The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.

 

 

Shorts: Bittersweet Sunday

A Sunday is such a bittersweet day,

Where joy is shadowed by Monday not being so far away.

Where you lie and the clock doesn’t seem to slow,

As the time and the dials pass faster than you know.

It appears to be the shortest day of the week,

And it never quite fulfils the relaxation you seek.

But nevertheless, you’re grateful still,

As it starts to recharge, some of your will.

If you’re lucky you lie, with the person you love,

And you cosy with blankets, and thank stars above.

Although time flies; you wouldn’t have it any other way,

For what would a week be, without this bittersweet day.

 

 

 

Shorts: You are a champion.

It is irritatingly easy to focus on that which you did not accomplish, rather than that which you did. While you may not feel you need a round of applause for getting out of bed in the morning, relatively if you were experiencing a severe period of depression – getting out of bed actually does merit fanfare.

But obviously – you normally do this every single day, and so much more, regarding it simply as second nature. You don’t ever appreciate all that you do, because you expect yourself to do it.

It is important then to remember, that you – are incredible. Every single day you bring yourself to get up – and try. There is nothing to suggest you HAVE to try. You could simply not. There is genuinely nothing stopping you. Barriers you have placed there yourself may lead you to believe you cannot stop and give up, but you obviously could.

Say you mention to yourself, “I cannot give up today, because I have to get the kids ready for school.” or “I cannot give up today, because there is so much work to do.” or even, “I cannot give up today, because I need to support my partner.”

Of course you COULD give up. You’re just not going to. You’re going to get up, and be incredible, without even realising how amazing you are. You, are a champion, because every single day, no matter what happens – you keep going. The river does not shape the landscape because of its power, but its persistence. You can shape the land. You determine the future. You persist, for one reason alone – because you are a champion. Life has yet to beat you, even once.

Sometimes the day beats you, and that’s not good. Sometimes many days gang up on you, countless days even, and bring you to new depths. But regardless, unique you, keeps on going. You shake off your muscles, and your mind, and you keep climbing upwards.

Even if it doesn’t feel like you do this, you do. A bit like the family smell that has lingered around you for so long you no longer know its there – you too have been so fantastic for so long, that you have forgotten that you are. So take a moment. Breathe. Appreciate you, for all that you’re worth. Give yourself a break.

And remember, you; are a champion.

Shorts: The Small Details

In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The small details, are by far the most important.”

The wrinkle at the edges of someone’s smile. The dimples on their cheeks, or the softness of their skin. Perhaps you like how you can trace the edges of your finger around their body, and imagine a perfect silhouette left behind on a canvas. Maybe you enjoy hearing them sigh, just because they are happy to be lying against your chest.

Maybe you enjoy watching steam roll off of a fresh cup of coffee, or how your fingers feel as you drag them against glass with condensation on one side. The squeaky sound that makes, and how your fingers jump a little. Perhaps its the other side of the pillow, on a warm night in July.

Whatever it is that you enjoy, no matter how trivial you imagine it to be – celebrate it. Hold it in reverence. Dance about it in your living room, when no one is about. These are little victories. Little times when the universe conspired to brighten your day, in some way that maybe only you find appealing.

The big victories do not come often. While you will have spells of doing well and achieving great things seemingly all at once; you must equally understand that a great portion of your time will also be spent where nothing big is particularly going right at all. But this does not mean for this length of time, you should not sing and cheer, and kick puddles in the street. Instead – learn to understand that a collection of small is worth just as much as the grand.

If you’re looking for something bigger – consider looking a little closer at what makes it whole.

Love someone, not for what they are, but what makes them what they are.

Treasure something, for the intricacies that make it, rather than some arbitrary value assigned to the fact of possessing it.

Most importantly; appreciate, and value that it is happening now; rather than missing it when it is no longer there. Adore them for what they are, and be grateful for their presence, when they could decide for whatever reason to be absent from your life. If you don’t, what you’ll find (and this can be guaranteed with confidence) is that when something goes away, or someone leaves your life; you will not miss them – you will miss the small details that made them.

For it is the small details, that are by far the most important.