To Love Oneself…

To love oneself…

What does this even mean?
We all have different understating of the word love…
A fleeting irrational, animal response? A mere feeling?

Most often people relate the word love, to “romantic love” between two people, in a relationship, but even the meaning and understanding of what a relationship is so distorted nowadays… We are more “connected” than ever, but more isolated than ever before, especially from our own selves. The only real home and sure source of love we’ll ever find, our own souls.

I believe real love is more than just a feeling.
Real love is a verve, and a most potent sacred force making the world go around…
Unfortunately, language often impedes us to make sense and even express of all our feelings…
The same with love, which yes, is also a feeling of affection, care…
Eros love, includes attraction and feelings of lust…
But real love goes beyond fleeting momentary feelings, real love is a virtue and a divine gift.
I shall attempt to deconstruct or sketch a clear picture of what this love looks like:
First of all, real love encompasses the words:
Kindness
Compassion
Acceptance
Understanding
Patience
Forgiveness
Attention
Empathy
Care
Resilience
Precede the word “unconditional” before all the above…
Now I could go into defining each of the above as well, but I trust we can all look up the meaning of the afore mentioned and get a clear understanding of what they all mean.
Although these words might look all “fluffy” and rosy, rainbows and butterflies, spring everywhere…
They are actually the most difficult things to practice, for us humans, trapped in our ego shells, but they are the most powerful and redeeming forces for any one of us.
So when it comes to self love, where to start?

First by accepting yourself, sounds simple right? Easier said than done.
Accepting our messy, broken selves who everyday we try to change according to societies expectations of what we “should be” as humans.
From a young age we are made to feel inadequate and ashamed of our short comings, some more than others….
So this is the beginning, accepting who you are warts and all, and realising you are not just your “mistakes”, “defects”, but realising that these things are actually what shape you into the unique wonderful individual that you are.
Realising that it is through these struggles you are actually being polished into the diamond that you are.
Realising that there’s nothing wrong with you, you are just the way god, the universe, the providence, nature, whatever you wanna call it intended you to be… Perfectly you.
This is the first step to self love.

Acknowledging yourself in all your glory as not just a pile of negative adjectives of everything the world told you, you “should be”, but being real with the truth of who you are, and being proud of that. Sure, you are not perfect, you could have a million defects which you want to change but we all do, but the first step in changing or “improving” any of those defects or bettering yourself in any way, is by first acknowledging who you are in the first place, acknowledging and loving ourselves into “better” versions of ourselves, not outcasting or berating ourselves for certain parts we are not quite proud of or we don’t like.

For example you could have a fiery temper, and tend to feel anger which you often try to deny, keep contained or reflect onto other people, until eventually you explode… and then you give yourself even more of a hard time for “losing control”, or being an asshole, or a bad person or whatever the condemning thought might be.
The first step is to have compassion towards ourselves, for having all these feelings and unhelpful thoughts, being human and vulnerable and simply not perfect.
Then gently, being aware of certain tendencies or unhelpful habits we might’ve picked up throughout the years for whatever reason, and try to transform them into something more helpful for ourselves and others.
For example that anger, passion, all that energy can be a powerful force for transformation, for taking action towards a noble cause with compassion and benevolence above all. Because we know hate or any destructive action doesn’t benefit anyone, it only damages all parties involved.

So it’s about acknowledging yourself in all your glory and go from there…
To illustrate this, in my experience, I’ve always been an anxious person for as long as I can remember, given my “difficult” upbringing, trauma etc…
For years I tried to negate, hide this anxiety and deep sadness I felt, I just didn’t want to acknowledge them because the feelings where too painful, they were real, but I thought they were a nuisance I had to ignore and just “get on with it”. I lived totally disconnected from my emotions, trapped in my mind, telling myself how “I should” feel instead of owning up to my feelings and which lead to years of destructive behaviour. First of all, I hated myself for all the things I should be and I wasn’t, I hated myself for all my “mistakes”, so often I kept myself isolated, I lived behind a mask, never showing my true self, all my pain. It was only when I opened the doors of my own heart to myself that I could be free…

I started to feel deep compassion for myself, because my anxiety and sadness where there for a reason, I’d had a difficult past, I’d gone through some very rough things that would leave anyone sad and anxious, and there was nothing I could do about the past, the past was done, but my emotions which I didn’t allow myself to feel, where still stuck there because I never allowed myself to process them…
So I started by accepting my past and the feelings that came with them, and realising how it was ok to feel everything that I was feeling. What’s more, I realised these experiences where actually a gift, these deep suffering allowed me to become a more compassionate person towards those in pain, these experiences taught me how to forgive, myself and others.
These experiences taught me the way to love.

Now I realise, there’s no such thing in the universe as mistakes, everything happens for a reason even if we don’t realise it or understand it at the time, everything is a lesson, everything is working towards the evolution of our better selves…

So back to loving myself,
This means forgiving myself for all my mistakes, things on retrospective I could’ve done better? But hey! We all try to do the best we can with what we have with what we have and what we know at the time, so what’s the point in dwelling on the past?
We can only learn, and move on, wiser than before.
Second, loving myself means being true to myself, in all aspects.
First, it means acknowledging my past, all it’s pain and owning it. It means acknowledging all my emotions, not judging them as good or bad, just allowing them to be there, and have compassion for how hard it is sometimes to feel a million things at once that my brain can’t even process.
Loving myself means chasing my dreams, it mean having the courage to break out of my shell and create a life I’m proud of, a live that reflects my values….
Loving myself means loving others around me as well, and not being ashamed of this love, not being scared of being who I am but beaming proudly all this Love I carry within me because, heck it’s a treasure I’ve worked hard to find, literally through many years and tears.
In practical terms it means, acknowledging all my moods, all my physical sensations and acting mindfully to take care of each one. It means being present to my life every second. Being grounded in love.
It means accepting my body as it is, scarred, hairy and all.
It means nourishing it with healthy food, it means giving it the rest it needs.
It means taking care of my mind, nourishing it with wisdom, allowing it to rest and have some fun as well.
It means taking care of my emotions and listen to what they are trying to tell me…
It means making peace with myself, from the constant war… it means working with me not against me…
It means unity, mind, body and spirit…
It means learning to trust myself, my gut, my intuition.
It means being true to my values and beliefs and not be ashamed of being who I am
It means having patience with myself…. having endless compassion for my ego and anxious mind.
It means living a life that makes me happy even if others don’t understand…
It means being in touch with my real self, my soul, endless love.
It means being a compassionate, nurturing mother towards myself.
It means being deeply aware at every time of what I’m feeling and thinking, and grounded, respond accordingly.
It means being mindful and present to my life.
It means acknowledging all my desires and feelings and not keep them exiled or be ashamed of them.
It means reconciling my heart and mind.
It means spreading that love I have within me with others and everyone around me in any way I can…
It means trying to make the world a more loving place.

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
― Socrates

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Being Free…

Freedom is breathing in deeply, exhaling and opening my eyes to the miracle of my existence…
Freedom is the liberating prospect of a inexhaustible possibilities….
Freedom is unlocking my throat and shouting out the top of lungs, having my voice heard, recording my thoughts and breathing life into my emotions, leaving a foot print and permeating my essence into the world…
Freedom is flicking my wand and spinning my dreams into reality…
Freedom is falling asleep at night and imagining Utopia… Living in Utopia
Freedom is smiling when I’m sad.
Freedom is right when there’s left
Freedom is love when there’s hate
Freedom is forgiveness

Freedom is not giving up.
Freedom is challenging the odds.
Freedom is devising another path.
Freedom is becoming lady luck, playing my cards right.

Freedom is knowing there’s calm after the storm, withstanding the storm.
Freedom is dancing in the rain, being soaked but remaining ardent inside.

Freedom is seeing shining sparkles in the dark.
Freedom is finding the intrinsic beauty of all things…
Freedom is planting the tree of kindness in desolate, rocky terrain and inviting everyone to feast on the fruits.

Freedom is waking up to my humanity, my temporality, that I’m dying.
Knowing that one day it’ll all be over, nothing lasts forever, no feeling is final.
Freedom is letting come and letting go, letting be…
Freedom is assimilating the impermanent and transient nature of all things.
Freedom is condensing into a droplet and merging with the ocean, sky… Air…
Everything and nothing.
Freedom is surrendering to the now.
Freedom is laughing at myself, at the absurdity of the critical importance of all my vain errands.
Freedom is providing that suited-up, politically-correct, stern individual who every day shows up in my mind to take care of business, a place to loosen up his tie, put the agenda aside, cancel all meetings and show up for the most important of all affairs and enterprises, this minute.
Freedom is knowing we are not invincible, becoming acquainted and accepting of the bounds of our flawed, imperfect mortality.
Freedom is being able to be anything in the world but still choosing to be ourselves.
Freedom is knowing you are enough.
Freedom is knowing this moment is just right.

Freedom is the metamorphosis of our hearts.
Freedom is the stillness of our minds.

Freedom is trust, freedom is faith.
Freedom is courage.
Freedom is risky and ambiguous.

Freedom is closing our eyes and jumping, knowing our wings will unfold or we’ll fall, but either way, somehow, we will land. Knowing gravity.
Freedom is not the absence of rules but accepting the rules, and playing by the rules.
Freedom is clarity, and the potential for anarchy

Freedom is an internal revolution.

Freedom is invoking and awakening the chameleon, the lion, the gazelle, the Phoenix… All the wild, mythical creatures dormant in our souls.

Freedom is falling from the tree, becoming ripe, becomes whole…
Freedom is seeing our reflections and blemishes we hide, hearing our suppressed yearnings and subconscious demands…
Freedom is knowing ourselves and having a fair trial.
Freedom is drafting up our personal constitutions and emancipating every realm of our being…
Freedom is commanding our energy and accepting responsibility for the waves we make…

Freedom is an everyday riot.
Freedom is rising above the physical constrains of our bodies and illusory prisons of our minds.
Freedom is enduring captivity and oppression.
Freedom is a repented, reformed convict.
Freedom is a faithful, devoted slave.
Freedom is being condemned for life but in spirit soaring high.

Freedom is our downfall.
Freedom is our human contradiction.
Freedom is fantasy.
Freedom is truth, the maximum expression of an unreal reality.

Freedom is catching glimpses of, sometimes touching the Divine.
Freedom is eternal awareness.
Freedom is rare, freedom is quiet.
Freedom is precious.

Freedom is our right.
Freedom is ours for the taking.
Freedom is waiting.
Freedom is being.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”  ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Courage, dear Heart

This walking in the dark; through the cool mist, trying to palpate the face of uncertainty… Feeling the abrupt wind slap my face and pierce my core as it gushes past me, thrusting my body forward and back, diligently, ever so carefully whispering at me rushes of air from every angle…
Walking at the mercy of the elements’ temperament and capriciousness, with no protection or life-cover, no road map or compass…
Guided exclusively by my curiosity and rapid heart beat…
Like a babe left alone to feebly, clumsily almost comically start to stumble and take his faltering first steps…

This fascinating exploration of the most remote, dark cave, in the utmost depths of fantastic, uncharted, new-lands, where no predecesor has ever gone before…
Where it will lead or what I may find nobody knows.
And so I take a deep breath and keep walking…
This floating in the infinitude of Unknown space, of endless, unexpected possibilities…
Of fleeting comets, shining stars, supernovas and black holes, alien constellations and whole different worlds…
Where my next breath is not guaranteed.
No one knows with exactitude just how long this oxygen tank will last.
And I know this illusory ground I walk on is shifting quicksand…
Any minute I could step on a trapdoor and fall through.
I know this for I’ve already fallen through.
I’ve been falling from the minute I was born…
And where I will land nobody knows.
Or if I ever will. So why am I expecting a landing? Or to reach a destination?
Expectantly awaiting the next station and missing the breathtaking view along the way.
And so I take a deep breath and continue plummeting through this cosmic tunnel….

Like an autumn leaf being graciously swept in whirlwind through a congested maze of concrete, in a confounding metropolis comprised of a million different landscapes… Dark-alleyways, leafy-boulevards, underground subways and bunkers, rooftop patios in sky-scrapping lego block buildings, opponent monuments, secret hideaways, public arenas and amphitheaters, shopping malls and amusement parks, quiet parks and deserted parking lots, junkyards and serene lagoons, shady neighbourhoods and privileged quarters, a whole array of different landmarks and destinations, inhabited by a colourful assortment of a million different races and ethnicities of busy human ants, young and old, rich, poor and everything in between… Where and at whose feet this leaf will land is anyone’s guess…

So is this falling through life… left, right, up, down, forwards and backwards, sideways and swerving, slowly and fast, spiralling in every direction, life is no straight line.
Nothing is guaranteed, and just what we’ll see and be presented with is anyone’s guess… The present always being a surprising gift for us to unwrap the minute we open our eyes for a brand new day…
Despite our calculations and best predictions and expectations, despite a certain degree of the predictability perhaps derived from monotonous and sheltered existences… As much as we’d like to think, we know where we are going and try to cruise control, the reality is there are a million different external factors affecting our existence over which we have absolutely no control over, and really the only thing we can control is the presence we have in this very second.
For the past and future, are right now as much as an illusion as the dreams we carry inside.
Unsettling, freeing and empowering realisation all at the same time.
And so I take a deep breath and continue gliding through this whimsical rabbit hole…

And so I’ve realised that’s its this process of falling, of walking and being swept, of journeying along that counts…
Because somewhere along the way we become what we are, we grow into our own skin, we find the guts to grow the balls, to bite the bullet and brace ourselves for an ever present winter… To show up for our existence no matter what the weather.
It’s about realising this tumultuous falling is our evolution…
Realising that through this process, through time, through experience, through the many wounds which heal to become scars, we develop a shell, an armour, a protection from the weather and impending chaos of the outside, which then prevents the disruption or minimises the impact of any external turmoil on our internal ecosystem and inner harmony…
It’s about not just helplessly falling anymore, but dexterously unfolding our wings, those we never knew we had to begin with and purposefully going along with the flow of life…
It’s about growing strong and hardy along the way…
Yet at the same time conserving our essence, the ingenuity with which we started, remaining authentic, cultivating our keen, sensitive hearts and becoming ever more vulnerable and intuitive at the core.

It’s about integrity; becoming whole. A fusion of mind, body and soul.
It’s about having what we say and do align. It’s about reconciling our hearts and minds.
It’s about conquering our fears and shining the light on the scary shadows that use to give us a fright at night. It’s about realising our limitations, and making peace with our imperfections. It’s about daring to speak our truth, untying the knots on our throats and breaking free of the bindings tying our limbs, hearts and minds and daring to start crafting our visions and living our dreams, regardless of contrarian opinions or pessimistic forecasts… It’s about expecting things to go wrong but daring anyway, because we know we’ll be ok. Because we’ve realised there’s no such thing as failure but that every mistake is a valuable life lesson, regardless of how awful it might feel, how wrong it may seem or how difficult to overcome it might be.

It’s about falling and getting back up again and again and never giving up, changing course if necessary but continuing to march. Its about no longer constructing our castles up in the ethereal air of false promises and passing illusions, but in the solid ground in which we’ve fallen, in the rugged reality of our flawed humanity in an imperfect world, where things don’t always go right and without fail we will make mistakes.
It’s about opening up and welcoming pain and difficulty, because we’ve realised that it’s through the fire that we are polished.

It’s about daring to be accountable for all our actions and taking responsibility for our existence. It’s saying “Yes, thats my mess and I will clean it up”, “That’s the bed I made and I will lay in it”, “Yes, I fell, but I’ll get back up again.” It’s about learning to mend the ruptures in the fine linings of our souls, recognising where we’ve gone off course and then gently and compassionately, picking ourselves up, kissing better our own wounds, nursing back to health own our souls and once recuperated dare to try again and build the bridges between where we are and where we wish to get to…

It’s about seeing our rise and fall as alchemy, a process of transfiguration.
It’s about collecting life lessons, like pebbles along the way, souvenirs for our souls.

It’s about understanding that we are the creators of our own luck and architects of our own destinies, because no matter where life may take us, ultimately we do have the power to decide what we settle for and what we strive for. Wether we choose to be passive victims of our circumstances or choose to take mindful action and take ahold the reigns of our life’s. It’s about exercising our full beings, mind, body and soul and growing flexible and open minded, tolerant and resilient. Letting our hearts marinade in suffering’s potion, grow tender and be cleansed of ego’s condemnation and futilely vain agenda. Letting go of what we think life should be and accepting what is, trusting, hoping, knowing that everything is working out for a higher good… Trusting that everything we may encounter along the way is serving a purpose, even if the reason is not immediately obvious or agreeable with our perception.

It’s about realising that just because things don’t go our way, it doesn’t mean it won’t be ok, but learning to trust the Universe and it’s wisdom, the Mystery and many things we can’t understand… Being ok with not knowing and letting the uncertainty excite us not paralyse us.

Because we’ve realised there’s no such thing as dumb or random luck. The universe is wise, and in all its wisdom it has allowed for human life to flourish. And so we can rest in the knowing we are ruled by these mighty wise laws we might never be able to fully comprehend or decode with our limited human sciences, so we do well to respect and uphold in revenrence and awe and coexist with the Mystery.
Embracing the Mystery. Because one thing is for sure, if the universe and all its wonders have conspired for us to alive in this very second is not for us to just merely exist but rather to thrive; to become a full expression of our humanity, exploit our gifts and talents, experience a full range of emotions, take a hold of our existence and leave a print where we are standing…
To flourish like crazy beautiful wild flowers, which withstand natural and man-made oppressions and against all odds bloom and delight us with all their splendour…
Like every other living creature lovingly crafted, so are we, called to unravel to our full potential, fulfil our purpose of being uniquely ourselves and so find our own beat and style and join in the rhythmic, kaleidoscopic dance of life…

It’s about realising this journey is not of becoming or achieving anything in particular but rather realising and fulfilling who we already are in all our magnitude.
It’s about becoming acquainted with ourselves, realising there’s no need to “find ” ourselves in external sources, or try to construct makeshift alien identities and looking outside for external validation… But instead turning inward and befriending the stranger that’s been with us for from the start, our worst enemy and best friend. Its about opening the doors of our hearts, coming home to ourselves and filling that vacant seat of honour in the thrones and driving seats of our lives. Letting go off everything we’ve learnt we should be and embracing and nurturing everything that we are… both the good and the ugly.
Because we’ve realised that’s it’s only when we accept what’s already there that we can become anything else we might wish to be….

It’s about realising that no matter what life will throw our way, we will be alright…

Because despite the 99.9% of things we can’t control there is one thing we are the sole and rightful governors and custodians of, ourselves.
And it’s in this .1% where our freedom and power lies…
It’s about realising that despite where the currents of life may take us, we have the power to create our realities wherever we are, through what we choose to pay attention to, through our attitudes, through our actions…
It’s about becoming aware of this enormous power and with it, this great responsibility.
It’s about understanding that every action has a reaction, and although we are free to choose, we are not free from the consequences of our choices…
It’s about learning that, that which we saw we will harvest… Good, bad, or nothing at all.
Not because there’s a patriarchal, condemning judge or law enforcer overseeing the universe who will give you punish or reward each person according to their behaviour but simply because of physics and laws of the universe which although we might not be able to fully to comprehend we are all bound by and no one can escape… And although we may try to deny it, although our intellects may try to device loopholes, and we may try to philosophise and argue white into being black, the reality is we can’t fool ourselves, our hearts intrinsically know right from wrong. Wether we choose to uphold it and act accordingly we all have a moral code we are born with, ingrained in us at conception.

So its about understanding that wether in this life or the next, call it karma or law of reaction or whatever else you like, it will catch up to you, eventually.
But even if never does, it’s good to do good anyway, for we are the sole espectators of our own lifes from beginning to end and from our consciences we can’t hide.

It’s about understanding that life can either be seen as the most absurd tragedy or trivial black comedy in its entirety, scripted by the most accomplished sadist author with a questionable, crude, sense of humour… Or as the greatest fable, an epic saga; tales of love, truth, justice, courage, a testimony to the sacredness of the human spirit.

A universal saga of boundless proportions, the greatest story ever told in which these empirical, timeless virtues will always rule supreme and will always overcome despite the adversity, endless hurdles and torrential curve-balls thrown our way…

Tales in which each one of us is called to be the author and main character, heroes and villains…
Tales which will tell of the many dragons we slayed, the many frogs we converted into royalty and of all the many times we ventured off and climbed into the tallest tower of the greatest castle in the highest mountain of a far far away land to liberate and revive many a damsel in distress… Tales which will tell of the many tempting apples in which we met our downfalls, our many Waterloos, and kryptonites… But then, just when we thought we were done for and as our oppressors were preparing to have their final laugh, the miracle happened and something in us resurrected, we embodied yet another superpower we didn’t even know we had; courage, resilience, hope, a human heart…

It’s about realising that as protagonists and authors ourselves, we have the privilege and power to choose the genre these tales are written in, even if the backdrop and scenes have already been set for us, we still have free reign to choose the next plot twist, the moral of the story and even if not necessarily how it will end, we can choose what we lived for and what we dared to die for.

So I’ve realised that in this wonderful precipitation that is life, all that’s required is for me wholeheartedly show up, to say “Yes” to life’s audacious invitation, to come forward, let life’s mystic envelop me, take me into her sturdy, playful arms and propel me onto this miraculous journey, all I need to do is be fully present for each marvellous and terrifying moment. So even though I have no idea where I will land… All I know is it’ll be alright.

For I’ve been falling long enough now to understand life has a funny way of always working out…
So I’m learning to let go of the way I think things should be and just relax, be patient and trust the intuitive sophistication of the flowering of life, everything in due time… As long as I’m present and living from my heart, taking advice from my mind, honouring my past and exercising its many lessons while expecting and equipping myself for an unexpected future, no curve-ball can do no harm, but everything is simply another chapter in my epic saga…

And so I’ve realised that in this life everything we are called to do is to continue plunging and rising again, perforating celestial stratospheres, pushing the boundaries of our human limitations, forever breaking new ground and reaching milestones we didn’t even know existed… Falling ever deeper, bonding ever more intimately with tantalising uncertainty and the ambiguity of life… And in the process, graciously unfolding ourselves, shedding our cocoons and exposing glimpses of our hearts through the magnifying covertures of our actions; the deeds and tales, legends of what we dared to do or regretfully neglected to in this animated, awesome vortex out of which anything can be expected, but where nothing is for sure and only one thing is guaranteed, no one will come out alive to tell the fantastic tale, all we can do is fully live it while it lasts…

So I take a deep breath and keep on walking, floating, falling high into the open everlasting, limitless heavens… Now with my eyes wide open, relishing at the views, taking field notes, and photographs, collecting momentoes, making pit stops to stretch my legs, talking to other travellers and making friends along the way. My heart heart is now exposed and our only protection is the love it radiates, and it’s sheerly obscure skies ahead…

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

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.

 

When we are in dreams awake…

 

“To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Why should I sensor, chop and cut myself so that I can fit societies expectations of me? Or more like, what the frightened and insecure part of my ego thinks is expected of me? Truth is nobody really cares, and if they do, that’s their problem not mine.
I’m tired of striving towards something I don’t really believe in, I’m tired of feeling guilty for wanting what I want and forcing myself to aspire towards goals I see no real benefit in.
Having a high paying job, a “successful career”, paying a mortgage, investing in property, procreating other humans?
Does any of this appeal to me? Not really.
So what do I want in life? There might’ve been a time when I wouldn’t have given this question much thought or discarded it as egocentric or irrelevant but after spending years being a passive vagabond and basically a victim of my circumstances, at the mercy of the tide… I’ve arrived at the conclusion that one else can take responsibility for my life other than me and so I can’t let life outlive me but rather the other way around…
And it’s in this realisation where my power lies and the transformation begins…
So to answer my question…
I don’t mind sounding cliche (maybe cliches are there for a reason?) when I say I want to live each day of my life like the sacred miracle it is… I want each day to be filled with endless adventures, with pure love and magic… I want my life to be a living testament and ode to love and the tenacity of the divine human spirit. I want to realise my dreams with which I mean literarily living out my fantasies, the ones I would’ve put on the back burner because “being realistic” that’s just not sensible, responsible, possible… According to who? To this capitalistic western society that’s doing it best to dull our sparkle and turn us into its soulless, minions, who are regrettably made to conform and waste away their infinite potential…
Truth is I truly believe that just like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”,  I believe and am not afraid to pursue them anymore.
Call me a fool, call me a dreamer, so be it. This is my life and my existence and I intend to do with it what my heart desires, not what the media or the millions of hypnotised zombies tell me to.
Just like everyone else I came into this world, naked and alone, nothing especial, without much to give other than my heart and soul, and that’s what I intend to do. Live and love each day, as if it was my first and last, because it might just be… There are no guarantees in life and also no rain checks. If I’ve learnt something in my time on this planet is that the future is uncertain and that the only thing constant is change, no matter how hard we try control and predict our circumstances and hold on to illusions of security and stability… Life, the world, the universe is forever changing and moving in ways that as mere humans we just can’t begin to comprehend, and trying to fully understand and control it, is embarking in a frustrating dead end, futile task… So I’ve to come to the conclusion that I’m better off honouring the constant wonder of change, embracing the uncertainty, the many mysteries… Making peace with insecurity, expecting the unexpected… Only then I find real freedom and begin to really tune into the flow of life, accepting the request and merging with the acrobatic dance of life, of things as they are…
As me being a finite being, merely another ego having some illusion of self, the universe manifesting itself in my personhood for a limited period of time… For what reason? That’s only up to me to answer, and for me personally, I choose for it to be love in all it’s possible manifestations…
I don’t know how long it’ll be until I leave this earth, until my consciousness obliterates and my time is over… All I know is the clock is ticking and I have no more time to waste, giving away my power, standing by the sidelines, watching seasons change while repressing the impulse of life inside me, watching my days slip through my fingers like water going down an eternal drain with no return, existing but not truly living…
So I’ve come to the conclusion, as mistaken as I might be, that dreams are there for a reason, and that’s just not to entertain our nights and wonder at their awesomeness or ridicule them as outlandish but rather to propel us into action when the morning comes… They are messages from the heart, callings of the soul, although sadly it can take whole lifetimes for us to pick up their call… Because we are too busy with our 9 to 5s, thankfully dreams are forgiving and persist, always leaving a message and making a date, which benignly, as long as we are still breathing it’s never too late to show up to.
I wonder what sort of world it would be if we would all wake up to our infinite dormant potential?… To the magic we carry inside us but sadly and obliviously don’t realise or have scrubbed out of us as we grow up and so we forget or give up…
What would happen if instead of going around our lives anaesthetised, completing monotonous meaningless tasks, in our black and white, one dimensional worlds, ruled by a “reason” we don’t even understand, all the while silencing our hearts, resigning ourselves to half lived life’s, consoling ourselves with excuses, making promises to ourselves that “one day” we’ll do the did, that one day we’ll start living….
What would happen if we all connected to our higher purpose, as the magnificent, ingenious human agents that we are? If we rejected an existence as just inert, disposable pawns in this game of life and instead lived from our hearts, and embraced our power bringing about change, manifestations, creations only we can conceive and realise… It’s mind-bobbling for me to think that there will never be another you, thinking and feeling exactly what you are thinking and feeling, right here, right now, so don’t let this minute go astray, your life un-lived…

Fully inhabit your presence and honour your existence, make it count…