Cricklewood

Tree 8 250cmX60cm

Artwork by Steve Weller (www.steveweller.net)

Last night I dreamed of home.

The home I lived in from the age of 8. Cricklewood

The sun was in the trees and there was a light breeze. The light flickered between tiny medallions of blue sky, lush green and golden light.

It’s such a big place. My family won’t fill it. I grew up in a family of 6 and now I’m father in a family of four. There’s too much space to live in this house.

Such a big garden. The stair case which winds down from the second floor to the split level, on to the bottom floor near my bed room. So much fun to run down. Ghosts thumping down the wooden stairs between the lounge room and the kitchen. The secret cupboard behind the wall in the lounge. The secret cupboard under the stairs. Secrets. Memories.

And now I’m in my mum’s old room on the top floor looking out through the deep garden at the mountains off in the distance.

If we have to move in I guess we can make do. It feels bitter sweet. Like I never left home. But it’s such a great house. Built by a famous architect. So many great memories. A great place to grow up and to grow my kids.

I start to stir. Reality.

Cricklewood is sold, fool! The land has been redeveloped. The house itself has been restored and renovated.  Three town houses now share the block. The sound of the wind in the old trees is no more. The dancing shadows of green, blue and gold are gone.

I understand my mum’s sadness for the first time. Such a lovely place in the suburbs. Such a luxuriant block and garden. Such a great place for a family. Lots of memories, good and bad. All mostly let go.

I’m back in a half dream state. I’m outside the house levitating in the air. The tree near the house is tall strong and vibrant. I look towards the house and there is tree bark in lines up the outside wall. The house has become the tree has become the dream.

Back in the land of the living we’ve just started renovations at our place.

I have a cold and am on strange medications…

 

Photography by Steve Weller.

Spinning wheels on the long road

The cursor blinks at me. It’s 6:19AM. Writing time.

Immediately I remember 3 things I need to do today so I open up my email and send a reminder to work. I resist the urge to look at my Inbox.

I’ve been getting into the habit of writing in the hour before the kids wake up and have a few different writing projects.

It’s 6:20AM and I’m trying to get into flow.

“Flow” was introduced to me on a work-sponsored course by The Resilience Institute. The dude who did the most work on flow is Mihály Csíkszentmihályi – pronounced “chick-sent-me-high”. Sometimes when writing, time falls back, mental distractions disappear, and inspiration and joy comes. When playing sport or music I sometimes get a sense of being totally absorbed and somehow energized by an activity.

Some activities like commuting or ironing take energy away while others actually give you energy. If you are one of the sad people who reduce humans to carbon-based machines it doesn’t make sense. How can you expend energy on a task and gain energy overall from it? It’s like you’re a car and when you drive a particular road the petrol tank fills itself up.

The driving metaphor is wrong though. Time to jump.

Mongolia: The Orkhon River By flickr.Marcus (via Flickr)

Flow is like a river. You find a good current in the middle of a strong stream and are being carried along effortlessly. You’ve found a good moment.

But life is a long game of many moments.  Sometimes flow stops. Even worse sometimes you’re almost in flow.

You’re stuck in an eddy of muddy water. You are absorbed in a computer game, Facebook or The Biggest loser. You’ve sat down to watch TV in the evening and sort of hated every show but sat there anyway. You have many aspects of flow but no sense of control or joy; maybe a dull contentment. You’re sitting at the pokies of your mind. And at times when I’ve hated my life, or been incredibly angry, this state has been preferable.

Or alternatively you go too hard are crashing over rapids trying not to be smashed to smithereens. It’s a big night out, doing shots, drugs, grabbing at strippers, driving too quickly, picking fights, base jumping, drug taking. It’s like The Hangover. You wake up and wonder what the hell happened.

This flow stuff is tricksy.

We are charting a constantly changing river. Around each bend it could end. Trying to find the good water. Sometimes we get stuck in the worst form of ourselves. Other times we almost destroy ourselves.

In a previous season of Mad Men Peggy and Father Gill are chatting and she says “Nuclear war. We could be gone tomorrow.” His response: “Isn’t that always the case?”

We are in the river and it’s such a long way to the ocean.

I was in flow from about 6:30 to 6:50 this morning.

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