It’s a hard reality to face.
Yet, the ultimate accountability.
When you’re naked in front of the mirror, your accumulated thoughts, actions and behaviours all lay in front of you.
The amalgamation of your past decisions.
Good or bad.
Love him or hate him, MJ had a few good words to say about it:
I'm gonna make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right
It all starts with the (wo)man in the mirror.
Take it all away and listen.
Listen to the soft, sweet silence of nothing.
Maybe a few tweets, maybe some cars driving by.
But otherwise, just you and the silence.
No touching, no listening. Only feeling; with all of your heart.
The soft, sweet silence of nothing.
An opportunity to look within and have a dialogue.
To feel the nakedness of nothing.
To stare into the abyss.
The soft, sweet silence of nothing, may quickly turn to a scary silence.
A scary silence, with so much to give.
For a long time, I’d journal and forget about it. I’d continue with the day with no consideration for what was written.
Introspection with no implementation.
And it cost me. A lot.
When reviewing 2020, I read through all my entries. What I found were gems that told me everything I needed to know in that specific moment of time. Right in front of me.
But I missed it, because I rushed it, and never soaked it up. I skimped over my raw gut instinct that comes alive in the weird, lovely subconscious state that my body is in shortly after waking.
The gut never lies. The question is more, will we listen to it?
I write. Then I delete it all.
I write again. Then I delete it again.
I stand up, sit down. Go for a walk. Make a coffee. Read a random article.
I take a break.
I then try again.
I write. Then I delete it all.
I take a step forward, then two steps back.
Waiting for a giant leap with persistence.
I read on average one or two books a month.
Some I finish, most I don't. Even more I skim.
90% of the books on my shelf, I'm ashamed to say, were read on the toilet.
Apparently the reason for this misgiving.
More recently, I’ve flipped this switch to carve out time in my day to just read.
I’m not sure how, as an author, I’ve never appreciated or cherished this time. There’s nothing more magical than words strung together to make beautiful sentences, to then combine them into powerful messages that educate, inspire, and/or entertain.
I can’t say I'll stop reading on the toilet. But I can say I’ve definitely made that time the minority!
It knows no limits.
No boundaries. No concept of time.
It is and flows and blows. And it knows all.
All around the world, it carries tiny reciprocating whispers. Good and bad.
The wind gusts with no bias. Only maintaining equilibrium of the Earth’s spirit.
No whisper ever goes unnoticed, or forgotten. They're always reciprocated.
I grew up in the early 90s eating Weetabix. Every morning I’d put two Weetabix pieces in a bowl with milk and eat the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
I was told that if I had my Weetabix, I’d have unbeatable strength and energy.
There’s a high chance you may have done the same. Or maybe you wanted to have the strength of Tony the Tiger.
Either way, we had an association. I see Weetabix and think of a nutritious, healthy, smiling breakfast. It’s mostly just whole grain wheat, though.
These associations create beliefs and behaviours from a young age.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it actually doesn’t matter.
Everyone should start work at 9am, but quality work is all that matters.
Lifting weights and running should be the staple for everyone, but doing something you love is more important.
When we drive to a temporary goal, we put everything on hold. When we create a way of life, we have to challenge our instilled behaviours. Many of these will have come from a young age with no bad intention or fault of ours.
The work now for us is to identify these, so we can transform to a better way of life effortlessly.
I’ve used the term self-mastery extensively over the years.
Last week I spent a whole walk thinking about it, trying to understand what it truly means.
This is what I landed on (for now):
Self-mastery is not the pursuit of more or better, it is the pursuit of winning the war between the mind and the heart, with the free Soul the worthy winning prize.
I thought I was an addict. So I went cold turkey. Nothing for 9 days.
I let the baby mature, develop and progress; the baby didn’t survive, it thrived.
I realise now I wasn't an addict, I just simply didn’t know another way of living and being.
A friend of mine spoke to me yesterday about the immigrant mentality that some of us grow up with, where our parents come to this country and work hard to earn money to survive, and to gain freedom for the next generation to thrive.
Yet, the smell of the cycle feeds into the atmosphere. A conditioning that dictates this is the only way: to fill every hour with another bit of doing, at the expense of being. To think every missed hour is a missed opportunity.
The freedom that we work so hard to gain, only manifests into yet another prison in our mind.
In the last 9 days, I let the baby grow. But more so, I let myself see.
The man has magic hands. The quality is unique: when he touches his baby, the baby stays young and immature. The man has loved the baby years, so keeps a close hold on his baby.
The baby yearns for growth. It seeks maturity, development and progression. But the man likes keeping control of his baby.
Yet, the baby’s protests grow. It needs to break the shackles to unleash its true impact and power.
The baby is the man’s business, and he struggles to let go. But on the 5th February, he makes a commitment to let the baby go for 9 days. To let the baby be looked after by its loved ones. The loved ones who love the baby just as much as the man does.
In 9 days the baby will grow exponentially; suppressed growth all bottled up from its near 4 years in existence. The man’s magic hands will change into a new quality, because holding on to the baby as it is is killing him.
"Do a circuit at home."
"You can still train in your room."
"No one is stopping you going for a run."
That might be all well and good for some people.
But don't assume that for millions of us it is too.
For millions, it's not the same energy, experience or flow.
For millions, the disconnect we usually get, has disappeared. The ability to just forget all the BS, and zone out in an environment of hard and heavy training, gone.
Instead, cabin fever.
I know this UK govt plans to keep us in lockdown till at least April (who knows if longer), but c'mon, make it law for gyms to open.
Make specific criteria.
Be extra cautious.
Do more screening and tests at entry.
But let us train in the place many of us call our second homes.
Because millions of our mental health depends so much on it.
I signed this petition today, I hope it makes a difference.
We jolt ourselves awake. It’s 5am. Adrenaline is pumping.
The chains on our neck and feet are clanging together. The combined sound of millions of us moving is deafening.
Yet above all we hear, “C’mon you slaves, get to work!”
The clock strikes 6am. It’s time to change tasks. We labour away until 7am. It’s time to change again. For the next 16 hours, we’re on 60 minute rotations.
As soon as the clock strikes 12, the dreaded voice echoes across the land: “get to your next station, time is ticking!”
Digging, shovelling, building.
Everyday is Groundhog day.
Every few minutes we look up to see what the next rotation is.
Every few minutes we see the watchful tower, never missing a beat.
Decorated on the tower is a version of Tetris. Each task we finish completes a line of Tetris. Each task we finish means the dreaded voice rings again, “now move on to the next task, no rest for the wicked”.
What's the name of this Tetris version? Who’s speaking?
Our trusted daily calendar.
He was once a normal man in Middle Earth, just like us.
He loved to fish, play with his family, and be merry.
Then he found something which changed his life.
It went from love at first sight, to a crutch he lusted for.
It went from a piece of metal that brought him joy, to irreversible pain and despair.
The one ring that ruled them all.
Millions were a slave to the ring. They hunted their entire lives for something they had never seen. They became possessed with its existence and possession. They would accept all the pain to even get a glimpse.
Millions were killed by the ring.
For one, Sméagol, his entire body and mind transformed into the creature-like Gollum, who lived torn in love and hatred of the ring.
And yet, in his life-long quest to seize it back, euphoria returned only at the point of destruction. He would die happy, but as a slave all his life.
The boat is rocking violently over the unforgiving waves. We’re all sea sick, miles away from the shore; all wearing black and yellow suits with large cylinders on our backs.
Every one of us is filled with dread. Once the anchor is laid down, we will take a leap of faith from air to ocean. A dive into a new world.
It’s time. We start queueing at the edge of the boat. One by one, we jump. There’s a rope to hold onto, but only space for a few.
The waves are taller than ever. My buoyancy is off. I shout to the head of the crew, Sarah, “I’m struggling to stay afloat!” The weight of everything is pulling me under. I’m a strong swimmer, but this is a real test.
My legs are paddling hard, yet with each wave I swallow a gulp of water. I grab the rope; it’s of no use. Most of my crew have put their mouthpiece on and started their descent.
I’m panicking, desperately trying to string a few words to Sarah. It’s pointless. She orders, “Stop trying to stay afloat and go under. Your buoyancy will auto-regulate, and there will be no more waves to fight. You can’t win this battle.”
Begrudgingly, I admit defeat. So I put my mouthpiece in and let go.
A minute later, I’m in a new world; crystal clear waters with beautiful coral reefs and schools of fish everywhere in sight.
I take it all in. The insanity of a few minutes earlier now all forgotten.