In Training

Judging by the rigour of our routine activities we could conceivably be mistaken – albeit it facetiously – for boot camp candidates. We are up early; we bicycle for 3-4 hours daily; we eat properly and go to bed early. Our commitment to this enterprise is so consuming that it doesn’t occur to either of us to disrupt it; our focus borders on discipline. Neither have we any inclination to contaminate the model with idle distractions and social events. I won’t say that we are monastic but apart from the almost addictive exercise regime we have enough at our fingertips to fulfill our spiritual, social and artistic aspirations. I for example am entirely dedicated to writing, music and photography, all amateur hobbies I acknowledge but nonetheless sufficiently absorbing to defeat the need or desire for further diversion. Each of these pursuits draws upon the richness of our observation on the Island. The most we accede to otiose application is to watch Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Additionally we have long held the view that when visiting a place of retreat one should stay there and not use the occasion as a springboard to “see the world”.  There is a very real threat of having lots going on but nothing happening. It may resonate as a trite and confined posture but in my opinion it avoids the popular urgency to do everything before the end. In all things we must learn to adapt to the scope of our personal ambit and to savour the insight. This relative containment is in fact a cornerstone which allows for depth of awareness and expression.


For as long as I can recall it has been my ardent ambition to fritter away my declining years gazing upon the Atlantic Ocean. I never imagined that my deliverance would be so utterly complete as it is here. This is the nec plus ultra. I simply cannot fathom any degree of improvement! And I don’t for a minute presume any entitlement.  It is nothing short of luck.  To say that I had a hand in planning these affairs would be absurd.  If anything, it has happened in spite of me!  And I am grateful! For the time being I want to get on with luxuriating in my providence lest an unforeseen circumstance should overtake. This at least is my excuse for such unpardonable complacency. Yes, I’ll say it, Life is a triumph!  I am yet alert not to dissolve the tenuous sinews of the woof of this weave.  When one tampers with temptation, precarious ground ensues.  Small wonder I am anxious to stay in training! For that narrowness I can claim some credit.


There is undeniably an element of reclusiveness, even exclusivity, to this stringency. After a lifetime of ill-founded dedication to external standards I have at last opted instead (almost by default) to live in accord with my inner drives, and quite unapologetically. I won’t suggest that my life has been overwhelmed by ostensible benchmarks but it would be preposterous for me to deny what has been the competing influence of mandate vis-à-vis inclination.  Most people no doubt suffer a degree of similar paralysis, sometimes excused as the necessary though often intolerable exigencies of “society” or “business”.  I don’t intend to make a big deal of the matter.  My time for caring is past. The latest process is merely an estrangement from anything that smacks of constraint or discomfort. I have given up attempting to rationalize obvious inconsistencies.  I have learned that there is nothing peculiar about such irregularities; after all, nothing in life is black or white. What however has changed is my attitude to the resolution of those contradictions.  Increasingly I am yielding to my visceral instinct, a guidepost which invariably trumps my so-called rational reactions – as though a worn-down, worn-out beast has any time or inclination to rationalize anything! There is also a disturbing feature of anger in this stance.  I am angry that I have allowed myself to be dissuaded by the blatant bad behaviour of others.  On the other hand I acknowledge that my own humanity and attendant foibles are likely just as manifest in all that I do.  It makes no sense to point fingers. In either case the era of regret is over.  As long as the object of reconciliation is nothing more than disguise there is no point in making the effort.  If on the other hand things should alter for the better, then so be it, but it certainly isn’t likely to be the product of any manipulation on my part.  In view of the unexpected mercy of my current circumstances I am content to let things progress without my meddling.

Habits – especially good ones – have the advantage of instilling satisfaction. One may need to maintain an estrangement from people and events which threaten to disturb the security of one’s purpose.  This is clearly a limiting enterprise, one fraught with potentially bitter discrimination, but one which should not be disregarded.  Make no mistake, our being is more fragile than we might care to admit or have the capacity to understand. I am in no mood to mess with a ‘script that works!