…or, maybe a call for Inner Transition…
Overwhelming in size, in complexity,
What level of numbness is required to navigate your streets, and stay safe and sane?
What level of disconnect was required for your building, that you could live side by side with such hugely discrete shapes, sizes, feelings, and not be affected by them in your textures?
How can it be that side by side with your magnificent churches from times gone by and imbued with the stillness of the sacred over centuries, concrete blocks with soulless windows for eyes gazing unseeingly out, can sit without rhyme or reason, nor empathetic tone?
How can it be that the voices of those that lived and loved and lost…
And laboured and strived and slaved…. and died within you are not all clamouring for the recognition they deserve?
How can it be that you layer up on layer the new when the past is yet undigested? When will you feel the sickness from the undigested emotions that live within your walls?
And the answer comes echoing through strong and true
When one or two awaken from this uneasy slumber … and really feel their feelings…
Then will you rise up out of the endlessly fascinating emporia of the glitz and pull of the New: the unblemished, un experienced, unlived, the innocent, and feel that which is your roots. When will you acknowledge the pain of your past, and with it the experience, the life, the wisdom gained, and take that with you into the future… and build from there the new, the fresh shoots of a tree well planted in the earth of its roots.
Broken, jagged, sharp, at what point did the mellow sacredness of our past become wounded?
When did experience become so intense that shut down seemed the only possibility…
and building discrete pieces of an ever expanding jigsaw whose picture no one ever envisioned
took the place of the organically growing dream of our collective love affair with Life?
A Sunday outing to Bristol when the hustle and the bustle of the go- faster- lest- you- stop- and-feel your body’s response to the pain, was lessened…
And though cars still flowed along the roads, and though the shops sold Business as Usual, off the beaten track, down the alleys, and in the nooks and crannies,
The Old Meeting Place by the Bridge still breathes,
Slow and Rhythmic,
Deliciously connected to what was, what is, and what will be,
and welcomes in the strangers that walk there, showing them the way it really is…
this city, this entity, this creation of people’s love, life, loss, labour, strife, and slavery;
the heartbreaks, the broken homes, the shattered dreams,
the despair that shaped and moulded this mighty trading post,
this crossing place from the land of the Celts to the incomers,
this monument to Money and its effect when Love is not its partner.
So down by the river lie the remnants of the industrial era, proudly exhibiting its idolatry to the one sided God, the symbol of wealth made at others’ expense; Money without Love. And up on a red cliff close by, St Mary’s, who for all her wealth and splendour, radiates out from her heart a warmth for humanity, and a soul that touches and meets your spirit…deeply. And in the city’s heart; a cold place, a cathedral built on monastic stories, a belief in the disconnect between Man and Woman, Mind and Flesh, Spirit and Soul, and the coldness and rejection lives on expelling those of warm heart from its interior with frosty repulsion for its vital life force.
And in the streets the diverse peoples live separate lives; the students, colourful in hue, in texture, in sound, in philosophy, bound up and down the quirky street up to their halls of knowledge at the top. And down amongst the little streets a sauna parlour beckons, and here a proudly historic town house wears a skirt of fast food colours, and feels shame, and there a row of almshouses hold on to their identity firmly against a backdrop of unfeeling, unaware, tall concrete monuments to life without humanity.
The high street shops have not their same lure, on a Sunday afternoon, they sit rather lifeless, in waiting, for the droves of followers that give them their purpose, a reason for living…
And the office blocks stand empty and lifeless waiting to enslave their followers once more when Monday morning comes around. And for now they rest, mimicking death; cold, senseless, no vital signs, and their power to entice long hours within their walls can neither be felt nor seen in the bright early Spring sun of a lazy afternoon’s stroll.
The narrow old market streets, covered now from the elements, and home to street side bars and drinking establishments of serious intent, take the imagination instead, and cameos of long dead traders of glass beads, exotic lace, and strong local brew for helping with the numbing process, wailing infants, and buxom beautiful maidens on the edge of their flowering, work worn hands of men with dreams long since buried in their psyches, and care torn women with love dead in their bellies, and wrinkles of time on the faces of crouched and crumbled elders. This place tells the story.
In the magnificence of the banquet hall ambience of the train station cafe, on sofas fit for kings and queens, travellers and visitors sit and the stories of a myriad people flutter un captured in the air. This Temple, this place where once monks made their honeyed brew, transformed into the gateway of this mighty citadel, monument to the work, life, and death of the Many to feed the Few with enough wealth to assuage the pain of their undigested lives.
Let’s stop all of this separateness.
Let us strip the stories that run us from our being, and feel what is, right now, in the moment to moment living of it
Rip down those rules that hold us in our places;
You in yours, and Me in mine,
And look with fresh eyes at what we have built, Together, over the centuries,
And feel the pain of our shared past,
And let that break us open to create a future with meaning integral to its core.
Let’s see our cities for what they are; children of our creation, crying out for connection, for recognition of Our blind spots, and tear down those walls that are no longer needed.