Thursday, May 18, 2017

Saying Goodbye and Thank you

There are times in our Life where everything just seems to be engineered by some evil mind, with a master plan to drive us mad and consequently making us giving up. Ok, sometimes it's just a particular day, but other times it can last for a couple of years. But as everything in Life, we can think of what's happening to us as this dirty, smelly and dark tunnel that we had the misfortune to walk into, or we can see it as an uneasy and uncared path to a nice beach. We do have always a choice, even in our darkest hours... BUT, more than that, more than having a choice in how to deal with a situation, there will be an outcome of that decision, so the choice of facing something positively, despite the pain we are feeling can actually bring us major gains to our soul and mind, it can bring deep change in ourselves that in another way would not happen if we were forever kept in our comfort zone.

Real growth happens in discomfort, ask any athlete, but beyond that obvious view point, ask someone who has been through deep pain, frustration, sadness and did not quit, did not give up upon all the other past battles it went through and made it. We are tough creatures, with a heart that all it really desires is to feel the beautiful love and smile of our close ones, to have a purpose in Life and to laugh!

So, despite the dark and cold clouds that make us shiver and feel less alive, make yourself a nice warm beverage, invite your friends over, put some music on, read a great book, fall in love with any passing bug, smile and share that smile, and accept that painful discomfort as a wake up call to focus on what really matters to you.

Hey...

Knowing your own darkness
is the best method for dealing
with the darknesses of other people.

— Carl Jung
PLEASE WATCH:
BBC - Dying taught me how to Live


Thursday, May 4, 2017

That je ne sais quois…

Maybe to protect ourselves from fear we grab on to the idea of invisibility as absence.

If we can’t see it it’s not there, but if this world had only one colour, one colour only to be seen, we would try harder to guess what could be suspicious of being there that was not clear to us.

We believe that everything is openly shaped and unmistakably well coloured and drawn. Trees are green, the sky is blue, the sun is golden, sadness is grey and love a very bright incandescent red.

Its the belief, to believe, no matter in what, that it’s important in staying alive. We need to belief, not for any grand purpose, but for that simple yet crucial one thing, keeping it together.

But if we took a more “scientific” approach to what we are made of, we would probably easier accept our self “bugs-virus”, our errors and wrong paths. We were built in a certain way, with a certain genetic neurological web, plus we have a specific education and parenthood. So how much invisibility is still there to expect? Isn’t it all part of a process - biological and educative.

Are we rational beings, where emotions work as tools for a purpose or are do we have a certain je ne sais quois that science can’t address? Is there something more in us that allows and feeds our “pseudo” free will?

If we take a moment to think about anger, we can see it as survival tool. An emotion that sorts effect.

We are selfish rational beings, that share emotions, positive or negative according with what we need. If we want peace and compassion, we act accordingly. If we want to get some things out of our chest while causing some pain in other, we grab on to hurt and rage. 

So we hold on to what we believe we can change, control, dress, for we don’t want to be the outliers of this big scheme. Even if we’re doing something original, we want to be part of that group of beings that are known for their originality. Madness is too subtle for having just a little peak.

Exclusion is the same as absence and so, the same as invisibility.

We try hard to be visible, but isn’t each of us an outlier on this big scheme call society and humankind? And, when it comes to feelings, unfortunately some of them serve no purpose, they just linger, because some invisible part of us can feel much more than the mind can understand.


The invisible exists and not just through its absence.


Monday, March 20, 2017

CHOICE

Some us find it easier to define Life in steps, phases, periods, but Life is this continuum thing. We are not even sure how continuum it is. Are we just a product of the Now or are we made of Eternity?

Whatever it is your belief, in the physical life what matters in the end are your choices. Starting from the end, you can choose to believe in an afterlife or death as a dead end. Then, as age settles in our mind and body, we get away from the choices, less becomes the more, exactly the opposite of when we're young and frenetic, more, more, more and more to choose.

In this self growing process, at first we tend to believe that opportunities choose us. There is a right moment (or wrong), we're either lucky or unlucky, so despite our super active mind we are quite passive about the turns we choose to take. We keep growing these ideas and then comes this moment that we feel as if we have woken up and we realize that the choices we make define who we are. Wow! So we should think a bit more before choosing... but then! comes another moment when we realize that there's no randomness into choosing. There is a mindset in ourselves that decides in what to believe, and all our choices will be directed by that: the unconscious  + the conscious mind.

What's that? Unconscious mind?
Well, it was Sigmund Freud who introduced this concept of the mind being a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that we're not fully aware, but that have power over who we are.
So if we are afraid of something but refuse to admit it, we will keep our distance from it, not really understanding why. And as silly as it sounds, we can be afraid of absurd things, like, happiness. We can be afraid of being happy!

How can we control our mind?
We can't control it 100%, but we can CHOOSE how to speak with ourselves and of course, with others. And just that tiny little consciousness awareness of our inner monologue can give us power to redirect our Life.

Try it...
- make the effort of expressing possibility (there is away to achieve what you want if you really believe in it, fully! no excuses);
- Use power words that are active, not passive (For example, a surfer could say, "my biggest problem is being afraid of bigger waves", but instead he should say to himself, "my biggest challenge is to learn how to duck dive better");
- Speak in questions. Statements leave you no option. Again, for example, you can state that "these waves are too big for me...", but try changing it into a question, "how can I go over the breaking point of the waves?"

Lastly... Be inspired!


The man & the sea from Andrew Kaineder on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Attention please...

... And we think we are paying attention. Well we are, but maybe not to things or thoughts that could be of good use to us. We probably are paying attention towards the wrong direction. But we think we own the will to decide where our focus should be, and we are so wrong on that...

Our will takes us to where our mind has its attention. If you keep focusing on your wrongs and faults, your will will be to surpass them, but your horizon will always be settling on those same problems. Unless something disrupts our chain of thought we are more likely to look at things according to the the same known perspective, over and over... 

So if our will is to feel free, we immediately ask of what, free of what? And of course we name what we think it imprison us and that's where our attention will rest, on the thing we are scared of, on the thing we want to change, on what hurts us.

To stop any process and really open ourselves to change, growth and expansion we need to change our attention. Why do we grow the way we do when in Life we are sweetly presented with children? They grab our attention! Not our will or wishes. They grab our attention.

Attention, pure contemplative practice.

Simone Weil, philosopher in the 1920-30s spoke to us about the importance of having a mind that embraces grace and takes the time to incorporate it in our thoughts and actions

"We have to try to cure our faults by attention and not by will. (...) Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love. Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer."

Most things in our life are imagined by us. Reality is not that well known to the majority of us, so we are too easily deceived by what we imagine it's the truth to everyone else. No one will see the world the same way you do. The closest thing we can share is empathy.

Reality is that almost unprovable thing, and even in laboratoires, it's usually proven by its contrary. And we don't live in a laboratory, we live in homes, and friends arms, and work desks, we live attached to whatever has shown to give us meaning about who we are.

"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached."

But we need roots, and attachment... we need meaning and belonging, "(...) for when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation."

Just remember that where you focus your attention that will be where you are lead.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Are you High on Hope?

There's a Plan b somewhere in our head, right? We'll figure it out, there's gotta be a way, a sense to why we spend our entire life searching for the next thing, the next day, the next exit or opportunity.

... we are dreamers, we are all in our essence dreamers, but school, work, community either helps our dreams to become our mirrors or shuts it all down with a sign of dead end street...

Love will save the day! (and we hope again)

Well, one thing we know, if there's nothing we believe in, nothing that can connect us to being alive, what's left of any living inside us will drain away.

So bitch away, stay blind to what was said you should be, and instead follow that groove that drives you with a smile in your face, head banging in rhythmic aliveness...

"Choose Life..." and make it an interesting story, a story with value and that special je ne sais quoi.
But for that you need to find the reason to do it.

We are all:


It's not easy at all to realize why you are doing it, but it's called emotional/mental hygiene.
So while you're getting dirty, make sure you've got a place to shower.
And keep the "rave" going.


High On Hope - feature doc trailer from Piers Sanderson on Vimeo.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

… we’re free when we are not afraid

When I see, the outside world is my idea of the outside world. My idea. And you have yours.
You can’t handle the Truth!”, says a character of an old movie.

Is that why not questioning too much can be the recipe for a normal, happily standard Life?

One of the most difficult things in being I would say is accepting the very little conscious of what we know. We don’t know that much do we? Where do we come from, where do we go after, why are we here, where/how did it all start?

And that's where Faith, Hope, can play an important part in our Life or not at all.

How can we have Faith that there’s real forgiveness, that there’s real Heaven, that there’s real OK, if most days we go through all Life’s wheel colours, from happy orange to sad grey.

We are always, always! measuring, comparing, fitting the pieces and trying to make sense, and we say that’s being open and free! we’re free when we can hold all the knowledge about something and choose! Really?

… we’re free when we are not afraid, when we’re in no rush or get stuck in self-exteriorized concepts.

We’re free when we give up trying to give things, actions, experiences, more meaning than what they have.

We are free when we stop asking Life for meaning and instead hear Life asking us what meaning do we want to give Life.

In sadness we might say:
I have nothing to expect from life any more.
Where’s an answer for that?

Viktor Frankl, the same person who wrote “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  also writes:

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

(…) We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly.

Life as expectations towards us, and we will be lead into them. We can choose to follow them or give up, be angry, but we will only be wasting time…


So pay attention towards what you focus your mind on. That's who you'll become.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Slow down...

On this time we’ve got left what can one do?
It’s and blunt question, but sometimes a necessary one to wake us up.

Life is short.

For many of us, the Ego steps in. “I’ve done this, and that, and so much”, but we’re lying to ourselves when we just list the things we’ve done, aren’t we? Do you feel satisfied with that answer… could it be that instead of thinking about what we’ve done, it would be more honest and valuable to state what we’ve learned?

Plato asked, "…why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?

How many of us feel that we are chasing a dream, a life goal that will give meaning to who we are? And despite the amount of “achievements”, that unrestful search can only provide some small temporary fixes.

We are what we do and say, we are what we choose, in sum, we are what we believe.
If you believe yourself to be broken, you will be broken.
If you believe you don’t have the courage, you will never have the courage.

What we believe we are…

So tell yourself, what do you believe in?

Yes we are conditioned by our experiences and lessons through life. At first its school (our parents words will resonate all through our life…), but then it’s up to us, to believe or not in what friends, neighbours, employers, books and travel agents say to us. We choose what we believe in.

But this concept of choice its far from being simple, isn’t it? When faced with a not so known crossroad, any certainty we thought we had can transform itself into the shape of a big question mark, and block our view.

Yeap, we were sure that we had the right path but then maybe we should think again, other people have chosen differently in the exact same situation, testimonies of the same choice have revealed to be unproductive, wrong even… yes, we were sure, but not anymore because we’ve lost the direction of where we wanted to go, we’ve lost the purpose of our travel… It’s not about which roads we choose to take, but the destination, right?
How many times do we need to remind ourselves of that?

It’s ok to be a bit lost, as long as you don’t give up of where you intended to go. Take different turns, explore, but don’t loose sight of that image that made/makes your heart smile.

So what do you believe with all your heart?

It’s a hard one. You can even argue that a lifetime is not enough to come up with an answer for this one, but if we just stopped for a bit and felt the sweet loving vibes we can feel when we think of our dreams and hopes, we could maybe get closer to understanding what we truly believe.

But we choose to be busy. We choose to be in a rush.

Busy is a decision… You don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things.
_
Jonathan Fields

Think about what it means to be busy, in such a delicate and temporary life.
Really? We have this amazing opportunity of being alive and we rush over life?

Do you choose rush? Do you believe in being busy?

I know why I’m afraid of stopping and look into my beliefs and life choices. Because I fear that I might not recognise myself in the clothes I’m wearing or the house I call home, but I also know that unless I decide to stop and ask for guidance I will always be believing in my fears and not in my heart.

Let’s not be afraid of admitting we took a wrong turn, instead, use that as a lesson learnt and useful in the future.

And instead of keeping ourselves busy, lets take the time to answer our doubts and fears. Let’s use our valuable time to answer these valuable questions, even greater ones like, are you only just body and mind?

More and more it’s repeated through out podcasts and articles that happiness, as we envision, is possible through a more focused state of mind. Not focused on our mind chatter and constant rumination, but focused on what we’re doing, be it at work or just when we’re telling that sweet bed time story to our kids. That “be here”, “be present” stuff. And you know how we can be focused and present? By slowing down…

Slowing down on our rush to do, go, buy, have, get, show. By stopping being busy and instead, being, enjoying, feeling.

Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act
_
Leonard Cohen













Saturday, December 24, 2016

That time of the year... Buying Love time.

And once again, here comes the emotional time of Christmas, and all the family, friends and gifts high expectations, plus the reviews and more expectations of a new start. Intense...

For me this was the worst year ever, but with an important side to it: questioning everything I knew without getting angry or frustrated, but instead, with an attitude of love. Simple, gratitude based Love.

Love is really the only right answer...

Love is brave (hate is cowardness)

Only Love can calm us down... we should spend more time in that space, Love space.
We should get used to feel/be in Love
Not being afraid of getting hurt, or losing false ideas of ourselves.
Seeing with an attitude of healing. Can I help healing you or me?

We could get used to the feeling of being in Love...
Forgiving through understanding and Love.

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet"
_
Bob Dylan

Christmas reminds us of being closer, of thinking more like a family, a big family. Of being one. Humanity as one.

Please Love... and not just yourself. Feel your surroundings, feel the birth of a word, a gesture. Everything matters. One simple word can do so much...

"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?"
_
Bob Marley

Let's be brave and fall in Love...


Monday, December 5, 2016

The wound

... we are all part of a big plan, or chaos, or something, but we are all in this together. When we ignore someone we hurt them deeply, or we hurt ourselves for not paying attention.

To be present it's not only to be in your own little and superficial world, it means to be alive, to see, hear, feel... and be there, to be there (for a friend, to help, to hear, share, etc...)


The Wound from Anna Budanova on Vimeo.

+

Monday, November 28, 2016

... In a slow paced, close and warm manners, Cohen speaks about his search in Life for that feeling of connection with world, with others. Music, writing, meditation allowed him to enter those states of belonging and a sense of purpose in Life, as did alcohol and drugs too.

Some parts of David remnick interview for The New Yorker:

"(...) At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.

I have a deep tribal sense,” he said. “I grew up in a synagogue that my ancestors built. I sat in the third row. My family was decent. They were good people, they were handshake people. So I never had a sense of rebellion.

He didn't like to be labelled jewish or religious, but his songs do have that prayer enchantment. His view on God goes like this: "... God, in creation the world, dispersed itself. The Creation is a catastrophe. There are pieces of him or her or it that are everywhere, in fact. The specific task of the Jew is to repair the face of God. The prayers are to remind God that it was once a harmonious unity."

In his search for his place in the world he mostly preferred simplicity, less...

"The minimum environment that would enable you to do your work with the least distraction and the most aesthetic deliverance came from a modest surrounding. A palace, a yacht would be an enormous distraction from the project. My fantasies went the other way. The way I lived on Mt. Baldy was perfect for me. I liked the communal life, I liked living in a little shack.”

So we have a person who above all followed is dedication to Art; Love; God and Unity

"Does artistic dedication begin to touch on religious devotion?” he said. “I start with artistic dedication. I know that if the spirit is on you it will touch on to the other human receptors. But I dare not begin from the other side. It’s like pronouncing the holy name—you don’t do it. But if you are lucky, and you are graced, and the audience is in a particular salutary condition, then these deeper responses will be produced.

"(...) I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not,” Cohen said. “It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity."

Listen to the Interview:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Time is like a river that will take you forward into encounters with reality that will require you to make decisions. You can’t stop the movement down this river, and you can’t avoid the encounters. You can only approach these encounters in the best way possible."
_
Ray Dalio

How many of us repeat the same mistake, over and over... what is it that stops us from learning???

Lying to ourselves about it, covering it up with excuses, or fear of actually facing the solution to change...

The desire to grow and be a cool, fond person, is probably everyones strongest driving force, and so, we actually can only enjoy a job, a sport, a relationship, if we feel that it suits our perspective of becoming the smoothest "cool" version we can be. We have an innate satisfaction for getting better. 

So, the opposite side is that if we don't do anything about it, we live unsatisfied. No matter what /who we "possess", if it doesn't feel right, if there's no connection, we'll keep on searching.

Finding the thing that drives us takes time, because we need to learn and experience. No one is born with the ability to make good decisions, we all have to learn it, and in order to learn we definitely need to push our limits, and that's a process that is sort of painfully satisfying...

"Successful people understand that bad things come at everyone and that it is their responsibility to make their lives what they want them to be by successfully dealing with whatever challenges they face. Successful people know that nature is testing them, and that it is not sympathetic. 

In summary, I believe that you can probably get what you want out of life if you can suspend your ego and take a no-excuses approach to achieving your goals with open-mindedness, determination, and courage, especially if you rely on the help of people who are strong in areas that you are weak
."
_
Ray Dalio

Unfortunately there's too many people who try to prove that they have all the answers, even when they really don’t, so, whatever you find about yourself, remember, it's about and for yourself. We're all very alike, but no one is the same. The one thing we need to have in common to strive is being smartly brave. No more of that childish wishing and hoping behaviour, but smartly challenging yourself, taking risks and facing yourself in the mirror as you would look at your favourite person: proud, with love and with that deviant smile on your lips.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

On this time we’ve got left what can one do?
It’s a blunt question, but sometimes a necessary one to wake us up.

For so many of us, the Ego steps in saying proudly, “I’ve done this, and that, and so much”, but for some reason, internally, we’re not usually completely satisfied with that answer… could it be that instead of thinking about what we’ve done, it would be more honest and valuable to state what we’ve learned?

Plato asked, "…why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?

What is your core strength?

…”Looked objectively, your self-worth is essentially static: you’re worth the same as anyone else, no more and no less”, writes author Arno Ilgner, but because there have been important things/actions in our life that we consider as wins, self-achievements, we can feel some self-worth increase, but on the negative side, when we feel we have chosen poorly we can feel a real self-worth decrease.

So are we really the things we do?
Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act
_
Leonard Cohen

Or are we the lessons we learn in Life?
I’m not better or worse than you, but my choices can be, so what are our choices based on?
Experience.

We’re no more or less than anybody in the world, but our choices and the opportunity of having good mentors can define who we become.

Unfortunately we give it all to the Ego: I’m respected, followed, I’m part of this and that… but the Ego is so easily undermined by ways of thinking. The Ego needs highlights and victories and when it’s loosing it can still blame something else for it, creating traps and fantasies, distancing us apart from the reality we actually want to know and get closer to. The Ego continues to search for external proofs of its worth, external motivations.

So instead of self-achievement why not keeping the focus on self-growth. Which of the two do you think it gives you the confidence and motivation to continue?

When it comes to understanding what we might be in this amazing Universe, as a scientist recently put it, we’re like ants on the back of an elephant trying to figure it out by crawling on its back, and we know very little about ourselves, so who are we to judge others? Well, we can judge actions, and we can be inspired by others choices and achievements.

Some of us search it through meditation, sports, readings, food, hugs,. We all want that great feeling of being tuned into something, of having an internal motivation to learn, search, adventure. And that’s the best way to live life: playing and learning from it. Think of children playing, they totally forget about time, weather, clothes, needs. Playing envolves concentration, trial and error, getting to know our strengths and weaknesses, which in turn leads us into knowing what are our skills and how we can apply them. That is the best solid core one can have. To know yourself not through a fantasy Ego, but through a reliable knowledgeable self.

… but we have fears, fears that have to be faced and conquer, and that’s when playing becomes scary and we realize that there’s still a lot to learn about ourselves. One thing is certain, giving up will not bring us peace. Everything needs practice, even playing, and so, let’s face our fears, lets train and practice them. Let’s gain a conscious idea of what we’re really certain to know about ourselves and things, and instead of living in the land of “I believe I can fly”, let’s say, “I know I can’t fly, but there are planes or helicopters for that”.

Let’s go back to school and teach ourselves about ourselves, and on the playground explore! 


When it’s just simple entertainment we are searching for, then Art can lead us to that fictional Ego that makes us feel like rock stars, even in our old pijamas and poor stereos, as long it’s the right tune ; )


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Breaking the habit...

... Habits protect themselves by staying hidden or unconscious, but then, someone points them out to you, or you're caught in some embarrassing situation, and they're out, mirrored, as you realize you've been foolish, comfortably foolish for some time.

It's important to feel conformable, but it's disappointing to find out that you didn't prepare yourself for something really important because you chose same old same, the usual way. And it's disappointing and sad when it's gone and over.

Our Ego loves habits. It feels normal, and to feel normal is what we all search for when we're growing up. We just want to be normal, and only if we're lucky, maybe we can have something else special about us. And society loves Egos! Oh yes, Egos buy, depend and support other Egos. We are all fundamentally trained to equate our self-worth with our achievements. The greater achievements the more valuable you feel, the bigger the Ego gets, but this kind of self-value is so limiting. To achieve a goal it's great, and goals are key to keep us motivated and happy, but do you really think you're better than everyone else just because you did this and that? .. drop that need to be better than others. Accept you're one of many, and as so, treat yourself with respect and empathy as you would treat any other.

Try, instead of using all your energy to feed an hungry Ego, to learn how to use your attention, your focus. First realize where your attention is. What thoughts keep showing up, on repeat, what's your position in the world, presence, attitude? Stand back, witness yourself. And prepare yourself to be astonished by how little you' are aware of yourself. This is a small step for humanity, but a huge one to yourself. It's the only way you have to know what you believe in, what you stand for and where you're heading.

Dare to question the habitual, and be brave to uncover, undress all the layers you've been putting on to cover your real aims and dreams.

When we focus on the external outcome of our efforts, we're left at the mercy of chance. If things go well we're super happy, when we mess things up, frustration kicks in... make it instead a habit of focusing your effort in learning, just learning and growing with  that. Shifting from external towards internal motivation gives you the power to determine value and worth, which builds self-esteem which creates a solid core to feel confident, and with self-confidence comes Power. Power to break habits, to start again, to catch that big but beautiful wave.