Tuesday 30 January 2024

The low cost of a locust fib

A new locust menu

The bizarre is something you cannot begin to understand, it is like a tale you heard on the grapevine. Peeping at me through a phone screen was a head ahead of its game in fantabulous stories that astound beyond the reach of sitting at the feet of a vizier raconteur regaling us with tales in the Arabian Nights.

The baldie suffering in the African sun, weeding and tending his plants was overwhelmed by a swarm of locusts that had no appetite and thankfully so for his crops, they had acquired a taste for hair and those with non-black highlights too.

They stripped his scalp of every strand that he looked like he had just left a side-street Thai massage parlour that offers Brazilian waxes of places nether and places obvious.

That is his story, and this is for the record.

Monday 29 January 2024

Lazy January is a call to change

Resolved not to resolve

I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions quite a while ago, not out of the lack of discipline to stick to a resolution but for the fact that the self-flagellation that follows any such decision is more brutal and guilt-ridden than necessary.

Whilst times, dates, and seasons offer much to reflect on and deliberate with some self-awareness of the lacking and the possible, any day can be chosen to resolve to do anything without becoming a hostage to fortune.

For instance, some people have attached themselves to the Dry January campaign, the resolve to keep the month alcohol-free until I saw some making exceptions for one thing or the other, and soon, the dry had become wetter than a fish in water. Exceptions and adjustments matter in terms of the inadvertent or the unexpected, the ability to accommodate variance makes for a better-rounded personality.

Stepping off the steps

However, it was when I checked my Huawei Health app to see if I was doing something as regularly as I had somewhat thought of doing but in the review was hardly even getting anywhere that I realised I have had a Lazy January. I had only exceeded 10,000 steps twice in the month, I could not bear to step on the weighing scales to see the numbers and I have gained a bit more to the circumference of my midriff as my belt would appear to suggest.

This is not what I expected as I had reached my lowest weight in over a decade just some 4 months ago. I have to do better, as my resting heart rate has increased and my blood pressure is reading numbers I have not seen in a while. Just some exercise should fix that.

My maternity issues again

The other cause for concern is anaemia because of Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency (Yes, we all need folic acid, not just pregnant women.), this is something that appeared in the bloodwork from about 5 years ago. Not enough of it is getting in from my diet and the risk of peripheral neuropathy with its otherworldly feel is so strange. The feeling of intense pain at the back of the hand with numbness in the phalanges, and yet you can move your fingers with all dexterity, I might just give my doctor a call for injections instead.

One thing I have meditated about and quite resolved to do is to get back to walking again. Any dog that dares to approach me I will rebuke in the name of Jesus, I have no time for being nice to dogs out of control. Those who as I saw this morning seem to think their XL Bully dogs do not need to be on a leash and muzzled as the law requires are soon to have a tragedy of many proportions.

Let’s get to being fitter and healthier, for no other reason than it gladdens the heart, and you feel hale and hearty. We are consigning both the Dry and the Lazy January to the dustbin of irrelevance. Just be good to yourself loving yourselves each day.

Related Blogs

Blog - Resolutions unlimited (December 2003)

Blog - Happy New Year - 2007 (January 2007)

Blog - New Year's Considerations (January 2008)

Blog - Folate, I must, lactate, I can't (June 2017)

Friday 26 January 2024

Childhood: How fostering or adoption shaped us

Children assuaging parenting yearning

It is the dichotomy of perception between privilege and deprivation that at this end of viewing things almost allows for the manifest evil of the past to be excused as a function of those times.

What is rarely considered is how singularly or even more certain experiences have shaped character, shifted identity, and quite possibly left one fortunate, there are positives and negatives, both of which need to be explored.

At the onset, after reading about adoptions instigated from the Netherlands for presumed orphans from Bangladesh against whom paperwork suggested tragedy or adversity, the apparently falsified documentation has been exposed as such.

The adoptees are now finding out they have or had parents, siblings, and relationships from which they were extricated for the market satisfaction (it had to have money involved, a kind of transaction that everyone deigns to forget) of the craving for parenting in the West. [The Guardian: The stranger across from me was my sister: how one adoptee uncovered a tragic past]

Every kind of living away from kin

It is in a spectrum, some situations not as bad as others in adoptions, fostering with the extreme case of farming, childminding, care homes, or orphanages, if I were to limit the scope of the options available for caring for children over a generation ago. [The Guardian: ‘Farmed’: why were so many Black children fostered by white families in the UK?]

The enthusiasm with which I started to write soon was overwhelmed by the gravity of the matter, it cannot be captured in a single story, rather, it is the bringing together of many experiences that can begin to create a picture of what really went on. I decided to press on if only to start a conversation.

The privilege over deprivation construct

I remember a friend on a walk around the shores of the lagoon bordering the University of Lagos saying to me that those of us born abroad just seem to have a daring and boldness that others do not naturally exhibit.

In myself, when I was in Nigeria, I suppose there were exhibitions of precociousness, questioning, challenge, and fearlessness that might have set me apart, at times advantageous, especially in expressing oneself but could be disadvantageous in not understanding norms, values, traditions, or the culture.

As an adoptee you often hear, ‘You’re lucky, now you have a good life.’ But you cannot really compare the two,” says Kana. “In one sense I feel lucky that I have the best of both worlds. But nothing makes up for the loss you had to endure. Because I lost my family and my real identity.” Kana Verheul in the article.

My father would say, “You have always thought like a westerner.”, my brother did say in passing, “You are not one of us.” The fact is I belonged without actually belonging. The sanguineous ties are pulled asunder by other influences that in the experience of life can make us such radically different people.

The boy was starved

My parents as students in England had me quite early in many ways, I arrived 10 weeks prematurely, which meant for survival I was in incubation in another city for over 2 months.

Then primarily, my father was here for his accountancy qualifications and my mother had to work and, in the process, get an education too, not necessarily encouraged by him, at least, that is the story I am told.

My mother travelled around England into Wales seeking the appropriate kind of family to care for me whilst they were busy trying to better themselves. I cannot remember any of the people I supposedly stayed with, we called them nannies, but all the times I had with my parents in that childhood along with their friends and the siblings of their friends who were babysitters, I seem to recall.

One narrative I heard from my mum was on a visit back home from my foster parents, I was sneaking out to the refrigerator to steal food. She caught me a few times and could not understand why I would be stealing food until she found out that my wonderful foster parents were starving me. And these were people paid for the service, it was not a charity mission.

Radical consequences of childhood experiences

The consequences of the fear of hunger registered and were impactful long after we returned to Nigeria, and I was living with my parents along with having house helps to manage things when they were away. I do remember snatching food out of lunch boxes of fellow students, in fact, there were a few of us that did that.

Indeed, on balance, my whole life has been a wonderful experience marked by interesting events and circumstances. There are very many character traits and inflexions I could almost definitely trace to something that happened in my childhood, some of which I have written about in my blogs. I do need to get a move on with my story.

However, what is evident from many of the stories people are sharing is the illegality and criminality that thrived in the trading of children for different levels of convenience in the view that the children were being given a better life to the exclusion of an environment that would give them an identity or present them with a serious identity crisis.

Finding our way regardless

We almost always faced some sort of discrimination because of differences, however, minute and I recall the time a slow development of my motor skills left me not as agile as one would expect someone of my age it annoyed my dad and he coined a phrase for it that suggested a kind of impairment, someone at school somewhat deduced I was prematurely born and decided to make fun of me, he never did again, after I was finished.

Concerning the topic in discussion, it was my accent that set me apart as probably those of a mixed-race provenance would have been, then talk of brown babies or children in largely white neighbourhoods and schools. At home or abroad and there was no clear definition of either, you tried to fit in, you could not account for the cards you were dealt, you played the game you were in.

Closure for many would simply be coming to terms with who they are, and possibly finding out about relationships they never knew they had. It is unlikely that any of the people who were involved in the abuse of the children would ever see justice, even if they are still alive.


British Council: Farming (film)

Related Blogs

Blog - Childhood: The pupils of Corona School, Shamrock House, Bukuru, Jos

Blog - Childhood: The pupils of Corona School, Shamrock House, Bukuru, Jos - II

Blog - Childhood: The pupils of Corona School, Shamrock House, Bukuru, Jos - III

Blog - Childhood: Standing up to the powerful

Blog - Nigeria: Gone is the Jos I knew

Blog - Childhood: My aunts saw red

Blog - Childhood: The fruits of a chicken napping dog

Blog - Childhood: Driving the languages of sacrifice

Blog - The masterpieces of memory

Blog - Even more memories of a child

Blog - More memories of a child

Blog - Rayfield, Jos - Memories of a child

Thursday 25 January 2024

Thought Picnic: Weeping for ourselves and others

Time is short

Ephemeral is the thought that creeps into the mind, the wonder about our existence that exists in a timeframe measurable and quantifiable, sometimes short and then for some quite long, that we are caught at the end in a kind of celebration of life like an account closed at the end of many transactions.

For those who have a faith, the belief of an existence beyond this temporal realm. We find that we battle between mortal morbidity and a hopeful eternity. The thought that this phase of enlivenment is the preparation for a timeless future that boggles the mind.

We never knew

The receipt of access to this bliss of promise that begins from herein provides the assurance that whenever we depart, the limitations of the senses pass away for the unlimited expanse of spiritual incredulity that the imagination cannot begin to fathom.

Though we have heard from scripture the phrase “the weeping and gnashing of teeth”, which is considered in the frame of reference of punishment, it was surprising to me when an inference was made to this emotional activity being found in paradise.

The realisation that we never fully understood the promise of heaven on earth, that regret and sorrow will require even the encompassing loving godly miracle from the Father of comfort and succouring for us to enter the grace into which we were called before the beginning of the world.

In Christ alone

For one, for the little and the plenty, for each day that is both eventful and seems without event, for each breath that one takes in sustaining life is a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.

For whenever our storied experience on this terrain ends, we might have lived knowing that we might not be worthy of anything but are still counted worthy of everything that was sacrificed. Not of what we have done, but out of what was done for us.

Monday 22 January 2024

Foods and fruits to the belly

Eating too much

Get those spices and aromas wafting through the apartment block, the kind of entreaty you should expect from someone who enjoys your cooking when you do it right.

However, on the subject of food and eating, I was just braising some beef cuts and expressing the fear that once done, half of it would have been eaten before it landed in the next stage of cooking for a stew or something else.

Then, I remembered how on Twitter a friend talked of his wife getting a dozen succulent meat pies this morning and he has gone through 6 of them already, no one is any wiser of the fact until she returns and I can only wonder how the conversation would go.

Mangoes on the yellow

Brian had his aunt visiting with a big basket of fruits, his fear was wondering what would be the result of eating, sorry quaffing down 5 mangoes. I was waiting on this end to find out what lessons were learnt from this sudden penchant for gluttony. Unfortunately for me, he seems to think he should have more mangoes when in fact the colour of his effluent as he described it, might be from mangoes than vitamins.

Anyway, the beef is cooked, and I have had two or three bites, the battle of resistance begins if I must count myself more disciplined than the mango-eating meat pie-quaffing men. I know I can, I’m sure I would.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Bronson Battersby: A case of unneighbourly indifference

You live in a neighbourhood

Think about where you live and the people who live in proximity to you whether in passing or in full acknowledgement you know who they are.

Beyond those you can interact with in terms of communication, they might have children that you have noticed but are too young for your typical conversation, they might also have pets, a cat or a dog, but how would you know if you are not observant and probably curious?

Then, what constitutes your neighbourhood that you notice is out-of-place, unusual, or unexpected? A stranger you have never seen before prowling your street, a usually occupied house that seems deserted or new people have just moved in. Strange happenings that elicit that double-take and enough of that innate inquisitiveness just to assure yourself that things are the way they should be.

Beware of indifferent neighbours

That constitutes a sense of neighbourliness, a general awareness of your surroundings that is both for your safety and convenience as much as it is for your neighbours, an unwritten code of coexistence of everyone inadvertently watching out for everyone else.

What you cannot afford to be is self-centred indifferent that the inclination to be the brother’s keeper or the Good Samaritan is lost to not being bothered or concerned even when some gut feeling suggests you should exercise yourself to the stimuli of events that are not commonplace.

This is what hurts me most about the case of Bronson Battersby, a two-year-old toddler who was found beside his dead father having died of dehydration and starvation within earshot of at least someone for whom I cannot yet find the words to describe as they would be unprintable and still be an understatement. [ITV: Bronson Battersby: Neighbour 'pretty sure' she heard toddler crying days before death]

It just beggars belief

However, that is not the only failing, Bronson was under the care of social services but a lethargic lackadaisical attitude to his plight meant he was not discovered for another 7 days when a little more persistence and concern might have possibly discovered the child barely alive but with the prospect of survival.

Yet, it is the neighbour that attracts the greater wrath, in my view. The news story suggests this neighbour was ‘pretty sure’ she heard a toddler crying. Whether the quotes belong with the phrase is beside the point. If you heard a toddler crying and no doubt one in distress because there was no care for it, it had to have been for a prolonged period, perhaps a day or two, and not just in the daytime but in the nighttime too.

This indifference is evil

Nothing, it seems persuaded this neighbour to investigate and determine the source of this crying. She could not be bothered, it would soon stop, she must have thought, and it did eventually stop at the point where Bronson was totally exhausted, dehydrated, starved, weak, and unable to do anything more, he lay down beside his father who apparently had suffered a massive heart attack days before, and died.

In my heart of hearts, I pray we never have so totally indifferent people as neighbours because they are evil and lacking in any humanity. I have always made it a point of duty to be acquainted with my neighbours and to have at least one neighbour with whom I can share much more in neighbourliness, a set of keys, the occasional visit for tea or a meal and someone to just have general life conversations with. They matter.

Cultivate neighbourliness for your own safety

Neighbourliness is more than just living next door; it is knowing who is there and caring enough to check on them and know that they are okay. Especially as I live alone, the issue of neighbourliness is more acute, my neighbour would knock on my door if she has not seen me for days. When I had chest pains, the ambulance crew met me at my neighbour’s and from there I was taken to hospital, my neighbour sitting with me through the night in A&E for over 10 hours.

Elsewhere, when I was gravely ill in hospital, my neighbours attended to all issues and on returning home, did my shopping, some cooking, my laundry and every other thing I had no strength to do. When I was going away for weeks, my neighbour ensured my place was secure and looked after.

I have a relationship with my neighbour, you are brought together by circumstances you usually would not have predetermined, but you see the humanity in each other to build trust enough to know that you have their back as much as they have yours.

He need not have died

Bronson Battersby need not have died if he had good neighbours, he was crying and he was most definitely heard, it was his only means of communication, his desperate call for help, but he was ignored. However, I say, cultivate good neighbourliness and know that the people who live around you matter for both your safety and security.

Rest in peace, dear Bronson Battersby, you deserved better, much, much better.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

I’m a child of silent wonder

I’m a child of silent wonder

I’m a child of silent wonder,
In the things I quietly ponder,
When I thought I was under,
I learnt of love more funder,
I serve a God of wonder.

I daily see the miraculous,
Putting aside every loss,
Not in how I fought to win,
But in the grace of him,
Who came for the great cause,
My weary soul to win.

The times I felt dejected,
When I was often rejected,
So many things were affected,
As if nothing was protected,
Good left me neglected.

Yet in the soil of my wailing prayers,
Dead seeds planted of failing affairs,
I cried lakes of sailing tears,
Almost fell to availing fears,
But I saw his prevailing cares.

Wait, I have a testimony of praise,
Not just of a passing phase,
From every slump he will raise,
Set your crazy life ablaze,
To sing of his goodness always.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - LXXII

What I thought I saw

For once, I thought I was watching a circus act, an elephant on a bicycle riding on the pavement against road traffic until I noticed he had no trunk, just a truck of a backside to task a tape measure at the tailors.

Manchester as I went out shopping is in a kind of festive mode, as 2024 ushers in the bicentennial of the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University that both trace their origins to the Mechanics’ Institute founded in 1824.

Oxford Road is the artery that links these two universities bustling with crowds of students and all the services that cater to their needs. The banners are up and soon the bands and parties will set up to play.

Pandemic to pandemonium

The number of people still donning face masks would suggest the pandemic still rages, invisible as it might seem, I was chatting to someone on Sunday who had just recovered from a bout of COVID-19, we still need to be cautious and careful.

St Peter’s House used to be the chaplaincy to the broader university community that included the Royal Northern College of Music, though the food bank services remain in the building, the sadly poorly run organisation seems to have closed.

I was an observer of an employment dispute last year that to me showed that there were too many conflicting interests in the running of the place, the trustees were derelict in their scrutinising responsibilities, and it became evident that new engagements that sought to change how things were run met with both resistance and opposition.

It is a sad development and though a Catholic chaplaincy exists further up the road, I would hope this institution is revived with better hands and those with a heart to serve the community for which they exist.

The look and warmth of love

The Whitworth festooned within Whitworth Park is a place I last visited in January last year at the launching of an exhibition that was to run for the full year, I did think I would return to see the exhibition proper, but I never did.

Meanwhile, even in the freezing cold of winter, a few benches were occupied by couples at different stages of the expression of affection, the warmth of love cannot be assailed by the weather. You are left thinking of when you might find the beauty of that expression for yourself.

I rarely allow myself to just watch the heaving beautiful life of Manchester, even with the effects of the pandemic barely out of memory, we have a city that is thriving, lively, and changing at a rate that is, well, astounding.

Kola, before leaving the Golden Jubilee Boulevard

Stretching the material

It wasn’t that long ago that he drove his chariot unto the Golden Jubilee Boulevard and now he is about to leave to join the Diamond Jubilee Card holders club, the processing takes a year, so, we’ll start with filling in the forms along with documenting essential narratives.

I usually say to people there is exactly three weeks between our birthdays, mine is in December and his in January and we are the same age for that duration, though I have the benefit of asking of his experience that probably prepares me for admission into the year class.

It was sometime early in 1984 that I first met Kola, so, we are talking 40 years, for a while I would notice him, I remember vividly one afternoon that he was walking in front of me as we probably were leaving the campus canteen, he seemed to have a penchant for stretch jeans you could not unsee.

Amen or thereabouts

As I scour the recesses of my memory, it is quite likely after I had Christianly spiritual experience that I came into a group of young devotees of which Kola was a fervent and unassuming adherent. It has become an enduring friendship.

How do you write about a friend that sticks closer than a brother, a confidante with whom barely a secret exists, someone who knows you in demeanour, character, and temperament that what he doesn’t know about you, you probably do not know about yourself as well. Yet, his support of you is unstinting, constant, honest, frank, and unflinching.

It is one of love and affection that only an intimate partner might excel, then of a different kind too, that is borne of the tendency to overlook your failings, faults, frailties, and foul-ups. A friend that bat for you regardless of the brickbats, almost as if you can do no wrong, as we have the mutual respect of each other not to abuse the quality of amity and brotherhood we share.

We’re leaning opposites

However, I want to celebrate Kola, forthright in views and we frequently disagree on issues whilst giving each other the opportunity air our viewpoints. He would consider me quite conservative with liberal trimmings, I guess he is the opposite in interesting ways.

This world-travelled wiseman as he can be technologically naïve is nobody’s fool, anyone who misconstrues his silence for acquiescence or weakness would be in for a shock, he will make a stand and doggedly follow through on his principles, taking the hits if necessary and winning the goals eventually.

God bless you

And so, in the year before he leaves for the Golden Jubilee cohort, I and in fact, we, Brian and I wish him the very best of birthday, much joy, love, happiness, and success. That blessings come like a tsunami and overwhelm him in every way. That his dreams become the reality he could never have imagined, tremendously astounding with the kind of amazement and wonder of the miraculous.

A friend of 40 years is to be cherished, lauded, acknowledged, and esteemed. There are not enough words to express thankfulness and gratitude for sharing time, space, resource, conversation, kindness, hearts, minds, and fellowship.

Kola, you are one of a kind, I love you. Happy Birthday!

Related Blogs

Blog - Happy Birthday, Kola (January 2015)

Blog - A birthday greeting to a friend like no other (January 2011)

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Little quirks for smirks

Smirking for coffee

I just spooned some demerara sugar into a highball glass which is essentially a typical drinking glass with a thick base, straight-up sides, and probably about 2.5 inches or about 8 centimetres tall. I smirked and sniggered at the quirky things I have done, as the sugar was meant for a coffee mug.

The kettle was just switched on, the routine of making instant coffee rather than tea that used to be my comfort beverage for the morning. As soon as I noticed, I took my big mug out of the sink, poured out the water, and tipped the sugar out of the glass into the mug before adding a teaspoonful of instant coffee. I stick to NESCAFÉ® Original Instant Coffee, whatever the cost.

Sometimes, I make filter coffee and for that, I would set up my milk frothing machine as it is never really right with ordinary milk or evaporated milk which is a holdover from my time in the Netherlands where they use coffee milk, a creamier full-fat milk for coffee.

Interestingly, some consider coffee a drug, I have heard a preacher boast about never tasting alcohol or coffee, maybe it is an abomination to others, but I do like the taste of coffee even as my mother has tried to prevail upon me to ditch both coffee and sugar. It doesn’t work for her; it works for me.

And this is funny

I have put it all down to quirks, nothing to concern myself too much about since I might have done many of these things before, and this is not a result of aging. Forgetting I already have my glasses on, I attempt to put on the spare only to realise I could not. Wearing an undervest back-to-front and that slight constriction at the neck is an alert to it.

The other day, I had a jumper on, then a jacket, but before donning my overcoat for the cold outdoors, I reached for another jacket and my arm went down a sleeve, it felt too tight. Very funny, I surmised inwardly. You do not need another jacket on.

I might say my name, but I do not call myself names for doing silly things. I guess what matters is being aware of things rather than forgetting and being observed by someone else like Brian who still ribs me no end about when I did the glasses skit. Living with your quirks is just one way of being able to make fun of yourself.

Monday 8 January 2024

Anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi 2023-24

A course not corrected

I find it interesting that my blogging process has still not changed 20 years and a month since I started a blog. The last blog I wrote started on a different premise, I was thinking of writing about how the last year ended and the new began.

Then I guess rather than adopt a course correction based on original intent, I usually allow the organic flow to whatever reach and extent that blog veers to as I write. If this were a professional rather than a personal blog, I might need a bit more discipline by keeping my writing within the confines of the topic of my intent, yet the freeform has its uses.

It is like where would the mind take you to where imagination and imagery is given free rein, untrammelled by style, use, or expression? That is where Brian would suggest that some blogs I have written have sprung from just one word said in passing, the seed from which paragraphs and blogs become a harvest to publish.

Christmas and anniversaries

The highlight of Christmas Day was in the Sung Eucharist at Manchester Cathedral, which was televised and broadcast live, my seat inadvertently secured by the chief steward eventually gave me a bit of prominence at the gospel reading and at other times. To that, I can only say that since I have begun volunteering as a church steward, I have been more blessed in serving than I could have imagined. [BBC iPlayer: Christmas Morning Service from Manchester Cathedral]

It was quiet and reflective though made memorable by the insistence of my neighbours who persuaded me to join them for a late evening of festivities. Brian and I marked the 5th anniversary of my relationship in the same week as I began to think of what I needed to do to usher in the New Year.

However, there was another Sunday to face where I was scheduled to give the first reading at church, the Sunday falling on New Year’s Eve. I was given a reading from the Book of Isaiah to review only to find out as I checked the lectern before the service that the reading had been changed to a New Testament reading from Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. The passage was familiar enough, I only had to deal with the dread of hearing my voice amplified. Apparently, the cadence and my voice were good.

An elderly fellowship into 2024

Having received a text message from a charismatic church I attended in the summer; usually an evening service rather than the main one, they were having a New Year’s Eve service to see in the New Year and without priced tickets too.

I must have been the only guest in the congregation as everyone else seemed to know each other. I was welcomed by many and held in conversation with some who took more than a cursory interest. I was also acknowledged as an elder, I guess I have not helped my youthful cause by the use of a walking cane, though my facial features might belie some passage of time.

We had a diverse buffet before the praise, worship, and prayer session ushering in the year 2024. It was a blessing to find such a company of saints to fellowship with. 2024 has begun in earnest and before us is the opportunity to write new stories.

Thought Picnic: Believing better

Thoughts afloat

There are so many things that percolate in my mind about what I want to do ranging from fleeting thoughts, through surprising inspiration, earnest desire, daydreaming, and determination.

I have to content myself with the fact that the factory of the mind which actively conceptualises is not a production line of equivalent tangibles. Much is processed and necessarily delivered. You do wonder if the best use of mental energy is deployed at most times.

Hearing well

Listening is an activity I have devoted myself to more trenchantly, I listen more than I read, it is also easier to listen to something repeatedly because the use of language and the interpretation of context and intent is better reinforced when a turn of phrase pricks up your ears.

Then, maybe it is more than listening and it is hearing, just as observing is a lot more than seeing, as there is a perception within the senses that confers knowing and knowledge, and there is a deeper communication beyond the physical and mental to the spiritual that transcends the limitations of the senses.

Learning anew

It seems harder than it appears to be just as you are recognising that it is easier than you ever thought it was. It is the unlearning and programming that has become like muscle memory that is being challenged. To detach from the old and appreciate the magnanimous grace of the new, the insight that suggests what you always thought things were by way of traditions and practice are in truth what should have been jettisoned, if you knew better.

We all did not know better, we just continued with the tried and tested ways, thus missing out on the kind of revelation that upsets the orthodoxy to which every form and function is tied. I find myself questioning and assessing, wondering and wandering, seeking and searching, understanding and comprehending, that what I once believed is under review to believe better than to believe amiss.