Prelude IV

(The three previous stories now have their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header)

-oOo-

I must admit, after the events of the previous week I approached my third Journey with a small degree of trepidation, and wondering just how vast an undertaking this was all going to be.

In the Gap Between the Worlds a whirlpool of misty vapor came into being in front of my feet. Tiny eddies of energy at the edges swept inexorably around counter-clockwise surging faster and faster toward the center and disappearing down to who-knows-where. I studied it intently, looking for clues as to what this might mean. I was pulled down into it with a force that took my breath away. Before I could gasp my breath back into my lungs, I was standing at a place where the sea meets the sand looking out across gently breaking waves.

Some years prior, Ocean and I had come to a mutually agreed upon covenant which did not include me going swimming in Her, even if it was in another Realm of Awareness.

I glanced behind me. Nothing there. Literally nothing. I sighed, perhaps a little fatalistically, and said to the wavelets, “Well then, I’d just have to go forward, won’t I?”

The wet sand squeaked as I walked into the water. It rose higher and higher around my body and the receding tidal surge pulled the sand out from under my feet. Soon the water lapped at my chin. Panic brought tears to my eyes. I tilted my head back and held my breath, trying to find the strength to trust the choice I made only days ago.

I can do this, I told myself. I can let the water close over the top of my head.

My breath was now stuck somewhere between my lungs and the back of my throat. An unearthly howl of terror rippled across the water. It took me a moment to realize that it was me. I was drowning.

A part of my awareness, far off in the distance asked, “What is it about water that brings this terror up?” But no answer was forthcoming. I had to do a lot more Work before I would be ready to face the answer to that question.

Also, I didn’t drown. Which was a great relief.

The water simply became a substance like air, albeit denser than air, that I could pass through. I took in a few steadying breaths and descended to the ocean floor where a scattering of coral outcroppings floated among the mercurial beams of light that danced across the sandy floor.

I could get used to this. I smiled as I walked toward a small crevasse that caught my attention. The closer I got the bigger it got, or the smaller I became, it was hard to tell. I passed through some sort of portal in the crevasse and entered a completely different ocean. One with a living pulsing entity. I hung, suspended, with nothing to see except the blue-green water.

Suddenly my ‘walking through water like it was air’ wasn’t working anymore. I struggled and thrashed about until I created enough bubbles to show me which way was up. I took off for the surface as though my life depended on it.

My lungs filled with water. Seawater tastes disgusting when you’re drowning. Eventually I broke through the surface and thrashed around some more, trying really hard not to sink. I spun this way and that desperate to find something to hang on to, to keep me above the water.

Then I became aware of Her.

A presence, encompassing all the waters of the world. Lakes and streams, rivers and oceans, and even tiny puddles on the side of a road. She held me in Her immense watery arms, and murmured over and over again, “You will not drown. I am holding you.”

It was my personal experience, starting right back in my childhood, that no-one was capable of that kind of holding.

I stopped struggling though, and tried to accept that I wouldn’t drown. That I would be able to rest in the depths of the passionate love She offered.

In a voice that washed around me like a caress, She asked, “Do you trust Me?”

I broke out in a cold sweat, which is really a neat trick with most of me submerged. My heart pounded so hard in my chest that I wondered if it would shatter my ribs.

“Do you trust me?” She said again.

I could say that, yes, I did trust Her, but we’d both know that wasn’t true. So, how was I supposed to tell an entity of Ocean’s eminence that, really, I didn’t trust Her?

I had to answer, that much I did know. It was part of the agreement I made when I chose to do this Work.

I struggled to hold myself still, to relax my body, both physical and psychic, so that I could face my fear and be able to answer Her truthfully.

“No,” My voice cracked and the words seemed to come from very far away. “I don’t trust You.” 

My heart slowed down and I said again, this time clearly, with ownership, “No, I don’t trust you.” I braced myself for the end of the Universe or something equally catastrophic. Or at the very least, my own demise.

My choice was simply accepted, not judged, nor reacted upon, simply accepted. I had been challenged to find the courage to risk an unwelcome answer, to be true to myself. I was cradled and rocked on Ocean’s gentle breast, accepting acceptance.

-oOo-

When I was a child we lived in a shack built of sturdy bush timber and old corrugated iron next to a small gully with a creek at the bottom of it. We carried our water up from the creek by hand and emptied each bucket into a trio forty-four gallon drums.

I loved that creek. I loved it’s earthy, lush smell. I loved all the unknown creatures that wiggled, slithered, and flapped just beyond my line of vision either along its banks or down in the, sometimes still, sometimes burbling along, green waters.

Our main swimming hole was formed by a natural rock dam that headed the first ever waterfall I saw, all of about a meter high, but seeing as I wasn’t much taller than that it impressed me none-the-less. Through all the floods that came and went that swimming hole never silted up, and I dog-paddled around in it to my hearts content because I knew that no matter where I was, my feet could always touch the bottom and I was safe.

The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean I was about ten years old. Up until then my horizons had always been limited by trees and garden plots, houses, and the clutter of human things. I looked across the waves and felt completely lost. I was very young but I felt such an adult fear. It was something I had no words for, and so I filed it away in my silent place inside, with all the other knowledge and fears that I had no words for, that grown-ups wouldn’t understand or believe.

When I was in my mid-twenties a group of my friends and I traveled north to a Women’s Music Festival at Lismore on the North Coast of New South Wales. Afterwards we headed to the ocean and camped for a few days with some other women from the festival. The ocean called to me like a Siren, an irresistible pull, and wasn’t I an adult now? Not a child with childish fears?

The others were in the water already, confidently swimming out to catch the crest of the waves and body-surf them in to the shore. It looked all pretty easy, so I plunged in and swam out beyond the surf. Floating in the swell I battled with the lump of fear in my throat which was conducting an on-going dialogue with my rational brain, that went something like this: “The tide is turning, I will be dragged out to sea, the positive buoyancy that women are supposed to have because of the extra layer of fat is a lie, and I will probably just paddle around like that silly woman in that silly Sixties song ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’, (not that I was wearing anything … which probably contributed to the … hmm, getting ahead of myself hereget waterlogged, and sink anyway.” 

After a while it became obvious that none of the above scenarios were about to unfold, except the one about the tide turning, so I decided it was okay to relax and enjoy myself, and try body-surfing.

The very first wave I caught was perfect all the way in, until a few meters from the beach where there was a pit of gravel dug out by the undertow from that pesky turning tide. I ended up back on the beach all right, but half-drowned from having swallowed a generous portion of the Pacific Ocean, and the ungrateful recipient of a gravel rash from my chin to my knees.

It was then and there, as various soothing unguents were being applied to my body, that Ocean and I made our agreement. I would be able to travel over Her, walk beside Her, even paddle and splash about and make sandcastles at Her edge, but I would never go any deeper into Her than what I could stand up in, and She wouldn’t drown me!

Quite fair, I thought.

-oOo-

You just knew I was going to post this video …

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The Original ‘Stargate’ Movie Free-to-watch

To build interest in the new webseries in the ‘Stargate’ universe, ‘Origins‘ (I know, another prequel – but it looks like fun anyway, and it’s only 10, ten- minute episodes) the original movie is playing now on YouTube.

I have no idea how long it’ll be around, so if you’ve got two free hours on a rainy evening, this might just be your cuppa tea.

 

… and this is the trailer for ‘Origins’

A ‘Follow’ Too Far

The blogging world is strange. There are arcane rituals to be observed, and technological challenges to be overcome, but the most absurd and completely incomprehensible thing of it all is why some people choose to ‘follow’ us.

Take this young lad who just started following me. This is the opening sentence on his Gravatar profile …

‘I’m a social entrepreneur with a great passion for sustainable development and the natural environment.’

Seems perfectly ordinary, right?

There could be some possible venn diagram overlap between that and what I, and my blog, is all about … possibly … but then we come to the second sentence which begins like this …

‘Being that I’ve been naturally blessed with a Long and very Thick love-club …’ (capitalization his)

Me, for about five minutes while I read it. Also Mrs Widds as she read it

Things went downhill from there, like, a bad screenplay for a DIY porn video, downhill.

I’m guessing he didn’t read my ‘About Me’ page wherein I state I’m a Lesbian, and thereby have zero interest in man-clubs, of any thickness. I’m also guessing he didn’t read the tagline on my header which again uses the word ‘lesbian’.

So I say to you, young lad, this is not the way to win friends and influence people … especially lesbians.

Prelude III

Read Prelude I HERE, and Prelude II HERE.

-oOo-

I’m having fun recounting these adventures, and there a whole bunch more to the story, so what I think I’ll do is after I post each one here on my main page I’ll then copy them onto their very own page so they can be read in sequence, for them’s wot ‘ave missed the previous ones.

Since I posted the first ‘Prelude’ I’ve had a few comments both here and elsewhere about the nature of these meditations, which are quite a bit different from your average meditation, where we are able to calm all the noise in our minds so we can relax, and then, feeling refreshed, we go back to our lives.

This, isn’t that.

I stated previously why I didn’t go into any detail about how I entered into the trance state, but, in the interests of clarity, I’ll expanded a little on how I go about it.

First up, what I didn’t (and don’t) use:  Consciousness altering substances … of which there are many, and many Traditions around the world do use them.

I discovered very early on in my adult life, long before I started this Spirit Path, that although ingesting consciousness altering substances, alcohol, marijuana, various opium derivatives, chemicals, and fungi, did indeed alter my perceptions, I never felt like I was ‘getting in touch with the real me’. Instead I felt like I was me-through-rose-colored-glasses. (mind you, the music associated with such states continues to capture my imagination like nothing elseI’ve added a one of the best of them at the end of this post. Have a listen and you’ll see what I mean)

I sit in a chair rather than laying down so I’m not tempted to fall asleep before the fun bits. Also, falling asleep during this work can be … troublesome. Other realms of existence open and the rabbit holes you can fall into are not for the faint-of-heart. In fact they’re downright dangerous.

I use visualization to relax my body, center my mind, do a bit of ‘housekeeping’ – sending healing energy to any bits of my body (usually my knees) that need it, give the old power centers (‘chakras’ in some Traditions) a bit of a vacuum and polish, and generally make sure what I leave behind, my physical body, is taken care of. (When I’m teaching, this visualization is spoken, or guided, by me, but it’s second nature now because I’ve been doing this for so long so I slip into it without a great deal of effort)

I usually set my destination (one or more of the Realms in that bag of marbles I talked about in Prelude I, of which there are as many as there are motes of star-dust in the universe) and the work I want to do ahead of time, then I head out.

Basically, beyond all the trappings, a Shaman’s work is to Journey into other Realms of Awareness and bring back that which is useful here in this one.

-oOo-

I had a week to think about my first adventure. I felt like I’d traveled through a movie. Who knew it could be this exciting? The sensual  technicolor images, exploring unknown places, mythological images becoming manifest. As for Bast’s warning, it lost its impact with each day that passed. Nothing really horrible happened to me the last time. Not really. I was eager for a repeat experience. I wanted it all. To soak it up like a desiccated seed absorbing an ocean. I could hardly wait.

“I don’t know,” came a doubtful whisper.

“Oh, pish-posh,” I replied. “On with the show.”

The old tree flowed into existence in front of me, but my ebony ball was nowhere to be found. I visualized it as hard as I could, to no avail. For a moment I was too stunned to react, a frisson of panic rippled up from the pit of my stomach, but my journey continued to unfold around me, so off I went, ready or not.

I was flying through the star-lit sky at the speed of thought, heading towards the planet Neptune where I was supposed to experience unconditional love. On Neptune? And where I was to meet Venus, the Goddess that is, not the planet.

My throat constricted, and my eyes filed with tears of pain, of loss, of a grief too terrible to comprehend. I was going so fast that the starlight stretched until it looked like time-lapse video of car headlights at night.

Then the space around me began to harden until I couldn’t even move, even to breathe, bound in a coffin of rock, pushing at me, in me, a part of me, becoming me.

My chest caved in and my heart collapsed, crushed by the weight of that terrifying grief. In some strangely separate part of my mind I wondered if all the grief I had ever experienced in my life was somehow coming back to haunt me? Had all the ghosts I tried to outrun on my motorbike finally caught up with me?

Another thought swiftly replaced it. What if this grief isn’t actually mine? What if I had somehow unwittingly tapped into the rivers and oceans of grief that humans have been crying since we began inhabiting this planet? And I wondered, what would the weight of that do to me?

Another part of my brain screamed at me to open my eyes and everything would be normal. The crushing weight would disappear and the waves of grief would recede and return from whence they came, but I couldn’t open them, my physical body was too heavy.

I grew heavier and heavier, still unable to move, bearing it until I broke, until my bones and muscles and organs were crushed to pulp. Until the floor beneath me gave way under the strain. The floorboards splintered under the enormous weight and I fell straight through the floor beneath and down, down into the ground, where I knew, beyond a doubt, I would die.

Then, between one moment and another I was back in the room. It hadn’t collapsed, nor had I been crushed out of existence, but that grief, the unutterable weight of anguish, returned with me. I broke into great heart-wracking sobs, frightened to the depths of my being

Later that night I watched the news on television, as it relayed images of a great tragedy unfurling on the other side of the world, where people were already dying. My breath caught in my throat and I felt as though I were suffocating. I walked to a nearby park near where I lived and stood under the naked stars.

I whispered into the gaping wound inside me that wouldn’t close, “Why is this happening to me?

A voice that was neither inside my head nor somewhere out there beyond the furthest star, perhaps Bast, spoke to me. “So you will learn the First Lesson.” There was so much Power in that sentence I could almost hear the capital letters.

First Lesson. I pondered the words. First Lesson. What the hell did that mean? No-one answered.  The words rattled around inside my head keeping me awake for hours.

Eventually, at some point during that sleepless night I figured a couple of things out. If, I chose to continue this work (and at this point it certainly wasn’t a given) I would be expanding my awareness of my surroundings and what constituted my reality, and I needed to be able to discern what was meant for me and what I was picking up from ‘out there’ that wasn’t meant for me. I was essentially bearing witness, nothing more.

Another even bigger ‘if’ was that if these Realms were as real as the physical one I’d inhabited for all my life, as real as the walls of my house, and the trees and asphalt pavement of my street, then perhaps I could’ve quite literally died under that crushing weight.

I’d been given a (relatively) painless glimpse into the true size and potential of the Path I’d innocently stepped upon.

It was a hard decision, but in the end I trusted what I’d learned from my motorbike accident, knowing that I must accept every challenge that came my way. Hard or easy, pleasurable or painful, to willingly go where the Journey took me. To trust that I would be cared for … until I’d learned what I needed to know in order to survive on my own.

I had no idea of what I was actually agreeing to.

-oOo-

The best song about altered states of consciousness ever …

 (did you see the date stamp on that video? Woodstock was 49 years ago! … sheesh!)

 

And because it’s awesome-sauce, just Grace and her voice …

 

Hardcore Parsley

About this time last year we experimented with a wooden pallet garden. We had an assortment of veggies all happily doing what veggies do, but between marauding wildlife and the Summer of smoke and intense heat, we decided to just let it run wild and see what survived.

Underneath 30cm (12”) of snow and 5cm (2”) of ice, being bombed by falling branches, and then iced and snowed on all over again a week later, not only did our parsley and strawberry plants survive, they thrived.

The true survivalists!

 

Look at all those baby strawbs!

 

I’m not sure how tender these leaves would be but in truth I’m not game to pick ‘em to find out. We’ll just leave ‘em feral and pick the new shoots when they pop up

Prelude II

Read Prelude (the first bit) HERE

… the story so far … Childhood of major suckitude … searching for spiritual meaning … my first encounter with meditation … end up in front of an ancient tree … and away we go …

-oOo-

I took a moment to assess my situation. The Morton Bay fig tree was real and I was really standing next to it.

OK then.

A large almost weightless ebony ball appeared in my hands.

Surely not a crystal ball, some irreverent part of my mind commented, but as I looked vague shapes shimmered and flared inside it and I knew what they represented.

The remnants of my stress at running late looked like a mini lightning strike. An odd-looking jiggly thing off to one side was the tough week I’d had at work. Another shape was my University workload. Another one was my relationship, it wasn’t going well. My health, finances, all the aspects of my everyday life captured in miniature.

The tree was a kind of way-station on my Journey between the physical world and whatever lay ahead. I couldn’t take all my mental dross with me, so this was the perfect place to leave it, to be collected on my way back if I so chose. I gently lodged my ebony ball in a comfortable little nook between two branches, and feeling much lighter, took a deep breath.

My perception shifted and I looked down on a sea of long rolling sand dunes in shades of yellows and browns stretching out in all directions. No trees, grasses, or visible life anywhere. The air around me smelled crisp cold, with a dry bite, not at all what I expected. I glided on soft silent wings across the sky, flying from horizon to endless horizon.

My flight seemed to last forever but eventually the desert ended at the edge of an ocean and plunged abruptly into the green depths beyond the gentle tidal surge. The sea, too, extended in an hypnotic rolling swell as far as I could see.

I landed at the edge of the sand and faced the sea, folded my wings back from whence they came, and waited. Not much else I could do, really.

A wooden rowboat aged by wind and tide gently beached itself. I got in and off we went, across the sea to the opposite shore, which looked exactly the same as the one I’d just left. Sand dunes rising out of the water and then more sand dunes, beyond sand dunes, beyond sand dunes. I left the boat, unfurled my wings and soared onward to my final destination.

An oddly shaped building appeared at the edge of the horizon, becoming larger and larger as I drew close.

By now I was starting to feel, not exactly tired, but edgy, as though the part of me that firmly believed in three dimensions and all the familiarity and safety they entailed, was having a bit of a terse conversation with the part of me that accepted all I was experiencing here, as real too.

I drew closer to the building. Long sweeping planes and cunning tight corners flowed into curves rather than angles and took on a very specific shape. The seven storey high building was a statue of a very elegant looking Siamese cat with her front feet tucked together and her tail draped neatly over the tops of them.

Well, color me gobsmacked! My internal discussion shut down without a whimper.

“Of course it’s a giant Siamese cat,” I said. “What else would it be?” I really hoped I wouldn’t hear an answer because I was starting to feel a little punchy at this point.

As I softly landed in front of the building that towered above me like an overhanging cliff a doorway opened up in one of the giant toes. With a kind of fatalistic acceptance I stepped through. The opening wasn’t very wide, but the scale of the temple was so massive that just one toe left me with ample headroom.

The opening closed behind me without a sound, leaving me in utter darkness. Not just your ordinary darkness either, where you know the sun is out there on the other side of the planet, just out of sight for a while. This was a complete absence of even the concept of light.

My internal voices really had something to discuss now. Mostly about whether I should feel an ordinary garden-variety existential fear, or outright unadulterated imminent-annihilation terror.

I didn’t know which way was up, which way was down. I didn’t know where to go, or what to do next. I had willingly entered a place I had no frame of reference for, that was completely beyond the constraints of any time or measurements of distance that I knew of. Where magic was happening all around me, and dreams, possibly nightmares, came true.

I spent endless moments in that unutterable blackness before I realized I was still standing upright. Therefore, it followed that I had to be standing on something. My rational mind was so pleased to have some sort of reality to hang on to it relinquished its terrified death-grip on my throat and I could breathe again.

Breath meant movement and with movement came light. As I walked, a faint glow bright enough to see by emanated from the walls and faded back into blackness as I passed. The walls themselves were carved in long serrated grooves as though something with very big claws had scratched it out of the bedrock.

My eyes adjusted to the dimness so that when I reached the end of the tunnel, the circular room beyond seemed like it was bathed in brilliant white light. It was a perfect hemisphere nestled between the two front feet of the giant statue. I looked around but the only thing that I could make any sense of at all were a series of deep gashes carved into the walls in a herringbone pattern.

I reached out and touched them, they weren’t rock anymore, they were made out of clay, and I knew they represented a telling of my entire life. My past, present, and my unknown future. In some places the clay was still damp and in others it was so old and dry that I was afraid it would crumble if I even breathed on it. I understood the clay was made out of the blood of the earth, the first Mother of us all.

I knew if I could translate the pattern I would be able to see the course of my life from its beginning to its end, and beyond. The enormity of such knowledge set my hands shaking and I felt cold, ice cold.

A pair of french doors appeared right in the middle of the solid clay wall. They looked as though they’d always been there. Perhaps they had, and I could only see them when I needed to. They led out into a small courtyard, with beautiful green growing things and hidden somewhere just out of sight, the sound of water flowing, like a fountain.

Suddenly I was warm again. I walked through the lush tropical greenery with tears in my eyes.

This potency, this beauty of my ‘interior’ or ‘spirit’ world had always been here and I’d never been able to access it until now. I laughed and cried. I felt sad for all that I’d missed, and elated for all I might find, all at the same time. I wanted to go further, beyond the garden, beyond the sand dunes, to explore just how far this wondrous paradise extended, to venture into who-knows-how-many other magnificent Realms. I wanted it all in one big hit. I wanted . . . I wanted . . .

A lifetime’s hunger condensed around me into this one impeccable moment. I hurried to the edge of the garden and bumped into something large and immovable. I looked up, and up, and up.

Her name, she said, was Bast. She cocked her head slightly to one side and glared fiercely down her whiskers at me. She held one gigantic, yet perfectly proportioned paw, just above my head, poised to stamp me out of existence.

“I want to fly,” I shouted at her with my arms outflung. “Give me back my wings.”

Bast laughed. Her belly shook with her mirth. “I will catch you and eat you. You will not survive.”

I glanced at a tiny butterfly innocently sipping nectar in the garden, and I thought I might be able to fly out as a very small and insignificant butterfly so no-one or no-thing would notice me, and I’d be OK.

“No,” Bast said. “I will squash you.” Her paw quivered just above my scalp. “You are not ready, and you will not survive.”

She seemed so very sure of herself and, seeing as how she was a whole lot bigger than me, I conceded her the point.

As I returned to the garden, and thence to my physical body, sitting in a chair in a small room in an old suburb of a ocean-side city, exhaustion swept over me like a tidal wave. Moving, standing up, breathing, took all of my energy.

Obviously, there were things I had to learn before I could go exploring any further, so I was content to wait, (at least until the following week) to understand how and what I would need to survive.

I was so excited though. Here was a place, a Realm, that could take me as far as I was wiling to go. I felt invincible.

-oOo-

Birds and Bums

These days the sun sets at around 5pm here on Widder Island, and after an intense day of writing, on novels and blog posts and assorted commentings around the interwebz, my brain was in sore need of fresh air.

The rain had temporarily stopped bucketing down so I bundled up and headed out for a brisk walk along the lane to the other side of Widder Lake, taking a brolly, just in case.

The end of the road is also a turn-around, so them’s wot are lost have the means to do an about-face without resorting to a 17-point turn. As I walked through the scraggly trees and leaf-denuded bushes between the road and the path nearer the water I could see a single car parked to one side of the turn-around. They seemed to be minding their own business so I minded mine and turned my attention to the assorted flocks of ducks, geese, and swans, swooping in from across the mountain and down onto the lake. (I assume these are late leaving for parts south or are really, really keen to head back north for the summer)

One flock, geese, I think, but the mist and the gloaming made it hard to see anything too clearly, caught my eye as they came over the ridge and started their descent … then with equal grace swirled around and rose back into the sky.

Around and around, they spiraled the length of the lake, widdershins-wise, dipping low, and then, almost without any effort at all, drifting back up again.

There were no predators around. The bald eagle clan who live on the other side of the lake were salmon fishing along the river a few kilometers away, and all the human farmers who considered the flocks ‘pests’ were snug inside their houses. This flock looked like they just wanted to soar for a while before settling down for the night.

As I watched them I wondered if they did it for the pure enjoyment of flight. Not in an anthropomorphized kind of a way, but within their own avian concepts of joy.

Eventually the rain started again. I popped my umbrella and began to wend my way home.

I did a quick scan of my surroundings, as one does when one is alone with the wild things, including a fleeting glance at the turn-around where, you might remember, a car, apparently minding its business had parked. Lo and behold, there, next to the car, shining through the darkening mist and rain I saw a perfectly naked peach-shaped bum.

I quickly redirected my fleeting glance back on the path in front of me and ambled home whilst ruminating on how the birds and the bum complimented each other in a delightfully irreverent, and dare I say, cheeky, way.

I suspect that whoever was in the car decided to take advantage of the dark and nip out for a bit of a pee. I hoped she didn’t see me. It’s nerve-wracking enough to risk one’s naked bum in the open, in the dark, to empty one’s bladder, but being observed doing so, is another matter entirely.

-oOo-

Coco the Community Cat dropped in this afternoon. She and Mirabeau oversaw my writerly endeavours with an appropriate amount of interest.

Mirabeau – “Do you think she suspects?”
Coco – “None of them suspect. Relax. All is at it should be.”