little morsels

Little morsels of grace. Foody Dogliness while pup-sitting.

Some weeks ago, I spent a few days at my friend’s place, looking after my Godson, a handsome young Greyhound. Lucy came along, of course. It was pleasant, I actually relished the quietude and isolation. I was in good company, with two beautiful black Greyhounds by my side, wordless communication and elemental empathic resonance.

The photos of my food speak about this gentleness. Most of the time, I ate what came delivered by the caterer. Other times, I ordered in. There seems to be a tranquil Sarabande quality to the images captured. I like eating alone.

 

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creating clement space

 

As the BIG Anxiety festival draws ever nearer, I am plunged into a flurry of making, musing, more making and more musing. While crafting the installations for Clement Space in the City, contemplating the concept itself, and trying to find spaces of clemency along the way, an old song of mine wove its way into my consciousness.

The road is long and the dark night is lonely“… A line from one of my songs, “To Touch the Edge” written and recorded 1998/1999. I did not realise it at the time, but it was a plea to find Clement Space: a place – mental and/or physical – where mind, soul and body may dwell, even for a few brief moments, without threat or assault to intrinsic Beingness. (Click on title of song to access on SoundCloud.)

Days are now filled with the sensory textures of netting, organza, cotton, linen, yarn, thread, pinpricks on fingers, and the whirring gargling rattling of my mother’s trusty old Singer sewing machine. Continue reading

hangover

It is a ‘hangover’ sort of day, and I spent much of it crashed out in my bedroom with Lucy, inside a whirly heaviness. I received very sad news this morning: a dear friend, Jack, passed away on Christmas Eve. He was a beautiful entity – generous, gracious and the perfect gentleman. Jack was Lucy’s first friend after she came into my life. Lucy is a minx, but Jack was the perfect gentleman. He shared his bed, his toys and his home with Lucy, who would hijack his space every time she visited. Jack was very well loved by his dads Nick and Monty, and everyone who had the honour of knowing Jack. I paid tribute to Jack via two Facebook posts, and mark his presence here in this blog post. It is my way of etching his memory even deeper into my Space of Mind… I am processing, churning… re-locating grief and loss, re-shelving memories… re-aligning myself with beauty…

But why ‘hangover’? Why ‘crash’? Continue reading

home again

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Cold Soba with salmon roe

Cold soba noodles with salmon roe for lunch today. A most pleasant light meal on a particularly hot and muggy day.

We are home again. Home has been many places for us both. Some more clement than others, we’ve wandered through a few amazing adventures along our nomadic meanderings. The good, bad and ugly: home invasion by a brazen con woman and her flea-riddled dog and noisome bird, trusted friendship betrayed at a most crucial moment, tossed into the wilderness of uncertainty, and mired inside sensory hell-hole, somehow, we survived. And then there was the sweet, graceful and lovely: loyal friends, exciting explorations, chance encounters, and of course there was the yummy weekend noshments with Rick to look forward to. It’s been a pretty interesting journey. Our little rusty wheelbarrow trundles ever onwards. Lucy and I are now settling into our new home in Singapore. Lucy isn’t very impressed by the humidity (but neither am I). Continue reading

stench

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We all know that saying that we cannot choose our relatives, but we can and should carefully choose our friends. A wise saying, but it is not easy, when one is in a difficult situation and trapped in the ominous Bubble of Gratitude, because you have been the recipient of charity. Especially excruciating when the charity is proffered by manipulators, but also distressing when the seemingly benign gifts come from well-meaning persons whose values do not align with your own (the latter are not without agenda of their own but merely not of the masterfully exploitative kind).

The conundrum becomes all the more complex when the person at the centre of the swirling maelstrom is Autistic. Continue reading

hugging the hug

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Photo from “Your Dog Hates Hugs.”

I made an FB rant in response to handsome TV celebrity vet Chris Brown’s post refuting the recent news going around that dogs actually do not like being hugged.

A hug is not the same as soft cuddling, stroking, snuggling.

A handsome TV celebrity vet may be attractive but he is not always right.

It is dangerous and yes, even harmful, to push personal agenda over that of our animals and indeed even the neurologically differently wired.

Chris Brown says very wisely, “If you see wide eyes, ears that are down… etc…” Yes, agree… but when you are hugging (remember hugging is not the same as cuddling, stroking, snuggling) how can you see any accurate signs of these? Besides, you will be too emotionally centred to want to be observing, wouldn’t you? Isn’t that the whole basis of hugging?

Is it not time to consider – yes, just merely stop a moment and consider – the paradigm of the other Being that we say we so adore and love, to find out whether their modalities for affection are being properly recognised, alongside our own?

I hate hugging humans, but they make me hug them anyway – they even have ABA ‘scientifically proven methods’ that make people like me learn to appear normal and like hugging etc, and we comply because why? We wish to please and we don’t want to be beaten down anymore, that is all. BUT… I would LOVE for this so-called ‘non-scientific’ observation to be wrong, because I love to hug my Lucy, she’s the only one I want to hug. But I know there is grave truth in the concept that dogs do not really like being hugged. Because I can feel her muscles. And I have hugged many of my family dogs. Enough to know that I have made a practice of ignoring them since age 5. Luckily, I was not bitten. Just because one celebrity vet tells you it is ok, then it is science? What about the many many non-celebrity vets who tell you otherwise, from their own experiences?

How does your dog like to show affection, without prompting? Lucy likes to lick me. I do not like it much, but there is some comfortable compromise to be made. Lucy likes to paw at me, and ask me to stroke her ears, while looking at me intently. I am not keen on looking in the eye much, so I look away after some time. I want to hug her, and she endures it for my sake, but I now minimise it because I can feel her muscles subtly tightening, even though I cannot literally see those things that Chris Brown says to look out for – because when you are hugging someone/dog/cat you just cannot see those things, can you? Anyway…. long rant…

All I am saying is, please, people, try to look at those you profess to love from their native modality. Try. Just try. I still get it wrong. Lucy is a patient teacher. I am not a very good learner. But I want to keep trying with an open mind. That is ALL I am saying. That there are possible paradigms that are not our own, and I just want to explore those from within Otherness, rather than insisting on my own needs and my own concepts. If that is pushing my own agenda, then it is true. My agenda is to try and learn from the modalities of the neurologically differently wired from myself, while at the same time persuading the normative social community to try and step into my different paradigm.

This was on my own FB space. But the Bunny had previously offered a frank opinion on a friend’s repost, and got promptly accused of pushing my own barrow, and then the thread was deleted. I respect my friend’s right to do so. It is, after all, a personal FB wall and he is entitled to his opinion. I actually thought we were having a nice intellectual debate, I failed to see how intensely he disliked it, and I guess I was being insensitive in that instance.

No, I will not stop being honest with my thoughts, but I will from henceforth try to be more sensitive about dishing my thoughts out in this way to this particular friend’s personal FB space. The lesson I learned (and continue to learn with each new experience) is exactly the same lesson that I am trying to convey: let’s make effort to empathise with Other from their native framework, instead of our own. So, now I realise my friend does not like this kind of disagreement and does not see my intellectual discourse as what it is intended to be, I am responsible for putting a lid on it, after all, it is his space. I will refrain – cease and desist – henceforth. (Different scenario if it were my space.)

We do need to keep wanting to learn. Empathy is an Endeavour. That was my whole point where it came to my comments re. the dog-hugging argument anyway – but people who are too emotionally heated up tend not to perceive logic in a … well… logical way. And yes, fact is, in this framework of emotionality or emotion-focusing, the babbling autistic does indeed come across as irritating, annoying and “pushing our own barrows” (steamrolling really). How do we strike a good compromise? I do not know for sure, but I am learning from Lucy. She is a patient teacher. Maybe I will learn enough to apply it better to my human interactions? Go, Lucy Angel!

wordless enunciation

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angel unspeaking

My Angel cannot speak the worded language. Yet, I know she tries to tell me things. There are times I am tuned in and able to sense, just by touching her, watching her eyes, her mouth, her body, but there are times when I am sadly oblivious, lost inside my own domain. Then, there are the moments of sheer terror, when she is unwell, and I am haplessly flailing, desperate to grasp her subtle wordless enunciations. Continue reading

strange ecologies

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parallel embodiments

This is a simple yet very concrete article about affection and displays of love, between dog and human.

To Hug or Not?

I am learning a great deal from Lucy. She teaches me about parallel embodiment and alternative empathy. It does us good to pay heed to things that may not be within our own functional paradigms.

Why do I not want to hug you? Why do I cringe when you lunge at me in embrace? Maybe it is because I cannot bear the touch of your smell, or the taste of your hand on my skin? Have you considered that perhaps I have other ways to show you that I love you? So, please do not patronise me from out of your own ignorance and lack of empathy for ecologies not your own. Continue reading