Patterns

Over the past few weeks, I’ve discovered one of my favourite pastimes is finding patterns, something I’m so fond of I can find little time to do anything else. Every experience, thought and feeling I have undergoes rigorous testing and interrogation, in the hope of answering the question: “Why has this happened, to me, right now, and how should I react?”

This enquiry is so inherent in my thought processes, it’s taken me ages to realise that it exists, and also that such analysis is not carried out by every member of our species. Recently, measuring how my future spirituality, career, friendships and relationships should pan, and trying to draw them into a coherent entity has taken up almost all my energy. As this has been mostly internal, it’s been extremely difficult to communicate this externally. How can you tell someone that you’re assessing the fundamental values of everything you hold dear, when even your preferred methods of communication are being thrown into doubt?

The other evening, I asked myself for the first time, “What if there isn’t a pattern?” It’s true, many things that happen to us are meaningless, at least in the sense that they had no positive or negative intent. I don’t believe in a supernatural, micromanaging deity, or people are always trying to exert influence over any other person or situation. The majority of the countless actions and gestures that are enacted each and every moment of every day, are no more than random occurrences.

But such a train of thought can only lead to apathy. However trivial day-to-day life may appear, I want to capture every possible moment of beauty available. The mundane can be constantly surprising. Even though I walk the same route into town every time, I am consistently surprised and overwhelmed by small details: facial expressions, the curves of roads, building aesthetics, and the sun shining through trees.

Conversely, I have also found times of artistic immersion, such as trips to the cinema, and album listening sessions, to be not only enjoyable, but essential. Such periods allow me to realign myself to what is most important. In the same way it’s important not to live in a fairy tail, I don’t want to stop hoping for the perfect ideal.

The world is not corrupt

I’ve spent the last few days visiting home and relatives, trying to fathom if a satisfying existence is possible with intermittent internet connectivity. Still undecided, but heading back to the 4G soup of the north, so shouldn’t suffer any long-term damage.

Visiting my Grandma is always an experience, as she’s now staying in an old people’s home, and suffers from some of the classic issues associated with that stage of life. Don’t worry, this isn’t an emotional splurge of confusion, but rather a heartless examination of the human lifecycle. 

My main struggle with these trips is not having the patience to converse with someone with a few less marbles than average, but dealing with the complete lack of priority the physical realm has in these environments. In these pockets, it’s perfectly regular to sit in a chair all day and do nothing. Apart from contradicting society’s busyness, it also forces me to ask: “Is what I base my life pursuing, beauty, nature and form, worthless?”


Examining the human life cycle, I’ve found it quite symbolic. Starting in purity and simplicity, we grow older, and start overcomplicating and losing touch with the real. But before this gets too out of hand, we regress, forgetting all but a few of these details, and becoming more simplified.

At life’s beginning and end, being over doing is not so much a conscious ordering of priority, but a dictum of nature. Close to the milestones of birth and death, attachment to the physical, individuality and defining character traits seem weak, superceded instead by and intuitive understanding of the spiritual.

The traditional approach to the real-world is therefore to label it as corrupt, inherently evil in some way, as if it distracts from any kind of purity. But I’m convinced that art, nature and music all provide handholds on to intangible truths. It must be possible to process life, and assimilate what happens, in a way that enlightens instead of pollutes. 


Brahms said, “It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.”

Having attained revelation by watching Naruto, listening to Lady Gaga, and starting endlessly at the sea, I can vouch for the fact that these art and physical forms are jot impure, but refer to something eternal. But it’s easy to reject something thoughtlessly because it offends what we think is right; a swear word, or alien concept.

Instead of drowning in an overindulgence of experience, we can assess each one, and hold onto anything they carry that can edify us.

October 30th (pilgrim)

Walked through Peace Gardens to say farewell to Sheffield: fear not, I will yet grace your shining streets. Received a true sampling of the joys of our Great British railway. Numerous delays all combined, meaning I had the time to listen to three full albums, a previously unimaginable feat. Who is Mika, the reincarnation of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury? Sounds like Les Miserables set to a pop candy land soundtrack.

After enduring a classic Morecambe bus journey, and restraining myself from engaging in fisticuffs with some loud teenagers, I reached home, and the comfort of soup and scones. Went on a walk to Heysham Head to reset my spiritual compass. This was hardly the pilgrimage I’d hoped for, as the grass was being cut. Sat on a bench in the graveyard and fell asleep. When I awoke, the lawnmowers were nowhere to be seen, but the perpetual youth still remained. 

Long discussions after tea about various forms of the body of Christ. I’d had enough of music, so decided to read the bible, but lay for too long in a darkened room reflecting, and now feel sleepy.

October 27th (balance)

Had a short-lived early morning crisis, as I thought I didn’t have enough time for Chi Kung. Then realised that is woken up an hour too early. My energies remain balanced. The three-day work run began today; a fitting warmup for the brutality to follow on Saturday and Sunday. Not crawling up the walls yet, but we’ll get there.

My anointing was strong, as caught the perfect bus two seconds after leaving. Headed to the Williams’ for legendary pizza, an occasion where gluttony is not only accepted, but actively encouraged. Got off the bus early to enjoy the last bit of the leafy walk, an unprecedented move in our time-obsessed culture. Stories of fatal experiences and a high average of calories were par for the course. Highly aware of the fact I was wearing my blandest t-shirt, as I hadn’t had time to change. A shame everyone didn’t get to experience the real me. Will try and wear a particularly politically incorrect one next time.

October 24th (yes Thor)

I had to go to morning prayers this morning, having unwittingly agreed to lead them: yay. With a broken piano and guitar, someone really didn’t want worship to happen, but he spirit prevailed. Then a talk about dealing with negative emotion, featuring a few obscure bible verses and half-baked theology to prop up my political agenda.

After cleaning, I said an unexpected hello to the sun, before heading to Costa again to continue my expedition into Lamentations. Normally in the Old Testament, God’s busy killing nations opposed to the Israelites, but this time there’s no racial discrimination; strange. Then the long-awaited conversation with Gethin, about psychology, intelligence, and the overarching wisdom of anime.

Double cinema time, first with Thor: Ragnarok. Please can I spend my life running around, trailblazing lightning? If the vacancy of hammer god is open, I’ll gladly take it. Hephaestus may contend that, but don’t know if I can supporting merging mythologies. Broke my year long Subway fast. Waiting for the twelve-year old buzz to return, but think it’s gone forever. Then watched The Party. Cillian Murphy has been intoxicating in every role I’ve seen.

October 21st (extremes)

Enjoyed observing the aesthetic on the walk to work. The placement of every tree, underpass, building and pavement is very fascinating. There is a strange comfort in the predictability that when I turn a corner, the same journey lies ahead as the day before.

Work was surprisingly manageable, with only a sustainable level of kitchen madness reached. Although my meditative, outdoor break time was defiled by a guy from the café next door talking to me. The walk back was like a mystical, ritual cleansing. When it’s raining heavily, it’s really fulfilling to get drenched when it doesn’t matter. These are the extremes I live; sweat in front of a grill, drown in a deluge.

October 20th (waiting for the rain)

Fairly standard day at work, sauntering around like a cat. I shaved my legs yesterday to see what girls are always on about, and I feel fabulous. Although worrying in hindsight whether I should have waited for sheep shearing season to be more aligned with the natural order.

Random Holyspirit bombs dropping at a random social at church tonight, which featured sang Swedish prayer, and also a sustained level of restlessness from my direction, in constant longing of reclaiming my evening in the sake of dark reflection.

Wondering if the Father wants to know me, rather than randomly turn up in a glory shower. Was thinking about the tides and rainfall, how we can predict their patterns, but never the singular occurrence of waves, or the condensation of individual droplets. Should I treat Holyspirit’s moves likewise, and take them as they come, or consciously seek them? It will rain, but God is sovereign, and praying will make it more likely, if nothing else.

October 16th (what rules)

After my weekly, Monday lie-in, I occupied myself with a mixture of exercising, watching Cowboy Bebop, and eating food at such times that didn’t fall under the labels of breakfast, brunch or lunch. Such dissolution of structure. Then headed off to teach piano. One lesson contained improvised songs, which were simultaneously dissonant, hilarious and profound.

In between all this was the traditional Costa trip, now appearing on a Monday time slot instead of Wednesday. The dishwasher was broken, so automatically decided to purchase a reusable mug instead of using a disposable one, in an irresistible reflex against environmental destruction. Didn’t reach any new, spiritual highs, but dealt with a lot of life admin. 

Dramatic windy times on Bole Hills with mixed feelings: should I have exercised my right to the last possible shorts day in 2017? I’ll have to wait fifty years to find out if I’ve caused damage to my kneecaps. The pizza fast was broken at the evening work social, and then cocktails for the first time in my life; I love alcohol.

October 15th (truth of his presence)

Actually enjoyed church quite a bit this morning, with being able to play piano and extend my megalomaniacal creativity. However, socialising was absolutely not an option afterwards; time needed to be invested in recuperating the nature energy. Didn’t get much time as the sun went in, but it’s so beneficial to be in an environment that’s neutral to any person, organisation or expectation, and have the freedom to assess what I actually feel.

I realise that we’re often told to prioritise our own desires to bring us satisfaction. But when we value heart over head, this can lead us to reject any negative emotion. Holyspirit was telling me that the truth of his presence is undeniable, and beyond any feeling. It’s time to stop focusing on perceived reality above what’s known and proven. We love to live for the unexpected, the unknown and the buzz, but this can’t take the place of common sense, or what needs to be achieved. It says in Proverbs, “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud.” The everyday doesn’t need to be boring.

October 12th (morning has broken)

The morning routine has reached unprecedented heights; I managed to do Chi Kung, Pilates, and purchase milk for breakfast, all before 9:15. The back tension doesn’t know what to do. I can barely hold on under such an onslaught. Victories were slightly dampened by a cancelled driving lesson. Put my spare time to good use watching abortion and Friends. So much drama, so much laughter.
After writing a talk at church with Hyland, and an exceptional Tuscan bean soup, it was time for meaningful reflections on Ecclesall Road. I always visit this area when I need a good few hours of thought, as it reminds me of my time at uni, a period of constant flux. Listened to Halcyon Days by Ellie Goulding, the original glory soundtrack. Some crazy brain connections were made, which may need to forethought the political correctness sieve before sharing. Then curry wars at the Williams’. I’m sorry, but jar flavouring can never supersede the organic.