We’re all saying it: what a strange time to be alive! I feel very glad though, to be alive through this very pivotal time of human history. I’ve always felt very sad and frustrated with the state of many things in the world. Over-the-top consumption, robotic people striving for ‘success’ in companies with zero morals and binge drinking Friday nights in fancy new clothes to forget about the misery of it all. I could go on…So many of us are missing the point of being alive!
So here we are. Many of us are being forced to stay at home, forced to down-scale our lives to only the essentials. Forced to be with ourselves without easy distraction for perhaps the first time ever. How does it feel?
Now I could feel guilty for saying this, because I’m well aware that there’s a lot of suffering going on out there just now. A lot of stress, terror, depression and fear. Essential workers being absolute heroes and not getting paid anywhere near enough. These are important experiences to share, but I think it’s important not to be shamed away from sharing the whole spectrum of experience. So I say with zero guilt but tons of gratitude: my lockdown experience feels pretty damn blissful!
What a relief – no pressure to do anything but just BE. Just be human (and therefore animal). I’m waking up naturally at dawn and stretching and staying in bed till my body tells me it wants to move. My days are guided entirely by my feelings and the weather. I finally have time to do all the things that I haven’t been able to make a priority cause I’ve been too busy intensely focusing on work: got ourselves some chickens, started doing lot of foraging, began learning more about the trees and the bees and the right vegetables to plant in the garden. I’m hanging out with the horses even more and rejoicing in spring with them as their winter coats finally shed. I feel more deeply rested than ever before… and I can feel it all over. My nervous system is thanking me for this rest that we all so badly need.
THIS, this is what it should feel like to be alive.
And of course I’m still finding ways to work. I’m still being productive and working towards my goals, but I am doing so with a new found state of relaxation. A state of ‘whats the hurry, chill, there’s always tomorrow’. I’m doing so when I feel inspired and driven to do so (which turns out is quite a lot because I’m lucky enough to love my work… even if I’ve yet to reap the financial rewards).
So I think all this chat about ‘We shouldn’t return to normal. What was normal clearly wasn’t working’, must be taken more seriously than just a corona meme doing the rounds. We need to question everything. Question the motives of everything. Question the necessity of everything. Question the heart of everything. Are we really making the most of our precious human life?
Which brings me to Ken – ‘The Hermit of Treig’
Ken, and his life story, feels more timely and important now than ever. So many of us are struggling with 4 weeks of isolation… yet Ken has managed it for more or less 40 years. He’s some man!
What draws me to Ken is his presence. The fact that he has never tried to be anything but an ordinary man living a simple, quiet life and somehow that makes him extraordinary. He doesn’t take more than what he absolutely needs from the world. He’s resisted the pulls of comfort and security, and has this dazzling twinkle in his eye that shows me he’s never let life shut down his spirit. He’s buddha in the form of a tiny little moonshine-loving man in the Scottish mountains. I adore him! And the world would be a much better place if we at least took one or two leaves out of his book.
That is why I’m making a film about him and his life. I hope it might inspire some people to strive less for society’s idea of success and just ‘be’ more.
I’m so unbelievable chuffed to have made it into the list of finalists for The Whickers Award. This is a worldwide documentary fund that gives one filmmaker £80k to finish their first feature length film (there’s also a runner up prize of £15k). To even be selected as a finalist is an honour in itself. The next stage is a pitch in June… watch this space.
The film isn’t finished yet. I’ve still got a load more filming to do and can’t wait to crack on with that as soon as it’s safe to do so. We (I have a brilliant team now working alongside me) plan to edit over next winter and release the film in summer 2021.
Ken is amazingly so gung-ho for this film to be made. You wouldn’t think someone who has chosen to live so quietly would want their face plastered all over the big screen, but I think a tiny part of him is a total diva (maybe a tiny part of all of us?) and recognises the uniqueness of his life. A man like Ken is sure to go down as legendary no matter what, but I hope the film too will be some sort of tribute towards his fascinating existence. I hope too though, and its something we’ll stress upon the film’s release, that people respect Ken’s privacy and way of life and don’t disturb him in the woods. He’s very assertive when he has to be and won’t suffer any fools who try to disturb him, so if anyone is reading this and thinks about visiting without invitation, please think again.
The very very short film (which has been used to apply for funding/commissions fo the longer version) I made last year can be found on my Vimeo:
I’d love if you could follow and share this blog! Lizzie x