Come, let us pray

Words are powerful. They are a currency of power, like money or law or hierarchy or psychology. They can be used benignly or with mischief, to heal or to control. And the meanings of words can be arbitrary, shared and disputed. I almost would like to see a new language emerge that keeps meanings fixed, in a capsule, pure and unchangeable. But that wouldn’t do either, for the problem does not lie within language.I don’t think words are meant to be taken literally. At the most simple level, words only point to other sets of words for definition. And higher up in complexity is metaphor and analogy and humour and subtext and sarcasm and passive aggression, etcetera. There can be a chasm between what I say and how it is received. I guess that's a constant. Words’ meanings change over time, which is bizarre and fascinating. Like, until the late fifteenth century the word girl meant a child of either sex. Boys were occasionally called knave girl and girls were known as gay girls. And up …

It is a random universe to which we must bring meaning

I wonder if Amazon and Alcoholics Anonymous and weight loss clinics are primed to be the accidental beneficiaries of this pandemic?

For, inactivity seems to breed consumption. Not, ironically, the infectious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lungs, with symptoms including coughing, weight loss, night sweats and fever, better known as tuberculosis. No, consumption as in, online shopping, hoarding, watching, drinking, drug taking, over- and under-eating etc. etc.
A few weeks ago a client of mine came to see me for a massage treatment. She's a professional and a bit of a go-getter. Trains everyday. Very health conscious. A regular 30 year old married woman, ambitious and with a very full life.
She had been working from home for a few weeks at the time of her massage appointment, due to her department's coronavirus OH&S policy. She came in for a massage even with the then widely mediated risks of exposure and pre-lock-down. Her physical discomfort was greater than her…


The Holocaust isn’t that extraordinary an event, I’ve come to understand, when looked at in the context of human history. Although it should be. It ought to be one of those things that couldn’t possibly be true. A conspiracy, an exaggeration... But it is true. It did happen. 

When juxtaposed with other acts of dehumanisation and of human destruction by equivalent or lesser actors, it is easier to understand. The Holocaust is simply on a continuum of scale of dehumanisation of which every person and every nation sits somewhere along.
And I believe that it can happen again, and is happening now, albeit to much lesser degrees and in different ways all around the world, and certainly has happened since the Holocaust too.
Of course, the Holocaust is unique in its scale and due to the history of Jewish persecution. No question. And of course, it is a completely abhorrent thing. Mind blowingly devastating when one really thinks about it and one immerses themselves in some of its historic unf…

I Was Here First

A human man, one day, noticed some unusual activity gaining momentum at his house's front door. The first of which was the increased bird excrement and tree kindling accumulating just beneath the fuse box that stood guard at the entrance to his home.

Out of the crack at the bottom of the fuse box door was a clue as to the source of the kindling. Twigs descended from the base of the white box, standing out like bright green weeds thriving in the crack of a lifeless concrete path. The human thus suspected a nest hidden within, for this fuse box’s door had a square hole at the top with its own sliding shutter door, providing a sign of welcome hospitality. The door’s little door had always been open...well, for as long as it was this human’s home. Which wasn’t that long, considering the length of this house’s history. But this little opening was for the electricity inspector to read the meter and nothing more!
The human man had never noticed the sliding shutter before. All he had eve…

Exotic Canines

I really loved watching Bali’s street dogs strutting their doggy stuff while I was there for a week. Wild and seemingly threatening, they roam the streets and beaches doing as they seemingly please. But I never once witnessed them to be actually or potentially harmful to humans in any way. Of course many do have rabies and do potentially pose a health risk (although many have been treated for rabies by the State —they're the ones wearing collars).
What I observed and loved was that they seemed mostly unfazed by and uninterested in humans. Sometimes they would engage and play with us. Occasionally whilst sitting on the beach after a swim one of them would come and just sit right in front of me or next to me (not sure why...). But generally they stick to themselves, strutting and chasing and sniffing and pissing, barking and fucking, scrounging and sleeping, without daily subjugation or deprivation of their natural instincts and faculties. They looked pretty happy and peaceful, act…

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

I’m not sure how it is in the lives or minds of others, although I do wonder and enquire a lot. I would love to bypass people’s conscious mind though and travel into that place where conscious mind meets unconscious, to really see. To myself too. And I do try. But short of that kind of technology being available just yet I will have to suffice with asking questions and hoping for the best.

Although, the problem is that to get a full picture on someone, or myself, one must be willing to enter that dark zone within to give a full account. Or so I have come to believe. And I often wonder if anyone actually exists without that darkness within. I mean, if someone was born into idealistic circumstances — environmentally and psychologically — would they still harbour darkness as well as light? I can only truly know my own world and my own mind, and even then I don’t think I can completely understand it. But more so than I can know any other, if I so choose, that is. I suspect, however, that …

Life and Death (A Love Story)

It’s difficult at first for me to truly imagine...dinosaurs alive and inhabiting earth. Film and television, in collaboration with paleontology, attempt to foster or conjure the imagery, but it is still, despite the science, quite fantastical. It’s a story, mythology, in my mind. However much I try, I can only fantasise about how it would be. I mean, at least the story of Jesus has some semblance of a connection to reality, to ‘history’, through the written word (albeit a history written by men and manipulated by the original church patriarchy). But just imagine, living creatures up to 190 feet long and 60 feet high traversing the earth. Imagine the territorial skirmishes, the stampedes, the terror they would instill within a human psyche, past or present. The primal violence, and, sure, the majesty too, of Mesozoic existence confounds me. And so I imagine Mesozoic earth would have been quite inhospitable to hominoid types like us.

My research (some Googling) suggests hu…

Sweat Lodge

I traveled to another place. But that place was a feeling. It was a feeling of peace. Absolute peace. Universal peace. God's? peace.

Afterwards, my head felt light and empty or liberated and my feet heavy and rooted to the ground. Gently pulled in both directions. I was completely empty, like I've never been before. There were no thoughts. Just a sense, feeling.
But before this I had to descend into hell. My own hell. It was certainly around the right temperature. In a sweat lodge you are huddled within a dome tent with a group of other travelers seated and sprawled, prostrated and supplicated, around a dug out pit in the ground that gradually gets filled with red hot molten rocks over the course of four sessions. It gets crazy hot in there. Extreme heat for around two hours. With a few short breaks. And it’s as dark and black as pure nothingness in there. Not even the slightest sliver of light can creep in.
The prolonged heat does something to you, to your body and mind. It …

It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child

I used to fantasise about being a hermit. All of my problems would be solved, I thought, if I could just be left alone — by people and the world. For, all of my ailments and stress were caused by others...obviously! Family, friends, strangers, social conventions, conventional morality, government...and most probably you too. It made perfect sense, to my mind. It was scientific even. Like when two inert substances are brought together, such as bicarb soda and vinegar, you get an acidic, frothing, bubbling over reaction. My life was a continual series of these kinds of chemical reactions. But, if you keep the substances apart...peace and serenity… Genius! Nobel Peace Prize please…

However, as a friend of mine would annoyingly point out whenever I bemoaned my inability to extract myself from society and enter the serene utopia of Thoreau’s ‘Walden’, “If you really wanted to be living that life, you’d be doing it”. Damn him and his beautiful logic! I may not have accepted it at first, but …

We, the Superheroes

In the book, ‘If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him’ by Sheldon Kopp, there is a wonderful little laundry list of aphorisms for living at the back of the book. Number 18 states, “If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way”. I've contemplated this little tidbit of wisdom at various moments of the last 20 years of my life, wavering between agreement and rejection, understanding and indifference.

The stereotypical superheroes we are served up in film and television, in literature and folklore, while some are tolerable and noble, most aren’t very relatable or accessible. Nor overly heroic, to my mind. For something to be heroic, or superheroic even, one ought to have transformed — and I mean truly transform, through suffering and fear of the unknown — and have confronted real or supposed danger. And yes, superheroes do that, but they are generally fully equipped and supported by some magical or powerful medium. I more want to hear from the unequip…

Israel and Palestine: A Dumb Story

I recently spent three months in the West Bank of Palestine and Israel (and then two months in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan), and feel compelled to write about my understanding of the situation there, based on my experience. Not a lot has changed about my views, having entered Israel and Palestine with a relatively well-formed historical and political understanding of the situation; and yes, a well-developed cultural bias against Israel and the actions of its government and people. Still, I remained as open as one can be given the reality on the ground, and the historical facts. And the more I experienced and witnessed, the more I was (and am, even more after some time away) convinced that the real problem and solution lay neither with Israel or Palestine. Expecting a solution from Israel and Palestine is like locking a grizzly bear in a cage with a pack of wolf pups.

Israel, the nation created in 1948 and slapped down upon Palestinian people by Britain (largely), is an extraordinary p…