Negative feedback loops ~ why they are so hard to escape from


Negative feedback loops ~ why they are so hard to escape from


This one is from the heart!

I’ve got myself ensnared a few times this last week with situations where my head has been locked in mortal combat with intangibles. Intangibles like worry about money(Monday) worry about family(Tuesday) anxiety about work or lack thereof(Wednesday) and incandescent fury at exploitation and injustice (Thursday onwards).

I think I may have figured some of it out.

Not the answers to the worries, but rather why they become resident goblins in my skull and refuse even logic, meditation and distraction as palliatives. Last night, I was pleased with the fact that I managed to get to sleep despite my roiling skull filled with fury and righteous anger, but this morning I was awake at shortly after six and ready for battle.

The first part of the answer is imagination.

I’ve got a five star solid gold imagination and it’s sitting there twiddling its thumbs waiting for me to use it. And use it I do. When I am not writing stories, I devise strange entertaining extras to add to the shopping list just to make my husband wonder what I meant by Klingon repellent. I create tiny tableaux out of random stones and leaves. I make up silly stories on the fly, just because I can. Why why why…is my constant question, about peoples’ behaviour, clothes, the world around me. Constant questions and constant imaginational overload.

The second part is idealism.

I believe that things could be better. The world, people, me, my home, publishing, art, literature and so on. I take this further and believe that things should be better.

Put the two together and you get a potent mix. Someone who thinks things should be better and has a vivid idea of ways it might be.

The third part is a destructiveness of self that comes back to a default setting of disaster looming and the sheer hopelessness of it all.

So the very things that make me a good writer are also the things that mean I can get so entangled in certain things I am unable to extricate myself. The recent post Scammed (still protected; if you want to read it, please email me for the password) is an illustration of this. I have been unable to let it go because it presented a way for the world to be a little bit better for many people and then it failed dismally to deliver and indeed, has continued to be a serious concern. It feeds into my helplessness at making the world a better place and while I feel helpless I almost gnaw my own leg off to try and change things in some way.

There are few ways I know of to short-circuit this cycle. It usually has to run its course of sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, panic disorder and finally a sort of resolution of walking away knowing I will come back again and again.

One day maybe I will learn a way of dealing with all of this while remaining a sane human being. I suggest if I ever do, you better shoot me immediately afterwards. It’s kinder than crucifixion.

Monday Meditation: Narcissus


Chapter Seven 

Seasonal Meditations: March 

Narcissus meditation 


 The narcissus is a member of the daffodil family and has been bred to produce some spectacularly pretty spring flowers. The usual colours are shades of yellow, and cream, though others have been produced in other combinations. They usually bloom throughout the early spring and are often on sale in pots having been ‘forced’ to bloom a little earlier than they do naturally.


The scent of the narcissus is very sweet and almost hypnotic. It is available as an absolute, but is very expensive and aromatherapy books advise caution when using it as it is considered somewhat narcotic in effect and can be toxic.

The flower is named after a handsome youth in Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection in a forest pool. Unable to reach the beautiful image, he pined away and died, and the flower sprang up where his body lay. The various different versions of the story all reflect a moral of avoiding self-obsession, though the details of both the events and the outcome change from one version to another. This meditation is aimed at promoting both understanding and love for the inner self.

To do the meditation I would suggest buying some ready prepared bulbs in advance and waiting till they are in full bloom. You may also like to buy them as cut flowers, but buying them as bulbs means that you may plant them later and have a reminder as the bulbs grow and spread and flower every year thereafter. If you are unable to obtain the flower, you may use the absolute, placing a single drop on a strip of blotting paper.

If you can manage it, performing this meditation outdoors on a sunny day enhances the effect; sitting by a sunny window works well too, with the pot or vase of narcissus flowers in front of you. Go through your usual preparations of grounding and relaxing; breathe the sweet, intoxicating aroma of the flowers, letting the petals brush your face. 



Let the sweet scent fill your mind and feel the soft brush of the flowers against your skin.

The soft breeze touches your face and brings a fragrance of fresh leaves as well as that of the flowers. Sunlight dances through the newly opened leaves above you; each leaf is still soft and crumpled from the bud. You are in a grove of trees, widely spaced and the grass below them is finely grown and neatly trimmed as if this were parkland and not wild meadows.

Spring flowers grow here and there but the strongest scent of all is coming from a short distance away. You can see an ornamental pool, perfectly round and encircled by smooth stone, coated with a soft layer of the deepest moss. At the four points of the compass there is a stone urn, fixed securely to the stone surround of the pool, and each of these is filled with narcissi in fullest bloom. Today they are at their very best; you have come at the perfect moment to see them and smell them.

Go over to the pool and walk around it, clockwise. It’s a surprisingly large pool and it seems quite deep. A few deep green leaves from a water lily float on the dark surface of the water but it’s far too early for the flowers. The fragrance of the narcissi floats on the mild spring air and bird song begins. A single flower head floats on the water.


It’s very peaceful here and you sit down on the stone encircling the pool. The moss acts as a cushion, softening the stone for you. In the centre of the pool there is a statue that might well be a fountain, but the water is still today and the statue does not seem to cast a reflection. Then you notice that the water does not seem to be reflecting anything, not even the sky.

Lean out a little way and look into the water. What do you see in the water? Do you see yourself looking back? Do you like what you see? What would you change if you could? Let yourself have some time contemplating this.

A brisk wind rises and shakes the surface of the water and disperses the images you saw there, as if they were being wiped away by magic. You glimpse the bottom of the pool and maybe a goldfish or two before the breeze drops entirely and the surface of the water is completely still, and becomes mirror like. As you sit there, inhaling the sweet fragrance, let yourself gaze into the water. Who or what will appear there for you, now? I will let you spend as long as you need here.


You come back to yourself and see that the short spring day is drawing to a close, and the pool is now reflecting the sky as you would expect. The evening star has appeared, and shines as brightly in the water as in the sky and you know it is time to go back. As you look, the flowers seem to have faded already, past their best now though the scent is as sweet as ever.

As the daylight fades too and the evening sky turns to deep blue, walk back to where you started, leaving the lovely pool behind and when you are ready take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. You are now back.


Many years ago a good friend gave me a set of Chinese Health Balls, which are metal spheres with a sort of bell inside that you roll around in your hand, and sort of gently juggle them, the aim being to avoid clashing them together and also to massage various meridian points on the hands. They come in assorted sizes and designs, some being plain shiny metal balls, some are exquisitely decorated with cloisonne enamel-work.

My set were fairly plain as they go but they had an iridescent finish to them, like very solid soap bubbles.

“I wasn’t sure at first,” my friend said, “which to get you, but then I saw these ones and thought they were perfect. You have an iridescent aura.”

I guess you can gauge the sort of friends I have by that remark.

I didn’t really think anything more of that comment, except when I play with the balls, until the other day when I was waiting at the deli counter of a local supermarket and the assisant’s perfume was wafting over to me and I commented on it.

“Can I smell White Musk?” I asked.

“Ooh yes,” she said. “That’s all I ever wear for perfume.”  

We chatted a bit and I went off to finish the shopping, musing on this and other things. It came to me that I have never been able to settle on a single signature fragrance, and have a “wardrobe” of perfumes, to suit different moods and occasions and I quite simply could not say, this one or that one is my all time favourite. Many women find a fragrance and stick to it, defining themselves by it and even finding conflict if someone else close to them wears the same fragrance. They speak of being “faithful” to Chanel no 5 or some other fragrance, and may never change unless for some reason their favourite ceases to be made.

I recently had to fill in some interview questions and found some of them very diffcult to answer. “What is your favourite colour? What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?” It’s never the same and I can’t even pin down one for the sake of brevity.

I think it’s the same for me for so many matters. There is no one answer, now and for all time, for so many questions. I’m in flux, in transit constantly, changing, changing, changing. I suspect this may be why my friend perceived my energy field as being iridescent, that shifting and blending of the colours of the spectrum, moving constantly and never being fixed. If you have ever watched a soap bubble blown by a child, you will see the colours swirl and change and move, right up until a certain point where for one millisecond they become still: and then the bubble pops.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not indecisive at all. But I am changeable in so many ways; my tastes, my choices, my likes and dislikes, my beliefs and my doctrines. I am never truly still and this is a part of my journey. Maybe I will never be still. I don’t know.

Part of the traumatic part of “awakening” is the fact that the journey one begins then has no final end point and for many this becomes too much and they stop searching and looking for more answers. Today, this answer is the right one but will it be tomorrow? Probably not. I find it hard with others who have begun well on their journey and have chosen to reach a point of stasis where they chose to go no further and believe they have reached nirvana(or whatever phrase you chose) and deny that there may be further to go or more to discover. I find it hard not because they have chosen to stop and go no further but rather the condemnation they can so easily show to those who carry on, the condemnation and the distrust and the labelling. It’s quite common among religious faiths to reach a point where you wish to go no further along the road; beyond that point, the dragons are loose and waiting. But instead of accepting that others must go on and seek and even fight those dragons, those who have stopped seek to make demons of those who go on. This is what mystics and visionaries of all faiths have faced for millenia.

I can’t pretend that being the way I am makes me happy. Sometimes it makes me more miserable than anyone who doesn’t know me can imagine. But that said, trying to nail me down and make me stay the same colour, stay in the same place, like the same things, do the same things is about as sensible as trying to trap a bubble floating through the summer air and is likely to have the same effect: