Dharma Elephants

Last night Simon very subtlety drew my attention to the fact that I haven’t written anything for a while.  As in… “Do you know it’s A WHOLE MONTH since you posted anything on the blog, you slacker?” Clearly Mr Self-Satisfied considers that one photograph of some eclipse or other, and a passing reference to an obscure bit of poetry three weeks ago gets him off the blog-responsibility hook. Hah!

My bad though, cos clearly I am “the writer“, apparently with a talent for humorous and interesting scribemanship. Hmmm. Flattery will get him nothing but a cold stare – a silent reproach for his patronising but futile attempt to manipulate my on-line communication behaviour. And yet, doh! Here I am, bloody well writing stuff. For future reference though, the flattery was superfluous: the incitement of guilt was sufficient.

However, as I tried to explain to Simon in calm, measured and not-at-all-defensive tones, I have nothing to write about, because NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. And I really can’t keep filling blog-space with my miserable bangings-on about the boredom of unchanging routine, and the down-right tediousness of infinite, perfect happiness.

It reminds me of those long, slow six-week school summer holidays when, being no longer on teachers’ conditions of service, I was required to be ‘at work’ during the period when the most insistent, time-draining consumers of my vocational skills (head teachers) were at rest. Having spent the whole year looking forward to the peace-and-quiet of the summer break (when I would be able to “catch up” on the hundred-and-one creative planning and organising activities that I had been meaning to do for ages) I would find myself about four days into the expanse of calm that stretched ominously before me, languishing miserably and unproductively in the silent, empty office, constructing small animals out of paper clips and trying to circumnavigate the room without touching the floor, whilst praying for a ringing phone to bring the relief of a crisis to overcome.

Maybe, instead of moving to the middle of the calm and gentle unspectacularity of the Heart of France, where days slip by in a haze of uneventful ease, and weeks go by without social contact or significant stress, I should have become a volunteer fire-fighter in Toxteth. I exaggerate of course. Everybody knows that too much stress is bad for you. But it seems clear to me that a stress-free life is barely Life at all. In fact, a little bit of stress does you good. To quasi-paraphrase the well-known song from South Pacific: if you don’t have a problem, how you gonna have a problem overcome? And if you don’t do something, how you gonna write about what you’ve done?

So in these last few weeks of same-old, same-old, what have I been doing? Well, I guess I have been Doing Thinking. Like I do. And I have been reading books about neuro-liguistic programming, and watching on-line footage of lectures about How Language Shapes Thought, and contemplating what makes me not a Buddhist. And, having not distracted myself from thinking by actually doing anything (except the daily doings necessary to sustain the physical life of our animals and ourselves), I have found myself once again thinking Big Thoughts.

Just as Siddhartha’s journey in search of The Truth was sparked by his legendary encounters with the inevitability of sickness, ageing and death, my occasional reflections on the nature of Life have received an invigorating kick up the ass courtesy of the recent misfortunes of three of my friends. One is dealing with the painful break-up of her marriage; one is dealing with her sudden and untreatable loss of vision; and one is finally succumbing to the cancer that she has been bravely battling for the last year, and she and her partner are preparing for her imminent demise. Much as I might like to, I can no longer ignore the Elephant In The Room.

So, if you have logged on to this site today in the hope of enjoying some slight and mildly entertaining discourse on the nature of pig poo and plumbing pitfalls, or feline tomfoolery and llama drama, I am sorry to disappoint you. But, hey, the site isn’t called llamadharma for nothing. And if Nothing Of Note happens around here for me to write about soon, I may take a real close look at that damned Elephant, and attempt to use the thinking-out-loud nature of blogging to get my head around some of The Stuff That Really Matters.

And, if you’re really lucky, and I find myself incapable of vanquishing the Demon of (non-blogging) Guilt along the way, I may share my developing thoughts on the Nature of the Elephant with you.

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3 Responses to Dharma Elephants

  1. Simon says:

    I read an article yesterday that seems to have some relevance to the first three paragraphs of this post . . . . .

    Women in their 50s are not only far more likely than younger women to initiate divorce proceedings … they are also far more difficult and much more complicated to live with.

  2. Jane says:

    And much more interesting…

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