dawn-time dawnings: i’m writing a memoir!

I think I really am actually writing a coming-of-age memoir. I’m coming of age, I know that much. And I’m writing about it. Bloody oath I’m writing about – I can’t friggen stop writing about it. Some friends are telling me I need to get out of my mind, away from the computer – and what?, into their car!? No way Jose. I’m on my own trip, and today I’m fucking thrilled about it. Yesterday and the days before that? Not so much. Tomorrow? Who knows. But today I’m really actually writing a memoir. I wrote down a summary as a potential pitch recently, when i got excited about an unsolicited email from an agent. But now i can’t find it, which is good – it’s the sort of thing that should be written and re-written from scratch, even as an exercise for writing the actual damn thing. It was something like:

High-school suburban stoner makes it good in publishing before growing disillusioned with the industry and the whole entire industrialised West, heads to Thailand in pursuit of peace, returns an alcoholic, has a nervous breakdown, finds God, travels to Turkey thinking he’s got this peace thing under control, does a lot of hardcore meditation but returns to alcoholism nonetheless, returns to Australia, has another breakdown, catches up with God again and decides to share his story.

Something like that. If i rewrite it every day as i approach the idea of thinking about maybe extracting these Adventures in Sobriety posts and developing them into a manuscript, maybe in ten years i’ll have the concept distilled enough to fit it on a blurb that people might actually care to understand.

The summary i wrote for the agent was a lot more succinct and far less sarcastic and it sounded like a cliché, but whatever.

I have long maintained that clichés are clichés for a bloody good reason – when enough people can relate to an idea easily expressed by some phrase, story or experience, it can become cliché. Cliché gets a bad wrap among the over-educated arts elite, because there is this obessesion with originality – as though using cliché is somehow shamefully derivative. Not necessarily – it’s not the nature of the boat, it’s how you use it. I’m not sure if that really works, but you get the idea.

My superego gets in the way sometimes, suggesting I can’t tell stories for shit and who would care about my story anyway. But then my ego chips and says, Abhijan, you’re fucking awesome! Write this memoir and share it with whoever will listen. Your story is great – you’re a fucking trooper.

I don’t really care what either of them have to say. I’m going with my gut. I’m going with feeling on this one. And right now, the hours I spend sitting down at my journal getting longhanded with my story – they are the most peaceful hours I get, at a time when my life is in a seemingly constant state of upheavel and change.

So that’s what Adventures in Sobriety is about for now. All of the above.

I worry sometimes about whether putting this all up online is a kind of narcissistic exercise – a cry for help, a plea for attention. But right now I don’t care about that either – in one sense because i actually don’t care, but in another: i bloody do need help. Help!, i’m a drunk and a stoner.

But also it’s a cathartic process for me, and I’m arriving at insights I might never have arrived at if I hadn’t been scribbling away at this. So telling the story is as much for me as it might be for you. Of course I’m keen to hear if it resonates with you – that would be grand. We can learn from each other in sharing our stories. So bring it. Yes, I’m looking at you!

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introducing Day Four, The Return of Vision | Adventures in Sobriety

I have published the entry for Day Four in the series Adventures in Sobriety.

Day Four saw me make an oxymoron of myself by applauding “vision” in a post where i “accidentally” conduct a tirade against time. It is one of those long and sprawling posts, written under the weight of what felt like a hangover but was presumably actually withdrawals, which I guess are what hangovers are anyway.

Two months into this adventure I see that some of the inexplicable emotional pain I feel at times is probably the withdrawals from half a life spent on one ‘soft’ drug or another. I’m crying a lot lately – allowing myself to cry. They are old tears, unattached to any event in the present. And the feel good. Highly recommended.

Meanwhile, Day Four.

Browser Dump

In the spirit of brain dumps everywhere, i thought i would try a category here called Browser Dump—i’m a tab fiend and i flitter between Firefox, Chrome and Torch, so i’ve got a shed-load of tabs open in my life at any given time, which can be a curiously massive burden, which maybe i can foist on to you 🙂

I mean, i’m interested in Everything, so i have the Wikipedia entry for “time” open, and alongside that a lecture by Hawking on the beginning of time, and alongside that a brief history of time measurement—such is the nature of the rabbit holes i find myself in as i comb the flux. I can’t even remember why i was researching time at the time. Something i do know is i suspect “time” is a human construct and we needn’t necessarily adhere to its dictates. And i certainly prefer the idea of falling into rhythm with the natural ebb and flow of light and dark that is night and day—as God perhaps intended, according to Genesis.

I get a lot of inspiration from the high-quality stuff we can now find on the internet, and don’t like to let inspiration just fly by without me trying to mercilessly trap it,

which makes me think i should perhaps relax and let myself feel about browser tabs as i feel about romantic love, the capture of which is about as easy as catching farts in a butterfly net.

So to begin with, i found this thing called Archie, which claims to grow your social-media influence without you actually doing much. Suspecting there is no such thing as a free lunch, i was not surprised when i registered an account and then sat there looking at the dashboard thinking, Now what? We’ll see.

And i had this YouTube video open from my friend about the scientific benefits of meditation—it’s an animated infographic:

Now i have “How To Meditate – The No Bullshit Guide to Meditation” open, because of course that was in the sidebar. I haven’t watched this yet—it’s a good thirty minutes! One for later.

I have this poster-quote open from Umberto Eco’s column from 1994, “Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War“, which i first read a few years ago and which profoundly influenced the choice of computer i would like to purchase next time—my Mac has put in a good innings, but it’s been demonstrating signs of being nearly kaput:

Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War

Mac vs. DOS — The Holy War

This long piece from AdelaideNow is about Goyder’s Line—the drought line in South Australia. I would very much like to do an awareness-raising charity tour of Goyder’s Line, wearing a fake goitre to illustrate the point that an ecosystem out of balance quickly manifests symptoms of disease. It would of course be called The Goyder’s Goitre Tour.

I’ve had this post about puncture problems by a fellow cycle tourist open for yonks—pretty much since i did my first longish tour around the Flinders Rangers over the New Year. While i was there, a woman suggested i try to go tubeless. I tried this, but was not able to get past the challenge of rapidly inflating my gooed-up tyre using the inadequate tools i had on hand at the time. I have since experimented with gooed-up tubes, and they seem to be working a treat—i got two “bindies” in my rear tyre the other day, each of them perhaps 2mm thick. I pulled them out and there was a wild hiss for a few seconds, which waned into a slow sort of gurgle as i spun the wheel and hoped the goo would distribute to the puncture. It did, and i’ve had no leakage problems ever since. So i’m unceremoniously closing that one!

Day Four, The Return of Vision

Tuesday 27 January
Renmark, South Australian

Day Four of my Adventures in Sobriety series, in which I make an oxymoron of myself by applauding “vision” in a post where i “accidentally” conduct a tirade against time.

the-persistence-of-memory-1931

Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”, which I had hung in my room as a teenager and only just now realised is entirely appropriate for this post. At the time I just thought it was cool because I was a stoner, but maybe it came into my life at that time for a reason.

I can’t sleep. I haven’t tried, but i know. I’m in that state where my body is exhausted but my mind is inexplicably energised.

For the last two days i’ve been wracked by hangover symptoms (headache, nausea, mysterious aches and pains) and i joked with someone about how it doesn’t seem fair that i should suffer thus for not taking drugs.

But obviously i’m detoxing. And these are the consequences of a heavy month-long binge, and actually i’m more interested in seeing this suffering through than i am in seeing (as an experiment, of course) whether a small joint would alleviate the symptoms—thereby confirming that these are withdrawals. Now there’s an addict’s reasoning par excellence.

But it’s not the symptoms alone that are keeping me awake: it’s also the sudden influx of motivation, mental activity, hope, pride, self-respect and vision.  Continue reading

the sleep of the awakened

I like to take my time, you know – go slow, or as slow or as fast as is required of the moment. Right now i am slowly drinking a beer on a balcony in Istanbul! Soon i will hustle for a bus, then i will slowly watch a movie about the acceleration of ascension we are currently experiencing as the human race awakens and the universe continues to expand. Then we will sleep the sleep of the awakened.

Starting to Breathe, Part I

a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing – the Introduction is here

Fits and Starts

There is a new comb. It can be used without reference to the ‘i’. There was a festival, and there is an OSHO commune on Lesvos, Greece. Here, there and now, there is an alternative way of living. It is the way of light, of love, of uncontrollable and inexplicable laughter: laughter that bubbles up from the well-spring of a healthy spirit.

I have been experimenting with writing without reference to the ‘i’, to the ego, but it is proving difficult – it feels detached from reality, disembodied. Maybe it’s too much for now, because the thing is i’m still attached to my sense of ‘i’, to a sense that things happen to me, or that i do things.

It’s complicated. I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle again, A New Earth. He has a lot to say about how we invest a sense of self in objects, things, people, whatever – things that ultimately exist outside ourselves, and are not us. And i have obviously been reading and listening to Osho, who has a lot to say about witnessing, about that part of our consciousness that can observe our ego, thereby separating us from what Eckhart would call the mind-made self – a way to start moving toward liberation.

Continue reading

Starting to Breathe, Introduction

a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing

Introduction

For years now i’ve been implementing lifestyle changes from habits that are bad for me toward a way of being that is most conducive to spiritual progress. To a considerable extent i have succeeded, but sometimes i relapse and binge. Through experiences i’m having lately between an OSHO festival in Turkey and an OSHO commune in Greece, i’m learning that the reason some of these changes don’t stick is i am not focusing on the root cause of these behaviours – i am trying to treat the symptoms of a spiritual malaise rather than working on the wounds and conditioning underlying that malaise.  Continue reading

What We Talk About When We Talk About Paradigm Shifts

a long thought from the depths of night
about the change occurring when we cannot sleep

2:59am
Tuesday
28 January 2014
Hale’s kitchen

I cannot sleep, and i suspect it has something to do with a major shift that is underway in me at the moment

because my mind is again dominated by grandiose thoughts of the future.

So i am sitting in Hale’s kitchen smoking cigarettes and writing this by the light of my headtorch, socks on the ground.

I gave up smoking cigarettes but i have started again: i have allowed one insidious decision to become many pervasive ones

but i don’t really mind—

this is reminiscent of my earlier days when i would smoke and drink and get high and i would chase my fancies into the early hours of the morning before going to work to fall asleep in staff meetings.

That actually happened only once and is not quite the point:

the point is i have been taken away by my fancies and i cannot sleep,

or will not sleep—

i think the latter precedes the former, which makes me remember again that i do not know where my mind begins and i end,

but that is not the point either.

Continue reading