126: LOST MEMORIES
WED 16 FEB 16:56 - Mooning Monthly reminiscing on good times ahead.....
Happy Leo Full Moon folks
Known in Native American traditions as the Snow or Hunger Moon we're all likely to be hungry for a bit of attention over the next fortnight. Leo loves the limelight, strutting its prowess at every opportunity in the hope of some adoring external validation.
And why not? Leo has a super positive, creative vibe so no one is going to begrudge you a flamboyant shimmy in your best sequinned hot pants this week. The recent miscommunications, misunderstandings and misfires fueled by a flurry of planetary retrogrades at the start of 2022 have peaked and should be fading.
Our immediate orbits, in personal and professional relationships, are finally moving forwards optimistically. With the Valentine's day vibe in full effect you might even get lucky. Indeed, there's a party atmosphere rising alongside the sap in nature's emerging bulbs and buds in northern climes, so don your glad rags, adorn yourself in the finest non gender specific greasepaint and celebrate the onset of Spring with anyone that wants to join you in the Dance.
Full moons are usually emotional affairs. Our responses to circumstance in the days preceding and surrounding a full shiner are heightened as we are pulled to extremes by the lunar tides. The highs will be off the scale, the lows pretty low.
How we ride the turbulence as it emerges is often a mark of our self awareness. Rather simplistically, life experience tends to suggest that blue skies don't last forever and clouds eventually pass. Whether our sense of self is defined by the emotional pitch of any given moment often lies in our ability to pause and reflect on the variety of different perspectives and circumstances that have coalesced to create it.
Despite my best intentions to pause and reflect, I'm still struggling to digest the seething anger expressed in this column last month regarding the £9 billion worth of UK taxpayers cash that was pissed up a PPE tree by governmental incompetence, corruption and fraud at the start of the Covid epidemic. The follow up this month, hidden amongst the headlines detailing prime-ministerial baffoonery, informs that the £9 billion... I repeat: £9 BILLION!!... has been "written off" by the Treasury. That's the equivalent of 18 fully equipped, brand new hospitals across the UK at a time when NHS waiting lists for life saving treatment have hit record highs.
How is this fraudulent, mind numbingly monumental pay out to well connected Tory funding multi-millionaires at the expense of the British taxpayer being dealt with...? It's being WRITTEN OFF! Officially. An outrageous deletion of the most egregious governmental shit show since tax payers bailed out the banks in the financial crisis of 2007/8!
In this context it should be understood that human memory is mostly selective. What we're not made aware of we don't remember. We constantly rewrite our own history to the exclusion of most other available narratives. Lest we forget, our 'great' Western civilisation was built on the particularly uncivilised practice of colonising pillage and slavery but only recently have such actions been acknowledged as enduring memories of devastating trauma for whole nations.
Will the 'inconvenient' memories of slavery and colonial abuses lead to reparations from western governments to the nations they plundered? Substantive efforts continue to be made through international law courts to avoid any such payment and keep the uncomfortable truths in the still only partially representative history books. Let selectively deleted bygones be bygones eh?
The re-writing of history in our personal lives is just as blatant. How many times are we convinced we have been wronged without ever talking non-judgmentally to those we perceive have wronged us. In contemptuously vilifying the perpetrators of perceived wrongs we blind ourselves to understanding their actions and the possibility of preventing further harm or even reconciliation. No two perspectives on the same event will ever be identical, therefore consideration of views other than our own are an assured route to greater understanding.
And yet, ironically, self-defence so often becomes our habitual first line of attack. In the repetitious replaying of circumstance from our own isolated, unchallenged perspective we memorize, or learn by heart, the storyline that best suits our vision of ourselves - as conqueror or victim for example - and are then reluctant to diverge from the script we have written. In isolation, we are capable of cultivating and believing anything, even palpable nonsense, to be the truth.
When emotions of the heart and social media are thrown into the mix, as they might well be under this Leo Full moon, distortion of the multiple truths surrounding any event or relationship becomes a frequent occurrence. Selective memorising of the past without the balance of other participating viewpoints is to risk isolated, tyrannical ignorance (a la Trump, Putin et al) - a source of suffering and the on trend blight of our modern world.
And, has the reductionist paradigm of winners and losers ever actually served anyone but the tiny privileged percentage of population that have gained great wealth at the expense of others? We are currently reaping the planetary rewards of an unrestricted ideology of competition in which everyone is rapidly losing, regardless of transitory material wealth.
This new geological age, the Anthropocene (Age of Humans) as it has become known, has decimated our ecosystems in a very short period of planetary history. Are we currently rewriting this particular story of abject neglect and denial whilst still hankering after new cars, tellies, phones, cosmetics, kitchen appliances, useless trinkets and baubles; consuming and wasting Earth's precious living resources at unprecedented rates as if our actions are without life threatening consequence?
How are we to commit this period of human activity to our collective memory as we poison the soil, plant life and food it yields with nerve agent insecticides that have wrought genocide on world bee populations and are increasingly toxifying our own bodies?
What's our undisputed 'take' on the climate crisis in hand as we continue to fill our oceans with plastic and pollutants; as wealthy nations over fish and over eat? Are we adjusting our patterns of behaviour in light of current evidence or blithely ignoring it, invalidating the unified messages of independent science, art and ecology as we pursue our relentless thirst for consumption?
Have we become the ignorant tyrants of our planet, refusing to see any other perspective of life on Earth but our own as we rapidly condemn ourselves to an isolated, poisonous demise; a contemporary reincarnation of King Canute?
But what if, from a position of informed diversity, a perspective that operated for the benefit of All, we could actively establish the memory that we could be? What if, through our thoughts, words and actions, we could create a sustainable narrative of cooperation and consideration that served future generations' best interests through the best interests of the biosphere that supports us?
There are many examples of indigenous peoples across our planet that have lived harmoniously and sustainably with the natural resources in their immediate environments. These collective memories, handed down through hundreds of generations, are evidence that human nature is historically as diverse as nature itself, and less often inclined to the archetypal warring violence that our salacious, patriarchal history books might suggest.
Actually, "...ours is a history of weavers, hunters, engineers, hydrologists, architects, agronomists and fisher folk, living and co-evolving with their surroundings, crafting a collective memory of survival." These studied disciplines were "...not inventions of the European University. For millennia we have been scientists, answering questions with questions, testing our ideas against the world around us. Through observation, intuition, inference, interaction, experimentation, verification and scrutiny, we sought insight in the laboratories of life." Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik
In his enlightening, well researched and poetically written book, The Memory We Could Be, Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik suggests that the violent stories we have come to learn by heart are not the only stories to be told about human behaviour. He cites a litany of indigenous cultures with sustainable agrarian systems that evidence integrated human participation and contribution within vibrant, mutually supportive ecosystems. He even points to research suggesting that areas of the world with the strongest cultural and linguistic diversity coincide with those areas of strongest biological and agronomic diversity. (Article: Biodiversity - how your life depends upon it)
As the 'one size fits all' corporate mono-culture, steamroller mentality crushes the intricate lacework of culture, language and complex solutions to complex environmentally specific challenges developed over millennia, we impoverish our collective memory - most vitally, of how to live in sustainable harmony with the now faltering ecosystems that support us.
"The story of climate change is one of the rise to dominance of a particular human relationship with nature, defined by callousness. Today, we are blinded by that relationship, locked in its logic of devastation. The fixation of one expression of human nature teaches us that destruction is both our identity and our destiny. We assume that our malice is like air, inextricably part of the background.
But Humanity as a whole has not generated this crisis. The imposition of a particular worldview has crushed our other options. A small portion of humanity destroys, but the entire human community pays the consequences. Just because we are in the same sinking boat, it doesn't mean that we all built it. Our extreme separation from nature is both recent and atypical. We can overcome it." Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik
The geographer Bernard Nietschmann captures the pressing case for protecting and aligning with our longstanding history of 'symbiotic conservation'. He notes:
"The vast majority of the world's diversity is not found in gene banks, zoos, national parks, or protected areas. Most biological diversity is in landscapes and seascapes inhabited and used by local peoples, mostly indigenous, whose great collective accomplishment is to have conserved the great variety of remaining life forms, using culture, the most powerful and valuable human resources, to do so."
Our vision of ourselves as integrated aspects of the same great evolutionary whole, Nature, is under threat from the last two centuries' reductionist, homogenized global-culture of corporate backed politics, economics, law and science. In allowing it to dominate our thinking and the derivative memories of future generations, we diminish our long term capacity to draw from the well tested sustainability models developed over millennia.
With every additional year we spend locked into this isolated, violently destructive, carbon emitting mindset, the more difficult it becomes for us to reconnect with our inherent humanity: to walk the path of compassionate, sustainable recovery through reducing levels of consumption and sharing carefully managed resources. Yet, walk this path we must.
Under this Leo Full Moon there is much to celebrate but nothing more important or life sustaining than our diversity. Let's welcome and discuss our different viewpoints, draw on previous memories and information as we find routes to a common understanding - even if that is to disagree.
Nature is us, we are nature and yet we have come to live Life as if its elements could be separated. The illusory distortion of our current acrimonious divorce from reality is self defeating. We have become the authors of our own painful memories of separation, trapped in the cloying mire of our intransigent ignorance. Caring reclamation of our true Nature remains the abiding route out of this miserable quicksand toward liberation.
"We are the land, we are in the land, in the land we are" S Pushaina
Under this Leo Full Moon let's find value in every member of the pride for the individuation they bring to the family whole; a moon under which to welcome and include differences not ignore and invalidate. Let's convene a proper party and issue an open invitation to share, learn and love for the benefit of All.
'Til next time
PS: Regarding the UK PPE scandal, let's hope for a public enquiry but strangely, no one seems to be shouting very loud for one. The Good Law Project are doing incredible work to legally challenge the Government on their 'unlawful' policies (High Court judgement Jan 2022) so do please read about their work and share/donate if you can via this link.
I've had a couple of requests to repeat a practical step by step guide to meditation. I maintain that the process is very simple. The stumbling block for most folks is not how to do it but how to maintain the discipline to really attain full benefit. Regular practice, even for 5 minutes morning and evening will bring almost instant results. Further progress naturally comes with further discipline - a few extra minutes each day as feels comfortable. Recommended as you first rise in the morning or just before you retire to bed in the evening...or both. Switch off the devices - no distractions. If necessary, let others in your household know that you do not wish to be disturbed for a short while. Create a quiet, relaxed space with a chair in which you can sit comfortably with a straight back (option to light a candle/incense should you wish. Wrap yourself in a blanket if it feels right). Sit with a straight back and concentrate solely on your breathing until your thoughts start to slow down. Don't beat yourself up if your uncontrolled thoughts keep distracting you - just acknowledge those thoughts, observe their origins and swiftly return your concentration to the breath....quite literally the physical sensations of breathing in and out and only this. When the mind finally calms (5 -10 mins), i.e. when the gaps between thoughts get noticeably longer, a spaciousness may be experienced. Explore it. Where are you in relation to that space? Relax and dwell in the spaciousness as long as feels comfortable, returning concentration to the breath when thought intermittently arises. To finish, gratefully acknowledge that spaciousness as your own: a safe, happy, healthy and, above all, peaceful space to which you can return at any time simply by focusing on your breath. Return to the awareness of your body, surroundings and your day to day activities, hopefully imbued with peace. You have begun to enjoy and picture "a love of already satisfied desire." (Albert Einstein) It's better than telly. DO give this practice a regular spot in your daily digital diary. DON'T fret if you miss a few days. Just return to the practice as soon as possible and reaffirm your commitment to the positive change it brings. DO observe the transformations manifest in your life almost instantaneously. DON'T gloat or appear smug as a result.
I've just donated this little beauty titled "Burnt Wood" to the Basingstoke Canal Society's Art Auction raising money to replace its ageing canal community trip boat and secure an eco-friendly future for the waterway.
It's a delicate graphite and watercolour sketch on the same theme as my sculpture installation at last November's UN COP26 conference in Glasgow. It's drawn on newspaper and recycled cardboard mounted in a handpainted repurposed frame. It's a lovely thing that I may end up bidding for myself!
The work will feature in the exhibition, Replacing Kitty: An Exhibition of Canal Artwork, at the Lightbox Gallery in Woking which will be opened by Woking MP Jonathan Lord on Tuesday, 22nd February.
If you'd like to have a gander at all the works in the show and even make an auction bid please visit the bidding site here. Further details about the project can be found here
JUST SO YOU KNOW....
I'm changing things up a bit for 2022 as I often like to do at the start of a new calendar year. Over the coming months, full moon offerings are likely to be more freeform and intuitive. Whilst retaining their perilously loose astrological leanings, I'll be throwing in social commentary and an occasional list of pithy, salient do's and don'ts aimed at enlisting the sovereignty of our thoughts, words and actions toward meaningful change for the benefit of all... AND, if that weren't enough, regularly publishing a Weighton original to enhance your monthly Moonlit Meditations.
For the time being these writings will be additionally available on the website www.mooningmonthly.com but before long, my various diverse outputs will be consolidated on the website www.markweighton.com. Naturally, I hope you enjoy this year's productivity. Your comments and kind support are always welcome. Don't hesitate to get in touch should you feel the urge. Collaborations and commissions always considered...apart from portraits of pets and children.
FULL MOON MARKS
EACH MONTH DURING 2022 WE PUBLISH A RECENT, LUNAR INFLUENCED
ARTWORK BY ARTIST AND FELLOW MOONER MARK WEIGHTON
14 x 10cm watercolour on paper