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?

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.