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Facing up to anxiety has opened up a new dimension in the way I look at the world and at myself.
Anxiety can strike you at any time in your life - I have had it for a long time, and until a few years ago I was working around it, but now facing it head-on with no filter. This combination of thinking through anxiety and working, is a way to keep my head in the right direction.
I will put all the newest uploads below here in descending order.
James Howard 2019
25 / 05 / 19
Can you hear the sound of your own voice when you speak? Why is it uncomfortable to hear your voice back on tape and see your own behaviour in a video? You can pick out habits and repetetive behaviours, and in some cases be over critical of yourself untill it ties you up inside *in your mental insides and your physical insides as it ties up your thoughts and knots up your asophegus. These kind of blockages are good to explore from time-to-time - in moments under control conditions. Try it. Try to prevent the flow of the world in one end and out the other - severing the moving-through-time daisy-chain of liquids, solids, comunication, oxygen, thoughts, desire, which actually constitute you, (not just feed you.) make a blockage, so that the world piles up at the intersection. that is what true starvation is, one of the spirit, and one that makes you go to bed while the sun shines outside, but finding only restlesses in there under the sheets.
In the real world these blocks can stifle you if you don't know how to stop them forming. Whatever form the blockage takes, it will try to trick you, as it piles up in hideous mix of faces of friends, strangers on the train, people from past and future - the visions it produces tell you to do precisely the opposite thing from that which you should, and that is how it sustains itself. If it yells at you to hide away, then you must be seen. If you hear "I am worthless" then know that you are not. "I am not good enough" then know that you are. "The power of the opposite" is a way to starve the creatures that come from the blockage, divert the energy of the world back into your form - reconnect those things consitute you again. no more stumbling around in the shadows under the weight of a giant parasite - unplug it from the place where your inside and outside meet - it attaches itself at the intersection ( 18 / 05 / 19). Like a tick finding blood beneath the skin, and forcing through, so the creatures of blockage find the thinnest membrane to feed through - filling the inside with their distorted visions.
18 / 05 / 19
How to switch attention from inside to outside? How to focus energy on something outside, without concentrating, no effort, no work, just letting my attention fall easily onto it. Just go with the outside..
The inside is full of theory, endless maps scribbled over and over eachother, plotting out of any number of possible routes to take, insurance documents - premiums paid in advance of all forseeable bad outcomes. The outside though, if you can just shift focus to there, is a place of actual events and things, instead of tangled imagined maps. The way to live outside yourself is to explore everything new, to trace the routes you take as you hurl yourself forward. The unknown is a fearsome thing from the inside, but on the ouside it is a side step away from "un-known" *"unknown" suggests the aproach of the known, and the absense of it - which is anxiety-causing. The outside is the actual-world in full focus, effortless, as the elements and energies that make up the world flow together and are known at their intersections, simply by intersecting. Then clarity again, that we are intersections of these energies and elements.
17 / 05 / 19
Safety behaviours. They are actions that the sufferer of anxiety feels compelled to carry out in order to reduce anxiety. It appears that the safety behaviour serves to exascerbate the anxiety and although providing a momentary feeling of safety, they serve to reinforce the core processes at work in the anxiety itself. By reacting to a percieved phantom danger, you acknowledge that the danger exisists in reality *having carried out real world actions to counter it - these actions are like spell-casting. They summon the demons of anxiety from the un-real into the real - like spells, safety behaviours can be cast using any imaginable combination of actions , often delivered habitually and with increasing complexity. Counter intuitively though, these behaviours are causing the very problem that they are percieved to be helping. Like the eternal loop of the chronic alcoholic, curing their hangover with a day of drinking. A dog who bites his own tail. How does the sufferer of anxiety stop trying to kill the anxiety? It relates to what I explored in my entry of th 07 / 05 / 19 - through action, rather than re-action. Key is not to acknowledgethe fire by trying to put it out, which in itself is a hugely draining and traumatic process. Instead simply walk away - the fire will burn out by itself.
16 / / 05 / 19
Stress is the same as ticks but happening at a much slower and drawn out pace. Both demand mental and physical patterns of behaviour in the present in order to prevent a percieved catastophy from occurring in the future. Different to the tick, the pressure of stress is a drip-feeding over time, resulting in uncomfortable feelings of anxiety which demand a salv behaviour of worry, cyclical thinking, or problem solving. Pessure is the point where the outisde and inside, future and past meet. It is also on this intersection that we find ourselves, at the meeting point of everything around a moment in time *like a whirlpool in a river, made up of currents and water and air and ground, but at the same time made of nothing. All these intersections that make us up are bundles of energy flows which can be harvested by those who know how to manipulate and divert these forces for their own means - people are intersections of forces and energies, and just like intersections of forces and energies in nature - fires or rivers or thermal vents, organisms naturally position themselves in a way as to divert some of that energy to their own use. Stress is the pressure of being stifled by these organisms *or organisations, as they divert energy from intersecting naturally with other forces, resulting in high tension at the point of intersection - the stress is felt by the host. The value to the organisations of this stress is that it manifests as fear of future catastrophy within the host, maintaining a balance of power - simultaneously distracting from the parasitic mechansim of harvesting energy, and keeping the host under control.
This is opposed to the pressure of the tick, which I described before - it cannot be manipulated by such an organision in the present. Rather, the tick is located in the future, its mode is to reach back from there and force the action in the present.
13 / 05 / 19
I will, explore "strong biology" (mentioned in my 8 / 5 / 19 entry)
Strong biology is in people and some people have it more than others. It cannot be in language or in pictures, only hinted at if you have already felt it. It has to be in the action. In a way, the people who have less of it are either not in tune to the dimension it exists in, or they are very good at hiding it. Being very concerned with social norms would make you want to hide strong biology acts for example. The strong biology behaviour seems to pre-exist in the spectrum of possible things we can do - however these satisfying behaviours would be the same regardless of time - going back all the way to ancient man and even apes. It is most visible in actions which may appear to have no social function or reason. Squatting, humming, pulling a long grammace or gurning expression (enough to slide in a slippery and prolonged way away from the human face) - These contemplative actions open up a hole which we put our heads into and surround ourselves with the slime of strong biology. These slow actions of are a complete other dimension to the every day life. What is the difference with a tick and the strong biology? A tick or start, which can shatter the human training in an instant, but crucially only for an instant, is a stabbing attack on the face, or language, or social behaviour, by the behaviour itself. It is human social training attacking and cannibilising itslef from the future. The obsessive compulsive release. Always counting, fearful of the unknown catastrophy if the count is not begun in good intention, if the tick is not performed to allow the tick to call itself into existance from the future, and to be unable to resist for another instant. There is comfort in both the strong lingering biology actions, and the stabbing tick. One is a feeling of thrusting your whole being slowly into umbilical fluid, in a swamp of primordial spawn. The other is comfort in knowing that you are being called upon from the future by a parasitic action which as its mode of operation makes you visibly shatter your facade of being culturally human. Its possible that both the strong biology and the tick are spread from host to host by their visibility - who has not felt the compulsion to mimick the distortion of the face or twitching of the obsessive compulsive - totry it once when no one is looking? What is strong biology? It is when you catch someone looking aimlessly away as they are deeply lost in the smell of their finger as it sits on their upturned top lip - that medative place they are in is a strong biology place, the smell of a sneeze, the feeling of squatting, groaning, and the action itself is the signal of the existance of a beyond. You see it and you want to do it, even just a little - in private so not to be judged or embarrassed - anxiety pushes us away from strong biology and ticks. But is it pushing us away from a place we have aright to go as monkeys do?, in the form of a manipulation by the social-normal construct.
08 / 05 / 19
Worry grabbed me somewhere in the middle of my chest where I imagine the diaphragm is found. It is a strong feeling that the body is feeling pain and sending a warning shot to my mind, adrenaline is trickling out and I am in a constant state of tension as a result. Trying to get to the bottom of the anxiety and I am struck that it is not really about one particular thing, but more about people attached to those things or activities. This is something I want to explore further, how a person can somehow be attached to an activity or place or substance, and then thinking about doing that thing opens up a direct line of sight to that person and all their furious energy flows in and grabs you by the heart. That kind of stress is like an internal wound that you cant feel, but your body goes into shock anyway. How can people discolour activities and objects so powerfully?
It reminds me of the tranference quality of milk. Somehow anyone who handed me a bottle of milk when I was a child had imbued the liquid with something of themselves, in some cases it was too strong a feeling and I couldnt drink the milk - not even a drop. It was as though the milk had taken on some of their character or biology - spirit I suppose. On one occasion even opening the bottle was impossible because the girl who had handed it to me had quite a strong biology, and somehow that feeling of being biological was mixing or breeding with the milk's own biology. Milk is already powerful, regardless of its transference ability *I even knew this as a child - it exists strongly in time, made by life to propell life further along its time-line. Milk is full of potential, like a nucleating singularity with all the potential of the future in one substance. It is a female, and biological in a way that you feel when you pullyour face tight and detect the smell of the glands at the back of your own nose, it is life giving, hormonal, totally of the body, umbilical. It was enough to utterly confuse me as a child, and still does. Maybe it is all the full nucleating potential in milk that gives it such a strong transference quality of the biological spirit of people? Maybe thats why people like it so much, because by drinking it they hijack other species time-lines and energy-lines.
07 / 05 / 19
Thinking again about how thoughts have a life of their own, and that they are like a form of life. They can have such a hold over the body and spirit, and can cause such a tightness of the chest. How can a thought do that? I realised that action is a good way to harness the negative force of unwanted worry (in its pure form) and turn it in to something quite detached and positive. But not reaction - the action whould be like a side-step away from the problem and past it. Be water. Flow past your obstacles rather than break through them or fight them. Act, dont re-act. How can I do this when it is all in my head anyway? I guess the point is, it is not just in the head, it physically affects the body (chest tightening) and the world around me by the way i interact with it (if the anxiety wins one day and I stay in bed for example) and the people around me.
I sometimes think that anxiety exists totally to create anxiety, like life existing with one single mode to make more life over time. The fear and the individual thoughts are just a sort of foam on the surface that is generated as anxiety reproduces (like on a rough polluted sea). All the energy required for this rough reproduction of anxiety comes from the host of course, and what does the host take back for their trouble? The care and custody of this putrid, living foam in the form of worry and unwanted thoughts. It is like a curse. Like any kind of life, though, there is another way to expend energy, rather than going to war against it, try to funnel it away. Get rid of the extra power in your mind and body so it cannot be hijacked and used by anxiety to create more of the fear in your blood and tightness in your chest - get to the energy before that happens. If you dont allow it to feed, then it will pass on you and create its foam on someone elses time-line. Divert the energy into whatever works for you - make art, go running, read. Think about the problems that affect you and step away towards the light!
06 / 05 / 19
Sometimes I am almost convinced I can hear what people are thinking. Then I have to snap back out of it and remember that it is not a productive path to take. I am sometimes right, but really what good can it do? Those thoughts come about on their own, and do so with such energy that they demand some right to life. In a way, those thoughts, compared to a regular thought, are like a once-ferral cat. They co-exist with you in daily life happily for the most part, will show you a flash of claws and draw blood ocassionally, and always exhibit a strong will to explore and leave. Unwanted thoughts are not totally unwanted, they give some pleasure, some respite from banality, they can be thrilling. But also tiring, especially when you have a few of them howling around your head at the same time.
In nature, always flows are followed - even if they flow right over the edge of a cliff. Ways of harnessing and using the power of such energy, potatoes, a gathering of wealth at a point of energy-transfer, crystals, reflecting and refractinbg that power, the scribble of those pathways as they move through dimensions and time, a simple multidimensional understanding of a focussing of energy at a point of change, harnessed like a whirlpool in water.
05 / 05 / 19
Thinking again about the therapy. How can you look down a list of words that make up your own self-image and try to re-write them in your head so they spin around and read backwards? How do you turn an austerity of the spirit into something creative and rich? That way of looking at things is like dipping into another dimension. Hold your breath, grit your teeth and put your arm all the way in. What do you get when you pull your hand back out? Something from an exersize like that will naturally be multifaceted - an object that glows differently depending on which way it refracts the light. Whatever it is, it will lose its shine quickly -recently plucked from the water, it sparkled like a precious stone, but the longer you handle and admire it, the less it shines. Then what am I looking at? Just one side of a truly multi-dimensional object, and one snapshot of a person and an object in perpetual flux.
Some work for the day:
04 / 05 / 19
I was thinking about how to change the way I look at the world. I realised that if you change the way you look at the world, then the wolrd you are looking at actually changes.
It made me think of a conversation I had a while back about seeing things beyond or underneath the social structures and behaviour which we are born into, and some would say, shackkled by. How practical isit to break free, to leave those structures? Is it actuakly possible?, - The family unit, gender, school, work, prison, the way we communicate, language, electri? If you leave, where do you go? Just into more structures maybe, no less restrictive, still governed by rules - just a smaller group or commune, be a part of something once you leave another thing. Always leaving with a bitter glare back to the others. Unplug, break from gender, meat eating, milk drinking, intensive farming, unfair trading, policing, educating, politics - cut yourself away from those things and fall straight into another trap - plug into a new group, huddled together to keep the wind away, still on the grid when necessary, still bringing in the bacon in one way or another. Easier to just stay still and deal with it head-on, either that or queue up and follow the throngs over the edge, but don&t mistake a £2 fair-ground ride for anything remotely like facing the precipice.
03 / 05 /19
Thinking about black holes today, after reaching escape velocity from my one yesterday. felt good to get close to it without going fully in, scooping up some of its power just before the point of no return and then escaping, laughing out loud- drinking in the thrill of that gravity that couldn't drag me in that time. Therapy for anxiety started and maybe I am running on some kind of excitement, but just preliminary discussions with therapist seemed to have helped a lot.
Work-wise, I got lost in a fantasy today that I was back in 2007 taking a different route doing what I was going to do if I didn't do what I did. I dug out one of my old hard disks and made it work by firing up an old mac computer I have here. My work was all about black holes, the stuff that drives us and puts us in line, societies, structures, things and nothing, dreams, creatures. Looking at them now, from the future of that past, they are throbbing like magic runes that are beckoning me back there to try again and they have a power to connect me back there, and maybe even send me back. I was looking through that hard drive and realised that if I could do it all over again and go back there, I would. Its something I would like to do.
02 / 05 / 19
I just came out of a black hole! Such a good feeling to make a little progress. It makes sense to put stuff down in writing in front of yourself and read it back - those unwanted thoughts all have a voice that is dying to be heard, so rather than try to supress it * then you are the only one hearing the sounds under the trap-door) let the thoughts have a voice! scream it out at the top of your lungs, or play it thropugh an instrument, or make it in artwork. Even writing those thoughts down on a piece of paper will distill some of their energy away and you wont be haunted by the sounds of them howling as they circle in the back of your head. look at them, listen to them, and try to turn them into something positive or something that has momentum to move you forward and out and away, because look at it like this, if you have all that unpleasantness burning away inside, and you cannot put it out with water, then channel it for good use. It is like your own plutonium reactor, with the right care and control, that dark secret at the heart of the bunker in the field of wild flowers can be channeled into at least something practical.
A recent series below. People are a part of the world around them, and visa versa. A body is a group of things that processes or interacts with the world in a number of ways - its energy to hold itself together *its bonds, are powered by the fuel it gets from the outside world. Some things strengthen the bonds, and nourish the body, help it to stay together as a body - food, music, compatible thoughts, compatible people. Other things break the bonds and the body falls apart, these would be poisons, unhealthy activity, selfdestructive thoughts, incompatible people. It really comes down to what we are plugged into. rip away at the teathers that connect you to things that pull your body and souls to pieces - do what ever you can to cut the lines - scratch at them with your nails or bite them with your teeth if you have to. Whatever bloody mess is left will be short-lived and a precurser to a healthier body..
28 / 04 / 19
I used to live in Japan for three years - got into learning the Kanji - the original complicated Chinese characters - these sometimes used in Haiku poetry, and the many meanings that the characters individually have, combines in so many ways to give more than the surface meaning of just the writing.
I have been walking a lot, breathing a lot, letting myself get surprised by the world around me and the stuff I see is a bit like those Chinese characters in Haiku poetry, so I took out my phone and made some film of those moments and let them combine here in ways like spaghetti - when I am walking around things are jumping out of my mind and projecting themselves onto the world and visa versa. Somthing about the footage I took of the pylon, the seeds and the mouse on the underground made sense on lots of levels like music or haiku. I don`t want them to make sense on paper, but more like how I experience them - the energy of what they are, and their interactions in the world distilled into one video - its like untying them from their places in the world and using a copy of their energy in a soup so you can taste it.
27 / 04 / 19
These are quite personal but it was a good process in my head to work through them. People can deeply affect others by how they behave towards them. In my case I am over-sensitive to how I think others feel - it sometimes gets me quite confused and I get into awkward situations, although possibly I am the only one who feels awkward. Sometimes I wish I could let go of that mind-reading sensitive side and just have deep confidence in social situations. The ammount of times I have started talking, or started doing something purely because of irrational anxiety. It would be a lot easier if I wasn`t always judging myself. Making crystal drawings has become a good therapy for me for the time being.
Series below completed on 15 / 04 / 19
This was the first set of new drawings I did last week. It coincided with me kicking an old tic - it was a very private action which I kept a secret for a long time, but one day I thought to myself "I can live without forcing myself to do this tick so often" And I am happy to say I havent done the tic in almost two weeks now. Maybe that freed up some creative energy. Somehow making maps of interations between people and the physical act of drawing a containment field around them, like a block of ice or diamond makes me feel good. Its like taking all your obsessive thoughts and feelings and breaking free of the thought-loop by encasing them deeply in crystal so you can look at them rationally and from a safe distance.