Category Archives: Manage Yourself

Yoga for Men

Yoga is a type of meditation ~ and done properly it’s difficult.

Calling this post Yoga for Men isn’t as sexist or as misogynistic as you may think.  When I was a much younger chap, far more cynical, and much less worldly-wise, I used to think yoga was a bit ‘strange’.  In my mind yoga was something that girls did, and perhaps men who were a bit metrosexual.  Now that I’ve grown up a bit I realise that yoga can be a strenuous and difficult workout ~ the kind of workout that hurts while you’re doing it and makes you ache afterwards.

It turns out that there are lots of reasons why more men should regularly practice yoga.  Some say that yoga strengthens your immune system and relieves stress.  And, that regular yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, agility, posture, stamina, and core strength.  All I know is that regular yoga exercises and nurtures my body, mind, and spirit.  Some also say that yoga will give you a better sex life.

Just in case you don’t know, yoga involves holding postures, and holding some of these postures for any length of time can be damn difficult.  Even the few, (simple), postures I use require a great deal of strength, balance, and concentration.  Because holding these postures take a lot of strength and stamina, your muscles become more toned and develop greater power and endurance.

Yoga also helps with proper breathing, better posture, better balance, better concentration, better digestion, and increased mindfulness and serenity.   Regular and difficult yoga improves the way you look, stand, walk, and talk.  I have been told, by a very close friend, that regular yoga also greatly improves one’s sex life, and increases the pleasure you can give to your partner.  Also, some yoga poses work as great sex positions and increase the intensity of the female orgasm.  Allegedly, it’s possible for women to have an orgasm just from doing yoga.  Who knew?

So, these are the yoga positions I use regularly, and if I have the names wrong… well I’m not a yoga instructor.

The Tree.  This classical, impressive, and elegant position promotes strength and balance in your feet, ankles, legs, and core.  Like all yoga positions I’ve tried it also aids concentration, calms your breathing, and improves your grasp of mindfulness.  Don’t worry too much if at first you keep losing your balance, what’s probably happening is that you’ve lost your mental focus.  The tree pose puts all your weight on one leg at a time, but the balance, poise, and elegance has to come from the whole body.

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Downward Facing Dog.  Allegedly, this is one of those yoga poses that’s also a great sexual position ~ I can see that.  This position throws a lot of weight on the upper body, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest.  It stretches the whole of the back of your legs and  body ~ your spine, arms, shoulders, ankles, calves, and hamstrings.  For me, unless I’m doing it wrong, it also strengthens my knees.

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The Bridge.  This position is especially designed to strengthen your pelvic floor, (and backside), which is good for all kinds of reasons, up to and including sex.  The bridge position builds strength in your core and lower body ~ personally I can really feel this in my lower abdomen.  This is another of those yoga positions which is also a fabulous sexual position ~ or so I’m told.  When I do this, I keep my back straight and my belly flat ~ I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not.

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The Plank.  I find this pose tremendously difficult, not because I don’t know how to do it, but because it calls for a tremendous amount of strength.  Done properly the entirety of one’s body weight is brought into play to build core body strength, exercise the arms and shoulders, and increase one’s fortitude.  There are three basic variations of the plank, and the easiest is to rest on your knees rather than stretch out your whole body and rest on your toes.  The second easiest is to support your upper body on your forearms, while the hardest of all is to be in a push-up position with all one’s weight on your toes and hands.  Right now, I can hold this position for one minute only ~ which is a bit pathetic really.

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The Warrior.  This should be so easy, trust me, it isn’t.  The warrior pose stretches and strengthens the legs and core muscles of the body.  For me it also works the arms and shoulders.  More than that, this is the one position that should be so easy that I want to do it properly and elegantly.  Where that gets difficult is the whole being straight, having one’s belly and backside tight, steadiness and ease thing.  The lady in the picture looks a bit wimpy because her right arm is dropping.

Right now I only use these five positions, and the list above is in the order I do this stuff.  I hold each position for as long as I can, and that varies from 5 minutes per position, to less than a minute, depending on the pose and how I’m feeling that day.  And, again depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll probably run through all five positions a couple or maybe even three times.

However, there are stacks more great yoga positions, and if you really want to learn about yoga, then I should strongly suggest that you take a proper class, there will be one near you.  There are even a bunch of good online yoga classes.  (I took one actual class at my local gym, once, and never went back ~ but that’s just me).  Who knows, you may find yourself alongside some fit, supple, young women.  Who will probably make you feel totally inadequate.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Effective Time Management

Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.

You can grasp the important essentials of effective time management in 20 minutes ~ living with it, really using your time wisely and to your own best advantage, well that takes a little more work.

So, just what is this time management thing?   Effective time management ~ it’s all about making a little go a long way.  It’s about improving the way in which you use the 86,400 seconds you get every single day.  Time management is about doing away with; displacement activities, delay, deviation, distractions, hesitation, indecision, indulgence, procrastination, repetition, sloth, stress, tardiness, and waste.

I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.  ~  Louis E. Boone.

Effective time management is all about doing the important things, at the right time, and spending the right amount of time on them.  Like everything good and important in life, effective time management is also about control, restraint, and self-discipline.  What time management is not about is making certain that you are doing the right things ~ that’s something else entirely, something we will talk about at a later date.

You already know the basic techniques for effective time management, it’s just that you never use them.  So here’s what you should do, from now on, every single damn day.

  1. Make a list.  Start with a to-do list.  These are the things you should / must / want to do today.  (Actually, tomorrow, because you should start writing your to-do list the night before.)  You can even buy a ready-made to-do list App, packed with colourful features and supposed benefits.  Don’t bother to waste your time and money.  Get a notebook, or just some sheets of paper, and write down what you need to do.  You can use different colours for different categories or importance of tasks if you like.  Personally, I merely number things, in order of importance.
  2. Cross tasks off your list only when they’re completely done and tangibly, measurably delivered, and then forget all about them and move onto the next task with a clear mind.
  3. Do the worst / most unpleasant / most important things first.  Getting the nasty stuff out-of-the-way early in the day makes the rest of the day both easier and much more enjoyable.
  4. Make more lists.  These extra lists are for sub-tasks.  For example your to-do list may say ‘do grocery shopping’ ~ so you need a shopping list, (never, never, ever go into a store without a list of what you want / need / would like to buy).
  5. Break big and unwieldy tasks down into smaller and more manageable bits.  This is called chunking, and it can be used in all kinds of situations.
  6. Keep a journal.  As well as writing down what has happened and how you feel about it, you can also use your journal as a detailed day planner, and as a place to plan and manage future events / tasks / projects.  Properly used a journal will stop you turning up for things unprepared / on the wrong day / without your passport.
  7. Avoid meaningless distractions.  These come in all kinds of shapes, but the most insidious and pointless time-wasting evil right now is social media.  If you use social media at work, or first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or during your lunch break, then stop it.  You are just wasting time while turning your brain into mouldy dough.
  8. Take regular breaks.  Just sitting at your desk for 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours a day is not the way to be productive.  Worse than that, sitting at your desk for long periods is literally killing you.
  9. Get plenty of good quality sleep.  If you are tired and irritable you are also unfocused and unproductive.
  10. Develop good regular habits.  If you can run part of your day on auto-pilot, if doing some routine essential tasks becomes a habit, you are saving a hell of a lot of time and mental energy for the really difficult stuff.
  11. Learn how to say NO!  Agreeing to things that are unimportant / meaningless / we don’t want to do anyway, uses up a huge amount of our time, mental effort, and spiritual energies.  Along with that, drop people who waste your life and suck up your energies.
  12. Multi-task the routine stuff.  For example, prepare dinner while the bath is running, and let it cook while you’re soaking away the aches and pains of the day.  But be wary, multi-tasking doesn’t work for important stuff.

And then there is the tricky and oh so important number 13.

13. STOP DICKING AROUND.  There a billion things you could do instead of actually doing the stuff you really want to do, should do, need to do, absolutely must do.  Recently I read where a guy got sacked for spending all day at work looking at internet porn on his cell phone ~ if that’s not a definition of dicking around then I don’t know what is.

All of this is pretty much common sense, actually you knew most of this already, so why aren’t you using these good practices?  Probably because you’ve been lazy, lacking in self-discipline, or you think that ordinary rules and good advice don’t apply to you.  Well, let me tell you, little sister, you’d better shape up if you want that good quality, rewarding, spiritual, healthy life you’ve been promising yourself.

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.  ~  Pablo Picasso

Procrastination doesn’t cut it.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Walking Meditation

Through meditation the higher self is experienced.

True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance.  You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.  ~  Juvenal

To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being.  Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit.  I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.

When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members.  Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you.  ~  Steve Maraboli.

One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day.  Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.

When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’.  But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd.  These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’.  With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man.  To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day.  We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.

If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku.  This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness.  Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.

However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and  ever-changing sky.  Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness.  The clouds fire my imagination.  The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.

Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities.  I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people.  Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself.  Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.

The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good.  Empty your mind of all immediate concerns.  But most of all, walk.

Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so.  Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out.  Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health.  Never settle for less.  ~  Edmond Mbiaka.

Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy.  Walking does little for strength and mobility.  For that I practice yoga.  I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me.  Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit.  Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit.  If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.

We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.

I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Deskbound to an Early Death?

Office work is injurious to your health.

If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave.  In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day).  A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.

A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be  far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…

However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato.  All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.

Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it?  OK, don’t bother to do any of this.  Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life.  Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should.  With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not.  It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.

But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.

Get more exercise and have a nice life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Bad Day at Black Rock

coping with only one hand

in the film noir bad day at black rock Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed man coping with deception, difficulty, and danger.  a few days ago i sprained my right wrist, and from my limited recent experience, coping with anything while you can only use one hand is damn difficult.

typing this blog post with my left hand is much harder than you’d think ~ maybe there are keyboards specially adapted for only one hand.

basic daily tasks ~ washing, shaving, and dressing are taking me a long time and much thought.  going out, for example to do some shopping, is just not going to happen.  how vulnerable is having only one good hand making me feel?

locked-doorhousehold chores are unbelievably time consuming ~ cooking and washing up the dirty dishes takes so much effort it will have to be take-out food and ready-meals until i can use both hands again.  i did some laundry yesterday, and found i can’t neatly fold clean stuff.  if i lost the use of my right hand on a long-term basis, either i’d have to send out my laundry, or get a home-help.  (there’s a snag with a home-help for me; nobody is allowed to come into my garret.)

other ordinary tasks such as bed making are problematic with only one good hand ~ and i have no idea how i’m going to tie my shoelaces.

all this makes me realise that if one doesn’t have the usual complement of fully functioning bits, then one’s day-to-day life becomes difficult, slow-paced, frustrating, expensive, and maybe reliant on others.

P1020817a really good society would give extra help to those less fortunate, to those with physical, or mental, or other problems.   however, i don’t see too many signs that we’re living in a good society right now.  at least, my sprained wrist should get better soon, and in England treatment for my sprained wrist is ‘free’.  i’m kind of glad that i don’t live in the USA today.

~

dscf0036jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I am not a number

I am never going back into a box.

Back in the day I used to attend a lot of meetings, conferences, conventions, seminars, and social events where I was expected to wear a badge, a name-tag, a label.  After a while of feeling both self-conscious and controlled, I took to refusing to wear a name-tag.  Even back when my livelihood depended on it, I was uncomfortable wearing a label for the convenience of others.

Some people; judgmental, condemnatory, negative, supercilious, disdainful people, like to know all about you so that they can categorise you, and put you into a safely inferior box.  They ask personal questions; ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Who are your people?’ ‘Where do you live?’  ‘Where did you go to school / college / university?’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘How much does that pay?’  ‘What do you drive?’ are but of the few of the very personal things I’ve been asked in my time.

To a very reserved, very polite Englishman, all of those questions are rude and intrusive.

Some people want to know all about you for one set of self-serving interlocking reasons.  Are you worth talking to?  Are you important?  Are you inferior or equal to me?  What can I get from you?  Is it really worth my time getting to know you?

Some people are not interested in you as an individual.  All they are interested in is where you fit on the bell-curve of social standing in their narrow-minded little world.

Should I wish to do so, I find it very easy to be charming and manage my behaviour, conversation, and attitudes to fit in with just about anyone, in any group, in any social situation.  I had the very best training and motivation in the world to teach me to do just that ~ it was an integral part of my job, and my job paid more money than even a grasping trophy wife could spend.

But all that’s just chasing shadows of meaningless instant gratification.  Chasing instant gratification is not good.  Now I live in a more meaningful and more spiritual world.  Today, I will not change my outward behaviour, conversation, or attitudes to fit in with what you like, or what your group expects, or what your friends and family think is acceptable, or to fit nicely into your accustomed social situations.

To do that again would mean me becoming a false man, the man in the mirror, a shadow man, a man of straw.  It isn’t going to happen.

To be questioned, probed, inspected, examined, studied, judged, categorised, designated, classified, and labeled is demeaning.  A decent person shouldn’t do it to another, and a confident person shouldn’t allow it to happen.

I’m not going back into someone else’s box, not ever again.  I will not be badged, numbered, labeled. I am not a number, I am a free man.

~

PrisonerSeventhese thoughts are mine, and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder

There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.

P1030721For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy.  I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim.  Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.

In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder.  Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you?  How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it?  Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.

My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem.  Over several months Sue got to know me quite well.  She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.

I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness.  Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale.  I fully accepted and embraced these results.  This was the beginning of my recovery.  When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.

My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth).  I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told).  I never, ever bonded with mt mother.  I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.

A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma.  Eventually,  I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.

Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously.  My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD.  After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself.  Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence.  (A little English irony there.)

How did I manage this remarkable recovery?

  1. I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
  2. I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
  3. I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
  4. I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs.  Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
  5. I got physically fit.  (Mens sano in corpore sano.  ~  Juvenal)
  6. I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
  7. I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books.  (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
  8. I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
  9. I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way.  I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
  10. I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.

segovia-castleAnd things got better.  My life got much better, my relationships with others improved.  I was sleeping well.  I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  And I felt empty inside.  I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind.  All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.

It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me.  Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening.  Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.

I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become.  You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.

I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.

Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right.  The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem

Step 1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable.  ~ Alcoholics Anonymous

I substituted  ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.

I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.

There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.

~

P1030116these opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Anxiety, Stress, and Worry

How To Achieve Inner Peace.

bank-of-englandBack when I was an overpaid banker in the City of London I used to suffer terribly from anxiety, stress, and worrying too much about everything and nothing.  I was even hospitalised for 8 weeks due to stress, (and because of the effects of my chosen anti-anxiety medication ~ drinking too much booze).

We are all different, we all feel our emotions in different ways, and we all react differently to stress.  However, there are some stress and worry prone personalities ~ these are the people who are always in a hurry, who have to be the best at everything, who can’t ever say no, who spread themselves thin, who push themselves beyond all rational limits.  I used to be that man, and I used to be the best there ever was in my chosen profession, with all the trappings of success, including crushing unhappiness.  A recipe for illness and an early death.

I am no longer that man, partly because I now firmly believe that;

  • Everyone should put their own needs first, only when I feel comfortable, settled, and secure with my own life can I begin to give of myself and share with others in a healthy way.
  • Feeling bad about the past, and punishing myself for all my past mistakes, is utterly pointless.  I have no control over the past and no amount of regret, remorse, or bad feelings can change history.
  • My feelings and emotions are not some mysterious and uncontrollable force that has me at their mercy.  I do not have to go on feeling bad forever.
  • To be a good, conscientious and worthy man I don’t have to continually worry and fret about what the future has in store, and what I’m going to do about it all.
  • My worth as a man is not determined by the opinions of others.  If people don’t like me and don’t like what I do, then they can just fuck off.
  • I am not responsible for the feelings of others, especially I am not ultimately responsible for the feelings of those I care for.
  • Life is difficult and painful, shit happens, and not every day is going to be better than the one before.  Deal with it and do not take it personally ~ the Cosmos does not care.
  • All of my feelings and problems are my own, they are not always caused by other people, there is no point in blaming others when I feel bad, or I don’t get what I want, or when shit happens.
  • I cannot change what happens to me, but I can change how I react and what I do about it all.

I defy anyone to fundamentally disagree with any or all of those statements.  They are are true, and believing in them, and living by them, is something you can learn.

Your feelings and thoughts are yours and yours alone.  To make your life better you must take responsibility for your own emotions, feelings, and what you do about them.  To make your life better beyond your wildest dreams you must learn self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.  There is no one else to blame, at the end of the day there is only you and what you choose to do.

My will shall shape my future.  Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own.  I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze.  My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.  ~  Elaine Maxwell.

Anxiety, stress, and worry, are merely imaginings of all the bad things that have happened, are happening, and could happen in the future.  The truth is that bemoaning your fate is just an abrogation of responsibility.  Be an urban warrior, be cool, calm, and collected.  Take full responsibility for your own life, and live the good life with serenity and inner peace.

~

winthese thoughts are mine,

and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

2017 Resolutions

P1050015
The Four Great Truths I will follow in 2017;
  1. Accept that Life is difficult and painful.
  2. The underlying causes of my problems and pain are giving in to my own cravings, lusts, desires, and my blaming of others.
  3. I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change how I react.
  4. The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.

These are not the ‘normal’ kind of New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe they will work for me in 2017.  My spirit can be free to fly through blue skies.

~

p1050118jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Emotions

We cannot control our emotions.

Various psychologists, behavioural scientists, and sundry people in white coats, disagree a little on just how many human emotions there are.  They also tend to disagree on exactly what these feelings do to us.

assHowever, trolling through their divergent opinions, and adding a little basic common sense, we can come up with a more or less definitive list of the main human emotions.  These are; Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, and Love.  Personally I’d add another, I think Lust is a very powerful raw emotion.  Or maybe Lust only affects men?

We can call these raw emotions by other, more polite, names.  Lust is transformed into desire, and many of us call the feeling of desire Love.  How many men have said; ‘I love you’, when what they truthfully meant was; ‘I desire you, I want you’?  I know I have fallen into that despicable sexual trap in the past.

For most of us, by far the strongest emotion is .  It’s what keeps people in dysfunctional relationships, lousy jobs, and mind numbing routines.  We are afraid of change, we fear abandonment, we fear loss of status, most of all we fear death.

Those of us who have, or have had, a psychological / mental illness have an intimate relationship with fear.  The emotionally disturbed are often a maelstrom of Fear and Anger.

For aeons the heart was thought to be the seat of emotions, especially Love.  Now, most respectable scientists profess that the brain is where emotions live.  Although, some left field professors say that the gut is where emotions begin.  Me, I’m neither respectable nor a scientist, and the last time I wore a white coat was at a costume party.  I don’t know where our emotions live, and I don’t know exactly how they work.

However, I do know where your emotions come from.

Our emotions and instincts are hard-wired into our body, mind, and spirit.  They originate as far back in time as when the first thing crawled out of the primeval slime.  Emotions and instincts are what drove the survival behaviours of things that could never be described as intelligent life.  What do you think drove the raw savagery of Tyrannosaurus Rex?  What do you think makes sharks such a successful life-form?

Instincts and raw animal emotions bypass the intellect.  Emotions have nothing to do with intelligence and common sense.  Emotions are powerful in exactly the same way that thought isn’t.  From the moment life began emotions controlled the behaviour of all life forms, and emotions still control human behaviour today.

Intellectually, a man can know that some particular woman is bad for him, yet will he willingly give her up?  Probably not because his emotions completely override his common sense.  If she thinks about it, a woman may know that it’s stupid to stay with a man who mentally, emotionally, physically abuses her ~ yet how many women are trapped in abusive relationships because their emotions won’t let them leave him?

Most of us will do almost anything to assuage our emotions.  Some of us will go to any lengths to satisfy our raw emotions ~ up to and including the death of self and / or others.  Emotions are the most powerful driving forces in each of our lives.  Positive, or negative, or a mixture of both, we are each controlled by our feelings.  All that intelligence and intellect does is to overlay some civilisation on top of our innate savagery.

Me, Us, You, Them, can do something about these emotions that drive our every action.  We can’t stop the feelings, and we can’t control the feelings, but we can control what we do.

You may get so angry with your partner that you want to stab them in the eye with a sharp knife.  You may fear the outside world so much that you never want to leave your home.  You may think you love someone so much that you willingly sublimate your identity just to please them.  Yet our intelligence and intellect will eventually tell us that we need to escape into the broad sunlit uplands of rationality.

At that point you may seek counselling, psychiatry, medical help, inspirational speakers and writers, or self-help groups.  Trust me, none of that will do you any good at all.  These people will probably tell you to control your emotions, and that’s as impossible as turning back the tide.

The only thing we can do is accept these emotions and at the same time unconditionally accept ourselves.  We must recognise that life is difficult, painful, and mostly beyond our control.  We must be prepared to make some brave choices.  Leaving the one you’re with may tear your heart in two, but that’s just a raw primeval emotion, the feelings will pass, and the sooner we make those brave choices the sooner our emotions will stop torturing us.

2ed3361ebc8c8984d950d64833cf022aYour emotions are utterly beyond your control.  Your emotions also lie to you.  Your emotions may make you feel bad or good, but those are just feelings, they have nothing to do with reality.  The reality is that your emotions lie to you, that’s their job, they developed to keep a cave-man alive.  In this day and age we need the sense to accept our emotions for what they are, a very broad brush indeed.

See beyond your emotions.  See the world in it’s true colours.  Enjoy your emotions when they are good, but don’t get carried away.  Live with your emotions when they are bad, but accept bad emotions as the storm flags they really are.  And, at this time of year, let yourself feel the innocent joy and of love of Christmas.

~

WAF Landscape Christmas Cards.qxdthese thoughts are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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