Tag Archive: Personal


Just a few realisations I’ve been storing…

———–
A person should do that which pleases the heart,
not that which pleases the mind.

———–
Fear…
I realize now, that I have seen both the moment of creation of a learned fear, and the moment of realization of a primal fear. Sometimes these are rational and true. Sometimes they are irrational and simply believed to be real.
The pattern seems to revolve around the learned fears being mostly irrational, and the primal fears being real and rational.

———–
Men and Women are equal, but that’s not to say that they are the same.
They are opposing sides of a duality.

———–
A ha! Of course!
As a species we have never had to think about what we eat in terms of health, quite simply because unhealthy food didn’t exist until the last few decades when companies started pumping unnatural chemicals into their products.
What we are suffering from today is something that is brand new to evolution, and as much as, as an organism we are capable of quick adaptation to changes in our diet, that capability will have developed from millions of years of changes in the natural food supply of the local environment throughout the lifetimes of our genetic ancestors.
This, along with all the other things we’re doing to our environment, is another lit fuse in the ticking timebomb of the mass extinction event we are unwittingly creating.
I suppose that this little revelation means that I should no longer buy or consume unnatural food stuffs as I will then be guilty of perpetuating the impending disaster.

———–
A person cannot rightfully place blame on another for their actions, if their actions are due to a lack of knowledge.
However, once made aware of said lack of knowledge, it then becomes the responsibility of that person to lift themselves to a higher place, or rightfully face blame the next time their actions fall short of expectations.

———–
One cannot plan a journey of discovery,
just as one cannot plan a sculpture.
Sculptures, paintings, dance, music and other arts come from a process of creativity,
each step revealing its own self,
ready for the discovery of what the next step will become.
It is the same with the discovery of the self, each new step of awakening revealing the start of the next.
If you are working to a plan, you are unlikely to discover anything of worth.
Let go of plans, and choose goals instead, for they provide direction, but without a planned journey.

———–
The Universe is made of existence and non-existence,
interaction and change.
It cares not for the aspirations of man,
nor of his vanities or love of money.
The rules of the Universe provide the potential
for utterly limitless creation.
The Universe expresses itself through form, and radiation, and life,
and in one form of life it even looks back on itself and once said:
– “We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan

————
So many are so interested in how they look, they forget to pay attention to how they are.

———–
An artist can be so intent on capturing the moment on canvas, on film, in a poem… that they forget that the one chance to enjoy that moment is ‘now’!
(Realised when trying to capture a sunset in a photo – I was so busy trying to capture the moment, I nearly missed the moment itself!)

———–
I now know that cancer is not like a virus;
…something to be endured and overcome,
but is a battle to be fought and won.

———–
Before a certain age, children don’t see ‘do not pass’ barriers, they only see an obstacle in the way of what they want to get.
So the concept of ‘no go’ areas is a learned skill, or a conditioned skill.

———–
Try acting as the person that you want to become.
If you truly want to be that person, then act as if your life depends upon it… which is probably more true than you realise!

———–
I think my greatest fear is not that there isn’t or is an afterlife, but that I get to the end of this life and find that I missed out on the chances that were available.

———–
Like gravity is a universal force that is only noticed when two objects with mass react with each other (think of the cause of craters), and magnetism is a universal force that shows itself through reacting with ferrous materials (patterns in iron filings), is life a universal force that reveals itself through the collation of atoms and molecules to create organisms?

———–
I wonder… do animals feel ill when they are ill, or do they just feel different to their usual?
When we feel ill, do we feel ill because we’ve defined it as illness… and does that then make it worse through the psychosomatic phenomenon…?

———–
Ref something out of your control… if you keep banging your head against a brick wall, you’ll keep getting a sore head.
Work around it, not through it.
…or walk away from it!

———–
Another property of the universe: the more energy you store or apply to something, the faster it degrades.
Stress in the mind,
Stress in a piece of metal or plastic (perhaps stored in a stressed position…),
Stress of life on a wild animal as opposed to a domesticated one,
Stress of constant and repeated sunlight on dyed fabrics, plastic toys, skin…

———–
It’s interesting to note that those who are most interesting, are often quiet and ‘boring’ on the surface, but often those who are most interesting and fun on the surface, are often boring, with little to talk about underneath.
It’s as if all the bells and whistles are there to hide the fact that they have nothing else to offer. But those who have more, have no need to offer the bells and whistles.

I’ve been rather busy lately, hence the lack of action on this blog this year.
However, I’m still around, still lovin’ life, and thought I’d tell you all about my year… as I’m actually quite proud of it.

But first…
You might recall from an earlier post on this blog (May 1st 2012) about an idea proposed to me some years ago entitled ‘The old man in me’.
The core of this idea has been a driving force for me for some years, and continues to determine how my decisions are made, and the paths I choose to take in life (.and why are they never easy?!).
By way of this, over the last three years I have been trying to put into action a number of things that will enable me to live life in the way I would best enjoy.
For many years prior to this, I had been trying to understand what sort of professional role in life would suit me best. Eventually I realised that the best type of job for any person, is one where they are doing what they would happily do for free… so, you get paid for having fun! Your type of fun.

I finally realised one day what I wanted to do when I was sitting on the side of a running track watching my son compete. I was sitting there watching all the teenagers and young men and women trying their hardest to throw, run, jump, vault, hurdle, etc to the very best of their ability, each wanting to get a new ‘personal best’ (PB), and I found myself itching to get down and help. I could see those who were a little injured. Those who’s movements could be improved, whether for power, efficiency or speed, and those who were lacking in confidence, thus restricting themselves.
And I knew from my years in Track and Field that there would be others unable to compete that day due to injury… and I wanted to help them too.
I guess that because I find it emotional watching people succeeding in sport at something that they have a great passion for; something that they have put in so many hours of hard work, knowing from personal experience the amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into reaching that podium, or whatever equivalent there is for any given sport… that it is this connection that I share with each and every true athlete that makes me want to be a part of it… I want to help them reach their goals!
It was this day when I finally realised that where I had always been interested in the workings of the body from the perspective of sports performance (I had considered going into physiotherapy as a 16 year old), that this was now becoming my true calling.

So going back to three years ago, I had changed jobs to a higher paid role in order that I could afford to tear down our garage and build something that could be used for multiple sporting purposes – a mini gym / dojo. Then two and half years ago (July 2012), I found myself sat on the side of that running track and subsequently starting looking into sports physiotherapy-like jobs.
So, two years ago I booked myself onto a Level 5 Sports Therapy course offered by Active Health Group in Manchester, UK (who, I’d like to say, offer excellent tuition on a really well structured course – highly recommended!), which started in earnest in September last year. From October last year I have been taking on occasion clients as a Sports Therapy student in order to have a good selection of case studies for a part of the coursework. I have however, been dragging my heels on getting the academic side of the course completed!

In and around all this I have also been training hard within the Karate system I study with the goal of gaining my 1st Dan Black Belt in June this year and then starting up a club after completing the Sports Therapy course.
Also, using the diminishing fitness built up for that Karate grading, a friend and I entered the Rat Race event ‘Scotland Coast to Coast’ which is 105 miles across Scotland on foot, bike and kayak in September this year… then two weeks after that I took part in my first ever 10k race… just for fun.

Oh yes… it’s been busy!
Now, the reason I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself is because I’ve managed to fit all this around a normal life of 40 hours a week job, normal household and family activites, which means, in my eyes, that I am heading some way towards the ultimate goal within the idea of ‘The old man in me’, which is to be able to lie in my deathbed at, say 80 years old, and look back at my life and think “Yep… I did alright. These memories were worth all that hard work.” and to die with a smile on my face.

This year (actually closer to two years) has been the first year where I’ve managed to get that close to right. And with a bit of luck… and a lot of hard work, hopefully next year will yield the same!

I’m changing…

Today’s realisation…

Expression of the self cannot be done any more succinctly as a human, than by expressing one’s thoughts, beliefs, and experiences; …ultimately, one’s personal understanding of how life is; than through poems, music and movement.
There is no greater expression of what it is to be human than through allowing the absorption of the self into these moments of creation and performance.
This is what we are…

There are some pieces of music that I can’t listen to in the company of others, and events I cannot watch; in fact anything where a person pours heart and soul into that moment, as I can be so profoundly affected by them, that I’m quickly reduced to an emotional wreck! …it becomes embarrassing… but it feels, oh so good!

But what is it in me that does this??

I can only liken it to a form of empathy in some cases, and in others it seems that there is a resonance, like a tuning fork, that harmonises with my core, spirit, or soul.
What I find really interesting is that this has only occurred since I became more spiritual… so from around 10 years ago…. and it’s still growing!
It also happens more and more at times when I witness a person performing something well; something that is hugely important to themselves… like an athlete reaching the Olympic podium, or a shy musician being recognised for the first time… and even now whilst I type this and am thinking of various examples!

Whatever it is that’s changing, it is changing because I am constantly chasing that feeling of being in tune with those things that really matter to me.
Whatever it is, I like it!

I am driven by the old man in me,
the old me looking back in time to now,
guiding me every day,
showing me what I should do to become the man I wish to be.

The old man in me is an octogenarian marathon runner,
the oldest rock-climber, and experienced adventure racer,
the one who shows others what is possible, if every day you live to ensure
that you are still capable of doing what you could do yesterday.

The old man in me speaks of fond memories of past accomplishments,
and of the things that he wished he’d done… not regrets; just simply because he didn’t have the time!
He warns me of how short life is, and of how I will never get the time to do everything I dream of.
Choose your goals well, but never give up on the dream.” he says…

The old man in me speaks of people I’ll lose in life: of how I’ll be witness to the results of poor lifestyles,
and the realisation that a rich lifestyle comes not from wealth, but from living life chasing dreams!
He shows me that to reach my goals, it is me that must look after me… and that I will become what I practice the most.
…hmm, I wish I didn’t practice sitting down in an office so much!

At nearly 40 years old, I look forward in time to my old self, pleased to see what I could become.
Pleased that today, I already fulfil some parts of what I wish to be.
Life is a journey. But it is a journey to becoming old; at the end looking back over the journey to remember the best bits.
Choose your goals well, for the destination of your life’s journey is in the memories of what the old you will look back upon.

When I reach my death bed, I hope that I will be able to smile and say “Wow. What a ride!

There is an idea, accepted by some, that says that we are each created for a purpose.

Personally, I entertain a version of this idea in that we are not so much created for a purpose, but that we each have an ideal position / environment / social position (or something of this sort…) that we are each individually best suited to. Note: not created!
(See my version of the Buddhist’s ‘Original Face’.)

On the way to work this morning, I suddenly realised something that supports this idea of mine.
I realised that in looking back on some questions I remember asking my Dad as a child, the questions were coming from the same place as they do today; 30 years later.
They were / are a reflection of a certain type of enquiring mind, but one that as a child was nowhere near finding itself (definition: learning of its own nature).
Over recent years, I have, most definitely, discovered a lot about me; about who I am, and what makes me tick.
I have learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and of how my history has influenced who I am today.
And now, I have just realised that even in following this long path of self-discovery, it is only now that I am discovering that I am still the same person I was when I was asking my Dad certain types of questions all those years ago.

So, I might ask myself:   “What has changed in that time?
In answer:   “Not a lot!

But now it seems that the inevitable direction my life was to take, was pre-determined by my make-up; by my core ‘harmonies’ that make me who I am. Like a graphic equalizer running on 1 million channels, its default position was set at the point at which I became me; at the point where I changed from being a little ball of flesh to being a growing human being.
(I wonder… was that before or after the brain started to develop in the womb?)

Granted, I know a lot more. I am able to look after myself in physical, emotional, financial and professional terms.
But my nature hasn’t changed one bit.
I am what I am.
I am only a more mature version today.

The process of self-discovery,
at first directs you away.
In the years that follow, of re-covery,
you will re-find your self one day.

For those who wish to become spiritually advanced, I would advocate that a conscious awareness of one’s nature is what should be sought, then when ready, enhanced (or perhaps supressed…).

The question to ask could be:
What is it that I enjoy, that without obvious reason resonates with my way of being?

Along the journey, the results of one’s nurture and the way in which it is imbued into your everyday thoughts and activities, should also be sought to understand when the things you are doing, or thinking, etc, are not a result of your inherent nature.

The question to ask here might be:
What is it I do or think that is a copy of my parents way of thought, or of those I’ve respected in the past?

My view:
A person’s nature is their nature, and there is nothing that they can do to change it. No more than an apple tree can become … erm… an umbrella… no matter how much it wishes to be.

Humans have a tendancy to believe the irrational, and as result many of us tend to believe that we, or others, can change, that we can become a different person to what we are today.
Yes, changes do occur and they can be significant enough that the changes can be observed by others, but what is really changing is the way that that person views the world around them, and interacts and reacts with it.
Each person’s default view is the combined result of their upbringing, their personal experiences, the role models they follow(ed), etc
Those things that are on a similar ‘frequency’ to their inherent nature; they like… those things that make sense to them.
Those that are at odds with their inherent nature, they cannot tolerate, or simply don’t understand.

I see the combined effect of nature and nurture as a pair of graphic equalisers.
One is set at your creation (another term used in the Buddhist world is ‘Original Face’), the other is given a pre-set position by the effects of life.

The first cannot be changed: it is the template, or blueprint to which you were ‘made’.
This pre-set is the one that can be changed; yes, it’s still difficult, as the pattern is a habitual pattern that reflects each individual’s understanding of how to survive, whether it be actual survival, or a lower level of survival skills such as social bonding, professional capability, etc.
It is a learned condition.

By moving the pattern, the owner is fighting against their survival instinct! Hence the difficulty.

However, I strongly believe that a person who discovers something about themself that they like, can slowly adjust the graphic equalizer of life’s experiences so that a certain aspect is enhanced, or if it is something of a negative nature that they wish to change, that aspect can be supressed. On occaision it can be a step change that is immediately noticable.

Another part of all this is that the effect of our pre-set condition can restrict us from doing anything out of the ordinary (our ordinary).

For example: I always wear black socks, but last night in the shops I thought “Ooo look at those Spongebob Squarepants socks!” So I bought them and I’m wearing them today.
I realise now that in the past I would have shied away from that purchase because I wouldn’t want the inevitable comments and laughs from others (I’ve never liked being the centre of attention), but now I find that my own self growth is enabling me to start to display my true nature.
Yeah, I know, I know, it’s just a pair of socks. But for me, what this action represents, is that there’s a small amount of madness that I am now prepared to show (I think there’s a lot more beneath as well !) which means I am slowly revealing the person that I truely am, rather than hiding beneath the ‘safe’ layers of what I know through years of ‘practice’ is socially acceptable / normal.

Become everything that you can become,
but in the process of self-discovery and spiritual growth,
make sure that you are not simply being what others’ say you should be. 

Over recent months I have been becoming more aware of certain aspects of my nature, and this growing awareness is enabling me to understand why I like the things I like and why I cannot follow certain paths that the majority follow.
I have, over my years of searching for ‘an answer’ looked at reasonable depth at the mainstream religious systems and have had the fortune to become friends with a local parson who, unusually, is not blinkered and blinded by the indoctrination of his religion. He is fantastically open-minded.

I have never felt right about Christianity, to the extent that I even remember as a teenager on holiday in France, we visited the Chartrés cathedral, and for the first time I had the distinct feeling that I was in the wrong place… to the extent that it almost sent a chill down my spine.

In more recent years I discovered Eastern philosophy through a study of Martial Arts (still on-going) and found that I had found something that made natural sense to me. Also, I find that the ‘Warrior’ side of things has great appeal.
(To clarify, to me, the word Warrior means a person who is willing to fight for what he feels is right, but using violence as a VERY last resort. He should always attempt to use thought, understanding, compassion and diplomacy; all peaceful non-physical means before employing violence. Above all, violence should only be used as defence, never offence.)
This resonance with a Warrior way has explained to me why I’ve always shied away from the ‘love everyone’ and ‘forgive everyone’ message of Christianity. I’m not saying it is wrong, but that it is not suited to me. I simply do not fit that mould.

In discovering my self I have come to realise my nature by seeing what I am attracted to.
Films like The Last Samurai, The Matrix trilogy and Braveheart have taught me that to fight for, and possibly die for a belief or cause is worth life itself.
Films like The Bucket List, August Rush and Baggervance have taught me reach out and enjoy life in its fullest.
Books by Paulo Coelho and Richard Bach have taught me to look inward to my heart and to learn to be myself, not what others or society tell me I should be.
The lessons of Bruce Lee through John Little books have shown me who I am! Reading John’s books are like reading my own words that I’ve yet to write… quite spooky!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that a person should try to not feel guilty if they find that they cannot fit the mould that others’ say they should. One should not feel obliged to be the same as others.
An example would be the way that for a long time I wondered if there was something wrong with me, or with the way I was raised because I don’t have the ‘forgiveness’ in my nature that British culture (influenced by centuries of Christian philosophy) says I should.

There are so many quotes I have collected over the years that all point to the same thing. I’ll leave you with a few to ponder:

You have the right to have what you want, exactly when you want it. Because on the menu of life, you are today’s special, and tomorrow’s, and the day after that, and… well you get the drift. Yes that’s right, we may be the King, but you my friend are the almighty ruler – Burger King slogan

Never be afraid of being you. It’s one of the most real things in the world. – on Eva Cassidy’s True Colours video

Work like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
And dance like you do when nobody’s watching. – source unknown

There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones – taken from Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

Words in the heart cannot be taken. – Dorfl in Terry Pratchett’s book ‘Feet of clay’

If the goal of dancing were to reach a certain spot on the floor, then obviously the fastest dancer would be the best. The point of dancing is the dance itself. – Alan Watts; as told by his son Mark in his Foreword to Bruce Lee’s book ‘The Warrior Within’

The meaning of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. – Johannes Jacobus van der Leeuw

-‘What the head makes cloudy, the heart makes very clear’ – Don Henley – New York Minute

A few years ago I was taught an idea that resonated with my way of thought. Since then, it has grown in strength and is now a defining feature of my personal philosophy of life.

So, “What is it?”, you say. Well, in effect, it is entitled ‘The old man in me’.

~~~~

Imagine yourself lying in your deathbed, perhaps 90 years old, fully lucid and with all your mental faculties intact. Imagine looking back over your life, the events and people within, and the journey that you took to become the person you are today. Undoubtedly, it will not be what you envisaged all those years ago when you were, lets say, in your 20’s. But is it a journey that you would be proud of? Or shamed by? Will you be comfortable with the legacy and memory that you will soon be leaving behind? Will your descendants be proud to say “That was my Grandparent!”,  or would they prefer to never be associated to you?
Assuming that you (the reader) are like most people, then with the knowledge, experience and wisdom a 90 year old will have, what advice would you give to your 20 year-old self, in order to ensure that that 20 year old lives life to their fullest potential, and at their end is loved and respected by those that matter?

~~~~

I find that this idea is a good way to evaluate whether the path you are currently on is actually the right path for you. For example; next time an opportunity arises, will you choose to take it, or leave it?
Think forward to that deathbed. Will you wish that you had taken it, or that you had passed it by?
Will you regret causing the possible outcomes of taking that opportunity… or regret missing it, thereby causing the outcomes of a missed chance…?
(Note: the outcomes haven’t yet occurred, so they may not be what is expected. However, life’s experience may have placed you in a position to assess the likely outcomes… but what if this is an opportunity to do something new…? )
What about how you treat others? Your loved ones, your peers, your colleagues. Will you be proud of your behaviour towards them?
What about your job(s), your travels, your health, your financial astuteness, your personal pursuits and hobbies, the way you presented yourself in both manner and appearance…, etc.

There are many areas of life that we deal with on a day-to-day basis without really realising, quite simply because they are each an integral part of our lives.

But my question is: have your ever taken a step back to see if you are doing something by indoctrinated habit, or if you actually feel that you are doing these things in a way that you will be proud of in years to come?

Everyday I die a little more

Everyday I die a little more
my spirit suppressed, feeling it is lying prostrate on the floor,
helpless to prevent the ever-present, spirit slaying routine,
of get up, drive to work,
sit in the office, drive home, sleep,
get up, drive to work…

I know I must break this cycle,
this circle of spiritual death.
The endless circuits driven by the all consuming, screaming vortex of civilisation,
slowly pulling me to a predetermined doom,
the slippery downward slope with barely a handhold, tiring my soul,
effortlessly thwarting my attempts of escape.

…until recently, when I discovered the voice of my heart.
I know now that I was born with it, and that modern life hid it,
and that we’ve spent too long apart.
It’s strength is growing, it’s voice becoming ever louder,
and it’s power is now starting to rival the pull of the vortex.
I can’t yet climb away from the darkness of that spinning abyss,
But I am now finding footholds that resist the descent to spiritual oblivion.

I have caught a glimpse of the lifeline being thrown my way.
It is still out of reach, and out of focus,
but I know now that it is there.
I’m searching for more footholds to help me climb to it,
to defeat the inexorable pull of cultural expectation.
I desperately hope that I can reach it before I’m too old… before it’s too late.

I look around, and see others caught in the pull,
slowly travelling down the slope of oblivion.
Most are utterly unaware… as I was.
Are you one of them…?

I wonder if one day I will be the one at the other end of the lifeline,
lowering the rope of life to those who notice it.
Maybe we will meet one day… but first I have to escape to the bright lights above,
and to breathe the fresh air of future dreams,
and of those that will already have come true.

The core to all

When all is dark,
and it seems that all is gone,
there is always a small light,
shining brightly, it’s always turned on.

Some call it God,
or love, or hope,
but whatever its name,
it is there to help us cope.

It is forever creative,
it’s existence known as Mother Nature, or Gaia.
It’s soul purpose, it’s meaning,
is to give the chance to exist, that’s it’s desire.

It is not aware of its own existence,
any more than a cloud knows of it’s rain,
but it is there nonetheless,
and it can help us deal with our pain.

So where is this light,
this saviour of souls?
Where is this thing
that purportedly helps us feel whole?

You will find it deep inside,
becoming apparent with a still mind.
It is everywhere all at once,
but wherever you choose to look, you will not find.

It resides in the place where inspiration is born,
and where poetry comes from hearts that are torn.
It is where sculptors retreat to, to find the form within the stone,
and where musicians go to discover the notes of their next musical poem.

It is everywhere and nowhere,
integral with all things,
it can be found deep within the heart of a star,
and in the meaning behind the symbol of marriage rings.

It is not so much there to help,
but there to guide,
there to provide direction,
and there to ease life’s ride.

It is not distant, or separate from any of us,
and can be found within our very being, deep within our soul.
It has always been there, since the beginning of time,
waiting for you; ’tis so very old.

It is the core to the existence of all things.
It is the Mother to all,
to the stars, the trees and the rains that fall.
It’s name is ……………

No. It has no name.
It just is.