Saturday, July 14, 2012

Honey Cowl/Headband: February 22nd to 23rd.

On the train between Fort William and Malliag, in Scotland, a man boarded with the largest Alsatian I have seen in a long time. Before anything else is said, how wonderful is it that dogs ride trains in the UK—and go to pubs and take ferries and go shopping and walk on long-distance footpaths in stunning scenery. The two of them took a pair of un-reserved, backward facing seats at the end of the carriage; the man had the window, the dog the aisle. The dog sat on the seat awasn't view was of the man and the dog's heads rising above the seats in front of them, both admiring the same view. Ultimately, they were like any other pair of passengers except one had a hairy face with a pronounced muzzle. On my return the pair again boarded my carriage. The man, at least, appeared to have imbibed a few bevies and was in need of company so he sat at one of the tabled seats opposite a woman and adjacent to a French couple. The French woman looked fascinated, her face full of awe. She seemed unable to speak. Her partner then asked the man to move: her awe, it turned out, was fear. Man and dog moved, but derived of his sort-after company he was soon asleep. And the dog, as dogs do, migrated to where he could cause most mischief. He sat himself in the seats directly behind the frightened women, whose surplus of emotion had sent her to sleep. Her partner tried, silently, to fend the not-doing-anything-anyway dog off with an umbrella. Eventually he called over the guard who suggested they move—'I can't stop dogs travelling' he said, as if the dog had bought it's own ticket.

What struck me as odd with the whole encounter was the French woman's face. It seemed so much more a countenance of admiration than terror. It seems noble to admire what we fear. It is somehow more empowering to look at what we fear as an adversary. Then there is hope of beating it. But how do you get to the point where you can look at what you fear this way. If I was afraid of dogs, I thought, would I have been squealing and gathering myself in a corner? Osho talks this week about unminding the mind, keeping in the middle. Emotions are scales with two (or more) extremities: love is the extreme of hate, envy of blitheness or contentedness, fear of bravado. He likens being in any one state to being on one swing of a pendulum—not a state in itself but a preparing for its opposite. What he wants us to do is to try to get the mind in the middle, where the pendulum no longer swings. If we are able to do this then mind dies, and Osho is a fan of the mind being non-existent. In the middle there is a calmness. It does not, I think, mean that emotion dies too. It changes to emotion with no opposite—a centred emotion. Pure energy. The French woman's fear appeared centred and pure. I am not sure if it actually helps her in her everyday relations with pooches.

Setting priorities, my first goal is to centre my eating-dieting emotion pendulum. What do you mean eating isn't an emotion? You cannot tell me the stuff that goes through your brain in the big decision-making, execution and regret of any cake-eating session is not emotion in it's most swinging extremes. 'I need cake.' 'I like cake.' 'I am fat; why can't I stop eating cake?' This is not healthy. I need to unmind my mind and keep in the middle—which in this case, luckily, just happens to be 'I like cake'. Oddly, this makes sense. If I just like cake without needing it or regretting it, the liking of cake is enough, the idea of cake is enough. I have the centred savouring emotion of cake without the calories of cake. Mmm, cake. The theory here is sound(ish). Theory, smeory—who am I kidding. Give me the goddam cake. Now!

Knitting, you ask? This toasty cowl is made from Moda Vera's Husky, a hundred per cent pure baby alpaca. It is delightfully soft and slightly fluffy. If you wear it as a headband it may stick a little up from the top of your head as it is quite wide, but if warmth to your neck is your desire, this is your baby. The knitting is all done and the final touches are almost finalised so this may even make it out into the world before the end of winter. Stay tuned, it will be cute and you will want to make an offer.



  1. This is a great song by The Fauves, 'Dogs are the best people.'
    I also admire a quality Bannana Cake.

  2. As a gluten tolerant individual and therefore exiled from cake for the rest of my natural life, I am tempted to say "just eat the goddamn cake", but that would be flippant and out of step with Osho.

    So instead I will set out a technique I read about in Jillian Michael's book "Unlimited" which is used to deal with Repetition Compulsion (essentially, subconsciously, you keep putting yourself in the same traumatic situation in an attempt to master it - google for better explanation):

    1. How does your tension with cake make you feel? Angry? Neglected? Stupid? Alone? Unlovable? All of the above and more?

    2. What other times in your life have you felt this way? And how far back in your life can you trace these patterns? Dig deep into your emotional memory, as far back as you can. It’s going to be painful, but that’s how you’ll know it’s working. Be brave, and know that the only way to go from here is up.

    BTW, if you answer "I don't know" to either question it means you do know, you just don't want to face the answer - hence the "Be brave".

    Theory is, if you realise that this pattern stems from, say, your older sister stealing your cake and shoving the whole piece in her mouth before you could even say "Hey, that's my cake" [true anecdote I heard at a wedding from a younger sybling of the bride as warning to the groom, although in this case it wasn't cake it was a dounut] then you can accept you just need to move on (and by that I don't mean from cake to dounuts).

    P.S. I too admire a quality Banana Cake, alas, a thing of the past for me.

  3. I can't even begin to know what exile from cake would be like. I am so sorry for you. I do have a cake demon somewhere I am sure. I will go looking for it soon. (From someone who just finished eating another piece of banana cake!!!!!!!!!!!)