A conversation with an eighty year old Alpaca farmer

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What a weekend I have had!

My little egg of silence

It was my birthday and I was treated to a wonderful Indian meal and I got to experience a float tank. It was such a strange yet peaceful experience, like stepping back into the womb. Let me explain –

I walked in and was told how to use the tank by a guy who clearly listens to the sound of wolves howling whilst meditating. If that’s your thing, no judgement here, just an observation… He went through all the stuff you would expect someone to go through for a float tank: how to control your breathing (wolf music), how to feel safe (run with the pack) and how not to drown (shit wolf). I was taken into a small room where there was a large white vessel that emanated blue soft light that changed from reds, to oranges, to purples. Gentle music played in the background and the water was around a foot deep and still on the surface.

Now, I have a fear of enclosed spaces and a fear of water. So this was a real step for me. Sounds relaxing so far, right?

I stepped into the tank and closed it straight away. Go hard or go home I say. I immediately felt the serenity and warmth of the tank, as the world around me was shut away, allowing me to be truly alone with my mind for the time I was in there.

I lay back, my head resting in the water, and then my body floated unaided due to the salt and magnesium content. I felt like I was floating, and the sensation took a short time to get used to. The lights were still on at this point inside my small egg-like chamber. I watched them dance through their cycle, the music soft and still playing. I felt an overwhelming feeling of calm as I lay there, and I turned the lights off. At first, the blackness was unnerving. The same shade of dark met your eyes regardless of if they were open or shut, and then the music died away after a few minutes.

I lay there, suspended in a warm, senseless chamber. No light, no touch, no smell or taste, and only the sound of your breath rattling through your lungs as you breathed the warm air. I felt so relaxed, and my mind was the quietist it had ever been. When the session ended, I was somewhat sad at the peace I had experienced was now over and I was thrust back into the busy streets outside.

I think I now know why babies cry when they are first born. They are grieving; grieving for that place of peace and harmony, the only thing they hear is their mother’s heartbeat, the drum of life. I wonder if that why we like music so much? But, that’s just a theory.

The rest of the day was spent eating and drinking with friends, and the day after I went to a friend’s wedding. I captured some amazing scenery shots of the snowy mountains where we stayed, a beautiful B&B in the country side of Lancashire. There were some spooky moments, like there being no power, not another soul around for miles, and needing to shower in the cellar for hot water. It was a strange experience, but the hosts were lovely, an elderly couple that farm Alpacas, and I sat and drank with them in the evening by the coal fire.

And relax…

The wedding was amazing, and my friend and her husband were the best-looking couple in the room. I had a wild time. The ride back was spooky, as trees had fallen in the road and there was no signal anywhere.

In the morning, we drove home along the treacherous snowy roads in the high peaks, before finding cavillation again. I found myself wondering at points, when I was in the tank, or cut off from the world in the bed and breakfast surrounded by farm animals and people that enjoyed a much simpler way of life, that why do we crave the hustle and bustle so much? The break from the internet and from the outside world was serine, and I wished it could have lasted longer. Being able to sit with two strangers and talk for two hours by the fire, with not a distraction in the world. Away from phones, social media and work. Something I feel we don’t get much of these days. Something I would like to return to at some point. Give me a quiet mind, as the song goes, and I will love you.

I like birthdays. I find them a great point to do a little reflection. Like this year, I have published two books, The Everlife Chronicles and Tales from the inferno volume Two.

*Caveat – The Everlife Chronicles was such a pain to write. Not because the story is bad, its (in my opinion) fucking epic, but I am bias. No, I mean it in the sense of it started as one thing, a story about the ideas of death, in which a world is created where the inhabitants replace their failing body parts with bionic replicas and take pills to prolong their lives. The story was supposed to be about a young girl that rejects this, and the impact this has on the wider world. A kind of philosophical book if you will. Not to mention when I got half way through the second draft, my laptop committed suicide and I had to re write a lot of it. (Always back up your work kids!) but, it turned out better than the original, so go figure.

As well as this, my life is going quite well. Is it perfect? Not at all. Perfection doesn’t exist. We can put as many filters on our life as we like, Perfection not only doesn’t exist, its damaging to believe that people, life and love are completely flawless. That we are not flawed creatures. To be aware of that, means you can look in the mirror, or deep into your own mind, and pluck out the shit that clings onto you and try and be a better version of yourself. But perfection? No. That isn’t a thing. Even Jesus lost his temper and drank a little wine here and there.

But it’s great to see your life for how it is now. Like I have a wonderful partner, an amazing son, I am doing well with family and friends, I have gotten out of a very bad relationship that I was in last year (If you have read my story ‘Lorna,’ that’s where the inspiration came from.) and my blog and mailing list is growing quickly as well as my Instagram. It’s just great to reflect on how you’re doing every now and then. Even though you might feel you have a long way to go, it helps you to see how far you have come.

One thing the elderly couple said to me in that bed and breakfast whilst sitting by the fire stuck with me. I asked them, both well into their eighties, both with their faculties in order and bodies that aren’t falling apart. I said ‘What’s the secret to good health?’ And the old dear, Doreen, said, ‘Be happy. Be happy with what you have and what you’re doing. Go dancing, move your body, and get outside.’ And that stuck with me.

Be happy with what you have, and get outside often. That’s not to say, never try to achieve more, but it means, be the best person you can be, and try appreciate what you have. Look where you have come, instead on focusing where you have left to go.

I like that sentiment.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next –


If you enjoyed this, check out my other blogs and while you’re here.

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And Amazon for my books – Jay Darkmoore

Get in touch – Jaydarkmoore@gmail.com

A conversation with an eighty year old Alpaca farmer

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