On understanding and overcoming myself

We’re in a time of change and transition – it’s not yet clear quite how life will look when that time is over, it may look very similar to the life we lead right now, then again it may look a bit different, at least geographically.

Over the last few days and weeks I have found myself unsettled by this, disturbed by the thought of changes ahead, and their unpredictable nature. At the same time I’ve found myself engaging in some strange activities, compulsively sorting things, filing, alphabetising, doing accounts, sorting CDs and so on.

I’ve kind of run out of things like that to do, my CD’s are all in order, my bookshelves are sorted, my accounts are done, my files are up to date and I’ve done enough shredding to stuff a mattress. So for the last 48 hours I have felt really unsettled, almost panic stricken, and I couldnt see why.

I went out this morning to do some easy jobs, (bank, library etc) and while I was walking home I began to understand. I am someone who likes to feel in control of his surroundings, I am happy in the wilderness if I feel well equipped. I like to be prepared for what is ahead of me, and I prefer, where possible to have a good handle on the circumstances of my life.

That is not where I am at right now – things are unpredictable, I dont feel well prepared, some, perhaps even many of the plans I had for things are probably going to be unworkable. I am having to let go of the ideas I have about the way things should/will be. I must live in uncertainty, and it is that which has been bothering me.

But somehow just knowing that, has helped. Now I can recognise my own desire for control and self determination, I can feel free of it. I can accept the fact that I am not in control, and go with the flow a bit more.

I hadn’t realised about the way I was wired until I read some material about the enneagram, which helped me immensely in understanding my own vices, and in recognising my tendency towards controlling my circumstances. Now that I see my problem, I can feel free of it.

Still wish I knew exactly what was going to happen over the next few months though…

movements – of all sorts

It was the end of december when we first moved into the flat – we managed to get in before Christmas, and despite 50% of the family managing to have flu – we had a lovely Christmas time as a family.

Initially it felt a bit like we’d never manage to get everything in, having last lived in a reasonably decent sized three bed terraced house, with three reception rooms and plenty of storage, we’ve gone to a  three bed flat, with one reception room and no storage… shouldnt work really, but it does!  In fact it often seems quite airy here, and I much prefer the way we dont have wasted space in a home like this.  Its weird how you get used to ways of living.

It took an absolute age to get connected to the internet, we had to have a new phone line installed in the first place, and for that to happen a new line had to be put in at the pole, but eventually we go there, and a week or two later Orange deigned to turn on our broad band… yeehah!

It was quite helpful really not being connected for a while, it forced me to take a break from my usual massive digital media consumption habit, no feeds got read on a daily basis, I forgot what the newspaper websites looked at, I’d already given up twittering (thank goodness) and as you may have noted the blog lay dormant for nearly a month.

But now we’re back, and cracking on with things.  We are in Conference mode for the weekend, before hosting a team here in Grimsby to spend some time praying about aspects of our work here, the wider stuff we’re involved in, and for the town itself.

As part of that I’ve spent a little while looking at the monastic heritage of the town, which includes two friaries, an abbey and a nunnery or two.  Where we live, on the Nunsthorpe Estate, was once part of the grounds for a large Augustinian Nunnery, which was closed in the 16th century by Henry VII.

We are working towards the fulfilment somehow of a new monastic vision here in Grimsby, and its interesting to know what has gone before here.

I suddenly seem to have dived back into the world of alternative worship and prayer gatherings, from having done none for a couple of months at least, I suddenly find myself preparing four separate gatherings, which is a wonderful privelige, although I am a bit rusty…

And there is even movement on the Cambodian cotton front – I dont want to say too much right now, but I feel a bit like this year will be one of real forward progress in many areas, and I am looking forward to it.

Well anyway, I’ve lots of work to do, so I better get back to it, but please consider yourself invited to come and visit, eat, and stay with us – believe it or not – we’ve got room!

we moved… more or less

Yesterday we signed the lease on our flat, took the keys and started to move in.  The storage people came with a van full of stuff which has pretty much filled the place up and now we’re in the process of unpacking things and putting beds and suchlike together.

Our last place was quite a lot bigger, and its going to take a bit of getting used to living in this apartment space, but I think we can cope.  Certainly feels more suitable when you consider how much space most people have to themselves.

And it’s most definitely bigger and warmer than a tent or caravan (spotted a four berth caravan on freecycle – but gutted, somebody got in before me and nabbed it.  Probably its just as well, given that I’ve not got a tow bar, or anywhere to store it 🙂  In fact now that I come to think about it, I dont really like caravans, and really I was probably just overcome with aquisitiveness, which someone else helped me divert by nabbing it before I did.  Hooray!

So we’re in the process of moving, we’re no longer homeless in anyway, and we have our incarnational living space on the estate, now comes the really hard part…

squatters, tents, coffee – that sort of thing

As we’ve previously established, one of my major current obsessions is housing. Being kind of homeless at the moment (albeit not roofless thank goodness) makes me more keenly aware of the built environment.

With the weather we’ve had already, and the likelihood of more cold weather to come before we hit the spring, I’m now glad that we didnt go with any kind of tent or caravan option. I notice Mark Boyle, the freeconomy guy (used to call himself Saoirse, think he’s back to Mark now) is sticking with the caravan in his search for a cashless existance. I suspect its easier to do this when you dont have children!

Anyhow, I wont deny that the notion of squatting has crossed my mind from time to time. I have to admit its not likely that I would ever go for it, what with so many sensible people in my life, but I can certainly recognise the inherent ridiculousness of empty houses in a time when people need places to live.

The Nunsthorpe estate, where we want to live, has a large amount of empty houses, one day I’ll take a camera round and document a few of them. It vexeth me muchly that these properties lie empty and unloved – and it makes me think ‘why?!’

We tried as you know to get into one such property through legal means, in other words by finding the owner and trying to convince them to let us live there. But it came to nothing.

To see houses and flats lie empty and boarded up, going slowly damp and broken down seems abhorrent when many people in much worse situations than me are without shelter – it just seems wrong! Mind you, on reflection it doesnt seem a lot better that two people can live in a house with four bedrooms…

Anyway, a couple of pretty high profile squats have come to my notice of late, one in London, and the latest one reported today in the Independent.

While I am not quite an ‘all property is theft’ type, I am nearly there, and soin this case at least, I would struggle to feel particularly sorry for the owners.

The ongoing economic downturn doesnt seem yet to have caused a drop in rental prices, nor even noticeably a drop in house prices up here, and I do wonder if we will see an increase in squatting again as the peasants revolt against the system.

As they say, the revolution will not be televised, it will be blogged (or probably twittered – blooming middle class squatters 😉 )

P.S.  Looks like we can make bio diesel from coffee grounds – so maybe the middle classes can save the world after all! LOL.

no we havent moved

still no movement, we’ve applied to rent another flat, the one next door to the boarded up one which we couldnt have.  We’ll have to see how the application goes… to be honest its a bit dispiriting, we really want to be somewhere by Christmas and time is now ticking away ( I suppose it always was).

Who knows, we could be moved by the end of this week, but then again…

Housing decision

Yes, we’ve made a decision about housing.  We’re going with the boarded up flat above the baker’s shop (subject to final consent/contract).

We had held off because of the potential costs of putting in a new heating system and double glazing.  But we decided in the end that we cant preach about living simply if we arent prepared to do it, so we’ll go for simple solutions like secondary glazing, and electric heaters or similar.

It is a great opportunity to live differently again, and practise a form of redemption.

If you want to help out fixing the place up with us, drop me a line and I’ll let you know when we’ve got access.  Pics to follow…