ fade into mist eventually. It is astonishing how very much I can easily do without and, I notice, these apparent needs that caused me momentary panic not so long ago, are always just things. After all I never need to write down, Call this child of mine, remember a birthday, send a card or letter or email of encouragement. I never forget the not things in my life. But in the realm of things lie all the troubles. Things need us too much, and not the other way around. They matter disproportionately, our material needs, the number of ‘Likes’ we get on Facebook, for example or the followers on Instagram and so on.

But it is people who matter, not things, never things. Rich or poor, surrounded by ‘things’ or without them we have a choice when it comes to sharing ourselves, our light, our conversation and our interest in each other. All the not things worth everything cost absolutely nothing, not a penny, not a sou. So next time you are assailed by a sudden need for a thing, even to the point of complete panic, breathe out that breath, blow it away and with it all the nonsense thought-chatter because inside that huge brain of yours lie a million neural pathways, each one leading somewhere you may never have travelled before. And, given enough quiet breathing in and out, enough space created between the apparent need and that sweet but infuriating voice of inner intelligence, you may well discover, as have I, that whatever promised to make life perfect is a liar.

The issue of what I actually don’t need at all lies entirely inside my own head. Now that I have learned to stop and to question the knee jerk, the have-to-have thing, I am laughed at how faithfully I have responded to date. I was a sheep, in truth, following the flock even if each one ahead of me fell off the cliff. How ridiculous! But once aware, always aware and I am busy awareing, particularly so since the hacking when access to any purchase slammed a door in my face, when this hacker infiltrated my social media, broke down the very walls within which I had felt completely safe. It is freeing. I can feel myself rising from sheep into intelligent woman and it’s not a new feeling. Each time I have noticed my fall into mindlessness, in whatever area of my life, the thoughtless following behind the others, it has laughed me. Good lord, what the heck am I doing, or, more likely, not doing? I think we can all be mindless at certain times in our lives when we find our ship foundering on the rocks of trouble, when the walls fall down and we stand naked in the wind and rain. In desperation we try to grab hold of all we held so dear, all that, we thought, kept our walls firmly around us. And although we might blame the ‘hacker’ initially, we can be honest with ourselves. We needed this rock-founder in order to think as an intelligent being, to reconsider the way we are living our life. But we are normal, we are human and all of us want our life to continue just as it did before. However, Life never goes back, only forwards and if we can accept this, embrace Change in her attending discomfiture, then we are the ones who are truly alive. We are adventurers, we are brave, we are mindful beings in a mindless world.

So let the stop stop you. Let time go by and ask yourself, as I asked my own self, What is really lacking here? Is it the thing I feel I cannot live without or am I just lonely, unfulfilled, frustrated, angry, sad? When a person has the courage to ask those questions, the patience to wait for an answer and the trust to address the real issue, a way will show itself. Not the old way but a strange new way on a road heretofore untravelled, at least by us. On this road, this path there is laughter. On this path everyone makes mistakes, founders and falls down but all around are those to lift, to encourage, to make you laugh, to hold you up until you once more find your footing because all around you are others who know, have learned themselves, that what we all really need is each other.

Island Blog – Runkled by the Mighty Hacker

Well we all do at times, feel runkled, creased, all runnels and sideyways, slanted and holey like a web created by a spider with seven legs and with gout in two of them. Wonkychops in fact. All the flies would just fly through.

That was me, or is it ‘I’? I would have to check with my Pa and he is busy in Heaven these past many years so maybe not, not if I want a quick response. I guess it’s a long old way and if St Peter has a problem with the Arrivals gate then what chance do whispered questions have? Being a mail deliverer up there must be a very full time job.

To be hacked in the way I was hacked, my emails, bank account, social media and so on felt personal. If I lived in a city or even on the mainland where everybody seems to know nobody, I suspect it might have been more alarming, but I don’t live in an alarming place, am not open to the threats, the real and realistic fears of those who do. No. I live in a wild and glorious place but this information means nothing whatsoever to a cyber criminal. Beyonding the immediate fear of this invisible enemy, I sit up straight and think like an intelligent woman. It is random, it is not random at all, but it is just a wake-up call to the me who has become a tad comfortable in her choice of connections. It doesn’t matter where I live, where anyone lives. The invisible enemy is watching, waiting, offering the chance to click on or to not click on at all. I have come to this place now, the notclickingon place. Not that I ever did, no. Even a link sent from a service provider turned my head to a No swing. But somehow this hacker managed to get into my Amazon account, to change my login details, ditto my email address and that is/was/is deeply scary.

However, I am not going to let this confound me for long, even if I did feel like the spider with seven legs plus gout for a few days. The hassle is one thing, a not-thing really because hassle is life and life is hassle but it felt personal and threatening. I thought ‘I don’t need this in my widow-ness, but who the heck does, widowness or no widowness? Nobody. The wind left my sails and I doldrummed but as any sailor knows, this is not a state to allow for long. Even without oars, I have arms and hands. Even without knowledge enough I can watch the sky, listen to the wind, soften my panic enough to allow a reconnection with nature, with all she is whispering to me. I can find a new way, a different way, a simpler way to move on. And so I have.

I am not on Facebook for now and the peace is gentle and ordinary and I know it, recognise it from my own olden days at Tapselteerie, where there was no television reception, no such thing as the interwonkyweb, no mobiles, no social media. Like many of us I have enjoyed what the aforesaid(s) have to offer but since the Mighty Hack my thinks are shifting. Instead of just going along with all of it, or some of it, I have pulled back to base, not the base that was but a new base, one created intelligently, consciously, mindfully. Instead of living my life vicariously, I am choosing empty space, for now. I watch my old fingers type this out and chuckle. I will not dash to Facebook to find likes or comments and please forgive me for this my loyal friends. It teaches me something, this not dashing thingy. Did I rate my own self on the number of Likes? Maybe I did. In a lonely life, it makes sense but not the right sense. Sense is a doing word, not a being one. A sense of self is a choice and that is what my sisters in feminism (which does NOT mean a hater of men btw) would have known and taught all the way back to inhibiting corsets with enough lacing to rein in a six of wild horses. I had floated away from sense, following the rule of Now, the overwhelm of social media that brought in a wry acceptance. It is as it is, and it is, it is, but that doesn’t mean I stop conscious thinking. Which I obviously had.

So, here I am. Bowed somewhat, straggled and rickety but rising in a new shape. And I am thankful the Mighty Hacker shook my foundations. I sincerely am. Because, in life, although such a Stop when we think we are chuntering along known tracks, through recognisable countryside, heading for an expected station is confounding, it is a very good thing to find ourselves alone in the dark and the rain in a place we don’t recognise on a moonless night and in a freezing wind. Only in this place of fear and doubt do we encounter Reality and his partner, Change. Only then. Nobody really wants either of them but that doesn’t stop them and they come when they come, when the syrup and honey of easy-know living has gotten into our bones. I now believe it’s a gift, a compliment if you like. It is almost as if the Mighty Hacker has clocked this sweet confection of a mindless life and has said Oh Hell No! This woman, man, is sinking, is circling in a doldrum, is accepting the 7 leg gout thing. No! Stir her up, him up. I have plans for them.

That’s what rises me. That’s what lifts me. And the Mighty Hacker has no power over me. Or you. And, for now and for a while, I will watch the wind temper the pines; I will hover over my wildflower garden like a mother bee; I will stand at the beginning of yet another path, walking slow, listening to the stories on the wind as she shifts and changes; I will listen and I will hear. But as I do, I will also accept the way it is as it is. And the runkles? Well, I have a sturdy iron, should I decide to employ it.