dweller by the river

sojourner of earth attempting to understand the journey home

Tag: Dreamseeker

Looking For a Way Out

I can’t breathe. I want to just get up and run, get out of here, and keep running until I feel like I can breathe again.

The speed at which things have been transpiring, and therefore the speed at which my thoughts have been skidding around, have been way beyond my ability to sit down and write about them.

To write, I need space and quiet. I need things to settle and for periods of calm, or nothing happening, in order for my eyes and my hands/fingers to feel like they have any hope of catching up with the content that’s flying through my conscious and subconscious.

And frighteningly, I’m seeing that at the bottom of all my current issues is this pattern where I seem to keep being told again and again and again by various people and organisations that I am nobody’s priority, I will always be the last to be taken into consideration when choices have to be made, and I am so tired of it all.

It might be me projecting unresolved issues onto others, for all I know.

But the sort of things that have kept happening don’t seem to require projection on my part.

Take last night for example. N had made an agreement with me on Saturday to have a quick meet up last night for me to show her a couple of interesting spaces in my neighbourhood that might be useful in the future. I texted her at 5pm to ask if she was definitely coming, and if so, at what time. No answer. But she was actively answering and sending messages in the groups we are both in from 5.30m-6.30pm. I texted her again at 8.45pm and 9.10pm, and again, no response – but she’s sending out group texts. I called. No answer.

Finally, at 9.27pm, she texts back saying sorry, she was driving, she’s just reached XYZ Hotel. End message. I reply saying I’m confused about this and should I assume that we are postponing the recce meet-up? She replies at 9.40pm saying that yes, we’re postponing because “tonight is the only night in my schedule that I can spare to go and support PKK” (a musician from out of town who’s performing here for a few days).

And here I was dealing with a constipated toddler, unsure whether I should proceed with her usual schedule in light of being unsure of what time I had to be out of the house to meet this woman for the recce meeting that she requested and agreed upon.

Are you starting to get my drift?

And then there’s this job. I didn’t want this position, but I have tried to give it a good shot – have been trying, despite all the crap that it has thrown at me in the past half year I’ve stuck with it. Then last week I found out that it isn’t only my salary that’s being suppressed: HR flippantly said that I have not been, and am not going to be, bumped up officially to an executive rank on file – even though I am marketed to clients as an editor, burdened with the full workload and responsibilities of an editor, and expected to think and function and seek out extra ways to value add… like a fully invested editor. But I don’t have the same benefits as the other editors, and neither do I qualify for the same pay scale.

Meantime, I’ve just been getting more and more sick of the way things work.

We market ourselves as the industry leaders and experts whose role is to advise and guide our clients – but the truth is that the bosses have no clue what’s going on, and management doesn’t want to incur the “irrelevant expenditure” of sending staff for training that isn’t 100% directly related to their exact job scope. This means that even though we are a media company, none of the creatives have ever gotten training in digital media, even though many of us have been asking for it for years. When something comes up – like when a client suddenly asks us to storyboard a video – everyone scrambles to read/watch online how-tos and muddle our way through. And then we have to plaster on a grinning mask and act like we know exactly what we are doing and our way is better than whatever it was the client had in mind.

Another truth is that despite all the posturing, most of the time (excepting the rare cases where the person who drew up the contract that was actually signed was smart enough to have protective clauses incorporated) the client’s directives rule the process, and the client’s decision is final. They can do anything they like, whenever they like – and on top of delivering in accordance to their demands we have to protect their reputations by pretending to anyone who asks that they are perfectly reasonable and pleasant to work with.

Don’t bother telling me that this is normal in the media/publishing industry. I know it. I’ve done this sort of thing before, albeit from within a smaller set-up. It was crazier there, actually, but: There is a big difference between having to deal with crazy shit that you knowingly signed up for, and having to deal with crazy shit that you sure as hell did not sign up for and only agreed to “try out” because the alternative presented to you was “your colleague who is nearing retirement age gets fired”.

At least in my previous company – and I’m still good friends with my ex boss, mind – we didn’t have to fake it. It was what it was. And that might be the difference between a large corporation and a small set-up, or it might be the difference between management that cares more about the company than the staff, and management that cares more about the staff than the company. I don’t know for sure.

The long and short of it is that I really can’t find it in me any longer to care what happens to this company. I’m abandoning ship the first feasible chance I get. And I won’t feel a single smidgen of regret.

I’ve had more than a decade of publishing/media experience now, and I am heartily sick of the industry. I want out. I’ve been considering all sorts of alternatives – even brushing up my sewing skills and running a part-time alteration/tailoring service from home. Anything, really.

Well, almost. Has to be within my skill set of course, and has to mean something more than just reputation and money.

Wish me luck.

Mind Shifts – Not Just For the Christian Walk, Surely

Metanoia is the Greek word for conversion: a ‘fundamental transformation of mind’. It is the process by which concepts are reorganised. Metanoia is a specialised, intensified adult form of the same worldview development found shaping the mind of the infant. Formerly associated with religion, metanoia proves to be the way by which all genuine education takes place. Michael Polanyi points out that a ‘conversion’ shapes the mind of the student into the physicist. Metanoia is a seizure by the discipline given total attention, and a restructuring of the attending mind. This reshaping of the mind is the principal key to the reality function.

The same procedure found in worldview development of the child, the metanoia of the advanced student, or the conversion to a religion, can be traced as well in the question-and-answer process, or the proposing and eventual filling of an ’empty category’ in science. The asking of an ultimately serious question, which means to be seized in turn by an ultimately serious quest, reshapes our concepts in favour of the kinds of perceptions needed to ‘see’ the desired answer. To be given ears to hear and eyes to see is to have one’s concepts changed in favour of the discipline. A question determines and brings about its answer just as the desired end shapes the nature of the kind of question asked. This is the way by which science synthetically creates that which it then ‘discovers’ out there in nature.

Exploring this reality function shows how and why we reap what we sow, individually and collectively – but no simply one-to-one correspondence is implied. The success or failure of any idea is subject to an enormous web of contingencies. Any idea seriously entertained, however, tends to bring about the realisation of itself, and will, regardless of the nature of the idea, to the extent it can be free of ambiguities.”

– Joseph Chiltern Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: New Constructs of Mind and Reality (Rochester, Vermont, USA: Park Street Press, 2002), p. 24-25

 

I am absolutely sure that this man is one of the foremost academic authorities alive on how the spiritual realm actually works, and because I have always naturally taken to academics, this helps me in my spiritual walk much more than reading five or even ten theological books or books written to Christians by Christian leaders.

And yes, to pull this back to plant-relevance, I’m going to think about and talk to my plants differently from now on.

Re-entering the Field

So S has been sorta pulled into the mad world of bromeliad mania, and somehow she and I have agreed to work together on a research project (probably a slim volume consisting of a few articles) on the garden and the city. She’ll be jumping into it immediately after finishing her Masters thesis, and I’m attempting to get my academic gears back into motion after eight years of disuse.

I’ve not felt so excited about a project for a long time, not even when I was actively writing for and editing a now-defunct e-zine (we closed it down because the organisation it was for had shifted in direction and focus). Sure, there’s been some high points with other things like songwriting, vocal recording, and dance… but while I do have a bit of talent in those areas it’s probably nothing close to what I can do with the written word when I’m at the top of my game.

The childhood dream is no longer what it was, however. I don’t have the same misguided ideas about the sort of writing I am good at, or where my true giftings lie.

When I was a child, all I knew was that I wanted to write. And I wrote – badly.

It wasn’t that I had no skill with language or self-expression. It was bad because I was attempting to write fiction, just because I loved reading fiction. It started because someone mentioned that one should write the sort of books that one wanted to read. And it continued being bad because I lapped up advice from various sources that urged aspiring writers to just keep trying, to imitate your idols, to employ all sorts of writing stimuli and idea-spawning tools, to just ensure that you wrote something on a regular basis no matter how disjointed or bad it was.

I went through a few other phases in which I unconsciously explored and practised various genres, types of writing, and developed a personal voice and style. For the past handful of years, however, you might say I’ve produced nothing.

The recent years of non-inspiration and half-baked writing attempts haven’t been useless, however, though the world might see it that way. I’ve noticed another pattern in my life that my eyes hadn’t been open to until today, and I’m amazed at how the Lord has directed my steps even though I have been completely oblivious. The discouragement I felt at not having written anything for a long time, and the resulting “killing” of my dream in surrender (or resignation?) was real, but the time of renewal is here. I know it. I can feel it.

Since this is mainly a plant-related blog – yes, I do intend for it to keep that focus somehow – I’ll make it a bit plainer: “Unproductive” stretches in our lives, if not caused by laziness or inertia, are very likely fallow periods. Afterwards, with proper ploughing (keep studying the Word and praying!), sunshine and rain, seedtime and harvest come back into play. When we allow our lives and our gifts to “flow with the unforced rhythms of grace”, to quote a certain JP, God’s pattern and plan for our lives becomes clearer.

So thank you, S, for being a catalyst. God’s used you to bless me much more than you might realise – your simple invitation to tea/coffee might just prove to be one of the most important turning points in my writing career. I hope whatever I deposit into your spirit is as valuable as what you’ve set fire to in mine.

Exodus 23: 10-12 (NKJV)
10“Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.

Proverbs 13:23 (NKJV)
Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste.

John 12:24 (NKJV)
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Jeremiah 4:3 (NKJV)
For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.”

Hosea 10:12 (NKJV)
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.