We are one.

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Things just seem to happen don’t they? Good and bad, things just ‘happen’. Now obviously we can generate events in both the positive and negative variety by our actions, decisions and the general energy we project out into the universe but I am talking about the other anomalies, the parts of life we aren’t expecting, the bits and pieces that just kind of, fall into our laps. I’ve been thinking about this recently, quite a lot actually and I’m not overly sure what sparked it off. I was just really sitting back and looking at the people I have in my life. The long time servers, the family members, friends old and new. People from all different walks of life that I am incredibly lucky enough to have close to me. People so incredibly important to me I fill with an overwhelming privilege. Its not what I would describe as a person to person thing, all of these people could meet in one place and share common ground. For me, we are one.

So jus the other night I took my daughter to her school parent and options evening to have a chat with her teachers and discuss the options before her as she prepares to head into this new academic chapter. We were accompanied by her best friend who’s parents couldn’t make it so I played the role of guardian so she could talk to who she needed to during the evening. I think it may have been then that this subject really made itself apparent. As we all worked our way around the hallow chatted options and ideas until we hit the photography stall, a subject that my daughter has incredible natural talent for, a lot more so than her old man. We have all the kit indoor and regularly head out to capture the world, but her friend doesn’t have any kit or camera but really wanted to choose this course. Instantly I thought “I’d get her a camera, it means a lot to her and she should be able to do it”. Naturally I’m sure her folks will think and do the same but it was just this feeling of creating an opportunity for someone. Seeking no thanks or reward, just kindness to those you know so they can start on a path. I hope to see the world taking this outlook more someday. Not the stance of I want so I should get because nothing worth having comes without a tonne of work before, during and after. But kindness, what does that cost aside from a fragment of your time?

I would quite literally do anything for those around me. I’m no martyr or saint but I believe kindness, acts of kindness and generosity  just make the world a better place to exist in and if I can make a difference to how those people around me are feeling then I will. You should too. You do get rewarded, it makes you feel good doing something for someone that you know will make them happy. It’s a free but priceless gift. Inner circle or outer, beyond the outer people are still people. Of course you’re not going to have common ground with all of your billions of neighbours but the outlook of kindness carries far. The appreciation to act kindly to others travels well beyond the spoken.

The people in your life should all know you as you. There should be no comments of ‘oh you seem different when you’re with them’ kind of conversations. you as a person should be a constant with no need to  project a false persona and likewise with with people in your life. Each and every one of them should be able to interact and intermingle with everyone else as you should all be sharing the same common energy. Be mindful of those that are kept a distance for no real apparent reason. They are the secret holders with an energy that displaces that of others. For example, I could have the entirity of my inner circle in a room and if I stepped out I know each one could and would share a common ground, a relatable journey. Thats why I love them all. No secrets, no dramas, the closet doors blown right off and skeletons all illuminated with floodlights. I like that my flaws and mistakes are exposed. going through life with secrets keeps you eternally petrified that they could be exposed at any time and in turn change everyones opinion about you. That is no way to live.

Not that you should pay any mind to peoples opinions. Just be you. Being you is good enough for me. There’s no need to have an angle, there’s no need to search for a reason or a ‘thing’ in order for people to like you. It is just that plain simple. People, the people for you will just want to see you happy and likewise that is all you should ever want for them.

Going through all of this over the last couple of years has not only taught me about myself, about how I need to work on, grow and develop myself but also on how much I can do for people. I use the word I but it is a ‘we’.

We can all make such a difference to the people and world around us and it is such an easy thing to do. Just ask someone how they are, never underestimate how powerful that question can be. Sometimes people just need to hear that, they might be the no fuss or thrills type of person but inside they are torn, struggling or just could be a little overwhelmed. I feel I dropped the ball with this just yesterday. I missed a f friends diagnosis of bowel cancer. She is the tiniest, kindest, friendliest and happiest ball of life and now has this hard road in front of her. Now she knows she has my 24/7 support and this has made me take stock of things, just as life changing news seems to do. I work so hard and tirelessly that I completely missed this news so now I’ll ensure that work is done as always but people, my people and more are in the forefront of my mind.

It is a tough balance though, you have to put yourself first but also keep all of those close to you in our thoughts. A much as I want to I can’t look after and protect everyone. I can’t take away my daughters shyness, I can’t take away Nat’s cancer, I can’t stop Jim accelerating his high blood pressure. If I could I would. I’d take every bit of them on, but you cant. All you can do is offer support and love but don’t do it just when bad news comes along. Offer support and love even when the good times are in full flow. That is how those unbreakable bonds are formed and that is how people know you care. Go beyond a Facebook status comment, tat is just a hollow attempt to show others that you are nice. Life isn’t a status, it’s not a location tag or a photo of your new nails conveniently over your Mercedes steering wheel. It is a compulsion, an involuntary act to make sure the people you love ants care about feel your energy and you feel theirs.

Be a tribe. A collection of completely different individuals all sharing the same love. Remove any clashes in that energy. Take everyone in your life, in your close and trusted inner circle; you all stand individually, all on your own pathways and journeys but will forever remain linked and intertwined.

All of us are bonded, we are one.

Lifting weights.

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You have walked into my trap, this isn’t a fifteen minute blast of me sharing how I make my mad gains. Nope this is about shifting those mental weights, the things we let hold us down, the things we allow to hold us back. So instead of being physically strong, removing the bragging rights to your squat or bench max it is time to free yourself of the mental weights we encounter. Now these can be imposed on us or self inflicted but either way the bottom line is we choose to allow them to remain, but probably the most dangerous aspect of these weights we bear is the fact that sometimes we don’t even know they are there. We can live our lives held down without truly knowing because we adjust the wrong way to the influences that are upon us.

I have been pushed a bit from pillar to post in this subject. For the bulk share of my life I existed carrying around weights I didn’t know were there or more accurately I should say I knew were there but accepted them to be something else. Quite simply as ‘part of me’. But as with all things it all bubbles up to the surface sooner or later. Mark my words there, there are no exceptions whatsoever. So I carried these weights, these ‘things’ around for a long long time assuming that was just me and my life until life swung into gear and forced the issue and made me look further into myself, further into my happiness or should I say further into my unhappiness. As I have documented before, unearthing the root cause of my behavioural loop, the year one of the creation and manifestation to something I kind of knew was there but accepted as my ‘normal’ was the beginning of the making of me yet it was something else that forced me into a corner leaving me no option but to  address everything in my life, in my mind.

The avoidance of facing it throughout my life eventually brought everything to a head at a time that was quite honestly very inconvenient for me but that is lifes job. Not ding things when you deem them to be the right time, perfect timing doesn’t exist in that way. Instead perfect timing is doing something when you are meant to, not when you want to. No one really wants to have that close look at themselves as it involves looking at some potentially very ugly parts you. All of this does alter how you see and approach things and for me, now penned in that corner I had to begin to look, I had to begin to delve and I needed begin to resolve. Strangely it wasn’t really this that changed things for me, well it did as it taught me many many things but it was coming through all of that and emerging on the other side that I felt myself change. I had made all the necessary behavioural changes. I had learnt where I was going wrong but more importantly it had unlocked something in my mind. It was like a filter had been added to my entire thought process and outlook. A little bit of an anti-bullshit filter.

Yet this wasn’t me home and dry. I had started to realign myself, during that process my then partner decided to move on with her life but that didn’t stop me. I didn’t just throw the towel in and revert back to my old ways, seeing as it was the attempt to save my relationship that has led me onto this path and just because that relationship didn’t exist anymore didn’t mean the new me didn’t either. I had made a commitment to straighten out the rails and that is what I was going to do. I persevered, I worked, I refined and I focused on one thing; being a better version of myself each and every day and that is something I achieved and something I continue to strive to achieve each day from here on out.

Yet there was a weight that held me down for a long long time and none of my new tricks, skills and lessons seemed to be able to shift it. Single life was something very new to me having effectively been in relationships for twenty years  and on one hand I coasted into the single realm, applying myself into my work and my own self care but on the other hand I never felt like I had truly broken free. Well, I hadn’t. I wasn’t allowed to and held in this state of limbo like I was a safety net that was left in the background as a reassuring glimpse and link to the past. Not the nicest of experiences when someone who was said to have loved you but was quite happy to inflict this mental torment as they skipped along through life seemingly not overly bothered by the fallout. This part of my life truly is the best example I have for describing the weights we carry around as we try and struggle through the endless and countless sleepless nights with my mind racing, running through every possible scenario once every scrap of trust had disintegrated and although relief was felt when it all ended the weight continued to press down on me. Never truly tasting freedom or being able to move on and nothing I did, no matter how busy I became seemed to shift anything at all. I did feel this though, I did feel it pressing down on me each and every day. Regardless of the lack of emotion and attachment I could physically feel my world being compressed.

I won’t lie it takes it toll and although I was long passed joining the dots that I knew were there my life was hindered. Like swimming fully clothed, yes you can do it but it gets exhausting quickly and if you’re not careful you can get into trouble and having that choice to be able to move fully untaken away from me really did affect me but; the day did come. After a very long and gruelling torment the clouds lifted and with a handsome sum having to be paid I was released from my mental shackles and as I have said, when that news came through I actually felt the weight lift off of me.

So sometimes, no matter how in tune we are with ourselves or well being and our situation. Sometimes there are factors quite simply out of our control and we just have to ride the wave until they run their course. This doesn’t mean your whole life has to be on standby. Personally I have made the biggest and most successful moves and decisions ever in my entire life while I was suspended and waiting around. But only waiting for the true end. I refused to let my life be on complete hold because of her and every decision, every goal, every scrap of progress was made for me, by me. The weights we carry round with us can affect us in ways we may not even realise but once made aware of them we can adjust and we can recalculate how to move forwards each day.

That is the key, to accept everything is rarely perfect but we can enjoy happy, healthy and completely fulfilled lives. then, when we actually lift those weights it feels even sweeter. It is a turbo boost to what you have already been doing and whatever was holding you down fades into the distance leaving you only with the lessons and the strengths enduring it created.

Block/Delete.

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It’s a bold move. To remove every piece of somebody from your life, not as a temporary measure but as a life decision. It’s certainly a lot easier in theory than in reality, a couple of taps in your mind and all channels are closed off, sorted. But factor in the human mind, emotion, memories, feelings and it’s not so straight forward. The bring in the vastness of the social platforms and free world access we all embrace to information and suddenly it becomes a task of well thought out and thorough consideration. It boils down to a simple question as to whether or not you are wiling to undertake the ‘project’. Does this person bring any positive energy into your life in them being there? Now that’s a big question, a question who’s answer needs some serious thought. Step back and think about the magnitude of that. Any positive energy at all, you’d like to think everyone offers somebody some percentage of positive fuel but as with life some things are black and white and some thing just plain ain’t. It’s now that we have to start weighing things up, not saying construct a pro’s and con’s list but look selfishly at your life and the lives of those around you that it affects. You’re now making decisions based on what is best for you, that is all we can do.

For me it has been something that was on the cards from day one and it was a decision I made two years ago and I have had it tumble drying in my mind ever since. It was a decision that I made long before I had even got over her, long before I had even absorbed what had happened and a decision I had long struggled with exercising. 10 years in the blink of an eye or so it seems at the time but the reflective truth is if you analysed it back the wheels were long in motion. As the moment of truth neared ever closer so did the decision, even to the point of me just staring down at the option on my phone when the moment finally did arrive. I can tell you now I didn’t ace it first time, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’d close my phone and put it off with the build up of the moment racing through my mind.

I thought back to the preparation I had undertaken to get here, from both sides. I balanced it all up because there are and always will be two sides to every story and I’ve never been a boy scout. It’s only really through all of this that I have truly grown up. So I know it wasn’t one way traffic when you reflect over 10 years. We can all..do more.

But we only really face the facts of the matter and for me, as I have documented before I am like an old diesel locomotive. I keep going, I don’t stop and I don’t give up and I more than likely would have carried on soldiering on destroying my mental health in the process but as with everything in life, it actually worked out for the best. If it was just me and her, letting all that had gone before pass then the outcome could have been different  but factor in other influences and, you know what..No the outcome was never and could ever be different. See this is the see-saw that I had to deal with. I get get reminded of some of the very bottom line facts and it renders the whole situation null and void. Unforgivable acts, details somewhat irrelevant now after the passing of time but the fact of the deeds will always remain cast in stone and ever present when it comes to my relationship and that even greater force of my daughters well being. That quite simply outweighs and top trumps any indecision that may have crept into my mind via a sneaky side gate.

My daughter and my Dad and what they went through, what all of my family went through, how that pushed me into a corner and gagged me from everything else going on in my world at the time. That is why I made decision, not for me but for those two. It’s stepping back and looking at the situation from afar with a little distance between you and your emotions. Like anything  else a decision made fuelled by emotions and feelings will more than likely be one made in haste and ultimately regret. There are a few things I regret in my life but I have to remember it has all forged who I am now. Every bad decision, even slipped opportunity was merely a temporary upset in order to get the ship steered correctly to it’s real destination. That is what we need to remember, the bigger picture. I reference that a lot because that for me is how I have to exist, seeing the bigger picture in everything. Everything has a history, everything and everyone have an untold story and private battles but it is looking at where those battles got you. Stripping back the emotions and leaving just he facts, the truth. As they don’t change, the don’t lie, they are a consistent in our lives. Make sure you deal exclusively with these two criteria and you’re never really going to stray too far from the right path. I find myself redeeming the right path on quite a regular basis as I continue to grow within myself. So don’t remain stuck in the mud of something because that is what you would have always done, learn to adapt and build off the lessons along the way.

So I did step back, I removed all of the emotion and stared hard at the truth and what a hard truth it was, quite the ugly reality, something that I could not entertain as even an option. When D-day first happened I did the same thing but in a very knee jerk manner. I cut off a whole bunch of people in one foul swoop. People that I liked a lot but had very close ties to someone else that I just couldn’t or have any further connection to. Although knee jerk there was not a single doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do. The gut feeling as always was there but this situation, this decision had me now staring at my phones screen with just one tap left to end it all there was real conflict. Emotions were doing their best to create a fog over doing the right thing and it was clearly the right thing to do as it was so hard to do. just as everything in life the hard way is more often than not the right way. That is something else I have learned to embrace now.

People though, they are more than just a lesson for us. You share your life with them, for no matter what duration they touch your world and can leave quite a profound imprint on you. That is something to be embraced too, there is no need to run and hide from people incase they hurt us and likewise no need to refuse to let anyone new in to your world incase history repeats itself. Which it won’t. History teaches us that it is all a series of unique one-offs that develop us. Sometimes a lot more than we are expecting and I do think, certainly at this current stage that this chapter has made me a little colder towards new comers that wish to get close to me. Yet I know that will fade away.

So I sat here at my desk just as I am now writing this. My mind telling me things, my gut telling something else then it happened. An email came through confirming the end of the entire chapter and I was free. I gave myself a moment as I knew I wouldn’t absorb it fully instantly but I did feel a shift, a lifting of a weight. It was enough to do it. I gathered myself and my thoughts, I returned to my desk after a little walk and I opened my phone.

With a silent farewell in my thoughts it was time to move on. Block/Delete.

Spidey sense.

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What superpower would you have? How often do you hear that or get asked it? It’s pretty often isn’t it, it’s a great little conversation starter where people come up with all kinds of things with all kinds of reasons too. Being a superhero is a dream born as children with the eternal hope that hopefully at some point in our lives we will encounter a bizarre accident that will bestow upon us this gift of powers, and what a choice we have, the ability to fly, to be super strong, invisibility, laser eyes, x-ray vision, super speed the list goes on as far as our imaginations will carry us. Little do we know that most of these powers we already have, they are certainly something we can summon when we need them. We may just not know they are there.

Strength is something measured in so many ways and I think physical strength is probably the least important. Of course it is sound practice to be strong, be in shape and healthy, that goes without saying. Having our bodies running smoothly is very important not to mention all of the mental benefits to training and physical activity. But, to be emotionally strong that is something. To be able to take and make those hard decisions that life throws at you knowing that there will ultimately be a positive outcome. Making hard decisions in the knowledge that it is the right thing to do for the situation even if its not the easiest option. Our dealing and coping with life when decisions have been made for you, when your world has been turned upside down and you have to carry on when you don’t want to and you don’t even know what direction you are meant to be heading in. Accepting change, even if it wasn’t wanted and keep moving forwards. That is the true definition of strength.

As a self confessed comic book geek and superhero fan this subject stitches in very naturally with the health and wellness mentoring I do and even more it’s relation to the Evolution of Me. The last couple of years have been one hell of a journey and just like most other peoples lives it would have made quite the movie. I’ve definitely felt like the broken guy. Out there feeling like there was nothing left, with nothing of an old life to salvage and people just taken from me. I didn’t know what to do,  had no one to talk to, or so I thought. As with the movies there was a flash of lights, a fragment of hope. After some dust settles you do begin to see, I began to see. But everything looked different like I was looking through different eyes, or as I have come to learn I was actually using my own eyes for the first time in a long long time. That was the birth of my x-ray vision. I emerged with a filter that saw through everything I didn’t want in my life from that point onwards. Which we do, life teaches us what we do and do not want and our experience helps us discover these superpowers. It’s like an upgrade whenever we have to go through something that will take it’s toll on us. Life rewards us with strengths and abilities. Level up and we get to carry it through with us for when the next thing may happen.

Just thinking about it now, each superhero power does apply and come to life when we have been traumatised. Even invisibility, just like today. I was doing some shopping getting a few bits, minding my own business when I clocked one of my ex-partners friends and with me being 6’7″ I’m not overly subtle, especially when wearing my full compression wear fresh out of the gym. So I was seen, I know this but they to me were invisible. no need to look, swerve or react in any way. I just carried on doing what I was doing. This is life and how it divides and sets people off in different directions. There’s no need to drag the past with you everywhere.

Maybe the one thing I didn’t get was super speed but I’m guessing because I wasn’t left to get on with healing and instead just constantly reminded I should be hurting. But then again would you want speed like that? All you would probably do is run away and all that does is leave everything in an ugly mess waiting for you when you get back. I suppose the rapid healing and regeneration would be handy, it would have been nice to close off those wounds quickly. Humans, people..we can endure and recover from so much and I mean beyond the physical. We can take a pounding and the miracle of the body will repair itself or if not the modern medical team will work their magic and put us back together so we are as good as new on the outside. It’s the internal damage that takes its toll. There is only one way to get through that and tat is face it all head on and ride it out. That takes time, that takes strength. All those new strengths and powers we have learned. The mind is so powerful, it can lead us to incredible glories or petrifying lows if we let it.

Maybe though, most disappointingly I already had a superpower but I did my dam hardest to ignore it. My Spidey sense was tingling. In the back of my mind it was going crazy trying to alert me that something was wrong, that something was coming my way but I chose to extinguish it. We all have Spidey sense just we package it up a little differently. We otherwise know it as our gut feeling. Make sense? Of course it does, that gut feeling, that voice trying to alert us of something untoward, that feeling that there is something not quite right somewhere. That is the single most important lesson I have learned during this whole process, to listen to what is going. To let my heart take a back seat and let my gut feeling drive from now on. The heart still gets to make a few decisions but it all has to be run past the gut first.

Spidey sense, the truest guide and the most reliable part of you that you will ever have. Strength can be summoned, speed can be relative but trusting in yourself is paramount in the upkeep of remaining and reacting in a positive way. Even when negative things are coming, a positive frame of mind is better equipped to process and deal with anything, it doesn’t matter what. Positivity trumps all. Yeah the dark side is powerful but it is truly no match for the positive energy we can create.

So if your alarm bells start going off, even if it’s in the distance don’t ignore them. Go and investigate and I guarantee you that you will find something that needs your attention and in being proactive you will be on the front foot ready to tackle whatever it is. A world of superheroes all learning how strong and how amazing they can be. Each and every day tapping into that pool of infinite possibilities. Each and every day refining their powers to make themselves as happy as they can be.

no one is excluded in that, we all have the ability to rise above anything that happens to us. We all have the strengths to get through our darkest times and face whatever villains may be out there.

A million likes.

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What a time to be alive, what wondrous age of advancement, incredible technology and just plain and simple out and out wonderment. We want for nothing and each and every one of us quite literally have the world in our hands. We can virtually do anything from wherever we may be sitting, standing or laying. Yet maybe we have lost sight of what we value as important, on what ha actual value. Instead of investing time into those core values our focus appears to have drifted and potentially now run a ground into a world, a need to seek the approval and acceptance of virtual strangers. In a time where we are communicating around the clock and into every corner of the globe we can reach out to so many on such a broad array of platforms. Yet we are communication less in the traditional sense, less regard for the people we have around us and interact with on a physical level.

We don’t have time for anyone now yet we turn our backs and our faces are lit up by our phone screens in a micro second. An instant standout example is how our phones cut us off from what we are doing, we have evolved to not be able to ignore them , to pounce on them immediately as a new notification flashes up. We drop everything, I’m guilty of it too, we all are. One of the rudest and most blatant examples I see is in the supermarket. We all have a little scroll as we wait for our turn but you see it every time without fail, people get to the cashier and either just carry on ‘socialising’ or their phone will ring and they will answer it, ignoring the cashier and then clumsily attempt to juggle packing their shopping whilst clamping their phone into their neck. It’s so rude, does that cashier deserve to be ignored or barked at because your attention is laying elsewhere? Why can’t that call be left and returned in literally a few minutes? I just don’t get it.

Another worrying thing is this false reality that we have grown to project. Again, I was guilty of this. I’ll always hold my hands up to anything I’m talking about and have done myself. It’s this projection of popularity that I have grown to distance myself from but it courses through our lives like a virus. We are judged or we seem to think we are being judged by what our social media status is. I hate that term social media, why does everything have to have a name? But anyway, social media is a fantastic tool, something that can bring you information you need and send out information, messages that you want it to. I myself use it heavily to bolster my work and I know many others that do the same. Some earning great salaries from what they have created on it’s own. But I have a self imposed policy where I can leave it alone at night. I have everything scheduled to post so I know where everything is. Podcast on a Sunday morning, Positive shot on a Wednesday morning, blog on Friday morning and my new podcast (Shack of geeks) goes up on Sunday afternoons. Then I just pepper in the other days with notifications to remind everyone of those posts. Sprinkle in a few wellness and self care quotes and it’s all done.

So that for me is a perfect example of using social media for a good purpose as so many do but the majority share is a false reality. Instafamous, what a word that is, a word that has been created from nothing. Again people are and will earn great salaries and become ‘celebrities’ of sorts but for me, and I only speak for myself and my opinion it’s this projection of great life style or glitz and glamour when the truth is very different. now naturally we can all do what we want to do and be what we want to be but it’s the trickle down effect. The imagery passed down to the young and impressionable doesn’t give them facts about facts about life. I know people that do this, they very much live front of house exhibiting the glitz and glamour when behind the scenes their lives are so empty. Now that isn’t a judgement or anything else like that, if they are doing what makes them happy then that’s great but I view it from the perspective of the bigger picture. From the aspect of this being our life, our one way ride, a single ticket journey and these people I know and care about just seem to have or be working towards nothing. I think this gets me so much because I could never find my direction and I didn’t have social media to distract me.

In an age when life can be so hard, the expense of living can be crippling and it will not get any better it just concerns me that people are just falling further and further behind the curve. Not pursuing careers, living almost day to day, hand to mouth and believe me that is not a nice set of variables to exist in. Not having their own home, some not even having flown the nest yet. It’s got to be worked for, all of those things and social media can so easily sap our time and efforts reducing that window of productivity. People into their thirties and beyond coasting through life or just expecting what they want to be gifted to them. Now you don’t have to have dreams of grand success or lifestyle, even a humble life requires work, application. What does the social world get you? A double tap from people you have never met and don’t care about you, don’t even know a single thing about you.

We don’t need approval from anyone about anything in life. No one needs to confirm or sanction anything you do. Just don’t waste life, that is really the only point I am making. Do the things you want to do but just make sure that it’s the best use of your time and resources as possible and that you are doing it for your own happiness. Social media is a bit of a double edged sword. I absolutely love parts of it, I love how I can spread my work to a huge audience. I love how I have ridiculous full conversations with my best friend all done with Snapchat filters and I also love how I can lose myself just browsing, looking, watching and reading nonsense to unwind. But it needs to be policed, self policed. We shouldn’t let someone else life distract us form our own and what we want to achieve.

I fell foul of this, seeking approval and acceptance to who I was and what I was doing  because quite simply, then I felt I needed that rubber stamp because I didn’t know  that self worth only came from one place. I used it as a distract-ant, it saved me from looking at myself, from looking within. Finding that inner peace but when I did, when I reset the dials it enabled me to step away. The reinvention of the new me shed a lot of layers and a lot of unneeded insecurities and it has enabled me to become hyper productive but more importantly at an absolute balanced level of being at peace with who I am. I only need the approval of one person when I do or set out to do something, me.

I don’t need a hollow existence and I refuse to let my life slip by me while I’m paying attention to someone else’s. Their lives are ticking over nicely while you could potentially be running the risk of standing still and that is not something I can entertain. Of course I’ll have a social binge from time to time but I have learnt to use it as I need it. I have a low maintenance existence. I don’t seek or need approval, I don’t need the material, I don’t need negativity and I certainly don’t need a million likes.

Love: Part 1

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I Thought I’d touch on this subject seeing as this will be hitting you right as the most romantic, love filled day in the calendar lands in our laps. I am talking of course about the one and the only Valentine’s Day.

Firstly, let’s take to one side everyone’s boo-hiss attitude to Valentines Day claiming it is just a corporate spin of the wheel to make money. Well yes, February 14th no doubt generates millions and millions and makes the bottom of some pages look very handsome. But strip that back and look at it’s core, it’s meaning. It is a day to express love, how beautifully simple is that? Let’s leave Valentines alone for a minute and talk about the body of the subject, love. Love is something incredible and how do you even begin to define it and what it means? What it does? I can only really give my opinion of love and what I think love means and what it should be. For me it is something that is quite heavily learnt, as a child you are an emotional sponge and your concept of everything including love is born from the environment you are brought up in. So for me  my Mum and Dad were teenage sweethearts, life long companions that still believed and upheld all of those traditional values. It’s then something as you get older you crave to replicate. Naturally I ballsed it up a couple of times along the way but the vision is something that is still very real to me. Still something that is absolutely achievable.

Not so long ago a friend of mine, that is an injustice to what she actually means to me. She is very much one of my best friends, a rock, a confident and I love her very much. She asked me if I would ever get married again and without hesitation, without a single thought I answered, yes. Yes I would because irrespective of a failed marriage, irrespective of a long term relationship virtually turning me to dust that vision, that notion is still something I want my life to have. It’s not a desperate quest, I’m not intending to farm myself out to the first person that shows interest but I will remarry when the time, and the person is right. For the right reasons  and quite simply that will be because I want to and it feels right.

Feel, that’s the word isn’t it, we feel love, we feel loved and can feel unloved but how, and why? I love the feeling of being in love. I’m one of the soppy romantics that puts notes on the dashboard before work, random flowers and regular foot rubs kinda guy. Doing things I know people will like makes me happy, the expression of my love, it’s what in my opinion makes the world go round. I ain’t no slave but just being thoughtful and caring just kind of rings my bell. A bit like Christmas. Now I’m not overly good at receiving gifts but the pleasure I get from getting someone a present I know they’ll love brings me incredible happiness. You never know I could even sell a batch of my guitars in order to do something nice for someone.. but love goes beyond the one person, the partner. I think of my family, my friends and my daughter.

How can you start to quantify the love a father has for his daughter? Especially one so incredible as mine. She literally has the world in her hands and she just needs to decide what she wants to do with it. That girls of mine blows my mind and honestly with the rough ride she has had of it, seeing me go through he mill I just hope she will come through it all unscathed and be able to define her version of love and what she wants. That is a concern of mine, that I have not provided her with a stable interpretation of love and a family unit. I know her mum has and hopefully as she gets older and enters the realm of dating (which is never by the way) she will see past the mistakes I made and draw form how I am now, draw from her mother and from both sets of her grandparents.

Love is some what of a double edged sword though, a love that has dies or is not reciprocated is terrible. So painful and can send you spiralling out of control. Yet going through things like that, experiencing the hurt of love actually serves to educate you to what love shouldn’t be. It’s like sifting for gold , you fill that pan up with rocks, mud, dirt and silt from life river bed then you have to shake it about and slowly, all of the waste, all of the things you don’t need fall through the holes back into the river. They’re the bits that someone else might sift and decide that they have struck it rich. Then eventually, hopefully there are a couple of nuggets of gold left in your pan. Iv’e learnt you have to wait until this point, until all of the silt has gone otherwise you can catch a glimpse of something that looks like the jackpot but is really just fool’s gold. Pretty, captivating yet ultimately worthless to you.

Again though love isn’t restricted to people or a unity of one to another. Love is infinite. Look at what the world and life can offer, what we can achieve. Look at what an amazing playground the world is. Hobbies, interests, sports, wildlife, nature. All things that we fall in love with in our lives. Do I even mention music? That is something that without exception touches us all. We all love a song, a band or an artist. It was music that gave me my first ever taste of love. In 1989 at home in North London my brother goes into his room and puts on a CD single that his friend had lent him. The Stone Roses: Fool’s Gold 9:53 and there I was, in love. In love with the sounds, the rhythm, the words. That moment forged the direction of my passion for the rest of my life. I learned the guitar, I joined and started bands, I wrote songs, I played gigs. There we go again, my brother! The love I have for him is colossal, he’s my hero. He gave me music, he gave me basketball and he gave me someone to look up to. Love is without boundaries. It fills every aspect of who we are. Hold on, that’s the force isn’t it? It is in every living thing, it’s all around us, it flows through us. Was George Lucas just rebranding love when he gave us Star Wars? Well done  George.

The examples are endless and the potential of love is infinite. That’s why I can’t really process it now when people abuse love. It’s a purity that survives the attempted taints. Love does conquer all, for example when my dad passed away, asides from my failing relationship running parallel, with all of the pain and sorrow I was feeling, the isolation and the sadness it wasn’t any of those emotions that won the day, it was love. Love overpowered the darkest time of my life and brought me back to the fight. I don’t think of my dad with sadness, I think of him with love.That is how it works, love is positive energy and it cannot be beaten.

It is transferrable, you can give so much love away at no cost, you can show gestures of love to complete strangers and not be drained. It is a well that doesn’t run dry. Those random acts of kindness that you can do that is showing love for your fellow man. Something I feel this world needs so much more of. So stop the bus for someone, hold the door open, pick up a bag of dropped shopping, smile. It costs nothing but a moment of your time and it could transform someone else’s day. Love is a gift, it is a free gift.

I love love and even though I fear I may be starting to sound like an old school hippy preaching peace and love, well actually I hope I am because as I said  we all need more love, selfless love. I love what being in love can do to you. It, and this is true love I refer to; it see’s beyond the physical, it cares not for a ripped body or a beautiful face, it see’s beyond all of those temporary  and superficial things and stares directly at the real. It connects souls to souls in unbreakable timeless bonds.

I don’t even know if I have remotely expressed what I think love is and what it means to mean, I just like talking about it and what it can do for us all. I like that I have love in my life and anyone that feels that they don’t I can tell you now that you have more love in your world than you realise.

I am lucky to have had so much love in my life and from so many different places. My friends, my best friend, my family, my daughter, the role models of love my parents. The passions, interests and hobbies I have experienced so far and all of those yet to come. My lovers and partners, albeit now historic but we shared  and created love. With my life now moving into a new chapter you may ask how I feel about the prospect of new love and the answer is simple;

I am already always in love.

Endgame.

podium

This is a subject I talk about a lot to a lot of people. It’s the big one for personal development, something of huge intent but also of a certain careless shooting of the breeze. It is the topic that we define as the goal we have set out to achieve. The holy grail of our quest, the grand prize that we seek and know full well will be no easy task to achieve. Quite the opposite in fact, it will more than likely  be one of if not the hardest thing we ever apply ourselves to accomplishing. What is our ‘goal’ the reason we are forever setting out on the journey to improve, strive and achieve more. What is our endgame?

Now it can be as big or as little as we’d ever want it to be bu the bottom line is if we are wanting to change our lives, if we are seeking an improvement in our worlds and in our personal development we must have a defined goal. An objective that is driving us forwards. A progression regardless of obstacles or set backs that serves as our fuel for existing, it must be our passion, our obsession. Of course this can be a very personal and private thing, something that you don’t want made public or known elsewhere. We are after all, all on our own journeys each and every day with none of us truly knowing what anyone else is going through or has to deal with. We never will know this about others  but it does seem that whole sense of generalized caring is a thing of the past. The love for our fellow man has waned and been replaced by quite a selfish culture. A culture where we communicate and interact more than ever and in so many different mediums and platforms yet the….’care’ has fallen into an after thought.

Just recently I went to gig, an old school sticky floored gig at Brixton Academy. Me and a pal went to watch Enter Shakari, for those of you not aware of them they are possibly the most eclectic and diverse band on the planet, incredible musicians that put on an amazing visual show. So we enjoyed the show that they put on for us all but for me, the resounding message of having, keeping and maintaining community among our fellow man that the whole band really drove home was something quite touching. It was certainly refreshing to hear and the ex amount of thousand fans completely absorbed the message and sentiment like sponges. It was truly an experience that resonated with me personally and spurned my wanting to talk about goals, but not is the sense of achieving your goals at all costs. More of working your ass of constantly but not at the detriment of anyone else. There is enough ambition and prize out there for each and every one of us. no one need be cast off or rubbished in the creating of their pathway to success.

If I am not working I will generally be either one of two places. In the gym or in kitchen of Jacks Meatshack begging for scraps and there straight away are two great examples of striving for success. The Shackers are passionate about what they do, passionate about food and incredibly passionate about creating the best content they can for their subscribers. They will always engage with anyone else that is working to be become successful and I think it is reflected in the company they keep, how successful they are and what grounded people they are. As a team and individually. Then we have the gym, I am a member of a few gyms but I would always call my ‘home’ gym Enfield. It is a competitors gym, housing some of the countries finest champions and athletes. Yet, it is not an inspirational place, not in the sense of self care and wellness. I train solo, headphones on and world off but I do overhear bits and bobs and although it is always the most solid advice to not pay attention to what you hear there is a resounding repitition of behaviour. A false community. Encouraging front of house then the second your back is turned talking as if their name was mud.

That is my point, don’t rely, listen or expect anything of anyone when it comes to you and your goals. Now of course you will also have genuine and kind people around you but you have to stand alone. Each and every inch of your success that you make must come from you. Every step along the path, nothing to cloud your vision or blur your intention.

Only you will ever truly know what you want to achieve, you can sit someone down for days on end trying to convey what it is you want to do, what you feel and see happening but it is not a transposable thing. Your endgame is your vision, just as it should be. You get to decide what you want to be, without exception. That is the beauty of life, it is limitless, only reduced down to what we accept we can have. There is no entitlement and no head start. We all have the ability to realise our dreams and it doesn’t have to be a public declaration of intent. As honest as I am I will never broadcast my endgame, not due to secrecy but more of…etiquette. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t require bells and whistles as it is just me, an average man wanting to help his fellow man.

So set your sights high in the sense that you will not falter in your self appointed mission. It’s not a task nor a a job because it is your passion. That is it, apply passion to what you are doing and to what you are working towards. Be dedicated to your cause. This doesn’t have to be a career change or anything else of huge proportion. An endgame is of equal importance regardless of the goal. The work required and put in to lose weight and get into shape is equal to sitting at a desk through the night editing wedding invitations for a client. It’s not what the work is it is the application of doing the work. The premise, the rules and the rewards are the same. Success, accomplishment, fulfillment. Brace yourself for the nay-sayers and the negative Nellies they come as standard in the ‘I’m going to achieve my goals’ start pack. The key there is to ignore them, actually you ignore everyone. You will hear good and bad comments relating to what you are doing but you soldier on as if you have heard nothing at all.

Be a pillar, a column. Be a lighthouse standing alone facing and more importantly weathering all oncoming storms. Earn every single inch of progression by taking not the easy way, not the hard way but the necessary way. I have always been one for shouting my intentions from the rooftops before I had even worked out what I even needed to do. My punishment for this is the cringe worthy Facebook status’ that flash up from the on this day feature. Now I have learned that one: no one really cares what you shout from the rooftops and that; Two: No one you blurt it out to will support or encourage you beyond a token verbal gesture. yes there will be exceptions but for the majority they all talk a good support.

Be prepared for changes in how you reach your end game goal as no path follows the planned route. Be adaptive and responsive to change and revisions but never let the finished article stray from your mind. It’s an uncompromising vision full of highs and lows that makes everything doable. The twists and turns, the obstacles and obstructions all play a part in making you strong enough, rounded enough to take it over the finish line.

Keep your cards close to your chest along with your end game, let people know what you are doing but not to what end. That is your business. Be content in the knowledge you are working on you for you and the rewards, the glory when you accomplish what you set out to do will be yours. Solely and justifiably yours.

 

Trailing cables.

shoes-tripwire

We all begin new chapters in our lives from time to time. It is just part of life, people come and people go for a whole multitude of reasons. After all, if you think about the endless possibilities of how and why people can come into your life then there is at least an equal amount of reasons that could also change and they can leave it. It’s important to understand , and I think this only comes with a little time and experience, which is translated to heartache generally speaking. But however we arrive at understanding that people will come and go it brings us to the healthy conclusion that there is only really one person in our lives responsible for looking after us, ourselves.

The truth is humans are fueled by emotion and we can find it incredibly hard not to be guided by the runaway feelings that are created when we have connected to someone else. Emotions are powerful things, one of the most powerful things that we can let rule us if we’re not careful. Maybe the most critical time that we need to be the most mindful of them is actually when we are running on them the most, during loss or a break up.

It’s not to say that the person doing the leaving has an easy time of it, they’ll no doubt be dealing with a whole different set of emotions as they work themselves into their new future but those left standing back there, as the dust flies up around them as the wheels spin as they race away into the distance. That’s when maybe emotions can become entangled and hard to control and separate as we try to work out what has actually happened. There will more than likely be no real grey area to why you have ended up where you are, most every instance is brought about by decisions and actions that leads up to where you are standing right now. To move forwards a clean up process needs to be undertaken, a time to look at what you now do and don not need in your life. All the things holding you back or hindering your progression must be analysed.

We cannot move forward if we are trailing cables.

Life is about lessons, it is about growth and development. It is about looking forwards in everything you do. Look at any example, a darts player only looks at the dartboard, focusing intently on his target, on his challenge, not their opponent, not the crowd. There is not a single example of someone that is working towards their goals or doing their dream job that is looking backwards. A pitcher, a batter, a boxer, anything. Do you think a rally driver looks in their rear view mirror? Even a mailman looks up the street that they are on. Looking forwards, onwards. To move forwards, to create momentum and turn that into progession our sights must be set on the task at hand but first and foremost we must know where we want to be, what direction we want to be heading in that is going to take us (and when I say us I mean ourselves) to the promiseland, the finish line of our goals. Really none of this remotely stands a chance of happening if you are not applied to the challenge. If you are distracted.

If you have your mind and or emotions on other things it means you will never be able to give 100% into anything, let alone working on you and your dreams. You can make a start of course you can but it will only carry you so far until you address everything that has gone before. Think about it, how far will a cruise ship travel into the ocean if it is still tethered to the shore? Or if it has moved from port but continues to drag it’s anchor along sea bed. You can move forwards but it’s hindered, laboured. You are still allowing your direction to be dictated by something that no longer applies to you and your world.

What is the point of holding on to those emotions and feelings? If they are counter productive to who you are now and where you want to be then cut them loose. Yes, easier said than done I know, some things we can easily release into space but emotions and feelings although not felt anymore can take time be be forgotten, but don’t punish yourself if you find yourself in this place of mixed feeling. Humans are complex and no matter who you are a certain passage of time must pass before it falls from your mind. This doesn’t make you confused or unfocused, it just makes you human. Remind yourself why you are at where you are at now and where you want to be taking this life, your life.

Let the trailing emotions bob about in the sea as they begin to slip away into the history books. Keep your mind and thoughts in the here and now and not the here and then. Why do you think a car windscreen is so big and the rear view mirror is so small in comparison? It’s because that is where your attentions should be placing, looking forwards and that little mirror only serves to occasionally remind you to where you have been and what you have learned.

By definition trailing cables are an issue to be addressed, they are a  potential trip hazard in a working environment. Something to be aware of their presence and the danger that they bring. So if you’re working away and you have those loose cables laying around you then the chances of you getting caught up and losing your balance in them is quite high,  even if you are aware that they are there. That is what emotions do, old feelings can easily draw us in if we allow ourselves to start entertaining them as something we need to remain with us. Put them away, tidy them up, label them accordingly like the cables and create a ‘safe’ place for you to work in.

It’s freedom we should seek, freedom from the baggage life bestows upon us along the way. We will always have that baggage because that is part of our life so therefore part of us, but it’s more on how you choose to carry that baggage. We can make those bags as light or as heavy as we choose to. Regardless of what we have been through there will be elements that we can process and let go, leaving just the facts, the events. Or we can over analyse, harbour and tie ourselves into tight little stress balls refusing not to let anything go and in turn weighing ourselves down so unnecessarily. That grinds us to  a halt or at best makes what we want (progession) so difficult to sustain. It’s like walking in wet cement, each and every step is a task, so much more taxing than it needs to be.

For me, even though everything is long done and severed I know it will take a certain undisclosed period of time for all of my trailing cables to fully be removed from my life. Just now I am in a place where they don’t effect me, they don’t play on my mind or distract me from what I am trying to accomplish. There is no more springing up like a meerkat at every car that goes past my window. I am at peace with all that has gone before and now focused intently on what is to come, on what I am going to create.

Although this was a subject that did cause me a little concern, I questioned why these emotions were appearing to be lingering around even though my mind and soul had moved well past it all. I confided in my mentor and as he wisely stated that although you are no longer attached physically, mentally or emotionally there will always be a delay in the separation between rational thought and the emotional bond. This doesn’t mean a bond still exists, it just means some things quite simply take a little longer.

So don’t dwell, don’t panic that these feelings or emotions will be around forever, they won’t. You are already set to take on the next chapter of your life. Just don’t pay those trailing cables the attention you think they need.

Go about your business and sooner or later, they will go about theirs.

3 Years in 5 seconds.

3

Talking to mum over the Christmas period was nice as she appears to be finding her feet with this new way of life that she has had to adjust to since my dad passed away. It’s nice for me as a son to see her starting to get her head round it and when we was all around the Christmas table for dinner we all started to see her and her ‘new’ personality beginning to blossom. She’s funny, she’s of course kind but sadly I think she will always remain tight! I joke, she is a very generous person, but I know at this time of year she struggles more as Christmas was what my dad lived for. Having time off and all of his family around him was quite literally what he worked the whole year for. So when a time for all of us to create a new Christmas without him came along it was a little strange to say the least and I reckon this year was maybe the first time it felt ‘normal’. That is completely the wrong word but it is so hard to explain. Maybe to say the first time I knew he wasn’t going to be there or phoning me Christmas morning singing Merry Christmas down the phone at me. That I miss.

Christmas is always how I remember him and no doubt how I always will but something else has evolved that fills me with so much happiness as in an absolute privilege to witness. It has always been there but I guess now it’s presence is amplified in my dad’s absence. It’s seeing the family unit my brother has created, it is almost like watching he and I growing up again. My brother, his wife and their two boys are a virtual replica, a next generation carbon copy of what I had growing up with my mum, dad and lee. That in itself is something my dad was so proud of with my brother. The time, love and dedication that he puts into his family. I’ve never really known Lee to ask for anything, he’s never thrown his toys out of the pram because he couldn’t do something, he just wants his family unit to be happy, for them to want for nothing. Exactly what my dad was all about. People have always said I am just like my dad which is of course true to a certain extent but I think I had always lacked the ability to find my direction and grow up. They probably used to say it as they’d see us together a lot with work but the truth is Lee is so much more like him than i am. If he  didn’t inherit those traits the  he has certainly worked tirelessly to emulate them which I don’t think is the case. Being like my dad comes very naturally to Lee and if he doesn’t see it for being so close to it then I hope one day it twigs.

It’s like when I check his social feeds and the images he puts up are just like an updated selection of pictures from my childhood, just there are no awful bowl cuts or moody corduroy trousers. It’s strange to say but I can just imagine looking into the future and if my dad was still here he’d be an old man and seeing him sitting back and watching a replay of his family life but as a spectator. I think I know why I feel this as I am seeing it as if I were lee’s youngest. How as the youngest you get cut a lot more slack and can get away with murder! The first born gets the brunt of the expectation and strictness that enables numbest two to operate under the radar a bit more. Not that we know it at the time, we still feel like we’re hard done by.

The way my life panned out I was so lucky to spend so much more time with my dad than probably a lot of other sons. Naturally working alongside him was testing at times with the inevitable power struggle and I don’t think I could count how many times he sacked me but the bottom line is he gave me opportunities, he gave me a trade and he gave me his time. On reflection I squandered it’s full potential and meaning but it planted so many seeds that would begin to flower in my future. My dad’s voice was big and his delivery was quite overpowering  and back then, it did make my own very much muted. To this day I will always generally be the quietest  in the room but with a million things I want to say. Now that silence has adapted to not speaking for necessity but to speaking up when needed. So many people talk for talking’s sake and they never hear what is actually being said to  them. My dad used to listen to me, in a very delayed fashion. Once enough time had passed he would trade off what I had said as his idea!

He always knew what he wanted and his heart was nothing but locked in the right place, just sometimes maybe his wanting of that could be a little offset or overwhelming but that never meant his intention wasn’t pure. I share that trait with him, it’s something I have had to actively work on and probably the best way to describe what he/I did was to  expect everyone to see and believe that our opinion was correct regardless of whether it was or wasn’t because it was our strong vision that blinded us from compromise or seeing another point of view. Not from an arrogant or rude stand point but just from that of a confident belief that what we thought was going to be right.

I guess that may be the main part of my evolution from my dad to myself. That really is something we should be as children to our parents, an ever so slightly revised version of them. That is human evolution, not growing wings or losing our little toe but refining ourselves internally. Our genetics are given to us, they are us, each and every cell is our direct link to who we are and where we have come from all the way back into the family history books but also they are who we can be and who we can become. It’s stuff like this I could now have spoken to my dad about for hours and still now three years on that it just doesn’t feel like he has gone. As I’m sure anyone who has lost a parent will agree it’s like I saw and spoke to him yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time. I notice more of him in me now than I did before and although it forces you into an absolute independence, I no longer have the luxury of calling him if I can’t suss out why the electrics have tripped.

Strangely for me this has given me more questions that I’d like to ask him but I assume that may be because  I don’t have the option anyway. The time that has passed has been so long but gone so fast yet it’s not like he has been left in the past, he is still very much with me on a daily basis and I don’t mean that in a religious way but more of a spiritual way which is something the old me would have 100% poo-pooed before. But now my mindset is different  and my mind is clear I see and feel a lot more. That is one of the huge benefits to actively working on your wellness. It acts as a filter to everything you don’t need in your life and allows you to choose what passes through your personal firewall.

The physical is something I miss too, we would always have a hug as I was leaving  if I had been round for whatever reason and his trademark move was a mafioso styled kiss on the cheek with his moustache pronging you in the process. I still have his text messages on my phone, not a great deal of them as I had recently had to replace my handset but every so often I’ll remember they are there and I’ll have a little read through. The conversation is during his treatment and he is bragging about his progress. He was so strong, I thank him for the strength he passed through on to me.I’m just saddened that I could use none of it to help him. I’d have transferred every molecule of it back to him if it could have made a difference for him and my mum.

That’s not how it works though is it, ultimately we will all be left to deal and face things on our own and with the strength we can summon at the time. We get the support and love from those around us, those that rally around us when we need them the most. I was lucky to have a dad like I did and I’m equally aware of how lucky I am to have the mum that I have too. The relationship and friendship her and my daughter have formed melts my heart just as it would have my dad’s. For all of his noise and bellowing he was as soft as a bears belly and if you was ever privileged to see that side of him then welcome to  a very select club.

So as three years without him has passed in the blinking of an eye I continue to adjust daily to the rest of my life without his input. Yet I feel that is not the case, his input will be with me and affect me, what I do and the decisions I make until I shut up shop myself.

So thank you dad for everything you ever did for me, for everything you sacrificed for me without me knowing. It took me a while to dial in but I think you’d be happy with what’s going on over here now. you gave me the vessel and all of its component parts and I think now I have just about worked out how they got together properly. I know I’ll never stop missing you but what you gave me when you left, I know has embedded itself in my future. You were and always will be my hero, my tutor and my friend and on top of that, I got to call you my dad.

There’s no team in I.

odd-one-out

I have certainly noticed on my journey that I tend to put a lot of faith in people even if they haven’t earned it or asked for it. I think it’s something I’ll never stop being able to do which I think is born from just how I am and how I was raised. I have never had that whole ‘I’m alright Jack, screw you’ mentality. It just doesn’t sit right with me. People that make out they are team players but are only looking out for themselves. yes of course we should be doing that but not at the expense of our fellow man. Money is the main protagonist usually in this, what people do to save themselves a few royals which is fine. Money means a lot to a lot of people. I hope it keeps you warm and insulated in your coffin. My peace of mind will do me just fine thank you. Now don’t get me wrong, I like money, I like earning a lot of money and I enjoy spending money but I could never put my money over someone elses need, I’m talking core needs, the basis of our existence.

Christmas this year was something very much like a movie for me. Literally the full set of events that we absorb when we watch Christmas movies as we’re hunkered down on our sofas getting into the swing of things. Firstly I got stiffed on some money, this felt very much like Clark Griswald in the national Lampoons as I was going to utilize this money in a very specific way and in not receiving it, it kind of turned all of my Christmas plans on it’s head and having to re-arrange everything at the eleventh hour. Then the next day I set off to collect my snowboard from it’s winter service ready for it’s first outing of the season. that was all good, picked it up as planned, paid Georgie boy and head for home only for the engine on my car to quite literally go pop. I’m no mechanic but I know when I hear an expensive pop. There I sat for the next six hours waiting for a recovery vehicle on the day I had set aside to do all of my Christmas shopping. Yes yes, I should have done it all earlier  but where is the fun in that?! By the time me and my new born again Christian recovery driver friend got to the garage their shutters were down and there the car will sit until at least the 27th before it gets plugged in and I’ll find out how much the pop will be. We pushed the car into place up against the gates, I grabbed my board and began the walk home. Let’s say I had a… rye smile as the recovery driver drove past me and then turned past my house as he went on to his next call. It raised a smile that’s for sure.

That is probably a very current example of how I have changed and grown recently. Last Christmas was horrific, I just wanted it over and done with but this time around I can’t wait for it. As I am writing this it is Christmas Eve but I know it wont reach you until early January so it may seem a little past tense to live to third person. It’s a bit choppy but for me it’s trying to document what’s going on and how I feel in the here and now. I’m smiling, outwardly smiling. Christmas is going to be a great period of downtime surrounded by everyone I love and then as I head up the mountain to see in the new year it truly does feel like I’ll be bringing about a new phase in my life, in my development and my career.

Like the sequence of events with the money and car right on top of Christmas, that could  quite easily be more than enough to crush spirits or cause a tantrum but I just rolled with it. There was, is no point creating to things happening beyond your control. Everyone will get their presents and if the car can’t be fixed I’ll but a new one. No drama. That’s what it’s about, letting it wash over you. Regardless of the variables or circumstances. It’s training yourself to react in a positive manner, not throwing your toys out of the pram or throwing the towel in because the problem is still going to be there when you’ve calmed down. Process the facts of the event, remove those bits that are irrelevant and look logically at what is left. A problem, no matter how big it may seem can be broken down to its component parts and tackled in bite sized pieces.

So when this reaches you we will be into the new year, working as we do on ourselves and looking to make ourselves and the world around us a better place to be. Happier in our own skin, more content and fulfilled in that process to continue in the refinement of ourselves as we adapt to what happens to and around us each day. Are you happy with how things are going for you? Are things heading in the direction you would like them to be? Even if the answer is yes it is something you can’t sit back and rest on your laurels with. Life, happiness, success, whatever measure you are wanting is achieved by consistency and the willingness to accept that wanting it isn’t going to be enough. Everything requires work, and pro-active work at that, not reactive.

Look at how far you have come already, even if you only decided today you wanted to improve how your life is going, that decision alone has put you on a new path and that path, that shift is progress in itself. you made a decision and reinforced it with action. That is how it works, you push something and somewhere something moves. That is important to remember, you may not see what has moved but rest assured something did. Every action promotes a reaction, but be mindful that applies to positive and negative influence. So make those moves with a positive mindset. Start sewing the seeds of what you want and where you want to be but don’t sit back when you’ve done it and expect anything to flourish. Tend to it, tend to your work and input. Keep feeding the system with ongoing positive effort. Soon you’ll see those shoots start to come through.

So don’t let that knee-jerk reaction over rule you when something comes along and disrupts your plans. I was awful for that, they’d be toys everywhere as I had my strop. I’d be in the darkness for days and when I surfaced I’d expect everything and everyone to be fine. Not really going to play out like that really is it. It took me a long time to learn that. So as I said, try and roll with it. A clever man once said to me, imagine you are standing in life’s river, if the current feels like it is moving you in a direction you don’t want to travel in or not ready to travel in then move from the main flow. Step closer to the bank when you can feel your footing, where you can take the time you need and when you’re ready step back into the main flow. That is life in it’s simplest terms, you don’t have to be swept away in life’s current just because it feels like that is going to happen. You have the ability to at any time say; ‘ No, I’m not ready to tackle this how I am right now’. Take a little time to step back and process things.

The more we practice life the better we become at living it. taking things for granted or assuming things will be or happen just because we want them to will ultimately be a waste of time. Application and will. You can’t alter life’s flow but you can create your own waves, splashes and ripples, and you certainly can travel it at your own pace. Yes life will plod on regardless of whether you’ve decided to join in or not and that is reason to seize everyday and every opportunity because in the blinking of an eye those choices and options may no longer exist. That is why now I don’t lose any sleep over those willing to short change me with something as insignificant as money. If you value that over the value of my services or my friendship then I wish you well, I hope it brings you the happiness you seek and I’ll be on my way.

Put food in the mouth of someone hungrier than you, put water on the lips of someone thirstier than you and when that time comes that you need it more you will understand how they felt. Don’t fill your cupboards when you belly is already full.

So this year I will continue to live by this mantra, roll with life at my pace, accept that others will have different agendas. Take what I need, then leave some for the next man.