Monday, March 9

Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 202)

Well, it didn't turn out to be sunny today or actually much of yesterday but I had an interesting day yesterday and so far, I've done a lot of chores today including cooking today. 

Yesterday I ventured to the Columbia Flower Market.  I thought it was the first time I had been there until I was standing eye to eye with racks of pansies.  I seem to recall going once with Carolina 12 years ago or so.  I don't know if it was whilst we all lived in LSE halls of residence or whether it was during the various tenancies of the Old Street apartments.  I had a moment of deja vu and I'm sorry I don't remember anything else about it except that I feel I was there with Carolina.  Maybe it was around the time that she and Matt decided to leave London to return to North America.  I cried - a lot - when they left.  We had become close during our time at LSE - well, they had become dear to me - I can't speak for them.  I don't have much recollection of that time except that my heart felt like it was breaking.  It was the start of what was the inevitable churn of friends in and out of London.  I meet a lot of Canadians and they often comment that they've stopped making friends because in 5 years, it will be a whole new group of people anyway.  London becomes a lonely city for expats in this way and in a way that NYC never was.  I don't know why but NYC is a place you go and never want to leave, but London is so temporary.  Somehow my temporary has stretched on for 12 years.  I guess I'm used to being temporary...when I was a young person we moved...a lot.  I learned how to live on a temporary basis.  My sisters were older and I think they had the benefit of living in only one or two places before they were teenagers.  By the time I was 13, I had lived in 7 or 8 different homes.  Everything was temporary.  As an adult, I tend not to like moving around much and I suppose that is why I have lived here for 12 years and 9 years in a single flat.  Had I been able to do it, I would be living there, still.

Anyway...that was a bit off topic...but the Columbia Flower Market...wow...I don't think I need to go back there any time soon (unless it is to buy flowers).  I tried to take some photos but it was impossible.  It was impossible to move.  I don't like to be in crowds like that.  I don't have a panic attack anymore, but it makes me uncomfortable.  Of course, 10 rose stems for £5 is hard to beat.  I got the most beautiful apricot coloured roses and it made me happy. 

Afterwards I went to Brick Lane Market...I was meant to be meeting a bunch of Canadians for Sunday roast...its an expat group...but I didn't have the energy for small talk.  I really am very independent and happy that way.  Anyway, I had been wanting to support a bunch of Canadians who have set up a food van in Brick Lane Market for awhile now.  I went and ordered their classic poutine.  Now...I did not eat all day in order to do this....if you haven't had poutine, it is fries, gravy and cheese (curds).  I honestly never ate it when I lived in Montreal (I did like tortiere and sugar pie but I never ate poutine) but it is French Canadian. 

As far as poutine is concerned, it was authentic.  I have eaten poutine 2 times in my life, including yesterday and I will be happy if I never eat it again.  I went expressly to photograph it but when I looked at it...I didn't think there was any way that my photograph of that...um...mess...could be any form of good promo for them.  I will say that they did a fantastic job on the food so if you (unlike me) love poutine, you MUST go to the Poutinerie at Brick Lane Market.  Buy Canadian!

Afterwards, I realised that I had planned my day poorly.  There was no way I could go photograph the market with a bunch of flowers in my hand.  So, I decided to go home and go to the art exhibit by Pyramid Oracle that was closing Sunday and if there was time, maybe go do groceries.

This is where I realised I had actually planned my day well.  I was beat.  So, I lay down for an hour, ditched shopping and went out again around 4:30 for the last hour of the exhibit.  I am so glad I did.

I'm not hip.  Might as well be upfront about that.  I do like unusual things like street art and folk noir so even though these are 'young people' trends at the moment, I'm not otherwise hip.  I love when the young hipsters see me show up.  For the most part, they have never been anything but courteous and engaging and actually appreciative that someone different showed up.

I was teased once by a twat on the street when I was actually still in my 30s and dared to go to a friend's party at a bar in then hip heaven.  I took it to heart and I felt awkward going out on my own for a couple of years.  I don't know what changed that for me...maybe it was many trips to Africa, India and Asia on my own that made me realise I didn't give a damn what anyone thought...I was going on my own and I was going to hip places if I wanted, because life was passing me by, and I was going to live it.

I think it must have been around the time that Carolina left London and my friends all seemed to be coupling up.  I was single (and even when I wasn't, my boyfriend lived in another city for much of our time together) and so I had to go on my own or shrivel up and die.

So all of this is to say...it never crossed my mind not to go to an art show in a semi-dodgy part of town on my own.  In fact, as I've said before, I prefer to engage with art when I'm not also required to engage socially with others.  The two use different parts of my brain and actually, I have always been this way...even at 17...I liked to go to concerts, dancing, and to the theatre on my own.  That's me.

Well, I am so glad I went.  It was the art experience of my lifetime.  I thought the place was closed but I was persistent in knocking and I read the notice on the door.  The place had become a squat.  Those living in the building had served notice that they had occupied the abandoned commercial building. 

I saw some movement inside and so I knocked again.  The young man who opened the door looked at me and I had to say 'I'm here for the Art show' so that he wouldn't think I was from the Local Authority.  I laugh thinking about it now. 

So there I was - in someone's squat home, looking at the art on the walls.  It is very interesting artwork but more interesting to me was the anarchistic way this person/these people were living.  What a great setting for street art to be displayed. 

I am so grateful that I got to be a part of that moment.

So with that...let's begin, shall we?

1. I am grateful to all the street artists and activists who flirt (and I guess, sometimes cross) the line of the law in order to keep art and independent thought alive.  I don't have the bravery that they do and I don't know that I would live in a squat without heat, electricity or running water in order to pursue my art.  But I am grateful that there are people brave enough to do it to keep producing cutting edge art.

2. I am grateful that I walked home from the show last night and managed to see the sunset on the River from 'my spot' on the Thames, just two blocks from my home.  I am incredibly lucky to live where I do and I don't take this place for granted.  Its noisy, not always as clean as I'd like, in the common areas but it is home and a good base for me to rest and to work and to just be, for this moment in my life.  It is a beautiful place to live and I'm grateful to be able to live here.

3. I am grateful I got to talk with my friend J and then with my dad last night.  I stayed up too late and it has had a knock on effect on my day and so I have just chosen to make today a home day. I am grateful that things seem to be ok with Dad these days.

Joy - it was a joy to see the spectacular sunset last night.  It clouded over half way through the sunset and I just thought...even when we can see it...there is always a glorious sunset happening.  It kind of speaks to faith.  Sometimes we may not understand why things are happening the way they are...but...we just need to have faith that good things are developing behind the scenes.  And that if not, well, everything changes...life is temporary....if anyone has experienced that...well, from the above, I guess I have.

Oneness - I felt a sense of Oneness with the street artist fraternity/sorority that exists around the world.  I am not a street artist, although I am an appreciator.  I had this sense that it is the role of we who can, to support the street artist financially.  I am going to look into whether there is a small piece of art that I could afford to buy.  Already, I have supported the artist by promoting his work on Instagram and here. 

Service - a long time friend is in the ICU right now with her mother.  I have been sending prayers and energetic support to them both. 

I would also add that someone commented on my Facebook page yesterday on a post about Karma.  Whilst I think her understanding of karma is 'pop' thinking, she made a good point and I realised I had been lax in the way I phrased my post, so I revised it, and I thanked her.  As it is, indeed, my page and I am, indeed, an Interfaith Minister, I took the opportunity to explain the sutras of patanjali and the concept of Karma from a yogic perspective.  She maintained a view of good/bad karma and needing to pay back our karma which is a westernized version of karma - which is - essentially - the outcome of action (thought, word, deed) whose outcome is determined by our intentions.  There is no punishment or pay back...it is simply a law of cause and effect.  In any case, I'm not sure I was convincing and people are free to believe what they want....I just pointed her to the idea of samskaras and the yoga sutras.  If she is interested, she will come back for more, or she will pick it up herself.

And if not, well, actually...I am grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to be a little more precise in my language and to review the sutras again.


As always, a couple of photos from the market, the art gallery and the sunset:

A photo posted by Tania Campbell (@pinkstarpix) on



A photo posted by Tania Campbell (@pinkstarpix) on

Have a great week ahead, friends. xx

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