The Burial

Do not consider the version of you, that you are today, to be the best version of you that there ever will be. This presupposes arrogance, or a reluctance to learn, to improve. Stagnant and immovable, unlike anything else in this flowing universe. Which is a sign of the ignorant, and the boring. The version of you, that you are now, is not some post-best version of you. Even if you’ve been through times of greatness, or succession of success, and that comes to an end, do not then assume that something new will not come along again, or that you’ve played your part and can wait by the sidelines until the curtain closes. There is no stopping, there is no end, simply a change in the game, or in the rules that you play by. This feeling of lost, or ending, is a feeling we often get at the end of a long venture, such as a business venture, or maybe even the end of a period of formal education, such as school or university.

It’s at times like this we must most remember; the road is a long and arduous one – with friends and people you’ll meet at the start, while others you’ll meet at the end. Some will stay with you throughout, and some will part somewhere along the way. Some will carry you for a portion of time, as your feet tire against the persistent gravel, and there are others you will carry for some time too. If you’re lucky, you’ll smile and laugh as you carry or be carried, in the form of a piggy back. Sometimes it’s more that you are carried or that you carry, by the back and by the back of the knee, as you rest against their chest, or as they rest against yours.

Sometimes eyelids will be closed, shielding tender eyes from the searing light of the sun, or the unforgiving reminder of the vastness of the universe in the form of twinkling stars. Sometimes they will remain closed for longer than they should, for fear of all that  they’ll see. Or if you’re feeling lonely; for fear of whom you will not see, around you, when you need them most. Those whom your crave, to keep you warm amidst frosty nights.

Sometimes you will smile; and lie. Inside you curl up your toes underneath your bottom, and hold on tight to your shins as you fear the coming storm, in whatever form it chooses to manifest itself – and yet your outward projection is one of confidence, a frame that can withstand all the weather that can be thrown at it. When in reality, you are as sturdy, as Autumn leaves.

This is known as bravery, being the only one that knows that you are afraid.

But never let it be forgotten, that you do not have to be brave, to be good. You can be honest. You can be kind. And after you have been consumed by whatever life has become for you, and thrown at you, you must remember you can revive yourself or be revived with the support of others, and you can be brave again. Even if only a time, until you cannot be brave any longer. We are what we do consistently; not what we have done once before. Greatness therefore, is a habit. Not an achievement.

So you have not been great, and guided; and now you are lost, and mediocre. The road is simply not without its speed bumps. Its speed limits. It matters not that you slow, just that you do not stop. You are great, and you will be great, because of what you continually strive to do. It is okay to fail. It is not okay, not to try.

Do not long for a version of you that has passed. Rather, ensure their return, and eventually safeguard that they are improved upon, and no longer the standard by which your own personal greatness is based upon. Ensure the return is relentless, and without mercy. If the world is a fire, ensure you are a storm. Whatever life throws at you, as unrelenting as it is, remember that you are unyielding, and more ferocious than it can ever hope to be.

Do not find yourself giving up early, due to wearing parts and exhaustion; suppressing your dreams and ambitions off to one-side and pretending that you can gleeful accepted mediocrity, when in fact you have merely given into it. For all you will accomplish, is not realism – but an early death. One where you die, at twenty five – and are buried much later in life.

There is no point in giving in. There is no emergency exit. For not even the end of the road, can be the end. There has never been an end. Only a change of the game, or the rules by which you play.

Definition – A study of “Now”

It would be a presumptuous yet fair statement, to say that we all have a preconceived notion of what we want from our time in this life that we perceive as ours. An idea of what it would take for us to reach the plenum of existence, and consider ourselves “fulfilled”.

And yet, if you were to stop for a moment; put a pause of your life as best you could, and write a list of exactly what it is that you want from your time on this Earth, and make a conviction and a promise not to change that, you would run into two distinct problems.

One: while it is perfectly easy to suggest you pause your life, you obviously and unfortunately cannot. If you were to take your time and write this list, with the intention of completing it in totality and never changing it, you would encounter a problem based on an assumption you would have had to have made, in order to even begin writing the list. The assumption would have been that you, unlike everything else in the universe; are static. An assumption that while your body grows old and tires, YOU are always YOU.

When in reality, YOU are changing all the time. You are not some steadfast rock grounded into foundation which a river works around, rather you are part of its water. It just becomes difficult to define the water part, in the same way you can point to the whole river and say “water”, or pick out a single molecule and say “this too is water”.

It’s a result of a struggle to separate the “I” of the mind and the “I” of the body. Assuming they are not one thing, because one part thinks, and the other part is physical matter. We forget the physical matter provides the means by which the conscious thinks, and can therefore perceive the physical part.

The two are cyclical; perfectly chicken and egg. And the two are changing at every second of the day as you flow from one moment to the next. A great example of how ever fluctuating both your mind and body are; is you may have a memory of a time you were brave, and so you could define yourself as courageous – that you put your body in harms way to save another in some form. And yet, you will probably also remember a time when you were cowardly. When you stood and watched a bully, rather than intervene, for fear of reprocusion. So are you brave, or are you cowardly?

Or were you simply brave in one moment, and cowardly in another?

But while you think of that; you will come to:

The second of the two problems: you can write down the words, “I want to be happy” or “I want to have wealth”; but you must remember that these are just words, not the feeling as they are themselves.

That is to say, that to physically say the words, “I am happy.” is not the same as being happy itself. Being happy is an indescribable feeling, because once you are in a moment of happiness, you’re not thinking about how happy you are; you just are. Like all else, it’s like a flow. You lose track of time, and you simply are the experience you are living, and it’s one which through one way or another evokes happiness. If you are to stop and think “why am I happy?” or “how happy am I?” you have begun to detract from the experience, and may actually think “how could I be more happy?” which decreases the intensity of the experience further so that actually you can’t describe your feeling of happiness just now, because you’ve lost yourself trying to define it, and by comparing it to future or further happiness it’s now not as happy as you imagine you could be.

So you’re defining nothing.

In the same way you could say you “want wealth” and in one moment mean “money” and in the next mean “purpose.”

In summary; what this effectively means, is a “You” which is no longer “You”, is defining an experience of say, “Happiness” which you cannot define, because the “Happiness” you are trying to define has passed to the variation of “You” than you were, and the “You” that you are now because you spent the time to define it.

Classification and definition are traits of the intelligent entity; perhaps experience is the trait of the wise entity.

To live the moment; is better than to define it, for in defining it, you surrender it.

And while you could define a moment, retroactively, this is defining a memory of a moment, and not the moment itself. So it is subject to infinite complications and inaccuracies.

Definition enables comparison. Rather than experiencing temperature, you are now experiencing hot or cold, or hotter or colder. This applies to happiness and sadness.

Rather, live in the moment as it is. Do not fear it or long for changing of circumstances, simply bask in what is. And while you can choose to define, at least understand what you are doing to the moment by categorising it. Take the moment as it comes, as it is in its purest form. Do not long for more or less of it, or a greater or lesser intensity of it. Simply; be.

Regardless of what you do; I hope the moment you find yourself in now, is a happy one. Just try not to think about it.

 

What comes next…

The adventure doesn’t have to be good, to be worth having.

More often than not you pick up a book in order to see the protagonist brave adversity; to overcome obstacles corporeal or otherwise, endeavour against an antagonist mental or physical and reach a natural conclusion – rather than read how fantastic their lives are at all times, and how regardless of the black upon the white of the page it continues that way until the end. If we were to do that; if our characters were to stay static and for everything to remain unchanged regardless of what happened – then it would be as much use to us as if nothing happening at all. If life is a state of change, why would we endure an experience of nothing; of stubborn unchanging?

It makes sense for our character to change, evolve and develop from moment to moment, exponentially even from chapter to chapter; regardless of if that development is ultimately better for them, or worse.

What this tells us; is that what comes next, does not always have to be the time at which you were most happy, for it to be the time you most needed. It does not have to a time you were most proud of; in order for it to be a story you may later wish to tell.

In fact; a large number of stories you’ll recall from your youth, involve actions you would never take again. Or unintentional copious amounts of alcohol.

The age of anxiety is upon us; because we feel as though what we have now isn’t that great, and that it’s only going to get worse. Which seems terrifying.

In order to avoid it, we try to cling on to this exact moment, knowing all the while that inevitably it will be taken from us, whether we like it or not.

Rather, offer no resistance. Let it go.

Do not be afraid of what’s to come; relish in the experience, knowing that if what is to come is pain, pleasure will be put into perspective, and it will follow in time.

What comes next may not be the time of your life; but it will be yours. What you can decide, is your perspective upon it. And how you will tell the story, when its over.


 

This article is best paired; with the following:

Uncertainty

Stop The Possibility of Future Happiness, Determining Whether You Are Happy Now

Temporary

 

Stop The Possibility Of Future Happiness, Determining Whether You Are Happy Now

Happiness, as everything else in life, is fleeting. It is temporary. This is not scary, or negative. It’s a fact. You hurt yourself, you are in pain, then it goes away. You run, you are tired, and then it goes away. You are enraged, you are all consumed by some startling revelation… And then eventually it does subside. You’re sleepy, you go to sleep, and so on and so forth. It’s all temporary, regardless of whether it’s a minute, an hour, a day, a week, or years at a time. It is temporary.

The problem with that, is we must accept that we have to let go of the moment. That time, that feeling, or that possession we felt belonged to us. At some point, although it cannot be identified, we must let go of the current moment, for the sake of the next. And while we would like it to return again one day to a moment we enjoyed in some form of another – the sheer fact we cannot guarantee it brings about our anxiety, or our reluctance to truly let it go. It brings about a unique sadness, where we may not experience the moment, for fear of it not returning again one day. Similar to when you are sad while you’re on holiday, because you know you will be back home in a few days. This is silly. You’re allowing the sadness of not being on holiday, ruin your happiness while you’re actually on it. So now in both moments, you are not achieving your full potential, because you’re sad in the moment, about being sad in the future, about a moment where you were happy, where in fact now you are sad! Which is maddening, and confusing altogether.

If you were to wake up every morning, and consider that today may be your last day – you would drive yourself to the point of insanity, despite the fact that ultimately it is true; it COULD be your last day. To fear the content of the day for fear it is your final one, would be a very negative way to live.

It should not matter if you feel you have one more day to go, or twenty thousand more to go. Make that day count.

If you are to be sad that day, be sad. If you are to be happy that day, be happy. If you must when you are sad, remember that at some point you will be happy again. But to detract from some happy moment, because it may not last, is altogether not worth your time.

While it may be difficult to let go of the beauty as the sun sets, know; you will next have the stars to enjoy.

 

A Healthy Body

Look after your body.

Remember that the saying, “A healthy body, a healthy mind.” is not just a catchy saying. Rather, your mind – as abstract as it feels – IS maintained by your body. In fact, your mind as beautiful and intrinsic as it is, is made up of a series of connections, that determine and create chemical reactions which in turn allow you to feel and think and control your body in turn.

It’s cyclical. Meaning if your mind cannot be properly maintained, because your body has been poorly looked after – you will think bad thoughts, and make more bad decisions, and feel bad, and so your body too will decay, and slowly but surely this cyclical process will take a devastating toll on your overall well being, and lead you to places of sadness and negativity.

A treat – foods that taste good but offer little sustenance or nutritional value – is a shortcut to happiness. But shortcuts often lead to long delays. If you find yourself using these shortcuts too often, you will eventually build up your backlog and it will hit you hard. Hard in the form of a dependence on those shortcuts, because your body can no longer make the chemicals it makes naturally in a fit and healthy body – because it does not have the nutrition and the vitamins to do so.

So while decadent treats certainly are such – remember that often they are a treat for the tongue alone. They do not generally account for the nutrients and energy that your body needs. Don’t eat fruit just because you’re told to – eat it because it’s good for you. Eat your vegetables, and enjoy them, knowing that you are fuelling your body to a brighter tomorrow. You are boosting your immune system, and giving your body the excitement it needs to do new things, create new ideas and new works of great.

You do not want to be out of breath walking up some stairs, because your body is struggling to move itself and convert chemical energy to kinetic energy, because it has not properly been topped up.

With no energy, you cannot even embark on the adventures that you so desire, for a wonderful life.

Equally, prepare your body for those adventures. Even the adventure of daily life. By improving your cardio, you will ensure that should you need bursts of energy, you can do so – because your body has learned to function more productively. When the air sacs in your lungs can perform effectively, they ensure your body can respire aerobically, meaning your blood is oxygenated and can carry oxygen to your muscles that require it so they can perform optimally.

Your body will also, at some point need to bear a heavy load of some sort. Perhaps you will carry a dog down a hillside, after a hot and tiring day. Or perhaps your children in your arms, up to bed.

Then, it behoves you to ensure your muscles are ready for this task. The way your muscles work, is that they can only grow in size, once they have been proved to not be strong enough to handle the current load. So you must work out your muscles, lift heavy objects and lift them repeatedly, until your muscles tear (slightly – not as in an injury) and then they must repair themselves stronger so that they know not to be broken by that same activity again. Then you must lift heavier objects, let them tear, so they grow bigger to not be broken again by that activity, and so on.

Run far; lift heavy and repeatedly; and eat healthily; and you will prepare your body in such a way, that it can live it’s best life naturally.

It is as simple as that. To be kind to yourself; you must be kind to your body.

A New Home

A blank canvas. With the material equivalent spread on new walls all around you,  you are boundless. You could write, you could paint, you could be whatever you want to be within these walls. They are untouched – and while they wait for your kinetic imprint, the footprint of life, they are potential.

Ahead of you, you see what your life could be, at your time within these corners. You see the smiles and the laughter, of the ones that you love as they gather round where your dining table will be, when you’ve managed to obtain it. You’ll place your fingers against the walls, and trace where picture frames of friends and family with smiling faces, will hang. You’ll walk around and imagine your legs bent at the knee, as you lay in comfort with your arm around the one you love, as you remember why on idle Sundays you cherish having your person to do nothing with.

As you stand with a smile, baked across your face, for a brief moment in vanishes, as you think of the places you’ve left behind to get here. All the places you’ve been, and all the people you were, at all the points in your life. You’ll think of the good times you had, and feel a sincere moment of melancholy, only because you are so thankful to have those memories in your head, and sad that they are in the past.

And then you remember; the person you are now. And as the smile reappears, you stand in awe of the future ahead of you. And the future you’s ahead of you.

How times you’ll never forget; have yet to happen. How your dreams will slowly metamorphose into memories, and in turn spawn new dreams and ambitions you will work towards. You realise the road does not have an end, but you will instead consistently be amazed by the happiness you will achieve.

A new home is the epitome of potential. It is the foundation, by which you will build yourself, and the life of the best you that has yet to come.

So, artist, now that you stand before your canvas, what will you paint?

“I feel as though I haven’t really done anything…”

Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?

How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?

Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.

Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if everything worked out?

Irrespective of the grandiose nature, and concepts that surround life and ontology; wouldn’t it just be wonderful if all the things we’ve dreamed in our heads, within reason, came to fruition. The simple things.

To wake up every morning, and have my first sight be the glow of your face. Where the first words to stretch my voice will always be “Good morning.”,  because I truly know it will be.

To look on the couch, and watch you read your book – with your toes wrapped in a winter blanket, by a fire that heats the fur on the back of our dog that we’ll have.  To see your hair fall over your glasses, and watch you, mesmerised, slowly pull the hair back behind your ear. To watch in slowed time, your eyes meet mine, and remember evermore; how lucky we are.

To sit in a house we call our home, with gentle anticipation of loving friends who’ll visit us the day after, and remind us why we all stay in touch. Where smile and laughter is not uncommon. Where bellies are full, and hearts are warm.

Where ambitions are always on the horizon, but not to fill some void – only to drive us towards tomorrow, where we can spend another day together.

And as the light dims, on each new day, we’ll huddle together for warmth; one that we can only find, in the curve of one another.

As a smile dawns upon my face, and I drift off to sleep – there is no doubt in my mind, that there will only be one thought that fills my heart;

“Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

Uncertainty

Uncertainty, it’s a wonderful thing.

It ensures that you live out a fascinating and astonishing life, rather than a mundane one. With every day different, you can be sure you should continue on going because there is so much to see and do.

And yet, it’s so commonly associated with anxiety because anxiety requires it for its very definition. But the two are not interchangeable. Just because you are uncertain of something, does not mean you must be anxious of it.

Uncertainty, refers only to the unknown state or outcome, of future events. Anxiety, refers to the negative feelings most commonly associated with uncertainty. So what happens then, if we remove anxiety, and instead explore uncertainty?

Humans innately strive for the illusion of control; the ability to steer your car down a particular fork in the road, to lead you to pastures new. The problem being that while in theory this seems pleasant, and very deterministic; life is much more chaotic – and while you can choose which road you travel, the problem is your field of vision is foggy at best. So while you may choose the nicer, more well maintained road – you could find that as soon as your on it, there are more obstacles in your way; roadworks or the cars of others that slow you down and bring you to a halt. Perhaps the cars that drove down the nice path did so, because they liked the seaside view next to it. But maybe you don’t like the sea.

So while it’s nice to think you’re in control and making the right decisions, in reality you’re about as likely to predict the correct outcome as the flip of a coin. So why worry about the uncertainty of it all? It’s tension. All of your choices, every single one you have ever made, has been half chance – and so have everyone else’s.

Let’s suppose your loved one is away on travel, and you’re irrationally afraid for their safety. Let’s suppose they are already gone, and so you do not have the option of convincing them not to go or packing a bulletproof vest in their suitcase. Now, whether or not their destination is a safe haven or a war-zone, it does not behoove you or anyone to worry or remain anxious for any length of time. You do not have control over this situation. You are uncertain of the outcome, but that does not mean you have to fear it. The outcome will remain the same, regardless of your fear of it. So why worry?

Apply this to the toxicity of self doubt, in any given situation. How many hours could you justly say that you have wasted thinking about events… which never happened? But you thought they might. And so it felt very real. To you. As real as if it had happened, because just like when a real thing happens and it takes its toll, so too will you be tolled as long as you treat fictitious events as though they are true.

So remove this anxiety from your life. Remain in the moment – and if anything, embrace the fleeting nature of it. Embrace that as you try to hold onto the moment, already it has passed. So do not hold on to it – rather, live it. The universe does not have to adhere to your laws of expectation. Nor does it work on the same reference of time. It can change what it’s doing in an instant, just as you can.

Accept uncertainty. It is merely a synonym, for freedom, when it is not necessarily you who is in control.


Another article you may find helpful regarding this topic of abandoning the illusion of control, and not fearing it, can be found here:

Shorts: The Apple Tree