Our planet has certainly had a profound ‘wake up’ call, and in this Newsletter I want to mention a few positive and a few negative consequences of this virus and then put forward a few suggestions of my own.
None of us can deny that all of us – whether rich or poor or whatever race, nationality, culture or sexual proclivity we belong to – are in the middle of a big crisis, which in Chinese is translated as ‘dangerous opportunity’.
Yes, my friend, actually I see huge opportunities lying ahead for us as a species, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but at the same time I cannot deny the fact that I also see danger lurking, for while being subject to big shocks can certainly serve to ‘wake us up’, it also follows that if we lack the capacity to process their effect, they can also be destructive for us.
Welcome to 2020 where I think we are not only called to inquire as to what might lie in store for us socially and politically, but also what kind of 2020 we are personally going to experience. Will it be an annus horribilis or an annus fantasticus? Or perhaps something in between.
A friend recently suggested that “the world is getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster” and I think that’s a pretty accurate observation. I think today that we are all challenged to be what I call possibilists, that is, we seek to put our energy into possibilities that we’d like to see happen, as in this way, we can move away from either being an optimist (where we tend to deny that terrible things take place) or a pessimist (where we likewise close off to all the positive things occurring in the world, and, my friend, there are many!). Instead, we can good-heartedly embrace both polarities.
Have just returned with Martina after our having spent a delightful fortnight healing and rejuvenating ourselves at an Ayurvedic retreat centre in Sri Lanka. A long journey out and a long one back but boy oh boy was it worth it.
I previously knew next to nothing about this beautiful cleansing and rejuvenating system, which in a nutshell revolves around taking certain remedies, having many different kinds of massages with healing oils, and eating a healthy diet tailored to your specific body type.
But as with all healing systems, they are only as good as those who administer them and the people who worked in our retreat centre and who cooked for us and massaged us and looked after us generally, were truly extraordinary human beings. They all operated out of a very kind and gracious open heart and despite – or perhaps more because of – having little money, they were completely unmaterialistic.
For me, there are three main kinds of madness (I won’t here elaborate on the many different, subtle strands of each): I call them cuckoo madness, divine madness – these two sometimes link up together – and normal madness. And the most dangerous and the most toxic of all is normal madness. Why?
Because all those millions of us who suffer from this debility operate out of the illusion that we are utterly sane and that those who see the world differently from us are insane. So let me say a few words about each…
Here is an email I sent to a very intelligent, eccentric and vulnerable client going through a difficult patch. I think it is something we all need or needed to hear at some point in our lives:
I hear you very strongly my dear friend. In a way your non resonation with the normal world is a sign of you being one of the new kind of people being born today to take our planet into new arenas. I often feel the same kind of non connectedness with conventional people, only I can bullshit by pretending to be one of them so they’ll feel comfortable with me. The difference between us is that I’m a better bullshitter than you.
In his book The Art of Being’, Erich Fromm said this:
Faith in life, in oneself, on others, must be built on the hard rock of realism; that is to say, on the capacity to see evil where it is, to see swindle, destructiveness and selfishness, not only when they are obvious, but in their many disguises and rationalisations.
And we’ve just seen undisguised evil in the premeditated murder of the Saudi reporter Jamal Kashoggi who in his death, has perhaps drawn more attention to everything that is wrong with the Saudi regime – especially with all power now being concentrated in the hands of one man – than ever he could have achieved in his life.
Oh dear, more crazy weather. A typhoon ends in one part of the globe only to be replaced by a tsunami or an earthquake in another. And more innocent people die.
Our planet is fed up with the way we have been treating her and in the same way that if we treat another person badly, they won’t particularly like us, Gaia is fighting back. She’s pissed off with humanity. And quite damn right. Thank goodness for organisations like Avaaz who are coordinating huge campaigns in this area as not enough of our politicians take climate change seriously enough as always it is the poor people, those least responsible for having f-d up our planet, who pay the price.
Playing sport has been important to me all my life. Playing tennis, swimming, skiing, hiking; all these activities fill my heart with joy – as sport exercises our hearts and spirits as well as our bodies. For me, sport is also food for my soul! And I try to do it everyday not because I need to but because I love to.
When I’ve just won a hard-fought three setter in doubles tennis and I’ve really gone for it and got one or two good shots in, I feel very energised and sense that all parts of me have not only been exercised but also stretched. And I think we need to be stretched in life. Intellectually, spiritually, physically. And putting effort into a particular sport is a good way to achieve it.