Select Page
After All These Years We’re Still Broken

After All These Years We’re Still Broken

We cried in bitter anguish, we cried in utter bliss. We felt the devils anger, and the sweetness of a kiss. We meditated for so many years. Had therapists and many tears. We got drunk on beer and wine and whiskey and vodka and life. We got high, and we got low. We felt the heat and the ice.

We got sober. We ran away. We found the fields and the jungle and mountains and the cave. We drank the wicked brew and saw our lives break open. We travelled the world across land and ocean. We learned to be mindful, we learned to be still. We learned to forgive, just a little.

We did so much. And how we tried. And how we cried. We cut. We loved. We fucked. We sunk in to the ocean. We danced among the stars. We lied and we cheated, we collected many scars.

We tried to make things right. We tried to be good. We tried to live up to the expectations of others the best we could. We tried not to care. We tried to conform. We tried to be free. We tried to just be.

We tried to find the answers but we didn’t know the questions. We tried to find our way but we didn’t have directions. We sought protection from the world but we had no protection from ourselves. We were our worst enemies, not anybody else.

We tried to find god or spirit or love or nature or ecstasy or something. Anything, bigger and greater than ourselves and our parents and our education and our politicians and our culture and our society. Something to hold on to. Just something we could cherish and belong to. Something worth living for.

We never stopped searching. We kept on believing tomorrow might just be worth living an extra day for. But tomorrow never came. It’s still always today. And I’m still me and you’re still you. And we still want to change but we don’t know what to do. We still wish we were someone else. We’re still waiting to be saved.

When will this stop? When will this end? When will we get there? Does ’there’ even exist?

After all these years we’re still broken. Perhaps it’s unspoken, perhaps it’s not quite so much as before, but we’re still, frustratingly, achingly sore.

We still hate ourselves. We still feel weak. We still lack power when we speak. We still dream big, but our doubt is bigger. Too scared to try to actualise dreams, still scarred by painful memories of previous failures. Too self aware. Too hurt to care. Too clever but not quite clever enough. Too intimate with our minds and our flaws. Still unable to open doors.

Still unable to love. Still jealous. Still children, still seeking approval. We try and fail to be grown up. Trying and failing to be a success. Confused as ever about what we want from life, and still no clearer what any of this is for.

But there is no ‘off’ button, and we will go on. Learning, sharing, hoping, daring. Giving up, trying again, holding on, letting go. Finding ourselves, while getting lost.

Valentine’s Day Blog: Is it Too Risky to Fall in Love?

Valentine’s Day Blog: Is it Too Risky to Fall in Love?

When falling in love, we long for each other when we are apart and gain immeasurable pleasure from being together. Ecstatic energy flows between two bodies rapt in love. We blithely bathe in oceans of lust. When falling in love we cannot get enough.

For many people what they wish for most is to fall in love. And yet, the consequences of a love gone wrong are potentially so devastatingly and crushingly brutal that the aftermath of a relationship turned sour can literally be a life destroyed.

People kill others for love. People kill themselves out of love. Depression and heartbreak are symptoms of falling in love with the wrong person. All of which makes me wonder – is it too risky to fall in love?

Falling in love has to be one of the most intoxicating mental states available to us in the great pantheon of mundane and crazy experiences that comprise the human condition. In fact, looking back at the experience from a decidedly sober and not ‘falling in love’ state of mind, it strikes me how ridiculous and almost delusional the whole process seems.

It’s not just the subjective experience of being completely besotted with someone else, it’s the way we become so willing to give up so much to be with that other. Love is strong. Love strips us of our volition. Love derails plans, estranges us from friends and empties our pockets.

Falling in love is inherently risky. Most relationships fail and even those that ‘work’ are fraught with difficulties along the way. Falling in love exposes our deepest insecurities, triggers powerful feelings, and bestows great power in the hands of another. Falling in love opens us up to to the possibility of rejection, of not being good enough.

Falling in love makes us vulnerable and creates a gamble that wasn’t there before: that while we may win the love of another, we could just so easily lose it. The price of losing this gamble is rejection, and the triggering of any related past traumas. Love is a land inhabited by the demons and devils of our early-life conditioning. Only the brave would dare to tread here.

At least you’d think so… But in reality we do not choose to fall in love, love chooses us. Or rather, mysterious and powerful unconscious forces propel us irreversibly to collide with the universe of another.

Only if we have already been hurt sufficiently do we start to question whether we want to fall in love. Or maybe we proceed with more caution, chastened by experience, battle weary and wary of exposing ourselves to more pain.

Ultimately though, love can be a powerful tool. It is one of life’s great teachers, if we are receptive to it’s lessons and pay attention to the wisdom it can inspire. The burning light of love exposes the darkest recesses of our hearts.

It shows us the ways in which we hurt, the ways we react when our insecurities are triggered, and offers us the opportunity to bring these ghouls out of the dark and in to conscious awareness. Slowly we are given a method by which to integrate our pain, and with the other, or without the other, we grow.

It is sometimes said that before you can love someone else you have to love yourself. I think this is a stupid saying – not least because it gets banded about without anyone really knowing what it means, and in any case you can’t just simply decide to start loving yourself all of a sudden.

However I do think these words allude to an important truth. Before we can have a truly healthy relationship in love, one in which we are not using the other in order to fill something missing within ourselves, we need to be whole. This means we need to have developed to the point where our sense of self worth is not dependent on the validation of another.

Until life is ‘okay’ without the sweetness of our beloved’s touch, we run the risk of being broken by any subsequent withdrawal of love. And this is the challenge. Often, without consciously realising it, many people will use love because it will provide them with a sense of what they most need – to know that they are worthy of someone’s affection, to know that they are not alone.

But to rely on someone else for these comforts is to deny ourselves the opportunity of discovering them within oursleves. We take when we should give, and despite feeling strengthened by relationship, we give our power away.

Yes, it is risky to fall in love, too risky perhaps. It is also seldom a choice we make. But for those consumed by love’s mysterious waters, who are able to listen and learn, love is a teacher and love will help us grow. Love can hurt, but slowly love can heal.

An earlier version of this article was published in July 2013.

Never Play Your Favourite Music to the One You Love

One of life’s greatest pleasures has to be playing your favourite songs or band really loud and losing yourself in the transcendental ecstasy of that most moving and divine creative expression – music.

A word of advice though. Never, I repeat never, ever – no matter how tempting it may seem to share that most cherished treasure – play your favourite music to the one you love. It may seem to make sense at the time – starstruck lovers do love to gaze zombie-like in to each others eyes and share ‘stuff’ after all, but if you plan on continuing to enjoy your favourite band long after your relationship, don’t.

Take me for example. I have long loved Sparklehorse. There’s no one quite like them – not so many people know them, and the music touches the core of my soul, offering hope and redemption, letting me know I’m not alone, and lifting my spirits in equal measure.

Or at least it used to. That was until in a wet mushy episode of that most dangerous pathology – love – I decided it would be a good idea to share them with my then girlfriend. She loved them and before I knew it Sparklehorse had become the soundtrack to our relationship. This in itself was not a problem, in fact the new romantic backdrop to the music seemed to imbue it with even more meaning and profundity. Then she became my ex-girlfriend.

I haven’t actually listened to Sparklehorse since then, and I have no plans to any time soon either. The very thought is not even appealing. What’s worse than having a relationship end is the loss of my favourite band. Lost that is, to the associations that now so deeply penetrate every note, word and riff.

Take heed, fellow traveller, listen to my advice. Do not fall foul of that thought which tells you things will last forever. If you plan on maintaining a healthy relationship with the music that you love, never, ever play it to the one you love.

Is It Too Risky to Fall in Love?

Falling in love is like being high as a kite for days or weeks on end. In fact in this way you could say being with the one you love is a bit like smoking crack, and just as addictive. In love, we long for each other when we are apart and gain immeasurable pleasure from being together. Ecstatic energy flows between two bodies rapt in love. We blithely bathe in oceans of lust. When falling in love we cannot get enough.

For many people what they wish for most is to fall in love. And yet, the potential consequences of a love gone wrong are so devastingly and crushingly brutal that the aftermath of a relationship turned sour can literally be a life destroyed. People kill others for love. People kill themselves out of love. Depression and heart break are symptoms of falling in love with the wrong person. All of which makes me wonder – is it too risky to fall in love?

Falling in love has to be one of the most intoxicating mental states available to us in the great pantheon of mundane and crazy experiences that comprise the human condition. In fact, looking back at the experience from a decidedly sober and not ‘falling in love’ state of mind, it strikes me how ridiculous and almost delusional the whole process seems. It’s not just the subjective experience of being completely besotted with someone else, it’s the way we become so willing to give up so much to be with that other. Love is strong. Love strips us of our volition. Love derails plans, estranges us from friends and empties our pockets.

Falling in love is inherently risky. Most relationships fail and even those that ‘work’ are fraught with difficulties along the way. Falling in love exposes our deepest insecurities, triggers powerful feelings, and bestows great power in the hands of another. Falling in love opens us up to rejection, to not being good enough. Falling in love makes us vulnerable and invites the possibility that to the one we love we are unloveable. Love is a land inhabited by demons and devils. Only the brave would dare to tread here.

At least you’d think so, but in reality we do not choose to fall in love, love chooses us. Or rather, mysterious and powerful unconscious forces propel us irreversibly to collide with the universe of another. Only if we have been hurt sufficiently do we start to question whether we want to fall in love. Or maybe we proceed with more caution, chastened by experience, battle weary and wary of exposing ourselves to more pain.

Ultimately though, love can be a powerful tool. It is one of life’s great teachers, if we are receptive to it’s lessons and pay attention to the wisdom it can inspire. The burning light of love exposes the darkest recesses of our hearts. It shows us the ways in which we hurt, the ways we react when our insecurities are triggered, and offers us the opportunity to bring these ghouls out of the dark and in to conscious awareness. Slowly we are given a method by which to integrate our pain, and with the other, or without the other, we grow.

It is sometimes said that before you can love someone else you have to love yourself. I think this is a stupid saying – not least because it gets banded about without anyone really knowing what it means, and in any case you can’t just simply decide to start loving yourself all of a sudden. However I do think these words allude to an important truth. Before we can have a truly healthy relationship in love, one in which we are not using the other in order to fill something missing within ourselves, we need to be whole. This means we need to have developed to the point where our sense of self worth is not dependent on the validation of another.

Until life is ‘okay’ without the sweetness of our beloved’s touch, we run the risk of being broken by any subsequent withdrawal of love. And this is the challenge. Often, without consciously realising it, many people will use love because it will provide them with a sense of what they most need – to know that they are worthy of someone’s affection, to know that they are not alone. But to rely on someone else for these comforts is to deny ourselves the opportunity of discovering them within oursleves. We take when we should give, and despite feeling strengthened by relationship, we give our power away.

Yes, it is risky to fall in love, too risky perhaps. It is also seldom a choice we make. But for those consumed by love’s mysterious waters, who are able to listen and learn, love is a teacher and love will help us grow. Love will hurt, but slowly love can heal.

Pin It on Pinterest