Peter Spann 2020 Birthday

The weather outside matches my mood inside.

It’s broody and raining with an intensity that’s trying to say something.

The mysterious wind pushing and pulling and raging wanting to be heard.  Howling on the edges of buildings lifting things up, flinging them around, but whatever message it has being lost in the leaves of the trees it is bending.

They stand defiant.  Rooted solidly in their belief and values, flailing in their rigidness and resolute in their righteousness.

Waves crashing, the maelstrom hurling its undefined rage and madness at the ever shifting sands.

It’s refreshing too.  Washing, cleaning, stripping away, cleansing.

Like winter should be.  As if that is a surprise.

folklore

The subtle mildly orchestral strings and choral beauty of Taylor Swift’s “epiphany” play in the background.  (The lack of capitalisation reflects the album’s deliberate deimmunisation of the titles).

 

Crawling up the beaches now… 

Some things you just can’t speak about.

-epiphany – folklore – Taylor Swift

That’s often how I feel.  Some things I just can’t speak about.  Here are some I can.

Words, Words, Words

Finding words has always been a skill of mine.  Right words.  Simple words.  Encouraging words.  Sharp words. Funny words.  Strong words.  Soft words.  Loving words.  Hurting words.

They have come often in a torrent.  A metaphysical channelling of some nether word wisdom.

Always, I believed, in the service of others.  But broadly, in truth, in service of my ego.  I have easily worn my “genius” on my sleeve.  Thought I was smarter, brighter, more articulate.

But nature has a way of humbling us all.  And this has been a humbling year.

It doesn’t gel that “we’re all in this together”.  It’s not called isolation for nothing.

– Image by Jared Rice

 

The Oxford Dictionary definition…

the condition of being alone, especially when this makes you feel unhappy”…

I have been alone most of my life so I thought I would handle it well enough.  I cruised by, pants off, for the most part, but nobody walks out of this year without a few scars.

…“the fact that something is separate and not connected to other things

Hmm.

None of my Business

Taylor moves onto “betty”, at the moment, my favourite track on this defining album.

 

But if I just showed up at your party

Would you have me? Would you want me?

Would you tell me to go fuck myself

Or lead me to the garden?

In the garden, would you trust me

If I told you it was just a summer thing?

I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything

But I know I miss you.

-betty – folklore – Taylor Swift

For a person who just wants to be loved, to entertain, to help, I sure make a lot of people say “go fuck yourself”.

Generally I am a firm believer of the adage that what you think of me is none of my business but somehow I feel this pandemic, this world we live in, is separating people, polarising people and telling us to go fuck ourselves.

I am no stranger to controversy.  I used to like deliberately stirring it.  Meddling, dropping an opinion here and there that was designed to eek its way in.  A little weed in the tiniest of cracks in a wall that grew ever bigger, ever stronger.

But that was back when I thought I was smarter than everyone.  That I was righter (yes, to my surprise that’s an actual word).

Like the mysterious wind.  Raging to be heard.

Bling!  My screen time is up 27%.  Thanks watch.  Finally we have the Star Trek level device on our wrist that can communicate, monitor our health and give us access to all the pooled knowledge on the planet and that’s all you have to say to me?  Genius.

It’s a Secret You See?

– Image by Kristina Flour

I miss you.

A number of people have said that to me recently including someone who I love deeply, but I haven’t seen in a long time.  It really hit me when I read it.  Bang.  To the stomach.

She was a central character in my narrative.  If I was Tay I would have written a song about her, probably three.  But life has moved on and the story will never be told.  It is, you see, a secret.

Why are the most powerful phrases ever created just three words long and begin with “I” and end with “you”?

  • I love you.
  • I admire you.
  • I want you.
  • I hate you.
  • I believe you.
  • I miss you.

Connection.

The opposite of isolation.  Even the vitriol of “I hate you” connects.

But for me “I miss you” is the most melancholy.   It hints at an irreparable or unresolvable divide.  It says, “there is something about you that was important to me and it makes me sad that it is not present in my life”.

peace” starts with the most annoying repetitive tone that’s anything but peaceful.

I’m starting to annoy myself.

 

All these people think love’s for show

But I would die for you in secret

-peace – folklore – Taylor Swift

 It’s a secret you see.  It’s a secret.

Until It Wasn’t

Some days I feel stuck in 2012.  For thirty years my life was almost continuous forward momentum.  Yes there was pain, yes there were setbacks, yes there was suffering.   But the train kept rolling at a pace that was unstoppable.

Until it wasn’t.

 

Remember when life was everywhere you looked, everywhere you walked, cradled you, fed you wonder, made you who you are. Now, hear Snowpiercer. Feel the track. Metal on metal. The flow of your Engine Eternal. Her veins bringing power to everything that’s still alive.

-Audrey – Snowpiercer – TNT

When something doesn’t serve me, as this surely doesn’t my goal is always to catch myself as early as possible and reverse my thoughts to something more useful.

Past successes are the enemies of today’s glories and tomorrow’s hopes.

And I need to remind myself not to compare.

 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

-Isaiah 43:18-19

I am doing a new thing.

We all need to feel useful.  Needed.  Wise.

 

Stood on the cliffside screaming, ”Give me a reason

-hoax – folklore – Taylor Swift

Man was I screaming!  The empty hole, the gaping wound, I needed, more than anything, a reason.

Little did I know that the most useful skill I brought to the table was how I survived the last great business trauma in my life.

We wouldn’t have done the things we used to do if they hadn’t been attractive to us, addictive even, and we need not think they couldn’t become attractive again if we gave them the opportunity. We may have grown stronger, but we’re not yet invincible.

 

From when they pulled me apart

But what you did was just as dark

-hoax – folklore – Taylor Swift

“Fucking deal with this!” the universe screams. “Be done with it.  Or I will bring it back to you again and again and again.”

“So what if it’s a global pandemic?” it mocks, “This lesson is just for you.  See how magnificent I am and how puny you are?”

I smile.  Smartarse.  It smiles back.  It knows.  I know.  It’s time.

What if Rhinos are Just Fat Unicorns?

Armour plating is useful.

It shields us, protects us, keeps us safe.

But, it isolates.  It keeps us apart.

It makes us impenetrable.

We all choose armour of a different sort.

I know I’m a unicorn.   A unique and beautiful, one of a kind creation of God.  Glorious.

– Image by James Lee

In my imagination I see a rainbow horn, bright eyes, a wonderful mane of lusciousness and strong haunches.

But what looks back at me from the mirror is a fat rhino.    He’s cute, but still…

I got a confusing message from my time in hospital last year.  If you don’t lose weight you will die.  If you move you will die.  No brain responds to confusion.

 

Observe.  Discern.  Act.

-Peter Spann – Life Magic

“Got it,” I say, “Yeah, nah. Don’t got it.  Say what now?”

It’s not like I don’t know what to do.  I’ve done it before.  Seven weeks was all it took last time to turn my life around.

I need to move my body without fear.  Fear of pain, fear I’m going to hurt myself, fear it could kill me.   To get out of the loop of being afraid and using that as an excuse not to do anything.

To elongate my life, exercise with ease, live with energy, love with passion, to ultimately create, live and share more.

 

I’m doing good, I’m on some new shit

Been saying “yes” instead of “no”

And if you never bleed, you’re never gonna grow

And it’s alright now

-the 1 – folklore – Taylor Swift 

The World On Fire

 

-Image by Maxim Tajer

 

We started our year on fire.  In the literal sense.  Australia burned while I sat on the other side of the world and watched.

Fire is beautiful, mesmerising, addictive.  Like beauty.

The ascetic.  Rich.  Raw.  Magnificent.  Naked.  Scared. Excited.

One leg of the trilogy of addiction in my life.

 

She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close.

― Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

 

The curve of a panel on a super car.  The curve of a thigh on a woman.  The feel of a natural fabric, wrapped in linen or silk.

But not all beauty is beautiful.

Really we must look to the soul of the creature.

I don’t think the majority of people are bad.  They are just doing them.  Whatever messed up reality we all live in, self-justified by our belief system.   But people can absolutely be bad for me.  We call it toxic don’t we?

And that discernment is critical.  To our mental health.  When is sarcasm funny and when is it soul destroying?  When is control protective and when is it suffocating?  When is our opinion helpful and when is it harmful?    And a million other myriad of pain, big and small.

I thought I was buffered, armoured against such things.  But we cannot rise above the thinking of those we surround ourselves with.

 

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.”

-Wilfred Peterson

This year I have been privileged to share time with some genuinely beautiful people.   People with dreams. A mission to help.  People who believe.  And while the world has burned around them, they have maintained their courage.  They smile, they encourage, they lift up.  They plan, they act, and while they have big dreams, they have their feet planted.

I love these people and I am so grateful I have the opportunity to help them with their mission.

 

You put me on and said I was your favorite

-cardigan – folklore – Taylor Swift

the last great peter dynasty

 

Fact is there is more of my life than has passed then is to come.

This is a sobering and humbling understanding.

I have always been driven against an imaginary clock.

One of the greatest gifts my Cardiologist gave me when I was 23 was to tell me that I would be dead by 25.   This was reiterated later in a life changing experience where I missed a flight that crashed killing everyone on board.

Both experiences pushed me to cram in as much life as I could possibly against the ticking clock.

 

“Time is all we have and time is running out.” 

-Peter Spann, Life Magic

I used this belief to empower me.  I used it to motivate me.  I used it to push me.

And my life, my photo album, my stories are reflective of that.

I have seen the world, I have loved deeply, I have won and I have lost.  Fortunes have passed through my hands.  I have lived.

So much so, it seems fantastical.  Even at 54 many people find it hard to believe my stories.  They seem too much.  Too much for one person.  Too much for one lifetime.

 

There goes the last great American dynasty

Who knows, if she never showed up, what could’ve been

She had a marvellous time ruining everything

-the last great american dynasty – folklore – Taylor Swift

 

I realised around my birthday last year that I had squandered a lot of opportunities over the last 8 or so years.

Opportunity is not presented in black and white.  It is presented as part of the rich mosaic of our life.  A fleeting invitation.  A moment of inspiration.  A gift.  A meeting.  An invitation.

And it is taken away just as quickly.  A distraction.  A direction.  A blinkeredness.  A holding on.  A holding back.  A harsh word.  A glittering bauble.

Oh and how I blamed.   “Who knows, if she never showed up, what could have been?”

In October of 1947, Rebekah Harkness (née Rebekah Semple West Pierce) married William (Bill) Hale Harkness, the son of William L. Harkness who inherited a large share of Standard Oil.  Upon his death Rebekah became one of the richest women in the United States.

Renowned for her elaborate parties society at the time blamed her for the death of her husband and scorned her because of it.

She spent the rest of her life pursuing the arts, ballet and the works of Salvador Dali  in particular and “people” said she squandered her inheritance.

I love this story.  So many people think I squandered my fortune on frivolous things.  But I have one thing they don’t.  All those wonderful stories!

And now I feel I am getting closer to the final story.

If overnight success takes fifteen years I probably only have one more big shot.

So with focus and determination I am ready to make the best of what is given to me.

All manifestation begins and ends with love.  From a place of gratitude and higher wisdom we discern our purpose forever for now and seek the indulgence of the universe to create the circumstances in our life in which it can flourish and enlighten us to the synchronicity that will enable it to reality.

 

synchronicity

/ˌsɪŋkrəˈnɪsɪti/

noun

the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

 

Watch this space.

No, not literally this space, watch me, silly.

I just wanted you to know that this is me trying

 

I’ve been having a hard time adjusting

I had the shiniest wheels, now they’re rusting

I didn’t know if you’d care if I came back

I have a lot of regrets about that

-this is me trying – folklore – Taylor Swift

 

Honestly, I have a lot of regrets.

And the thing about regrets, like “I miss you” is the chasm between where we find ourselves in a moment in the past and our emotions about that today.

If it were reconcilable it wouldn’t be a regret.

 

“I give thanks to you, O Lord. Am I really to believe that these are the acts of a holy God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth, your messenger. I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you!”

-Jed Bartlet – The West Wing, S2, Ep7 – Two Cathedrals

 

The penance of repairing bridges.  Ones that could be fixed.  Ones that could be rebuilt.  One that, with forgiveness and love may rise themselves from the ashes.

This is me trying.

This Too Shall Pass

When I left LA, cowering from the rona I thought I would be back in three or four weeks.

Now four months later there doesn’t seem to be a pathway back for now.  The people I am working with have been generous and it looks like there is a great opportunity for us that I can deliver from here so that’s a very good thing.

Nature may have hit the pause button this year but I have been busy.  Working, writing, connecting, helping, growing, shrinking, hibernating, expanding.

I look outside now and the weather has changed from when I started, 3,000 words ago.  The rain stopped, the wind died down, the clouds parted and the sea calmed.

And it becomes a wonderful winters day here on the Gold Coast.

-Image by Stuart Davies

I would never have thought that I would end up here this year.  Be celebrating my birthday with just a handful of friends in one of the strangest urban places in Australia.  But here I am, home for now.

When an Eastern sage was desired by his sultan to inscribe on a ring the sentiment which, amidst the perpetual change of human affairs, was most descriptive of their real tendency, he engraved on it the words : — “And this, too, shall pass.”

It is impossible to imagine a thought more truly and universally applicable to human affairs than that expressed in these memorable words, or more descriptive of that perpetual oscillation from good to evil, and from evil to good.

It’s still winter but this too shall pass.

A Beautiful Thing

Life can be tough.

But I think, those of us who survive, thrive even, come to the realisation at some point, it’s all we have.

And I behoves us to make it beautiful.  Why not?  It’s as easy to do that as it is to do the other.

This year, on my birthday I asked my friends to send me a photo of them drinking champagne.  And most responded.  It was a lovely gesture.

Some others sent me some words.  And I have to say one wonderful message was perhaps the most beautiful birthday wish I have ever received.  I made me cry with joy.

With the greatest of all gratitudes I thank my gorgeous friends from the bottom of my heart for making my life what it is… Beautiful.

Beautiful moments.  Beautiful people.  Beautiful words.

And if those addictions don’t make a beautiful life then I don’t want to live.

I am a storyteller.

I am a dream maker.

See you in my dreams.  I miss you.

 

Whispers of “Are you sure?”

“Never have I ever before”

-august – folklore – Taylor Swift

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

by Peter Spann

Peter Spann – Film Maker | Director | Business Coach | Writer | Presenter | Investor.

© Copyright: 2020 Peter Spann – All rights reserved

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