Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Making Changes

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Clifton Suspension Bridge with altered colour balance

I have now thrown out the sticky cards I mentioned in my previous post. The mixture seemed to be permanently unsettable.... Now in some ways being unsettable seems rather good to me. I'd rather not be so set in my ways. So I'm taking this as a good omen.

However one habit I'm not about to ditch is that of being interested in synchronicities.

A little over a fortnight ago I mentioned my passion for playing the album meme. I've carried on playing it in various forms. At one point rather than making up album covers from the three "randomly" selected pages I started to make a little book of them. Keeping the whole quotation rather than just the last four words, and as much of the wikipedia article as looked interesting. Then my software had an odd moment. It lost a page. By then I was on my 44th. The one that had been lost was 42. And of course 42, according to Douglas Adams, is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

Using my browser's history it was easy to find the image and the wikipedia page again. The picture is this one of an otter, titled "Will do tricks for fish...:O)" by law_keven. And now going back to it I see even that is another little synchronicity as it reminds me of "So long and thanks for all the fish" another Douglas Adams book. The fourth part of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe series. (If your only experience of the Hitchhiker's Guide is the film, put that thought aside... the radio series was excellent and the BBC TV series was too. The film however wasn't.)

But the quote was lost... or was it. The page of random quotations just figures as a single page in my browsers history. But all it took was recalling a little bit of it to be able to search for it and fish it out of their archives. I remembered that it contained the phrase "follow your bliss". And the only quotation that comes up when searching for that is:
When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.

Joseph Campbell (1904 - 1987)
This was last Wednesday. That day we happened go to the zoo too. We were in the seals area whilst they were being fed and saw their exuberance afterwards. This was from the underwater viewing tunnel:

Playful Seal

A very playful seal definitely following its bliss and in sharp contrast to many of the other animals at the zoo that looked caged in and fed up. Animals all hoping that a door would open for them but not knowing the key.

Something about all this triggered a need to reread a book I'd read 20 years ago. At the time it was enormously influential for me. It's "A Life of One's Own" by Marion Milner, originally published under the name of Joanna Field.

In it she documents her attempts to find out what does indeed make her happy. Over many years she goes through a variety of different methods the most important being the keeping of a journal. And in particular a journal of what had really made her happy that day.

She notices that there is a big difference between what she thinks will make her happy and reality. For instance listening to music sometimes made her happy and other times did not. And its not the music itself that makes the difference but how she listens to it. She discovers what she calls an "internal gesture" that shifts her from a state of mind chatter, that gets in the way and separates her from the music, to a state of full listening. Last night I went through a couple of chapters of this book writing down the internal gestures she mentions. I've got to 14 so far. (I'll blog them later.) All of these internal gestures tended to shift her from a self-critical, self-conscious state into a more open, sensory awareness.

But often she simply forgot to use them. And other times on using them she got frightened and withdrew. So no matter that these were ways to her bliss she didn't always allow herself to use them.

So fast forward to today.

Today Leah mentioned that Carla had started a new blog - wings 4 you. What's more the current posting has the same quote from Joseph Campbell about following one's bliss!

And Carla is suggesting the keeping of a "Journey-Journal". I definitely prefer to keep such things private knowing that I'll censor them if I'm in anyway planning to blog them later. I already keep a journal but feel that something different is called for. Maybe my Incomplete Atlas is about to become something else... If it is I won't be showing my progress here. Sorry. Its just that its hard enough to allow myself to look inside, let alone open up to all the unknown lurkers out there!

And lastly here is one of the most fun things we saw at the zoo:

The Tortoise and Her Iguana

Update: Jim has just told me that last Friday it was exactly 30 years since the first Hitchhiker's Guide went out on the radio.

"What on earth is 42?" is an article on BBC news about it.

16 comments:

Caroline said...

Did you like the iguana hitchhiking on the tortoise?

Leah said...

love the zoo pics!

great post, caroline! that book sounds fascinating. i look forward to hearing more about these internal gestures. it ties in so nicely with things i've been thinking about and reading about lately. xox

Anonymous said...

HAHAA, looks like a lazy iguana, it would be faster to the pool to walk himself; but maybe it's the swim he's looking forward to ;) Also love your seal photo! Agree, my 'Journey Journal' is NOT for the public!

carla said...

Hi Caroline! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I too love sychronicity, so imagine my delight when I stopped by here just after posting about creative daydreaming and deep listening! I have not read A Life of One's Own, but it sounds like something I would find very compelling. I am going to put it on my wish list:>

Thank you so much for stopping by Wings 4 You:> Even if you don't feel comfortable sharing your private journal, I would welcome your comments and observations anytime. It's great to reconnect with you!

Caroline said...

Leah - I'll blog them soon. I feel I need to find some more "internal gestures" of my own and that focusing on these might help prompt my own to emerge.

Anonymous - Your comment makes me think maybe the iguana was hoping for a bit more attention - everyone goes to see the big tortoises not him! But with him on top he was bound to get in the picture.

Carla - I hope you can find it. My copy is 20 years old...

Your Wings 4 You seems to be just what I was looking for, its good to be back in touch.

Anonymous said...

THIRTY years since the first Hitchhiker's Guide went out on the radio ...oh dear ;)

Caroline said...

Anonymous - is it making you feel old?

You could always pretend you first caught it on a repeat.

Anonymous said...

I think I must have anyway ... or it arrived here a few years later ;) I had friends who could recite the whole series. An entertaining night was watching the series when on television with the sound turned down and the living room audience providing wordage ...

Caroline said...

I'm pretty sure we did something similar at university only that was with the radio series!!! :-)

Caroline said...

Oh and the "we" wasn't meant to imply I could actually quote any or it... just my friends... sigh...

Anonymous said...

No, I also couldn't remember the words but loved the thought of plugging fish in my ears to translate anyway :)

girl work studios said...

Hi Caroline. Great post.I must add to your synchronicities. I was telling Andrea(Pratt) of some recent synchronicities and how much I'm obsessed by them and she then directed me to your blog. I didn't get to checking it out until Tuesday and there and behold a complete post about synchronicites! I understand your interest in them, they do make life that much more richer and connected.

Caroline said...

girl work studios - hi, thanks for popping by. I'm glad you happened to call by at a synchronisitic moment.

tinker said...

Suddenly the list in the post above makes more sense to me - perhaps I should remember to be more punctual in my blog reading (as that album cover suggested), or at least remember to start back reading where I left off from before!
I love the photos - and especially all of the synchronicities you've been finding.
I think I've told you before, that Douglas Adams is one of my very favorite writers - I've only heard bits of the radio series, but I've had the books for years, and periodically re-read them. I love all the fish synchronicities going on here.
What a marvelous idea, making a book - a journal, of sorts - out of the 'album covers.' I'm still doing them, and just e-mailing them to myself, for the moment. Though maybe I'll try printing them out, one of these days, to look at them altogether - maybe even more connections might be made when seeing them as a whole.
Thanks for sharing that idea!

tinker said...

Oh, I also wanted to mention that the last photo of the tortoise and the iguana, reminds me of another Douglas Adams' book - non-fiction, this time - called "Last Chance to See" - where he visited a variety of endangered species at wildlife preserves around the planet.

Caroline said...

Tinker x2 - glad you got it and I'm also glad that you like Douglas Adams - he had such a great sense of humour!

I've not read Last Chance to See... thanks for mentioning that!