Well when I said I was going to blog about openness I thought I would have something important to say. Something profound and meaningful. On the cusp of a crisis of conscience I was faced with a dilemma – do I impose on myself the kind of diplomatic censorship I accept as my due on the Northlands? There I am providing a service to a community and were I to be open there it would be a community of one, so I hold my tongue (mostly) and give others the floor. On the rare occasions that I have opened my mouth I have lost members but then I closed it again and they came back.

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(Don’t panic, this isn’t a post about Dom – I just used his negative image as a visual metaphor, he is one of the least negative people I know – in fact this is about me learning to be more like him.)

Negativity is traditionally a stage in a process rather than an outcome in itself. It has value, but it is rare to see it replace positivity as a final product. As a negative is a developmental step in photography, negativity is a developmental step in the evolution of the psyche. In the growth of who we are.

Sadly it is a rather addictive step and one I am only just starting to understand. I have recently had reason to reflect on this because I have noticed a couple of important relationships in my life have been based, to a varying degree, around negativity. The common ground was dislike of people or situations (and the pleasure derived from dwelling on and examining that dislike) and we (I and the two theys) were equally culpable, co-dependent even, in our negativity. Oh yes, occasionally one or other of us would make a break for the fresh air and sunlight of a positive outlook but the other would be sure not to let too many days pass before we dragged our newly optimistic partner back into the slough of despond. But as alluring as this addictive form of relationship is, I can no longer make a place for it, at least when we have through neglect allowed the negativity to become the only common ground. Negativity is as ugly and poisonous as smoking (another addictive old friend whose time passed). If the relationships can’t survive the transformation to positivity they aren’t worth it and I won’t mourn their loss. As it stands now, although I have hope for both relationships, one I believe will survive and grow stronger and one I am afraid won’t. I am not sure why that is so – maybe in one the negativity was an aberration while in another it was all we had. Maybe I sense one friend is just as sick of me of the taste of negativity whilst the other is not yet ready to give up their fix.
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Nothing profund today, just an observation on the loveliness of orchids growing on a tree bough at the start of monsoon season. Actually the title is misleading as this type of orchid is actually an epiphyteand epiphytic organisms usually derive only physical support and not nutrition from their host. But I was thinking that parasites are seen as negative in that they take from the host whilst giving nothing in return. Unless of course we consider beauty to be of value. Maybe this symbiotic relationship is like that of a beautiful young woman with a leafy sugar daddy. He gives support and she offers nothing but her loveliness.
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Friendship, connectedness and the meaning of life

“In Dzogchen, perceived reality is considered to be unreal.” Wikipedia entry on Reality in Buddhism Sorry I am not in the mood for chronology and orderliness. I found this image on my phone today and what shocked by the memory of when and why I took it. As I mentioned in a previous post my dad died on April 13th… exactly a month ago today. Knowing he was ill, but not realising how little time he had left Dom and I had been to see him (and enjoyed a 2 week holiday in England) and had just returned to Thailand when he passed away. We couldn’t both afford to return for the funeral so I went alone. Making the return trip to England only 4 days after being there under such dramatically different circumstances was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had. It went something like this. From mum and dad’s house with Dom: bus to Hucknall tram station, tram to Nottingham, train to London St Pancras, underground to Heathrow, flight to Bangkok, flight to Chiang Mai, taxi to our house. From our house alone: Taxi to Chiang Mai airport, flight to Bangkok, flight to London heathrow, underground to London St Pancras, train to Nottingham, tram to Hucknall, bus to mum’s house (notice the subtle difference). The photograph above was taken during the journey stage indicated in bold.

Compare it to this image taken exactly 17 days earlier:

Ok so the angle is slightly different and there is a pane of glass between lens and the world in the first image but you get the idea, this is where only 17 days previously Dom and I had stood with Autumn and Warrick and posed for Jamie’s photograph. I was happy, very happy with Dom and friends. The sun was shining and my dad was alive.

And thus, even though neither picture is of him in a sense (to me at least) Dad isn’t ‘in’ the first image where as he most certainly is ‘in’ the second.

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Good things

On the first day of our weekend (currently Monday) Dom and I celebrate being alive and in love with breakfast at the Blue Diamond Breakfast Club in Chiang Mai. This is a lovely place full of vitamins and good vibes run by a wonderful couple Nee and Eed. Dom always has a super omelette, in fact I think they start it as soon as they hear his bike turn the corner of the soi, as it just appears in front of him along with a gallon of orange juice and a bucket of fresh coffee. I usually have baa mee nam (noodle soup) though sometimes I vary it with banana pancakes or museli and yoghurt over a mountain of fresh tropical fruit.

More than breakfast I go there to absorb the atmosphere of wellness that the owners so generously fill their thriving business with. They are happy and successful because they are doing their thing… you know, how everyone has a thing – just some of us don’t know what it is yet? I hope that by being in their world some of that attunement may rub off, and I will find my thing.

In the meantime I am simply content to be a part of their world and to gather inspiration, nourishment and hope from the good things they have created.
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Killer bees

This bees nest is in our garden. 4ft in length, at least 2ft deep I swear it wasn’t there yesterday. I hate it, I hope it will be gone soon. I am scared to leave Spike outside while they are lurking – I mean when they decide to move it is going to be one hell of a swarm.

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I am not sure why I am so disappointed about this. I bought a photograph from one of our Northlands members, who is also a very talented young photographer. It started as an idea just to help her out as she was trying to get rid of old stock, and (I felt) needed the support, but I soon began to look forward to owning the striking image I had chosen. There was a bit of fuss at first as she noticed that the photo had a minor flaw but she was very thoughtful and reluctant to send it and so had another copy made for me which impressed me. However when the photo arrived, as you can see from the picture above, it was totally wrecked.

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Our treasure

And this blurry but very precious image is our first cache treasure. A 2007 Suncatcher Geocoin travelbug, and no we can’t keep it. Its mission is to travel to sunny places so we will leave it in the next cache we find.
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Our first cache

Dom and I had our first foray into Geocaching today. Nothing to far or adventurous but fun non the less. Here is Dom at the site of our first cache site proudly displaying our new GPS. To think we were scoffing at GPS owners not 6 months ago. How things change.
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