Soul Cleaning?

I’m frustrated by my age and vision. I used to run websites, forums and blogs, then I gave up on it all, for a variety of reasons. In coming back to it I am frustrated. I wanted to make a pretty well laid out blog filled with well placed images and great typefaces. Sadly that’s not going to happen. It all seems beyond me now. So if you are going to read here then this is it as pretty as it gets and no images to speak of and certainly not write home about.

I notice as I grow older I am content to stop striving to move forward with technology. Yes I have an iPhone, an iMac, an iPad Pro and the latest TV technology, from Sky Q to Apple TV but it no longer can it excite me as it once did and I am cynical about upgrade cycles that add very little and do nothing much but empty my bank balance.

In no way therefore can you expect this to look good, professional or award winning. That makes me quite sad. I guess it comes with age when one begins to realise how futile material things are even the ephemeral  like this  blog. I recently deleted a long standing Facebook account as it seemed such a waste of time and giving up the battle for privacy with this giant seemed worthwhile.

A few years ago now I began to give up any attachment to material objects. It was hard but the more ruthless I became the easier it became. Now when something no longer has any use or purpose I give it away. There is a sense of freedom in giving things up. Don’t confuse this with the current fad for decluttering I am talking about soul cleaning. Oh look I’ve just made up a phrase, “soul cleaning”. I guess the more I contemplate the end of life the more I realise what an utter waste of time it has been cluttering up my mind, my soul, with the material. Better to live free, to live for thought, to live in the moment. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone but myself nor would I wish to make it a prescriptive necessity for anyone else. All I can report is for me this is freedom. It gives me space to grow inside, to nurture my spiritual well being.

Beach scene at sunset.A white letter overlay reads A letter to myself

In a world gone over the top on a consumer feeding frenzy it is good to step back and then turn my back on it all. It is the pursuit of a satisfaction from the material. A pursuit that will ultimately prove futile for everyone.

I wish I could send this to my younger self!

Take care,

Augustine x

Black and white photo of a man standing beside his car taking a photograph.  Taken circa 1930
Old Photo of the Day

Surviving Each Day

By bedtime I usually get to a place where I feel almost human. Every night I go to bed hoping the next morning will be better. I wake after about six hours. I feel awful, dead, buzzing in my head, eyes not working and in pain so I have to get up straight away. That is a struggle. The world is very dark, a dark dark place, my mind is like treacle. My wife usually has coffee waiting, I always expect it to help. It doesn’t. Then the toilet trips start. Medicine is ingested. Seven pills to start, inhalers, eye drops, nasal sprays. Breakfast although I don’t want to eat. Then I feel sick for at least two or three hours. By midday I am ready for a hot bath, it helps a little, eases the pain. Lunch follows.

The afternoon then lies ahead long and awful. By dinner time I am finally ready for food although it all tastes the same. I watch TV or listen to music. I start to feel better, lighter. Bed. Repeat.

It sounds awful written down like that. It’s amazing what you get used to though. It’s my life and I am grateful for it. It really is ok. Honestly, this is not just a brave face.

Photo of the inside of St Joseph’s Catholic Church
My Adopted Parish

High spots include a 9:30 Mass via ,contemplative prayer. Lighting candles and sitting at my home altar. Reading the news. Listening to my current book, I read a lot. I spend a lot of time online helping people. I write when I can, when I am able. The day passes as it has done for two decades now, the same routine. I do all this no matter how I feel. I force myself through it, sometimes it  is easy other times really it’s like being in quicksand.

The point really is that you have to learn to be content with what you have and what life gives you to deal with on a daily basis. I have learned to love silence, to love my broken body, my broken mind and in being content I have become rich. Richer than I have ever been. 

Augustine x

An old steam train with a cinema camera man standing on a platform at the front.
Old Photo of the Day

I am a Prisoner

I am a prisoner. I am locked upstairs in the house. We have a painter in for two whole days. Now such an event would be of little concern to ordinary folk. For me it means pain, anxiety and discomfort. Let me explain.

Over the past few years I have had to deal with a great deal of pain partly due to neuropathy due to my diabetes and partly unknown but possibly decades of steroids haven’t helped. Prescription painkillers do very little to help. Think about an ordinary chocolate bar 🍫 and remove one square. This is the level of help my painkillers give. It’s not always bad it varies by day. I have a large electric recliner with an individually sprung seat this is what makes the day bearable. So just now I am perched on a tiny bedroom chair. It’s far from ideal.

Over the last two decades I have slowly disappeared from all public interaction. Partly physical as I can longer walk very far at all and not unaccompanied and I wobble my right side is pretty useless due to neuropathy so I lose my balance a lot. Now let me explain further diabetes runs in my family it is genetic but because of my other conditions this was missed as the symptoms were all assigned to other chronic illnesses. By the time it was diagnosed, a lot of nerve damage had been done. I also have lesions in my brain and some demyelination has occurred in those areas controlling my movement.

With a major depressive illness unresponsive to treatment I have had to find a way to cope and that means for me social isolation. Please note this is not me being depressed because of my other conditions it is a separate issue that began twenty years ago. I find any alteration to my routine day sometimes catastrophic emotionally. My interactions are now solely with my family in short bursts and domiciliary visits from health care professionals.

I am content however. This is no pity festival. I have all the time I am awake to be thankful for my life, to spend time in meditation and prayer. To prepare for death which for me holds no fear I will be with my beloved Lord whom I have served for fifty years. My faith not born out of need but from an encounter with the Divine. Now as a Catholic (recent convert) I can offer all that I am, all my pain, to the Lord and join it with his suffering. It is a joy to live and suffer.

Augustine x

Black and white photo of a pier walkway location unknown
Old Photo of the Day