What do you love about life?

It’s how everything is one long chain of this moment, stretching and stretching and stretching. If you keep retreating after you fail at something… soon you’ll discover that you can only pull this moment so thin, like an elastic band pulled tight. You are taut and tense and uncomfortable with all the ideas bouncing around in your head that you don’t like. That clash with your view of the world. At the same time, you don’t want to put them out of your head, you don’t want to narrow the walls of your perspective, at the same time, you struggle to stay present and relaxed and loose and open. 

Life’s filled with paradigm shifts. If it’s making you uncomfortable… and you still feel like this idea has merit… then you either retreat, to protect your fragile sense of identity… or you collapse the old structures. Again. 

I keep wondering… when you’re going to figure it out, I keep wondering… when you’re going to decide enough is enough and stick to it with the heart, soul and passion of someone coming alive. Because, yes, I think you’re right, someone who is alive has no time to think about what other people think of them or their work. 

I also found this quote, today, tucked away amidst some of my writing,

“Everyone who works with love and with intelligence finds in the very sincerity of his love for nature and art a kind of armour against the opinions of other people.”

– attributed to Vincent Van Gogh

My friend wanted to know where I’d see myself in 10 years. I remember when I used to love asking this question. We had dinner together to celebrate his 26th. I sat next to the most gorgeous woman I’ve met in a while and she was absolutely delightful at conversation. I felt the joy of banter. Sheer innocence and fun. 

The truth is that I don’t think my younger self imagined my present self to be here, but I don’t think she had given it much thought. At 25, I have. But I told him, to ask me in 10 years and I’d tell him what goals my 25 year old self had. Mostly, I didn’t want to commit to verbalising them because things can change and I admit I waffle often at life. 

And as I came home, I wondered again, what were my goals? To build better daily habits? To make music… but to make art, not entertainment. I feel silly and sad for wanting this. I love being entertained… but I am not an entertainer. To being a better teacher? To commit more wholly and fully to the craft of music? To writing? To… being a better person? All of these things excite me. Along with a few others that are not career related in the slightest. 

To reading more life-changing books. To learning some martial arts – kung fu to be precise. To learning to read in Chinese, to learning Spanish. To learning another instrument. To keep dancing, solo and with others, to keep feeling into the flow of life. To keep meditating, doing yoga every morning… grounding into the present moment. To learn how to skydive solo. To go scuba-diving. To fall in love with a different world. To trek a desert. To hike those gorgeous mountains in China. That’s what I want. To get more tattoos. To slip away for months on end, every now and then. And there’s more, that only my heart would confess.

It was good, that he asked that 10 year question… because naturally, the following question would be… and what are you doing to manifest these? Because as he told me his dream, I knew that he needed to be another person, to manifest it… and… I know, I’d also have to be a different person to manifest mine. I wondered… how to reply to him… I hope… No… I’m sure you’ll get there. A sheepish smile passed over his face for a moment and he said thanks. 

Maybe I should’ve said, in 10 years I’d be trekking a desert… or climbing Huangshan Mountain. That makes me laugh. Maybe I’d be skydiving solo… or doing something else a little bit crazy.

Sand

Mid September Reflections

It’s raining today. Yesterday… I discovered… how egotistical I was before I took off to travel and experience a different slice of life…

how… really, ego was merely protecting me. And at this point, without the intensity of my ego that previously dominated my psyche… I feel more free. I feel less inclined… to be someone I’m not and more often… realise I am unconcerned… with how someone perceives me, though I perceive the value of first impressions and presentation.

the sweet acceptance of where i am… where i was… looking back, is incredibly warming. not that the journey is complete, it reminds me of hiking to machu picchu… the stops along the way… the lookout… the swing, arching over the edge, the expanse of green, surrounded by pachamama, it’s like that. the effort of getting there, is not about the final destination. the final destination never mattered as much as the journey. what does the final destination mean then? what would having a degree mean to me? 

in learning that endings are beginnings, it’s as though i can sense the one looming on the edge of my horizon, that’s where i’m going. 

i needed the time off. i’m glad.

perhaps, it was travelling, that brought in an understanding of how i am… and an integrated understanding of karma. as esoteric as it sounds, it works in a practical way. everything i judge, have learned to judge, will one day come around and teach me compassion the difficult way. it’s simpler, to let judgement go. 

what i was so afraid of. rejection? once, yes, deeply. now? now… i wonder why. why i ever took it so personally. why i ever wanted things that never made sense to me on a deeper level. conditioning. is the answer that comes. but also, deeper than conditioning, authenticity… i became authentic, in my pursuit of authenticity. 

this is the place to start, isn’t it? 

not in the literal death, but in the metaphoric and the symbolic.

where everything has been broken down. 

is the place to begin anew. 

this funny chokehold that i used to feel, is gone. this naive, foolish, sillyness… of trying to be someone i wasn’t, failing that and failing at being whoever i really was, a hangover from adolescence… has gone. in its place, seems to be the freedom i instinctively knew was mine as a child… conditioned out of, surrendered to the powers outside of myself… has returned. 

not in its naive iteration anymore… but in the truth and the reality of this world… in the paradox of knowing what is real and what is an illusion and that it’s all the same thing. in existing in realities that cross over and tickle at the edges and the seams of cultures and worldviews and models about life. 

about being here… breathing… a space between there and now, a space between the past and the present, like a venn diagram, i don’t recall ever being in this space, as though i jumped too fast from one stage to the next and missed this one. 

it’s the space we may inhabit at some point in our lives. it’s often a space nobody willingly goes. its liminality belies the comfort of the habitual. but it’s the space you find yourself in when life becomes intolerable in the way you experience it, it’s the place where all your inner strength and demons will surface if you have the courage to dissolve. everything that doesn’t matter, that cannot matter… that will not matter… will die. sometimes gaspingly furious for breath. surrender is never passive but active and always, terrifying… because surrender is the initiation into the unknown, of territory that you’re unfamiliar with. 

it’s pouring outside now. there’s something about this weather that’s tickling me, behind these glass windows where i’m warm… there is not much to frustrate me. 

Sand