Tuesday 12 February 2019

Thoughts in Progress

It must have happened about a third into my run a few days ago. I was listening to my mp3 player as I usually do, my training getting more Brighton-Marathon-focused these days, each song propelling me up, incline after incline. Then, all of sudden a particular track kicked in and I felt a strange sensation. For some reason, the lyrics seemed to unveil a secret hitherto buried: Way over yonder/Is a place that I know
Where I can find shelter/From a hunger and cold/And the sweet tastin' good life/Is so easily found/A way over yonder, that's where I'm bound.

I must have listened to Carole King’s Way Over Yonder a thousand times before. One of my favourite records is the Tapestry album. But on this occasion King’s timeless composition took on a different meaning.

January has come and gone and for those who make New Year resolutions, a fresh start along with practical strategies is de rigueur. How to identify and maintain willpower, stick to a plan, set one goal at a time and learn from failure, are some of the elements that make up this “New Year, New Me” approach.

Not for me, though. For starters, I do not make New Year resolutions. Secondly, for the last four or five years, I have begun to reach more into myself, to attempt to deepen an understanding of who I am. This is where King’s song comes into the picture. A first listen (and multiple ones after, perhaps) might make one think that Way Over Yonder is a religious-themed tune. All this talk of “garden of wisdom” and “the land where the honey runs” invites a Bible-friendly reading of the song.

And yet, for me, this garden of wisdom is to be found within myself and not in a holy book. It is the place where I would like to believe I have planted myriad plants, flowers and trees throughout my forty-seven years (and counting) and which I need to tend to regularly.

Last summer I began to impose a social media curfew on myself. There was a strong reason for it which I will not discuss here (no, there was no addiction. It was more creativity-related). There were such positive side-effects, however, that I decided to extend the curfew beyond my six-week-long, annual leave. Add the meditation I have been doing for the last three or four years, plus mindfulness, plus a more positive attitude in general (less anger, more thinking) and my body and mind together have become Carole King’s land where the honey runs.

Without wanting to sound too preachy, sometimes we look at external elements to help us keep a healthy equilibrium of brawn and brains. We tend to forget – and that’s happened to me – that the real balance lies within. Start from within and everything else falls into place. Well, most of the time.

© 2019


  1. That is a powerful epiphany to reach - and a lovely peaceful photo to illustrate it.
    Good luck with the marathon, and your new found balance, peace and joy.

  2. Such a lovely post, all around. Thanks for sharing this with us. It's also the second reference to the Tapestry LP in as many days for me. I think it's a sign. ;)

  3. It is said by some that happiness comes from inside a person, not from things without. Perhaps, that is why happiness is so illusory to me and a momentary thing. Study, searching, self-examination .... these things and others almost certainly create a better person and help maintain one's balance no matter what might be encountered in life.

    Great post, CiL ....

  4. It is neat how an old song can “hit us” fresh. I like your limits on social media—it does cut into creativity.


  5. Glad you have found a good balance for you.

  6. I feel like I conjured you. I was just thinking about you earlier today, wondering if you still blogged. Then -- bang! -- here you are! Thanks for posting; I always enjoy your witty, informative meanderings!

  7. Podemos escuchar la misma canción, pasear por el mismo lugar y de repente apercebirlo de una forma distinta, me has hecho recordar un escrito que hice hace algunos años de una sensación que tuve en un momento dado.
    Un abrazo.

  8. This may sound strange, but I have noticed a change in the way I think and behave since my husband died. I guess the confidence I once had is changing.

  9. And who can forget "You've got a friend"?
    it's strange how an old song can hit and lift us. happens to me often. enjoyed your post, a real delight to read. :)
    btw a lovely photo (your bike, i presumed) to accompany the post.

  10. I'm pleased you seem to have found a balance that suits you, but it is true everything starts / comes from within.
    I liked the picture at the end of your post … a tranquil scene.

    All the best Jan

  11. Thanks for your comments. The pic was taken on the Hertford Union Canal, east London. Yes, that's my baby in the photo. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  12. What a well written post. And the picture is both serene and beautiful.
    Happy Valentine's Day.

  13. These are good resolutions whether they coincide with New Year or not. I've also resolved to spend less time online so I can finish my WIP. My other resolution is to be more punctual IRL. If I'm usually 5 minutes late, I could be consistently punctual.

  14. I love Tapestry, too. Lovely to see you pop up on my blog, kiddo. A haitus can be very rejuvenating.......happy to see you back. I am still clacking away at the keys, lol.

  15. A social media curfew is something I too have toyed with, mainly limiting my use of social media to the browser on my home computer with mixed results... Finding my balance within is yet more impetus to get on that trail...

  16. Back when I was a Zen student, my teacher often talked about the need to step back from things that "take you out of yourself," or divert you from the real business of living. Social media probably falls into that category!

  17. Hace un año estuve de vacaciones en Londres. Un saludo desde Andalucía España

  18. Sometimes, we can find inspiration in the strangest places. Music is an excellent source, and it's exciting when you hear an old song with fresh ears and insight. Since you're the same age as one of my sons, I can say this: Young man, you are very wise for your years. It took me a little longer to find that inner peace and balance.

    Welcome back!

  19. A wonderfully inspiring post, CiL!
    I know exactly where you are coming from. After being diagnosed with breast cancer I, too, began to look within for the strength to carry on. And I found it!
    I could see how "outwardly focused" I had become...to the extent that my nerves were stretched to breaking point, through trying in vain to live up to what I, and others, believed I should be.
    Now I meditate and practice mindfulness regularly.
    It has turned my life around...😊😊
    So good to have you back...

    Greetings from Hampshire!

  20. I never make New Tear Resolutions either

    I love the Tapestry album, should listen to it again

  21. All we really are is a mind, whatever a mind is...

  22. Hi ACIL - yes we all need to take the time to balance ourselves ... congratulations - and long may it last for you ... we can do way too much - most of which is unnecessary ... take care - cheers Hilary

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