Saturday, February 7, 2009

state of mind.

(if i knew how to do it, i would upload Blackbird, by the Beatles, to be played again and again all the way to the end. its Perfect. is that a metronome in the background?)

so there we were, sitting on the steps outside, wondering where the mythical place was? other than where we were sitting at that precise moment in time.

tentatively pondering on whether the mythical place of complete happiness, pleasure, peace was all intricately to do with The Point Of Life. The Big Thing Point.

it was a real conversation killer.

the silence was, well, blaring and ever so slightly uncomfortable. so i blabbered on about some jammy old spiritual evolution. reincarnation. aren't we evolving souls, as i was lead to believe by his holiness the dalai lama? well. judging by lots of messed up people in the world, i must be almost there. nirvana lies waiting for me just beyond the ploughed up field, if i could be bothered to walk down there. some examples? people who kidnap children for sex slaves, child pornographers, war mongerers, rapists, murdering thieves, people who stab you for your cheap nokia phone, robbers who shot the fish selling lady at the market who dared to shout out mwizi mwizi (thief thief) when they were conducting an armed robbery in a paltry little internet cafe next to the main market at four in the afternoon. why did they have to kill her? those radical islamic bastards in somalia. all those post independent african leaders - who plundered their nations coffers of their futures and became psychopathic murderers, killing anyone who vaguely muttered about change, or anyone who vaguely questioned their preposterous behaviour. those chaos, poverty inducing people have probably all reincarnated by now. into homeless parentless clothless bombs raining down on them kids in southern sudan. karmic stuff, man. positively karmic.

on the side: before one continues, it's terribly important to understand that i am busy reading The Shackled Continent: Africa's Past, Present and Future by Robert Guest. light bed time reading. (oh that must be why i have been sleeping with the light on, eyes wide open at three in the morning...maybe) favorite most inspiring lines so far in the book (only just started ) are:
" ...In the long run, I believe Africa will prosper..." pg 23
"...Price fixing is a bit like jumping off a tall building shouting "I abolish the law of gravity"' (in his section on Mugabe in Zimbabwe.)

which, patient reader (if there are any left?) lead to the two of us sitting on the steps outside thinking what are we doing here? where is The Mythical Place? which lead me to think, it was just beyond the ploughed fields. or right where we were sitting IF you opt for the evolving soul interpretation. the buddhist approach. which, has to date, made the most sense to me. especially the tibetan book of living and dying. i loved the idea that there wasn't a white male god sitting in a giant shining mother of pearl throne, sort of slouched in The Thinker position, comfortably bored of seeing sinner after sinner, looking sternly down at me, wondering whether he should forgive me or not. toying with the idea. i am more comfortable with the idea that actually, it boils down to whether i can forgive myself or not, no matter how difficult this might prove to be. god forgive me if i have got the whole thing completely wrong. please. oh puhleeeeze?? shit.

which brings me to my next Big Thing Point,

"...if you are to die well, you must live well," said his holiness the dalai lama.

because, we are to conclude, the end is the only certainty on this crazy trip. well. what's that then? living well? by my book (idealistically speaking), its riding, music, whisky, full moons, love as it comes, stories in process, stories completed, cigarettes, mood enhancing drugs (to be used intermittently) and completely living on the edge while at the same time being a Responsible Mother, a Loyal Wife, and a physically (like doing daily exercise, preferably yoga (box still to be ticked), for at least twenty minutes, minimum, so you are overwhelmed by happy feel god (or good)hormones...what are they called again?) and mentally (centered, bright, happy, emotionally stable and intelligent, patient) healthy, compassionate (always understanding what its like to be anyone else and making a difference to alleviate human suffering - get mega browny points for this apparently and evolve much quicker although gurus past and present don't like you to think about it this way but i can't help it. i do.) being. well. do the two match? hardly. in fact barely at all. so you kind of end up in a muddy pool in the middle. or you sway radically between the two, on a steady crazed remote controlled pendulum, verging on schizophrenia. my poor children.

(they seem to be doing rather well on it though, i think....anyone?)

at any point in the giant pendulum swing of life, when i start veering too far away from the muddy middle, clinging desperately like a colobus monkey to the huge gong bit, i scurry back to the bookshelf, grab anything orange and purple with his holiness the dalai lama's face or name on it. and read.and think. and try harder....but even better, i remember the words of johnnie b who assured me, no matter what, no matter where the mind goes, that i (me me me!) would always find The Center again. such calming words. and actually i believe him. if he can, anyone can! love you johnnie soul evolving b. love you. your words have given me more courage than the dalai lama's. they float behind me as i race out, like balloons, their tender strings clutched in my aging hands. or when i gloomily sit looking for nirvanic shine at the end of the ploughed up fields. in the gouged out hill. in the deforested, littered eroding field next to the factory. it lies, the glowing auric light of nirvana, under the shrinking tangled forests on the slopes of meru. under the disappearing glaciers on kilimanjaro.

no really. i am fine. really. so centered in fact that i am going riding. so toodely then. will finish this later.

oh no. apparently i'm not. i got the time wrong. i told mwali (our long suffering syce) in my finest centered swahili (read shamefully appallingly atrocious swahili), that we would be riding at ten. now. in swahili, you have to convert the time back by seven hours AND remember your numbers. moja, mbili, tatu, nne, tano...etc etc.challenging for even a godlike multi tasker like myself. so for years i just couldn't get it...i just couldn't do it fast enough...minusing seven hours from the present. i would stand there saying saaaaaaaaaa, um, saaaaaaaaaa, errrgh." fidgeting with my fingers and bottle tops and counting beans, until either the person bored and confused simply walked off or i said in clipped english "oh fuck it. we will be coming at ten o clock ok? thanks awfully. bye bye then"....
this was insufferable UNTIL some brilliant person (think it was a child) told me that all you had to do was look at a clock (with a face) and go directly symmetrically opposite and there was the time in swahili. so for example, ten o clock would be four (saa nne), or twelve o clock would be 6 (saa sita). simple. oh my, how absolutely clever and life changing. i was joyous and felt liberated buoyant.

well. i got it wrong again this morning. (even after being analogically enlightened about 3 months ago or was it 6?) the horses have left for greener pastures..i had said two. and not 4. oh well. boo hiss. can't be helped. two it shall be. (which is, now, let's see, saa nane - 8)

go figure.

it has given me the chance to finish this jabbering lengthy (lashings of apologies all round) post.

because its sunday. because i am feeling in a, um, singularly different state of mind, we will not, oh best beloveds, be having The Kitchen Board. instead we will have Gabriella Lara Rosa Doria's Sunday Quotes. they are, for now, entirely more thought provoking than the usual Kitchen Board.

GABRIELLA LARA ROSA DORIA'S SUNDAY QUOTE - um, sunday, a week-end in february 09.

"i need a boy to help. catching worms is like fishing and stuff."

"its no use playing with sad people."

so put those in your wise pipe and smoke 'em.

toooooooooooodely old pip, You. bisous. X .X. X. long deeply compassionate ones. j


family affairs said...

Holy shit - how'd you manage to have so many thoughts on a Sunday morning - this could mean you've just had another all nighter and you're stiill flying OR you went to bed too early and your brain can't cope. I have much more simple Sunday morning thoughts. "My head hurts", "did I say anything rude to anyone" "where are my clothes" the photos of your well adjusted children Lx Very thought provoking post. Lxxx

family affairs said...

ps but might have to come back and read it when I'm feeling less hungover Lx

SafariB said...

Ha ha - family affairs, I ditto that "holy shit!"...

Great great ramblings madam Janelli! p.s. The Tibetan book of the living and dying is also a Fav of mine - read from it much whilst my dad was on his journey to the other side.

Thanks for blowing the cobwebs out. Gorgeous pics..

xx B

Mama Shujaa said...

Mawazo mengi. The mama trying to eke out a living, killed. Survival. Poverty. Some with more, others with barely nothing. Hard not to grow disillusioned (not that The Mythical Place does not exist, per se). But then with enchanting folks like Gabriella who keep it real, makes it easier....

Ngoma za maisha kipenzi,

It is saa kumi na mbili (12) in the morning here, yaani it's six a.m. :-)

Mama S.

Dumdad said...

"It's no use playing with sad people."

Hear, hear!

What is the meaning of life? Dunno. Next question.

Happy Sunday!

Jeannie said...

You have a super wise daughter. Toss out all the other stuff (not the dalai lama, no no, keep him) and listen to her. Catching worms is indeed something for which you need boys. And sad people are not fun to play with. All the wisdom of the world, right there.

I do hope you got your ride. And thank you for commenting on mine - I just went back there today. I will write all about the North Coast... today it is all shining and green and, oh joy, Not Humid.

Miranda said...

Bloody hell J!

Oh and I DO believe it was me me me that taught you the Swahili time thing....

Great pics. heh heh

Miranda said...

In fact no, I said it was 6 hours diff and 11 is 5 and 8 is 2 and 6 is 12 and YOU said "oh so its like exacty opposite when u look at the clock face"

Bla bla bla Whatever!

Eliza said...

Babe, it's 5.15pm up here - the mountain looks fab. It's Sunday. Yup. But next week, Friday in fact, we'll be galloping our wondrous steeds on Kili again...cannot cannot wait. Here's to big skies and clouds, and fiery horses, and dinner around the camp fire with oodles of chilled wine, and us all out there under all of it. Can't wait... Exxx

karen said...

wow!!! awesome! i really enjoyed your "living well" section... oh and the pics of the kids! gorgeous & fab quotes from GLRD :) xx

Janelle said...

lulu and brigette (is there a b in there somewhere apart from the beginning? never sure.). this is what comes from No Alcohol and very late nights with lots of coffee and many cigatrettes. not sure which is healthier, come to think of it. (your late nights or mine?) anyway. all of this comes from being loved. and spending lots of time on my own, in my head. xxx tjrs j

mama shujaa...jamani. love your comments! swahili time is VERY complicated, lets face it! love always x j

DD and but what exactly IS sad? yes yes happy sundays all round i feverishly hope. just back from a ride on the spotted horse and am dancing dancing! xxx j always of course.

mo mo mo! YES IT WAS YOU!!!! and remembered exactly right. we were sitting in the lounge, hey? and we realized it all on the silver clock on the mantlepiece, hey? OH OH OH YOU BRILLIANT BRILLIANT CHILD!! huge love xxx joh ps. unsure what the Bloody Hell is it, jesus wtf? anyway, loving you always x

eliza i can't wait. the spotty deladeladehli when beautifully this afternoon..he's in training for the week-end..for those massive soul shifting views! oh i can't wait! xxx j

thanks karen. yeah. well its important to live well, isn;t it? so we can die well. its a fact. lots of love always xxx j

Tessa said...

Beautiful child. And wise too. Please tell her that there is this weird mazungu lady who lives in a cold country, balancing on a blip of memories, who will help her find worms because she went fishing in the river at the bottom of the garden and that she ate a shangalorlor by mistake once because she thought it was a chocolate.

There are no shadows to tell the time here because the sun is shy. That's probably why I can't make myself belong even if I look at the clock backwards.

Did you know James Maynard when he lived in Arusha? My sister and I drank wine with him near a waterfall on the slopes of Mount Meru a while back. We talked then about the Dalai Lama.

SafariB said...

Oh Janelle, you give me so many laughs!! ha ha.. Bribette would be funny, its Bridget.

Ah lots of coffee.... ummmmmmm... thats in the danger zone for me - I turn into something rather scary :) But it works for you... great blog J xxx :)

Janelle said...

you know, tessa i do know james! a little. he lives on west kilimanjaro. unless i am thinking of another james. this james comes from zimbabwe? x j

now. what is most intriguing is that i posted this this morning. and it was most definitely sunday morning. but it says i did it yesterday. is this american time or? oh no. not the time thingy again. jesus. x j

Janelle said...

heh heh! whoops. yes meant d. no. i'm not dyslexic. but i'm. oh whatever...! xx j

Lori ann said...

brilliant. you are f**ing brilliant.

and you knew the answer to your question all along. It was there at the end... in the face of your child.

lifting my glass of whisky to you deardearjanelli.

Elizabeth said...

Much love from New York.
Much too much fascinating and wonderful stuff here to say anything sensible about
love your existential musings,
The children are amazing

Val said...

whooooo that was a big giant roller coaster or thoughts that made me smile and think,; and Gabi's quotes would make great Tshirt slogans!!!
no use playing with sad people INDEED - so true x
and i love the spaceman outfit off to save the world?
pure genius at work here :-)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Listen to that child - children are so often the wisest.
And no, playing with sad people does not do much to uplift anyone - unless one learns the lessons in their sadness but then, is that one's lesson to learn or their's? Aha...
Hmm, I've been reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying too, confirms for me still more strongly that as much as I admire and respect and heed many of the words of the DL, I still turn back, time and again to the teachings of the taoist masters. But then, I suppose, there are things to learn from every tradition, assuming we can find those lessons behind the facades that too often get stuck on.
Ultimately, there is just "is" - it's always now and here is multiversal.
Not bad for a Monday morning.

Mud in the City said...

Wow! I have jetlag and am wholly unsure as to what time I am in the coutry I am in or the country I ahve left. Trying to convert that to Swahili time has made by brain fizz and pop. I'm off for a class of red to see if that makes things clearer!

Have a gallop for me!

Braja said...

love the 'sad people' thing :))

Reya Mellicker said...

The mythical place is in your heart and voice, in the sparkling eyes of your children, somewhere all around your horses.

You shine like a star, Janelle. Thank you for joining the rest of us on this planet at this moment in time.

Seriously. Thank you!

Janelle said...

THANK YOU REYA. i try. i try. sometimes i am sad. only sometimes. . . shine on you crazy diamond, is one of my national anthems! xxx j

Angela said...

How can I download any of your music, Janelle? Your self-sung music?

Janelle said...

oh angela. you can't. it's very underground. in fact, so underground it sits on my shelf and about 349 other people's shelves...miranda might be technologically advanced enough to digitally satellite it through to you. or alternatively. i could post you a copy? yes? email me your address....thanks for your interest. xxx j

tpe said...

Janelli Janelloo of Janzania – hello. This is disturbingly good, sad (in the good way) and beautiful.

But listen - how uncool would it be to pick a fight with your daughter? I’m thinking it’s not going to make me terribly popular, for sure, but, well, you know.

I think she’s straight down the middle wrong, sorry. Plus, I don’t see this line as precocious wisdom – as most people here seem to think – but merely as the (understandably, given her age) weightless words of someone who lacks life-experience. Everyone is worth playing with, surely, given the chance? Why discriminate against the sad guys? I’m telling you, they know the best games. (No, they don’t, not unless you want to play therapy – but still.)

And, very personally speaking, I’ve found that happy people – especially those who profess their happiness the loudest – tend to be amongst the most ceaselessly dulling and selfish people around. (Don’t get me wrong, though, her remark was super aching funny, in an ouch ouch ouch kind of a way.)

But to whom did she address these remarks? Suddenly, you see, I’m thinking it might have been you. Oh dear. That would open up a whole new level of delicious tragedy.

Pass the ball, mummy.

I can’t, daughter, I’m far too deep in thought.

Oh, for pity’s sake, it’s no use playing with sad people….

That sort of thing.

Anyway, you can slap me about at your leisure, of course, but this was a beautiful thing you wrote. And did this conversation with two people take place in your head? If so, both of you seem to have your heads screwed on right. Which is to say, not too tightly.

I think it is a metronome, you know. It certainly sounds like one (I’m talking about Blackbird here, sorry) and it keeps the time in a very simple and gorgeously desolating manner. Onwards we go, tick tock tick, and there’s not a whole heap can be done about it. Or, in fact, anything. Sadness makes sense.

(Although the word "sadness" itself doesn't really cover terribly much, does it? I'm just using it here as a useful catch-all.)

Thank you for sharing the gobsmacking rampage.

Kind regards and biscuits etc.....


tpe said...


When I said:"...and, very personally speaking, I’ve found that happy people blah blah blah...."

I should have made it clearer that I was talking specifically about adults. Children are allowed to be happy. Plenty time for the other stuff later.

Toot. x.

Janelle said...

zebra juice.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

nice pic of the evening stars janelle. I can see that you have fabulous night skies, and little or no light polution. Hand held exposure, a couple of seconds?

Janelle said...

hey ernest. tripod. xx j