“No, I haven’t got that stable mind, that polished resume, those practical and pragmatic skills. I haven’t got many things that most people in this world have. But such is life and I have learnt how to survive my own way and by my own rules. Because I got those feet that march through the swamp, those eyes that lift to the horizon, that spirit that never quits. I got those values that never corrupt and a heart that can’t be tamed. And when the others lose their way, I have just enough madness left inside to pull myself up and continue on through the storm. These are the things I have, and although they may not be the things most people desire, I would not trade them for all the riches in the world.”
Dear child, I write you from afar and ask only one thing for you to take into consideration for your one precious life.
Through the toils of the years, and the influences of society – I ask you to stay wild. Consider this for you were forged in the stars, and assembled in the wilderness; and – though illusion may pervade – nature will always remain your only real home.
Shake loose the shackles of the poachers whenever their locks tighten so. Fight off the tyrants whenever they go near what must not be touched. Spit out the decaying taste of the plastic soul’s dust. Never wander too far into corporate falseness. Stay wild – in mind, body, heart and soul.
Whenever you can, get back to your nature; live out on the fringes, and exist on the edges, among the wild eyes and undomesticated souls, for that is where the magic happens.
Entertain new developments; playfully explore new philosophies; and toy with new technologies but never forget to come back, into the trees; to the depths of the waters. and the murkiness of the unknown.
For that is where you truly belong: deep between the roots of the forest; in the expansive emptiness of the clouds; and the timeless universe of the ocean.
Where the magic happens
in the wild.
(taken from my new poetry and prose book No Filter Necessary, available through my shop page)
“And there comes a time where you no longer need the acceptance of others. You do not look to fit in or to impress those around you. You toss aside the script and walk out into the world, no longer striving for any form of social validation. Instead, you watch the others run around on the hamster wheel, and you observe the strange way of things – the trivial pursuits and worries, the needless stress and anxiety caused by following the herd. You turn your back on that game and within you a private joy begins to blossom. You discover incredible beauty in the world around you. You find the gold in a sunset, in walking alone in the woods, in watching the rain drops snake their way down the window glass. Suddenly the world is a treasure chest of wonder, and all those things advertised to you on the billboards become meaningless, and opinions of you hold little weight, and money is just a means to an end. And for the first time since you were a child, your curiosity and imagination returns to its natural state. You are experiencing life how it’s meant to be experienced. And you realise it doesn’t matter how any external goals you chase, for as long as your brain is conditioned to constantly think of the future, you will never be happy and content in the present moment. Because peace and happiness is not something to be obtained or purchased or earned. It is not something hidden over the horizon under a rock. Rather, it is a state of being already pulsating inside of you. It is the universal bliss of being alive in the here and now. And it is only when you let the noise of society fade from your mind, when you stop trying to fit in and chase things, that your eyes truly open to what’s in front of you and you finally discover the joy that everyone is looking for.”
“The journey of your life has been a testing one and as the years keep falling by, your heart is filled with a little more pain, that spirit doesn’t quite soar like it used to, the strength sometimes a little hard to find. You have fought hard all your life in a world that didn’t understand you; in a world that never had the guts to embrace your essence. Your path has led you through many places and now you look back you have left pieces of yourself on the way. On the shorelines where you dreamed of sailing home; on those mountain paths where you searched inside yourself; in those dark rooms where you tried to summon the strength to face another day. And you kept moving because it was the only thing you knew how to do; you kept moving because there was something that called you to a place you might have been able to call home. All these fights now weigh heavy on your soul, but may you keep your strength until the end of your road. From the greatest rains blossom the brightest flowers. And one day this world will stand in awe and marvel at the beauty of you.”
“Stumbling and staggering down the streets of life, staring into skies and spaces – into the eyes of pretty girls passing me by. My mind always entertained the same question. Was there a home out there for me? In this society? Inside the heart of another? The more I interacted with the others, the more I felt that the answer was a resounding no. There was something that would just not grant me the same peace that came so easily to others. My mind was corrupted by a strange madness; my heart possessed by a wild force. I lived a life of constant isolation and separation. I observed the world around me as a spectator, never feeling like I truly belonged to something or anything. The disconnection weighed heavy and whenever it all became too much, I retreated to the spaces beyond the borders. The woods. The fields. The streams and solitary spaces. It was out there in that nature where my courage returned. The mystery and magic of the natural universe was like a drug to me. Seeing something as simple as a singular leaf dance in the breeze or the ripples skate their way across the pond surface gave me enormous strength. Then there were the twisted patterns of tree branches. The smoky transience of cloud formations above. Even the birds’ songs told me something important that I could sustain myself with. Life itself was profoundly beautiful and worth living, and although a few times I had considered the alternative, I knew it was a foolish throwing away of the gift I had been gifted.”
“Your path may not look like their path. Your path may not be so smooth or straightforward, paved or predictable. Sometimes it may lead you away from the herd. Sometimes it may get a little twisted and turbulent. Sometimes it may fill you with apprehension and fear and doubt. But if you feel your heart pulling you towards it, then it is a path you must follow. There is a wisdom within our flesh and bones that knows where we truly belong. When everything connects and you’re walking fully in line with it, you will feel yourself overcome with an indescribable feeling. That feeling is the entire universe letting you know you are where you’re supposed to be; that your life is in flow with the total rhythm of the cosmos. The world around us shows the beauty of doing what comes natural and as the river runs fearlessly to the ocean, as the spring trees blossom and the bird makes its first leap of freedom, you too must do what comes inherently natural to you, even when those around you might not understand. For it’s when you exist in harmony with the grand order of things, that life is at its most beautiful. It’s when you have the courage to follow your heart through the wilderness, that your path runs through places more beautiful than ever before.”
“It’s that space inside yourself you can’t quite seem to fill. No matter what clothes you buy, what lovers you kiss or beers you drink, there is that space – that void – which cannot be filled by your surrounding society. Money won’t fill it. Sex won’t fill it. That self-help book won’t fill it. It is a space which only gets filled from within, and the longer your eyes look for external coordinates and things, the more that internal abyss will continue to grow. Eventually you become bitter and twisted, a foreigner out on the streets of life, wandering further and further from the essence of yourself. If you feel this happening then take a step back and reassess the situation. Disregard everything that makes you feel incomplete. Follow your inner compass. Trust in your own voice. Every person who awakened and found their personal treasure did it by looking inside and not outside of themselves. It’s all in there waiting for you: your happiness, your contentment, your peace and everything you’ve ever needed. Stop looking in the wrong places and chasing what cannot be caught. Turn your gaze inward and walk into the inner domain of your own soul. It’s time to go home to the place where the greatest gold is found.”
The ice caps melting. Australia on fire. The ocean filling with plastic. The Amazon slowly disappearing off the map. David Attenborough on his last legs. Angry Orangutans smashing rocks against bulldozers. Young girls sailing across the Atlantic to shout at world leaders. The earth’s temperature rising and rising. The rainforest trees falling and falling. The media telling you all of this was less important than the royal family or an episode of Love Island…
The world was seemingly coming to an end and yet we still marched mindlessly through the motions of everyday life, working our meaningless jobs, sinking into our sofas, drawing our curtains and watching television show after television as our minds became as polluted as the very air we breathed. We were a species at war against the very organism we were a part of. Like a virus, we ripped and tore at the flesh of our host. We spoke of our career aspirations for the future while ignoring the fact that we were on the verge of some sort of environmental and social apocalypse. I could feel a looming sense of dread was slowly building, the storm of destruction waiting to rain down upon us. The anxiety was at an all-time high for some people and it wasn’t uncommon to hear someone talking about how bringing kids into the modern world was an act of cruelty.
It was easy to see why some people were choosing to not reproduce. After all, why bring a baby into the blender with the rest of us? We were on track for total destruction and the way I saw it, it was going to go one or two ways. A great awakening would occur and people would realise that they are continuous with the natural universe. They would realise that it’s better to work with nature rather than against it, and thus society would begin to adjust to treat the environment with love rather than hate. Minimalism would arrive. Sustainable technologies would run the world. Meditation would become commonplace and people would put the environment before profit. It was a nice thought to ponder but in all honesty, it was just a dream. When I really thought about it, there was no way things were going to be turned around at this stage. Society had simply gotten too insane. Money and Brexit were more important than the biological health of the organism we were a part of. People cared only for their cars and castles. Angry mothers shouted at supermarket workers when told that shopping bags now cost five pence. In their resentful faces I could see the destruction and hate that our species had buried in our collective consciousness. We were always meant to destroy the world. It was ingrained in our nature from the start. It was our unavoidable destiny to wipe ourselves out.
The next century or two will be the unfolding of our demise. What will happen is the lands will be flooded, food will become scarce and society will gradually collapse under the weight of the environmental crisis. The people will live in squalor and the rich will shield themselves in pleasure-domes of material comfort. Eventually those rich will leave the earth in the last spaceships as humanity descends into desperate, frenzied chaos. All of this apocalypse waits – and sooner than we think. But still, tomorrow I will face the faces of people again asking me my plans for the future and all of that bullshit. My plans for the future? Well if you must know I imagine myself building a rocket and taking off from this sinking ship. I imagine myself sailing through the cosmos for many years in search of a new home – one in which a sane species of intellect populates peacefully. One that is harmonious with the environment rather than at war with it. One that values nature more than a piece of paper with a number on it. But for now I guess I will sit around drinking beer and awaiting our earthly demise. I will try to find what joy I can as our last years on earth are lived out with people like Trump, Putin and Boris Johnson at the helm of the ship of stupidity that sails us into the storm. Make no mistake. The abyss awaits. These men of nothingness. This system of nothingness. I know not that I can save this world, I only hope to save my soul before we all drown in this abyss. May these words been found somewhere beneath the rubble. If any aliens are reading this and are wondering what happened, I don’t know what to say. Humanity happened. And that was enough to destroy us all.
The next day I woke up about 11am, able to not feel guilty about lying in bed until near midday. Being a bum was now the socially responsible and ethical thing to do after all. Day one had been a day of writing before giving up and watching disaster movies to get me into the mood of the apocalypse. Some recommendations for getting yourself revved up for the potential end of humanity: Outbreak, Contagion, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and The Omega Man. The latter three were zombie apocalypse movies; things hadn’t quite got that exciting yet, but one couldn’t be sure the rate things were spiralling out of control. One thing I realised at this point is that I had no food in the fridge at all. I had yet to face the hordes of humanity stripping the supermarket shelves dry and I was now due to get my first taste of the mindless madness. I ventured down to LIDL at the bottom of the road to find the shop in the same way I had seen on the media. I wandered around looking for supplies unsuccessfully. The human race had already stashed months’ worth of food in their pantries, fridges and cellars. In the end I walked away with some super noodles, broccoli stilton soup, a cheese and tomato pizza, and the very last box of LIDL-value bran flakes. The apocalypse was seeming more and more real every day.
Back home in my kingdom of isolation, I engaged in some reading and meditation before spending a solid hour staring into space. Having a wandering mind was a godsend in times like this and I was certain to go on many introspective adventures through the galaxies inside my head. Today my mind was reflecting on what this disaster meant for us as a species. Reading the news it was clear we were facing a huge change to our lifestyles and perhaps a period of reflection for where we were as a race. One news report said that due to the lockdown, countries such as China and Italy were seeing a massive drop in CO2 and pollution levels. With no planes in the sky, fewer cars on the road and many factories temporary closing down, the planet was finally catching its breath from the relentless battering we were giving it. On top of this, the canals of Venice could be seen full of fish and dolphins were coming closer to shore with the absence of boats.
The thought hit me that perhaps this was nature’s way of striking back against humanity. Effectively, we had been told off and sent to our rooms to self-isolate while mother nature tried to heal itself for a short while. The virus itself had even come from an animal like all the major disease outbreaks over the last twenty years – Sars, Swine Flu, Ebola and now Covid-19. One only had to watch a video of the inhumane practices and conditions animals were kept in at the market to maybe think this was our punishment for our brutal and cruel treatment of the animal kingdom. It was ironic I guess. In terms of the natural world, the human species could almost be seen as a virus itself in the way it spread, destroyed and consumed its natural environment – the very host it lived on. Perhaps all these diseases that threatened humanity were the antibodies of mother nature? Perhaps this was the planet fighting back against the very thing killing it?
It was a depressing thought to think of yourself as a biological virus so I turned to a bottle of red wine. I couldn’t drink with anyone else of course, so now it was socially acceptable to get totally drunk at home alone. I had waited for this day for a long time. I shamelessly poured myself an extra-large glass of wine, went on a youtube session and got chatting to some of my comrades who were also self-isolating around the world. One of which was a good friend who had been under lockdown for almost four weeks now in Northern Italy – the epicentre of the European outbreak. After four weeks of remaining indoors, he was now polishing off four wine bottles a day as well as a wide range of other exotic substances. I hadn’t descended that far into the depths of self-isolated madness just yet, but it would be interesting to see what debauchery awaited me over the next weeks. For now everything was all good and sane. I kept sipping my wine as the walls stood strong and I remained uninfected. The music roared from the speakers and the drinking went on for two days…