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Paul H: Private Investigation

Paul H gets and email from an old friend...

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by Paul Hawkins, for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2006
if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything

It dawned on me this week that I have been living as if my life started when I met my partner Sue over 14 years ago. Everything that has happened, from the micro to the macro, in between these last 14 years, has been it. Warts and all. Full stop.

It occurred to me that I had had involvement and participation with literally hundreds, if not thousands of people. Human beings who breathe just like me; in, out, in, out, without even a moments reflection on how this seemingly natural internal bellows system keeps us alive, or, how interconnected we all are. All of us, including you too.

What brought about this vigorous introspection was an email I received this week from a good friend from the dim and distant past. One email has opened up my claustrophobic, inattentive, blinkered view of my existence, my life, who I am, what I am. It refreshed my memory cells and recalled all those files stacked, gathering dust, in the internal portfolio cache of my life, that just hadn't been looked at for a long, long time.

I chatted with Iain on the phone that night, recalling dead and buried, yet real memorable, even death defying, profound events. We also digressed to the boring and the minutiae and we updated each other with a brief synopsis of what had happened in the canyon of years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds that had passed between the last time our personal rowing boats met offshore in the dead of night.

I then tracked down another very old friend, Mark, then another, Mike, and exchanged similar stuff, me marveling at how I had forgotten about these people and the events we had played in each others lives.

Images, smells, tastes, sounds and experiences; happy, sad, good and downright bloody gruesome, washed through me, as if I was a sieve, all these things passing through me and the evocative memories caught for my introspection in my grey matter strainer. For me, these beautiful ephemera went beyond the old school reunions, the band reformings or the big family weddings (none of which I have done for about 20 years) that usually induce the dredging up of recollections of our past; of old friends and lovers, sessions of drugged debauchery and the like. Like it or not, lets face it, that is who/what we are. Many things can trigger these memories I know, way beyond the google searches and emails.......perhaps there have been too many wo/man made and natural chemicals passing through my body for me to keep a perspective on it all. Maybe Idon't spend enough time just recollecting and considering things.......... maybe, who knows ?

I thought long and hard about this weeks phenomena and it really bought home to me how we can easily lose track and neglect theinterdependence with other human beings that is vital to our existence, our being and our true selves.

I came to the conclusion after this week that I side on the view that once we have a sense of our true selves, we can then move, day by day, mindfully towards more rewarding lives.

As the great hovering bee keeper, Mohammad Ali said;

Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.

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Paul Hawkins

Paul Hawkins has been interested in popular culture and music, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He began writing about things, making music and other noise at an early age. Paul has interviewed musicians, writers, poets, protestors and artists.


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