11 Sep 2015 | Archive

Breathe in…(hold it) and out…

September is the Janus month.

Forget January, it’s cold, easily forgotten and is too dismal to really stimulate any deep thoughts (purely an opinion you understand…)



For those who have had a summer break; the young and the fortunate millions who take a holiday, it’s the time of return. Back to base, we land on our regular Earth and allow ourselves to look back over the short yet vanishing period of summer. Yet it’s also the time to peer forwards, across the mist of an unpredictable autumn towards the dark months during which we will crave unnatural lights, fabricated heat and heavy warm drinks.

I prefer autumn to spring, mainly because the months of sprout and shoot beckon a summer that I fundamentally  fear. I dislike the prospect of heat, beach and travelling parallel with the masses and yet I often do it to placate my entourage (family). It usually ends up better than I feared, but I’m not one of those who anticipates summer’s arrival with pleasure, it’s more a case of wanting to survive it.

This, the last third of the year, is the true springboard. This is largely because the academic year begins now, yet it is no coincidence. Like the football season, the Hajj 2015 in Mecca and the Jewish year, now is the time to begin. The oppression of the dog days are gone and it’s easier to breath and to think. The summer has little value to me but it provides a space in which people step back and grow. Among the youth this growth is literal, among the rest of us…

This summer I have had two breaks. The first, a postponed late winter trip was for four days in July and the second, now just over at the end of August, was the ‘proper’ summer holiday of one week.  During that first trip I produced two well-rounded ideas for this blog and returned with a sense of artistic success. As the weeks moved on however, my ideas seemed less useful and have remained in my Moleskine undeveloped and un-fleshed. On the most recent trip I didn’t think or write at all, I only read. Having returned from this less productive time, I feel more awake and more tuned in than I did before and it’s because of these reasons;

  1. I read a book that suggested, as I am doing HERE, that each time one writes an opinion, you specify two or three reasons for that view, and then move on.
  2. Procuring other people’s ideas from reading and listening is easier than struggling to invent them yourself.
  3. The brain benefits from a rest. My holiday began with a small item of good news (to me only, I won’t clarify it) which although it eventually turned out to be false good news, nevertheless put my mind at ease in a way that Sertraline could never do. Sometimes illusions work. My head switched off as it re- focussed on food, mosquito bites and finding the shade. I took in the limited information a garden by a pool can proffer and slept.

I  cannot claim therefore to have conjured up any souvenirs or deep memories from this trip, it has been more a case of bringing out the sense of calm and non-urgency. Now all I have to do is to find a way of  carrying that forwards. I’m not convinced it can be done and having just experienced an ‘issue’ at work I remain dubious about the short term benefits of a holiday. The long term ones are the stories and experiences I’ll no doubt dig out during some random event in the future.