The infinite well of Self-Esteem

Me and my therapist spoke in no small terms about ‘innate value’ and ‘inner dignity’. We talked about the value of self-love, how to cultivate it, how it was prerequisite for the love of another. We assumed that it was something already there, an axiom of the soul.

But I was never fully convinced that there was a source of worth inherently in us. If there was, how could my adult life be plagued with collapses of self-value? I do not believe that with enough ‘practice’ we could ‘self-love’ ourselves back into a place of worth. Nor do I believe it to be true that we need to love ourselves before we can be loved by another.

What others might call ‘inherent value’ I see in a much more nihilistic light, namely normative (or society-given) value. Nature has no inherent value but for the survival of species; cooperating or competing for life. We are no different to any other species, we are the children of nature.

If I had a font of hidden energy and self-value, why is it absent after a lifetime of searching? Perhaps my therapist was just trying to be nice!

A cursory observation of society will demonstrate that people seek to be valued by others. This may be through their position in society – how many people do you see taking pride in their work or striving to get ‘to the top’?

It may be through belonging to a community or ritual place of worship – how many towns do you know of without a church?

It may be in the form of finding a loving partner – how many people do you know who take pride in their relationships? I saw at least five couples publicly demonstrate their affections for each other on my walk through town yesterday.

It shows that we are indeed empty on the inside and in constant need of others; that it is not enough to be with ourselves. Indeed, it is precisely this need for others that drives us forward and allows society to happen. Our emptiness is our driving force and a vital part of who we are.

Despite this gaping void of emptiness and valuelessness within, there is a silver lining.

Every cloud… –

I believe it to be true that low self-esteem can create a downward spiral. The less you value yourself, the less others will value you. This prevents you from turning the tide and rising into a better place. Charity and pity does not feed esteem, nor will people lying to make you feel better. As we are dependent on those around us for esteem, we always have to factor others into our ‘equation of esteem’. This means there can be obstacles to gaining esteem –  coercive group-think and conformity, the presence of ‘alpha males’ who feed off others, prejudice against race / class / gender / and so on, the fear of crowds and groups, to name but a few. When you are low on esteem, these challenges feel insurmountable.

Yet there is nothing that can stop you developing a creative talent. On the way to work, during a lunch break, when you wake up in the middle of  the night – there is always time to develop a skill. No one can give you this talent and no one can anyone take it away. Some people might be privileged by having an earlier start but nothing can stop you from beginning your journey whenever you want.

For myself this saving grace was performance. I don’t need people to believe in me anymore to be a good performer. I don’t need people to tell me I am a skilled musician or actor. It does help to be supported, but I can get by in the hardest environment and know that I can stick it out. The development of performing talents has reached critical mass – there is no turning it back now.

This is what the article title means by an infinite well of self-esteem. It might not always feel right to perform, but when the opportunity and the will align, it is up to one person and one person alone to succeed. Myself.

This does not mean that becoming a craft should be idealized. I do believe that we need to be loved, cared for, checked-in with others, to belong, in order to be fully healthy. A course of CBT or psychotherapy solely working on self-esteem will probably be necessary to make any major gains.

However the infinite well is a factor that can always get you out of the downward spiral.

I have low self-esteem. I do not want to be around other people, so my self-esteem gets even lower. The lower it gets, the less chance anyone is going to want to be around me, so I become more isolated. The more isolated I become, the more I am depressed and therefore anxious. The anxiety prevents me from trying out new situations or talking to new people. It prevents me from taking even the smallest step forward. The lack of inner-value means that no one wants take me on, women are repulsed by the sight of weakness and neediness. Relationships are destroyed by my imbalance and vulnerability. Therefore there is never anyone there to offer a hand up and help me onto my feet.

The key to turning things around is precisely the isolation. Whilst it is not a good thing, it does allow space to develop oneself. It might be boring, emotionally harmful in the long run, repetitive, tedious – but it won’t be forever. If you can train yourself whilst in that place, even just a little bit every day, you can reach a stage where you have a powerful foundation of self-confidence and self-belief. And whats more it will be grounded in empiricism, not the platitudes of a therapist!

There is so much that can be done alone. Playing and composing music, learning how to code websites, creative writing, gardening, growing, cooking, video-blogging.

Skills that can be brought into a social context, such as playing an instrument or community cooking, are especially of value here. They enable someone with low self-esteem to have an ace up their sleeve in competitive social situations or in the predatory capitalist workplace.

Final Mentorly Wisdom –

No one can take away your creative talent, but then no one can give it to you. It is something that must be earned. It requires immense focus and patience. This is precisely what makes it worthwhile, it is truly yours. In the absence of a saviour-figure who will likely never come to rescue you, in the absence of the one-true-love who only exists in faerie tales, creative mastery is the most guaranteed way to turn the tables on low self-worth.

It is not the whole picture, because a person needs to be loved and to belong. But it is a start.

A hundred paths to freedom?

Imagine two scenarios.

In the first scenario Jack stands upon a plain, which reaches off into the far horizon. Leading out beneath his feet are a hundred paths. He can see nothing but the plains and the thin little roads leading off to nowhere.

In the second scenario Jack stands at the top of a commanding hill. He is at a crossroads: the path to the north leads into the forest. The path to the west leads to the mountains. The path to the east leads to the coast. The path to the south leads back to where he came upon the plains.

Who is more free?

In the first scenario Jack has a hundred potential pathways. He has a dizzying array of choice. But he knows nothing of where they lead. The paths simply lead off across the empty plains. There are no point of reference or landmarks, making his return to the crossroads all but impossible.

In the second scenario Jack has only four directions he can go. But he is stood upon a hill and can see where the paths lead. This gives him some idea of what lies ahead. He may not be a woodsman, but he knows what to expect from the forest. Trees, streams, birds, folks living in cabins, maybe a bear or two!

Despite the seeming lack of choices in the second scenario, the freedom Jack has is greater. His choices have more context and have more meaning. He can make an informed decision. And if the forest does not work out he can always back track to the hill and try a different direction.

The first scenario is more like a nightmare. It is flat and featureless. With no context to those hundred choices, Jack will have to choose one at random. This might be exciting and ‘adventurous’ at first, but it will quickly grow tiresome and anxiety-inducing.  As the paths lead nowhere, what is the difference between them? They might as well all be the same.

These are idealized scenarios, thought-experiments to get our minds thinking. But they are not merely abstract mind-games. The society of individualistic values and consumer nihilism is more like the first scenario. For instance there are hundreds of TV channels, but they are mostly awful. The promise of quality is false – advertising cuts programmes into three and wastes hours of your life each week; producers have to constantly churn out shows to meet voracious demand, so the quality is low. A hundred paths, but they all lead nowhere.

It is possible to have genuinely meaningful choices in life, but these require context and purpose. This should be our criteria of liberty – ‘meaningful liberty’. We should do away with any notion of ‘maximizing liberty’ as some indicator of moral good. It is hardly better than tyranny to live in a meaningless society.

So where do we find meaning?

Many of the things that are part of our ‘destiny’, things we do not choose, give us a massive sense of meaning. They are a context around which to build our lives. I think of my old friend, a philosopher of great ability, who sticks by Spurs FC through thick and thin.  As goes the tradition, you find the nearest football club to where you were born and then you support them. You do not ‘choose’ a team, it is given to you. Meaning and belonging is found within that context.

Likewise with your family. Your first relationships are with them. This has a massive shaping effect on your later relationships, even if you do not consciously realize how. It is a lifelong journey of discovery to work through these depths and there are no easy answers. But we do not choose our blood-family. Would we be better off if we did? Would the term family be able to maintain its meaning if we did?

And we can pull back further. The society we are born into and dependent upon, the culture that has been created for us, the first languages that we speak; these are part of our ‘destiny’, not of our choice. Yet without them we are nothing. Meaning comes when we realize that our choices effect not only ourselves, but also other people. To find meaning in society we must realize how our choices and desires are patterned by society – our dreams and aspirations do not emerge out of thin air. Knowing the sources of ideas, we can understand the forces that shaped who we are. Knowing humility, we can then create things for others as much as for ourselves; to live for others as much as we live for ourselves. Someone isolated from society, in an individualist bubble, can find no meaning. They are at the hundred empty pathways, every single one leading nowhere. Every adventurer they meet on those paths is going nowhere.

And then we can pull back even further, for society is dependent on Nature for its survival. Without the living world, we could not exist. The ultimate challenge of meaning goes beyond our lives, beyond our civilizations. It is to discover our place in nature, how our culture interacts with it, how we live sustainably within it to ensure a living world for future generations. This is our ‘destiny’.

Our deepest connection to nature is coded into us, evolving with every generation, yet continuous, leading back to some impossibly distant history which should lead us to nothing less than awe. The seasons and cycles of nature, the creatures which populate the environment around us, the plants and trees; all in incredible variety and multitude. We could not, given all the faculties of our minds, create a more enthralling landscape which can satisfy that natural urge to belong to something real and greater than us.

This is what is meant by the four paths upon the hill. The scope of choice is not so large, yet this is why those choices are comprehensible and have meaning. Where they lead is more clear, what they are is visible. Embracing our finitude and the parts of us that are determined is the key to meaningful liberty. And let us also give liberty its due, for what freedom we can have, we ought to have.

Jack shrugged his shoulders, hoisted on his pack and headed for the coast. He always wanted to try going on a fishing ship and with Spring a few weeks away, this was his chance.

Dreaming – the creative source

Every night a dream can generate a world in tremendous detail.

The dream-mind can populate these worlds with characters. Some known to us, some strangers, some hybridized. It can imbue these characters with souls so that they seem to be sentient and as real as us. Even when these characters are familiar and act completely differently in the non-dreaming world, it is easy to be convinced that they have always been like this. Sometimes characters seemingly interchange – two nights ago my voyage with Rich turned into a voyage with Jack, with no obvious reason why and no clear ‘cut off’ point. He just changed at one point and I accepted this as perfectly reasonable. In fact, it wasn’t until I woke up that I realized it.

Things that happen in dreams seem real and meaningful. It as if they would have consequences for us in the future. The people in dreams have similar moral value as those without. Our dreaming selves make moral choices.

What I find most fascinating is when the dream-mind hybridizes places. It can take the quality of a place and fuse it with another, creating something entirely unique. It can take me to an eco-camp in West London and a mere road away back to the horrors of my primary school in North London. Sometimes a sense of both places can exist at once and they can be fused together. Stranger still you can visit a place familiar to you, but things are different, and it is still familiar.

A dream can be so intense that you can wake up with the feelings you felt at the end of the dream still strong in your mind. I woke at 5am this morning after dreaming of being alone in bed with a storm outside and a suspicious noise, like an intruder in the roof. For about thirty seconds I continued to feel the dream, then realized that thankfully I was in the roof and had two friends in the next rooms. So I wouldn’t have to confront the man in the roof on my own if  he did intrude or attack me. Although outside there was an actual storm.

Being asleep is clearly not just an essential time for rest. It is an intense time of creativity and processing. The dream-mind is full of symbolism which cannot be easily translated into a logical world-view. The symbology must be given great patience and explored in the language of dreams. As this requires immense patience and detail, and as my vivid dreams are so overwhelmingly common, I have done little to truly delve into what is being expressed by my Self.

And there are questions about the ‘validity’ of any discoveries. Is the subconscious some kind of oracle which knows better than us? Or even able to tap into a ‘spiritual’ place of guidance, warning and wisdom? Dreams have been prophetic – I have felt revulsion for a childhood place in my waking life but always dreamed of going there again; living there, finding safety. It hasn’t made sense why I keep going back. But now my conscious mind has shifted its attitude and I want to go back to that place. The dreams were almost like preparation for that return. Now they make perfect sense.

Mysterious or not, every night is an aesthetic journey. Sometimes filled with horror, sometimes heroism. Occasionally, though rarely, with love. The interpretation that dreams are meaningless or sheer chaos is a great silencing to this part of ourselves which can express itself in pure form with such clarity. And the interpretation that it is just wish fulfillment or repressed desire is a simplification of an incredible creative process. Dreams may involve repression and wish fulfillment, this does not reduce them down to this.

Anyone who has ever written a poem, created a new piece of music, come up with an innovative engineering solution, or used any creative faculty will know that it just happens. It will often need editing, polishing, the craftsman’s discipline. But the creation just happens. The place where the ideas emerge from, where they are fused and worked and forged, is certainly not conscious. The miracle of awakened consciousness does not reach into the miracle of subconsciousness, the swirling, bubbling forces which we do not truly have control over and yet enable us to wield such creative power.

When I write a new song, which is very often, it is not the work of a conscious mind. I theorize that it is the same faculty which generates the dream world which enables creativity in the non-dream world. Things are generated, rather than created. Processes are constantly operating beneath the surface of consciousness and when allowed the breathing space to emerge can generate wonders from the very depths of us. I find myself asking: Where did these ideas come from? I did not realize I was capable of this.

It is then a great affront to us if we consider sleeping and dreaming to be a waste of time, or just a means to re-charge our batteries. For the most hardcore citizen of capitalism, who measures worth in their ‘productivity’ and dodges sleep like the devil, caught in their Faustian-pact with caffeine, I see a life half-lived. Not only destructive for themselves but to all of us. Fortunately people are realizing the futility of living to work and ‘waking up’ to the importance of sleeping. The next stop is the importance of dreaming.

Every night, with a good routine, you are likely to be strapped into the original ‘virtual reality machine’. But not one programmed by someone else to immerse you in their vision or story. One that is generated by you, exclusively for you, with the purpose of revealing something deep before you. Nothing could be more self-fulfilling or daring than to go onto that journey.

Part of my goal is to proselytize idleness, lying fallow and sleeping more. This isn’t just because I am lazy (though admittedly I am a bit!) This is to encourage people to access the portal into their deepest Selves and experience what is there – if not to understand. To take it seriously and if they have time, to even learn from it. I want the people around me to be fully people, not exhausted sleep-deprived zombies.

What better way to begin reconnecting to our nature than to take seriously the expressions of this deepest part of us.

Trusting the world

I once saw the most intriguing insect crawling along the ridge of a bench. It was a creature which reached out with its head, forming an arch, then brought the rest of its body forward, lurching forward pace by pace.

It was young, tiny, new, full of vigour and curiosity for the world. I held out my bag to offer the creature a safer place to crawl upon. It rose up on its ‘haunches’, making a half-arch with its tiny body, reaching up and out to the new surface, buffeted by the wind and tugged upon by gravity. It hung there for a while, ‘sniffing’ out what must have appeared another vast plane of existence.

It would all be so far beyond its tiny comprehension, where it was, where it might be going, what I was, what my intentions were. This creature had no defences, no knowledge but its survival instincts, no obvious direction, no solidarity with its clan. All it could do was trust and drive itself forth. Reaching up, hanging there, it made some kind of ‘decision’ and latched onto the bag, bringing the rest of its body with it.

If beings of greater time-span and superior mind exist in the cosmos, I should imagine we are would appear much the same. With our tiny scope for perception we must always have to trust the world and trust ourselves.

Pieces of a puzzle

A man of great knowledge may have a hundred pieces to the puzzle. Yet so obsessed is he with growing his hoard of knowledge that he is only focused on attaining more. He keeps his pieces piled high somewhere safe and prides himself on his collection. It shows everyone else how learned he is. Sometimes he takes out a piece of a puzzle and marvels at it, then returns it to the disordered jumble in his vaults.

A man of great wisdom has spent more time thinking about the connection between things, about the whole. He has only found twenty pieces to the puzzle. Yet he can attain greater truth than the man with a hundred pieces. For the wise one can lay out the few pieces he has – perhaps all of the edge pieces, or a significant portion of one part of the puzzle. Through reason he can try to fill in the gaps, make educated guesses, find some kind of direction, deduce what is missing. Whatever happens, the wise man has not been blinded to the wood by the trees. Despite having less pieces he knows more about the truth by his abilities of intuition, the making of connections, inferences and imaginations. Empiricism is a vital part of his truth, but it is only an aid to a deeper form of understanding.

So much for the value of sheer accumulation of knowledge in discovering truth. A man could have the totality of the universe at his finger tips and yet never put it together in a meaningful way.

Know thyself

They want you to deny what is true.

They want you to turn away from what is happening inside your very self.

They want you to heal their wounds and fill the black hole of their souls…

It is no mystery to me where self-destructive energies originate from. The pornography and the drugs and the listless consumption, the social competition and the striving for impossible goals. It is only a mystery to one who dares not to know themselves.

Life is filled with wounds and they can only be healed with acknowledgement. They must be brought out from the depths and overcome with the aid of enlightened witnesses. The work must be done to rid us of their chains before we can move forward.

Yet the great illusions of society; halo-wearing authority and idealized family, protects abusers and wrongdoers and humiliators, forces us to be silent.

Wounds are caused, atrocities committed, but they cannot be spoken of. They must be swallowed down by the sufferer, carried like a great burdening stone so that an abusive tyrant can have his warped rule and his illusion of conscience.

It is a pointless arrangement, no one wins. The tyrant, filled with unacknowledged wounds, is a black hole which swallows all love and encouragement. Until one decides to look within, they are hopeless.

There are those in this world who have elected to be only the mask that they wear. Such people, the ultimate cowards of the human soul, have turned away from their true inner selves. Not only this, these blind would lead those with sight; their way will poison the well for everyone else, and drag all that is good down to their gutter-level. They can do nothing else.

From such wretchedness spring the cruelties of the world we see, the destruction of nature, the wars between nations, consumerist nihilism, the lust to dominate and enslave and abuse and abuse and abuse and abuse and abuse.

These things might be called ‘human nature’ by those who dare not seek the better explanation. They may seem inexplicable to fools who do not even know what lies inside the cavity of their own bodies, such is their ignorance.

Someone who doesn’t even strive to know the very mind they experience the world through, what can they know? Someone blind to their own dreams and their own creative will. What can they say that is of any worth to anyone?

It is no easier to face the world from a place of ignorance. The wraiths of the soul haunt everyone who is scarred, in dreams and extreme emotions. Ignorance is no bliss, but to be reduced to a bovine state, to cage oneself and lash out for the lack of self-knowledge or understanding whenever dark emotions bubble.

The philosophy of mindfulness can feed into this ignorance. To believe you can be a creature of the present is nothing if not naivety. Whilst mindfulness provides useful tools for coping in a hostile capitalist world, it does not answer the question of how to heal our wounded souls, and provides the unreachable vista of ‘living in the present’ to further make us feel like we are falling short of Buddha-like enlightenment. Self-knowledge can only be achieved through the understanding of human beings as total beings – of past, present and future in conflux around our minds. There is no escaping the inner depths, no enlightenment from it, no ultimate control of what occurs down there.

The subconscious root-mind has to claw at us for us to hear, and drag us into its dark domain where we cleave to light and life. Perhaps not everyone gets that call with the same potency. But what happens to human responsibility if knowing the very essence of ourselves is something outside of our control?

You may not be able to dive to the depths whenever you please, but you can have the gate ready to open when the blackness inside calls, to accept the dark passages of our wounded souls and venture into it shield raised and heart steeled when the time is right. There might even be allies near us who can help us in this difficult quest.

All the people who live for illusion, those live-for-nothings, have a chance to accept the truth that they are wounded, that there are no gods on this earth, and that we must take final responsibility for our souls before the end of our days. However destroyed our mental state, however unfair our circumstances and however unsupported we may be, we can strive to be true to ourselves. There are no excuses.

I have often written about the burden of the Sinbearer – one who is hurt by an authority and forced to be silent, to carry that weight. It is a burden which always crushes and destroys, and which serves no purpose.

Here is the truth of the matter – it is you, or him.

Will you speak the truth of his wretchedness, unbind yourself with your own will to freedom and daring, or will you self-destroy in primal acts of repressed rage and frustration, addiction and self-harm?

I know much of this has been rather black and white, good and evil – this is acknowledged. But I believe it is ultimately true, that evil is as real as anything else in the world around you. There is never a time where to be blind to oneself can lead to anything but destruction, and our dying world is proof of this. This is evil itself, the supreme ignorance and supreme indignity upon oneself.

Nature contains suffering and predatory behaviour – it is inevitable that we will suffer somewhat. It is also filled with beauty and a will to live and exert tremendous power on the gaian world which birthed us. In human beings we can largely control the darkness and be Whole together, our will to power can create incredible art and music, our souls can rise to become gentle stewards of our part of the world, creating edens of nature and technology.

This is if we want such a world – we certainly have the potential. And to want such a world, which we could begin to make tomorrow, we must first acknowledge the pain that is inside us all – to liberate ourselves from the rule of the tortured and the insane.

This cannot be done through the power of love and forgiveness alone, though it is a potent force. Thus we must struggle to the last of our strength to acknowledge our will to power, rise up and be seen, heard and understood. To not do so is to live in wretchedness, so what do you have to lose?

I am, I exist, the world is, the world exists

Aged around three I gazed at my hand and thought ‘I can’t believe I am actually here! I can’t believe this is real and I exist!’

I remember it distinctly. I recognized myself, and the stupendous odds of my ever having incarnated.

It took twenty seven years, but just this week it truly hit me that the world actually is, and the world actually fucking exists. It actually is, it really is, it moves through time, it is. I can’t believe it is actually there, its incredible! The stupendous odds of it.

Strange things happen in this universe.

 

 

They hurt people

It is impossible to escape the news, as much as I find it necessary in my current condition. It feeds anxiety, sensationalistic violence and ‘unprecedented’ tragedy, every day.

The news is a narrative, and a sorrowful one. The mind, wishing to predict the future, looks to the past, and projects it outwards. We watch the news, then, to be safe, to gather memories from society’s great ocean.

As with most anxious thoughts and dispositions, there is exaggeration and skewed perception. The news, like an anxious mind, focusses on danger, terror and harm.

But the news only tells of ‘cinematic’ harm, massive harm, sellable harm. The news about the millions of people, elderly, with disabilities, poverty-stricken, living in absolute psychic squalor is few and far between. These drawn out sufferings, if added together in some utilitarian calculus, would far outweigh the pain of war and terror.

This is in the billions: the exploited and the starved. The objectified and the enslaved. Billions, everywhere. Not only overseas, in distant lands and different narratives, but here. Your own elected officials will harm people in your own life time in your own country. This is real and it is happening.

Slaves all to ‘progress’, more aptly described as fear of stillness and re-evaluation. The juggernaught carries on, humanity is swept away. Chugging oil in its engine, it breathes out thick clouds of noxious smoke.

Fortunately, it will slow and eventually grind to a halt. There is much cause for optimism as humanity evolves, and I have no doubt we can grow from our pain, if we finally learn from it.

The antidote to anxiety does not lie in the cause of anxiety. One that takes cannot give, one that silences cannot implore, one that demeans cannot exalt. We must look beyond the societies around us for answers. We must plumb the depths of our histories, reaching back to stone circles and we must dream to the future where things improve and technology is used for the common good. We must dare to imagine something beyond capitalism, or amoral systems which can never provide for the most important thing of all. Human, plant and animal wellbeing, safety, encouragement and happiness.

They harm people every day, but you never hear about it in the news. Well, you can hear about it here. Now that we have these shared nodes of consciousness, let us expand until we reach critical mass. Let us undo these shackles of thought and throw off the heavy weights of despondency. Evolution is unstoppable, be part of it, and make sure you are evolving mankind in the right way.

It is possible. It is only the part of the mind that builds predictions based on anxiety that says it is not. That is a worm of the mind, planted by those who harm people.

New Places

Blog,

I often go on an upward spiral when I remember you. Of late, my handwriting has become so bad my notes are like hieroglyphics! Nonetheless, plentiful wisdoms await, yearning for their chance to the see light.

Writing in this notepad is like finding seeds in a meadow, and expressing them the digging, tilling and planting. Looking back, what I have written is often good advice on the right track; glimmers of what is to come all but presaged. But to embody truth takes something else I cannot quite put my finger on. The words say what would be best for me to do, but this awareness alone has to become practiced and truly embedded someplace deep within. That ‘someplace’ is a mystery beyond us all. As unknowable as the forces behind the cosmos.

And even if we know the right path, day to day bad habits pulls us away. Into tunnel-vision, into bad routines, into negative thinking patterns. I am prone to a lot of this, and the isolation and sadness and frustration that follows.

Of course, even that last paragraph is quite unnecessarily gloomy! Things are not bad now, just wobbly and (occasionally) boring. I have made great steps toward recovery, and crossed a threshold of understanding today.

It is about giving the body the time it needs to process things and heal. I will trust myself and those around me. I will trust the flux of all-things we are contained within.

Life has humbled me; my being turned out to be more than just a mind and its expectations. I must learn to live at a new rhythm, away from impossible expectations and unhealthy obsessions.

Reading has helped enormously. Although anxious and vulnerable, the power of words has a much bigger impact on me. Music too. I experience it now with the vivacity of a child. The world is scary and wonderful again at the same time.

But writing, like a mirror, reflects and expresses. I have created a narrative and history here, through Nyteshade, and I am happy that you are travelling along with me.

At one time, this was the only solace in a harsh and demeaning Winter time. Now the spore has landed and grown into a mushroom, I promise to be more active and restore this good habit!

I want to feel good. I want to be well.

That is self-love, writing is self-love. Please express yourself too. Say how you are, say how you will meet Nyteshade in the dark, colourful glade. Say something whimsical and silly, or just be.

Just bring a quill and parchment!