WD-40 for the Soul (Public)

What is it? Someone please let me know.

WD-40 for the Soul (Public)
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash


I woke up this morning at 9 am and spent the duration of a feature-length film in bed, rolling through dreams and back, lamenting the frozen, rusted hinges on the doors of my heart. As per usual, I spend far too much time expressing myself here and to others, and not saying a peep to those I’d like to get to know. I’m hardly planning a great seduction, just wanting to spend a little time with Clare while she is here. She seems preoccupied though, hard to reach, and all I can do is squint through the heavy shutters, as I’ve done my whole life. What is the WD-40 for the soul? Someone please let me know.

Last night I was across the road at Ellen and Bryce’s, with them and their friends for a movie, dinner, and a rousing game of “Guess the Famous Person Written on this Little Slip of Paper,” which also might have been called “Hats.” I forget.

Earlier in the day I went over to see if Clare wanted to go for a walk. No one was home so I left a note on an envelope and pinned it to the door. It was actually a double note—one half was an invitation to Clare; the other was to Helen (a friend of theirs) enclosing the five quid she had spotted me for lunch at the pub a day or two before. 45 minutes passed before I decided the note was lame and went to remove it. As I stepped out of my door I saw a figure go through their gate. Too late, back inside.

Later in the afternoon I got a knock on the door from Helen returning the five quid, “Not necessary,” she said. Very kind.

I’m not sure if Clare ever got her half of the note or not, but she didn’t mention it. That evening during “Hats” Ellen kept score on the back of the very envelope in question and passed it to Clare to continue while she went to do something in the kitchen. Did I mouth to her “Turn it over,” and make the note appear as if by magic, then gesture across the big, white table, “you... me... walk? tomorrow?” No, none of that. I sat there like a thirteen-year-old in biology class, crushed by a crush.

I’m embarrassed about my malformed psyche: the desire of a man, the prowess of youth. Argh, I have to stop. Recounting my regret only reinforces those feelings, inviting a downward spiral. I should just chuck it overboard instead, this miserable self-doubt.


In other news: I ran across Bitey Cat the other day making the most of the new millennium by laying in a sunny spot in a hedge. I went to pet him, inadvertently stealing his sun to warm my backside. He soon got annoyed and left.

I found out recently that in the Hans-and-Jon-Ross household, if you have Bitey on your lap, you are immune from tea-making and dinner-serving duties. As a consequence of this safety measure, plenty of laps are always available.


Almost all of the boats are out of the water now for the winter. They huddle everywhere: on every side of the old Coast Guard shed, in fields, gardens, greenhouses, and out buildings. Through almost every door, and in every nook, lies a vessel of some kind.

I’m disappointed I missed the hauling out of Constance, Hans’s 1930s-era motorboat. She was left in Periglis Cove late into December and had to come out in adverse conditions during a storm on Christmas Eve after having suffered minor damage from colliding with a fishing boat. Both swung wildly on their moorings as heavy undertow and rough seas swept through the cove.

Now I see her genteel bow protruding from behind a hedgerow, elevated so as not to sit in the wet grass. Another boat, a stylish-but-nameless cabin cruiser, seemingly from the late 1960s, now out of service and in need of restoration, shares the space on the other side of the garden.

The Shah, St. Agnes’ gig, had been waiting on the ramp at Periglis for good weather until she could be rowed around to the gig shed on the other side of the island. The Sunday before Christmas, good weather came. Helping to put her away for the winter, I noticed another noteworthy veteran, the freight launch, Campanelle. She and her crew of eight oarsmen would have made regular trips transporting foodstuffs, building materials (and mistresses perhaps), to and from the other islands. Twice as wide as the Shah, and just as long at 30 feet, she looked astoundingly good for her 100+ years. But trusted locals present that day pronounced her unseaworthy, as so much time out of the water had opened narrow gaps in her planking. If taken out to sea today she’d sink like the sieve that she has become. It’s a shame really, but she’s no longer needed, gorgeous though she may be.


Side note: I can report that St. Agnes has proved to be fully Y2K safe. All flowers, trees, cows, and chickens are operating normally and as expected. Granite outcrops are unchanged and my computer seems to be running fine.


Hi, it’s me in the present again.

It feels a little rough reading about my younger self having a tough go of it. And, occasionally, those feelings still come up for me. Sometimes I feel time, healing, and growth have worn away their sharp edges. Other times I bump and notice sharp edges that still partially remain. So for my younger and current self, and for you dear reader, if you relate, I offer this...

I perceive WD-40 for the soul as having a few components.

The first I sense is compassion. Have compassion for yourself and the state you find yourself in. Welcome compassion from others. We’ve all come to these places for a reason. Maybe the reason doesn’t exist anymore, maybe it does. But we’ve all arrived where we are for perfectly good and natural reasons.

Love also feels like a key ingredient. Love yourself. Receive love. It’s OK to feel and be just who you are. Welcome and love yourself as you are. There’s nothing that has to change. You’re perfect and beautiful. What is the gift of where you are now?

Worthiness. You have desires? You’re worthy of them. You have dreams? You’re worthy. No being in this Universe is more worthy than any other of having its needs met. We’re all here to want and learn and grow. May no being’s desires supersede the rest. And I encourage no being to cast its desires off, leaving them abandoned on the path. Please carry them to the place where you can offer them up.

Courage. It takes some courage, I feel, to be open, to let our desires be known, to plant our flag and say, “I desire this,” or “I desire you.” And while we’re here. Let’s also ensure that we don’t let our desires supersede others’ by asking for consent before we share. Maybe, “I’ve noticed some desires coming up. May I share them with you?” It can be a tricky business, this balance.

Vulnerability. I experience doing this all as vulnerable. It takes vulnerability to put one’s self out there while simultaneously not placing oneself above another. But when you do it... nice work.

Expression. Sometimes people just won’t be into helping you fulfill your dreams and desires, and that’s OK. In that case release it to ground or to the sky, or experience the fulfillment in your mind. But first give it the opportunity to be heard. I think it’s a lot easier to get on board with you, if you express to them what “you” is.

Healing. Doing this... Letting it out... I think it’s healing. It’s honoring ourselves and honoring others by letting them in. It’s a release. In my experience, when we hold the energy of desire within, without giving it an opportunity to be heard, it erodes us. To give it the opportunity to be released is healing. And sometimes people are interested in receiving what we’d like to give. And when that happens—wow! What a joy to plant our flag, have another see it, and say to us, “Yes, I’d love to.”

Then what happens? We’re off to the races.

And when we receive compassion from ourselves and others, we’re able to offer as well. When we offer compassion and love, and others choose to receive, we start the cycle anew, and help build a virtuous, upward spiral.

Does this help? This post is public. Feel free to share.

I wish you all well with your heart hinges and wish you a Happy New Year!