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.

Island Blog – Disparity, Contradiction and a Heart

How strange it is to be the meeting point for two opposing thoughts. My head feels like a boardroom just before two factions arrive to wrestle a great big problem into acceptability. One side thinks A and the other, B. How will this ever resolve, wonders the mediator? How could it when both sides are absolutely certain they have the answer? A contra-diction in the making.

And so it is when a fear walks in first, into my mind. Go away! I shout threateningly, pointlessly. It doesn’t move a muscle, this fear, just stands there, shoulders squared, feet planted and growing bigger. It’s irrational of course. My fears always are. They aren’t ever real, but imagined and yet they burn holes. They really hurt. But I used to think I knew enough not to ask them questions like ‘Oh do tell me how you plan to pan out?’ because, if I did that, they might be only too ready to paint me a vivid picture of destruction and disaster, all so very believable, all so very terrifying. This was my old thinking.

This time I just indicate their allotted seat and pour them a glass of water. I do this because I know that they will not be shoo-ed away. I cannot forbid them entry. They are, in that moment, too strong, too righteous. Ignoring them doesn’t work either. It doesn’t disappear them. I have learned this over longtime.

When the other faction appears through the doorway, we sit down together. The difficulty in finding any sort of resolution lies in the fact that this meet is between the feeling of fear, and logic. In other words, neither side comes with the same level of bargaining power as the other. Let us say that the fear is of possible sickness, possible disaster, possible loss and that those on the side of logic just cannot get it. Why on this goodly earth would you allow to apocalypse something that hasn’t even happened and probably never will? It is tempting to go with that sensible, logical kind of thinking, but in the end a mistake. The thing about an illogical fear is that, when it is dismissed or suppressed in one guise, it will just evolve into another one, to return another time. It is like Covid, silently attacking at random, no rule of thumb, no logic.

What I do is this. I welcome both sides to the meeting. Hallo, I say. I see you. Let’s talk this through. I am the mediator after all. My varying fears are not silly. They are very real. Look at them, sitting smug on one side of this table, watching me. I decide to let them start. Even though it scares me, knowing how they can spin their spin. I take a deep breath. Courage mon brave! Describe yourselves, I say, and wait. They do. I follow them, watch them grow and develop themselves into monumental cataclysms.

We all do. The logic faction snorts derisively, but doesn’t interrupt. It’s not their turn yet. When it is, they deconstruct each possible cataclysmic development, turning it to dust. I feel rather sorry for my fears now. They just got annihilated by clever talk straight out of a textbook, and, yet, they are still here, albeit now looking a bit sheepish. They did embellish things somewhat, t’is true, and they probably wish they hadn’t gone as far as they did; the end of the world, death, destruction, mass murder, tsunamis etc etc. But when I consider each deliverance coolly, I can see a use for both factions. I can appreciate the need for fears as warnings, just as I can appreciate the need for logic. I can see that feelings are just feelings, and that thoughts are just thoughts. As I look around the table I notice they are all just children, the result of childhoods good and childhoods bad. We are not really opposing factions at all, but just vulnerable kids trapped in adult bodies. None of us are right and none of us are wrong. We are just different, have learned different ways to survive, different ways to cope, different ways to live.

I thank them all for coming. I employ sensibility and compassion, both coming straight from my heart and not my head. I acknowledge both fears and those on the side of logic. I tell them all they are valued and appreciated, in balance. I suggest they talk to each other without prejudice, open, interested, listening to what the other says instead of listening for an opportunity to contest. I feel the air soften around us and in my head. I tell them I am stepping out of the room for a bit, distancing myself. By the time I return with coffee they are chatting like old friends.

Although I know the fears will rise again, as they do for us all, that meeting of so-called opposing factions teaches me that we humans have enough heart to solve any problems, however overwhelming they might appear at first. The key is to appreciate whatever floats into a mind, to notice it, to say Hallo, sit down, let’s talk. Wishing fears away, or dismissing them with confounding logic, only holds sway for a short time. I know where my fears come from. Self-doubt, lack of self-confidence and from believing all the horror stories in the media. The world is not like that even if the tabloids and news programmes would have us believe it. We make up the world, we people, all of us. And we have big hearts, remember? I have also learned the art of stepping out of my own head, my own room, when fear and logic lock heads. Neither of them will win, this way. The removal of my sticky fingers, my gobby mouth and my imagination is always a good thing.

Let us take control of how we deal with our minds. Let us learn how to take a step back when turmoil hits the boardroom. Just through observation and without any attachment to either argument, we can solve any issues inside our brains.

It isn’t the world that needs fixing. It’s our minds. When they are seeing the good in everyone, the beauty in the life around us, when they decide to be unbiased and open, to step out of the current melodrama within and to think, instead, with our hearts, the world will automatically heal.