In my cups

At this time in my life my cup tends to be half full rather than half empty. Maybe it’s because at seventy I don’t plan ahead in decades but live more in the moment. Carpe Diem. Though I still take the ten year option on my passport.

It wasn’t always that way. Growing up in the East End of London just after the second world war my cup tended towards the half empty. My play ground was the ruins and bombed houses of the east end and my play was geared towards creating weapons of minimum destruction. Freeing V shaped prongs from the bed springs to create an elastic catapult. Using U shaped metal staples as the ammunition of choice and then going into battle. Filling a gallon paint can with stones, constructing a shield from plywood and defending your turf from rival streets foes. This was especially true around Bon Fire night (Guy Fawkes) where rival games would come to steal the wood you had been accumulating for the last few months. Not a very creative environment and I soon learned I was not of the warrior class. But on the upside there was always soccer and the silence and safety of church buildings.

My cup has never overflowed or been completely empty. I remember a guy who entered the men’s dressing room of a fitness centre I frequented. He was whistling away with a happy smile on his face. He opened his bag, rummaged through it and then kicked the locker in anger exclaiming ” she forgot to pack my shorts ” and then stormed out of the dressing room with a thunderous look.  It’s been my experience that people who tend toward high emotion in one direction such as happiness, also tend towards high emotion in the opposite direction when expressing anger. I always try to achieve balance in emotions. The operative word being try, count to ten, slow down the beating heart.

There are two words mentioned by John Main in his book ” The Heart of Creation”  which relate to the tradition of meditation. The first is Acedia, a word that describes the feeling of boredom and hopelessness . The second is Apatheia which is a state of detachment, a state wherein we are not possessed by our possessions, where we are not dominated by the desire to possess or control.

 

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