Like a circle in a spiral,
Like a wheel within a wheel.
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning reel.
As the images unwind,
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.
Bergman & Legrand 1968
In mathematical theory a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting
progressively further away as it revolves around the point. Would that it were like
that in life – always expanding, broadening experience... but so many are trapped.
Trapped by a fear of really living. So much time is spent fretting over the past
and the future. Turning events over in your mind and neglecting the present. And
perhaps the greatest torture of all – to be aware of the folly but seemingly unable
to act on it. Paralysed by confusion and doubt. Alive – yes, but not living. A needle
caught on a record, stuck in the same groove or if moved on, spiralling inward...
always inward on yourself not turning out to meet the world. As you fall back from
that which might hurt you the danger is that you fall back from everything – the
bad and the good. Everything suddenly seems a threat. The music gets louder, crowding
in on and bewildering you... drowning out reason. So there it is – a mind.... always
spinning... always turning... never at rest.... what have I done to deserve that...
I wish I could learn to be stupid... to be free from thought. But maybe that's missing
the point: Maybe I am the stupid one. Always thinking, always wondering about things
I can have no effect on. Time to stop thinking and start living. Or perhaps just
stop thinking. There's the yearning for clarity and peace, but not the peace of
the tomb – surely? And with the crescendo of the music the rest of the world is kept
at bay and all too easily, one finds oneself in another deeper groove, isolated –
the murky waters of depression. The shallows of which it would be nice to skirt round
– leave for another time. But it's not quite so simple as that.
Many's the time, I am sure, that you have strolled along the beach. You can't help
yourself – you can't stay up on the prom, you have to get the feel of the sand and
the pebbles beneath your feet. You're eager, optimistic, building your hopes and
lust for life high. Still you can't leave well enough alone. You'll venture out a
little further towards the encroaching tide. You may even skim a stone or two – demonstrating
your mastery of the elements. And then, in one unguarded moment, it's got you. A
wave breaks gently over your shoe. You're not soaked, not up to the neck, not even
up to the knee but it got you alright. The discomfort is unmistakeable. As you head
away from the beach you feel the water sloshing in your shoe – irritating; but you're
plenty strong enough to shrug it off, aren't you? Perhaps a quiet pint in a pub along
the Front? But the cosy warmth only serves to make the discomfort all the more apparent,
not alleviate it. There's no shaking it – that shoe's gonna take the rest of the
day to dry out. You're stuck with it. Just have to wait for time to pass and then
mebbe try and start afresh another time. An early night is probably best. Alone with
your thoughts in the wee small hours is most definitely not the place to be. And
then you wake. Set out on a new day with your patched up optimism. It seems bright
and sunny – that beach still looks inviting. Just watch your step though because
for all its beauty those waves are getting higher and the tide of depression is a
fast moving one.
But for all the despair at the world, all the sorrow... there's a deep love for it
too – and that's the trouble. Somewhere, behind all the hurt and the pain there's
a small but indomitable belief that some good must come. And it is that last shred,
that tiny belief that prevents you finding release. It's the hope that sustains you.
It's the hope that traps you. Keeps you clinging on through all the pain and fear.
The desperate hope that it will all be alright... and so we trudge on... always searching;
bowed down by our burden of loves, losses, memories, dreams and... hope...
but really – you think? I mean, it's not been a whole bundle of fun so far, has it?
Sure you've laughed, enjoyed moments of happiness... but even then you seem to be
mocked by them. Mocked by the knowledge that these moments cannot endure. That they're
simply passing pleasures, the high that accentuates the familiar low. One roller
coaster of emotion too many. And there's precious little evidence that's about to
change. Is it really worth the risk?
Come on! Snap out of it! Carpe diem: Seize the day! Fuck off, if I could seize the
day, the hour, the minute do you not think I would have done by now? Instead I cling
with desperation and a loosening grip to a few precious moments. What you may not
be aware of is that the words that follow are “quam minimum credula postero” - put
no trust in tomorrow. Any more helpful advice like that and the only thing I'm likely
to be carpe-ing with any enthusiasm is your throat.
Smile / Spread a little happiness
STOP.... Stop - no more, no more music, no more soundtrack in my head... just peace
We read about it in the papers, see it on our television screens, natural disasters
that shake the world: great storms, tidal waves, tsunamis...such destructive power...
but it's the stuff that doesn't make the headlines, that slow creeping erosion, I
fear most – constantly eating away at all you are, all you were and all you believe.
All I want is for the pain to go away – is that really so much to ask? One thing
at least is certain – there's no holding back the tide. So... perhaps I might muster
a faint smile... at the absurdity of it all. Who knows, if I'm quick enough this
time, I might just keep my toes from the approaching water's edge... ah – and there
it is... that Hope again...