Been doing revision with E for exams the week after half term. This morning: religious studies. You’ll remember (maybe) my recent experience walking the labyrinth. I have to say that in the dry language of copied notes and dog-eared handouts, none of the three religions he studied this year really appeals. Bit of a relief as yet another leap of faith is avoided.

However. I was drawn to the word renunciation. In the last stage of a Hindu life, this means the giving up of small things in order to aim for the larger.

I look at my life and see the small things I could do with renouncing. And they are, ironically, the things which bother me the most: administration, ambition, acquaintances. And a healthy portion of neurosis.

It’s difficult to keep aiming for the large things that fulfill us. That are large simply by virtue of fulfilling us. It’s hard to jettison everything we could do and be for what we are happiest doing and being. It’s difficult even to see it.

For me, anyway. My reaction to any clear air — like today, the one day out of the last two weeks when I’ve thought, phew, a bit of a breather —  is to start to agitate: what can I do next? what am I able to do? The drive to fill the space justified as I can do anything. But do I want to? 

No. I want to keep the big things in focus. If you could see my study, you’d see that I’m working in a space just big enough for the keyboard. All around me are piles of papers, books, swimming badges and childrens’ music programmes, preparation materials, newspaper articles, scraps of reminders, DVDs to return and CDs to burn, old receipts, foreign money, mint copies of my books and innumerable dragonfly items. Not to speak of M’s hair holders, E’s films and a rubber band the cat tried to swallow when it was on the floor.

This is the place to start. Renounce the urge to fill all sorts of spaces.