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Monday, 5 May 2008

The meaning of life

I had a strange dream in that moment of transition between sleep and wakefulness, the exact details of which I can no longer recall. I do recall though that my sister Linda was there - an unusual occurrence in itself given that she suffers from schizophrenia, and our relationship is not exactly what you call best friends.

From the few details that I do remember, the dream was based around the island of Lundy, where I retreat to two, maybe three times a year, in order to recharge my batteries. Somehow or other I had got locked out of the cottage, with all my possessions inside - everything that I needed to sustain me and keep me warm from the rapidly encroaching darkness as night fell. Linda and I needed to get help to get back into the cottage before this happened, and while she seemed totally unconcerned, I was searching around, desperately looking for help and wondering whether we had time to get that help before it was too late. It was at that point that the alarm clock went off and I had to get out of bed. I would not normally set the alarm clock of course for a Bank Holiday, but I do work in retail, and so to me, it is just another working day - albeit slightly shorter and with more pay.

It occurred to me while I was in the shower, that perhaps this is about letting go of my own baggage. My friend Diana Summer mentioned some while ago that the Terminal 5 baggage fiasco was also about this - where thousands of bags belonging to air passengers failed to arrive at their destination, and weeks later have still not been found. The fact that the darkness was encroaching was also no doubt, about my own willingness, or perhaps lack of it, to look at my own darkness. I think most of us are afraid of this, and I am no exception here. I also think, or rather feel, that I have made a very good start.

For the first time I actually understand experientially as well as conceptually what that phrase "choose a new reality" really means, and I also understand at last, just how powerful our words and our thoughts really are. It is not something that you can explain to another, as to coin a phrase from Genesis of Man "Words are the least effective way of describing our experiences, as they are merely symbols which are used to describe our thoughts and feelings". When Descartes said "I think, therefore I am" perhaps what he should have said is "I feel, therefore I am".

We have to be willing to let go of everything that we are, and everything that we ever have been if we are to understand who we are truly are. When I think about this, I see transsexuals in many ways as the ultimate in this - for these are people who are willing to give up their whole sense of identity - changing their bodies, their names and literally starting all over again to order to find who they truly are inside. On the other side of the coin are the refugees and 'victims' of various atrocities, who have lost their livelihood, their homes and their loved ones - and seen things that are the stuff of nightmares.

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