30th August 2017

At the end of the tunnel was a door.

I walked over to it.

I turned the handle.

I pulled; the door resisted but it opened.

All the colours of summer thrust in.

There were poppies, like bloody splashes, at my feet;

marigolds: each a dazzling, pulsing sun

beheld by the warm air.

Nettles pricked with purple tips.

Cornflowers spurted blue

amongst the grass.

Vines flowed through the door,

their liquid, limber tendrils

reaching for me

ripe with purple fruits

that burst under the gentlest press of my fingers.

Juices flowing, warm and sweet and sticky.

I licked my fingers clean

and watched the bees

dip from flower to flower

drunk on their heady pollens.

How could I know

from the darkness of my tunnel

such abundance as this?

I groaned with it,

it taunted all my senses;

I tumbled down

into the long grass,

the sensation of all that delicate contact,





my nerve endings.


I close my eyes:



28th August 2017

I am attempting to fast today, my first proper attempt at limiting myself to 500 calories for a day. No this is not true fasting. True fasting would be eating nothing, drinking only water. I’m not doing that, I’m allowing myself to eat a little today. It is not that difficult. I am not forbidden to eat food, I have food available to me. I am not a person starving, being denied food like people living in Yemen. This is a choice. It is a choice because I am replete with everything, because the idea of denial is self-imposed in Western society. We are not supposed to deny ourselves. Television tells us everything is permissible – we can fuck who we like, eat what we like, buy whatever we fancy, use whatever we want, throw away anything that bores us, that we have lost interest in. I find myself increasingly rejecting these tenets of Western lifestyle. I need to be less, to have less, to need less, to want less. But I can only experiment with what is in my daily life. Food, reading, buying, consuming. Consumption, once, was most well known for being a disease. When did it become a positive attribute? Some time before I was born. And I, I believed in it. I submitted to it. I thought my life would be everything I ever wanted if I could only break the bonds of my childhood poverty – relative poverty – and become ‘successful’. Yet it is only recently that I have truly begun to ask myself what success really means. It is nothing that I have achieved.

I am fasting, and in fasting I am thinking of all the ways in which I have been thoughtless, and all the many ways in which I can become grateful. When I eat my evening meal tonight, I will be grateful for my food. It is rare that I am grateful for the abundance of food which is available to me, the ease with which I can sustain my body. In fact I have not been sustaining my body, though my diet is not terrible (yet it could be better). I have been eating for pleasure, out of habit or routine. Fasting is bringing this all into focus. I am not suffering, I do not feel desperate for food though it is quite some time since I’ve last eaten. I am not obsessing about it. I know I could go into my kitchen at any time and make a sandwich. But I won’t. I won’t. I don’t need a sandwich. I need to use the resources that are available to me, the stored body fat, the excess poundage that has crept up over the years because I stopped paying attention.

I’m paying attention now. I am trying, if not fully succeeding, to pay attention to everything. Where I spend my minutes. What I put into my body. How I deal with other people. What I expose my mind to. It is liberating, yet it is the opposite of freedom. I am mindful of these words from Bjork’s song Alarm Call “the less room you give me, the more space I’ve got.” It is a tenet I think I can believe in.

27th August 2017

Last night I tried to eat mindfully. I chewed my food slowly. I paid attention to the texture on my tongue, the sensation of the texture blending into a single tone. I tried to concentrate on the various flavours of the food mingling in my mouth: the salt taste of the tuna, the sweetness of the fried onions, the sting of chilli, the mellow-sweetness of the tomato, the creamy, caramel textured cheese. It was more difficult than I expected. In concentrating on the flavour, I almost forgot the taste. I chewed, I took my time. I became full. I realised that the taste of garlic is difficult to describe, it is at once sweet and bitter, pungent and sharp, and I began to wonder if I even liked it. I do like it, the smell of garlic never fails to make me want to eat it. Yet this time the experience was different. I couldn’t finish my meal; I think this was a good thing.


23rd August 2017

I have been thinking, today, about forgiveness, about how hard it is to forgive. We can move on from pain, we can bury it, we can defy it and regret it, but forgiving, absolving and letting go requires a step which is often too hard to take. Forgiving others takes both strength and humility. It requires us to let go of our sense of self, of our sense of ourselves in relation to others. It requires us to stop thinking about status, to give up our status. Often forgiveness, the need for forgiveness, comes when someone has humiliated us. Perhaps they have cheated on us, or embarrassed us with our friends. Perhaps they have hurt us, exercising a power over us which they should not have – physical violence, sexual assault, emotional manipulation. Perhaps they have taken something from us, and in so doing have shown that we are powerless, vulnerable. To forgive requires us to submit to that vulnerability, to admit that we are powerless but, more importantly, that it doesn’t matter. The universe is bigger than us. Someone is always more powerful than us, they have power over us or strip power from us. To forgive is to let that go, to say ‘this is my power‘. I cannot master you, I cannot beat you, I cannot overpower you, but I can absolve you for your actions and in so doing rise above the mire in which we have buried ourselves.

There are things that I need to forgive, that I need to let go of. The past is the past, what has happened has happened. I cannot change it. By dwelling on it I am only harming my own present and I am preventing myself from believing in a hopeful future. Perhaps, most of all I need to forgive myself. I think this is the hardest step of all. I need to forgive myself for being weak (I am weak). I need to forgive myself for being blind (I am blind). I need forgive myself for not being perfect (I am imperfect), for allowing myself to be trapped (we are all trapped), for being naïve (I am naïve). I need to forgive myself for the choices I have made, and most of all for the choices I didn’t make (the future is always dark). If I can forgive myself, then perhaps forgiving others will be a breeze.

16th August 2017

Sometimes it is nice just to close your eyes and let the sounds of the world gather around you. Dogs barking. The rumble of car engines growing louder and then more faint. My husband breathing. A TV set. My son chattering in his bedroom. A buzzing in my left ear. A gentle breeze blowing. My own breath and, if it’s quiet enough, my heart beating.

14th August 2017

There’s a fine drizzle falling outside, and it is grey and darkening inside and it already feels like the long days of summer are well gone. I am wearing a jumper and dungarees, though it is not really cold, and I am sitting cross-legged on the sofa. My left foot has gone slightly numb, but I’m not moving yet. I feel like I could wrap myself up in a blanket, a cup of warm chocolate grasped gratefully in my hands. The cat is sleeping on the carpet near my feet, she knows that it’s not worth going outside today. It hasn’t been like this all day. There was a spell at lunchtime when the sun shone, and I went out running then. My first day trying to make a habit of running. No wonder I feel like curling up with a blanket now. The low light makes my eyes feel heavy, I feel enclosed by the world, sheltered, embraced, safe. I feel tired, but not in a bad way. Rather I feel like I could quite gently and easily flow into sleep, dreaming cosy dreams.

12th August 2017

I was thinking about meditation and how hard I’ve found it to attempt to meditate every day. I just forget, or I run out of time or think I’ve run out of time and before I know it the day is over and I’ve done everything but meditate: surfed the web, washed up, made food, eaten food, drunk tea, watched TV, read my books. All of these things are fine and good, but surely somewhere I can fit in 10 minutes a day to sit and be in the moment?

I have thought this for a long time and I have berated myself for failing to find a mere 10 minutes in a day in which I can sit quietly and clear my mind. Then I realised, perhaps I was thinking about it wrong. Perhaps I don’t need to do 10 minutes but rather 5 would do. And if not 5, then 3. Or if not 3, then 2. And less than 2 is perhaps too little, but if only I can find 5 minutes then I can, perhaps, get into the habit and once I’m in the habit I can extend that 5 minutes to 6, and then 7, and then 8, and then 9 and then 10. And maybe beyond that. But the habit itself, I need to generate it.

I realised this after reading Leo Babauta‘s blog about the key to habit forming. I recently discovered the zen habits website and have been reading it a little bit, and I realised that it is and always has been me that holds me back from achieving what I want to achieve. Because I vacillate. Because I plan. Because I have spent so much of my life being prepared for the ‘just in case’ moment when instead I should just ‘do it now’, don’t put it off, don’t do something else, don’t wait, don’t think about going to the supermarket again because I might just need something tomorrow or the next day or next week. Do it now. It is crazily dangerous advice.

So I’m going to. Right now.

8th August 2017

At the end of the tunnel was a door.

I opened the door, I walked through.

I entered a room.

There were desks lined up against the walls,

the room was full of people,

people working,

the chatter of keyboards clattering.

I went amongst them,

they welcomed me.

I took a seat

and I worked.


That was the first door.

After a while I grew tired of typing,

I stood up,

I turned around

and there were cakes on a table,

candles, balloons, a banner that read


people clapped me on the back,

they celebrated,

they hugged me, they said

‘you made it’.

I didn’t know what I’d done to deserve it

but I ate my cake, I returned the hugs,

and then I saw another door.

I walked through it.


The second room was dark,

there were only a few people inside.

They looked the same: grey faces,

grey suits, a grey miasma

filled the air, their faces were serious,

the had the same eyes and the same mannerisms,

they wrote in identical books with identical pens.

I took my book,

I took my pen.

I sat at a desk and started writing.

They spoke in their grey tones, but they did not listen to me.

When I wrote with my pen, my words came out wrong

in all the wrong colours.

My pen was blue, my voice was all yellow and bright,

my eyes lacked seriousness.


They took the book from me and pushed me towards a door,

they pushed me through it.

Inside it was dark, I was alone.

I knew I had done something wrong, but what?

But what?

7th August 2017

There’s a kind of tiredness that manifests like a fuzzy ball of wool wrapped around your head, and it mutes the world making everything that happens around you arrive as though in slow motion. You think this is a good thing, a kind of protection that allows you to connect with the world through a safe layer of cushioning, but really the reverse is true: the pain is all on the inside and that layer of cushioning only serves to keep it all in, trapped there right inside your skin, suffocating.