Review of "Who am I?"
Thanks to everyone for reading/rating my reviews - I will always reciprocate as soon as I can. For those interested, I am very much into Zen, and my Zen blog is at.. http://zenthoughts-zen.blogspot.co.uk/
I have never done a piece about who I am of any length, and I think it's not something I'm going to find easy, despite the fact that I am a person who loves to communicate. All right! I talk too much! Here goes…I am married to a wonderful wife, and live in Cardiff, South Wales. We have no children.
My life began in 1947, so I suppose you could say I was a baby-boomer. My father had just been discharged from the Army after serving out the war in Iceland (brrr!).At the time of my birth, we were living in rented accommodation on the east side of Swansea, due to the fact that my parent's home had been flattened by the intense bombing during the war.
My father had always wanted a big family and I was the only boy out of 4 surviving children. I would have had three other sisters, but two were stillborn, and one died who would have been a year older than me. Vaguely I can remember a huge fuss of me being the only boy and the centre of attention, though it was not something I wanted. So it seems I was born wanting to mould into the background. But this was something my father did not want of me, so when I was old enough, I was put to piano lessons so that I could display my talents for anyone who cared to listen. It wasn't that I didn't like music, on the contrary I could (and still can) put music to practically every situation I encounter in life. The fact was that I lived in a world of my own and was quite content to be there. I was an introvert, who would speak only when spoken to, except with my younger sister, and we gradually became like cat and dog.Throughout my childhood I was in awe of my father, who was a typical out-going and very shrewd businessman who built and then sold on (for a profit) every type of business imaginable. I remember being asked in school what my father did for a living and I didn't have a clue. Not wanting to appear stupid, I muttered something like "engine driver". I don't know what he would have said if he had found out.
My introversion came to an end in the sixties when I was about 14 years old - long hair was just coming in to fashion and was not something that suited me best because my hair was very curly. I had grown to love horses and my father had bought me a pony and then a small-holding of about 40 acres. Back then, my father could see a profit and we went on to breed and school Palamino riding ponies. One day, we were taking delivery of some railway carriages and were putting them in one of the fields as the ponies' shelter. My dad seemed impatient with me and nagged on and on and on at me until, around mid afternoon, I exploded yelling back at him through tears (and tangled mop of hair) at the top of my voice.Suddenly, he stopped and smiled and just said, "Thank God for that! I thought you were never going to come out of your shell!" He put his arms around me and gave me a big bear hug. It felt good, to be close to him and the fact that a lot of pent-up energy had released. He did spoil it a little by adding, "I do wish you'd get a hair cut though!"
From then one, life was easier, but still challenging. I found myself going into rebellion and would often go against his advice, just because he gave it! Still, enough of my growing-up years.I didn't stay with horse-breeding, to my father it was a hobby and not to be considered a career. I went into the music business and became a professional musician. I stayed with this until 1976, when the disco scene was taking over from live music. I then re-trained as a psychotherapist and have done it ever since.
In 1998, I enrolled in a creative writing class with Cardiff University with the intention of writing a book about my work, but soon got sidetracked into fiction and article writing for my website. The book is still on the back-burner.Today the introvert is still there. I am still very much a loner and love my own company. I work alone from home and the only people I see are my clients. In between times I write or, if the weather is good, I will do some work in the garden.
I love DIY and have done all the house repairs myself, with the exception of the front double glazed bay windows, a new roof and rendering at the back of the house. These jobs were simply too big for one man.My father died suddenly in 1985 and my mother died suddenly two years later on Christmas Eve and in between I encountered two other family deaths, that really rammed home the impermanence of life. It was devastating and I threw myself into my zazen (Zen meditation). My life as a Zen practitioner is a long story, but briefly…
I encountered it when I was studying to become a therapist and it was the only thing that made sense. No, it doesn't make sense! It was right for me. It penetrates right into the essence of who you are and is not always comfortable. From it you find a natural compassion for all living things and for about 20 years while I became vegetarian - not because it was the thing to do, but because I felt emotionally moved to do so. This came out of Zen, out of the blue.Ten years ago, I experienced something that was entirely alien to me. I became ill, losing all my energy and vitality. After searching around a little, I came across a retired GP who was specialising in food intolerances. He diagnosed me as having M.E. (chronic fatigue syndrome). By carefully adjusting my diet, I have been able to carry on with my work.
Beliefs: As a Zen practitioner, I don't hold any beliefs but seek out experience. To me a belief is something that may or may not be. An experience is absolute. I would rather have an experience of spirituality than hold a belief about it. Obviously beliefs are necessary otherwise we would not be able to function, but they no longer rule my life.Religion: To me religion is life. It is written that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and so on. He is everywhere/everything. Therefore He is She, She is He. No-one, no thing can be excluded from the All. Contradictions and pardoxes are part of the All too. If God is Everything, then this must be. In this respect I suppose I am quite unconventional, but this is something that keeps me thinking and questioning, and can be quite profound. It's Zen-like, and certainly not for everyone.
There is an increase of sensitivity, produced by Zen meditation (I meditate everyday for about 45 minutes), that can be quite challenging, but if you want to increase your intuitive and spiritual awareness, you also become sensitive to all negative things. To my mind, this is all part of actualising who we really are as human beings. When we feel hurt by anything, we need to learn to transcend that pain and understand more profoundly. This way we can give our understanding to others.Well that's it really. I have found the exercise somewhat cathartic and have in a way got some value out of writing it. There is lots more that could be put into it, so maybe I'll come back to it from time and time with additions, but there again… Maybe not…
If you've got down this far, thanks for reading.BTW, I had to rate my review (life review/?) and if I didn't give an overall rating of excellent it would seem weird, and if I give a "Very Poor", that sounded even more weird.. So excellent meaning, I like being me and I woudl do it over again.... Egotistical? I honestly don't know the answer to that one!
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Listed on Ciao since: 04/05/2005