If you do nothing then the ants and rats and algae will come. They start in the shadows, taking the grime and food and dirt that builds up around the edges. But the more they get away with it, the bolder they will get.
Soon your pool is green. Soon your house has an ant trail marching all the way into the kitchen and back to an underground nest. Soon the rats are so emboldened they find a way into your dustbins, your garage, your car.
Atrophy is the enemy. His best friends are algae, ants and rats. Fight back.
King of your realm? Everything in its place? You will inevitably receive a challenge to let the spirits of War or Love come in through the front door. Accept the challenge and then everything changes. You have a choice to let them in or not. To stay where you are, or to take on the responsibility.
Years ago we let a dog through the door. A long haired mutt called “Trumpet” – Hair and damp spots grew in the realm. We fed him, changed his name, took him to school, gave him haircuts and a bed of his own.
Other spirits heard our doors were open and started to arrive in different forms. We let in more dogs, fish, grownups and finally children.
If you let them in, Love and War can take over the realm. This is not ideal and can lead to eternal battles that will burn the realm to the ground leaving nothing but scorched earth. So what to do? It is tempting to enforce discipline on the spirits no matter what. To shout and push them around. This works to a point, but the realm loses something in the process so too much discipline and fear will hurt the realm. Once upon a time we shouted and ordered spirits around for three whole days and the realm turned grey. No more color was left. It was as if the realm was sick with a cancer.
Instead we recommend you provide a stage in the realm for Love and War to play out their fantasies. This stage needs to be thought out to a degree, but really you just need a snug place to sit, some open space as a stage with sunlight to light up the spirits, and some clean air. Maybe a bit of music in the background for atmosphere. Once the stage is set, sit back and watch for the magic. Note that this can be messy and cleaning up after a performance will be up to you, but pay attention when the play is on because the magic is oh so beautiful. Carry a glass jar to capture some of the magic if you can. Then you can hang the jar on a piece of string and let the children sleep easy under its light.
This will come with practice.
Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.
Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.
So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.
Do what you can. Which is more than you think.
I can’t think of anything to write. It’s often the way with writing. Or painting. Or creating anything.
Sure, every now and then the words flow like wine from a carafe. Sweet muse does her thing and inspiration hits. But most of the time it feels more like squeezing water out of a rock.
What helps in these situations is discipline and routine. This forces you to do some work despite the way you feel. Open the laptop. Write something. Anything. Go through the motions.
And there’s another blog post.
Today South Africa face England in the rugby World Cup final in Japan. I have British and South African passports but I couldn’t be more biased in my support for the Springboks! My mother is South African and always pushed for us to support the boks growing up. I also live in Cape Town now which makes it easier.
With support for a team inevitably comes active dislike of the opposition…the British rugby commentary on tv is sickeningly biased and the England team’s attitude is strange. They have been known to celebrate drawing a game with a lap of honor….
But that’s just silly competitive juices flowing. These are two very good teams and we’re in for a great match.
The sun rises and sets every day and we are free to do what we want in that time period. It is the most democratic system we have – time limits on a day, a week, a month. Everyone will die. These limits apply to everyone.
Today is my daughter’s birthday. Our duty as parents can be defined like this: It is our duty to get her to a point where she can make her own decisions about what to do with the time available in a day.
Til then, we organise stuff for her. I am looking forward to a party later on today with family, friends and cake! Happy birthday my girl. We love you every hour of every day.
My sister left a car for me in Australia. A classic VW combi van with sliding doors and acres of space. It was very cool. But very old.
She had travelled across the top of Australia in a bigger 4×4, hit a big kangaroo, and traded the wreck in for the combi. The first time i drove it the accelerator pedal fell off in the middle of freeway traffic. I was starting my undergraduate degree at the university of Western Australia, trying to find the place on busy roads in Perth.
I was able to drive it for a few glorious weeks. Combis have so much space you can pile a lot of students in. There’s nothing quite like driving one to the beach for a surf. It made me a few friends and helped to ease me into University life. But then the registration ran out on the car, and it was so old, they wouldn’t renew the road worthy certificate without a load of work done on the car. It made sense to buy another car instead. A boring old Mitsubishi with less space, and an accelerator pedal which worked.
At the tail end of 2019 I find myself wanting to buy another combi. A wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and sometimes the goldfish come with me everywhere i go. Soon they will all have friends (except maybe the goldfish).