Dear friends, The following is the first extract of my diary as I enter a new phase of my life. With it, I feel a new project is beginning. Hesitantly, I've named it "How to Live". I intend to share my diary as it unfolds. At the start of this journey, I find myself in the liminality between finishing one project and beginning another. This time is fashioned by transition; when you are neither here nor there, but conscious that your main task is to listen to life. As such, the entries will take different forms. Lists, chronicles, stories, notes, creative musings, random jottings...like plotting a course when you have no compass. Simply put, this is an invitation into unknowingness. Within it, an unfolding to a creative somewhere. The diary will be for my newsletter audience. The personal posts and deep dives into creativity will be for my paid subscribers. With love, Jim §-§----§-§ HOW TO LIVE Week 1 Monday 3rd April Neukölln, Berlin. My balcony. The courage of the hermit is to commune with life. The courage of the eagle is to soar. The apex predator and the ascetic understand one another. Each bears his aloneness with dignity. But don't be so arrogant to think it doesn't grate. The eagle is admired by the other birds, but not loved. The ascetic is loved by the birds but forgotten by man. Now that "The Isolation Diaries" project draws to a close, questions arise. Did I link too deeply with it? I realise I must draw it to a close or risk being forever trapped in it. Become the wolf and the wolf becomes you. Nothing is more dangerous than your work. Hesse attests to that: "For madmen only. Price of admission: Your Mind" What did I learn in the mountains? Am I ready to bring it back? Dare I? The life within cedes to the life without. Yet old facts remain. I still live alone. At times it is painful. At times it is revealing. I am not one for television. When the creative pulse quietens, I sit between time. Within this space, life reveals different sides of its nature. Like how the cliff knows the sea. You are eroded but smoothed by the shaping. You acquiesce to the ages, and their rhythm contours your spirit. You hear life speaking to you. The noise and the fanfare do not follow you home. No, there is a different beat there. In its cadence, you grow to understand your own culture. For that is where culture begins: In the heart of a human being. Loneliness occurs when it's not yet in exchange with the broader world. The dream of culture is in interplay. Within this, loneliness has a voice. It says: "You are not yet done, and this is not your end". Hearing this voice reveals your heart. Some hermits retreat, but my path is to return. I will never forget this time or how it has forged me. I don't know what lies ahead and have no need to do so. I hear the voice of my friend: "What about not knowing?" I return, not to where I was before, but to the uncobbled road. The meter of my heart: This is called life. It is always an invitation. It is always potential. Reckless faith. That is my creed. This is what is shaped by the unerring sea. In my crumbling; dispersal. In dispersal acquiescence before the Great Mystery. All of us know, but few of us See.
Tuesday 4th April We are severed from what we see. It is time to flee the urban. To throw myself upon the ground. To pray to the light. I do not see the solitude waiting for me. Not this time. I return to it as a prayer. To commune with it is to be inside the prayer. I want to be nourished by new nutrients. To see what the wind will create of me. Wednesday 5th April Berlin "The Famous Gold Watch" Recording Studio I finished recording "The Isolation Diaries". Tilled, planted, ploughed. Left the studio at 11.30 pm Jumped into Donna (my campervan) Made a few good hours. Overnighted in a service station. Donna: Tucked away between the lorries and the stars. I slept with a shredded throat, a tired soul and for the first time in years; a sense of completion. Would we ever start anything if we knew how dam long everything takes? Must you forever choose between life and your projects? Thursday 6th April Service station. France bound. 15 hours of butchery South. 30 minutes before Loumarin the weather breaks. 1 degree Celsius becomes 17 degrees Celsius. Things completed in the past. Things awakening in the present. Things hopeful for the future. My brother, Richard at the gate. Delirious joy. Drink. Celebration. Age is weathering us. But we are still here. Defiant. Family: the great privilege. The first of all the blessings. Amplified by absence. Renewed in reunification. Healed through the deepening knowledge: This is the time we have together. Live fully. Love wholly. Take nothing for granted. Everything is pregnant with beginning and ending. Laughter leads you back to the heart of love. And burnishes off painful edges. At least a while. §-§ Observe the crisscrossing of things. How your mood plays upon the weather. Which patterns catch your eye? Can you distinguish one bird song from another? Or watch a sunset without a pre-filled heart? I memorise a Sufi poem. Badly. And ponder awhile this stage of my becoming. Traffic silence through my heart. Pollard parts of me that need containing.
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