The best of my sunsets is yet to pass to the west.
There are a couple of ways of walking through that dark and dangerous jungle that surrounds the warrior’s path. One is to hack aside the undergrowth, wade through stinking swamps, clamber over the steepest rocks, struggle sweating and cursing one footstep at a time towards an imagined false destination. The other is to accept the things the path has brought, in harmony understand why the Goddess has made Life seemingly difficult, live within the warrior’s path without trying to conquer it.
There are no prizes for guessing how I’ve been acting on my journey along the warrior’s path.
In Life I have been trying to fix what I thought was wrong, to overcome, to shape the world and the people in it according to my own expectations, mores, and standards. As you would expect, I can’t fix Life. I can’t make the world, the people in it, the things that happen, be the way I want them to be. That has never stopped me from trying, with all of my might and main, to change the things I cannot change.
You would think a man would know that the only thing he can change is himself.
And yet, it seems that a great deal of powerful transitional energy is coming my way. Venus has begun to support and nurture Mars. If I feel ready enough, then I can embrace a life path that is more true to who and what I really am.
I have been burdened by my own anger, frustration, jealousies, pain, resentments….. and I have carried this burden into each new day. I have been reckless and negligent with the feelings, wants, and needs of others. But, that need to conquer the warrior’s path is fading into memory, and I am beginning to learn the mindfulness of acceptance and understanding.
Some say that all men are blind to the real love and friendship that is closest to them. And, that if you show a man a beautiful woodland his first thought will be that he needs to cut it down. All I know is that the only really true thing is what is in front of me right now.
My Goddess Aphrodite was born from the Ocean’s foam
Great things never came from comfort zones.
Just another day and I’m back in the garret where my psyche tells me I belong. Not anymore I don’t. I need to change and the picture of York Railway Station is a metaphor. To get to anywhere by train I have to change at York ~ in rail journey terms York is the fulcrum.
Some of you may recall that I have been trying to change for years; to grow, to become the better man, to walk the warrior’s path….. and I’ve had some limited success. No that’s wrong, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone from being a celibate recluse, stuck in the garret and afraid to go out, to a chap who has just completed a course of swimming lessons ready for my solo vacation in Crete in a couple of weeks time.
It seems that my fulcrum has been shown me by those self-same swimming lessons ~ the whole thing was utterly outside my comfort zone, and I mean a long, long way outside my comfort zone. And you know what? Our comfort zones are not a place of safety, they are a prison.
Have the courage to leave our self-imposed prison and great things start to happen.
What I know now, (what I always really knew), is that I have to accept life as it comes, live in the moment, enjoy whatever the moment brings, open my eyes, and welcome surprise. Stop cowering in the corner, and stop living a life where today will be pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today. Life goes on, but from now on my life will be filled with adventure and good things.
IF I continue on a wiser, kinder, more mindful, more courageous, more self-loving path, I know that I will be able to embrace the results of all the hard work I’ve put in over the past few years, and discover the truth of my Life. I know that things WILL improve, even from this good place I am in right now. And, not in years, or even many months, but in the coming days and weeks. Things will get even better for me far sooner than my comfort-zone loving heart might expect.
But I have to stay focused and believe in myself, because sitting back in my comfort zone and waiting for the Cosmos to roll out the red carpet just doesn’t work. Trust me, I know.
We have free will. We need to use it and leave our self-imposed prisons. We are the Masters of our Own Fate, we need to accept that, get out of our comfort zone, and live life, even if that means making mistakes.
Some say that all the changes we try to make for ourselves are bad. And, that we should do as we are told, do what’s expected of us, never question authority, always respect the wishes of our family, and stay in our comfort zone. All I know is that leaving my comfort zone far behind me is the fulcrum of my Life.
this is a long way outside of my comfort zone, but the next time I go to Turkey I will be up there
Inner tranquility ~ freedom from anger, anxiety, and fear.
There was something weird about my short stay in Turkey. Was it the place, or the people, or the blue, blue sky? Was it getting enough good sleep, good food, staying sober, staying calm? Or, was it the long, meaningful, and mindful conversations I enjoyed? Or was it some inner spirituality that was awoken in me? I suspect all of these things and more combined to wrought a significant change in my psyche.
For me this was a jumping-off point. I lost some things, I lost negativity, I lost the way I was used to seeing the world, I lost judgmentalism, I lost my mistrust of others, I lost my fear and anger, and I learned how to fly…..
Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe. ~ C. JoyBell C.
I had not been there long before I knew a radical freedom that allowed me to seek acceptance, humility, integrity, mindfulness, and understanding of myself, of those around me, and of those I care for. I was encouraged to take a new control and responsibility for my own life ~ I believe that most of us, (up to and including me), are not in control of our own lives. Rather most of us drift aimlessly through life, so that today is pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today.
That isn’t really living, it’s just existing, and that’s no way to explore true happiness and well-being. To know true happiness and well-being we perhaps should strive to improve and enhance our own lives, the lives of those we care for, and society as a whole.
Within the real meaning of human happiness and enhanced existence, within our aims, significance, and overall purpose, we all have the freedom to choose what to do, to be who we want to be. Sadly so many of us never even try to grow into an enlightened being.
After a couple of days in the mindfulness of my Turkish vacation I began to seek to understand things, to understand the interconnectedness of all things, and the ways to find the significance of my own life among the chaos.
The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis
I realised that each of us is what we take ourselves to be. But to live in an authentic, caring, and mindful way, we each have to take each situation as it comes and show our true nature through what we do, and not what we say. Talk is cheap.
I was always frightened to show my true nature. I was a shadow man, the man in the mirror, I was always conforming to what others expected of me, putting on masks that fitted the roles I was expected to play. I saw the world through a winter mirror, darkly.
After just one week in a small Turkish hotel, under blue, blue skies, among a group of friendly and supportive people, I was able to throw away the masks, stop playing a role, eschew the man in the mirror, and really take charge of my own life.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. ~ Lao Tzu
Today, back in the garret, I am self-analytical, self-aware, self-confident, and filled with real self-control, and self-discipline.
Now I need to act in a way that reflects my new self-awareness, and the awareness of my own complete freedom. This is what I am, this is what I choose to be, this is the real me, and I will never again dodge responsibility for being true to myself.
I do not pretend to understand how this enlightenment came about. Probably it was a unique set of serendipitous circumstances, a synchronicity that has energised me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some say that once in a lifetime your chance comes along, that once in a lifetime fate deals you the perfect winning hand. And, that we each have to be courageous enough to take that chance, to throw everything we have behind our one great opportunity in Life. All I know is that today I feel better than I have ever felt before in my entire existence.
My short stay in Turkey was the kindling of a flame.
each man is an island unto himself
So I can’t sit own and let the time of my real being take me, for if I try and for a moment can see no direction, cannot tell where I am going, I am filled with panic, scared of emptiness. I am driven and must always look to the far horizons. ~ Joanna Field
For most of my life it seemed that I was afraid of still serenity, uncomfortable of just having nothing to do, and having to make no plans. I seemed to be happiest if there was a great deal going on around me, as though I was in the midst of a raging storm.
I have come to believe that this was a manifestation of what was going on inside my own mind, that I was driven by a mixture of perfectionism and fear of failure.
My focus seemed to be on what I didn’t have; materially, intellectually, and spiritually. My glass was always half empty, never half full.
Perhaps that was not such a good place to be.
Instead of bemoaning what I don’t have and the things I feel are wrong with my life, I am changing my attitude to celebrate what I do have.
Today I have an infinite number of choices, and they all begin with me having a positive outlook. The decisions I make today will have a direct bearing on how meaningful and mindful my life will be.
I am reminded of some words by Ralf Waldo Emerson; This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.
Today I will try to do some good and mindful things with my time.
Today I will be peaceful amid the storms.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the lunatic prisoner was you. ~ Louis B. Smedes.
There has never been much forgiveness in my life, and mostly I have been very unforgiving of myself. I expect to cope, whatever happens, and be a high achiever. At times I can act like a lunatic.
This has led me into a very disruptive pattern in my life. A pattern which others can often recognise better than I can. These words of advice were sent to me a couple of days ago, by a very good friend. This is how she describes my life.
- High on Life …… very optimistic….. on top of the world.
- Sexual buzz is strong.
- I forget all the things that were said when I tried to confront past problems and issues
- Minor irritation sets in when I don’t feel appreciated. I become resentful and mistrustful.
- I start looking for the hidden dark meaning in things said, or not said. Become more distrustful, and often angry ~ often very angry with myself.
- Get totally pissed-off when feelings, emotions, and thoughts that have no basis in truth fill my mind. Start to apply twisted logic to situations and conversations.
- Voices in my mind tell me to escape, say ‘Fuck It All’, and then I will have a drink or 10.
- Go missing from the world for days at a time, during which something very bad will happen.
That’s been the pattern of my life for a very long time. I need to recognise it, and cut it off at the neck when the darker, depressive thoughts begin.
I agree with my friend that I need to try to live with inner peace, mindfulness, and serenity.
Escaping into booze is no solution.
Marmaduke lives very peacefully
Anger blows out the candle of the mind.
People are telling me that I need to relax more, stop being angry, stop being paranoid…
Anger, confusion, and paranoia are all symptoms of a chronic lack of thiamine and potassium in the blood stream ~ and I was suffering from that. (But so are nausea, heart palpitations, strokes, and death through heart failure)
I realise that I have been holding on to anger from the past. I need to let go of this anger and stop letting it rule me. The time to deal with anger and paranoia are when I first feel it ~ I need to relax, let go, and not let anger and paranoia fester in my mind.
Yet I know how to relax, and it’s really very simple.
- Take a walk by the sea.
- Practice clean deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
- Stay away from any booze.
- Take a long bath with some relaxing music playing.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep.
- Talk with my family and friends.
- Keep my apartment clean and tidy.
- Read something inspirational and mindful.
- Do something creative ~ like writing this blog, making something, cooking…
- Check my thinking and let go of negative thoughts.
- Go back to seeing a professional counsellor.
- Build and photograph a rock stack by the sea.
There is something very therapeutic about building a rock stack.
Food on Friday will return next week.
pictures taken with a Lumix.
When it comes to walking, it’s all good.
In case you hadn’t heard, there is a health and fitness trend that says walking 10,000 paces a day is good for your body, mind, and soul. For me, ten-thousand paces equates to about 5 miles on level ground, and will usually take me the best part of two hours to accomplish. Which begs the question; is it really worth my while to devote two hours a day, every day, just walking to somewhere, or even to nowhere and back again?
Well, actually, yes it is, and these are the reasons why.
Let’s start with something scientific and anatomical ~ blood flow in the legs. The circulation in our feet and legs only works because we use our calf muscles, and because of non-return valves in the veins. If we sit still, we have bugger-all blood flow in our feet and legs ~ which is why there’s a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis during long flights. If you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, you are in danger of developing poor circulation, which is nasty.
So if you want to have healthy circulation, one of the things you can do is just get out of your chair, and walk.
My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres
Walking more, whether it’s to go somewhere, or for leisure, or part of your health and fitness programme is an easy way to be more active without all that unpleasant sweating, huffing, and puffing that comes with some other forms of exercise. A brisk walk is classed as moderate-intensity activity, and does count towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Walking is a form of exercise that’s easy to fit into your daily routine, for example instead of taking the elevator up a couple of floors, take the stairs.
If you’re not used to taking much exercise, then don’t start off by trying to walk 5 miles. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you add 1,000 steps a week to your baseline average. This means you are going to need a pedometer, and the first thing you should do is measure how many steps you take in an average day. Very Well says that if you are an average American you will most likely be walking 5,000 steps in an entire day, (HA! I don’t believe a word of that, I’m certain the average Californian walks about 2,500 steps a day.)
The respected Mayo Clinic is very keen on walking as a form of exercise and even has a 12-week walking schedule based on work done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The benefits of walking include improving your blood pressure, energy, happiness, mental health, skin tone, sleep, stamina, strength, stress levels ~ as well as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, joint problems, obesity, a stroke, and nasty diseases in general. On top of that you are going to look and feel a hell of a lot better. The key to walking for health and fitness is to build walking into your daily schedule.
These days I am keen on meditation and mindfulness, but I find it difficult to meditate in the traditional fashion. So, I meditate during yoga, and I also practice a form of walking meditation. I have never been taught, nor led through yoga meditation or walking meditation, these are mindfulness practices which just came naturally to me.
All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
All of us should also do some strength exercises, at least twice a week, particularly as we get older. Personally I like to do some yoga, but I also add an isometric workout into my daily walk. This two-for the price of one routine means that I make the most use of the couple of hours I spend in the fresh air and sunshine, (we sometimes get sunshine in England).
You don’t have to believe me that walking 10,000 steps a day is a good idea. Just google 10,000 steps and you will come across loads of articles by people such as the well-respected Dr Mercola who say that walking 10,000 steps a day is a basic requirement for good health and fitness.
In life a couple of things now scare me; having a stroke and developing dementia. If I can improve my chances of avoiding these life-destroying conditions, then a couple of hours walking every day seems a small price to pay.