Darkness

Older.

Older. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Older. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m noticing myself getting older.

I keep seeing a metaphor of an old chipped tea pot.

Well loved, functional, stained full of memories, comforting.

There is no getting around time.

I’m not sure if I ever thought there was.

As I get older it becomes clearer that enjoying the spoils of lived life…well what other choice do I have?

To fight is futile. Isn’t it?

The risk of all this “acceptance” is that I subconsciously begin to accept other people’s ideas about what getting older means.

The world has a lot of ideas about all of this that hold no interest for me. But it is easy to start thinking in those frames when they are communicated so clearly and with such strength.

(I know I’m not ‘old’, I know I’m ‘in the middle’, I’m saying older…we all get older every day)

The remedy to all of this is being in this moment.

I am this being, right here, right now.

I can do and say and think the things I can do and say and think right now.

That’s it.

That’s all of it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,346

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Beautiful but damaged.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I had a bad dream last night.

A house that was haunted, but beautiful, but damaged.

We wanted to live in it.

Reimagine it.

Reinvent.

Restore it.

I felt frightened that the house was too damaged to regenerate.

But moved into it anyway.

When I woke up, I could feel the house was me.

That the haunted, damaged past was part of the beauty.

I could see that ghosts of events that happened through me are not me.

A kind piano to play,

in the corner,

sings the darkness away.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,345

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The dread worm.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am holding in my left hand, which is thrust deeply into my left pocket, a sense of something. Weighty and foreboding.

I find that I can, occasionally, open my palm and take my hand out of my pocket and do what needs to be done. But this sense of heaviness remains stagnant in my pocket, nonetheless.

Randomly, more often, I take my hand out of my pocket and look at it. I sense the gross, dull life form squirming inside my clutched fingers. But I don’t seem to be able to will myself to unfurl my fingers and look at it directly.

Not yet.

Generally, it appears about 24 hours before I am able to look at it.

And so, for a day or so, I live with it.

For about a day, or a bit longer, or a bit shorter depending on the circumstances.

Uncomfortable and awkward and uncertain and icky.

When the time has passed, I take my hand from my pocket and stare for a moment at my fingers and then, like a dive into cold water, open them and place the thing on the table in front of me.

A grey, fleshy, smooth skinned worm squirms upon the table.

I can still feel the dread that it emanates seep into my now empty palm, into my pocket, through my bowels and up into my chest and back of throat.

It’s the dread worm.

And I don’t like it.

It wriggles benignly on the table and I look at. Eventually I do what I know needs to be done and I reach out and touch it.

In what is always a surprise, which means it should never be one, I’m taken aback by its response.

This time the surface where I touched it changes from its morbid grey into a late day sunlight orange.

As I continue to touch and get to know it a little better it starts to morph and change shape. It becomes playful. Joyful.

This transformation is rapid.

And accelerates, almost without me noticing.

Soon it has transfigured itself into an entirely different animal.

A new one every time.

In this process there are awkward moments, painful ones even, but also funny and light hearted and inspiring ones.

And soon enough it has run off and become a thing in the world that has little to do with me anymore.

Mostly it’s a good experience, mostly.

And then I wonder, as I watch it run away, I wonder…why don’t I remember this feeling of lightness and relief when the worm first appears clutched inside my hand thrust into my pocket?

How come I can only feel the dread at that moment?

What I would like is to be able to feel the dread worm appear and know, inside my bones, that this too will turn out ok, even if some bits of the experience are less than ideal, in the end I’ll probably have a reasonably good time.

That.

Next time.

I’ll work on that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,332

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I can only live today.

I can only live today. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I can only live today. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Looking forwards there is so much to worry about.

What’s going to happen?

How will things work out?

Will things work out?

I’m afraid of ending up alone.

There’s nothing I can do about tomorrow.

Today, I’m not alone.

I can only live today.

Tomorrow is for tomorrow.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,320

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Sometimes it hurts.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes I wonder if I am up for managing the breadth and intensity of the ideas I have for changing the world.

I feel a bit like a ghostbuster who is trying to control one of those big streams of light without crossing the stream with anyone else.

I see what needs to be changed, I have a sense of what that might look like, I imagine a way that could happen, I throw it out into the world…and I try and manage the chaos of that as best I can, doing as little damage to myself and those around me.

But I don’t always succeed.

Sometimes it hurts.

Which makes me feel like pulling back and hiding.

And I don’t know what to do with all that.

Love

Luke  

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Day 1,274

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Nebulous and sharp.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Life is fleeting.

The edges and shape of it are blurry and ill defined.

It is painful and joyful.

All at once.

Generous and selfish.

At the same time.

A moment crystallises and then evaporates.

Nebulous and sharp.

What next, then.

What next?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,260

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The Rebel and the CEO.

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I am both a Rebel and a CEO.

I’ve got these two contradictory characteristics that can take me by surprise and, if not well managed, can derail me and the thing I’m working on.

The Rebel in me does not like being told what to do, or rather doesn't really like following someone else’s vision for how things might be done. I dig my heels in and find ways to resist the simplest request or most obvious instruction.

When I hit the CEO mode hard…well I become like an immovable object. I want this thing done and I want it done now. I might be prepared to negotiate how it’s done…but only for a very short amount of time, then I just want it done my way.

At my best these two-character flaws don't really get much air time. Up until now I haven’t had a name for them, but I’ve known them, or have been getting to know them. I’ve learnt how to set things up so that I feel heard and safe, I’ve learnt to make really clear choices about whether I am in a leader of a follower role and that seems to help keep me on the straight and narrow.

But when I’m tired, or hurt, or sad, or out of sorts for whatever reason…that's when things can get messy.

There are two extra, interesting things I have just realised.

My Rebel and my CEO are actually the same qualities in me acting out in different situations. My CEO is me when I am in charge, stressed and trying to get things done the way “I know” they need to be done, my Rebel is exactly the same thing…only I’m not in charge – I’m in a position of supporting someone else or there is grey around who exactly is in charge.

Also, I have realised that the Rebel and the CEO are reflections of excellent qualities that I have…at the wrong volume for the situation that I am in. They are both examples of my ability to see problems for what they are and imagine solutions that will cut through and get a result.

I really like that I’m able to do that. I really, really like it. Sometimes I’m doing it at the expense of myself and the people around me.

I like that a lot less.

A lot less.

I’m learning how to lead with kindness and how to trust the leader I’ve chosen to follow so that I can respond in a more balanced way.

The Rebel and the CEO are both outstanding characters…I just need to get better and calling on them at the right time and place.

That's all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,247

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When the power goes out.

When the power goes out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

When the power goes out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

What do I do when the power goes out? 

It’s most disconcerting.  

I feel disoriented  

I’m watching the charge on my phone like a hawk.  

What will happen when it is gone?  

Even with candles on night time feels more like night time.

And tiredness settles in.  

Sooner.

Yawn... 

Love

Luke.  

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Day 1,235

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

I can’t believe I’m back here.

I can’t believe I’m back here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I can’t believe I’m back here. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m concerned that I have started repeating the same letters to you.

I sit down to write and when I think of what I’d like to write I often think…

“Oh, that again…I can’t believe I’m back here.”

It’s one of the more disconcerting things about this daily project.

There’s nowhere for me to hide from myself.

Here I am. Every day. Checking in.

I see patterns in myself much more clearly than I might have.

But also, sometimes I’m still lost in those patterns and can’t see any rhyme or reason to them.

I know they are repeating. I know I am back at some familiar and uncomfortable place…but don’t know exactly how I got here and what might help me get out of here.

I guess I have some more clues. I have a broader sense of what is going on. It has been about 3 years now of daily writing and it just surprises me that I am still repeating the same things with only a little bit of extra insight.

Shouldn’t I have myself all figured out by now?

Ha!

When I see that written down I get how that sounds.

Being a human is a complex, long term project.

That’s it.

That’s just how it is.

Strangely I find some comfort in that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,225

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The anatomy of a shirt.

The anatomy of a shirt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The anatomy of a shirt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am dissecting one of my favourite shirts.

I would have mended it…but it tore in several places. The fabric has become too thin from frequent washing and wearing…so I decided to sacrifice the shirt, pull it apart and use it to make a pattern for a new shirt.

I’m grateful to this unknown person, in China, whose impressive and underpaid skill created this favourite object of mine.

In the process of gently undoing every stitch that made the shirt I’m getting to know the hands that made it.

I’m finding small decisions about hidden stitches, uncovering the order that the shirt was constructed in…wondering why, why were these things done in this way?

Some of the decisions are obvious, some are not.

In the end the effect is that of a shirt, all the bits sit where they should, and I look at it and think – shirt.

I’m enjoying getting to know this shirt that I have loved, piece by piece.

It reminds me of the process of getting to know myself.

Examining the different ways I am constructed, learning about why something about me is put together the way it is.

These processes are similar, but not the same.

Getting to know myself is a much more confronting process than getting to know the anatomy of a shirt.

More vulnerable.

Confronting.

Worthwhile, though.

I hope.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,224

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.