Human; all too human…

I want to speak for those who do not have a voice…
I want to pay attention to those who are never heard…
I want to understand the misinterpreted and translate the obscure, blurry, hieroglyphics between “us” and “them”…
So this is for you who are hurting, taking refuge in those dark corners of an eternal night, hiding or left behind.
I want you to know you matter and are a part of this as much as those who are up on stage, whose glossy images are propped up in shining lights and who’s names the walls ricochet…

I want to let you know you who are hurting, that your pain won’t last forever.
You are not alone alone in your struggle, we all carry within us a yoke it seems sometimes we can’t bear…
We all have monsters tormenting us… Our hearts all keep secrets… Emotions no one can escape…
We have all been blessed and cursed with sentient hearts, thinking minds and conscious consciences not letting us sleep at night.
We are all learning as we go along, we all just want to get by and if we are lucky thrive…
How or why we arrived at the grand theme park that is life, no one really knows, all we can do is try to enjoy the ride and take in and put out as much as we can, while we can…
Everyone is doing the best they can, with what they’ve got and with what they know…

Life didn’t come with instructions…
Although there’s many manuals we’ve made up, many theories we’ve conjured up… Truth is no one knows you better than you know yourself.
The trick is to attentively listen when your heart speaks, kindly quiet your mind, reconcile the two and together, synthesised, in harmony lead your life… To be aware of the ego and the games it plays…

To have compassion for your frail humanity and in this know you are not alone. And so extend that compassion to everyone around you, for we are all fallible and finite and its hard for all of us…

Because pain is an unavoidable natural phenomenon of life we all must learn to bear the best way we know how, and this is constant transmutable process…

Because hopefully through our pain we will learn. Because every battle scar makes our souls more noble and sturdy.

Because every pain beared is another monster slashed, another mountain conquered, another medal earned.

Because without without pain and difficulty we wouldn’t know stillness and satisfaction…

So know this…

In your shame, you are not alone… When someone made you feel defected, almost alienated. When you weren’t being accepted and didn’t feel appreciated, needed to be validated… For all the times you were rejected, nastily degraded, your self-esteem negatively affected… For every time you wanted the earth to swallow you whole, or quickly crawl into an imaginary hole. For every one who ever said you weren’t good enough, and ridiculed you with scornful laughs. For every instance you felt profound humiliation was your condemnation. For every time you were teased, made fun of and mocked, insultingly provoked. For every time you had to endure some sort of abuse, treated offensively without excuse, left to in shame suffuse and your pride reduce. For every instance you were ever left questioning your worth, depreciating your soul… For all the mortifying secrets you keep locked away in your heart, wanting to be erased by your mind. There’s someone here, who can see past that brave but frail, fake smile, someone who knows you really ain’t alright, someone who knows that those words really hurt deep down inside, that those actions were vulgar… There’s someone here who’s been there too, affirming your truth in its entirety and sharing in the mutual embarrassment…

In your fear, you are not alone… For all the sweaty palms and racing hearts, for all the times you felt paralysed, when horror had you petrified… When you were close to panic, so you started acting erratic. For all the times you got chills down your spine in the face of something scary, real or imaginary… For every time you ever felt intimidated, but resolved to not let terror leave you incapacitated so a risky feat you initiated. When your monsters were incarnated but you bravely motivated of courage you appropriated and another phobia vindicated. For all the seconds spent in the grips of impending doom, when unsettling uncertainty seemed to loom. For every time dread held you back or you impulsively betrayed your heart. For every time you closed your eyes to jump but you either froze or run…. Through that constant anxiety, feeling like something bad is going to happen… Through your courage and bravery, there’s someone here who’s been too, holding your hand, having your back, being your cheering squad, telling you you’ll be fine, it’ll pass, you’ll see it through the other side…

In your sadness, you are not alone… For every time you felt down in the dumps, like nothing could cheer you up. For every time your sou’ls wounds were bleeding and needed some compassionate healing. For every broken heart and every tortured poem penned at night. For every goodbye kiss and every the lover that you miss. For every tear shed and illusion shred, when heartache seemed to spread… For every time you felt depressed and by woe possessed. When anguish was a constant state, when you felt like misery was here to stay. For every ending and melancholy tolerated. For every hour spent in sorrow and mourned like there was no tomorrow. For every time you felt your world was coming to end, for every moment of overwhelming despair. There’s a someone here who’s been there too, consoling your heart, padding your back, providing you the tissues to have a good cry… Telling you that although it now hurts, the pain too will come to an end, you will smile again, time will heal and kiss those aches away and even though I can’t repair your loss know that love will once again grow…

In your anger, you are not alone… For every moment of consuming fury, for every instance you were left you fuming. For every occurrence that made you bitter and made your sunshine wither. For every time you felt you needed to yell to express your discontent. For every second of exasperation, perhaps caused by a repetitive incidental irritation. For every of moment of perceived injustice, perhaps you witnessed something destructive, so by anger you were made captive, enraged and disgusted. For all the times you wanted vengeance, amend a debt left pendant, regardless of repentance but thought twice and realised violence was just more petulance, anger wasn’t the answer so you controlled your temper. For every thirst of revenge, wanting to let loose and wrench, satisfy a vindictive quench. When you were victim of an aggression, perhaps in the middle of a contention… For every second of impotence and frustration, when in indignation you demanded an explanation. For all the episodes of uncontainable rage, for every time you felt betrayed, like the world was just not fair, and nobody gave a care for your welfare. There’s someone here witnessing your cause, hearing your discharge and giving you a glass to smash… There’s someone here to remind you that don’t have to be hash back, gotta cut the world some slack, resentment will only harbour more hatred, so just breath and left off steam, let the anger move through you and be released…

In your envy and jealousy, you are not alone… For every time you were disturbed by the thought your lot was being threatened, your territory being invaded, so your turf had to be defended. For every time you were suspicious your brother’s intentions could be malicious. For every time you caught yourself lusting, onto foreign objects grasping. For all the times you viewed your brother as your rival, concerned for your survival. For all the times your insecurities bred resentment opportunities. For all the times you felt possessive, mistrustful and obsessive. When your ego started whining, after what’s not yours pinning… For every time you were by greed possessed and started to covet what was on the other side of the fence. For all the times your eyes were bigger than your belly and you didn’t believe in sharing. When you just weren’t satisfied with what you’d been supplied, what you had wasn’t enough, you wanted to accumulate more stuff. There’s someone here who’s been there too, eyeing off the neighbours goods, but reminding you that life is not a competition, your brother is not your opposition so put down your ammunition and let go off your needy disposition. Instead count your blessings and don’t obsess over your earnings. Realise there’s no need to be stressing your assets are extensive and through life you are progressing. There’s someone here who’s been there too, to remind you to appreciate your current state, see it’s already great, there’s really nothing missing so let go of greedy wishing, what you’ve got is sufficing, so instead start grinning, you are already winning, life will keep on giving. Desire can drive you crazy but gratitude is a better attitude. So remember you you’ve got enough, you are enough, life’s already lush…

In your loneliness, you are not alone… For every time you felt secluded like by the world you were eluded, from humanity excluded. For all the times when someone’s absence made for a desolate ambiance. When you felt like a recluse solitude had produced. For all the times you felt abandoned and yearned for a companion. For all the times your friends were no where to be seen or you felt you didn’t fit in, like an outsider trying to squeeze in. When you were surrounded by many but seen by none, when you felt like a stranger from a foreign land. So you sat alone questioning your worth far away from home… When your loved ones weren’t near, and there was seas between you and those you held dear… There’s someone here to keep you company to alleviate the solitary agony, together in harmony. Theres someone here to interrupt your desolation to remind you are part of a global congregation, we are all in relation. We can be together in unity, a solidary community, like humanity is supposed to be. Theres someone here to remind you even though you are alone, doesn’t mean you are not loved, there’s always someone near just a call away on the phone… Also, remember sometimes solitude can be a welcomed state where you can meditate and your own company appreciate…

In your worry and doubt, you are not alone… For every time your mind raced with a million possible scenarios of what could do wrong. For every time you forgot if you left the stove on. When you just couldn’t seem to let it go, when preoccupation seemed to grow, anticipating woe or regretting what happened long ago. For all the endless sleepless nights when you thought the money wouldn’t be enough, wondered why life was so rough and things at home were tough. For all the times you wondered how long the struggle would last, your world was just spinning too fast and had a gloomy forecast . For all the times anxious thoughts disturbed your peace of mind, when just you couldn’t leave the past behind and wanted to rewind. For all the times your mind obsessed over a concern, perhaps money you had to earn, or how to increase your return, so on the same thoughts you would churn until your head would ache and burn, when stress became stubborn, constant and nocturn and ruminating turned into a detrimental pattern. For every time your mind made up a dramatic story, a mental purgatory with an endless repertory. For all the times your mind made a mountain out of a molehill, against your will stress made you ill, you just needed to chill so you took a pill. For every time you had a burden to solve, come to a resolve but your problems just seemed to evolve. When your imagination became stressful, just plain painful. For all the moments of indecision, wether to listen to your intuition or your logical cognition. For all the times you felt pressure, questioned by a demanding oppressor. Know there’s someone here to not telling you to “just relax”, but handing you a worry jar. Without any wise advice other than to listen to your heart. There’s someone here to remind you breath and run through your pros and cons list. There’s someone here with whom to brainstorm, your worries transform and something relaxing perform…

In your illness, you are not alone… When the medicines just don’t seem to work, when the doctors don’t know what’s going on, when you just want your biology to cooperate and to be healthy once again. In your physical, mental, emotional impairment, despite all that keeps you incapacitated… There’s someone here who’s been there too, now holding onto hope with you, saluting you for your strength in the face of ill health and encouraging you not to give up. You will win this wellness fight, you will heal and you will thrive. You will find the remedy to cure your malady because you believe in positivity…

In your mistakes and your regrets, know you are not alone…. For all the times your ego was deflated and your grand plans never consolidated, when you were utterly devastated. For all the times you chocked, those words were never evoked, your intentions weren’t invoked, your proposals were revoked, things just didn’t go as you hoped. For all the times you fell flat on your face and encountered disgrace, felt like a hopeless case, stuck in an adverse place. For all the times you felt you were swimming against the current, your path was errant seemed apparent, the world was noncompliant, instead it was being defiant, you were up against a cruel giant. For all the times you felt like the biggest fool, prone to ridicule and treated yourself cruel. For all the times you just couldn’t forgive yourself, when the enemy was your own self. For all the things looking back, you wished you had said and done, all the missed opportunities, unexplored possibilities, unexploited abilities, suppressed impulsivities, alleged liabilities, perceived fallibilities in light of uncertain probabilities and pre-cautious proclivities. There’s someone here who’s been there too to remind you that what matters is you tried and weren’t afraid to fly, fear defy, your courage testify and tenacity exemplify, so your mistakes you will rectify and your victories will multiply. When you feel disheartened, chin up for trying. Life is a learning curve, no ones perfect, so errors come to expect, it’s not an inborn defect, you just can’t always be correct, there’s nothing wrong with your intellect, so don’t lose your self respect and instead confidence reflect. There’s someone here to remind you to go easy on yourself for at some point those regrets were exactly what you wanted, otherwise you wouldn’t have acted, but you dared and experimented, it all went as destiny intended for your knowledge to be upgraded and another lesson learned consolidated. Hindsight is always 20/20, mistakes are ordinary and although they might be awry they make you hardy and savvy, so greet nicely and use them wisely. Remember it’s never too late start over, you can still recover, of the world you are an explorer, inner strength you will discover, even if you have to go slower, you are only becoming stronger. Sometimes life does give second chances, so don’t dwell on your current circumstances and keep on making advances…

In your struggle, you are not alone… For all the times when you felt completely overwhelmed, when nothing seemed to go your way, it was all hazy and gray, you carried a deep dismay and became a sad display, wanting to throw it all away or runaway from all the disarray, yearning for a sunnier day. For every time you felt misunderstood, like the world was all aloof… For all the times you felt you were running out of strength, it all too intense, your problems seemed immense, you were tired of pretence, challenged in every sense, so you prayed for extra defence. For all the times you were stuck in a dark place, perhaps a bad habit trying to replace but the cravings were too intense that you just couldn’t tolerate so relapse would replay and then the guilt would suffocate, from your conscience you couldn’t escape, the mistakes you couldn’t erase so the problem would complicate and a vicious cycle would replicate.
For all the times you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, it was all a constant struggle, you were surrounded by trouble, your world was all a jumble and you had started to crumble. There’s someone here who understands you ain’t super human, you don’t always have to have a plan, although you may feel pressure to be a “top-gun” and get it all done, the reality is not always fun you are allowed to come undone. You are allowed to feel tired and uninspired. You are allowed to have had enough and want to leave it all behind… It’s ok to unwind, however not by hardship be defined or to adversity confined but instead once realigned wisdom find, become kind and of sound mind, of service to mankind…

In your humanity, you are not alone… There’s someone here also made of flesh and bones, another sentient, animated soul taking on a temporal physical role… In your preference for certainty, battling internally, wondering about eternity. In your wanting to be special, somehow differential, you are indeed intrinsically essential, donned with a unique potential. In your ever changing identity, blotchy integrity, mental complexity, emotional intensity, spiritual tendency, need for transcendency, beyond pleasing aesthetically and succeeding financially, regardless of race and theology and any other different philosophy or separating ideology. In your wild imagination, ingenious creation. In your endless contradictions, quirks and addictions, all your ambitions and afflictions, in all your aversions and leisurely diversions. In your inclination for indulging in pleasures and desires, searching for what your soul requires… In your wrestling with God, filling that existential void. In your need to control, life taking its toll… In never giving up hope, always learning to cope no matter how steep the slope, walking in life’s tightrope. In being your own worst critic, harshly analytic, sometimes fatalistic, not wanting to be a cynic but remaining optimistic, aiming to be realistic, ever artistic with a stroke of mystic. In your vulnerability, most important ability. In your mortality, sobering reality. In your constant search for meaning, incessant thinking, dreaming, seeking, needing, breathing, feeling, living… There’s someone here who bleeds the same blood and breaths the same air, a mirror reflection extending a fraternal hand, looking into your eyes, past the facade and pantomime. There’s someone here who speaks your silent language, no words necessary, hearts speak directly, always truthfully and valiantly, tirelessly… There’s someone here too, someone like you, someone like me, someone human, all too human…

Your Masterpiece

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination” – Henry David Thoreau

This life, this one ever expansive cosmic canvas of inexhaustible, unlimited potential yet also a finite one, bound and constrained by the concrete frames of our mortality….

So… what am I splashing across? Am I languishingly copying monotone, weary and tattered templates for the sake of putting something down, or am I pausing, letting my spirit impregnate and reign over my body and be fully awake before I paint? Aware and in awe of the humbling grandiosity of the task?
First vowing in reverence and honouring in each step this magical blank space before me in which anything and everything is possible…

The day we came into this earth we were all gifted with a precious brand-new, limited-edition canvas, exclusively crafted for each one of us to take ownership of and work our magic on… To bring about that original melody and symphony of colours, which one else but ourselves can unravel…
Thus in life, in the 24 hour cycles we are repeatedly lovingly allotted for an uncertainly certain limited time, it is our divine responsibility to emancipate ourselves from the incarcerating shackles of our own inhibitions, lovingly ameliorate our preconceived handicaps and let loose, carpe diem and paint large… Paint a range of different landscapes, whole different worlds and entire new galaxies only our own particular set of neurons can conceive, only the blood running through our veins can feed and our own irreplaceable hearts feel…
It is our task, to let down those constricting heavy iron gates and let our hearts run free, escape and mingle in unison with our ingeniously restless minds…

At any given time, we all have the chance to stop scribbling our days away or mindlessly doodling to pass the time until we die… Although it might not come automatically since its not our default state, although this is no easy, effortless exercise and make no mistake, certainly no child’s play or leisurely walk in the park, but rather, perhaps the most seriously crucial and gruellingly audacious yet also the most rewarding and overall lifesaving task we will ever embark on in our lifetime; to make the conscious, constant and irrefutable decision to rip off those bindings and stop silencing and soothing our naturally fervent and passionate hearts and souls with synthetic tranquillisers and artificial props…
At any given time, we all have the chance to wake up, open our eyes and see the miraculous temporal potentiality of life as it is, and so wide-eyed, perky and determined rise up from our comfortable yet incapacitating beds of conformism, of fear, of pear-pressure, of not taking chances, of unwillingly fabricating listless lacklustre and lifeless reflections of a life… One’s which perhaps look good at first sight but after a while disfigure to reveal their morose reality…. The desolate, cold and passionless landscapes, empty of meaning which once we are finished tracing and once the trance of business and momentary distraction have worn off leave us feeling hollow, confused and defeated….

It’s refreshingly freeing and inspiring to realise and paint with the conviction that there’s really no rules or set instructions, although implicitly there might be expectations and implications of what it’s meant to look like…
If I am to deviate from the common trend there’s every chance I maybe scrutinised and shunned, perhaps labelled or deemed as a “failure of an artist” or “just not good enough” by those undiscerning critics rigidly sticking to contemporary fashions… So I should strive be more Picasso and less me… Aspire to imitate the archaic hindering definition of “greatness” and “success” they’ve been sold… To create a “masterpiece” based on the stereotypical yet also wavering model of what life is supposed to look like… One which clearly depicts all the imposed and expected milestones in ones lifetime, one familiarly comfortable to the observer; a house, a car or two, a mum and dad, all busily toiling 9 to 5 while attempting to raise and provide for their three kids and a dog…

But really at the end, where is the jury panel who will appraise our paintings and publish their final critique? When will the auction of our paintings take place transforming us into either revolutionaries best sellers of the art world, or merely mediocre struggling craftsman?

Truth is, we are here to concoct this colourfully messy adventure of a life for no one but ourselves, the only audience to please is your own soul.
The reality is everyone is too busy and preoccupied with painting their own painting, at the end, all you are left is what you’ve got, whatever it is you drafted while you had the time…
So maybe it’d wise to stop being so concerned about what others are painting or their opinion of our progress…

When painting, the boxes people may try to pack us into or the labels they may attempt to print across our representations should be the least of our worries.
To be deemed “average” or be granted any other unflattering comment is only a reflection of that persons particular circumstances and only valid in their own enclosed personal sphere. Other people’s opinions are merely fleeting words which have absolutely no power and validity if we ourselves choose not to validate them and uphold them as our truths. Only we have the authority and power to “define” ourselves, even though each one of us is an innately complex, dynamic, forever evolving and enigmatic being, who’s very nature escapes classification… Thus,  it’s only up to our own command, to outline and determine our character through our own manifestations, intentions and the quiet ambitions of our souls and so letting our actions do the talking louder than clearer than any words…
Nonetheless, it remains a fact that our actual figures, our shading, our lines and waves will always be a little too sharp, a little too bright or a little too wobbly or not enough for some people while at the same time those same designs will be pleasantly received and cherished by others…

To paint and so to live with the aim to people please is a fruitless, futile and heartbreaking endeavour…
The reality is we are collective of millions of unique individuals, with tastes and preferences as unique, varied and numerous as the entirety of humanity itself, thus it’s only natural that we are not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea all the time… Therefore, why sacrifice and betray our own souls, our unique essence, our unique impetus and character by striving to paint something we hope presumably other people may like, trying to hit an illusory fictional target hypothesised by our insecurities… In this way we are not doing anyone a favour but regretfully only ripping ourselves off and being prevented from painting a true masterpiece, one which flows from our DNA, one born and true to the vivacious life-force of the innermost, intimate workings of our hearts and so one which brings contentment not only to our own souls but like ripples in a pond, has the unintended effect of spreading amongst the surrounding bystanders that contagious satisfaction of a genuine, beautifully enacted, virtuous representation of an exquisitely rich life, one nobly depicted in courageous integrity and authenticity.

That’s how art, that’s how life works…
So pay no attention to what others may say, and instead let the colours, smell, shine, every aspect of the paint captivate and enthral you, be so engrossed in your work that the endless opinionated banter blends in with the chirping of the birds and alchemically serves to fuel your inspiration…

If that’s who you are… If that is your experience, if that’s what you are thinking/feeling, if you are being authentic, as long as you are painting from your heart then you can’t go wrong… in the process you are merely creating your own style, one which probably won’t be understood or appreciated until after your time, if ever?…
But that’s not the point anyway, to paint for external gratification, validation or approval?…
You paint, because you paint, because you don’t know any other way to be… Than to be wholeheartedly dedicated and devoted to the art of life.
If others can be moved and respond positively to your painting, if others approve of your style and like your interpretation of the subject, that’s a bonus, but that’s not the aim of painting.
I paint what my heart dictates… Emotions are the muses inspiring my creations…
And maybe you find that certain types of yellow, orange or light red suit you better than the murky tones of grey… Maybe you find that love inspires in you roses, while fear, jealousy, anger, make for a mean thunder storm… Maybe anxiety and uncertainty are the nimbostratus and tornados swiping through the flowers you sculpted earlier… But that’s ok, it’s all just the weather…
So I don’t I don’t know what will happen, I don’t know how this piece will turn out.
I’m not here to make a profit, I’m not here to impress critics or the rest…
I’m here to paint to my hearts desire… To paint my canvas full of all shades of the prismal rainbow and contrast it with the charcoal of the starriest of nights. To try and experience and depict the whole cosmos of possibilities only limited by my imagination and how much I am willing to risk, bargain, gamble and trust that mischievously cheeky keeper of the perplexing future…

If I can diligently and skilfully paint my days away like a a pro and may be in some way help inspire others to start painting from their own hearts or maybe trace a flower for as tiny as it might be then I could happily put my brush down…

So don’t be afraid to splash technicolor across and sideways, be bold, be brave. Let your heart be stamped on the canvas of your life and sing along in rhythm with the bittersweet harmony of life… Whistle while you work…

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
― Pablo Picasso

The Questions of my Heart…

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
― C.G. Jung

Ah! What peculiar creatures we are… Us humans and our intrinsic egocentric need to “matter”, to be of some notoriety, of some importance or to be somehow “special” and superior to our fellow men and creation, to have dominion not only of ourselves but our surroundings….
Irreparably we live in a culture plagued by the illusion of separateness, of “every man for himself”, and so we are encouraged and driven to some extent by the need to compete in every possible manner even if only partially acting out on this sometimes unconscious programming…
But nowadays it seems to be our daily bread… The media is a constant unrelenting broadcaster of these pernicious arbitrary yet rigid assessments we pass on each other, every news article can be condensed more or less to be a rundown of who’s “succeeding” and who’s “failing” at the game of life, who should be admired and emulated and who’s to inspire in us disgust and should shamed or feared, this manoeuvres taking place both in an intimate personal level in our everyday interactions and on a large sphere in between nations or other social groupings…
We are constantly reminded of this virtual running score of who (as individuals and collectives) has got the most of (insert an infinite variable of any given possession or asset)… Who’s the wealthiest, strongest, smartest, kindest or even baddest… We are so quick to judge and look at the speck in our neighbours eye while simultaneously consoling our own insecurities as we strive to be the “righteous ones”, who, even if we only admit to it partially, want to have it all, know it all and want it now, guaranteed.

It seems to be part of our mere human nature that we are driven by a thirst to conquer our surroundings, to achieve quantitive knowledge, and immediate measurable results all the while suffering from a desperate silent need for the certainty that our grand life plans will be realised and that after all, there must be a reasonable satisfying explanation behind all our otherwise absurd toiling, that the lives we lead “mattered” somehow, and that once we have long been buried underground we will not be forgotten, that we won’t just vanish into the eternal unknown as if we had never even existed but that hopefully, some form of legacy will remain in remembrance or to the very least perhaps merely our memory will “live on” in the minds of others …

We live in a culture where being “ordinary” is classed an insult and to be considered “nothing especial” is to be cursed… It seems that with each passing generation this problem entrenches to the extent that in our increasingly narcissistic, “selfie” driven culture, notoriety, approval, admiration of some sort seem to be the driving forces behind a lot of the commonplace routine interactions and enterprises structuring our society…To live a quiet, reserved life, to pursue an “alternative lifestyle”, free of societal expectations and influences is an anomaly, and a sure way to be granted the grand tittle of “outcast” or colloquially speaking a “weirdo” or “loser” who’s sanity is put on the balance…
It seems to be an irrefutable truth, that as humans we are all dotted with the inbred need to know ourselves to be of some importance, we all want to be cherished and be the “anointed ones”, and that’s ok, it’s part of our human character and we are after all remarkable beings…. But the glitch lays in that when confronted with our actual insignificance and impotence when faced with the grand impositions of not only life and the world as we know it, but also with the unsettling knowing of our eventual looming demise, we freak out and seek out shelter in our “reason” by constructing intellectual fortresses and armours and holding onto some form of “safety blanket” to try and alleviate or distract us from the inevitable discomforting anxiety we feel in the face of a future by nature ambiguous and indocile, maybe a little too much for our liking.
However, regardless of our preferences, that seem to be the structure of the timeline of life; a promising magic casket containing an abundance of infinite dormant possibilities but yet also a finite one, with a limited number of permanent, inedible possible realisations…
In this scenario, our “safety blankets” wouldn’t be a problem if only they provided a real answer to our existential enquiries instead of being band-aid/dummy solution offering only temporary relief and perhaps unwillingly, as a side effect fortifying the actual wound even more since the cause is left untreated… These “safety blankets” or foe cures, look different for everyone of course, some of us find comfort in amassing earthly fortunes, others in attaining “prestige”, reaching some sort of respect or admiration from our peers, some sort of fame. Others feel alleviation when exercising some sort of power or control, others seek shelter in the presence and validation of others through pursuing relationships, romantic or otherwise… Or some of us by dedicating our intellects to science or any other subject we’ve deemed as worthy… As well as devoting our talents to the arts or some other craft we find purposeful…

It seems that even if we were blessed with having attentive parents and sensible mentors who from conception and throughout our formative years asserted our worth and did their best to lay the solid foundations for healthy self-esteem, we simply can’t escape the shrewd appraisal of the social structure we operate in, which as soon as we have full use of our faculties demands from us to “prove our worth” in some way and burdens us with the burning question of why it is we even came into this world? Some arrive at this conclusion either through their own self deduction often in the face of difficulties or others when being bluntly challenged with the query by an outside entity nonetheless it seems none of us can evade this nagging itch.

And so we’ve become these species of conglomerated lone rangers, all baffled busily walking our own strict business of high importance, oblivious to each other’s common pain, not recognising in each other our shared humanity, silently bearing this mutual existential enigma… And so through life, even if only unconsciously, we strive to “justify our existence” and make up or find a meaning (or in some cases absolve ourselves of the question which is in itself an answer) as we best see fit, one which satisfies our intellects and settles our souls? As aforementioned these “safety blankets”, some form of formal religiosity, scientism, humanistic, nihilistic or hedonistic dogmas are just some of the mediums through which we attempt to soothe our souls…. And so from the beginning we’ve unconsciously absorbed the implied message that maybe we are all just trivial mishaps of nature, genetic mutations born barren into a competitive, discriminatory terrain where only the “fittest” survive and so we must be productive and make ourselves useful, legitimise our lives and increase our chances of survival… And so the eternal striving and grasping begins…

It seems to me, that in these times we live in we find ourselves in a bit of a conundrum. The “dog eat dog”, “every man for himself”, “survival of the fittest” dogma which seems to be primordial and dominate the workings of our modern western world is in my view totally absurd and self defeatist. The reality is that we are a collective of temporal very fallible and sensitive beings yet we demand of each other and of ourselves to be literarily bullet proof, perfectly working omnipotent specimens. Furthermore, we expect or aim for at least some aspect of our existence to be transcendent and go on for ever, almost as if we intended to transform ourselves into the Gods many of us have renounced… So when confronted with the reality of our own flawed mortality there’s nothing we crave more than compassion and acceptance, connection and union, love, despite our evident shortcomings, but sadly these are the very things our own egocentric tendencies, customs and self constructed armours fight against and prevent from being realised.

Sadly, it seems that this materialistic profit-driven western world offers nothing to alleviate this deep existential hollow all of it’s citizens carry, but on the contrary it seems to be programmed and operate in a way which aims to negate and often dilates this latent blank space… Sadly, it’s quite obvious that we live in a culture which encourages competition and discord not only with neighbours but starting with ourselves…
Naturally, this disapproval and dissatisfaction with our own being carries onto our interactions with others…

Sadly, I know it’s not just me who’s for too long suffered from the infectious “not good enough” epidemic. For years I too was a subscriber to the perpetual hourly bulletins this society bombards us with, selling us the current and ever changing ideals of “perfection” being promoted at any given time…
Sadly, almost from birth I too swallowed this bitter pill, its destructive intoxicating effects only becoming stronger with the passing years… And so for most of my life I walked around in a state of blind deception, resigned to solemnly believing I had to justify my existence because I, as I was, was not ok, there was something inherently wrong with me… what exactly that was I wasn’t quite sure, but it didn’t matter anyway, all I knew is at any minute the jig would be up and I’d be found out, ridiculed and vanished into a corner of the universe where all of the “not good enoughs” go. And so my life became a constant and arduous DYI self-improvement project… An improvised stand up routine where everyday I put all my might into upholding the different masks I tried to juggle, constantly switching into different characters for my expectant and demanding audience to judge and value, review and categorise as worthy or not, A+ or merely a B… All the while, the leading actor, the “real me”, my “true self”, was never to be revealed. Whatever that “true me” was, at that point I didn’t even know anymore… The only thing I believed is that whoever that self was, could never be pretty enough, clever enough, thin enough, wealthy enough, kind enough etc etc… And so I became a dazed and confused stranger forever running from my own shadow…

I wish I could say that one I woke up and casually stumbled upon the antidote to cure my malady, but the truth is the road and quest for recovery has been and continuous to be more like a tumultuous high speed chase for the holy grail of “self acceptance” and peace of mind. Fortunately, I know Im not the only one who’s had the realisation that maybe this quest for perfection and superiority is futile. So instead of trying to fight my humanity, my imperfection why not accept it and even embrace it. Instead of always trying to outdo my neighbour why not help each other along the way, why not love?… Because it’s not our first or learnt response, but it’s always an option and for me love has been the answer, it’s being the light against the darkness of mere being.

After many years stumbling around in the shadows, blindly trying to “make something of myself”, trying out many different “safety blankets”, looking for a potion to quench the yearnings of my soul, it was only after I had exhausted all my options and had no bullets left that I had to put down my armour and do the one thing I hadn’t dared to do before. To cease all striving, call a truce and raise my white flag, only then I was free to the most simple yet most revolutionary thing I ever did, to turn to love. The answer I’d been looking for had lied within me all along, always being within mine or anyone’s reach, yet sadly more often than not its foregone… Maybe because it’s often misunderstood, seen as weak and dainty or infantile, a myth only valid for fairy tales or Hollywood films, a fleeting fluffy feeling we sometimes experience… When really, it’s the most powerful earthshaking, word-transforming power we all carry within us, if only we chose to honour and embrace it… The answer, love, being the only antidote towards all the indifference and frivolous inequity we encounter in this world.

I’ve now made peace with myself, both my light and my shadow. I now see the idea of “perfection” for what it is, a handicapping belief keeping us from fully experiencing life, from realising our full potential afraid we won’t live up to a certain ideal… Truth is there’s nothing wrong with making “mistakes”, with being different from the norm and breaking the mould…
I’m not perfect and I don’t expect to be. In fact I now see that’s it’s in my imperfection, in my idiosyncrasies where my unique power lies. It’s truly through my cracks that the light gets in. I’m broken and I needed to be so I could break free.

It feels amazing to say that I’m now ok in my own company. I don’t need anyone else to validate me or entertain me. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m perfectly comfortable spending a Friday night in the company of my tranquil self and perhaps a good book rather than feeling guilty or pressure to be out and about “hitting the town” in the company of a million strangers engaging in social rituals I find no real enjoyment in… Societal expectations no longer seem to have the impact they once did. I’ve realised now there’s really no guidebook to follow or script I must stick to, it’s up to me to to create my own path and write my own book, and it’s doesn’t matter if it makes sense to others or not as long as I’m living and writing from my heart, all things in love. After so many years feeling like a stranger inhabiting an alien body I can finally say I’m at peace in my own skin, and I can breath deep down into my belly. Sure the future, is still uncertain, I’m well aware that I’m living in a very opinionated sometimes intimidating world, but I can now relax into the flow of existence knowing that no matter what the future holds it’ll be alright. There’s no need to walk around inflamed, geared up and armed for battle because I’m not here to fight, I’m here to love, myself, my messy existence and everything else in this truly quirky whimsical world…
I’ve realised I don’t need to do anything to prove my worth, life is so much more than a rat race, a pageant or stage play. I’ve realised there’s nothing I could achieve, no earthly fortune, no amount of fame or “success” that could satisfy if I’m not satisfied with my naked self, full stop.
I’ve realised I don’t need to make anything of myself, I’m already whole. I don’t know need to build an empire or a fortress where I may rule supreme, truth is the natural world is already a majestic wonderland I’m not called to conquer but to submerge into and integrate… I don’t need to try and control or manipulate others or my surroundings but instead embrace, become one and amalgamate into the flowing dance of life. I don’t know if my memory will go on living after I die, and it doesn’t matter for this one life I’m already experiencing and the memories I carry in my heart are more than enough. I don’t know if I can change this material world we live in and I don’t intend to, but the truth is I can certainly change my world and make it a loving place, if I can do that and in some way help change someone’s else too, I’d consider my work done.
I’ve realised I will never be next Einstein, Nietzsche or mother Theresa, Luther King, Picasso or even Michael Jackson (insert any other well-known icon) and that’s ok. I’m called to be nothing other than me… And maybe that’s what the world needs, people who are not afraid to be themselves and let their true colours shine with all their might.

So now, my only task is to have loving compassion for my flawed self, everything that I am and not as well as my mirrored neighbour. I’ve realised we are all in this together, we are all part of the same family, living this puzzling temporary human existence we at first know nothing about and try to figure out as we go along… I’ve realised that deep down we are all feeling just as overwhelmed and isolated, deep down inside we all just want to be loved and treasured, and why wouldn’t given the intricate, wondrous and forever enigmatic creations we are? Despite our fallibilities, despite our massive egos and tendency to turn on each other….

So I’ve chosen to take up love as my shining light as I navigate this excitingly uncertain life…
I’ve learnt that there’s no need to fear the future or my brother, I’ve learnt that by paying attention and taking loving care of the present, the future will take care of itself. I’ve learnt that as long as I’m living in awareness and present in each moment, living true to my heart and the values I hold dear not a borrowed ideal of a “good life” everything will be alright… So now I’m putting my feet firmly on the ground and standing true to myself and pursuing my own idea of a live well lived,  fully inhabiting my body and being present to experience all the joys and all the heartbreak, the thrilling vulnerability of life…

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.