“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” (Carl Rogers)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Twenty Two) - and Review

Why am I doing this? What are these 'reasons'? What is 'cheerful'? Time for a refresh methinks - last week's post was not cheerful at all and I got to wondering what this is, if it's just a diary or something else. So. Here's what I originally thought:  
Trying out some things from positive psychology as a way of not slipping into black despair due to the fact that life's hard fucking work at times, so I celebrate...
...and what I celebrated was fasting and walking for health, writing and playing peace songs and Blake songs, really getting my doctoral writing done- all of which had stopped or stalled or paused or were somehow difficult to achieve at that time (the start of the new year) - and all of which I continue and enjoy very much indeed. It helps also that I am refreshing my understanding of Heidegger and how We are abandoned to the They, we are thrown, but this is our freedom, this is how we learn. However, we can also fill our lives with busyness instead of facing death, fleeing from the present. These are the deep structures of the self. We choose a project knowing that being is being-toward-death, so we had better make it mean something, it better be a story worth telling. I think that is what I am doing here. That's why I'm doing this. It's about breaking the habitual, not coasting along as in a dream and deliberataly choosing my projects in the time from now and the nothingness that envelopes us all. These reasons reassure me and I find myself cheerful :-)

On the longest day of summer I learnt the words to Blake's pastoral Ecchoing Green - as well as finding colour in new chords for a song of my own (Sadness: you got life), making it work for the first time probably - and as I was away for a few days, I used my lovely new travelling guitar.

And I was impressed by where I did this thing, by the logic and humanity of Milton Keynes, a kind of a prozac sprawl of manicured lawns, but a person can walk or cycle from area to area on clean paths and away from traffic, and there are just so many trees and no litter or dog shit and I stayed at the poetic Milton Hilton (mind, Warren tells me that MK is a concrete no-go zone...)

And the reason why I was in MK was to attend a workshop at the Open University about writing up the thesis and about the Viva (so I took a day or two before it for writing up and playing songs - moved Freedom to Learn on some more). It was a really useful workshop - and I came up with something like a single sentence description of thesis, a list of propositions for the chapters, and a more sensible tweak to the overall structure reflecting why I'm writing it, who it's for - realising that ultimately it's about applying the theory, the model:
Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it (Karl Marx)
And sitting at the workshop with Mandy, Marcia and Pam was lovely. My doctorate makes me spend lots of time with Carl Rogers, which is always a joy - Mandy's doctorate makes her spend lots of time joyously with Florine Stettheimer (August 29, 1871 - May 11, 1944) a rather not famous but fantastic American painter, designer, and poet.

More reasons to be cheerful this week - my taxes are done with the help of steam-driven pen and paper making life easy and sweet with coffee and music. And it's done. Gone. Fuck that counting money up thing, I really dislike it - in the end, it wasn't so difficult, but I just feel bleugh doing it... Still, feeling the purpose and feeling cheerful about these reasons to be.

Discovered something about how the Japanese apparently help people with memory issues, so got a nice little dad routine every day of (1) him reading aloud - poetry (Blake at the moment, natch), (2) him writing (getting a nice writing book, but not sure of what he might write, shall just be person-centred and let it happen), (3) him doing mental arithmetic (he's supertopfucking good at that stuff, actually) and (4) singing aloud (using the fabulous videos people put up on youtube - search on 'karaoke songs with lyrics' - My Way was our first). Dad's reaction? What's the bloody point of that then? I can do it all. And breathe! He's doing it and he'll bloody well like it :-)

There was more movement from the ongoing Love Café project - and also I'm afraid (I'm not, really!) my gobbiness drew unwanted attention. Or, more cheerfully, as follows! A misery goat standing on the hill of convention after travelling through the dell of dull indicated his dislike of my profane use of the vernacular in the drunkly public house. It reminded me of this little haiku I wrote (after Lear) a few years ago after a whining mosquito in Nowy Sącz took stick up arse offence that my Anglo was just too fucking Saxon...
How common to know Mr Bill
The one with the surname of Mill
With his plebeian words
Like kurwa or merde
To some he sounds just like a drill


Since my last monthly review, I have written up quite a few chapters of Freedom to Learn, walked two more sections of the Viking Way, spent a great weekend of educational activism in the company of the IWCE people, been doctorating in Brum (and with friends) and MK and lost a fair bit of sleep to Dad's phantoms - we are making some progress on that last - gave the homefront some reluctant focus, which is now all but cleared away, leaving me free to do more lifethings. A little dip in energy has also given me pause to reconsider this blog, these reasons, and I affirm all as life-enhancing...

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