Water’s Edge

3 November 1974

DINNERTIME. He should have been home by now. Sent out to look for for my little brother, I checked out his most likely haunts, asked around, until I found myself tiptoeing on the edge of the Old Pier thinking the worst. The tide was high, only a foot or so from the level of the stonework, the water so vast and grey. From that vantage point, I had a good view of the shoreline in front of the Dunollie Hotel and the Garage, but not a brother in sight. The temperature was dropping fast and my tummy was rumbling. Just as I pondered whether I had done enough to justify going back to the house now, an invisible pair of hands shoved me into the drink.

Feet first, I plunged into the dull ebb. Within seconds, panic had engulfed my senses, eradicating everything I had ever learned from Mrs Weir. The first ascent back to the surface seemed to take an eternity; every attempt to come up for air and scream at the top of my voice only increased the likelihood of being pulled back under. With every gasp, my efforts felt more and more futile.

Matchstick people streamed from around the Garage and the Dunollie. Voices. A loud splash. Then a pair of strong arms taking hold of me and pushing me into the waiting arms of someone else standing by the water’s edge.

I recognised my rescuer straight away. The owner of the Harbour Grill, still in his chef’s whites, had saved my life. By the time I was delivered to my parents, my brother had showed up. After dinner, I was treated like a princess and tucked straight into my parents’ pre-warmed bed.

What a way to start my birthday. Tomorrow I would be six.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2020

Company of Me

MANY people are facing their demons for the first time. Those of us who have had a head start in this department can be thankful that to a degree, we were prepared for the solitude, anxiety and soul-searching that lockdown inevitably entails. I guess this is why so many fight tooth and nail for the right to hang out with the crowd, perhaps not so much because they are selfish but because it is the only way they know how to shut up their inner demons. They are literally afraid of ther own shadow. So much as it is tempting to judge, just remember what’s at the back of it when you see people flagrantly breaching COVID restrictions.

As for confronting your demons, athough it is not without pain, it’s not as bad as you think. Once you get to know them, it can actually be quite satisfying. At least that has been my experience. Think of it as a team-building exercise (Storming, Forming and Norming)!

Shadow in a Nutshell

Imagine living in a world where mobile phones were non-standard, each one different from the next and using every functionality in ts very own instruction manual. Then imagine a world where the technology was surplus to requirements, for within the collective human psyche lay all the apps we would ever need.

* * * * *

In addition to all the hardware necessary for basic life, most humans arrive into the world with various components that allow them to process and store equally various forms of data. Not only do we usually incorporate a built-in camera, mic and speaker system, we have other cool sensory devices that allow us to taste and smell.

The human operating system comes complete with a range of awesome apps that enable us to survive, communicate with one another and hopefully thrive. However, the suite that we are born with is as unique to us as our fingerprints.

Some things come as standard, of course. If you imagine the file manager as your psyche, then the desktop, where we tend to keep all the programs and files we use on a regular basis, would equate roughly to the conscious part of your mind.

Just as we don’t know the half of what is available to us on our mobile phones, they say that we use only 10% of our brains and that was even before the technology existed. Could that be because most of our functionalities are languishing in the Recycle bin?

Dumbing down

Society is only interested in those apps that are of value to it, for instance mathematical, scientific, literary or linguistic ability. Where present, these are cultivated at the expense of everything else. The rejection of anything that does not support the prevailing economic paradigm is policed unwittingly, sometimes ruthlessly, by our family and our peers.

The standardisation process begins at the earliest possible opportunity. By the time we reach elementary/primary school, we know all about what ‘it’ is to be a boy or a girl. We are subsequently introduced to a host of other opposites. Something is either good or bad, strong or weak, beautiful or ugly, big or small, nice or nasty, smart or stupid – in-betweenness is viewed with scorn. We are trained to pigeon-hole even ourselves and this can occur in any combination of postives and negatives.

This is how some of the apps we were born with get deleted or fall into disuse, either because other people don’t ‘like’ them or we don’t. As we grow older, whole experiences join the ‘forgotten’ scrapheap. Over time our Recycle bin becomes so congested that our entire system slows down. Thing is, and this is the real kicker, these deleted files are still running and they’re more powerful than if they hadn’t been rejected in the first place …

This is why we’re all so f**ked up …

Welcome to the world of the Shadow, the term Carl Jung used to describe the repressed part of the human unconscious. According to his theories, in order for wholeness to be achieved, the psychic opposites must be reunited and resolved, in other words healed.

Factory Settings Plus

Nobody was born ‘weird’. The environment that we were born into made us that way. We are all unique, only the ones who are better able to standardise are rewarded and thrive.

If you discovered that a whole side of you existed that you didn’t know was there, only visible in thoughts, acts and feelings that you were hesitant to own, and if you knew that by reintegrating these discarded elements of yourself, you could restore your software to a higher-performing state, would you not sign up for the adventure of a lifetime?