without struggle success has no value
Here in England normal life has been on hold for 438 days. With varying degrees of severity we have been prohibited from doing most things that make life worth living; from meeting family and friends, to going to any and all places of business, entertainment, and worship, and even following our chosen trade or profession. Face it ~ most of us have been locked down at home, suffering that most terrible of punishments; imprisonment and solitary confinement.
And personally, not much good has come from that. On the upside I haven’t been sick with the coronavirus. On the downside the list of bad and really bad things is long, pathetic, disturbing, injurious to my health, and life-threatening. All in all, I would say that the policy of shutting down the entire country for over a year is the worst thing supposedly civilised and ‘liberal’ governments have done since 1914.
The worst of it is that I haven’t lifted myself above the morass, the slough of despond, and done something useful with my time. I haven’t had a robust programme to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual health and fitness. I haven’t written a book, taken up a new course of study, or routinely practiced something like meditation, tai chi, yoga, or even moon-walking. Basically I’ve felt sorry for myself, put on weight, got myself a prison pallor, and spent lots of time aimlessly staring at the TV. Some of the time I drank too much. I was utterly unmotivated.
BUT, now that there is a light at the end of the Stygian lockdown tunnel, I feel the need to get a hold of my life and make it better than it was before all this fucking coronavirus crap began. So what to do? Big, meaningful changes take a hell of a lot of effort.
Step One. Cut out all the bad things I’ve been doing just to fill in the empty hours.
Step Two. Get out of the garret into the fresh air and sunshine, lose the prison pallor, get some exercise. Yesterday I walked 8 miles, and meditative walking is really good for the body and soul.
Step Three. Make a plan, some lists, some aims, goals, targets, dreams and desires. Use all the skills and techniques I’ve learned about project planning and start a project to make myself and my life better than ever it was before.
travel and adventure are on the agenda
survival is nothing more than recovery
on a cruise, know where your lifeboat station is
Only the very fortunate will not suffer some kind of disaster in their lives. The very unfortunate may stagger from one disaster to another, with barely enough time and energy to get over one catastrophe before they have to face another. Some may be forever scarred by one negative experience in their life, while others will survive and thrive no matter what kind of crap the Cosmos throws at them. One person may never get over a single unhappy love affair, while another will still come out smiling and optimistic after having their heart ripped out by a promiscuous cheating partner. Some may face ordinary adversity and die, while others will live through the most horrible experiences imaginable.
It’s all a question of attitude and preparedness, the difference between surrender and hope. You are not who others say you are, you are the sum of your own beliefs. A man owes very little to what he was born with, a real man makes himself.
Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but for only one second without hope. ~ Charles Darwin
Disasters come in many forms, but disaster recovery has only one shape. Be prepared. Because one thing is almost certain, one day, in some way, most of us will face a disaster; unemployment, being broke, betrayal, divorce, violence, flood, fire, earthquake, terrorism, wildfires, death of a loved one, critical illness….
You might say; ‘how can anyone prepare for all that….’ or, ‘how can you prepare for a disaster if you don’t know what kind of disaster you are going to have to face…..’ That’s defeatism. People who talk, think, and believe in those ways are less likely to recover well from a disaster than someone who knuckles down and optimistically gets ready to face whatever fate throws at them.
There are just three rules;
- Do not delude yourself. If you live in an earthquake zone prepare to survive an earthquake. If you marry a bastard / slut then prepare to end up broke and on the street. If you set sail on uncharted oceans prepare to get dis-masted and lost. If you leave a contractor alone in your home expect it to be wrecked when you return.
- Be as fit and healthy as you can possibly be in body, mind, spirit, finances, and ‘stuff’. Work at it.
- Learn things. Read books such as How To Stay Alive by Bear Grylls. Go to night school to learn car mechanics. Learn about camping. Learn how to grow your own food. Be curious, stop wasting your most valuable commodity; time.
There is a thing called Disaster Shock, and it will kill you ~ the more prepared you are the less likely you will suffer from this and die.
have your important stuff easily to hand, so you can drive away from a wildfire within minutes
courage is about doing what needs to be done, when it needs doing
It turns out that COVID-19 is a very selective killer virus. It’s racist, ageist, fattist, and discriminates against those who have cancer, diabetes, or a heart problem. Doesn’t much like men either. You are also far more likely to get seriously ill or die if you live in a big city and don’t get much exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. If you want to sail through a pandemic then you should be younger, fitter, and free from underlying health conditions and addictions.
There is a little evidence that smokers are less affected by the coronavirus than people who do not and have never smoked. If you’re a smoker don’t congratulate yourself because smoking will kill you faster and more certainly then COVID-19 ever would. Also, smokers tend to be unfit and have a host of chronic illnesses ~ like heart diseases. In fact, anyone with any addiction; booze, drugs of any kind, gambling, junk food, casual sex….. is far more likely to die from that addiction than from COVID-19, but this virus could well just push you over the edge.
As an example; working age men are twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than a similar woman. And, the 70 to 79 age group are 50 times more likely to die from catching the coronavirus than the under 40s. It’s complicated.
We do not know yet how to account for this. Socio-economic factors may be an influence….. There could be hidden genetic factors we do not yet understand. ~ Professor Karol Sikora.
We can’t alter our age or ethnicity, and it’s hard to change our socio-economic status, or where we live. But, how long is a piece of string? There is usually a big difference between someone’s chronological age than their physical age. Most chronic illnesses are caused by what we do and how we live; alcoholics will routinely suffer from liver and kidney diseases, heart diseases, cancers, and dementia ~ as well as having a strong chance of dying in an accident or committing suicide. Type 2 diabetes is all about lifestyle…..
So, to have a longer, healthier, and more rewarding life we need to be brave enough to change, have some self-discipline, stop being self-destructive, and just take good care of ourselves; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
For a start, no matter what else you believe or have been told, get out there and get some fresh air and exercise. Stop drinking, smoking, hanging around in bars, and eating junk food.
Some say you are just as old as you feel. And that they’re not really an addict, they just smoke the occasional joint, and like a beer or two. All I know is that most of us were on the Road to Hell but we can get off any time we like.
a glass of red a few times a week might be good for you
start each day badly, and you wave success goodbye
to be fulfilled, turn work into play
Expert: a complete drip under pressure
never trust an expert who has never done a proper hard day’s work
emotional intelligence is an essential ingredient of a balanced successful life
to be successful, to stand out from the crowd, do the exact opposite of what most people are doing
getting drunk only turns you into an overnight success in your own eyes
change your beliefs and you change your world
My life has suddenly changed, except change doesn’t happen overnight, sometimes, overnight changes take years of hard work.
March the 1st is a good day to see that my life has changed. Today is a good day to begin to be happy. Today my life is sweet.
Please listen thoughtfully.
this is a little picture of a truly sweet life
you can write about everything in life, if you have the courage
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath.
The Beatles, probably the best band in the history of the world.
Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. ~ Virginia Woolf.
Please listen with enthusiasm.
don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass;
success is born out of discomfort, uncertainty, and risk
When I look back at the times when I have succeeded in life, and believe it or not there have been a few, one thing strikes me as germane ~ I wasn’t sitting in a comfy chair pondering the sharp changes in the price of booze since 1970. Whenever I achieved something important and worthwhile I was uncomfortable, I wasn’t living in the humdrum of my everyday existence, I was operating well outside of my comfort zone.
When we take risks we feel nervous and uncertain, afraid and uncomfortable. If it’s taking risks with our career, leaving a shitty and dysfunctional relationship, going all-in on a game of cards, or trying to run our first half-marathon, our biggest wins are always born out of discomfort, uncertainty, and risks.
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Usually the more uncomfortable I felt, the greater the risks I took, the harder something was to do, when it was almost impossible, then the bigger the success I achieved, the more self-confident I became, and the greater sense of achievement I felt at the end.
And that’s why true success is so rare, why so few people accomplish anything important, and why so few people ever do anything different ~ most people don’t like effort, pain, and difficulty. Most people don’t even like hard work.
Anytime you try to do something important you will be swimming against the tide. The people around you; family, friends, co-workers, your partner, will all tell you that what you want to do is stupid, impossible, and wrong. The more challenging, unique, and off the wall your project is, the stronger the criticism and negative judgementalism will be. All the people who think they know you will not like you doing something different. You are not only challenging yourself, you are also challenging their cosy little worlds too.
Ignore the critics, the Job’s comforters, the gainsayers, and the judgemental; you get on and do what you want to do to achieve your dreams, have your hearts desires, or just escape the shit life you are living right now.
There will be setbacks, things will go wrong, you will think you have bitten off more than you can chew, you will wonder WTF made to think you could dream the impossible dream, and then make it happen. Ignore all that and just keep on keeping on. It might be hell, but keep on going.
Learn how to be determined, learn how to adapt your plans and schemes to meet changing circumstances, learn how to ignore the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, learn how to be fucking relentless.
Some say that it’s better to stay safe than to take any risks at all. And that it’s all just too difficult, and I want to watch my soaps instead. All I know is that faint heart never won fair lady ~ and you can trust me on that one.
there was a time when Churchill stood alone against the might of Nazi Germany
my wish is to wake up a better person than when I went to bed
We always want what we think we can’t have ~ that’s just human nature. It’s striving to get what we think we can’t have, to dream the impossible dream, to find new experiences and new loves that makes men and women do things like climb Mt. Everest, invent the wheel, put a man on the moon, and besiege Troy for the love of Helen. And every time ordinary people said they were crazy.
If we become a better person we are not only able to take better care of ourselves, we can also take better care of others, especially the people we have feelings for, especially the one we love the most of all.
When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better. ~ Solange Knowles.
Ergo, the first thing you should want to become is a superior version of yourself. Look after yourself, get healthier, fitter, stronger in body, mind, and spirit ~ get control of your emotions, get out in the fresh air and sunshine, get some exercise, read some good books, listen to some uplifting talks on YouTube….. Not only that, take a good hard look at yourself and be brutally honest; are you looking as good as you could? Hair, manicure, clothes, shoes, is your skin as healthy and glowing as it could be, do you smell nice?
What about your finances? Have you got spare cash at the end of the month, or are you continually broke? Are you in a dead-end job that pays peanuts? Do you actually manage your money, balance your cheque book?
And how are your relationships? Are you still madly in love with your partner, or are you in a dysfunctional relationship? Do you like to see your family regularly, or, like me are you totally estranged? Have your friends all turned to strangers?
You know you need to make some changes and rearrange your whole life, and deep down you really know what it is you need to do ~ so do it. You have had enough lessons from life ~ so use them and unfuck your life. You’d think you’d have made some changes by now, so dump the apathy, and be who who really want to be.
And if you don’t know who you want to be, then find yourself your ideal role model, and become them. It does not even have to be a real person; you may want to be India Jones, James Bond, Achilles, Holly Golightly, Ellen Ripley, or Aphrodite ~ don’t just sit there, do something about it ~ act as if you were that person. You will never become your role model, but along the way you will become a superior version of yourself.
Some say that there are going to be some changes around here ~ tomorrow. And that they are just running around in crazy circles like a rat on a wheel. All I know is I hope we find our way someday soon.
don’t all men just love that kind of discourse with a woman they care about?
life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all
look towards the far horizons
Might I suggest that you take some time out to be with yourself, find a time and space where you can be alone with your thoughts, an hour and a place where you will be certain of just a little privacy, and ask yourself some simple questions.
- What do I need?
- What makes me happy?
- What is it in my life that’s making me unhappy?
- What and who am I afraid of, and why is that?
- Where and when do I feel safe and comfortable?
- What is happening to my health, why am I tired all the time?
- When and how can I make some time for myself?
- Who are my friends, and who can I really trust?
- How can I spend more time with my real friends?
- How can I express myself, how do I show the real me to the world?
- How can I connect with the people I love and care about?
- How can I pay all the bills this month, what about the mortgage?
- How do I find the time to do the shopping, and how do I pay for it?
- If I leave, who is going to do everything that needs doing around here?
- How can I ever show my face in that bar, ever again?
Some of these are big important questions, and some may seem more trivial, but if you ask yourself any of these questions, then the answers are very important to you. If you try to look at the big and very important questions first, then you may become discouraged because they are just too difficult to answer. So maybe don’t look for any answers at all just now. Just for now concentrate on the questions, write them down in your journal, or notebook, but for Gods sakes don’t leave your jottings anywhere where anyone else has the slightest chance in Hades of finding them.
If all that seems to difficult, then make the questions simpler, like;
- How do I feel today?
- What excites me?
- Who has captured my heart?
- What I want is…..
- My heart longs for…..
Or perhaps write all this stuff down, and then burn it, and flush the ashes down the toilet to join your failed marriage / relationship / friendship / love / partnership / shitty job.
Only by knowing what it is that we really want, need, and desire ~ and what we don’t want in our life under any circumstances can we move on in any constructive and positive way.
Some say that we have to understand what our needs are, first and foremost. And that if you don’t know what your needs are how can you ever satisfy them. All I know is that the more you are forced to give to others, the more you need to give to yourself.
give yourself a wonderful sunrise,
enjoy the peace of the natural world
when all that’s left are the empty promises
the sun was going down on my life
Christmas had come and gone. I couldn’t remember the New Years’s at all, time had slipped from 2019 to 2020 completely unnoticed by me. It was January 7th 2020 and I had been smashed and broken to another low rock bottom. My life was a slow-motion freight train wreck at the end of the line in a place called Hell. My mind was numb and empty, my soul was tortured by demons of my own making, my body was suffering from a lack of food and too much booze. Part of me wanted to die, part of me hoped I would die, and a small part of me entertained dark thoughts of painless suicide. Walking into the cold North Sea would kill me, but that would mean I had to get out of bed, leave the garret, and walk the hundred or so yards to the beach. That was never going to happen.
But something happened. Call it sheer bloody mindedness, call it being protected by a guardian angel, call it the universal unconscious helping me, but I did something positive. It took a while.
First I got myself out of bed, went to the kitchen counter and poured a half-full bottle of vodka down the drain. Thought about coffee, but I knew I’d throw up. Drank some water, threw up.
Bathroom and alcoholic constipation hurts. Stood under the shower in my filthy clothes and stripped naked there, soaped up some. No chance of my risking a wet shave.
Got dry and left the wet towels in the middle of the garret, on the floor, discarded at random.
Combed my hair, got dressed in clean clothes, even clean socks. Looked at the clock, it was just on half-past-six, and I didn’t know if it was morning or evening, nor did I know what day it was.
Collapsed into my armchair, exhausted and shaking. Sat there for a long time staring at the wall, my mind empty, my soul in pain. I could see scuttling things out of the corner of my eye I knew weren’t real, weren’t there at all. Electric shave.
After a long long while I made myself a coffee, felt like throwing up but didn’t. I knew that somewhere out there someone or something was sending me all good wishes.
My thoughts and feelings were being led by demons down a dark road that only led to bad things, so I picked up my tablet as a distraction. Tried to play solitaire, not enough concentration. Instead I read some posts by the very special people I follow. I read a post by Rhapsody Boheme about The Wolf Moon, and the special things that could happen then ~ transformation, renewal, rebirth….. And here, The Wolf Moon was at 19:21 hrs on January 10th, 2020. I resolved to stay sober until then. Before then I would clean the garret, only demons will enter a place that looks like a pig-sty.
At around 19:15 on January 10th I darkened the garret, lit some scented candles, and put some soothing music on the record player.
19:21 on Friday January 20th, 2020 a sense of peace I had not known ever before in my tortured existence, the music playing was The Memory Of Trees by Enya; the simple vocal refrain on that instrumental track is Be Yourself. It was a profound message, and I knew exactly what it meant.
My life hasn’t been the same since. My life is different and better, and improving day by day, hour by hour, and something or someone is still guiding me. If you are suffering as I was, I know that you can have that too. Nobody with even an ounce of goodness in their soul is abandoned forever.
infinity came for me and lifted me up