All the World’s a Therapist! ( and men and women good cash cows…)
My last post drew attention to the Kogi- walkers, planters, weavers in and of the spiritual. Devoid of evangelism, without ego-bound ‘creativity’ or seemingly free will, they live to nearly a hundred and leave no footprints. They are saving our world. They live to do that, by showing how it can and should be done. An embryo Eden, still extant.
Here is ‘our’ Westernised version ( but only as I have encountered it!)
Hijacking the Bandwagon.
As I have spent much of life thinking on ‘Things Spiritual/ Ways of Redemption’, should I be taking a lance to the windmill? Certainly unwise, but suddenly irresistible. I am fed up with claimants to virtue by virtue of what it is they do for a (sometimes rather good) living .
Don’t get me wrong. Nobody is more concerned with the state of Humankind than I am, few have spent more time wringing their hands and wondering what might be done. My inbox is swamped with guided meditations, special offer retreats, two for one quartz obelisks, dire injuctions that if I fail to act on Mercury’s recessions or its conjunctions with my Aries Avatar I shall rue not spending $39.99 to harness its influence, as well as daily invitations to join the Company of the Saved for a modest monthly Direct Debit.
You all know what I mean, and maybe you have all ‘unsubscribed’ from this avalanche of promises.
But I intend to get up close and personal to the virtuous, and pick apart the bitter kernel that I invariably discover when I have sipped the initial nectar. I am easily tempted because susceptible. I know wherein discipline lies, I am hooked on the need for daily meditation since I do not really function well without it; and I also recognise that MUCH MORE should be done. I flirt with becoming a Trappist and reading deep books, and eating dry crusts. I recognise the insidious velvet seduction of red wine (but at the end of a day I usually succumb). I long to regain the ability to manage the lotus position. I wish I could like plunkety or synthetic ‘spatial music’ but if I’m honest I do better with infectious rhythm, and letting rip with what’s left of an old woman’s arthritic knees.
Right now my concentration has been provoked by the stream of the virtuous that have been my tenants. I sound like a jaundiced capitalist who has failed to benefit from the contact with chiffon scarves and hennaed hands. The lack of benefits is certainly true. They have tended to move in the opposite direction.
Let me set the scene. I have a rather nice cowshed that began with stalls, deep runnels and a lot of dried manure, as well as the identities of its inhabitants ‘Marigold, Clementina, Buttercup, Kicker, and Huppity’ chalked on their appointed places. I never met any of them but they seemed to have left their gentle, doe-eyed, cud–chewing resignation in their wake. The place is peace personified. You could slice peace and wrap it for Christmas.
It was not considered fit for humans ( no cavity walls, no insulation, ankle-turning death trap) so I wrapped it round with a sort of orangery made of reclaimed chapel windows, left holes for vines to inch within and drip grapes,( inviting the Mediterranean to take up occupation in Somerset and ignore the winter), paved the floor with black and white tiles ( read concrete faked to look like marble) and waited for the artists to arrive.
They never did. Even impoverished artists want ‘en suite’ with coffee making ‘facilities’.
So now , instead, I have tenants who claim to be the ‘artists of the spirit’. They are therapists, and each is dedicated to the salvation of Mankind. I have nothing against saving Mankind. I have had a shot at that myself, but only by asking Mankind to think again. Given my deficiencies ( touched on above) I am in no position to make any claims to virtue, so I stick to thinking. Thinking is seldom part of therapy; blind allegiance, abandoning inhibitions, rituals, soothing massage, reflexology, T’ai Chi, Ayurveda, Zen, Reiki, you name it, all are the Pathways to Paradise ( as are Jihad, Decapitation, and bombing the wrong kind of Muslim). Now before you get hot under the collar at the linking of these let me say that the thing they have in common is the belief that virtue accompanies all of them. When you are virtuous by default you can get away with anything.
Let me paint some portraits of the varieties of virtue that have been my lot to encounter in my peaceful cowshed ( which does have a habit of being considered ideal for therapy and move over Madam, if you please.)
There was the earnest couple, who could not manage the rent, but she was beautiful with large eyes and he had a habit of putting his hands in a prayerful attitude. They only needed it for six months recovery from stress. They were certain that somehow I could find it in my heart to waive the rent. No? How unfeeling! They worked with PEOPLE in need of COMPASSION. Yes they charged but not nearly enough to pay rent. I would accumulate good Karma instead.
(I hope to do that unassisted).
Then there was the married pair who were moving to Somerset from the ‘unspeakable’ metropolis of London, and the cowshed would be perfect for his (unfortunately necessary) commute and her massage and reflexology therapy in the spare bedroom with its own access and its view across the fields. Perfect. If they should ever find that pregnancy happened they would have to think again but that was unlikely. Four months later their unspeakable flat was sold, at double its purchase price and the five bedroom house in the unspeakable metropolis was ready to receive a nanny and the birth of the child. Ta, very much. Tootle-pip.
Then there were the 2012ers. They only needed it for two months, November and December until Planet Niburu necessitated the rescue of their coterie of elderly followers ( each had paid a few thousand) to be taken ( special delivery) off Planet Earth to seed the NEW CIVILIZATION from which would spring the hope of a better MANKIND. When Planet Niburu failed in its business they set fire to the cowshed by glueing the boiler’s safety over-ride and turning it to maximum and departing. Luckily the boiler screamed for help. I saved it with a fire blanket and an OFF. If global conflagration does not oblige I guess DIY is the only option. ( It was their final gift to the Landlady-who-did-not-believe in milking the gullible.)
Now there is the young couple who came to offer dance and movement therapy but who find it difficult to get out of bed before noon, and are horrified that there are tractors in the country. They had no idea and I should have told them that tractors start early. It disturbs their ‘lie-in’s’ which is why they came. In fact I deliberately with-held this critical information, and deceived them. I have to confess I also with-held the information that the earth circles the sun. I suppose twenty eight year olds can’t be expected to know everything.
Right now we have an Angelic Practitioner ( I thought angelic practitioners were mostly ephemeral and pretty choosy) who came to write a book on a wholly original approach to healing. She is never at home but her collection of angels, gold and silver, glass and plaster, are complemented by a litter of butterflies clinging to curtains, fluttering over lamps, and alters of stone (sacred spaces)warding off the evil eye in every doorway. The simple place of peace ( Feng Shui-ed? avec objets) looks like a Chapel of Rest in an undertaker’s office. Now I don’t know how one writes a book on an iphone, I have never tried it, but I am sure it will be a masterpiece.
Would I be contravening the discrimination laws by advertising
CONVERTED COWSHED TO LET. No therapists, healers, ‘practitioners’ (undefined) do-ers of good, people of unearned virtue need apply. The saintly are unwelcome, the enlightened will need to offer proof. Hewers of wood and drawers of water are welcome. If you work for a living even better. You are in with a chance.
P.S. Motor Bikers in leather may remove their helmets and we’ll talk. Cyclists in plastic pointy hats ride on…far too much weighty virtue to risk it?
Maybe I should go join the Kogi? Seriously tempting!
Planet Earth By خالد منتصف (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
“George Elgar Hicks – A Cloud With A Silver Lining” by George Elgar Hicks (1824–1914) – http://www.worldgallery.co.uk/giclee-print/A-Cloud-With-A-Silver-Lining-1890-215954.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
Chiropodist (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons V0016743 A chiropodist treating a patient’s foot, a crowd of people
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images firstname.lastname@example.org
House in London David Hawgood [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
14 thoughts on “All the World’s a Therapist”
My goodness but that made me grin with such recognition. Not to mention a guffaw or two.
I know the types of which you write so well. They belong in a book, not your cowshed.
Oh I could write such a book! Probably the most commercial book I ever conceived….hang on a sec….!
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Reblogged this on philipparees and commented:
In the mood for semi-satire? Put it down to…whatever you think!
Oh dear Philippa, thanks, I giggled with mirth. Call the cowshed something else, it attracts the wrong sort 🙂
Another (of the same stripe) said she would only become a tenant if I would officially change the name. That, luckily, was one I missed! She would not be able to run a serious business from the ‘Cowshed’. She suggested ‘The Music Parlour’ and would hang tubular bells.
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Philippa, I truly adore your writing. You have such a magnificent gift for telling a tale and spinning words into edible morsels I cannot stop from consuming. Pure delish.
I would fall in love with the cowshed. I vote the BBC makes it into a series.
PS Copied and pasted to the proper post. Yesterday was a series of myriad computer failures–landing on wrong pages, losing a blog draft, etc. You know how it goes. At some point so does the brain’s ability to compute computers. But thankfully, all’s rectified. Cheers!
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I realised you had drifted through the reeds to the wrong beach, but just as welcome there! Thanks Shelley.
“I am fed up with claimants to virtue by virtue of what it is they do for a (sometimes rather good) living.” The prototype is Polonius, who tells Laertes, “the apparel oft proclaims the man,” and other timeworn goodies often quoted as sage advice by wise elders who don’t know the true character of the man they are quoting, for Polonius turns out to be a bumbling fool. If you’ve ever been forced to wear a uniform, you know what a costume is, an apparel that proclaims not the person, but the occupation, itself a mere apparel.
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…and you may only need one interview question: “Who are your influences?”
Ah, saviour! Why didn’t I think of that? A few appropriate posters and a box of darts? An occupation, a mere apparel? Trouble with the virtuous, humour is in short supply and quite a few are dim. No fun to play games with. Actually that might fill a post. Why does the Dalai Lama look so cheerful and everyone aspiring to his soul-stature look so grim? Answer on a post card please?
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That reminds me of the monk’s question in Eco’s The Name of the Rose: did Jesus laugh?
A brilliant post. I love your tongue-in-cheek writing – I could practically see the folk you were talking about. Talk about characterization 😀
You wrote, “Why does the Dalai Lama look so cheerful and everyone aspiring to his soul-stature look so grim?” Perhaps this is because the Dalai Lama is not aspiring to be anything in particular or to prove any fixed point of view. For a religious leader, he seems remarkably non-dogmatic. If his perspective derives from the experience of multiple incarnations and vast cycles of time and space, he may not regard his immediate persona as in any way important, and his focus may be more on the practical work of spreading empathy and insight by example, by the fact of his grounded presence. His smile may be one of parental amusement as he observes how the spiritually serious twist themselves into pretzels, as they go to great lengths to achieve the exact opposite of the detachment that they seek.
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So good you have looked up from hard labour Brian! I think the smile of the Dalai Lama was the point I was making in contrast to the false prophets. But thank you for your very worthwhile comment.
I am surprised you have time to read anything Nicholas! Thanks for enjoying. The reason for writing after all.