What are you proud of, Ikigai and 2020. <3

There exists in me a desperate yearning sometimes that I wonder if it exists for others. It is not that this thought soothes me… but that I find the threads of grace in the knowing that… I’m not alone in this. There’s a kind of grace in the shared stories and histories that can exist and intertwine between our worlds. There’s a kind of grace, in seeing you as you are. 

She said… what are you proud of? 

And the word pride seemed too yellow, too much, too uncomfortable… to frame my words through this lens. I did try… and when it came to the page in front of me and I, I discovered this was my relationship to pride. 

Nothing ever dies. Although, I speak of death candidly. In this context, I think, death simply re-animates, meaning. Takes something apart, disintegrates it… and soon enough, it will be something else. It will coagulate again… be part of something else, be different in its new expression… be more. Renewed.

Nothing ever ceases to exist… nothing… what does this word mean? No thing? It seems ironic, that here I am really referring to everything. 

Repressed pride in my shadow still exerted its influence over my life. The obvious… felt like a moment of realisation, long in coming… and with it, memories of childhood, now infused with sadness and acceptance. 

The way you see someone may not be the way they see themselves. Is it the years that are bringing on this sense of expansion? Or that I’ve arrived at a point where the pain of not expanding this exceeds the growth pains? 

I’m not averse to the pragmatism of life… or the practicalities of reality… when in rhythm, I enjoy them greatly… like the making of a meal and the maintenance of a sense of structure… for the purpose of joy and clarity. I love structure when it serves me, when it works for me. It has been a joy to re-learn what structure means to me.  

Some ideas haven’t blossomed and come to full fruition yet. Give it time. And in the meantime… find joy and daydream away. Because when the ideas do ripen… the action and the manifestation of them flows effortlessly. 

I am feeling this decade come to a close. It was an intense decade for me and I wonder if I will experience this level of intensity again in my life, or if, it will always be the darkest decade of my life… with its lessons and beautiful moments but also its pain and darkness. I’d rather like to hope so.

I don’t feel like I have given up anything that matters… but I have given up a great deal of what does not. I really don’t know what the future holds and I don’t really… care to know… yet… like growing fruit… it hasn’t ripened yet… but I can feel the seeds have been planted, and what do you do… but tend lovingly to the watering and growth of what you have planted? ❤  

2019, I am proud of:

– Quiting my role/job/work at the end of 2018

– Putting uni on hold at the end of 2018

– Spending 4 months in Spain 

– Spending 6 weeks alone in Peru 

– Getting a tattoo over my scars (nearly a decade long decision I finally commited to)

– Showing up on the yoga mat every day 

– Commiting to meditation 

– Dancing my traumas free 

– Having the courage to show up to be seen

– Letting go of shame 

– Letting myself cry – often

– Letting myself feel the pain fully 

– Finishing uni / final portfolio 

– A new role/job and work bringing and encouraging growth and expansion 

2020 themes/desires:

– Confidence, Integrity, Alignment, Empowerment 

– Acknowledging needs and boundaries 

– Exploration of the esoteric 

– Deepening yoga practice 

– Continued commitment to meditation 

– Courage, showing up, embodied dance

– To love my work and all that I do

– Flow and creativity 

– Deepening roots, classical music, L.mus.A 

– Seeking new ways of working with music and its connection to the emotional body 

– Abundance 

– Travel fund  

Books I read in 2019 for which I am grateful to, in shaping my thoughts, inspiring me and inviting growth:

The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck

Awakening the Heroes Within – Carol S. Pearson 

Blue Truth – David Deida 

The Magic of Thinking Big – David J Schwartz

The 4 hour work week – Tim Ferris 

The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason 

The Law of Attraction – Ester, Jerry and Abraham Hicks

The Instruction – Ainslie Macleod

The Holy Wild – Danielle Dulsky

2020 Goal: Ikigai 

To wake up fulfilled and to enjoy a sense of warmth for the day ahead. To fill the day with beautiful moments and reasons for being. 

What are you proud of? What is your ikigai?

🙏🏼💛

Human condition: Wild

“… the maiden represents the heartfelt and formerly sleepy psyche. But a warrior-heroine lies beneath her soft exterior. She has the endurance of the lone wolf. She is able to bear the dirt, grime, betrayal, hurt, loneliness, and exile of the initiate.” (pg.452)

“In the underworld birth, a woman learns that anything that brushes by her is a part of her. Sometimes this differentiation of all aspects of the psyche is hard to do, especially with the tendencies and urges we find repulsive. The challenge of loving unappealing aspects of ourselves is as much of an endeavour as any heroine has ever undertaken. … For the majority of women, mothering and raising the internal selves is a creative work, a way of knowledge, not a reason for becoming unnerved.” (pg.467)

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Women Who Run with the Wolves

I hope you come into this life chasing fire,

opening your eyes and your hearts,

your selves to the deep inner wisdom

and the universe within,

dear sister,

your sacredness belongs to you –

your body;

let me say that you need not share it to feel worthy,

nor share it to belong,

nor share it to conform,

you need not share it because someone looked at you

and said a thousand things you didn’t know you could say to yourself,

you need not share it because you fear not being enough,

you cannot measure how worthy you are

as a goal or a place to get to,

it is not some distance on the horizon,

an arbitrary shape or a number on the scale,

you cannot step onto it in the morning 

or in the evening 

or at any point during your day,

your worth, dear sister,

is you as every self conceivable;

the you in the mirror

and the you screaming at the sky,

the you drowning in the sea of your emotions

and the you laughing as the wind tickles your skin,

the you running a marathon

or the you sleeping til past noon,

the you showing up

and the escape artist in you,

how many selves are layered into the body that you wear?

take the kindness to know them,

every existence in the fire,

burning and untamed,

every existence in the waters,

flowing and alive,

every existence in the winds,

idealistic and poetic,

every existence in the earth,

erotic and sensual,

every existence in the shadow,

dying and liberated

in the darkness of the womb,

new beginnings

in the light of the dawn,

flesh, blood and bone,

an incantation to the wild;

sister,

wisdom is knowing your worth from inside out,

wisdom is knowing you have the power to know yourself,

wisdom is the work of a lifetime,

your birthright to being human,

look in the mirror and see,

you are the mystery

and the key,

the story 

and the teller…

the myth and the living,

embodied wisdom, 

truth and life.

This poem was inspired by a conversation, mostly one-sided, that I overheard between two guys a few days ago whilst waiting for the train. I remember thinking that I was glad the person sitting next to me wasn’t the person standing and asking questions, and right on the heels of that thought, I heard, “So how old is the slut you’re fucking?”

Shock ricocheted through me before the train came and I was gone. To me this feels like a conversation worth unpacking… not also because I felt a visceral repulsion or the coincidental timing of it… but because being a human being makes us part of this conversation.

Where were the women that shaped the experiences and life of a boy barely a man, posing this question? The question reveals more about him than his friend, who mumbled a reply that suggested he’d rather drop it… yet wasn’t quite willing enough to push the point across or defend his partner between the sheets.

It occurred to me later that the girl in question was, fucking his friend and not him. Was his remark, then, a defence mechanism for his own buried insecurity? Was he ever loved by his mother? Where did he learn to denigrate women with this double standard? Did women exist in his life or did his perspective come from men who simply passed on misogyny? Was everything just left to porn?

What immediately occupied my thoughts as I left, was my hope that she’d drop them both… and that for her to do that, what would have to shift?

The asking reflected back to me my own experience with self-worth. This particular moment, this conversation… I discovered, was one way to see the wound and feel into what is needed, what I needed.

I found myself pulling this classic Women Who Run with the Wolves, off the shelf to look for a quote and though I know I fell in love with Dr. Este’s writing… it still felt like a jolt – how much power lies in her work and how deeply rooted it is. If a hypothetical apocalypse came… and I had a time capsule to save three books, this would be one of them. Her wisdom is timeless.

“The ways and means of living with the instinctive nature are many, and the answers to your deepest questions change as you change, and as the world changes, so it cannot be said, “Do this, and this, in this particular order, and all will be well.” But, over my lifetime as I’ve met wolves, I have tried to puzzle out how they live, for the most part, in such harmony. So, for peaceable purposes, I would suggest you begin right now with any point on this list. For those who are struggling, it may help greatly to begin with number ten. (pg. 498)

General wolf rules for life:

1. Eat

2. Rest

3. Rove in between

4. Render loyalty

5. Love the children

6. Cavil in moonlight

7. Tune your ears

8. Attend to the bones

9. Make love

10. Howl often

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Women Who Run with the Wolves

Sand

On lessons and Stoic philosophy

Here’s a quote from Arno Rafael Minkkiren, a photographer who wrote an essay called The Helsinki Bus Station Theory:

“… be the caretaker of your vision. Make it famous. And above all, remember, that art is risk made visible.”

Arno Rafael Minkkiren

Not a single moment of the journeys we take will ever be wasted.

Some of what I’ve learned and un-learned along the way:

  • Other people will always give you advice based on who they are, their life experiences and what worked for them.
  • Research. No experience is off limits in the name of research.
  • If you feel shit, after listening to someone give you advice, then you’re in even deeper shit if you internalise it.
  • Take your own advice. It’s best… because you’re accountable for your own life and you’re the one steering the ship.
  • When a truth is universal… it will resonate, regardless of what age and era we live in. Here’s a quote from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome in 161 AD,

“What humans experience is part of the human experience … Nothing that can happen is unusual or unnatural, and there’s no sense in complaining. Nature does not make us endure the unendurable.”

Marcus Aurelius
  • Because you’ve already endured it. You’re enduring it.
  • Re-read Victor Frankyl’s auto-biography of Auschwitz and watch Frida Kahlo for inspiration on the human spirit’s capacity to endure.

To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it, if you simply recognise: that they’re human too, that they act out of ignorance, against their will, and that you’ll both be dead before long. And, above all, that they haven’t really hurt you. They haven’t diminished your ability to choose.

Marcus Aurelius
  • There’s always another way to see things. Perspective, paradox and paradigms are some ways to approach thinking.
  • Negative thoughts are the most unproductive thoughts to exist. Choose another thought.
  • Emotional alchemy is the process of transmuting your shadowy feelings into inspiration, strength, power. The key is always acceptance and presence.
  • Everything has a cycle, a rise and a fall.

Marcus Aurelius’ asceticism sometimes comes through too strong for me, then again, I am not a Stoic, but this is one of my favourite lines from Meditations,

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

Marcus Aurelius

I love the poetic way those words are put together… and that it’s also a reminder of death and that death is not so taboo. Rome as he knows it, is gone… but his wisdom can be quite beautiful to read.

… Earth’s offspring back to Earth but all that’s born of Heaven, to heaven returns again.

Marcus Aurelius

Sand

Perspective

I found this book the other day, titled The Richest Man in Babylon… and dug in. The style of the prose really tickled me. Inside the cover, is written, first published in 1926. The writer, George S. Clason sets the context in Babylon and writes in a way that reminded me of Shakespeare… thees and thys aplenty. Reading has always been a love of mine, but studying his plays? No… This, though, was an entertaining, lovely and insightful peek into understanding money, wealth, labour and capitalism… from a fresh perspective… but only a couple thousand years old, and the thees and thys… the archaic prose, made it rather endearing. It was like being tickled with amusement, wondering if I was finally compensating for my younger self’s lack of interest in Shakespeare.

I wish my parents had given me this book to read when they were trying to impart financial wisdom. My approach to money has always run counter-parental. Not deliberately, because I tried to follow their advice… but I suppose, some part of me, couldn’t see why saving was more important than enjoying life. My whole idea about money was that money existed to serve the living. Ha. And of course, we inherit all sorts of subconscious beliefs from the people that raised us… around a multitude of things – money being one of them. As it turns out, enjoying life, regardless of income, and spending liberally, relative to income, aren’t always the same thing.

(Tangent: I sort of took a 6 month hiatus out of my life this year, put study and work on hold… because I despaired at where I was going, felt lost, like I was suffocating with no way out and I didn’t feel good about my work – I signed up for a program and spent some months trying to teach English in a village halfway around the world and you know, it was the best choice I’ve made in my life. If I ever reach 80, I’ll look back and say this was the turning point… but it was everything else, that led to that point. Everything that happens to you, happens to bring you to this point. Sciency people would call it hindsight bias. But the phenomena is the same: No effort is ever wasted because whilst you might not see it now, or at the time, it’s creating and has created the present and the future, where you have your aha moment and things fall into place. Or you learn. There’s a silver lining in everything and that’s the beauty of it – that no experience is wasted.

Felt like it was important to go into that tangent. )

Anyway, prior to finding this book, I literally, found myself wondering, what are my beliefs and blocks around money? And the answer that came, was so damn simple… I want more money/income but if I was passionate about making money… the way I’ve been passionate about other things… the story would look different. The reality would look different.

And that hit me. Suddenly, it really hit me. Oh. Oh my god. The idealist in me, never had any interest in the pursuit of making money.

The realist in me, acknowledges that I have a student debt, that I’m in love with travelling, that there are so many things I want to do, learn, try, that yes I want a place of my own, with a view. Not someday, but visionable, actionable and foreseeable. That yes, freedom and independence are so important to me… and whilst the freedom and independence that comes from learning how to think for yourself is beautiful, it is one part of the whole equation.

So… I’m realising, as I write, that wow, I fought for my ideals but there’s no right or wrong anymore. I’m glad… I made choices that could look like mistakes in another light, because standing here, with the forest behind me, I still learned to be a realist. More than a realist, I learned to see how privileged I am. I still learned to see the trees, along with the stars and the moon. And I still am, an idealist at heart. That when push came to shove, I did not abandon this part of me.

I’ve never been broke in this way, and yet, I’ve also never felt this free. I’ve had money in the bank and felt more burdened and stressed and lost. Occasionally, I realise, wow, that is some shift. Something in me laughs. The difference was never the amount I had in my bank, the difference was, is and will always be, perspective.

The Richest Man in Babylon. It’s a gem of wisdom on the practical side of things and the stories will warm your heart.

Wealth grows wherever men exert energy. If a rich man builds him a new palace, is the gold he pays out gone? No, the brickmaker has part of it and the laborer has part of it, and the artist has part of it. And everyone who labors upon the house has part of it. Yet when the palace is completed, is it not worth all it cost? And is the ground upon which it stands not worth more because it is there? And  is the ground that adjoins it not worth more because it is there? Wealth grows in magic ways. No man can prophesy the limit of it. Have not the Phoenicians built great cities on barren coasts with the wealth that comes from their ships of commerce on the seas? – pg. 15

This particular paragraph, struck me. I had never considered wealth that way before. I am reminded of three things. A metaphor I recently came across… that a boy in America sees a mountain and a boy in Peru sees a mountain. One sees the money he can make for himself by mining the rocks and the other sees Pachamama.

The pie/pizza analogy. That this picture of wealth overlies an abundance mindset and so this analogy doesn’t apply, in a good way. Abundance vs. scarcity.

According to communism, a bourgeoisie is someone who owns the means of production. The communist thinks the distribution of wealth as unfair. But one of the stories tell of how the richest man, became the richest man, how, exactly, he started – the same as everyone else. Readily, it points to mindset. But yes, from another angle, the communist is also right.

On the other hand, climate change is also happening. Mass converting Earth’s resources into wealth has consequences… like the compounding accumulation of investing wealth… climate change starts as a trickle and becomes a rushing river. When oceans are filled with the unintended consequence, of humans, creating wealth by selling convenience… without realising that when this convenient plastic doesn’t degrade… opps? The long run is already here… and this particular saying is echoing in my head, if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.

Food for thought, perhaps. Everytime I use plastic, no matter how convenient it is at the time, I am being a part of the problem.

On that ending note… something I’ve learned, that is precious to me, because in understanding it, my world has expanded and there is a deeper understanding and knowing of freedom:

I am privileged and that privilege is a gift.

Then there are the attending questions of how to receive it, how to use it… and how to offer it.

For this post, I had intended to write about a book I recently read, it veered into being about perspective, but without privilege, I would have never gained perspective.

xx

Sand