Naomi McCarthy

artist, writer, animateur

Filtering by Tag: Truth

Final truth courtesy of Phil beadle. Happy?

Abraham Lincoln said, " Most people are as happy as they choose to be."

I say, "Happiness is ephemeral, you can't attain happiness, you can just notice it when it happens."
Here is a day of noticing my happiness.

9:00am Eating breakfast - happy
9:30am Checking travel bookings - flat line
10:00am Walking in the cold and rain down to Hitchin town - very happy, loving the weather
10:30am Getting hair done, pleasantly distracted, then bored
11.30am Walking back from town in wind and rain - very happy
12 - 2pm Watching Tony do travel bookings - OK
2:30pm Arguing about style of accommodation - angry
3:00pm Back down the town in wind and rain for a walk with Tony (abandoning bookings) - very happy
4:00pm Tea and cake at adorable tea shop and gallery in Hitchin with Tony - very happy
5:00pm Walking up Windmill Hill, turning around to see spectacular sunset - extremely happy
6:00pm Dinner with family - happy
7:30pm Calling cousin to cancel plans to meet, plans remade - conflicted and feeling my run instinct kicking in - not happy
8:00pm Dancing at the village hall - shy, conflicted, run instinct on high alert - not happy
9:00pm Sitting with Tony at dancing - settling in and starting to relax, resisting my run instinct, happiness increasing
10:00pm Dancing the Mayfair Quick step with Tony to a tune from River Dance, wondering why everyone else was out of step and laughing ( a little like a crazy woman) for the whole dance - very, very happy
10:00pm - midnight Drinking at The Plume of Feathers pub in Ickleford village - happy
Midnight Bed - happy 

Finishing the camino in Santiago de Compostela - looking very happy ( back row of this photo) and I was in that moment indeed happy, but I was also conflicted about transitioning out of pilgrim mode back into normal life. The beauty of the camino is the simplicity of the aim, the easy and always available camaraderie, the exposure and immersion in nature, the opportunity to spend six - eight (or more) hours a day under the sky, following the contours of the land moving through the landscape at a very human pace. A calmness descends on you knowing that, it is all a privilege, a gift if you will. Knowing that it is a movable feast and that it too will finish is also important because it makes you take advantage of what is offered, it also allows you to walk away from anyone and anything that you don't like, except yourself. The one constant and inescapable truth - you take yourself with you wherever you go - my best advice about that one is to make friends with yourself, forgive your transgressions and in being generous about your own failings learn to be generous and forgiving to others. Open yourself to life, living it as a participant, be gracious in your attitude to what life offers, not distant and judgemental, which is a 'safe' and cowardly position. My take home lessons from the camino: be brave; be kind; be open to what life offers; be thankful and give praise for the bounty of the world and being given a life to live; it really is a gift. 

Share something from your childhood. Truth courtesy of Rita Golden Gelman

Rita Golden Gelman truth - share something from your childhood you've never told anyone.

There is nothing in my childhood that I have been able to keep to myself. I am a talker, and I can't help it, I love talking about myself. I am endlessly fascinated by almost every facet of my emotional life and have had to develop some discipline so as to control my natural urge to indiscriminately over-share. I understand the impetus that makes stand-up comedians ruthlessly mine their own life for comic material. Making people laugh is very seductive, and if I can make people laugh while talking about my own life then I am happy. I am also very happy laughing at myself, which I enjoy doing so much, it makes me look a little unhinged at times - I like that about me. 

One day to live. Truth courtesy of Lloyd Niccol

If you had one day to live who would you tell and what would you do?

I am finding this question difficult as I have a secret belief that I am immortal. Confronting my own death has always bothered me - as a child I remember crying profusely and when mum asked be what was wrong I told her, "I didn't want to die." She replied with don't worry, when I die I will say good bye to you from heaven and that way you'll know I'll be there waiting for you when you die." My mum had and still has a wonderful way of saying just the right thing when I am suffering from existential angst (although I wouldn't have named it that during childhood). She also has a way of always putting me in the right, bless her, even when I know I am in the wrong. Norman Mailer tells a story to illustrate his mother's absolute loyalty saying that if he went up into a tower and shot people, his mother would say, "what did they do to Norman?" Effectively putting the 'blame' on 'them', he saw this as her weakness. So if it turns out I am not immortal, I am still holding out on that one, I can't confront this question until after my mum dies and she has popped back to say goodbye to me and I know where I am going.

When you sit still and quite, what are you longing for? Truth courtesy of Kate Mitchell

I long for a place to belong, curiously I spend a great deal of my energy on long distance endurance endeavours, where I am in a constant process of leaving, either physically, physiologically or emotionally. Therein lies the tension of my life, the antagonism of which one hopes will create a pearl, like grit in an oyster shell.

which ethnicity do you find most/ least attractive physically? Truth courtesy of Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle's Truth - which ethnicity do you find most/ least attractive physically.

Well, having been on the Camino de Santiago for a month I would have to say the most attractive ethnicity on said camino is the Italian cyclists who look good arriving and indeed look good leaving. I will be forever grateful to whoever invented the all-in-one Lycra bike outfits. Muy bonito. 

What advice would you give but never take? Truth courtesy of Kendal Murray

I recently gave this advice away - it had been given to me and I believe it was good advice that I didn't want to waste, but I was never going to use it.

If you want people at work to do things for you, you have to make friends with them first. I am polite, respectful, friendly at work, but real friendship is something I value so highly, that it's not something I use to get what I want from my colleagues. Having said that I can see that this advice is very effective. 

Have you ever broken a law... Truth courtesy of Nick Earles

Nick Earles truth - have you ever broken the law and gotten away with it?
I went through a shop lifting phase when I was a kid, but after the third or fourth effort of knocking off chocolate, I felt so guilty that I returned the Crunchie I had surreptitiously slipped into my pocket, back to the newsagents where I had stolen it from. A process even more nerve wracking than the original theft, and there ended my foray into criminality. 

Have you ever cheated on an exam?

Pitched for discussion whilst sitting on bunk beds in a dorm room of the Municipal Albergue in Hornillos del Camino -  have you ever cheated on an exam. The following is drawn from the ensuing conversation.

I find exams easy and I always wanted people I was studying with to pass, so I would purposefully leave my paper open near the edge of my desk so people around me could copy if they needed to. An intriguing answer which I think has a moral dimension - are you putting temptation in the less confident student's way and maybe even robbing them of the chance to 'do well' by themselves. This was a perspective the exam sharer had not considered.

Of course if you don't 'believe' in the education framework that you are being subjected to, and you see exams and assignments as tools employed by an oppressor, then you could argue that there is a level of  resistance in not learning the required curriculum. I see exams and assignments as simply tools of learning, their only real value being to asses whether the subject being taught has been learnt and students are ready for new content to be added to a secure scaffold. Having said that I once did copy with minimal reworking almost an entire assignment, something that completely goes against my principles. It was in a subject and for a teacher I had absolutely no respect for and I did indeed take the path of least resistance.

Another sweet answer to this question was: at high school we used  to write the answers to science exams on our upper thighs and then slide our skirts up to check the facts during exams. We all thought that teacher's wouldn't challenge us because they wouldn't want to be accused of looking up our skirts.

I have never actually cheated in an exam. The anxiety of possibly being caught and shamed is far more painful to my mind than simply putting in the time and energy to learn the facts. Although that is true for me because my past experiences have given me confidence that I can indeed pass exams - interestingly everyone in the discussion was university educated. I wonder what answers I would get if that was not the case?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lead a cult? Truth from Shaun Tan:

I've always thought 'The Cult of Naomi' had quite a nice ring to it. But seriously just imagine the responsibility for all the people in your cult - how daunting having to make the best decisions for all of your slavish followers. Oh, that's right cult leaders make decisions that are in their own best interests. Nope, not a role I want, although I do  like to 'lead', I also like to be 'at large' under the sky, following wherever whim takes me.

Actually on the camino, the pilgrim drill is to follow the yellow arrows marked on the trail -  until you are tired and then book into a pilgrims' accommodation with dorm rooms, bunk beds, a shower block and some simple laundry facilities. People seem to bring only their best and most open, helpful selves on the camino and there's a definite group intelligence at work. The camino is like a concrete example of Jung's collective unconscious, information spreads, help arrives when needed and friendships ebb and flow as the camino determines.

I met a wild-eyed pilgrim yesterday, who had walked a 1300 klm, camino -  and was negotiating his re- entry into city life, with no yellow arrows or pilgrims to follow, and he did rather have the look of the zealot to him. His name was Sebastian and he was very keen to live differently post-camino, I wish him and all others well, who want to live an alternative life, there are indeed many, many ways to get living a life 'right'. I think my view is, just choose for yourself don't think you have to ' follow'. But indeed if you do 'follow' know that, that is a choice in itself.

So if The Cult of Naomi ever takes off, know that I will only accept followers who acknowledge they are choosing to come along for the ride  - which means ultimately they must accept responsibility for their own life. An imperative that I too promise to abide by. 

Contact:  Shirley.dandelionprojects@gmailcom