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You do not need permission

“Is that the price? Crawling to Paradise - all the way - on my knees...?” (St Francis and the Jewel Thief) I thank the Sangha of my heart and friends, who have faced my guilt and self-criticism this week, each in their way, and told me me the same important message::  You have the permission to enjoy yourself. You are allowed to take pleasure and enjoyment from what you do: in fact you should enjoy what you do, otherwise why are you doing it? Yoga, meditation, transformative growth - LIFE itself! - these are not penances or punishments for some failure to be ‘Perfect’, ‘holy’, ‘woke’ - they are beautiful opportunities to be reminded that life - especially the fully conscious act of mindful living - is a treasure , to be cherished and savoured with all the innocence and delight of a child’s first Christmas ... You do not need permission: there is no part of you that is not of the Gods, no act of love and pleasure that  you can do that is not a celebration of the Gods and of Life. 

“I can’t go on. I must go on...”

Isn’t it curious: if someone with terminal cancer decides to refuse treatment and let the disease take its natural course, everyone thinks it’s a noble act of bravery - but if someone has suffered for a lifetime with ‘cancer’ of the mind, and decides to quietly put an end to the years of suffering that their disease has caused to themselves and everyone around them - suddenly everyone is full guilt and thinks they’re ‘selfish’ and ‘cowardly’... And I know this is will hurt everyone, and I know you’ll want to try to tell me “you’re loved”, and “you’re special!”, but I’ve already upset Geoff and fucked-off my therapist today, and I’m so full of piss-and-fire and self-loathing right now that I’m barely managing to be civil even with myself, so please excuse me if I go dark for a while whilst I wait to figure out if any of this is worth it anymore. 

The eternal search for Truth...

Back in the ‘80’s there was a TV Programme created by  J. Michael Straczynski which attempted to be both SciFi entertainment, and a profound exploration of the deepest questions about politics, religion, and what it means to be Human. That epic was called Babylon 5, and we spent most of Lockdown rewatching it with our millennial housemate - and blowing his mind. If you’ve not seen it - watch it. Really. Sure, it’s space opera, but the writing and the characterisations and the sweep of science and spirituality is just superb. As an example, I give you this - from when G’Kar becomes an unwilling spiritual leader: ‘What is truth?’ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=N_oQkSh2lq8 An acolyte askes G'Kar, "What is truth, and what is God" G'Kar replies: "If I take a lamp, and shine it towards the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God. But the light is not the go

You are not alone...

The ‘bone cave’ story is a lie: we are not consciousness trapped inside matter - brains  in the prison of our skulls, sealed away from a world we can only experience by the shadow-play of our senses... We ARE those senses - and the neurones, and the skull the protects them, and the skin around it, and the blood and the heart that feeds them, and the lungs and the belly, and EVERYTHING.  The lonely ego lies to itself: There is no real demarcation between ‘me’, ‘my body’ - no material separation between ‘self’ and ‘the world’; all that there is is the Universe itself!  So when the Darkness tries to tell you: ‘I am nothing. I am alone and I am powerless’ - remember, that it is a symptom of believing the  illusion of separateness... I am not alone. I am not singular - ‘I’ am billions of cells, arising and dying continuously, giving and sharing and working in tireless harmonious community for the good of all - every single one a fractal fragment of the whole, as essential to the whol

Surviving Toxic Catholicism

I have been in a dark place again:  lost in old habits and unhelpful self-criticism and analysis; second-guessing my every thought and action and feeling utterly at war between my ‘Self’ and my ‘desires’. So lost in feelings of worthlessness and sinfulness that every moment was filled with such horror and pain that I planned my death just to ‘cleanse’ the world of my pathetic and sekf-hate filled existence. But, even amidst all this angst and sorrow, a deep quiet voice kept telling me:  “this is old, now - let it go: just come home” And I realise now, forgiving myself for both my depression and the traumas that created it, that really:  does any of it really  matter?! All this angst over ‘sin’ and ‘worthiness’, ‘sex’ or ‘spirituality’! This childhood fear of the Big Angry Disapproving God, watching and judging, pontificating and condemning. When really, there is no god ‘out there’ - only the Watcher in  here -  what my Therapist calls  “the Deep knowing” -  the Heart of Buddhism, and t

Black history is our history

In Black History month it’s important to remember that ‘black history’ is not some ‘minority’ thing - the history of Africa, slavery, and the black diaspora is *world* history: it is impossible to tell the history of our world, our cultures, and our species without also telling the history of more than 40% of the world’s population! But even more: as a gay person, black history is MY history: the #lgbtq community would not exist with the rights and visibility it now has without the strength and bravery of our black and trans brothers and sisters - who finally stood up to say “HELL NO!” to the double discrimination and hate for both their colour and their sexuality - and helped force through those freedoms in the riots that followed. To Sylvia Rivera, left, and Marsha P. Johnson - and to every #brother and #sister of any and every colour and creed who stand against oppression: THANK YOU ✊🏿✊🏽✊🏼 Until ALL of us a free, NONE of us are free.

A Man of God?

“Pope Francis Reassures Parents Of LGBT Children That God Loves Their Kids As They Are” ( https://www.gucmakale.com/wp/pope-francis-reassures-parents-of-lgbt-children-that-god-loves-their-kids-as-they-are/ ) At last!   You have no idea the damage done from growing up gay and being told from the pulpit that you are touched by evil, because of how nature has made you - the pain as you hear every word as a personal rejection by your God and church, and the hidden shame and self-hate held rotting in your core for decades, until it leaches all light and love from your life and leaves you so convinced of your own unworthiness that you plan the ultimate sin of all... Or the damage to the Father and the family who sit unknowing beside them, but who will eventually feel torn between faith and family, church or son, and lose 10 years that we can never truly replace... I finally left the Church, and then Christianity, because of all that hidden hate and hurt and shame - went through years of dark