An Exercise in Knowing Myself

Blogging 101

Day 9

Task – To be inspired. Write something that has been inspired by someone else’s blog.

I have taken my inspiration from a blog post by Calensariel. She undertook an exercise related to a book she recommends called “The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself” by Roberta Allen. It is a simple preparatory exercise involving the creation of four lists. I have taken the liberty of adding a bit of commentary to my lists.

List 1 – Seven words that best describe me

1. Humorous
2. Creative
3. Warm
4. Calm
5. Procrastinator
6. Thinker rather than doer
7. Lascinating (If I remember correctly, this is a made-up word in the McGill Pain Questionnaire. It is good to add an air of mystery).

List 2 Seven objects that have a special meaning

1. Wedding rings (From my first marriage with our names and date engraved inside, my aunty’s made from white Welsh gold, and the one from my present marriage. The rings tell a story, symbols of hope, and infused with a little sadness as testimony to our failings and weaknesses).
2. The presents my parents gave me for my 21st birthday (two packs of playing cards in a leather box, and a small clock made from the brass casing of a military shell. The playing cards had a military connection too, but i don’t know why).
3. Faber Book of Modern Poets (a present from a girlfriend so long ago, with a handwritten message inside. On reflection, it may be a book of T.S. Elliot’s poetry. She gave me both).
4. A handful of my own diaries, notebooks and journals from years passed, always the source of creative ideas for poetry, and a repository of memories, as though they had impregnated the very pages on which they are written).
5. Photographs of family, friends and self (before the days of selfies!).Frozen in time, lives from which we have  perhaps become temporally and emotionally detached. The photographs provide a conduit to other times.
6. Some of my old vinyl LPs, such as Atom Heart Mother, King Crimson, Dark Side of the Moon, Amon Duul, Tangerine Dream, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Judy Tzuke. Just seeing and holding the album sleeves brings back a myriad of memories and emotions – parties, adolescent bedrooms, stale beer, a thousand real, imagined or hoped-for kisses.
7. A wooden box with inlaid pattern. This is my box of treasures – love notes, little bits of jewellery such as love beads, a box of liquorice imps, a small tin of tiger balm, a lock of hair from the girlfriend who gave me the poetry books, and too many things I can’t remember. I am like the character in Sartre’s “Nausea” – if you revisit memories too often, they lose their specialness. There are songs I will not listen to because the memories  attached to them are so precious.

List 3Seven colors with meaning
1. Green (grass, the House group color in my secondary school)
2. Blue (oh, the sea, the sea, and a summer sky)
3. Yellow (the sun, of course, and a t-shirt that I wore on my travels around Europe when I was 19)
4. Mauve ( a strange one – when I lived in a nurses’ home, it seems that all my entries in the weekly laundry book were for mauve clothing – underpants, socks, t-shirts)
5. Midnight Blue (this is the color of my Dan grade belt in martial arts)
6. Red (the color of love and passion, of all those St Valentine day cards that got lost in the post)
7. A rainbow

List 4Seven places with special meaning

1.Five-Ash-Down (small village in Sussex, home of my maternal grandparents, where I spent a lot of my childhood)
2.South Devon Coast and Dartmoor (beautiful, teenage holidays, trying to surf, home of another girlfriend)
3. Kingston-upon-Hull (the start of so much, academically and emotionally)
4. Tienen/Tirlemont (home of my first wife and where we married)
5   Varna and Black Sea Coast (home town of my present wife, where we met)
6.  Cape Town and Garden Coast (wonderful holiday, my first time out of Europe, first time in Southern hemisphere, amazing to see the Southern Cross in the night sky)
7. Here (wherever it may be, I will be there for a reason – a reminder to be thankful, humble and mindful)

This has been a revealing exercise, it has brought into focus the things that are really important to me. I hope you find something that resonates with you, or that you will be inspired to undertake a similar task.

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4 thoughts on “An Exercise in Knowing Myself

  1. Got it! …as though they had impregnated the very pages on which they are written). I’m a journaler (or?) from years and years ago. That sentiment feels so accurate to me. I LOVE the fact that you took such great pains with this exercise. What a marvelous way for us to get to know you. I must admit, when I saw what you do for a living (or did, as I recall?) I was a little intimidated. Authority figures usually scare the beejeebers out of me. I’m glad you were so open with this exercise. It’s nice just to get to know you for who you are. I’m glad you played along! Hope to hear more from you!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments. Oh, I’m not intimidating at all, just a pussy cat, so thank you overcoming your beejeebers! I was surprised by what the exercise revealed about me.

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