You can never get away from where you’ve been.
We cannot change the past, we can only change the ways feel think and feel about the past. Most people have brutal, painful, and regrettable memories of their past. Events from the past have created who we are today, and events from the past will affect us today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and maybe until the day we die and beyond…..
Some of us may say that we are OK with the past, that things that happened in our childhood and adolescence do not haunt us at all. But beware, even if you are not aware of it, everything that you have experienced in the past; good, bad, terrible, traumatic, joyful, boring….. is affecting your sub-conscious today.
Nobody, up to and including you and me, is completely at peace with their past. We cannot, and should not, forget the past. Our past creates in us feelings of anxiety, bitterness, disappointment, doubt, guilt, fear, frustration, hurt, regret, rejection, sadness….. and most of us recall and remember the negatives from our past more than we focus on the positives.
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Some of us try to run away from our past; changing where we live, drifting from one relationship to another, changing jobs, drinking too much, taking drugs, attempting suicide, and metaphorically running away to join the circus. But none of that running away ever works, for wherever we go we take the past with us. (Even if a suicide attempt fails it will most likely do irreparable damage to the body, mind, and spirit.)
For some of us it’s even worse, because we are also affected by the past of someone who is very close to us, and emotions created by someone else’s past are incredibly difficult to deal with. This is doubly so if our ‘friend’ hasn’t themselves fully come to terms with their own past.
To be cool with the past we must first be motivated to deal with the past. We need to understand what really happened in the past, not just some biased half-memories that we use to fuel our negative emotions today. Try to find out what really happened in the past. Be willing to talk about and fully explore issues from the past. Stop pretending that everything from the past is fine, when most likely it isn’t. Acknowledge your true feelings, whether they be loss, hurt, shame, anger…..
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. ~ Iyanla Vazant.
Depending how deeply the past affects us, we may need help to come to terms with what happened, how it affected us, and who we are today because of the past. Speaking to family and friends may help, you may need to see your doctor or a therapist, you may talk with your priest or spiritual adviser, you may need something like hypnosis, or you may just need to really meditate, read inspirational books, listen to motivational lectures, or just go for a long walk in the sunshine.
With any luck we may find out that the past is better than we feared. But, no matter if the past is better or worse than we think we remember, we cannot move on from something we don’t understand and we refuse to accept.
That’s the past for you. Not only does it come back at the most unexpected and inconvenient times, but it’s set in stone. ~ Jeffery Deaver.
There may well be things from the past that need resolution. This might be very difficult, but the longest journey starts with the first baby-step. Be honest. Be self-aware. Be kind with yourself. Seek to understand yourself. Be kind and understanding towards others. And, give yourself time to heal.
A ship does not sail with yesterday’s wind. ~ Louis L’Amour
Some say that we can become cool with the past by keeping a positive outlook and a strong determination to succeed in finding joy instead of negative emotions. And, that the past only exists in our memories and imagination. All I know is that the past isn’t actually here.
If what you’re doing isn’t working,
then do something else instead.
Paranoia; an extreme feeling that people are lying to me.
There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment. ~ Hunter S. Thompson.
We are all conditioned by our past. We have all been conditioned by society. We have all learned to be afraid. Our parents, our carers, our siblings, and all of society taught us to be afraid.
We learned negative thought, and we learned character defects like; anxiety, cowardice, denial, distrust, evasiveness, frustration, guilt, hatred, immorality, insecurity, pessimism, possessiveness, promiscuity, self-pity, and worry. All of these character defects are manifestations of fear.
It has been a massive shock to me to realise and accept just how afraid I have been for most of my life.
My greatest fear ~ fear of abandonment. I was a small, premature baby, placed in an incubator immediately after birth. Before I was five years old my maternal grandmother, my principal carer, left me. She had passed away.
My second greatest fear ~ that people are lying to me. My parents didn’t tell me that my nan had died, I thought she had abandoned me. My parents’ lying by omission, and telling me half-truths, destroyed my capacity to trust anyone.
Half a truth is often a great lie. ~ Benjamin Franklin
My third greatest fear ~ that I am not good enough, that I do everything wrong, that I am useless. I thought my nan had left me because I had been a bad boy, that I just wasn’t good enough for her anymore. Since then I have always felt second-best.
Because of that trauma in my formative years I have always been afraid of getting things wrong, and of being mocked for making mistakes. I have been morbidly afraid of rejection, which has resulted in all of my relationships with women becoming utterly dysfunctional. I am deeply afraid of developing a close relationship with an attractive and sexual woman.
Good girls go to heaven, Bad girls go everywhere. ~ Mae West
Because of my childhood trauma, I believe that every women I have had a close relationship with has lied to me, and I am afraid that negative belief also means that I cannot even know truth from falsehoods. In my own life I attempt to be dedicated to the truth, but to be a truthful man in a world of liars is to live in a very scary place. And, as we all know, everybody lies all the time.
Keeping secrets from someone is no different from lying to them. It’s still dishonest. And I am deeply afraid of dishonesty.
Perhaps due to the traumas I experienced before I was 5 years old, for most of my life I have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is a serious mental illness that brings with it it’s very own set of fears. Happily, I am mostly in recovery from BPD.
Some say that we are all afraid of change because we fear the unknown. And that our fears are there to protect us from really bad things happening to us. All I know is that if I keep on doing what I’ve always done, then I’ll get what I always got.
I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I believe in various degrees of fear, paranoia, and abandonment. ~ Henry Rollins.
To recover from paranoia and fear I am working on healing the causes of my problems, rather than the symptoms.
no matter how much you deceive yourself,
you have to know that she has always lied to you.
True realism is a willingness to reveal and accept the truth.
Scientific studies, and my own bitter experiences, have shown me that one of the character traits necessary for a man / person to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, stable, and resilient is Realism.
Being too pessimistic is depressing, being too optimistic means that you are easily disappointed and crushed, and being too idealistic is to search for unrealistic perfection. Being realistic means that you accept the reality of the world as it is, rather than as you imagine it to be.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind to change; the realist adjusts the sails. ~ William Arthur Ward.
It seems that being realistic tends to mean that you’re also deep, grounded, mindful, compassionate, able to deal with adversity, are not easily disappointed, and recover quickly from whatever shit the world throws your way.
To be realistic is to be self-aware and be fully cognisant of your own wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Being fully self-aware means that you do not easily fall prey to self-deceit ~ you don’t much lie to yourself, nor to others.
Realistic people also have good situational awareness, they are grounded in the truth of any given situation, seeing things for what they actually are, rather than they would wish them to be. They have a solid sense of time and place. They read people easily, and they are not reliant on a specific other person for their happiness. Most people don’t have your happiness at the top of their agenda.
It is a healthy approach not to expect persons to turn out precisely how you would have wished. ~ Criss Jami
There are 3.2 billion women in the world, so why should a realistic guy tie their happiness to just one particular uncaring and unavailable woman ~ no matter what.
One key feature of a realistic person is that they will always have some sort of written plan / plans in place to achieve their wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Realists know that unless they do something then nothing happens. To live life you first have to show up. Realists make the very most of any opportunity that comes their way. Realists take action to make things happen, they do not wait for things to happen to them. Realists tend to devote enough time and effort to whatever task lies in front of them.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln.
A realist will also have more free will than any other type of person. This is because they are prepared to say ‘No’. Every time you blindly agree with other people means that you have taken away your own free will.
Realists have a particular type of personality ~ they are physical, sceptical, jealous of their own time and space, independent, practical, clear-headed, good in an emergency, objective, non-judgmental, taciturn, and easy going.
But you don’t have to possess all of those character traits to be a realist ~ perhaps they are attributes we should aspire to.
Some say that a realist believes that some things are worth fighting for. And, that a realist will have a flexible plan for winning their battles. All I know is that to be a realist means showing up for the fight ~ it means showing up for Life.
Practical Realism 1.01 ~ First Know Yourself.
remember you’re supposed to be draining the swamp, not fighting with the alligators
From time to time the darkness would overwhelm me.
It turns out that I am an emotional being, which is an unwanted paradigm shift for a taciturn and repressed English guy like me. And yet, for much of my recent life I have been completely defined and driven by powerful emotions.
From time to time my psyche would spiral down a dark hole into a place where I became angry, jealous, manipulative, paranoid, resentful, unreasonable… filled with negative thoughts and feelings.
These emotions would hit me out of nowhere, coming from deep within my subconscious mind, usually when my conscious guard was down ~ because I was tired, stressed, had been drinking, or someone close had lied to me, or perhaps just because something had gone slightly wrong in my life.
And these intense, darkly negative emotions could often drive a complete change in my personality, turning me from a rational and sociable man into an irrational and dangerous Mr. Hyde.
One thing you can’t hide ~ is when you’re crippled inside. ~ John Lennon.
The reality is that intensely negative and darkly dangerous emotions are driven by fear, and in my case probably a paranoid fear of abandonment created by the Borderline Personality Disorder I have suffered from for most of my life.
Fear is powerful, deep, affecting the most primeval part of our psyche, what Freud calls the id. And fear generates the equally powerful fight or flight reflex. At my darkest I would fight by attacking people verbally and in writing, and run away into a bottle of booze. Neither of these reflex actions was in the least useful to me.
What I needed was a strategy which allowed me to accept my negative emotions without allowing their destructive power to ruin my relationships and my life ~ wanting to find a suitable way to check out of life is not good.
What I needed was to be more emotionally stable and resilient.
It turns out that emotionally resilient people have some important things in common. Emotionally stable and resilient people;
- Are Realists. Grounded. Optimists are soon disappointed and easily lose hope. Realists make the best they can of the ‘Now’.
- Have Faith. Believe in something greater than themselves, something greater than whatever bad situation they may find themselves in.
- Are extremely and radically creative.
- Have a support network of close friends, doctors, counsellors, 12-step groups…
- Have a great, but usually weird and warped, sense of humour.
These are all things that I could invent for myself. I can grow and develop these character traits that actually exist in all of us. Each day I have been able to further manifest these character traits within myself. Every hour I have become more emotionally stable and resilient.
One ought to hold onto one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
Life goes on, and I do not have to allow my emotions to control me.
Although my emotions are an important part of me, I AM NOT MY EMOTIONS.
Some say that negative emotions have an important role to play in a happy life. And that negative emotions are telling you that you need to change and transform yourself. All I know is that you can turn things around and control how your emotions affect you.
Life does not have to be perfect to be good.
Luck is great, but most of Life is hard work.
The hard truth is that we make our own luck. If you want to be lucky enough to witness a brilliant sunrise, then you have to get yourself out of bed before dawn. If you want to be lucky enough live your life’s dreams you must first know what you want and then do something to get it. If you want to really live Life, then show up.
I want a better life, I need to be a better man, I want to live my dreams. A few short weeks ago I was in the depths of Hell. Walking the hard road up from yet another rock bottom, these are a Magnificent Seven Truths I have been shown. These things have helped me find my luck, perhaps they may help you too.
- Self-Awareness. Know yourself. Be congruent and grounded in your own truth. Know that you are unique and that you have unique skills and abilities. Understand your own power.
- Know where you want to go. Chart your course. Dream your dreams. Discover what you really need, want, and desire. Create a vision board, or mind map, or just make a list. If you don’t know what you want, then Be Brave. Stop asking others what you should do, and don’t do anything that others may want you to do if it doesn’t match your own truth. Change I should to I want.
- Do Something. Take some action. Get off your ass and do something to realise your wants, needs, desires, and dreams, even if it’s just making a plan, or writing a daily journal. ~ just don’t do things that you don’t need to do. Change should to could. If you can get others to do things for you then use their unique skills and talents. Let the Cosmos work for you too.
- Leverage the Magic. Use your dreams, thoughts, words, and deeds. Have the best attitude you possibly can. Nobody likes an impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, unforgiving and manipulative jerk.
- Believe in yourself. Be more congruent. Make certain that your inner beliefs match your needs, wants, desires, and dreams. If you don’t believe then you can’t achieve. If you don’t believe then you certainly will have no luck at all.
- Engage the Magic. Make a start on living your dreams. Do something positive, even if it’s just a very small thing. The greatest journey starts with that first baby step.
- Be adaptable. After you have taken some action, look at what happened. If what you did didn’t get you what you want, then do something else instead. If you do what you always did, then you will get what you always got. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Scientifically, and mathematically there is no such thing as luck. So, if you want to be lucky in life, if you want to take advantage of random chances, if you want the good things to come to you, then work at living your dreams.
The harder I practice, the luckier I get. ~ Gary Player
Here’s the thing, should I want to, I can win money playing cards. That isn’t because I’m lucky, it’s because I’ve studied Hoyle, probability theory, and statistics, I can work out odds in my head, and I’m a natural card-counter. Some say that’s cheating, it certainly isn’t luck.
Try to stay focused. Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t get drawn into fighting the alligators when you really want to be draining the swamp.
Some say that life’s hard and nothing ever goes right for them. And, that they never have any luck, their whole life is a train wreck. All I know is that the harder and smarter I try, the luckier I get.
The road goes anywhere and everywhere you want, but you have to get out there and be prepared to enjoy the journey.
Create your own luck, and then ride it hard.
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.
In this modern world most of us are driven by results, we do things in order to achieve a desired outcome. In this modern world hardly anyone enjoys the journey, what most people want is to get to their destination as quickly as possible. And yet, psychologists know that what our mind and spirit seek most are experiences, and not results.
In my working life I was extremely results oriented, I always had innumerable written plans to ensure that each of my projects produced a specific outcome, with specific deliverables, on specific future dates.
Consequently I was always in a hurry, impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, and unforgiving. To a certain extent these character traits are useful in business, but I also carried these characteristics into my personal life. That may be natural, unavoidable, but it certainly isn’t useful, and it certainly wasn’t the true me.
Aggression only moves in one direction ~ it creates more aggression. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley
Nobody sane wants a good friend or partner who is always in a hurry, impatient, driven, aggressive, competitive, egotistical, and unforgiving. Oh, and I was also very manipulative…..
Because of my conflicted and driven life I was continually unhappy, and continually ill. I was also continually afraid of failure. My life was mostly joyless.
I no longer believe that it’s the outcome that matters most to our mind and spirit. What I believe is that it’s experiences that matter most to us, and not the eventual deliverables. In other words it’s the journey, and not the destination which teaches us the most. Like all things in Life this is probably not a yes / no, black / white, male / female thing.
The yin and the yang are opposite forces. Yet, they exist together in the harmony of a perfect orb. ~ R. A. Wise
I have come to believe that somewhere in between the yes and the no lies a place where either, none, and both exist simultaneously. I have come to believe that the past, present, and future exist simultaneously. And, I have come to believe that it is the journeys that really matter to our body, mind, and spirit ~ not the destinations.
In other words it’s how we live each moment that matters most, not what we eventually achieve.
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things. ~ Robert Breault
Some say that life is somewhere between an experiment and an adventure. And, that if you follow all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun. All I know is that nothing is more important than this day, this hour, this minute…
The sun may not always shine, so enjoy it while you can.
Hay House World Summit.
Following my recent return from a vacation in California, it was obvious to me and my friends that there was an empty darkness in my soul.
I made a half-hearted attempt to escape from this by drinking ~ and as usual that didn’t work. Trying to escape into booze and / or drugs never works, not for anyone. Booze is usually a bad idea, and taking drugs is always a very bad idea. Both booze and drugs create more problems than they solve, up to and including dying from alcoholism and drug addiction.
What I really need is help to find a new way of living, new values, a new psychology of friendship and love. I need to find a way towards real spiritual growth. I need to accept the pain of confronting and solving my problems, and I know that I cannot do that through my own sheer willpower, self-control, and self-discipline.
My first impulse was to go and see my doctor, confess my problems, and ask for help. But, you know what, most doctors are very bad at dealing with psychological and spiritual problems, together with the booze that has gone along with mine.
A very close friend then pointed me towards the Hay House World Summit, which is a 16-day journey to self-discovery, health, and success. In 2018 this runs from May 5th to May 20th ~ the timing is ideal for me, and it’s free.
I’ve registered for this and I’m very much looking forward to exploring the 100 lessons and 15 videos.
From time to time I will let you know how this is working out for me.
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. ~ Sam Levenson.
Spiritual energy is not limited by geography; we can learn to project positive feelings across the miles. We can also learn to leave all the negative feelings behind, and consider what we admire, like, and respect about those we care for. Think about what they might need today, tomorrow, and always. Send them thoughts and healing energies of comfort, peace, and love.
Be sensitive to their energies and use that sensitivity to enhance our relationships. Is our friend feeling good, harassed, or even depressed? Is someone we care for in need of comfort? Can we send them healing love?
Remember that friendship and love comes unseen ~ we only see it go.
Sometime today, or tonight, we should try to feel the friendship and love we have for others, and the love they have for us. Learn to see the friendship and love that exists all around us. Most of us should be learn to be a friend to ourself, we should learn to take care of ourself, and we should learn to love ourself.
For, without care, friendship, and love for ourselves we cannot truly care for, be a friend to, and love another.
love yourself just as much as you profess to love another
Only I can change my life ~ no one can do it for me.
Life is about change. Without change, without variety, without some stress in Life, all will stultify and diminish. Without change there can be no growth, and without growth and development all things will wither away and die.
I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend. ~ Thomas Fuller
But, as the Serenity prayer tells us, there are some things that we cannot change, some things that have to be accepted, and the wise learn to know the difference. I can think of a myriad of people, places, and things I cannot change. In reality no one can change another person, unless that other absolutely wants to change. This is why it is mostly pointless trying to talk to most addicts in an effort to make them change their ways. This is why many relationships, and many marriages, end in failure and recriminations. This is why there are wars.
A while ago I resolved to stop trying to change others and instead decided to work on myself to become a better person. That is now my lifetime’s project, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes I make progress, and sometimes I go backwards a couple of steps or more ~ it’s like a man walking into a gale, sometimes he wins and sometimes the storm wins. In the last few days I think the wind won more than I did. In the last few days I went with the wind and my negative emotions, and that meant I really staggered in the wrong direction. In other words I totally fucked-up, again. For me, going with the flow is usually the wrong choice.
Life will do it’s best to deceive you. You may get knocked down, but you must always get up again. The mark of a really great boxer is not that he never gets knocked down. A really great boxer can get knocked down, but he will always get up again. And that’s up to and including Mohammed Ali in his all prime and pomp.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ ~ Thomas Edison
The English language is filled with wise sayings, allegories, parables, and proverbs. As you would expect a lot are by Churchill; ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often…’ Then from Scotland we have the allegory of Robert the Bruce and the spider, which gave us the saying; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…’ But we also have almost the converse of that saying…
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ~ Albert Einstein.
The Goddess knows I have been there often enough ~ every time I took a drink I expected it to be different from the last time, and it never was. But, somehow I usually got away with it.
Back in my illustrious career in banking I once went into a meeting on Madison Avenue with no ideas and nothing but blank pieces of paper in my briefcase. I had got good and drunk in the Plaza the night before, so I both looked and felt far from my very my best. But I stood up in front of the board of the world’s biggest advertising agency and tried just one more time. I told them not what they wanted to hear, but what I wanted to make happen. It worked. The thing is I didn’t give up, and I didn’t try to change anything except myself.
After that almost debacle I resolved to make a big change by giving up banking for good. It was the wrong change ~ I should have given up booze for good. Back then I didn’t have enough serenity within me to even think about being sober for life.
Right now, today, all I try to do is be the best Jack Collier I can be, sober. That is difficult enough for anyone. I realise that life is difficult and painful. I know that the causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and the blaming others for my faults. I now know that I can’t change others and I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do, and how I react to people places, and events.
I know that the warrior’s road to freedom from continual distress, pain, and suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, spirit… and that’s a hard road to walk in honour, honesty, and truth. I try to always walk that road, and often I fail. But, at least I try, and perhaps not one in ten men even do that.
The world and the sky is ours if we want it enough.