I’m struggling to match my thoughts with my emotions. It seems that the past few months of this whirlwind event-chain has now calmed down and it’s trying to find a place to rest. And that place is seeking a title, a name, a short description. I don’t know which shelf to put it on, it needs a whole new cupboard, a whole new room actually. These past 8 months have been incredibly life shaping for me. Especially the second half of this period was what drove me forward before it broke me down and shattered me to pieces. I needed to hit ground zero to realise what it is that I truly wanted in life. I got exactly what I asked for and what I wanted to experience. Yet when I think back I’m struggling to accurately express what I just went through emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I ran away from success to be in uncertainty and ended up living in the middle of the jungle in Sri Lanka with a man who used to serve in the French legion and woke up each morning to the sound of monkeys jumping on our roof.
Bizarre. This word doesn’t even come close to describing those months. Did I have an amazing experience? For sure. Was I really happy? Definitely not. It was a time of transformation and inner work. Real self-development doesn’t come with smiling faces and constant bliss. It means digging deep within yourself, finding your hidden fears and your buried ‘whys’ for your emotional reactions. And when you find them, you have the choice to either look them in the eye and go straight into those fears or you can find another excuse to quietly cover them up with something else to keep peace. You can easily guess which option I chose. So I shattered myself in the middle of the jungle. Looking back, I believe it was a good environment to carry out this exercise, even though it didn’t always feel that way. Whilst there, I felt that I disconnected from myself, that I lost my way somehow while all I wanted to do was to find my real path. Oh, the irony. Life truly has a great sense of humour.
8 months of searching and realigning. Once my mind had an ‘upgrade’ it only took me 1 week to shift gears and change directions. I knew it was the start of a new chapter which meant closing down old patterns and making space for new beginnings. I re-evaluated my principles and priorities. I came up with new goals and visions, but most of all I felt that I came back to myself as an improved version of me.
So even though I’m still struggling to match my thoughts with my emotions I’m certain that this is the aftermath of this significant experience I just went through. Just as the whole journey didn’t make sense while I was experiencing it and the full picture cleared out once I closed down the chapter, it is very likely that my current emotional state will make sense to me a little bit later. And with that thought I put my mind at rest and will stop thinking about what I could call this.
So many people say ‘I don’t have time for that’. And it has been said numerous times before me that we have time for what we make time for. But. What if some of us don’t have the basic required means to do what we really would like to do? And I’m not talking about luxury experiences here. Taking a day off to relax our mind might not be possible for someone who works 7 days a week in an undeveloped country for such a low wage that is barely enough to cover survival needs. Going for dinner in a restaurant? Out of the question for these people. Yet they have such strength and calmness. They do not worry what tomorrow will bring because they only enjoy the present day. They’re grateful to experience today. Then another today and another until years have passed. These kind of people are scared to dream.
How can they develop an ambitious mindset when they don’t see any opportunities getting lost when suddenly coming their way? These people truly embrace every 24-hour, every moment, every millisecond. They cherish life. Their 24-hour feels longer. No, not because they are suffering, not at all. These people might live in poverty or a near poverty environment, yet they are happy. They appreciate the smallest things that most of us walk by. A genuine smile, the taste of ripe fruit, the smooth breeze on our skins, an honest conversation. Being fully present and fully experiencing every moment what extends their 24-hours.
I simply love that feeling when I know I inspired someone. It’s been like this for a few years now but never really decided to dig deep and find out the reason why I enjoy this. I’m in a phase right now when I question everything. I believe that this is a good state to be to learn and develop. Understanding not only our actions but our emotional reactions is key to become a slightly bit better than who we were yesterday. So here I am, digging.
What is that trigger buried deep within my soul that makes me want to see other people smile, to charge up, to be full of life? Why does it make me feel like that I’m full of energy when I achieve to have someone else buzz like how I usually do? I want to see people taking on their everyday life like how the character Tigger does. It’s a strange comparison, I know, but for some reason that’s the character I resonate with the most. Bouncing around with joy and excitement for life.
Enjoying the smallest things and being able to fully appreciate the so-called common things in life.
Yes, I can be completely amazed by the sight of a clear starry sky or seeing someone sing to themselves at the airport while we are being delayed. Seeing a puppy jumping around their owner with unconditional love. An old couple being silent next to each other with wrinkles of happiness across their faces. Getting a cup of coffee served with a genuine smile. Seeing a line of trees along the main road. Admiring the curved up trunk of a tree growing out of concrete. The setting Sun colouring in the playful clouds in orange.
These little things that we walk past every day… This is what makes life a wonderful experience. And most of these things happen naturally. We just don’t always notice them.
I’m not needed to help the tree make its way out of concrete. I didn’t cause that orange shade on the clouds. But! I could contribute towards the wrinkles on someone else’s face. To make sure that they are happy wrinkles. If I can do that, if I have the power to do that, then I will. That’s what we have control over: to make this journey a joyful one.
While it is great seeing that I have connections with generous people whom are posting about the donations they are making towards charities during this period, it makes me wonder: why is it that we need a reason like Christmas to do this? And before you call me hypocrite, yes I am just as guilty as they are. It was only this morning that I transferred some money to a bank account of a charity supporting people with mental health issues. It makes me question myself as well: why don’t I have this urge to give back in May? In August? I could now stand up for myself and say that actually I do, which is true, however I have to admit that I am definitely more generous this time of the year. I wish we could somehow drag this attitude out to last 12 months rather than 2 weeks per year.
So for those of us who plan our goals for the following year: how about using this inspiration we feel right now to reflect in our next year’s plans? How about making a conscious decision that instead of the peak of our giving-back in December to be spread over 12 months? Maybe it won’t make a huge difference…at first. But! If at least some of us will start this new habit, eventually others will follow as we have the power to influence by showing an example.
So I start. I hereby publicly declare that from 2018 onwards I will be paying more attention to helping out the ones in need. It doesn’t matter how we do it: either by paying for someone else’s meal, donating our time to a charity, helping out someone with a challenge, telling someone how wonderful they really are, getting behind a volunteer organisation’s objective or simply letting someone jump the queue because they can’t miss their flight. Whatever it is, if it will make another person smile for a while then it is worth it.
My personal goal for 2018 is simply to bring more smiles into this world. Because it will just make it a better place to live in for all of us 🙂
If you agree with this then I encourage you to spread the message. And I don’t mean just by sharing this. Yes that would help getting this out to as many of us as possible so I will be grateful if you do it, but I also encourage you to at least try to adapt a similar attitude that suits YOUR life. #timeforchange
Expectations. Are they hopeful illusions force fed to the mind or pre-warmed up blankets covering reality? Either way they are needed as much as oxygen to our lungs otherwise we suffocate through life.
Some say it’s best not to expect anything so that you don’t get to experience the darkness of disappointment. The hollow space that we all try to navigate away from: seeking alternative routes and strictly keeping our eyes on the destination. One wrong turn, one incompetent driver or simply one fault with the engine will result in crashing right into this unwanted place. It surely is high risk but without it we don’t have the map – and no, I’m not talking about life. No one will give you a map of your life. We all draw ours as we go, however I prefer to make mine to be more like a treasure hunt. And I’m sure you do too because every second that we get to have is worth more than any diamonds and gold.
Every moment you experience whether to be painful or pleasant is a gift that you should treasure because it becomes a tiny puzzle piece that will build YOU. So cherish it and keep your expectations but let them become your motivation. And when someone drives you off your route just kick them out of the driving seat and take the wheel.
Remember: you will not deliberately disappoint yourself but others might do that for you. Have your expectations based on yourself and don’t rely on anyone else to control your emotions. It’s all in your hands and THAT is your map.
We travel through our lives every day. Some of us get on a delayed train, some get stuck at a red light in our cars and some just sit on the sofa flicking through all the international channels while staring at the shiny illusion on the wall (you might call it the TV). We seem to have forgotten how to sit still and take pleasure of it. Not out of boredom, not because we’ve been told to do it but purely because we desire it. We spend hours chasing after routines, giving in to habits and choosing the easy option of following the crowd.
Then we spend about a third of our day earning money so that we can buy all the things that we don’t need but must possess. Things that we firmly believe will make us feel happy. And in fact they do have that effect on us for a few minutes, hours or depending on the purchase maybe days. Never years though. We never get the same excitement that we feel when ripping the packaging open. So we go and get our things and then carry on with our routine. And when the end of the day arrives we take a look back and say something like “such a busy day” or “I still have to do this tomorrow”.
Those 24 hours are nothing but a sample sized life. Make yours exciting. Stop the excuses.