A Place Beyond Belief


Given that a belief is just that, and not a  fact or certainty, what does that place beyond belief look like ?

Asked another way, what is the substance of your faith and hope?

And, if you get to that place or find that thing, would you actually realise that you are there or what it was ?

None of which questions I can answer but I have the nagging feeling (not a belief, mind) that I have actually arrived at some of those places beyond belief , only for those beliefs to change, and so too, the destination.

All clear then?

Oh, and I will let you know when and if I get there….



You can’t make this stuff up really.

Perfect cumulus cloud puffs arrayed in the sky, as they were late yesterday afternoon at home.

So perfect they don’t look real.

But it’s not the form of the clouds that really exercises my mind . It’s their fleeting, transitory nature.

Always appearing from out of nowhere, adorning the moment and then moving on, never to be replicated exactly.

You cannot capture clouds, save in photos.

And all that does is freeze their vapoury uncertainty to fit a frame that cannot ever contain their truth.

Rather than pillowy comfort, I associate clouds with uneasy change.

Change, and being fully present in the moment, are challenges for me – clouds are thus my ultimate mindfulness tools, for their unique presence cannot last…


(for more clouded thoughts, see: Cloud’s Illusions ).


Never The Twain…

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 “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”

    – Mark Twain

Pictured recently, yours truly, seated with a bronze statue of the great man (real name: Samuel Clemens). As close as I will get to meeting him!

I have long admired Twain’s wry humour and sage veracity.

Like the quote above – you laugh first and then the wisdom drags you in and sits you right down, as you reflect on hard life lessons.

I sometimes feel his writing gets me, rather than the other way around.

When I was a young man I took a Greyhound bus from Chicago to New Orleans ( helluva long ride!), and the road more or less followed the Mississippi River south after St. Louis. My best companion on the journey was Twain’s ‘Life On the Mississippi’, published in 1883 . A great read  – fantastic tales of diverse folk, working and up to all sorts otherwise, on the river back in the day (it’s well worth searching out).

It just made my trip feel damn boring by comparison though…

Truly Twisted

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Twisted things get a bad rap mostly.

If you twist the truth, you lie, and that is not generally a good thing.

Except we often don’t want to call a lie out for what it is sometimes.

So a liar ‘gilds the lily’, is ‘economic with the truth’ or just ‘a little disingenuous.’

A twist on a twist, as it were.

Snakes are twisty, sorta unloved and often deadly.

Actual twisters are beautiful , but wreak havoc and destruction in their paths.

‘Twists of fate’ are random and unpredictable.

Truth is ,we are all twisted in some way.

Biologically. Socially. Environmentally. Psychologically. Intellectually.

That just comes with being human.

However, being twisted does not prevent a spiral staircase; a double helix; a rope; or a vine, being purposeful, strong and creative.

I’ll leave it to you to add your own twist to things…

Jesus Might, But The Sea Will

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Heal you that is…

Graffiti on a stone wall by the sea in Fife’s East Neuk proclaims the possible healing powers of Christ.

As I have stated here before, I am no theologian, so cannot affirm the truth of the painted statement, or otherwise.

But I do know that the sea has magical healing effects.

Not just in the salt and minerals in the sea that assist with wounds (I once had cause to wash out a bleeding wound after been nastily bitten on the leg by a dog on a beach).

It is in the constant nature and rhythm of the ocean tides , the freshness of the salt air’s tang and the might and power of the waves.

For it has been my comforter as long as I can remember, the magnetic thing that draws me to itself without effort.

No day is worse for gazing upon a marine expanse, no mood so forlorn that it is not uplifted.

There is no logical explanation, so in that I sense am in the same proverbial boat as the Christians!

Under The Wharf, Above The Waves (VII)


The ‘Wharf ‘ picture series continues – this time blurred, black and blue, which is how things look and feel in the nether world.

Twixt and ‘tween land, where you exist as other, and neither (above or below, that is).

You can scope the previous ‘Wharf ‘ posts to see where this theme comes from, if you are so minded.

My meditation on this scene is a little different this time around:

What lies between fighting the truth and running from it?


Wiser than fighting, braver than running, and harder than both…

As I have said before – be the barnacle!




“I think it is incumbent on anyone who can, to lift human dignity to the highest possible levels, maintaining one’s own and helping to raise that of others.”

        – Henry Rollins

Great words from former Black Flag frontman and spoken word artist Henry Rollins.

Emphasises to me the togetherness of humanity – sometimes you will be the lifter (when you can) and sometimes the one lifted up (when you need to be).

As an aside, Rollins has also been a keen lifter of weights and famously said of the iron he lifted:

“The  Iron is the great reference point, the all knowing perspective giver. I have found the Iron to be  my greatest friend……..Friends may come and go but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

I agree…what gets lifted, and what lifts us up … is the Truth.

Glittering Cage


Awesome caged chandelier light in the foyer of my workplace.

A design of opposites.

Light, imprisoned.

Chains and their shadows cast by luminescence.

This seems to be some sort of interior design thing at the  moment, but to me it symbolises the great universal struggle.

Truth and freedom versus lies and subjugation .

It probably is just a light , Andy ,I tell myself – but I will climb the stairs to the office and deal with the legal problems besetting our clients and which are small examples of the big struggle.

And it will be time to try to shine a little light on things…




Humiliation vs Humility


Please have a peek at my last post Making Humiliation An Artform ! if you haven’t already.

There,the great British poet Auden postulated out that art is born of humiliation.

I guess we want to believe that art comes from some more pleasant emotional or spiritual experience ,but he had a point.

We all suffer crashing humiliation at some point -god knows I have – when we find out in no uncertain terms that we are not as good, morally upright, desirable, intelligent or indispensable or whatever we thought we were before the axe fell ,leaving us split into bits of the real truth ,laid bare for the world to see.

Art might come from there, or the resolve not to ever have that thing happen again,or maybe the urge to be “better”.

So, humiliation can be a catalyst for change.

But it is not the same as humility.

Humiliation might give us humility ,but equally might cause self-loathing or resentment.

You can’t sustain humiliation as a force for change in your life or to create something new and  different, it is just a starting point.

Humility, however ,can give us those things. It is hard ,because subjugating our ego-driven selves to the uncontrollable is something we naturally are threatened by, and fight.

And the sharp blade of humiliation need not necessarily have to dissect us in order to find humility.

Getting  back to art, and using the beautiful and shining copper sculpture in the above photo to illustrate – copper is a soft metal and can be beaten (humiliating moments again!) and shaped into almost anything. Infinitely malleable.

We have to be that way too – responsive,shaped and trained into transcendent form by outside forces.

The world will remember that self we became, long after our moments of personal disaster are forgotten.


Is It True?


This large ceramic compass sits in the foyer of a building  I work in.

I love compasses and their myriad designs. I also love the way they tell the truth.

Without the compass I would only be guessing where, say ,north was outside the building. If I stepped outside, my sense of direction would be coloured by the street angle or the positioning of a building, and after dusk the sun’s absence would make matters way worse. I might have a good idea where north is but I can never be entirely accurate.

In life we have feelings that come to us and hunches we rely on. Sometimes real or right,other times false.

The  first question I try to pose to myself in those moments is like taking a compass bearing: “Is it true?”.

If not,then I may move on from that thing, or maybe choose to sit with the unknown for awhile.

If yes,then I can ask myself the subsidiary  questions: What? Where? When? What? How? and Why? And then take action, based on reality.

Is it true? Is it actually true?