So I certainly had the best intentions of updating Infinity Beckons at the end of each day during my holidays, even packing the wireless Apple keyboard to make my iPad updates that much easier. The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley…
So as the dawn broke, I awoke from my slumber after dreaming about a guy in work who I have had some serious run-ins with in the past. He is passionate about his work that much is not in question, but his aggression has made working with him in the past, rather difficult. The dream I had was serene to say the least. We were in work and talking project work and went for a meal with others afterwards. The banter I don’t recall, but it felt like a sign, a sign to say that you can now forget about work for 9 days, and focus on your priority, the family.
By the time I got out of bed, I was feeling great, ready to tackle the unchartered and impossibly timed journey down to Brighton. By the book it should be around 5 hours, but it took “R” my friend 6 hours to get to Wallasey from Nottingham last weekend. Looking at the BBC Motorway incident page rarely does any good, so it was just a cursory glance to see that there were some issues hours ahead on the M25 Car Park.
We stopped off at the ancient town of Warwick for a leg stretch and toilet stop, and took on some valuable sustenance for the rest of the journey, basking in the glorious sunshine before making our way further south. With some minor delays we reached our destination without too much incident and found our host home thankfully to welcome us. After dispatching our many cases and bags, we headed on into town for a impromptu tour, resulting in time spent on Brighton Pier (the usual tea cups, dodgems, helter skelter). We were advised by our guide during the course of the walkthrough, that there was a place for hippy types known locally as The Laines, a bit little bit Glasto a little bit Kingston, and that we should spend some time there during the week.
After settling down for dinner, we then settled down for some serious boozing and some serious catching up with our redoubtable host. The topic of conversation inevitably steered to a pivotal point in my marriage to the wife last year, where for a small amount of time, we were disconnected, at that point in time, most likely permanently.
I will always refer to that day as Year Zero. The day we restarted at nought. Things changed that day, they had to. For the first time in many, many years, we sat down and talked. And talked. And talked. Every last recess of our collective closets were searched. All emotions, all transgressions, all negativity was brought to the collective worktop and duly diced and sliced and put into the pot. That’s not an easy thing to do, in fact of all the challenges I’ve ever had, it was easily the toughest things I’ve ever had to do, but done it was and we are better for it.
Yoga and reiki came at the right time for me. After Year Zero, for a time there were peaks and troughs in terms of emotion and reflection. The start of the new year, I realised that I had to do something for the long haul. What I had found over the previous months, was that deep down, I am a good person. I am a person who can be trusted, but under certain circumstances (alcohol and peer pressure) my priorities can be altered which can lead to potentially catastrophic conclusions. So when the opportunity to take up yoga arose, I took it, and although the first session was a little pressured, I’ve not looked back. 6 months on and my body feels stronger. 6 months on and my mind feels stronger. Reiki was the missing link. I need to find my true self so that my soul also feels stronger. It is starting to work, but realise that it is a long journey. I had this strange feeling that 42 (which has always been one of those numbers which resonated with me for some reason (whether it be Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, the works of Mark King or that it is my highest break in snooker – it could be 45 actually I can’t remember, but I’m willing to lose for continuity purposes). That number will become more significant later in this post…
All of this was shared with our host, who offered kind words of comfort and support to the two of us. Following another sojourn to the fridge for further alcoholic inspiration, I went out into the garden (which is all very Zen) accompanied by my iPhone and beery friend. The sky was almost cloudless. The house sits away from the bright lights of Brighton atop a hill, so there was little/no light pollution. On went my meditation playlist and self reiki ensued. I’d like to say that I floated off into outer (or inner) space and connected with the universe in a way I have never done before, but the reality was that I was just too potted, felt a little sick and went in to join the others.
We talked for hours and hours and I recall bleary eyed that the clock on my wrist read 03:04am by the time we climbed the stairs.
So with a system full with traces of beer, cider, malt whiskey and bourbon, the two inevitabilities of no dreams and a hangover occurred, although in my case not too bad, which is more that could be said for my partners in crime. Omelettes are now a staple part of my diet. A typical day for me would be yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, an omelette for lunch and a Slimmers World dinner, with the day proliferated throughout with caffeine free coffee and plenty of water. I cooked a perfect one and delivered it up to the two ladies, which one which ate with aplomb (the guest) one ate about 6 hours later after the nausea had disappeared (the host).
Today saw the 39th birthday of the wife. She was 29 for at least 5 years (hence the reason why her personalised number plate reads X29 NKY), I wonder how long she will be 39 for. The weather was truly beautiful and ripe for a barbeque and the inevitable golden liquid accompaniment.
The afternoon saw the return from London of our hosts partner with friend who was over from New Zealand, and later by some more friends, all of which offered us sage advice on how we could spend the coming 8 days in Sussex. One thing that can be said (and we would find this out over the remaining time we spent in Brighton) is that it is quite unique, in terms of diversity. I guess with the exception of Glastonbury, life in this south coast town sure is different than anywhere else on this island. Brighton has a big gay and lesbian community as most of us know, and two partnered female guests at the barbeque had come with their one year old child. I’ve not actually been in the company of a gay couple with a child. What was immediately evident was the love they had for the little one. True unconditional love. If only the many people of this land could see what I could see. Leave behind the prejudices of unnatural unions and blasphemy, and look at the evidence, a couple in love, adoring a child.
It was clear that today was going to be a yoga/reiki free day and that’s exactly how it turned out.
So to the first of our highly recommended trips for the week. The weather was superb so we took it upon ourselves to drive out to West Wittering beach, about 40 miles from camp. Rather coincidentally, during the barbeque, one of our friends from Malaysia had posted up photographs on Facebook from that exact place, where she and her family were camping at the weekend. Sadly an immediate meet and greet was not possible as they were leaving as we were driving there.
Enjoying Value Low Fat Yoghurt from Asda is rarely heard, now I know why. Trying to save a few nuggets for the coffers has its limits, and I’d wished I’d splashed out on an Onken, as it tasted more like Sarsons. That said, it was made slightly better with some natural honey. As the kids were still in bed, I picked up the printed reiki manual sheets from “L” and began to read over them. Looking for some nuggets, some interesting notes from the print outs:
Reiki is a method of drawing concentrated life force energy and radiating it. Reiki (pronounced ray-key), is a Japanese word made up of two syllables:
Rei – Spiritual wisdom, mysterious power, essence. Ki (Chi in Chinese) – Vital life force, light.
Reiki means ‘Universal life energy’, and can also mean ‘soul energy’, ‘aura’, ‘spiritually guided life force energy’ and ‘a system that has been arrived at through a moment of enlightenment’. Reiki energy is the non-physical force that flows through all living things, and animates all living things. Life force plays an important role in everything we do. It enlivens the body as well as the emotions, thoughts and spiritual life. Reiki reaches all levels of existence and strives to bring these differing levels into balance. It seems to have a way of knowing what is needed for a person, as it naturally drawn by the recipient in a treatment.
The knowledge that unseen life energy flows through all living things and is connected directly to the quality of health has been part of the wisdom of many cultures since ancient times. Since the last century, this energy was partly measured and seen by Kirilian photography, and is also the ground and inspiration for such theories as Quantum Physics. Modern science gives us new understandings of this life energy.
The Reiki healer is a channel through which this energy flows, and while the healer directs the flow of Reiki to a person’s body, the healer is charged with it at the same time. Reiki is simple and natural method for transferring Universal life energy. One of the most wonderful benefits of Reiki is that it is one of the only few integrated therapies where you can work on your own body. Once a person is open to Reiki, the energy will flow through their hands for the rest of their life. The ability to channel Reiki is an ever-present ability, even if the energy is dormant for a length of time. Reiki is there whenever one wishes to use it.Before our trip out, I took some early morning photos on the Nikon, as the garden lends itself for some good quality snaps. Sadly though, the settings I was used delivered totally crappy results, so I just deleted the lot.
The drive was an arduous one, the road between Brighton and Portsmouth dropping to a single lane at many points resulting in several car park scenarios. That said, once we got there, the beach was nice. Pebbly at the top, sandy at the waters edge. Spent most of the day pottering around, nibbling at food and building a replica of Fort Perch Rock (fortification in New Brighton) which took about 2 hours.
Although there are times that he makes me incredibly proud, there are also times when “L” operates totally in the negative space which has a direct result on my being. Traits like selfishness, lack of respect and antagonism all too present. I can’t even recall the incident, but it left me feeling melancholy. Trying to reason with a teenager is quite difficult I’ve found and I guess that’s a challenge I also need to overcome. We always have these deep chats where I explain to him that communication is a two way thing and without respect, communication is difficult if not impossible. It’s fair to say it’s a cyclical conversation, and one we have every 4 weeks or so. I think I may record it when I get back to Wallasey and just press play next time. My delivery is always the same, no deviance.
With a full on day yesterday, my sleep was deep and fruitful. It consisted of playing football with my old school friends “S”, “D” and “D”, which resulted in a post-kick around party in Wilsons, a biker pub in Liverpool. Then there was the storm, more specifically the tornadoes. Ever since I can remember, my most reoccurring dream has always been about lightning storms and twisters. I did research at one point the meaning behind this, and according to those that read into such matters, lightning strikes are a sign of long lasting good fortune, and if a strike hits something like a tree or a house, then something planned will come to fruition in the near future, whereas storms in general are portentous and one should beware. Tripe…
The garden felt a lot fresher in the morning, and there were clouds on the horizon, but the predicted storms in Brighton did not materialise today (maybe that was the true meaning behind last night’s dreams). After filling up the empty tanks, we headed off to Brighton Marina, in search of Monsters University. We had some time to kill first, and discovered that the small outlet shopping mall type place had a The Works store, a cheap book store, in which I found two volumes of note and subsequent drain on my account (albeit a small one): Good Pub Guide 2012 (£1.99) and The Reiki Healing Bible (£2.99).
Following on from a quick salty Subway snack, we watched the film which the kids enjoyed, myself less so, and headed back to the ranch for a chill out in the garden and tea on the lawn. That night we watched An Officer and a Gentlemen with Richard Gere which I had not seen before. A Top Gun rip off or the other way around most likely. As predicted, no energy left for yoga/reiki, just a light reading / snippets from the reiki manual before bed time:
How does Reiki work?
We are alive thanks to a life force, which flows through us and from us. This life force flows within the physical body through pathways called Chakras and Meridians. It also flows around us in a field of energy called the Aura. Life force nourishes the organs and the cells of the body, supporting them in their vital functions. When this flow of life force is disrupted, it disturbs the functions in one or more of the organs and tissues of the physical body. The life force is responsive to thoughts and feelings. It becomes disrupted when we accept, either consciously or unconsciously, negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves or others. Negative thoughts and feelings are not something that disappears into thin air; rather they attach themselves to the energy field and cause blockages. According to Quantum Physics, thoughts affect the arrangement of the atoms that make up the physical bodies.
Negative thoughts can, if allowed, diminish the vital functions of the organs of the physical body. Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibrations of the energy field in and around the physical body where negative thoughts and feelings are attached. This causes the negative energy to break apart. In so doing, Reiki clears, straightens, heals and balances the energy pathways, thus allowing the life force to flow in a healthy and natural way. While giving a Reiki treatment, the brain wave patterns of the practitioner and the receiver become synchronized in the alpha state, characteristic of deep relaxation and meditation, and pulsing in unison with the universe magnetic field.
During these moments, the bio-magnetic field of the practitioners’ hands is at least 1000 times greater than normal. The linking of energy fields allows the practitioner to draw on the universal energy field. Since life force is guided by a Higher Intelligence (Ed – not sure about that bit), it is drawn to where the body needs it most, sometimes not where one would expect it to go. The healer is only a channel for this gentle and loving energy. The healer or the healer’s mind, cannot guide it, therefore it cannot be misused.
As per usual, I’m first up and set myself down on the kitchen sofa with a bottle of water and my reiki papers. With the door in to the garden open next to me and the ice cold water, the after-burn of last night’s dream was drowned, sunk and forgotten. The dream was violence extreme. I recall a person from the wife’s last place of employment, not a particularly pleasant chap on this plane of existence, sitting on the back of an Arriva bus. I was drinking pure vodka from a bottle and upon seeing him, smashed the bottle on the seat next to me and then proceeded in ripping his face apart with the broken bottle, my final actions burying the bottle deep within his jugular until a stream of blood flowed from his neck through the bottle neck all over him, all to no response from him.
Finishing of the set of reiki notes before I move on to my new book, I gleaned the following before the kids descended into the fray :
Reiki treatment can feel like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through you and surrounds you. As the hands are placed systematically on the body, and the 22 positions are held for anything from 3-10 minutes in any one place, the recipient can feel heat, ranging from hot to warm to cool. Some people feel gentle tingling in the hands or feet, while others feel strong waves of energy surging through the body. The stomach often rumbles as the energy flows through the system.
Sometimes a release of emotions can occur and tears will flow, irritation might appear or there may be a laugh of relief, or the recipient may fall asleep. Reiki will work in whatever way the recipient needs it most, and this explains why students report differing experiences during the attunement process. Some students experience visions, or receive messages, healing, or past-life images (“L” mentioned this during the day, that all in the room appeared to have had past lives – yet to agree to that one…) during this very special time. The majority of people find that it is an extremely relaxing experience.
To practice Reiki you need no special faith or belief system. While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in to learn and use it. Reiki is used by many faiths and religions as well as free thinkers and followers of many differing philosophies. While it has nothing to do with any religion it can enhance a person’s religious beliefs by giving them a greater feeling of connectedness to the source.
A ‘healing response’ can occur in days or weeks following healing. It is traditional within Reiki to think in terms of a 21-day period of clearing out or cleansing, as the energy starts to work on you. Each person is different and so Reiki can have different effects. A healing response is healthy sign that the toxins in the body are being released. With the release of toxics there may be slight side effects, which usually last for about three days. It is quite important to drink plenty of water. Sometimes there is an acceleration of the condition following a treatment, and this is a positive sign that the energy is working through the system. During a treatment or shortly afterwards, it is possible that ‘old’ conditions may re-emerge. This is because the moving energy is breaking down toxins, which will normally disappear quite quickly. It is important to remember that Reiki can never harm. Each person draws exactly what he or she needs at that time. Remember that we cannot direct Reiki to specific conditions and that it may work in a way that is unexpected.
The client may not be relieved of the condition, something that they expected or hoped for, but may find that other benefits may have occurred, such as an emotional release or improvement in a condition that they have had for a long time and have become used to. Whatever healing occurs will be for the person’s highest good. People often ask how many treatments they should have. Ideally, three treatments close together, on consecutive days. As the wife entered the kitchen, I explained my rather odd dream of last night, all with a look of surprise on her face. She went on to say that she had dreamt of the exact same person. We are both in a restaurant dining, when he saw us from a table opposite and laughed uncontrollably at the pair of us until Nicky woke.
Today was park day, Preston Park to be exact. An old Victorian park, with plenty of amenities for the kids. Large expanses of grass, adventure playground, football and basketball pens, and cafes for those must have Cornettos at the end of the day.
A quick stop at the local for a pint of Erdinger and it was back to the ranch to drop the kids off. Our most hospitable hosts had given us a pass out for the evening. After kindly dropping us off in town before heading back for an evening of chocolate, charades and children, we had a quick walk around The Laines (where we would spend most of the following day) and headed for The Dorset Cafe, where we ate wine-infused mussels, paella and steak. A fine start, which took a little nose dive as we went down to the seafront and took a drink with the folks who had looked like they had been there all day and a particularly wired individual who perched herself near to us.
A quick departure for the Fishbowl which was a little more like it before the main event. Our hosts had advised that the was a place called The Mesmerist and if we had the chance we should go in. I spotted it and in we went, whereby we had to swerve trough the dance floor to the bar. No ordinary dance floor, no sir. Well technically, yes it was made of weed, but the band where playing 20s and 30’s music and the dancers where doing the Charleston and others of that era. The cocktail menu was interesting, the last dink on the menu citing ‘Ginger Biscuit Brew’. I’m not sure what went in it, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. After a few more of them, we headed towards the taxi rank but heard some serious rocking beats coming from the open door of the Black Lion. I can’t recall what song dragged us in there, but once at the bar, we spied a ‘Devils Cocktail Menu’, and I personally could not resist the urge of purchasing the second hottest Bloody Mary on the menu, labelled ‘Satan’s Breath’, which had Tabasco, hot chilli sauce and 2 drops of some concoction called Dragons Tears. It was hot.
So back to base in a taxi and time for a Baileys Biscotti and bed.