Let it be

Let it all go. See what stays .


I had a flashback. A flashback to the homeless women who had passed out on the street and didn’t want any help. And I thought; how am I being helpless?

I had just walked past a pile of milkshakes, of plants, a job, shelving, books.

I just want to meet someone to love. And be loved by. And no amount of plants, milkshakes, employment or shelving will help with that.

I am on the receiving end of offers of help. I’m in the phase of let it be. There is nothing that cannot be done. I am bound by my physical, legal, schedule of time and constraint of others.

I am not holding myself back.


Looking back at myself with a squint what I really see is someone in crisis. Both at a value level and existential. There is not a lot of purpose or value to my existence.

And I don’t see a future with one either. I can motivate myself to move round, but ultimately as I found at the start of this crisis, it is all meaningless.

I could try to rewrite the rules of HR software, I could push ecocandles into peoples hands, I could place requirements into a spreadsheet, I could literally aim for the moon and try to become an astronaught. I could become a nurse, doctor, cook, waiter, publican, property developer, academic.

But none of the processes to get there are enjoyable or tolerable.

I could get a dog, a cat, a hamster, a fish tank. I could move home, or country, or back to my parents house.

None of these options bring any sense of joy or meaning. Therefore the problem is existential.

Good fortune

I am able, semi-willing, I am alive and there is more ahead of me, than behind. There is meaning everywhere. The sun is shining. I can sing as I ride on my bike. Shout everytime I encounter a rainbow pedestrian crossing. I can keep moving forward.

I can appreciate all the things I can do.

There may be many sunflowers and much good fortune. There may be all the gratitude, inventiveness, resilience, perspective, trial and error I can give and receive.

But ultimately, sometimes, feelings won’t shift. Those are the ones that scream at you forever. This one is something like; there is something very very wrong in my universe and I need to keep looking for it. And I won’t stop looking.

I feel I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.

Rose form the movie Titanic

Triggered by an overactive brain and never ending anxiety, I will never stop looking. I will never trust the reality around me. I will only tolerate it.

From the bottom of my soul, out through my mind and heart; I cannot live with the contradictions of myself or the world I live in.

And as I am regularly told; there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I am powerless in a world made up mostly of hunger, greed, sadness, want, war, violence, indifference, ignorance, patriarchy, tradition. And so much more.

From the top of my voice; the system is broken. And I am part of, and partially responsible for, a worldwide systemic system which oppresses the poor, fuels war, reinforces class, race and religious conflicts, places white men at the top, executes individuals for any manner of things. That silences the righteous; silences and conceals the truth. Puts money and profit, before the value of people. That fails to learn. But… cute cats on Instagram. Politics and human rights are unsexy and should never be spoken about.

I am powerless and I am angry. I am angry that more people are not more angry. That people see their own convienience before the needs or others, or their right to protest, or be heard. I am angry that people are uncompromising when it comes to cherry picking individual challenges over big ideas. See the problems before the opportunity.

Strike, protest, scream, jump, make love, art, peace, poetry, write. The city and its surfaces are your canvas. Stop with “10 Foot”. Express everything humanity can be, not just Kardashian looks and Dua Lipas eyebrows. Be interesting for not how you look, but how you came to be. Hold the interests of others in your hearts not number of followers.

After all, as I frequently say; we have nothing to loose but our chains. But then maybe as Paul McCartney says. Just let it be.

Keeping shit together

Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it, you won’t make it through the night.

Princess Leia, Star Wars

Princess Leia is undoubtedly my favourite character from Star Wars. Without veering too much into gender studies and roles in Hollywood, she was the only leader out of all the resistance to see things through all the way to the end.

When all hope was lost, she was the character to keep shit together in the form of a small hodgepodge of people, the last of the resistance to spark a light in the darkness.

It is not ruthless ambition that brings power. But it the relentless living and pursuit of hope.

Peckham Streetart, since shamelessly defaced.


We often underplay hope, the brave and the true heroes. Keeping shit together is a balance between pragmatism and blind faith. And emotionally it is a hard journey.

Often the greatest prizes come at the greatest costs. Keeping my shit together through that process is hard.

I cannot count the times in my life when I felt so emotionally disturbed that I needed to head to the nearest toilet cubicle, my safe haven of choice, to let out the steam. Process whatever it was I’m going through and continue.

It is always important to me to be completely honest and self aware of my emotional state. And to also let that play out in life. There is no strength in displaying strength all the time.

Making choices

When making choices I use inspiration from different leaders:

  • Do I need to do this right now / what’s the cost of doing nothing right now?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • What do I feel and think is right?
  • Have I exhausted all avenues?
  • Have I asked for help / sought advice?
  • Have I explored every Avenue?
  • Can I live with the cost of this decision?
  • Is it better just to make the decision now and fix forward if I am wrong?
  • Is there an opportunity later to undo something?
  • Have I spoken to someone about my feelings?
  • Am I catastrophizing or projecting hope?

Often when I can’t keep my shit together I have to reason with myself that right now doesn’t really matter. Almost anything can be redone, remade, undone, changed.

When the potential outcomes are limitless, there often isn’t room to project the future in a realistic way.

The real challenge is just to step back, and realise that now is not next. The next is made by the next step.

And on that note, keep moving. Keep going. Keep making choices or not. In the infinity that could happen, anything could.

Virtual Insanity

Futures made of virtual insanity, now
Always seem to be governed by this love we have
For these useless, twisting, of our new technology
Oh, now there is no sound, for we all live underground


We all have uniforms. I was out feeling very uncomfortable in my own. A clash of whatever I could get out the wardrobe and match what I thought would be my day. I couldn’t find anything, started my day late, and felt all of place.

As I stood handing out leaflets I noticed everyone in their uniforms. This is how I want to show myself today. Suits, hippie, vintage, sporty, standard, builder, delivery, trader.

And we take this to a new level. Our virtual identity. And I really don’t like having one. Mine would be something like; I’m anxious, I want to cry, I’ve felt sick, I’m tired, I wanna complain, everything is fake. I don’t want your sympathy.

But virtually I’m all smiles and travel and all the good stuff. I haven’t posted for a while. And I tend to obsess over my own posts. And I don’t really like it. And because I’m so poor at being “virtual” to most people I don’t exist anymore.


As I stared out people were obsessed with their phones. And screens. And everywhere there are screens. And everyone is too busy looking at their screens. Talking to their screens. Reading their screens. Shopping on their screens.

Virtual, virtual, virtual. I run my life around my phone. Everything is fine through screens. And I am sick of screens. Staring at them. Sitting at them. Touching them. Handling them. Charging them. Being told I’m headed in the wrong direction, I’m late, I’ve missed an appointment, there are 192 missed notifications.


I can’t be outside and I cannot be virtual. I am not here or there. And I am virtually and physically invisible. The only thing that seems to matter is ticking off all the boxes and completing all the admin tasks. Then the noise disappears. I am nothing less and nothing more than the paperwork that I show people.

I am what everyone else wants. I am what everyone else has ever told me. I don’t have my own wants, or dreams, or whatever. And why should I? After all it only really matters is that I appear as I could be, rather than really be.

And that’svirtual insanity.

Made with Human Love

Whenever I make anything, I stir love into it, I knead love into it, so when I present it, it’s special.

Val, Great British Bake Off

Following on from human want. And human need. There is human love. The best things are made with love; with passion; with care; where the product is more important than everything else around it. And it can carry a much greater meaning through what the product was intended to be or someones motivation to create it.

There’s a lot of self love going on in my life. It takes a lot to; trust, move forward and commit to action. To be brutally honest with myself. To challenge myself. To stand-up, defend, be self critical. To be compassionate and kind. Sometimes I just want to cry because it is too hard to self-love.

Around me I feel sadness. I feel pain. I feel sorry. There aren’t always a lot of smiles or laughter. My days are full of admin. And I can’t think or feel for anything that will make me any more motivated to do anything.

Right now

Right now when I look at things I see price, I see impact, I see what others will think, I see a lot of decisions that aren’t really mine. I am powerless right now over the outcomes in my life.

As I stroll through the day what I hear is the accountant, the manager, the therapist, the enemy with a good mix of paranoia.

Today I can’t go outside. For several days just walking about has inspired a feeling of sickness, from the bottom of my stomach. People have been staring at me. And I haven’t felt comfortable in my own skin.

As I walk about I see all the things I could do, but truly I see no joy in them. It literally equates to more bee stings. I try to cover this by singing, writing, exercising or focussing in one spot so I don’t have to see anyone else.

From that place

From that place it doesn’t matter what I say to myself. I can’t reason with myself. There is sometimes no act of love that will shift the other emotions that we are feeling. That takes time.

I guess that’s an admission that right now I don’t have the emotional spirit to actually take care of myself or to just deal with the monotony of life.

Only start baking when you’re ready. Self-patience is a virtue. And waiting will make the the end product better.



Sign in a shop

I’m maintaining a list of my to do’s on Trello to aide my self-organisation. Every day I flick through the cards and move some of them along. Every now and again I will prioritise the cards putting the most important things at the top of the list.

What scares me about this process is how administration of life seems to take priority. There isn’t a lot of fun at the top.

I thought to get some inspiration and find a few fun things I wanted. I took a stroll down Oxford Street.

I found the experience hollow. I found it scary. I found it crowded. Everyone was pandering after the same things. Fashion was currently new items made to look retro from the 90s and 70s.

I’m guilty of humans wants too, and my many excesses. But my perspective has changed.

Bittersweet opportunity

I worked at a famous doughnut factory yesterday. I started throwing the waste from its shops into a food compactor. I counted three big skips of sugary doughnuts. I couldn’t get over the waste. None of it was going to landfill. All of it was going to be reused. But it was still unwanted and unpurchased product; waste.

I was also competing with hoverflies, bees and wasps. I got stung twice. I couldn’t get to sleep as I still felt them hovering around me when I went to bed. I’m not sure what the workplace thought of me yelling in fear as I emptied the food trollies, bins and packaging into the skip.

Each individual doughnut is handled with care, attention, and by hand. The dough, the icing, the filling, the packaging, the labels, the fold in each box is done by hand. When I started the packing of boxes at the end of the day, it felt really bittersweet knowing that some of this product would go in the skip tomorrow.

I came across the companies doughnut stand when I was out and about. I couldn’t find myself to eat one. But I did stare at the packets and thought, yes I packed the second row. And my big finger probably smudged the chocolate icing on some of those doughnuts.

Do people care?

This experience made me think. Every brick, window, piece of food, item of clothing, toy, bric-a-brac has been handled by a human at some point in its life.

And all I could see in the crowds was human want.

When I look at the city as a whole I see the human process of creating it; from the architect, city planner, builder, engineer, electrician, plumber, the people who processed the raw materials, the inspector, realtor, to the people who decorate the insides; everything is placed there through human touch and process.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently. Our purchases can change the entire process of making something; from the cotton field, to factory, it’s shipping, distribution to the shop and finally to wearing it.

But truly establishing what is ethically, morally, environmentally, financially, emotively best is a much harder trade-off than it should be.

I bought some leather shoes for work. I won’t tell you the thought processes I have over whether leather or plastic is better. I disagree with animal product. I disagree with the fact that if I get a plastic shoe, I will wear it into the ground. From there it could go to landfill or incinerator. Probably creating toxic fumes in the process.

The supply chain of those shoes probably has child and human slavery in it. No matter what I buy, the complexity of global commodity markets often mean, that at some point child or human slavery was involved in the making of it. And across everything I buy; a slave has worked for me; producing the sum of it. And it is unavoidable.

From all the studies I have seen, the claims; no one can categorically say that it is “perfect”. At best, any claim is: we’ve done our best at x, y or Z. Claims that this organisation is against animal cruelty or animal testing are pretty thin, given that anything will at some point been tested on a human or animal at some point; by someone. Even vanilla has been tested on animals.

Human guilt

And it is with that, that each purchase I make has some form of guilt.

I don’t really know if the humans involved in the making of this purchase all have the same values as I do. If each human was motivated by greed or love. Who was paid what, if that was fair, how sustainable the organisation is. And even if I should buy something that is new or virgin.

Most importantly I don’t know the buyers who buy the product and control many of the decisions about the quality, provenance, benefits, impact of the product through their price controls.

Back to that doughnut production line. At some point someone created a new business case for a conveyer belt. I could understand why; the faster workers work, the more productive they become. Which lowers cost and increases profit.

Sadly as a worker I couldn’t keep up with the engineered process. And each person on the line was working at a different speed. We are all human; and we are all different.

And when I begin to see the product beyond its presentation, design, marketing, sale process. I see something that is human. And I feel for that product. How do I really know that it is making a difference to someone? How do I really know that everyone involved in the making of that product has been respected, loved, paid and treated fairly? How do I really know that greed or love made the product what it is?

I can’t. And so I struggle to pick anything. Because really the entire process of making any product is too complex to understand in the moment of beginning to like the look of it.


Make a choice, any choice, and move on


I sat in the middle of a traffic island for 30 minutes today. A metaphor; the island was the safest place I thought I could be. Man has made his own island.

I had come out to chase an appointment, collect something from the post office and buy a black t-shirt.

But I couldn’t bring myself to make a decision. I felt, a little alienated. Uncertain. Unsure. Not sure what was driving me forward. paranoid as people stared on at the weird man sat on the curb of the traffic island. Wondrously lost.

The choices were really simple; but I just couldn’t bring myself to make one. All I could think about was the feeling of my stomach wanting to churn everything up. I wanted to go back to bed. I wanted to sit in a dark room until everything went away. I wanted to cry my eyes out until I had rubbed my face sore.

Which reminded me, I wasn’t that hungry. I hadn’t really eaten anything yet and nothing was making me hungry. I browsed the food sections of the stores, thought about coffee, thought about a cold drink but couldn’t really pick anything.

Just do it

In the end I forced myself to have some chocolate and complete my chores. But I didn’t want to be here, right now.

It is done; but I wondered the high street thinking; where has the joy gone.

I know I need to do something for myself; but I can’t really figure out what that is. Something for myself has become day to day admin and maintenance. And I am so bored of it.

I know that whatever I chose, right now where I am I won’t enjoy it. It won’t be a pleasure but a chore. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m depressed. Maybe I’m lonely. Maybe I’m hungry. Maybe I’m jealous. I’m probably angry.

But I could sit still for 30min it’s in the middle of traffic, gridlock and people going about their chores. And really understand what I was experiencing, even if I couldn’t make it surface.


Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they really can


I was supposed to be at my GP’s half an hour ago. I was supposed to have gone to a work thingy. I am supposed to be gathering lots of evidence to prove I am unwell. I am supposed to have got some new glasses. I supposed to have all my bills nearly paid on time. I was hoping to go on holiday next week.

But right now I’m laying naked in my bed. I want to curl up into a ball and hide.

To the outside world I am functioning. I’m moving forward doing lots of stuff. In my world I have blisters on my feet, I’m exhausted, every part of my body aches, I’m broke financially as can be, I’m spending more time doing admin for other people than I am speaking to people on a social level.

Never take advantage of someone’s joy or happiness, even their smile. Add to it.

It would be better off if I was…

Sometimes in my head rather than dealing with life and moving forward, I think I should just do nothing and live in the constant worse state of myself.

But because I choose to push myself really hard, because I choose to take risks, because I choose to remove any sense of self ambition. I am expected to all be happy and good and fine.

It really isn’t. Most of the time part of me is crying, or craving something, or replacing people with ice cream.

I spent all of June eating nothing more than Haribo, satsumas and ice poles. I didn’t speak to anybody. I didn’t see anyone I knew. I was sick afterwards and no one gave a flying fuck. I also shaved my hair off.

Just cry

People want people to break and snap in two. Or that’s how I experience life. Push him to the edge, no push him over the edge. And I bounce at the bottom like a bungee rope pulling me back.

I don’t have to react or respond to any situation in a way that someone thinks I should. I’m not your puppet. But sometimes all people want to see is a clown.

Right now I’m fed up. I’m fed up of pushing myself only to be ignored. Well I’m going to stop pushing myself. Why should I?


ADDENDUM: There is nothing that I want or need right now. There are no dreams. There is no future goal. There is no plan. The only thing I have is people chipping on my shoulder everyday asking me to pay a bill, or that I owe them money, or that I need evidence. That’s all I have in my life right now.

For the lack of ambition

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff

William Shakespeare

If all it took was ambition, then life would be so much more easier. But ambition is made of so much more than goals:

  • Energy
  • Positivity
  • Optimistic outlook
  • Coaching
  • Learning
  • Can do, will do
  • Pushing without limits
  • Realism
  • Altruism
  • Others
  • Motivation
  • Self care
  • Blood, sweat, tears, joy, recognition, reward

Right now if you were to ask me what my ambition was. I wouldn’t know. I like my options open. My ambition is to change and grow in whatever way I am shaped. By whatever I find I enjoy. Discovery.

I realised I can’t live a life where I want any certain outcome in my head. It’s too much to imagine. Instead I need to discover the right process.

Do not aim for what you love, but love the process of getting somewhere

Jay Shetty, Urban Monl

Goals without motivation to enjoy getting there is hard. It is impossible to achieve any goal if you don’t like the process of getting there.

The process and doing is the very graft that achieves an outcome. And there has been a lot of graft in my life when I reach an outcome and feel disappointment.

Was that it?

Reward comes from the process of growth. Not the reward or ambition in itself.

I like to develop photos manually. There is a certain magic and reward in manually making a picture come to life. The level of control and in a flash of 20 seconds as you dip the photo paper into the developer; the unknown becomes real.

It is with great anxiety from placing the film in the camera through to processing it that I never know the outcome of that shot. And the same photo can be developed in many ways. Small nudges, small changes, a slight change in exposure, the temperature of the development chemicals can alter the outcome.

Amsterdam, in the snow. Manual photo.

And that’s the realisation of the process. My main challenge is to concentrate on each step without flickering from one thing to the next.

And looking back at all the “bad” photos, I only have to save, remember, recall and share the best ones.

That’s a process of trial and error. Of learning, rather than fixed outcomes.

Lost Loss

Life is like a mirror, it never reflects more than you put into it.


Categorically, singularly, completely I am lost. I am torn between elation and grief. I am both exhausted and energetic. I am boundless and I am tied. I am alone but not alone. I am uncertain and sure. I am impatient and patient.

I have everything to give each day. And yet. There is part of me that nags that this is not enough.

It is not enough because I really want some ice cream. A cigar. I want to drink without feeling guilty. I want a holiday, without spending any money. I want to say yes to every social, without having to worry about time, money, effort, appearance, anxiety.

My sense of freedom. An inflatable unicorn, pool, cigar, mojito, dance, music and a few naked gods around me. And the sun.

My sense of idealism. A unicorn to help, save, contribute, ideate, to challenge, to disagree, more than fair; equitable. A vision, a dream, the ideal, the optimist. The never ending energy to fight for justice.

My sense of humour, friendship, kinship and love. Completely forgiving, completely openminded, completely compassionate, completely empathetic, completely ready to turn the cheek. Completely ready to burn political correctness. Completely ready to share every inch of my life. Completely flexible. Open, honest, courageous.

My sense of dignity. A hope that others can be more dignified than they really are. That for one second we could see the other point of view.

Forgiveness. Life should be as light as possible. And no one should carry around a sack of hate. A sack of resentment. Pain and hurt. Only pack the good stuff, the optimism, the hopes, wishes, bests. Ain’t nobody got time for that negative shit.

The fears, tears and anger. Powerful emotions are they. Lead us to the dark side, they can. Strength and power are they too.

Righteous fear, righteous anger. Tears of joy, love, hope, grief, dignity, pride, accomplishment, laughter, fear, sadness, pain, hopes, rebirth, new life, old life, revelations, forgiveness, dreams.

Waiting Room

And then there is waiting. All the things I’ve written; have, can, will, might, could, should happen. But in what order and at what time?

When will fighting become thriving? When will uncertainty become confidence?

When the door closes, a window opens somewhere else.

When will I be able to share? All waiting ends eventually. It’s a matter of finding the window

The Help

This is the London Ambulance Service. We are experiencing a high number of calls. You are on hold.

London Ambulance 999 Service

I was thinking. Thinking about all the challenges ahead as I cycled back from a midnight finish delivering groceries. Life can sometimes feel desperate, but every moment can be greeted with joy.

Cycling down the local high street I spotted a lady. Slumped over. Passed out. Round the corner someone had recently been raped. I had to stop. I had to offer help.

What that was I didn’t know. Her breathing was light. Her appearance unkempt. She hadn’t bathed today. She was under the influence of something. I could barely see her chest move.

As I shook her, she woke. She was alive. Hallelujah. “Do you have somewhere to stay?” I enquired. Her eyes rolled in their socket. “Are you okay? What’s going on?”

“I’m fine I’m just very tired.” She falls back into her slumbering sleep. I shake her.

“Honey, would you like me to call you an ambulance? Do you have somewhere to stay?”

“I don’t need no fucking ambulance. Leave me alone.” Her face is full of disgust.

“You can’t sleep on the street. Do you have somewhere safe to go? Do you know a local hostel?”

“I don’t need to go nowhere.”

“It’s really not safe for you here.” I say with a worried expression. She passes back to sleep.

I call an ambulance. I’m left on hold. “Yes the patient is breathing. She is semi conscious. I’m outside the unicorn pub. On the high street”

“I don’t know where that is” the lady answered on the phone.

“I don’t need an ambulance.” the lady in the street shouts at me.

“Sweetie you’re not staying outside” I answer. “The patient is moving” I say on the phone.

“The patient is moving?”

“She’s not sitting still, she’s on the move. I don’t think she wants an ambulance.”

“Can you confirm that with the patient?”

I glance as the lady walks away, her eyes rolling into the back of the sockets. Her tracksuit bottoms falling down. She doesn’t have a pair of knickers. Her heavy walk clumping from side to side.

“I really don’t think she wants an ambulance, I…”

“Can you confirm that with the patient?”

The patient pulls up her trousers. Flicks her pony tale from side to side, as other bywalkers stare on.

“It’s confirmed”

“We can’t send an ambulance if the patient is moving”

“I know. I’m really sorry.” The emergency call ends.

Accepting Help

Help never comes exactly as it is wanted. Help is often misdirected. But asking or even accepting any help is an act of bravery. It is anti-ego. It is letting go. It is a realisation that things can’t be done alone.

The lady in the street was completely oblivious to her vulnerability. That sleeping overnight on one of the hottest days of the year wasn’t safe. Particularly when under the influence.

Someone had very kindly left behind a packet of crisps and an isotonic drink, which she slurped down quickly whilst rejecting the ambulance.

I was left on the phone speechless. I couldn’t comprehend why someone wouldn’t take action to improve their wellbeing. To protect themselves. To share what was going on. To seek help.

I got back on my bike. I prayed that she would be kept safe. I didn’t speak to her as a cycled past, as she was heading in the direction of the park.

She was moving, breathing and there was a chance that she would be okay. She is not the first person I have found passed out on the street.

Acts of Compassion

Compassion isn’t about solving someone’s problems. Compassion and kindness aren’t about solving everything for someone. Compassion isn’t always giving someone exactly what they want.

It is an act of seeing someone. I see you. I value you. I don’t know what it’s like to be you. I want to help you. What do you need right now?

Sometimes an act of compassion is letting go of what we think an outcome for someone should be.

I learned in AA that the only rock bottom is death. And that we get to choose the moment when we want to stand up and walk in a new direction. When we realise what Einstein said as true. That to repeat something that always leads to the same outcome is insanity.

And sometimes, no matter our worry, anxiety, fears and kind heartedness. We cannot stop someone. They have to see themselves. They have to stand up. And accept the reality.

And as the bystander, that is a painful process. But it is not my life. I may know better. But I also know I can’t change someone unless they are willing to try.

It isn’t the act of accepting help that makes us humble. It is the process that gets us to the point of asking for help. When our world suddenly slips away and we glimmer at the true reality of our crisis.

Sadly, this has real world consequences for some people. And for everyone looking on it’s hard to let go.

For when we remember that people who have sicknesses like alcoholism and addiction; and they are in an active state. We know there and then; they don’t know love, hope, the gift of giving, the joys of being selfish and selfless, the power of creating dreams as your reality.

There is no escape from reality for that person. And that is deep.

Only they can break the cycle. Only they can discover by trial and error what really works for them.

As bystanders we can only offer our support, cheerleading, comfort, shoulders, kisses, hugs perspective.

For the journey that someone goes on is not one made by someone. It is discovered by the self. And made possible by acts of random kindness by others. We navigate. We can access the wisdom of others. We decide what is right.

And that’s a journey.