This thing that happens
before runner beans;
a disobedient scarlet
searches for a way out
choked in black flies
and the tragedy of bees
and everything focused
like this orchid tenderness
was the caterpillar part–
a small beauty, lost
in a larger reckoning
and they are still,
when they fade
the way that roses do
The stag and the worm
and the tenderness of decay
the audacity of wasps
and the perseverance of grass
the hunger of wild things
and the defiance of dirt
the granite bones
and the anarchy of nightfall
the silence of birds
and the rhythm of rain
and the infinite solitude of poetry
I cried for you
in a dream
because if I cry out here in the real world
then it makes it all true
and even the memory of you lags behind
afraid to touch
where you were
Man, it’s a weird time to be alive. So here’s something completely different from Perilous Reading:
We got a whole trolley of uncertainty luggage just being alive in the 21st c, add on social and environmental disaster warnings and it’s a wonder we can get out of bed at all. Seems like the more we chase after certainty, the more uncertain we become. So what’s going on?
- Life is uncertain.
- The human mind is hard-wired for problem solving.
Put them together and you get the chaos that is solution driven thinking. Great in a maths exam, not so great when we’re trying to figure out where our relationship went down the wrong trouser leg or how to fix global warming.
Have a quick ponder on this quote:
If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.HH Dalai Lama
Great quote, eh? If we can fix something we go ahead and fix it, if we can’t then we get to relax and not worry about it. NOTE: Doubt was in the bathroom when this quote was handed out.
As uber-fabulous as this quote is, it doesn’t take into account the huge UNCERTAINTY MOUNTAIN of trying to figure out whether we can fix something or not.
First: Doubt isn’t the same as uncertainty.
Doubt isn’t uncertainty – it’s a response to uncertainty. Slot them both into a comparative sentence you get why this is important:
- I am uncertain if anyone will read this
- I doubt anyone will read this
Doubt might share the same dressing room as uncertainty, but it sure as hell ain’t playing the same music. If uncertainty is D&B, doubt is emo. But that doesn’t stop doubt feeling like uncertainty – which means we don’t always see it for what it is. This is important, because if we’re not seeing it for what it is, then understanding it is like trying to open the car door with the TV remote.
Second: Doubt sounds like the truth.
TRUE STORY. And let’s face it, we HATE uncertainty. So anything that promises an answer gets the thumbs up. Plus doubt has that itchy, sneaky way of bargaining. Before we know it, the most unlikely suggestions are starting to sound like the truth. Slap on the human tendency to identify with our thoughts, and suddenly even the brightest and bravest of us are convinced that we don’t have the knowledge, ability or courage to do anything productive. The less we trust ourselves the more uncertain we feel. The more uncertain we feel, the more doubt gets involved. The more doubt gets involved the less we trust ourselves. The less we trust ourselves the more uncertain we feel. Around and around and around we go. Doubt is like a friggin’ drug. The more we use it, the more we need it. Way to self destruct.
Third: The opposite of doubt isn’t certainty.
Feels like it shouldn’t really matter, right? But it does matter. Coz most of the time doubt is out there hawking for certainty as an antidote to feeling uncertain. WHICH IS A BIG PROBLEM. Because certainty is a full stop. It doesn’t allow for movement. It doesn’t allow for mistakes. And it sure as hell has a problem with accepting alternative points of view. Once we reach for certainty as an antidote to uncertainly, man, all sorts of divisional crap is set loose.
The opposite of doubt is actually confidence. Which is a whole different ballgame. Confidence loves movement, it welcomes mistakes and is inspired by different points of view. And most of all confidence brings a beautiful kind of freedom; use confidence as an antidote to uncertainty and all sorts of socially unified stuff starts to happen.
Forth: Doubt isn’t the same as belief.
Everyone knows the thinking routine that goes: The world is a horrible place. I’m useless. No one will help me. I can’t do anything. Feels like doubt, right? But this little slipstream of thinking isn’t doubt, it’s belief – I know these things to be true. Any doubts that profess to be true aren’t doubts. They’re beliefs. Doubt on the other hand won’t fix it’s damn flag to anything.
Fifth: Doubt is about choice.
Doubt might make us feel like we can’t trust ourselves with our own legs, but in a messed up way it actually allows us to stop and assess a situation. But while it’s most useful to put the brakes on and think things through before we jump, doubt comes with that familiar stench of failure – which triggers every single one of our anxieties. Right about now we couldn’t jump if our lives depended on it.
Sixth: Doubt can be uber useful.
In a weird, backhanded way, doubt is showing us where we are most uncertain. Which is great, coz it’s not always obvious. AND Lucky for us doubt stinks of failure. Which lights up areas of uncertainty like a runway. Doubt gives us an opportunity to stop and look at our options. And instead of paralysing us, doubt shows us where we most need to focus our understanding and attention by highlighting the areas of our lives where we feel the most powerless. Doubt isn’t screaming out for certainty; it’s just waiting on confidence.
Doubt comes across as the mother of all saboteurs, but actually it’s a part of an awesome creative process designed to protect us and highlight where we feel the most uncertain. So how about we spin this Negative Nelly on it’s head?
- Get curious about doubt: Next time you catch that familiar whiff of failure: stop, look and listen. And instead of grabbing for the steering wheel of certainty, relax into confidence. See what happens.
- And talking of uncertainty: see if you can spot the mind’s tendency to crave solutions. There are times when we just don’t have all the information yet, or we’re just not ready to make a decision. What if ‘I don’t know’ was the right answer? Try it out. See how it feels.
It’s like we have this fabulous toolbox of knowledge and experience, and we just go on using the same old hammer and screwdriver. By trying out different ways of looking at our thinking habits we become more creative, more tolerant and more accepting of ourselves, and through a process of association we become more creative, tolerant and accepting way of being out there in the world. Way to go, us!
DON’T FORGET, finding out the things that don’t work is as important as finding the things that do. Don’t believe anything – test it all out. Take it slow. Cut yourself a load of slack, and remember that change is the hardest thing we ever do.
So there you go all my lovely, WP peeps. This is what happens to writers when they get left alone for too long: DIVIDED WE FALL BASICALLY I’m done and DONE with all this division and hatred crap and I’m done with waiting on someone else to do something.
And what with the pen being mightier than the sword and all that, what the site really needs is content. Anyone up for an article?
More than anything this needs exposure. Share, wear and dare to be different. Change is the hardest thing we will ever do.
You say, ‘It’s over.’
And I think you might be talking to the fire
As it sighs and curls, and falls asleep,
In the cradle of charcoal and tender ashes
And I try hard not to notice
How roughly you kick your boot
Through the soggy, amber leaves
And the clagging mustard of rot
And the flat, leather mushrooms
And the beaded cobwebs
And the forgotten acorns
And the ring of pale feathers
And the cruelty of moonlight
And the meaningless sorrow of tiny bones
And the relentless smell of mildew
And the misery of all the crawling things
And all the sticks and all the stones…
And in the car park
You drive away too quickly
And don’t wait for me
Or the unexpected fox
Caught too long in the headlights.
Two lengthy hours later and it’s all cleared away
There’s no sign of the suspect or of his sleigh
Four men and a laptop have been transferred
And no one is talking ‘bout what has occurred
Dan’s report is erased to sidestep a scandal
Then the room is sealed shut with an advent candle
And all of the cards with their seasonal slogans
Get turned to confetti in controlled explosions
But lessons were learned on that strange Christmas Day
‘bout Santa and reindeer and the meaning of sleigh
From next mid-November they’ve cancelled all leave
And there’s no room for merry in their Christmas Eve
As for officer Dan, he now works at the Met
Searching out weird stuff from off of the net
But the way it gets handled just seems awful tragic
Coz where’s the fun in anything if you take away the Magic?
Then officer Dan gulps down some caffeine
Produces the list that they found at the scene
‘You know, Mr Santa, I’m sick of these games,
what shit will we find when we check out these names?’
Well, the suspect he slams his fists on the table
Says, ‘Don’t piss me off with your Santa Claus label.
You call something ‘nice’, you foster polarity,
then mess with the rules like bullshit’s a charity.’
In a jingle of sleigh bells he’s out of the cuffs
Pins officer Dan to the wall by the scruffs,
‘See, lists are like wishes, best mind how you use them.
They’re hard to undo and most mortals abuse them.’
Then he slaps on his belly and roars, ‘Ho-Ho-Ho.’
As the room gets all jumbled with reindeer and snow
And he leans in real close, pulls a pen from Dan’s pocket
Writes the word ‘Naughty’ on the wall, by the socket
Two hours later and the tech squad are there
Using their face recognition software
A suspect is spotted just ten blocks away
A man with a sack, some deer and a sleigh
Cops take him down in a sinkhole of sirens
Flashing their torches and several firearms
‘Are you gonna come quietly?’ a policeman yells
Over squalling alarms and rusty sleigh bells
The suspect just smirks as they unbuckle Prancer
Flips them the bird and refuses to answer
So he gets escorted on down to the station
Thrown into a van with a fearsome Alsatian
He’s stuck in an interview room with no view
And given a list of the things he should do
Police officer Dan sits down with a flurry
Says, ‘Kidnapping children’s the least of your worries.
It’s unsociable hours on the solicitor’s fee
And we’ll need a fresh copy of your last CRB
Your resident permits are rather unclear
And I hope for your sake they’re domestic reindeer
Then there’s the matter of carbon emissions
And the use of a sleigh in adverse conditions
Police officer Dan he leans back in his chair,
Says, ‘If you’re doing Santa, then what’s with the hair?
There’s more on your kneecaps than grows on your head
And that fur on your jacket don’t look like it’s dead.
There’s no judge on earth’s gonna grant you some bail,
and there’ll be quite a queue for your presence in jail.’
Young Toby McManners is gaming alone
Slaughtering his friends with a Fortnite drone
The Last Man Standing is within his grasp
When his door slides open with a terrible rasp
‘Do not disturb!’ he screams all ironic
But Disturbed has a list, and his name is on it
A flip and a trip and a slap round the back
And Toby is swapped for some coal in a sack
Mum hears a thump while she’s scrolling on Twitter
She drops off the feed in a flurry of glitter
Storms down the hall and discovers the scene
A GAME OVER tag flashing up on the screen
And a sack full of coal where the poor boy got took
She bites back a sob and updates her Facebook
‘Toby is missing,’ she types all red eyed,
‘it’s a sad day for sure, but at least he’s outside.’
#not for Christmas, but for life
It’s late Christmas Eve on Winterbourne Road
The snowfall is crisp and shockingly cold
When up on the rooftop of number eight
A scrabbling wind knocks some ice off the slates
And from out of the darkness rides folklore and fear
In a pale, wooden sleigh with six ghastly reindeer
He steps onto the lawn in a slithering mist
Then flicks a wry smile and pulls out a list
He checks on it once and stops by a name
Takes a glance ‘round the street and checks it again
Then he shoulders a sack, leaves the reindeer untied
Kicks down the front door and heads on inside
He picks up a scent like the stuff of nightmares
Gives a self-assured snarl, and bounds up the stairs
His breath is all primal, he’s covered in lice
He’s not on the hunt for a kid who’s been nice