So set ’em up Joe, there’s no one in the place, ‘cept you and me.
I you try you risk failure, if you don’t you ensure it.
In order to truly become a better man I’ve had to fall back on some of my past strengths and abilities. Back in the day, I was paid stupid amounts of money to invent, develop, organise, and run major projects ~ ergo I’ve decided that I should treat my becoming the better man as a project. Think about it, it sort of makes good sense.
It is less about becoming a better person, and more of being better, as a person. ~ J.R. Rim
This self-improvement, and self-development project would seem to have the following elements;
- Embrace change to avoid slipping back into my old, negative patterns of behaviour.
- Have more confidence and self-reliance in my own innate abilities.
- I should always speak up for myself, and always speak the truth, strive to communicate well with others, especially with those I care for.
- Keep my close relationships in focus, neither neglect the people I care about, nor have unrealistic expectations of them.
- Conversely, have increasingly ambitious expectations of myself, and what I will be able to achieve.
- Get some balance and stability into my life ~ and I may need a lot of help with this.
- Remain grounded, balanced, and in control of my thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Be in touch with the Universe and accepting of the realities in every area of my life
- Develop the endurance to plan and successfully achieve long term wants, needs, goals, desires, dreams, and ambitions.
- Get fitter and healthier so that I have the controlled energy to make the fullest success of Project: Jack Collier.
Written down like that it seems I have a lot to work to do, and I’m certain that if I thought harder I could add more bullet points to that list. But, 10 difficult things to work on is more than enough for now.
My Life is changing day to day, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in quite scary ways. I need to find my path forward, and be the captain, master, and director of my own life.
It’s not about taking control of my life in the sense that I am trying to control everything and everyone around me, it’s about me deciding what it is that I really want, and then striving with everything I have to get it. I I really want something, I should let nothing stand in my way. My life is a reflection of my choices, and how I use my strengths and abilities to achieve success.
The goal of life purpose is not what you will create, but what it will make you into for creating it. ~ Shannon L. Alder.
Some say that success is getting what you want. And that happiness is wanting what you get. All I know is that my strength will not come from winning, my strength will be the result of trying very hard.
parasailing was so far outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t try it
I should have
How many bad decisions seemed like a good idea at the time?
Over the years I’ve made some really bad decisions. From time to time I got angry and subsequently did some reprehensible things I now regret. I have reacted with nasty spite when I should have stayed calm, and I’ve felt resentful for no good reason, which usually turned me into a dangerous Mr. Hyde or a rabid black dog.
And when he was good he was very, very good, but when he was bad he was horrid. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Not every time things went badly pear-shaped was my fault. Not every person I’ve hurt was an innocent bystander. Some of the people I’ve had uncharitable thoughts about actually deserved my condemnation. And there have been some people I wouldn’t cross the road to spit on. But, and here’s the thing, all the time I was an angry, judgemental, resentful, dangerous
bastard person, I was still suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, and / or, Bipolar Disorder. I was always afraid, and I was always running away.
Add the whole lot together, all the anger, resentments, mental illness, and it’s not surprising that I used to be hypercritical, lacking in understanding, and totally unwilling to accept anyone who didn’t measure up to my warped standards. It’s not surprising that from time to time I could hurt the ones I love. Sometimes the only things I was good at was causing pain and heartache.
It only takes one word to hurt a woman, a matter of seconds, one stupid, impatient sting of the whip. But winning back her trust takes years. And sometimes there isn’t the time. ~ Nina George
I have actually made a list of all the people I believe I have hurt over the years, (that’s the difficult step 8 in 12 step programmes), and thought about the what, why, when, how, where, and if of making amends to those people. Of my original list I’ve crossed off some names, because I’m not a saint, so I’m not making amends to everyone I’ve wronged. And, I’ve underlined some other names, of women I really do need to make immediate, meaningful, and lasting amends to. (my Goddess Aphrodite and The Girl Riding Shotgun spring to mind.) But as the quote from Nina George says, sometimes rebuilding trusting relationships takes years.
I have spoken in haste too often, spoken from negative and dark emotions too often, and been thoughtless too often. But, the recent paradigm shift that I experienced from being way outside of my comfort zone for a week should mean that I don’t make those enraged mistakes again.
Some say there is no such thing as a mistake or a bad decision. And that the consequences of a really bad decision are a learning opportunity. All I know is that if I go off the rails there is going to be a painful disaster, and someone will get hurt ~usually including me.
Nobody likes to be with a dangerous jerk.
Be that guy, and be alone in the dark.
Don’t be satisfied with how things once were, unfold a new story.
In the last few days a great deal has changed for me. Circumstances of my own choosing forced me well outside of my comfort zone, and made me escape a prison of my own making. And coming down the pike like a runaway a great deal of transition is heading right for me.
It is time for me to embrace a life path that is more true to who I am, and the grounded, enlightened, successful man I want to be. Now is the hour for me to grow in courage and mental strength ~ no longer allowing my doubts and fears to undermine my dreams, desires, hopes, and plans for the future. Now is the time for me to be who I truly am deep inside.
You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. ~ Richard Bach
That means ridding myself of the emotional burdens of the past. It means ceasing to be reckless with the feelings of others. Ceasing to be negligent when it comes to accepting, cherishing, nurturing, understanding, and supporting those I care for. And it means embracing harmony, strength, and fortitude. All the mistakes I made in the past are now just learning tools for the future. Each time I fell off the rails and turned into Mr. Hyde are salutary lessons and cautionary tales ~ reminding me that those dark places and negative feelings are to be avoided and not encouraged.
Hard work bears fruit, and the near future will be bright for me and those I care for as a result of my hard work in the past paying off. I have tried so hard to be the best version of me that I could possibly become, that I have earned the right to enjoy life now that I can finally see the results of my efforts. My ‘new’ personality, attitudes, demeanour, heart , and soul means that I can express myself with greater clarity, confidence, and strength today and into the future.
My core values, the things that really matter to me, are what I will live by today, tomorrow, and in each and every day to come. I need to spend some time in walking meditation to reflect more seriously on my ethics and ethos, to truly identify what I am willing to tolerate, and what I will just not accept. It is so ingrained in the habits of most people, (myself included), to put everyone else’s needs first, and then forget to take care of themselves. Yet if we don’t take care of our own needs, our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we cannot grow nor prosper nor be truly happy. Today and into the future I will take care of myself first, and then nurture and support those I care for to the very best of my abilities.
Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace. ~ Aberjhani.
Some say I am worthy of a life full of friends, loving connections, enlightenment, and spiritual empowerment. And that there will be a new love in my life, either platonic or romantic. All I know is that I am not just going to sit back and wait for things to happen ~ the cosmos does not roll out a red carpet for anyone.
A new day has come.
Some things are much more fun than you would think.
I had my 3rd swimming lesson this afternoon.
Seems that I am doing ok because my instructor has stopped teaching me to swim….. She is now giving me instructions on how to swim properly.
Lots and lots to remember.
At least I am much more confident in the water now.
Shame the weather here in Llandudno is so dull.
You can’t ever have it all.
Llandudno isn’t pronounced anything like you’d think.
But I like it here.
I like the Imperial Hotel too, it’s like going back in time 100 years or more, and it’s very smart.
I had my first swimming lesson here today ☺☺☺☺☺
And now I’m totally exhausted.
I’ll tell you more when I’m not using a tablet to post with.
Where I had my very first swimming lesson ever.
Always look before you leap.
When I went on a day’s boat trip in Turkey I jumped into what looked like fairly shallow water. Turned out it was about 60 feet deep. It also turned out that I’ve just about forgotten how to swim.
I almost drowned before I made it back to our boat.
As almost drowning on vacation is not a good plan, I am taking a week’s 1 to 1 professional swimming instruction, from a lady called Sarah Kentish.
This will be in the pool of the Imperial Hotel in a British seaside resort called Llandudno.
I wonder if I’ve forgotten how to ride a bicycle too?
Wherever I go, I always find that special person who is so wrong for me.
In the world’s largest financial centres, I spent most of my career making a hell of a lot of money by exploiting my knowledge of people and what makes them tick. In London, Paris, New York, and Chicago I learned to read people, and know what they really want, need, and desire. My skill was in matching the things I could do with what my clients thought they wanted. And, for a long while, I was the acknowledged world expert in my field of esoteric banking. But, really, my success was all due to the way I could use my interpersonal skills.
If I am so skilled at the art of interpersonal relationships, how come I can get it so wrong with women? Some of the time I am forceful, passionate, prideful, self-indulgent, sensual, lustful, and too warm towards women who possess grace, beauty, and charm. If I am very attracted to a woman I can be far too liberal with my affection, compassion, time, love, and money. I tend to do a little too much by way of extravagances, and luxuries. Maybe I send flowers too often. And, as you would expect, sometimes these women take everything I can give without the slightest show of gratitude, appreciation, or affection in return.
A fool and his money are soon parted, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. ~ Thomas Tusser
Obviously I am not doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time, with the right person. There isn’t the right balance, or sense of equilibrium. And there’s the rub ~ we don’t choose who we fall in love with.
Something tells me that self-confidence, strength, and passion are a heady mixture which is not always under my control ~ I often let my emotions run away with me, and this can only lead to loneliness and heartache.
My past has been marred by decisions I made that have left me feeling disappointed and bitter. It’s important for me to remember that I am accountable for my decisions. What I need to do is reflect on those past choices in a frank and healthy way, without looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses, or sugar coating the choices I made in error. I have made many bad choices, which then turned out very differently from the way I had hoped.
At times this has caused me much pain, worry, wasted time, and wasted money. Perhaps I fool myself that I always tried to do my best, and that I always had good intentions at heart ~ but I don’t think so. I did my best with the cards Life dealt me, but somehow things always took unexpected turns.
There may have been doubts in my heart which I ignored. I was careless, and not always honest with myself. I have often acted impulsively, with utter disregard for the consequences. I have had the feeling of being utterly out of my depth, and I usually pressed on regardless.
Some say that we can only learn by our own mistakes. And, that we don’t fail by falling down, we fail by staying down. All I know is that I’ve made some bloody painful mistakes.
If there’s nothing much about sex in the paragraphs I’ve written above ~ that’s because usually there hasn’t been any.
Exactly the sort of woman I should have never been involved with. Great legs do not necessarily a nice person make.
All I’ve got’s this lazy summer afternoon, food, and wine, and you…..
Face it, on a nice warm summer’s day, the last thing we want to do is spend ages in the kitchen. These dishes are perfect for summer, and they’re all amazingly easy; the kind of recipes where you can do much of the prep work in your yard, in the sunshine…..
It seems a while since I did a Food on Friday, so let’s see if I can still pull together a good menu. There are a lot of peaches involved this week.
First for this Friday we have summer spaghetti with tomatoes and burrata from Chungah at Damn Delicious. (I guess if you can’t get burrata then a mozzarella would work pretty well too.) This really is a 25 minute meal which would be perfect for lunch, a light dinner, or to take to work and zap in the microwave.
Summer Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Burrata
Next this week we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa. This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard. Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests. And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day. (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).
Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has posted a lot of great recipes recently, but for this Food on Friday I’ve chosen to feature this 25 minute recipe for pesto zucchini and peach pizza with burrata. This really is a taste of high summer, and so very easy to make. Again you could serve this dish at lunch, dinner, as a snack, or take some to work the following day ~ maybe.
Pesto Zucchini and Peach Pizza with Burrata
From San Diego girl Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks, we have this very, very easy recipe for sheet pan summer vegetables and chicken. I love sheet pan recipes, they are just so simple and there is so little clean-up afterwards. Averie says this easy, healthy, one pan meal should be ready in half-an-hour or so.
Sheet Pan Summer Vegetables and Chicken
The Minimalist Baker concentrates on vegetarian recipes of 10 ingredients or less that take less than a half-hour to prepare. This cheesy spaghetti squash pasta will actually need about an hour and a half , including cook time, but the prep is dead easy. This 9 ingredient dish looks fabulous
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats says this following recipe is THE SALAD OF THE SUMMER; or less shouty, the best summer panzanella salad. You know what? Jessica may just be right, this easy dish looks delicious.
The Best Summer Panzanella Salad
For something to drink that isn’t sucking down beer from a bottle, Jessica also has this delicious pinot peach sangria ~ another sangria recipe, and more peaches…… You can’t have too much of a good thing.
Pinot Peach Sangria
A little while ago Food on Friday was about summer vegetables and salads.
Some perfect side dishes to go with this week’s recipes.
Never look to another to tell you who you really are.
A friend of mine has said that I need some form of mental health / spiritual counselling ~ suggesting to me that she thinks there’s something seriously wrong with the way I feel, think, act, and react to events and people. I guess she believes that I don’t feel, think, act, or react in ways that she likes when it comes to my friendship with her.
I thought about this a lot and very seriously. I am fully aware that I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and I also know there are, (at least), a couple of reasons for this.
Something happened to me deep in my early childhood, so far back that I don’t know exactly what happened to me when I was maybe 3 years old. But whatever happened had a very profound effect on me, sufficient to change my personality for my whole life. It’s complicated, but various mental-health types have said a couple of things; #1 I don’t have bipolar disorder, and #2 I may have had borderline personality disorder, but if I had I’ve recovered. Well, that’s helpful….. or not. The practical upshot of whatever happened when I was a young child is that I will not willingly accept advice, criticism, or chastisement. So what? That just puts me in line with 99% of the rest of the crazy people on this planet.
The second reason I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour is because I’m better than that. I’m enlightened, truthful, open, ethical, grounded, and fucking smart. And to be honest, with the exception of the people who follow me on this blog, that makes me a better man than anyone any of us is likely to meet in an average day.
So, I thought about this very carefully when it came to finding a therapist / counsellor / spiritual adviser….. and decided that wasn’t going to happen.
I’ve spent the greater part of the past 2, 3, or maybe 4 years trying to walk the warrior’s path. Trying to find out who I am, who I was, and who I wish to be. And now, after years of effort, I’m finally beginning to see some light.
It may just be a candle in a hurricane of hellish darkness, but that small light is me.
The little boy may have become a broken man, with a broken spirit and broken dreams, but today I can hold on and today I’m feeling strong. I know who I am, and I’m not a shadow or the man in the mirror anymore.
No over-qualified, well-intentioned, mental health wazzock is going to be given my permission to dip their dirty fingers into my soul. There is no chance of me attending therapy / counselling / psychotherapy. Not now, not next year, not ever.
It turns out that I know who I am, and I like who I am. And, those that don’t can fuck off. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and please don’t keep in touch.
Some say that humility is the true key to success. And, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. All I know is that I’ve tried humility and therapy, and all I got was insanity.
I have a new plan of action concerning my supposed need for counselling. I am happy to take no action whatsoever.
Marmaduke is as sick of misplaced and unwanted advice as I am.