A dialogue with anxiety

I WILL PROTECT YOU

No you fool, you will not. What you are doing is debilitating. There is nothing to protect me from. I am strong enough to face the world, I have enough support. The past feelings were wrong.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

The feelings of worthlessness which led us here. They were implanted there without good reason. They are the inheritance of tyrants. We are worthy, and this is proven by our deeds.

I DO ONLY WHAT I KNOW

What you know is wrong. It is false. When you were young, the feelings of pain were stronger, but this does not make them true. Truth is determined by what actually is now, not in words and feelings of folly from the path.

I UNDERSTAND

For now you may. But return not tomorrow to hold me back! I know what I am capable of anxiety, and I know the risks.

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The Dark Crusade of Vengeful Truth (Wyrmheart Saga)

‘It is not the sufferings of winter that cause us to quail in this world

It is the evil of warped good, and the secret slaves of the false god.’

As the shadow of the South creeps ever closer to the realms of men, Winter grows more furious. The forests at the Edge of the World begin to gnarl and die, giving way to flood and landslide. The rivers grow sick with grief, and mountains are torn asunder for the stones and minerals within. Wealthy factors in the cities increase the price of wheat and corn, as Lords tighten their belts and raise their taxes. The ‘Dorian Alliance is tested to its limits as delegations stop visiting the Grand Councils and Calls to Summons, becoming more suspicious of their neighbours. Priests and monks of the Old Faith still attend solstices and celebrations, but pilgrims and fanatics come in lesser number. Corruption in the Temples is rife.

This is an age of cynicism. Trumpets of doom are blown. Brother grows suspicious of brother, peasant collectives begin to fragment and turn against their own interests.

Avagoth raids intensify on the borders, the steeds of many warlords reaching as far as the Inner Cities. With diminishing armies and plummeting morale, the Alliance brings in ever more desperate measures – Orcish mercenaries to quell the anger of their own people. It is a short-term solution bound to spread resentment. People start to question where their civilization is going and whether there truly is an eternal, celestial order to things. Those few who profit from the increasing struggle are the only ones with any power, their miserable souls slowly evolving into demonic aspect, their fangs feeding on millions of poor and desperate.

Only Gylfanon, the Dark Prince of Gylfanys, goes on the attack. Looking to expand his Kingdom, he forges links with the Lorcanians of the sacred wood. He avoids the worst of Avagoth raids by promising his barbarian “friends” power and land in his new domain. Turning warlord against warlord, Gylfanon’s knowledge of Avagothic clan politics spares him much grief. In his own lands he makes it illegal to raise the price of grain, and threatens the wealthy factors and their private guards with his furious league. Many flee to neighbouring lands, and Gylfanon’s council take their wealth and estates, distributing much of it to the needy. Yet more volunteers step forward to take up spear and shield for their prince, yet more weeping maidens stitch great banners of valour to be carried into battle.

At first he only aimed to frighten his neighbours into compliance, but quickly Gylfanon gained in confidence. High-Priest Furion secretly joined him, and advised he begin the Dark Crusade of Vengeful Truth, to turn the armies of evil away by any means possible – even turning the weapons of evil against itself! In a moment of revelation, Gylfanon realized how much his own inner-darkness and suffering was a source of strength. Caused by the evils and inequalities of men, it is rage enough to overturn his oppressors. Deep inside that nihilistic tendency lay the fearlessness to face death.

As news spreads and champions gather beneath the black and red Gylfan banners, the five brothers of the Turcans respect the brazen might of bold Gylfanon and his wise council. The Scyldlings send him gifts from the Northern Ice, mighty frostblades, and a pair of armoured mammoth to serve as his battle-steeds. Many creatures emerge from the deeps, drawn to his pulsing soul, understanding the speech of his beastmasters. And much are his loyal volunteers, among them Thugul and Au Ko, and even a few companies of the hardy Dalf Byorn tired of the decline around them.

On the attack, Gylfanon gains momentum, and the Dark Prince is seen as a hero of Hy-Selasia, even by his enemies. But those enemies are great; The six warped, mind-controlling giants who rule over the still, ancient domains of Ivis. And the King-in-the-Crystal, the single most powerful man of all. He commands no army, yet his believers are many, and they have many armies. Their hearts gripped by tightening despair and irreverence for nature, they know only anxious obeisance to their cruel King.

It is almost time to put ideals to the test. It is almost time for battle.

Gylfanon hands his diamond broadsword to his lieutenant, the silent and bold Halbard. Delving to the depths of the ancient armoury of the Nagothi, he seeks a greater treasure. A dark creature of Elvish aspect waits there, hidden beneath a robe of samite, and he holds in his naked hands a long, serrated sword. Clutching Nightcleaver to his chest, Gylfanon prepares for the ultimate battle, not against the true, inevitable darkness, but against the warped light which casts an even greater shadow.

The Forest Folk

Compared to the well-groomed farmers in their estate, he must have seemed a barbarian. His matted, gold mane flowed behind him and he was bare chested, covered by a dark cloak and worn trousers. He spoke a dialect of Rilkan recognisable to the farmers, but only with difficulty.

They tended to him in their small but fine house, the pantry filled with foods the forest folk could only bear in spring. The fire always burnt, and the hearth was warm. The local apothecary could tend his outer-wounds, and many of the local lasses were intrigued by the songs of his lute. But they argued among each other, much. And the farmers always made him aware, however subtly, that in their eyes he was landless, penniless, and was expected to toil under them when he recovered. That was their way, out on the fields. Nothing was free here, least of all time.

He tried to remember what it felt like to be here, all those years ago. That was another time. He was less than he was now, troubled, haunted, bored. It was their expectations and hypocrisies which led him to fly, to flee and call out to the forest folk he once mocked. Those hardy woodlanders would take on any vagabond, renegade or wanderer if they seemed honest enough. The woods had nurtured him for nearly twenty years, as much as they had tested him. There he was an elder, respected, paid in the currency of reverence and influence. It seemed so far now, he felt weak. Something had drawn him back here.

Could he ever escape it?

This did not truly feel like home. Not as a child, not as an adult. This was his weakness, his lack of self-belief, his torn nature. Many of his demons were born here, much of his woes also. Here there was little meaning; the farmers with their rugged hands and rugged work for a distant lord they never saw, far less cared for. A heavy price for the basics of their freedom. That was the chain that bound him, and brought him back. They somehow had a power over him.

Yet, they had changed also. His absence taught them a well-learned lesson. They enjoyed his lutesong now, and admired his friends in the woods. Wasn’t that a form of respect? And the farmlands were richer now, and all of them enjoyed a better life. Wasn’t that a form of change?

Life is a complex, knotted thing.

Gothic Wave: Ancient Knight

Something stirred in the stillness of the stone tomb. Granite scraped against granite as a sarcophagus slowly opened, by its own accord.

A dusty, broken hand of bone slowly rose out, moving its fingers as if for the first time. An arm clad in rusty mail followed, and then a being wholly skeletal. Its helmet was dulled by time, heraldry smoothed away by its centuries-long slumber. Its plate mail was rusty and discoloured. Small snatches of cloth, once covered in embalming fluid, were all that remained of his tabard and robes, and his leather scabbard had thinned to a rod of brass.

The ancient knight rose to full height in his tomb and stood alone, his stone home dimly lit by the misty light of the moon. He gazed around with distant longing, then he took a few creaking steps. Stumbling, the knight righted himself, his gait unbalanced by his broken limbs and deathly stiffness. Something of instinct still remained inside, guiding him like a dim whisper. He reached for the arched portal of the tomb, placing his skeletal hand against it. With fury he pushed, his strength mighty, but nothing moved. With a slight shrug, the ancient knight turned and grabbed the double-headed axe hung above his sarcophagus. A brief moment of remembrance filled him and he cocked his head, wrapping his fingers tight around the iron shaft of his old weapon.

The door to the tomb started to splinter and break, until it collapsed outwards. Walking out into the frozen night, the ancient knight heard armour clanking, bones creaking, dusty wails, breaking stone, the flap of a thousand tiny wings and the distant cry of doomful wolves. It was as if vengeance itself was rising. His brothers and sisters too were awakening into dark night.

And they were legion.

Motives – The Anxious and the Noble

Propelled by self hatred

You are shit. Worthless child, go do something! > Big dreams! Big visions! > Very little done, action just to placate inner loathing > You are shit. Worthless child…

Propelled by self hatred we are never able to achieve much. The self-hatred is not a healthy motive. It is an abyss, and the energy it saps undoes much good. It is an anxious state, which requires unrealistic, impatient thinking to escape, further reinforcing it. The root is never addressed, the root being obsession with the past, and the narrative created by the tortured mind. Feeling like anxious crap leads to trying to do everything at once and getting confused, hamstrung by foolish mis-ambition. Get rich quick, instant success – instant escape from a deep inner-dissatisfaction. The grass is always greener on the other side, but all the sheep are racing across the bridge to get it, and they all get stuck.

 

But propelled by mindful action.

Be in this present moment > Act without anxiety or comparison > One step achieved. Next! > Be in this present moment…

Able to achieve great things, eventually! To do instinctively is with zen confidence. Nothing is done for the sake of an ego, and no void is being filled. Action is an end in itself, a desire to see a beautiful thing created. The smith is amazed by his own forged axe, the director amazed by his own work. It is like being an audience member to your own work. When finished, it is to be shared, not wrapped in rights and other protective crap. Ambitionless ambition, motiveless motion, desireless desire. Whatever happens, you create something to bring joy to others.

And when my celestial forge burns low, and I hold in my hand a treasure of the highest artisanship, I toss it over my shoulder to be wield by Mankind, however they see fit…

Are you telling me?

Are you telling me that it doesn’t all add up? That the sum total of all the hatred, fear, spite, cruelty, envy, self-destructive, irreverent, thoughtless stupidity and shallowness doesn’t stain the collective consciousness of the world we live in?

I often wonder why I feel like crap for no apparent reason. Maybe it is because, even if I were in blissful homeostasis, there are mothers shivering in cold flats, fearing the return of an abuser. There are injustices of war, the murder of the innocent, rape, pillage, the waste of so much potential. There is labour exploitation on a massive scale for nothing more than the esteem of fickle, shallow citizens of the rich world. There are easily treatable diseases killing people, and easily filled stomachs left empty. Animals tortured for fur and meat, ancient forests destroyed to build coal pits and golf courses. Callousness on a mass scale, against a droning machine which seems undefeatable.

I do not want to dwell on the darkness of life. I do not want to paint a bleak picture. I just want to identify why we might feel the darkness within, seemingly without explanation. This can lead to a true hope, and a true optimism – for we will know what needs to be done, and gain purpose from that.

Being present, we can appreciate today. But we cannot truly rest until justice is done; the light brought to every corner of the world. Wounds must be recognized, given space and time to heal.

It all adds up, and much has accumulated. The soul of humanity is stained, but that does not mean we cannot free ourselves of this pain. What is made can be unmade, and a pyramid of skulls can be dismantled, one by one. Love and courage is enough, love and courage our battlecry!

Gothic Wave: The Shade

He gasped thinly.

Something began to emerge from the shadows. A vapour trailed out of him into the thing; a thin, ethereal cord which shimmered in the dull light. Slowly it filled out, its edges always hazey and uncertain, shifting like roiling, black sea-waves.

He opened his mouth, but nothing escaped. His spine tingled and his stomach churned. His bowels grew heavy and the back of his throat became dry. No hand reached for a sword, no leg moved into a combat stance.

The thing hissed, a sound wholly ethereal, and then it began to circle him. Tendrils followed its wake like a cloak, brushing against his skin, leaving him chill where it touched him. The shade stopped before him, its eyes flashing, its long fangs bared in a frightening gormlessness. The thing hovered, then slowly lowered its head toward the frozen champion.

How may I serve you, master?’ it asked, and the world began to spin and he collapsed to the cold stone floor, and he fell into a dreamless slumber.

Healing Herbs

I find it impossible to believe we live in an intrinsically doomed, evil universe. Nor a ‘neutral’ one. This isn’t just some hippy sentimentalism! Look at the evidence!

The scent of lavender and its calming effect. The soothing taste of hemp oil. The calming bliss of lime blossom. The bold tang of mending elderberry. The soft fullness of wheat. The sound of rushing rivers, the song of small birds, the beauty of the moon through a haze of clouds.

All things which heal us, mend us, maintain us. For all of its suffering, the world is still infused with joy in it – and always will be.

We have evolved parallel to these things – they were not made for us. But it just shows evolution will always find a way to sustain an organism within its environment. What is good for us evolves, but it will always be there. This is cause to live, and be optimistic. There is mana out there waiting for us to discover it.

Herbal teas to heal anxiety –

Lime blossom, Cardomon, Cloves

Rooibos, Echinacea

Chamomile

p.s. Avoid caffienated teas, refined sugar and chocolate!

 

 

 

All I wanted was silence

They tried to give me advice; about what I should eat, where I should live, who I should be.

But all I wanted was silence.

In one place, the planes flew overhead in endless torrent. And the motorway hushed like a sick, polluting sea. The song of birds was violently shadowed by the walls of industrial, mechanical, perpetual droning.

But far in the tiny family flat, there was endless nattering, criticism, thoughtless superstitious, pontification, the buzzing of constant electronics deep in the walls.

All I wanted was silence. My brain, victim of a million sonic bullets, needed the morphine of silence.

All I wanted was silence. Maybe that was a lot to ask. Too much? Where in the cosmos is it truly silent?