Who Am I? Part Nine


“Picturesque” Swindon

So, here I am with part nine. I wanted to write it sooner but my chronic fatigue has been a bit naughty since I returned from my trip, so it’s been difficult to get going. Just to recap on what I’m trying to achieve with this series of posts. I’m trying to write with the mentality of who I was at the time of each phase, so hopefully, the reader will evolve alongside the writer as the story progresses and we blossom together; something like that anyway. To kick off part nine I just need to rewind slightly..

When me and Sonja split up I was young, free and single again. I’d been spending time in London, but at this stage I’d not moved back there yet. I started going to the various singles clubs in Swindon, which was quite an experience. They were all a bit hit-and-miss, with the exception of one that was held on a Tuesday night in a lovely venue just off the town centre. Ironically, it was this venue that closed within a few months of me “getting into the scene”, which was very disappointing. However, during one of my first visits I met Carol. A bloke called George that I’d been chatting to told me her name and said that the girl with her was her daughter. What happened next was pure cheese in motion. I tapped her on the shoulder, and when she turned around I said, “Hi Carol, would you like to dance”? (it gets cheesier, believe me!). She looked startled but was happy to oblige. As we started to exchange pleasantries I immediately upped the ante, and the cheesometer went into meltdown as I confessed to getting her name from George and with all the cunning of a wily old fox that defied my tender years, said, “Oh, she’s your daughter????? I thought you were sisters”! I know, I know, but hey, I’m not ashamed.

That was it, me and Carol started seeing each other; but if I’d known then what I was letting myself in for I’d have run a mile. Having said that, it was ironically only because of Carol that I got my foot on the first rung of the spiritual ladder. She had grown up in a violent household with two sisters and a brother. Carol’s father was the sort of man who did not need an excuse to dole out beatings and it was quite common for him to take off his belt and use the buckle end to beat them. She had then entered into a violent marriage; her husband, on one occasion hitting her so hard, that he broke her jaw. She told me once that she could take the beatings but she could not tolerate cheating. He only did it once, she found out, and that was that. However, the marriage had already spawned twin girls and a son. She’d then met someone else, remarried and had another son, but it didn’t last. There was a big gap between the twins, the first son and the second son. When I met Carol the girls were 17, her son from her first marriage was 15 and her other son was two. The house was absolute chaos.

Carol’s experiences had made her very hard faced. The Carol I got to know was a far cry from the beautiful woman I’d met at the singles club. The age gap (she was five years older than me) hadn’t made any difference and we got on exceptionally well, but gradually the cracks appeared. The toddler, who was difficult at the best of times, was constantly tormented by his older brother and there was constant screaming and shouting between Carol and one of the girls. Our relationship was off and on to the extent that it was hard to keep up with proceedings. I was backwards and forwards to London but kept the room at Vic’s. Eventually, I gave it up and moved to be with my mum. At this stage I was still with Sun Alliance Services, and after making some enquiries, I was able to transfer to the Whetstone branch in North London just a few miles from Wood Green. It was around the Christmas period and I remember them welcoming me to the branch and presenting me with a bottle of bubbly. I felt like a thief; knowing that I would never bring any business into the office. Eventually, I came clean to the branch manager. He was great about things, and even though he tried his hardest to persuade me to stay, I didn’t go back.

My brother didn’t live that far away, but he rarely phoned or visited. The nice squatters who’d lived in the flat above when my parents first moved in had gone, and some others with a large dog had taken their place. I lived there for six months, but during this time I still made frequent visits to Swindon and also took another insurance job with The Royal Liver Friendly Society. (Liver is pronounced Ly-ver by the way). To say that The Royal Liver was stuck somewhere between the dark ages and Victorian times would be being kind to them. I’m sure things have changed now, but suffice it to say I didn’t last long. However, it was during this period that I had my first prolonged spiritual-type experiences. It was a period that was very difficult for me, but one that I suppose laid the foundations for what was to come.

To be continued…

Who Am I? Part One


12507605_10208528804956970_2772509710964300610_nHere is the first part of my story about my own personal journey, as mentioned in my post “What’s Occurring”, from waaaaaaaaay back in January. Just to recap, many of my newer followers will not be aware of the dark place from which I’ve emerged and I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the story but also adding stuff that I’ve not mentioned before..

I was born into a “normal” working class family in Harringay, North London many moons ago in 1955. Throughout my childhood and adolescence I never felt that I belonged anywhere, which wasn’t a very nice feeling, and I was too young and unconscious at the time to understand why. I just wanted to belong somewhere and I would switch from long periods of being quite reclusive, to hanging out with various groups of friends who would inevitably turn out to be the wrong crowd. It was quite hard for me within the family because I was considered to be a bit of an odd ball. I had an extremely difficult relationship with my dad, and it wasn’t until many years later that I understood why he was the way he was. I had a very loving relationship with my mother, although when I reached adulthood, that also became very difficult; albeit for different reasons. Then there was my older brother, who also had a very difficult relationship with our father. We were opposites in every way, and to this day it is extremely rare that our paths cross.

My mother would go to those funny churches where they apparently communicate with the dead, and my dad would laugh at her! I was too young to understand what it was all about back then, but little did I know that many years later I would be spending a lot of my time in such establishments. As I got older I got more and more confused and would often feel the most excruciating emotional pain within my body.

I left school at 15 with no qualifications, and had I not left voluntarily, I would have been removed. I wasn’t bad, it was just that I did not care about school and got involved with the wrong crowd. As a result I did very little school work, and just spent my time engaging in pranks. By the time I was 17 I’d had 24 jobs; I thought it was clever to be in and out of work so I counted them…

My parents were in despair and there was constant friction between me and my dad; as I got older I resented him more and more. The friction between us was exacerbated by the fact that I was now old enough to understand what was going on in my parents’ relationship. His frequent cheating and bullying completely destroyed any confidence that my mother had, to the point that she became nothing more than a doormat. I’d also started taking drugs, but nothing really hard. I never used needles, it was mainly smoking cannabis and taking a few pills here and there. At this point alcohol didn’t play a big role in my life. But if I was smoking cannabis or “dropping a few tabs”, several bottles of strong beer (it was Barley Wine back then, vile stuff!) helped things along very nicely, thank you very much!

When I got to about 17 I started to wise up a bit, and by the time I was 18 my working life became more settled. My jobs were lasting longer, but I was still not good psychologically and I was still taking drugs and drinking a bit more. Just before my 19th birthday I joined Wood Green Karate club (we moved to Wood Green in 1972). It was then that my life started to change. The instructor, a man named John Hawke, was a very big personality and he was the first real role model I ever had. I was a bit younger than most of the other lads, but we had a really good dynamic and for the first time ever I felt as though I had some worth; I felt like I belonged. For a couple of years things went swimmingly well; in spite of the constant tension within the household. I’d stopped taking drugs but social drinking, mainly with the lads from the Karate club became an important part of my life.

Things came to a head again in 1976. I had hamstring problems in both legs, which stopped me from training properly and I became disillusioned with Karate. My emotional pain was as alive as ever, but I was much more sensible than the boy who’d had 24 jobs in two years and I decided I needed a radical change. I applied to join the police force but was declined an interview. I then applied to join the British Transport Police but was also declined an interview. We all thought it had something to do with the fact that my brother had acquired a police record and had served time in young offenders institutes and later he’d served time in prison. So, I decided I would join the RAF and I went down to their recruitment office in The Strand in Central London. I passed all the tests but they had no vacancies for what I wanted to do. Later that night I remembered that I’d seen an army recruitment office very close to the RAF office, so the next day I went back down to The Strand and applied to join the army. I was accepted and after a bit of indecision I opted to join The Royal Artillery.

To be continued….

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth


375811_4123703570261_303439096_nIt seems like a long time since my last blog post, so I thought it was about time I got my fingers tapping again. I have been struggling with my energy levels again lately so it has made concentration difficult, and therefore made writing nigh-on impossible. But I’m here now, and I thought I would use a personal experience from years ago as a kind of parable in order to illustrate a spiritual concept.

I grew up in a place called Harringay in North London and my street was very close to the old Harringay Stadium, where as a kid my older brother would take me to watch Stock Car (Banger) racing. Alas, the old stadium was raised to the ground many years ago and replaced, I believe, by a shopping centre. But I remember one day, many years ago, being down on the High Street and seeing a couple of Red Indians on motor scooters heading along the road and into the stadium. I couldn’t believe it! My tender young mind was telling me that Red Indians didn’t exist today (they had all been butchered by the cowboys) and certainly not in Harringay.

I went running home as fast as my little legs would take me, and burst into the house announcing with great excitement that I had seen Red Indians on motor scooters heading into Harringay Stadium. My heart sank when my dad accused me of making it up, and my mum didn’t believe me either. No matter how vigorously I argued my case, my father especially, was unmoved. I remember being deeply hurt by that because I knew I wasn’t lying.

It later transpired that there was a carnival and that I had indeed seen some men dressed as Red Indians heading into the stadium, albeit that they were not the real thing.

The spiritual message in this little story is that we all view the word from our own eyes, we all see different things; yet we are all always right from our own perspective. I had told the truth, but so had my dad in denying me. Yet not only were we both right, we were both technically wrong.

In the world that we can see, all is nothing but illusion; a play of the mind. Yet at the same time it is a temporary reality that we have created for ourselves; thus seemingly real. Even though I was but a child my senses picked up the information from the external world (the indians on scooters) and fed it to my mind. My mind then drew a series of conclusions from that information. When I was accused of lying after expressing those conclusions my ego then caused me to experience great pain. So I suffered because of something that didn’t really exist. This just about sums up how most people live their lives within this dimension.

Reality can change by the second, but Truth is eternal and changeless. By looking beyond the surface and delving into that great ocean of divinity we will find our truth; that which passes all understanding and delivers to us a state of bliss. Whilst it’s also a fact that reality can be enjoyable and exciting, it can also be very painful; this is the nature of the human experience.