Good practices and insights for better results

Meeting our future self.


Meeting our future self and being happy or unhappy with what we find.

meeting our future self
Imagining what our future self could be.

We all have a tendency to become stuck in the past, which potentially doesn’t help our future self. There is nothing wrong with thinking about the past, analyzing our mistakes and trying our hardest to learn from them. As long as these past experiences, don’t prevent us from growing into our potential future self. It’s obvious, that we would not want to be a lesser person than we are now. Would there be any point in striving for anything, if we thought that might be the case? We can create a “virtual embodiment” now, which enables us to experience the person who we desire ourselves to be in the future. It’s creating a push pull effect, we push ourselves now and in doing that, we also have a pull effect from the future self, we imagine and desire to be.

The flip side of meeting our future self, can be a picture of us sitting in a nursing home, reflecting on the opportunities we didn’t take. Living with the regret of a life only partially lived, being angry and disappointed with the outcome. Which ever way we imagine our future to be, we have to use that vision to fuel our current desire to either be, or not to be that person.

Taking a realistic look at our future self.

Taking a realistic look at our future, can be painful and it’s not something we generally like to do. No one wants to see a future for themselves that isn’t at least as bright, or brighter than it currently is. The goal isn’t to imagine an apocalyptic scenario, although that could happen with bad choices. But to envision what will happen to us, if we continue with our current choices.  Almost always, we are going to find, that if we think realistically, we won’t like some aspects of ourselves. The question is, why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret? I think we are grooming ourselves to become the person we want to be. But through each step of change and experience, our pre-conceived idea of who we want to be, also changes. In fact, the only change that is constant, is change itself.

Our modern world has also become a lot more certain over time, we almost take it for granted, that living to an old age is a birth right. In the pre-agricultural era, when foraging and hunting  was all we knew, the future was far from certain, with hardly a thought of reaching old age. The scarcity and uncertainty then, would have led to a short term view of the future. Eating, drinking and indulging in the moment, with no regard to long term health, or personal growth would have been normal. That thought process is still with us but there are even more opportunities available to us now, making it easier, to live a soft unfulfilled life, consuming and indulging more than we need to. Fast food, watching TV instead of going to the gym, spending money rather than saving it, to name a few.

Helping our future self

Our future self would be grateful if we saved for our retirement, looked after our health, bringing long term benefits, we will appreciate in the future. Our aim should be to seek a balance, but not to the point, where we only think about the future. We could end up comfortable but sad, lacking memories of our spontaneous self. I’m sixty six now, so I am already meeting a version of my complete future self, but I have come to realise, that change is the only constant thing we have.

Whether I want change or not, it’s inevitable I can’t stop it, even if I wanted too. I have found investing in activities that cause some discomfort in the short term, can act as a springboard to higher phycological growth. I walk every day very early in the morning, but lately, the cold winter mornings, have been a real struggle. When I hike, I like to take everything I need on my back and camp every night, usually solo. This has improved my patience and organisation skills, also my capacity to spend long periods of time on my own. These small inconveniences, have allowed me to obtain more resolve and a better capacity to tackle larger problems that will always arise. I believe, that I’m trying as much as I can to help my future self, whilst enjoying more contentment than I’ve ever felt before.

 

Meeting our future self
We don’t want to meet a cardboard cutout of ourselves in the future

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when we change direction slightly?


What happens when we change direction slightly?

A few Sunday’s back it was Mother’s day here in Australia. My morning walk around the local streets and park was much the same as any other day. It’s my routine, it’s convenient and comfortable. A circular walk lasting one hour and thirty five minutes, give or take a few seconds. I never change my route, my walks are always in an anticlockwise direction. I’m on an invisible railway track. I think back to the time when as a kid, l believed the train driver had to steer the train down the track and how much concentration that must take. I haven’t been concentrating at all I’ve been sleep walking on my track.

Not today though, I remembered the house at the start of my walk with the flower van parked outside. I walk past there everyday and l have noticed the lady filling her van with flowers. Will she be selling flowers from her van ouside her house being as it’s Mothers day. I am nearing the end of my walk, so I will have to change direction and find a short cut back to the only source I know of, that may sell flowers, this early in the morning. I start doubling back on my usual route, even this brings a different perspective as l see things from a different angle. Soon I am in completely new surroundings passing the time of day with other early morning walkers that I haven’t seen before.

A change of direction brings new possibilities.

The lady was selling flowers from the front of her house. Coming from a different direction it seemed odd, not as I remembered it from the start of my walk. The lady recognised me, “I see you walking by every day, it’s nice to talk to you” While I was chatting to her, a thought came to me of something l read once. A train driver was on the same route for many years, his train passed through a village where a lady would wave to him every day from her house and he would wave back. The train driver looked forward to this every day, imagining the woman to be warm and friendly. He even felt an emotional connection after all this time. As he was now retired he decided to walk to the house and finally talk to the lady in person.

The house seemed different to him now, he wasn’t sure that this was a good idea anymore. To late, he introduced himself, “I’m the train driver who you waved to every morning” “I wasn’t waving at you I was waving at the train.” This seemed sad to me, not that this lady waved at me every day. I wouldn’t have noticed anyway, sleep walking on my invisible track. Even the thought I had about the train driver came about because of a change in my direction.

According to google most of us move around in a very limited area, often visiting the same places again and again. I expect you go about your daily life more or less as I do, clamped to an imaginary length of rail track. It’s unrealistic and passive to expect a different experience or to meet someone different, who shares not only your interests and sensibilities, whilst moving within your exact daily routine.

If change seems to much then just stretch your borders a little more.

Go to places you have never been and order food you have never ordered. Also stand in lines you have never stood in before. A directional change can also happen by looking at long held beliefs.  “I can’t do that, or l never eat that.” Things that we have not examined for ages, having held them as limiting assumptions for long periods of time, sometimes years. Also things that we have never tried that we automatically assume, are beyond our capacity. I have never snow skied, jumped out of a plane or painted a picture. Sung a song in public, or played a musical instrument. It wouldn’t cost me very much to try, a bruised ego maybe, if l discovered l wasn’t any good. But if I enjoyed the experience it would be worth the change.

I discovered hiking and camping in nature only about three years ago. This simple change of direction has led me down a path that has changed my whole perspective on life. It’s also altered the thoughts that l considered were important to me. The change we may be seeking, must ultimately come from within us. It’s how we interact with the changes we do make, that make the difference. I understand now, when l first read that “some people travel the world and see nothing. While other people never travel and see everything” Observation, curiosity and a slight change of direction is a good place to start. “Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures” (Lovell Drachman.)

 

It doesn’t have to be dramatic even a slight change can help you smile more.

 

Taking ownership good or bad is our responsibility

Whether it’s good or bad it’s still our responsibility.

ownership is our responsibility
Taking full responsibility for our external circumstances

When we are children our parents are responsible for us. But their responsibilities cease, after we reach adulthood and we become responsible for ourselves. This means not only for the good parts, which are easy to take responsibility for. But also taking responsibility for the parts we may feel are not our fault, or beyond our capacity to deal with. Taking ownership of every event and circumstance in our past and current life is of paramount importance. Life is short enough without wasting months or years in situations that could have been resolved earlier. Taking ownership though, is not the same as taking blame, ownership means taking and having control over our lives. Even if those choices were made unconsciously, and didn’t yield the exact results that were hoped for.

It’s easy to look back on life and blame other people for the situations we find ourselves in. But, we can’t go back and change our upbringing, so it’s time to stop blaming our school teachers and parents for our hang ups. If we want to make changes, we have to take ownership. We have to accept that no one is coming to rescue us and make our lives better. We have to be an active participant in our growth and do our own “dirty work”. Once we take responsibility for our life and work out what we want, it’s time to make the changes. This comes about by thinking and acting with intention, breaking away from our old story and old patterns that have kept us stuck for so long.

The right attitude in taking responsibility.

We have all run across people who radiate an inner light. These people can be found in all walks of life, and seem to be “good people” . They listen well and make you feel valued, you often see them looking after other people, and as they do, their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about the wonderful work they are doing, in fact they are not thinking about themselves at all. When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day. But it occurs to me, that even though I’ve achieved a decent level of responsibility and caring. I have not achieved that generosity of spirit, or that depth of character. A few years ago I realized, that if I wanted to achieve this, I would have to commit to moral adventures that can form this type of character.

In order to become a capable adult, we have to take and accept responsibility for everything we do and are. It’s no good criticizing other people for what we have or haven’t done. If we want something in life, it’s up to us to reach out for it. Excuses, are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events and circumstances. We invent these excuses to defend our behavior, to neglect taking a particular kind of action, or simply as a means of neglecting our responsibility. Excuses are in essence, a means of placing blame for our own internal problems on  convenient external conditions, we may find ourselves in.

Understanding responsibility.

When we lack control, it’s very difficult to find the motivation to work harder, so our performance suffers. This chain reaction pretty much ensures failure, not just now, but into the future as well. Ancient Romans understood the concept of personal responsibility. After a Roman arch was completed, the engineer who was responsible, had to stand underneath it, when the scaffolding was removed. While you might not get crushed by a giant arch of responsibility, you still have a personal responsibility for the actions you take. If you don’t take steps to get what you want, other people will take these steps for you, which means, this isn’t always going to be in your best interests.

You owe it to yourself and to those around you to take control of your life, otherwise life gets difficult for everyone. Don’t let your struggles define who you are, you are more than your struggles, the future is up to you.                                                                                                                                                       

ownership is our responsibility
We have an internal responsibility as well as an external responsibility

 

Kaizen the smallest steps to continuous improvement.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction, ends up being the biggest step ever taken that’s Kaizen.

kaizen continuous improvement
Japanese self improvement it’s easy to digest that’s kaizen

“Kaizen” is a Japanese philosophy, while not having an absolute definition in English, it’s meaning is, continuous improvement, making small adjustments as we go forward. Kaizen, doesn’t represent the new exercise machine standing in the corner gathering dust and now being used as something to hang our clothes on. The new years resolution we made that was broken in the first few days. Business ventures that somehow never get off the ground, because the reality doesn’t fit the dream. Signing up for night classes full of enthusiasm, but after a few weeks of cold weather, missing classes to stay home in the warm. Obviously, there are people who take on these challenges and make it through to their goal. But more often than not, it’s easier to give up, move on and try something else that gives us more excitement, for a while.

Kaizen unnoticed steps

As we keep giving up on our grand dreams, we will be forced to ask ourselves some harsh questions. Why am I such a loser? How could I be so stupid? What’s wrong with me?  So not only have we not stayed the distance with our dreams, now we are using our energy to emphasize our inadequacies as well. This is where kaizen comes in, it allows us to bypass the lofty goals that are often doomed to failure. Allowing us to concentrate on moving forward with easier and often unnoticed steps.

The trouble is the “Flight or fight” part of our brain which is critical to register an imminent threat, has in most cases, become a liability. Any new challenge or opportunity, still tends to trigger degrees of fear, but most of the time it’s not a legitimate fear. Although, this still prevents access to the thinking part of our brain which becomes restricted and often shuts down.

Kaizen trying to trick the “flight or fight” mode

Kaizen is making minor adjustments, that are often so small they become almost unnoticeable. The part of our brain that becomes overwhelmed with change leading to fear, is tricked into staying asleep. These little steps of kaizen, are a stealthy solution to the large steps we often set for ourselves, but fail to achieve. Small actions take very little time or money, are very agreeable to many of us who haven’t built supplies of willpower. By outfoxing fear and negative responses, our brain is allowed to build up permanent optimism. This approach may seem strange to us, as it goes against most definitions of personal progress.

As individuals, we are prompted to “Think big. Believe big. Act big and the results will be big”. The results may be big for some people, but not for the majority. Kaizen isn’t about thinking big, it’s about thinking small positive thoughts to eventually get big results. Our attempts to be better usually end in failure, because life-changing goals overwhelm us into inaction, instead of inspiring us into action. Unrealistic goals make it insanely difficult to make any progress, so we become stressed over what is supposed to help us take action. A big audacious goal looks scary to our brain, and when our brain encounters “scary” it goes into “freeze” mode. If we constantly overstretch ourselves, we lose the required energy we need to take the necessary action to get better.

Kaizen in action

We decide to get up an hour early, the first day is fine, but the next day we feel tired and quickly abandon the idea. The kaizen method would be, to get up three minutes early the first day, and increase it to six minutes the day after. Adding three minutes each day until after 20 days we are getting up an hour earlier. Small incremental steps, that our body doesn’t even notice over the longer term.

We like the idea of meditating for half an hour every day. But a half hour meditation isn’t easy, so attempting a half hour block, won’t last for the majority of people. The kaizen way would be to meditate for just 30 seconds the first day, and keep adding 30 seconds each day. In 60 days we are meditating for half an hour, making it easier to maintain over a longer period.

Kaizen as a system

If we have never exercised before, deciding to go to the gym for a hour each day is going to be extremely hard and most likely will end in failure. As we watch television we decide to take the first tiny step. On the first evening, we get up off the couch during an ad break and do a fast walk on the spot until it’s over. And the next night two ads and so on until we reach one hour. It takes a while to get there, but once there, we are more likely to keep going as we have gained the momentum now.

While Kaizen was originally developed to help businesses improve and thrive, it’s just as applicable to our personal lives. If we want to achieve our goal every time, we need to create a system that works. Instead of dreaming about the ultimate goal, design a great process. This way makes us a winner, we can enjoy the present moment and most likely, improve at the same time.

kaizen continuous improvement
The smallest steps are all we need with kaizen

 

Death why we should take the time to think about it.

Death it’s only natural

Death space to think
Flowers bloom as we have the capacity to bloom within our season.

Are you feeling courageous? Then take some time out to think about your death and take note of what comes up. Invite the anxiety and the disquiet, feel the supposedly solid ground of your world tremble slightly. Approach the topic with compassion, and remind yourself, that it’s a natural part of life we’re all going to experience. Is there any benefit in thinking about our death, I believe there is. A more meaningful, mindful life and less chance that our story will be included in the next edition of the “Top five regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware. There are so many clichés surrounding death, that now it’s become disconnected from any significant meaning. Unless you are directly involved with or close to the process itself. “You only have one life” “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal” Why worry when you could be dead tomorrow”

It’s only when we are told that we only have a short time to live, that we become aware of how fragile life is. This got me thinking, is it possible to live our life within our self imposed comfort and only face the fear of death when we absolutely have to? While still trying to keep the status-quo in place, and not rock our boat in anyway. But it’s almost impossible to always keep ourselves in a safe place. When change comes, as it inevitably will, we will then be ill equiped to deal with it. In life, there is no turning back and there are no guarantees either. Isn’t it better to realize this, to embrace the fear of death and then use this, to live a really meaningful life.

Use death to live life.

We all have the capacity to live our life to it’s fullest potential. This is not to be confused with everything having to be an adventure, and taking unnecessary risks. We know in ourselves what makes us feel good, this provides us with the feeling of inner contentment. It can be cooking, painting, spending time with family or renovating houses, as long as we don’t get stuck in a rut. We all have our issues, problems and frustrations in our lives, this is all part of being human. But being aware of our death, is one solution to cultivate an intense awareness of the fragility of life. This has helped me to see the big picture, and not get bogged down in the pettiness of many situations.

Everything in life is constantly coming together and then falling apart. There is beauty in the moment, the seasons change, the flowers bloom and then they die. There is an impermanence to everything around us and we are a part of that. The vacation that was so fantastic, is over all too quickly, so we feel sad. The party we went to that was so much fun, that we didn’t want to end. And conversely, the crap party that we wanted to end. We are constantly confronting these types of endings, but while we are waiting for the next beginning to arrive, we are often missing the “Now”.

Death and mindfulness.

The fact that we are going to die, doesn’t create a meaningful life, it’s the wisdom of “knowing” that captures our attention. Then we are more likely to ask ourselves what’s important, and how do we embrace it. Habit of course, has a strong momentum that can carry us through until we die. So the question arises, what habits do we want to cultivate that will cause us to engage more with life Instead of procrastination, worry, and always wondering if we are making the right decisions. We constantly build defences against our vunerability, and death is the ultimate vunerability for us. But when we allow our life to be vunerable, we become more open and allow the world to impress itself on our consciousness.

What ever we have done in our life, is who we are when we die, so everything counts. We dont have to wait for death to find peace though, we can find peace in the wisdom of thinking about death while alive. Allowing these thoughts to guide us in making decisions, that may have seemed outside of our capacity before. Worries that once seemed relevant, are now put into perspective. Every bad day, seems pretty damn good when compared to having no more days at all. When we truly accept our death, we can hold on to that feeling in the same way we think about our grocery list or our plans for the weekend. We start to see what’s worth our time, and never worth our tears.

Death space to think.
Every problem is solved now only our legacy is left

 

Why judge a book by it’s cover when it’s clearly not a good idea.

It’s easier to judge a book by it’s cover.

why judge
It’s not a good idea to judge a book by it’s cover.

It’s not right to judge someone or something merely by appearance. Just because the cover of a book is beautiful, it doesn’t mean that the content inside will be. An ordinary looking book though, may contain invaluable information, but we won’t know this, unless we read the entire book. To get to know someone properly, we have to do the same thing, often we don’t and I believe our lives are less meaningful because of it. This is partly because, we live in a world of many books and we don’t want to waste time reading crap. We put people and things into categories, as it’s a useful tool to make sense of our surroundings. This also reveals cognitive biases in the way we look at the world, this is not in tune with reality.

We make inferences all the time, as we compare and evaluate ourselves against the current social mores. I have often done this myself, even though I know at an intellectual level, I could be completely wrong. Couple this with compassion fatigue, as we become overwhelmed with social problems all around us. This leads to a mindset that creates a dangerous situation, which causes many problems in society.

It’s easy to judge people?

I’m on a rehabilitation program again, after the hernia repairs. I’m starting to walk around the local neighborhood, not too far from home in case I need rescuing. It’s the first time I have really walked around the local streets, I’m usually driving by on my way to the park, or further afield. So how do I amuse myself, that’s the question, this is Australia, so walking around the suburbs isn’t the national pastime, not with glorious beaches and beautiful parks everywhere. “Have you run out of petrol, is that why your walking, or have you broken down, do you need a lift?” “No! but thanks for asking,” your judgement was wrong this time, but I can see why you would think that.

How to judge your neighbors?

This is an older neighborhood built in the 70’s, a mixture of different styles. I’m going to make some value judgements, that house with the very formal garden, with well kept lawns and edges. Not sure of the peoples age who live there, they like gardening though, probably retired, and very fastidious. That one over there is very stark, concrete driveway and brick paving everywhere, hardly any lawn or garden. This one’s a bit tougher to guess, they don’t like gardening though, but it’s still very neat. The garage door is up, a caravan, motorbike, surfboards, a younger family live there,  and they enjoy their leisure activities. Hence no time for gardening.

Look at the state of that house over there, long grass everywhere. I don’t think that boats been anywhere for years, its almost grown into the landscape. They don’t have any time for gardening either, but for different reasons than the young family over the road. Mind you, they could be renting, people renting don’t look after their houses properly, do they?

More judgements?

Driving home in the early hours of the morning after a social event. I went past the local take away food outlet, some of them are open 24hours. Those kids playing around in the carpark, they can’t be any older than my grandson. And I know, he’s tucked up in bed over in Melbourne, as he should be, at twelve years old. So what the hell are the parents of these kids up to, letting them roam the streets at this time of the night, surely it can’t be very safe for them. Their parents don’t care about them, that’s plainly obvious, in my judgement.

I mentioned this to my youngest son who turns 41 soon. “What’s happening to the younger generation nowadays running around the streets at all hours. We never let you do that, we were responsible parents, not like the parents of the kids I saw.” “Well I know the area your talking about, do you remember when you used to drop me off at my mates house. And then ring his parents to check how we were. We were fine, we used to climb out of the bedroom window when his parents were asleep and meet up with all our other mates, down the very area your talking about”.

Good judgements.

The curious thing is, I don’t consider that I do judge a book by it’s cover, but in the day to day, I seem to be making judgements continuously. According to my understanding, fast judgements have helped us in the past. As we needed to assess risks very fast, in order to survive, so we evaluate all new things in the same manner now. I read somewhere, that we have two voices in our head, the judgmental and the empathetic. We simply allow these two “voices” to co-exist. Slowly, we will be able to experience both, our mind’s tendency to judge quickly and our mind’s ability to think more deeply

why judge
I change color all the time so don’t try to judge me.

I often think more deeply, when I give myself the time and space to make a judgement properly. I’m making a judgement now that so many people are doing it tough in this world. Therefore I’m not helping by judging situations, that I know very little about. When we judge people in the moment, we often judge them harshly, “why can’t they do things according to our standards.” The undeniable truth is, we are all a heartbeat away from illness, tragedy and any number of events, that can change our lives instantly. So it’s best to keep it in mind, not to judge a book by it’s cover. Because, there but for the grace of God, go I.                                                                                                                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                        

Make a choice to take Risks.

Calculating risks.

Make a choice to take risks
Taking Risks, doesn’t always have to be dramatic.

Taking calculated risks sharpens our confidence and wellbeing as we identify ourselves as being stronger. When it comes to taking risks, there’s something to be said for trusting our gut, but too often we confuse gut instinct with fear. We assume, that discomfort means our gut is telling us not to proceed. So rather than step outside our comfort zone, we avoid the risks that can propel us forward. We assume if something feels scary, then it must be really risky, but that’s not an accurate way to measure risk.

Our level of fear, usually has nothing to do with the actual level of risk we face. Most people fear public speaking, being embarrassed, or being laughed at, but none of these instances are risky. We sign up for a get rich quick scheme using our hard earned cash, but we often don’t see this as a risk. On the other hand, we don’t think twice about getting into a car, yet car crashes kill people every day.

Risk muscle.

Mentally strong people don’t fear taking calculated risks. We know taking the right risks, can be the difference between living an ordinary life and living an extraordinary life. Everyone has a risk muscle, we keep it in shape by trying new things. If we don’t, it atrophies and we’re no longer able to take risks. How many of the wonderful things that happened to me, did I actually have anything to do with? Not very many it seems.

Luckily, some of the best things that happen in our lives, are not governed by our influence at all, they just happen. Most of the time, it would be far better, to get out of our own way and not interfere at all. We can choose to take risks and not wait until we become ill and feel our life force diminishing. We will always have regrets, it’s the regret stage we go through, in which we visit the life we wish we had lived.

Risks with our heart. 

It’s a pity that being who we truly are requires so much courage, but it does. Being who we are, whoever that is, sometimes cannot even be articulated at first, not even to ourselves. All we know is there is a yearning within that is not being fulfilled by the life we are currently living. The mind knows no answers. The heart knows no questions. It is the heart that guides us to joy, not the mind. Having the courage to follow it, is where true happiness lies. As the heart grows, life brings more joy and peace our way. A happy life wants us as much as we want it. (paraphrased from a book by Bronnie Ware. The top five regrets of the dying)

What if risks.  

Why do we live a life, that is often based on a fear of what if’s? What if I can’t take the consequences? What if I’m too frightened, what if I end up alone, what if this costs me too much money. Well what if ? We have to ask ourselves, how many of our greatest fears ever actually happened. There is no safe path to take, we have to take risks going forwards, whether we want to or not. We can’t allow ourselves to look backwards for guidance, because there is nothing of us back there. The reason we are where we are now, is because that part of our life is over. We can’t look “back” to the past when we are trying to “chart” the new. We risk seeing an image of ourselves, that doesn’t exist anymore, we are not that person now.

20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain) 

I think the heart does carry us to joy and not our thinking process, if we are willing to follow it. Often, there is an excitement felt deep inside, similar to the feeling we get when listening to music, that we enjoy. Living within this and similar feelings, often makes taking risks easier. The answer, isn’t always dramatic risk taking that drives us forward, often it’s baby steps to where we want to go. While being aware of the direction in which our heart, is trying to guide us.                                                                                        

Make a choice to take risks
Risks within our thoughts being the weakest link in our life.

                                                                               

 

Help wanted apply within

Apply within
Help wanted apply within

Wanted apply within.

You once told me you wanted to find yourself in the world and I told you to first apply within, to discover the world within  you. You once told me you wanted to save the world from all its wars and I told you to first save yourself from the world, and all the wars you put yourself through. (Suzy Kassem)

We’ve all heard the collective maxims on success. Follow your passion, nice guys finish last, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know and a winner never quits, plus others. The words are said that often now, that we accept them as truth. A lot of the information is part of a stale agenda, that’s often not helpful to our individual interests. It’s also becoming increasingly hard to discover, our truths outside of these hackneyed phrases. What is the most useful advise for us? as we become comfortable with the lightness of the feel good mainstream media. Which often blocks us from discovering our true selves as we reach out for the seemingly, simple solution. Apply within, is the best solution, attempting to drill down through into our authenticity.

There is also our lazy filter, that comes between us and some of the nuance knowledge that is available to us. Trying to discover material and resources that benefit our own peculiarities is not easy. It takes work and dedication. Often it’s found in a different place, it could be a dusty corner, or buried in an academic tome. Nuggets of information that we can apply within. Also, we have to trust our long term understanding of who we are and how we have developed over the years. Many of our qualities and beliefs have stayed the same, with no significant change from when we were young. We know our strengths and also our weaknesses. By playing to our strengths, there is a chance our weaknesses will blend together with our strengths and come along for the ride.

 Apply within.

Once we apply within we become more selective in taking guidance from outside sources, that try to tell us what we should do. Being more selective, assists us in finding what we’re truly capable of. We have to accept the flaws, mistakes and weaknesses that have made us unique. Even when we get good results, our inner dialogue will pull us down, if we constantly look for flaws within ourselves. As the role of the subconscious mind is to maintain the image that we have created. We must praise ourselves as we keep moving forward. Not in a bullshit way, but using small victories as stepping stones over our perceived failures.

Turning up the volume on our inner voice, is a good place to start when trying to follow our true self. The voice, that most of the time is drowned out in the constant chatter of noise, both internally and externally. Our mind is usually running at a hundred miles an hour. While we often carry tension in our bodies as well. It becomes obvious that we need to quieten our minds, to benefit  from our intuition. Meditation can work, depending on the consistency that’s developed over a period of time. All of the methods of meditation, apps on our phones, guided meditation, celestial sounds, mantras, music and breathing. Require us to test them out and see which combination is the best for us.

Apply in solitude.

Hiking in solitude is my preferred choice, especially solitude over a longer period of time. Which works for each individual in different ways. For me, it usually takes two to three days before I start to feel a difference in my thoughts.  I’m not an empty vessel waiting for my intuitional thoughts to present themselves, filling me with the joy of discovery. Yet there is a marked difference in how I feel, when immersed in the solitude of nature. Hiking is a form of walking meditation. Particularly when the track is flat and I’m not looking down at my feet to often. If I’m fit, well fed, watered and comfortable inside my boots, there’s a better chance I will forget my bodily needs and allow my thoughts to blend with nature.

Nature presents the big picture to us and we become a part of that for a period of time. My thoughts have certain feelings attached to them, as they come bubbling up. Solitude in nature is the best chance I have of connecting to pure intuition within my thoughts. False intuitions defend themselves with justifications when questioned. True intuitions are silent when questioned and have a soft magnetic pull to them. That’s something I got from a dusty corner somewhere.

help wanted apply within
Apply within solitude

 

Develop the strength to do bold things.

Develop the strength to do bold things
I’m not scared of you slimy do bold things

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” Niccolo Machiavelli.

In life it’s only natural to experience setbacks and problems. Self discipline is the tool we require to solve life’s problems. Without self discipline, we can solve nothing. With only some self discipline, we can solve problems. With total self discipline, we can solve practically all problems. Self discipline is the means by which we concentrate our mind on what we want from life. At the same time keeping our mind from attracting what we don’t want through fear and worry.

Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm” The trick to doing bold things is changing the way we respond to failure, it’s disassociating ourselves from it. Our failure in any given area doesn’t make us a failure. It’s reframing our thoughts in a different way. I am not a failure, but I failed at doing this, boldness comes as we turn failure into strength with self discipline.

Take a bold step.

Some people get angry when they fail, others, unwilling to except responsibility, look for scapegoats. Still others ignore their negative results and continue with negative actions. “There’s really only one solution to gridlock on the failure freeway and that’s to wake up and find the exit. John C Maxwell. In a world of instant gratification it gets harder to play the long game, as we look for quick fixes to solve our problems. The problem is we get comfortable with what we were doing, and the new habit we need to be better, is less comfortable. We’re clinging to the comfortable, it’s so easy to be enticed by a stable salary, a routine and a comfortable life, but at what expense?  You can only make progress if you take a bold step. Overcoming the fear of failing is the first step to success.

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try” John Quincy Adams.

Take action if you make mistakes realize your fear of failure isn’t based on logic but on experience. That experience eventually brings competence and as a result you make fewer mistakes. You have to act your way into feeling positive, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward. “Fake it till you make it” I’m a firm believer that this can work, everyone does it to a certain extent and there is nothing wrong with that. The mind can be tricked, you can balance your life on a small hack. In the meantime, you will learn what you need to and turn that pretend confidence into the real deal. All it takes is a little nerve.

Doing bold things.

Doing bold things, comes in more when you have to do a particular task and there’s nowhere to hide your “fake it till you make it.” I can remember one particular boss I had in the construction industry, when I was a lot younger than I am now. You started in the morning and had until lunch time to prove your ability. “Here’s the blue print build that” lunch time came around, it was a very simple process. “Good on you mate, go grab your lunch” or “pick up your tools and fuck off”. Could he do that today I’m not sure? Did it help me to do bold things in the future? when you need money there is no choice, it’s doing bold things with necessity in mind.

Without the concept of fear there would be no need for boldness or courage. With boldness we choose to be bigger than our current self and step towards the future. We bring the new into the present, knowing that fear will show up, but we must commit to action anyway. Courage allows us to handle the waves of fear as they arrive, because we have made a commitment to do bold things.

Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship.

The boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, or the boy who had received a Rodgers penknife from his father ? Who would be the most likely to cut his fingers? Thoreau

“TO BE OF USE” a poem by Marge Piercy

Craftsmanship “The people I love the best, jump into work headfirst without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals, bouncing like half-submerged balls.  I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who are not parlor generals and field deserters, but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out. The work of the world is common as mud, botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust, but the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident. Greek amphora’s for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used.  The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real”.

Craftsmanship.

When people imagine the craftsman, they have a romantic image of an industrious independent man in his workshop. Usually with a beard, probably with a leather apron, rolled up sleeves, a salt of the earth type of guy. A skilled tradesman, secure in the knowledge of his hand and the strength of his character, pursuing a simple, quiet life in idyllic surroundings.  Craftsmanship can be seen as an opportunity to be self employed, self expressive, self sufficient and self actualized.

You’re engaging your physical capabilities, your imagination, your ability for cognitive problem solving and engaging your creativity.  Throughout human history, to be a blacksmith or a creator of wooden objects wasn’t glamorous. But that didn’t matter, the specifics of the work were irrelevant. The materials being used weren’t noble but the shaping of them could be.  This is caring about what you do, commitment to quality and deeply understanding one’s materials. These are the elements of craftsmanship in general.

Daydreams.

Craftsmanship allows a practical way of experiencing the phenomenon of “flow” where you disappear into your work. Any sense of “self” disappears as you concentrate on the task at hand.  The work at hand should take you to your edge, working on that edge and just beyond. Where your not overwhelmed, neither are you remaining in an imposed comfort zone within the work. There is often a suspension of time involved, what seemed like minutes, becomes hours. This turns out to be an immensely pleasurable and wonderful feeling.

I’ve been a carpenter for most of my adult life, I have experienced “flow” many times. I would explain it as, “waking up from a day dream” but there is something tangible to show for that day dream. Now amongst other things, I write words, which isn’t natural for me. But the act of putting words together and suggesting new ideas can take me off into something quite seductive. The words could be nonsense, or be interpreted another way.

When I’m working with wood and chisels, there isn’t a question about whether a chisel is sharp. There is also, never a question of whether a joint between two pieces of wood is tight.  When I make a piece of furniture, the functionality will be decided by the user.  My ideas, suppositions and efforts are checked by the “real” and that can be a very healthy feeling.  The item exists in the physical world to be enjoyed and shared with others.  Unlike “words” which disappear off the computer screen into the archives and I’m left wondering, if it was nonsense after all.

 

Craftsmanship
A healthy feeling

 

To Much Comfort

How our climate controlled comfort is killing us.

Modern Technology has provided us with an inordinate amount of comfort. With the turn of a dial our homes are set at a perpetually comfortable temperature, has this made us physically and mentally weaker.?  What if our bodies need discomfort to truly thrive and flourish. Those thoughts were passing through my mind today as I was shopping in the local supermarket. Wearing shorts a tee-shirt and open shoes, I went down the dairy and frozen food section. Maybe it didn’t help that someone had already driven their shopping trolley into my heel, my patience and reasoning skills were already fraught.

I kept searching for my elusive product, it seemed to take ages, but sure enough there it was. Shivering, I was glad to get into the warmer zones around the bakery section. I turned around and in my haste stubbed my toe on the shopping trolley.  There was a young boy beside me wearing a pair of shorts, with no tee-shirt or shoes. Obviously, being young, he didn’t feel the cold. Next time I walk down the freezer section, I will be wearing my puffer jacket, trousers and hiking shoes.

Temperature changes.

The young boy didn’t make any impression at that moment. But later I thought, something seems to happen as we age, do we feel the cold more or is something else happening. Are we becoming weaker and sicker. In our evolutionary past we experienced wild temperature changes, in some parts of the world, the temperature swing between night and day can be over fifty degrees. Our ancestors explored the world in fur skins and sailing boats and with very basic equipment. They had to rely on human biology to resist the elements and all the variations.

Now we live in a cocoon of technological comfort. Our bodies don’t have to meet any of the conditions that our ancestors had to experience. We almost live in a perpetual summer with temperatures controlled at the flick of a switch. We live in antiseptic environments where we have killed the harmful and good bacteria. Weakening our immune systems, this leads to diseases of the 21st century, obesity, diabetes osteoporosis and many others. This period of comfort is very short on the relative time line of civilization. Our bodies have had to adapt very quickly, more so, than at any other period of our evolution.

Comfort Zone.

To much comfort
Living a false life

It’s not that we need to be “hunter gatherers” and forage for our food. But we are designed to be more than “bystanders” of our lives. The comfort crutch locks out engaged participation and locks in an impediment to an extraordinary life. What our brains and bodies really want isn’t comfort, it’s engagement in novelty, challenges and learning. When was the last time you ventured beyond the familiar face of habituation.? Not on a luxury vacation where everything is taken care of except your brain and your wallet. Rather something that challenges you to plan and figure things out for yourself.

“Neglect of intense learning leads plasticity systems to waste away” says Norman Doidge in “The brain that changes itself”  Michael Merzenich, a pioneer of plasticity research, adds “that going beyond the familiar is essential to brain health. “Keeping the brain new” is being willing to leave your comfort zone. Not becoming so attached to the idea of how you currently are, that you ignore a blatant truth.  The world is vast, the probability that you have already found all your favorite things in life is very small.  You can be one hesitant step away from meeting a new best friend. Also discovering a favorite dish, or a bigger purpose in your life.

Getting out of comfort.

I was contemplating this question, can there be a way to fast track out of my comfort zone. Without spending money or taxing myself too much physically. Or altering my brain chemistry without drugs. Still creating my own fear though and allow this to push me through my comfort zone. Also in the comfort of my own home. It came to me, listening to a pod cast on one of my morning hikes. So simple but so difficult, no mess no preparation a rapid fire way to get out of my comfort zone.

Tomorrow, I’ll go to the bathroom and set the alarm for five minutes. Before I activate it, strip off and get into the shower.  Start to run the water how I usually like it, warm and comfortable.  Then activate the alarm, turn the shower to completely cold and scream in discomfort for five minutes. It’s the closest I will ever get to jumping out of a plane without a parachute apparently. Repeating  this for 30 days was part of the message. It seems like it could be an incredible experience.  I wish I could tell you how it felt, but my logical mind wants to gather a bit more information.  So I’ve decided to hang out in the freezer section of the supermarket for an extended period next week. Also I won’t be wearing my hiking gear either.

Be willing to pay the price.

Decide how badly you want it, everything has a price, decide if your willing to pay the price.

Be willing to pay the price
I would do anything not to be me

Aline your actions with your goals. People say they want to lose weight, but their unwilling to change the foods they eat.  Some people want to gain weight, but they don’t want to lift weights or make sure they are eating enough. Also they want to run a marathon, but they don’t want to train. Most people want glory without the hard work.  Decide how badly you want it, figure out what the cost will be to achieve it and then if you still want it, commit to it. But if you don’t want it, that’s fine “BUT” stop pretending that you do. If you want it bad enough, work like hell to make it happen. Everything has a price, decide if you want to pay that price. Then if your willing to pay the price, be at peace with your decision.

Stop waiting for someone to give you what you want.

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition not mistakes of laziness. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. If your worried about death and your own demise, don’t, it’s coming whether you like it or not. You will either arrive at the end of your life, satisfied with the things you have achieved. Or you will arrive broken and beaten, but whichever way you choose, have no doubt that you will arrive.

Never be embarrassed to admit mistakes

Just because you’re embarrassed to admit that you’re still living with the consequences of bad decisions. Some of them made 5, 10, or 20 years ago, this shouldn’t stop you from making decisions now. If you let pride stop you, you will hate life 5,10, or 20 years from now for the same reasons. This transformation is painful, but your not falling apart, you’re falling into something different, with a new capacity for growth as a person.

Big and scary

The mind makes all future tasks big and scary, so we procrastinate, even the little things, when we imagine doing them in the future, get distorted and take on frightening proportions.  Objects in the mirror of the future appear larger than they really are. Because the imagination, when it ventures into the future, always imagines the worst case scenario. No wonder we procrastinate, thinking and imagining the worst case scenarios, scare us into putting everything off.

Pay the price

Perfectionism can be a trigger for procrastination, you can delay doing a task simply because you find that the conditions are not perfect. Ultimately, in order to achieve any goal, you will have to believe that you have the strength and self discipline to do whatever you set your mind to.  You can easily become a self help junkie, you can have a whole library of books that give you intellectual knowledge. But unless you take decisive action on that knowledge, it remains a hobby of reading and collecting books.  The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself  in some way.  I don’t worry about maintaining my quality of  life, because everyday I work on improving it.  Strive to learn and add value.

Be willing to pay the price
Every little helps

 

The One you Feed

An Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves                                                                   

 One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied the “one you feed”.

Negative thoughts.

Hopefully the grandfather is able to teach the grandson, how to “feed the good wolf.” While changing his focus to positive thoughts, which is extremely difficult, because we’ve never been taught how to. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of negative thoughts and hard to start thinking positively.  As the bad thoughts will always be there in our minds.  It’s hard to change from positive to negative when you have been thinking negatively for a long period of time.  Negative thinking is normal, we all have these thoughts.  Therefore if this way of thinking becomes incessant, it can lead to depression,  self destructive behavior and addictions.  Further more as a result it can derail us from what we want most in life.  At an absolute minimum, negative thinking saps our energy, erodes our self confidence and put us into a bad mood.

feed the good wolf
The good wolf

Even though we may be in a certain mind set, thoughts are completely random, we never know which thought is coming next. So a good practice is to be aware of negative thoughts that arise, and try to detach from those thoughts and watch as an observer.  Watch your thoughts, they become words.  Your words, become actions, your actions, become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Stress.

The perplexity of our thoughts and the way in which we try to handle them.  Have been and will be written about and studied as long as thoughts exist.  Stress is the root of many of our negative thoughts.  Survival stress is the phase of “fight or flight” this is seen as a common response to danger in all people and animals.  When we are afraid that we may be physically hurt, the body naturally responds with a burst of energy.  So that we are better able to survive a dangerous situation.

This was a basic survival skill when we were in the “hunter gatherer” phase of  human development.  It would be hard to estimate how often this basic survival skill was used in any individual lifetime.  The “fight or flight” response is used inappropriately in modern society.   Often we worry about things that we can do nothing about, or worrying for no reason at all.  Environmental stress is another response to things around us.  Noise, crowding and pressure from work or family, often result in fatigue.  Which over a long period of time, causes a hard toll on the body.

Fight or flight.

Feed the good wolf
The bad wolf

Stress was meant for “fight or flight” not for constant use, it burns down our immune systems and uses most of our energy.  In this mental state we have little chance of  “feeding the good wolf.” We can’t go backwards, the pace of life will only get faster. We will need to adapt quickly to a variety of situations.  The onus on us, is to try and calm the mind and to detox stress as much as we can. There are various activities that can be used.  Meditation which can be taken to various levels or as simple as the “head space” app on our phone.  Gratitude can work it’s own magic, by serving as an antidote to negative thoughts.  When you look for things to be grateful for, they are never far away.

Hiking in nature, has psychological benefits that are well documented.  Improving creative reasoning through immersion in the “wild” calming the mind and allowing us to “feed the good wolf” with positive thoughts.  The lion and the tiger may be more powerful, however the wolf does not perform in the circus. (unknown)   The “wildness” of nature may be the best place to “feed the good wolf” moving us away from performing in the circus.

Minimalism to find a happier life.

Minimalism.

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excesses  in favor of focusing on what’s important. Allowing yourself to find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom in more simple pleasures.  The minimalists to their 4 million fans, try to help people live more meaningful lives with less.  Helping by engaging in their website, books, podcast and documentary film minimalism.  Using intentionality, a clarity of purpose and the removal of everything that distracts us from these ideals. Modern culture has bought into the lie that the good life is found in accumulating things. More is better as we have inadvertently subscribed to the idea that happiness can be purchased at a department store.  Minimalism, is freedom from the passion to possess, freedom from modern mania and freedom from duplicity

Counter culture.

A counter culture, about the internal and not the external.  Minimalism is helping people find freedom in their heart and soul, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Is this the gospel of minimalism, consumerist self sacrifice, as people who have it all, now seem to prefer having not much at all.  Minimalism was popularized in the 1960’s as an insult, in an essay for an art magazine.  Describing a group of artists whose work was characterized by “minimal art content” that is lack of art, now stylishly austere it seems, is minimalist.

On the trail.

Long distance backpacking is synonymous with minimalism, an escape from mental and physical clutter.  When you step onto the trail with only what is on your back, you tend to gain insight as to what is really important in life.  Minimalism takes place again as you gain experience through hiking, using gear to hike, not hike to use gear.  The simple act of hiking can only be enjoyed, when your not worrying about how heavy the gear is on your back.  Days don’t end in exhaustion and you are able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Like watching the sunset and listening to the wind in the trees when you stop to rest for the night.

Experience.

Decreasing pack weight, when trying to lose  ounces becomes expensive.  You need everything you have, so the only option is to look for lighter items as replacements.  These can be expensive, as lighter items are usually more high tech.  The minimalistic experience, is in the nature of the trail as well, every place you see you will likely never see again.  Every person you meet, will never share this space again, there are no comparisons to each other, there is no time or inclination to judge or consider.

Questions to answer.

The premise, is that minimalism brings freedom and joy, if we only attain the right things.   Forsaking  everything else, to be free from the constraints of our desires.  Has the concept of minimalism been high jacked again, as it was from the art world of the sixties.  Is minimalism an arrogance, providing  another all encompassing answer, while not encouraging individuals to ask their own deeper questions.  Maybe it’s a hangover from pre-recession excess, Mac-mansions, S.U.V’s and cocktail parties, medicine we had to swallow anyway.   Minimalism just makes the medicine easier to swallow as we feel better with less.   Some of the almost in touch rich are joining in, asking their own questions.  How much can we own and still be minimalistic, have I got rid of the wrong things?

Technology

Technology is creating a minimalist genre that I must admit does have appeal.  Carrying a small bag of clothes, and a small backpack containing a lap top, I-pad and a smart phone.  Not owning a home or a car, staying in Airbnb’s and traveling the world having experiences, intelligent labor with no physical labor.  Physical stresses on the body from twisting and turning on a difficult trail, seem to concentrate the chemicals that effect the brain in the body.  This reduces the need to concentrate on mental processes, helping to clarify our thinking abilities.  If I can somehow get that pack weight down and accommodate some minimalist technology, then the next town I go through on the trail, can be my office for a few hours.  I’m asking my own question, am I an authentic minimalist now?                                                                                                                                                     Minimalism

Human doing or human being

Human doing or human being

Human beings, are the poorest clumsiest excuse of all the creatures that inhabit the earth. He has to be coddled and housed and swathed and bandaged and upholstered to be able to live at all, he is a rickety sort of thing , anyway you take him, a regular British Museum of infirmities and inferiorities.” Mark Twain.”         

These infirmities and inferiorities frequently cause suffering in older people.  Insufficiently dealing with these issues can result in crises and psychological disorders.  Integrating these issues of aging into the understanding of life can contribute to personal maturity.  Precious time is lost following goals deemed worthy by society, instead of pursuing our own authentic desires.

Realization.

All these goals, are insuring the smooth functioning of society and not enriching life as a unique human being.   This doesn’t make us worthless, it just makes this aspect of western culture worthless. We can’t allow ourselves to be overtaken by a domestication process. Existential thoughts can lead people to question their existence, resulting in unsettled responses to these questions. Existential thoughts are not just confined to older people, they can happen at any age, even in young children.

Domestication.

The domestication process, begins with parents and teachers, it’s not their fault, they only teach, what they have learned.  Forces all around us, family, friends, and the media also conspire to keep us domesticated.  Unnatural behaviors often develop in wild animals when they are domesticated.  So these behaviors in us can also be striking, as we become distanced from our natural environment.  Often we demonstrate the consequences of domestication, as we question the meaning of our existence.  While we are  haunted with feelings that our culture is verging on insanity or blindness.

Feeling alone

It seems that no-one understands us, are we are still being manipulated to be a doer rather than just being.  If you seek to understand the whole universe, you will understand nothing at all.  While if you seek to understand yourself, you will understand the whole universe.  The domestication process has separated us from our true human nature.  So we believe that mind and nature operate independently of each other.  The premise of what interests my organization or society is the only consideration.

Psychology.

Theodore Roszak, a professor of history who had already coined the term counterculture.  Who went on to Publish a manifesto in which he strongly criticized modern psychology, for neglecting the primal bond between man and nature.  He argued that  “All that lies beyond the citified psyche has seemed of no human relevance or perhaps too frightening to think about.” Society contrasts  a growing unease with our state of nature,  Nature deficit disorder, eco-anxiety and eco-paralysis are part of this unease. We as humans are hard wired to interact with nature.  Eco-therapy conducts psychological sessions outdoors, as patients perspectives often change with restorative benefits.  Nature provides a live and wild environment not under control, this often leads to a revelatory experience.

Choices.

being a human being
Humans doing

Mark Twain was right, we are a regular British museum of infirmities and inferiorities.  Therefore we are often happy and sad, crying and laughing at the same time, with too many choices for our wellbeing.  Hiking in nature helps me to recognize these feelings, it’s not the only way, but it works for me.  The majority of our human existence has been, within nature as Hunter gatherers.  Whether we believe in creation or evolution it doesn’t matter, this wild state of human nature can’t be denied.  While we can’t all go back to living in caves, as there’s not enough caves to cater for everyone.  Rather that’s not to say, that many of us wouldn’t like to have the experience again.

Models and balance

Models and balance.

Modelling, is the representation of a real world object or system in a mathematical framework. It can be used to make inferences about potential future outcomes. Models that represent the human condition, can’t capture the individual within the model, for obvious reasons. I think we realize that we need a sense of order in our lives.  We can’t be completely  random, or things as we know them, could not function properly. Somewhere between order and randomness, there has to be a balance point for each individual.

Models and balance
Getting some balance in our lives

As individuals, its part of our mission, to find that balance. If we are pulled towards either spectrum by forces within or outside ourselves.  We have to work on ourselves to reach the balance that is right for us. There is a tendency to seek order and comfort by default, we often live in that zone.  But in doing that, we are missing out on a chance to experience what it may be like to find a new balance at a higher level.

Looking for balance.

Hiking in nature for me, has been the catalyst to reaching a new balance point.  It has allowed me to think differently about many things that I took for granted as being the truth for me. Even as I started hiking, there was a perception of how things should feel.  From all the articles I had read and thought about. The experience was similar, but  different, because I brought my own unique experiences to nature.  So that ultimately determined how I felt.

Being in nature has helped me to be gentler with myself and not to force anything to happen. I am finding my way towards a new balance that works better for me. Two of the greatest human emotions we strive for, love and happiness, can’t be forced.  They often come slowly and have different feelings attached to them. What may work for one individual could be completely different for another.

Personal development.

I have used plenty of different personal development material in my quest to become a better version of myself.  An inner core of values, that are built in a linear fashion, over time. A different model that often talks about the negative and trying to move towards the positive. There still has to be a balance point.  You can’t fool yourself that if you work hard enough, everything will automatically move towards positive.  There will always be a negative that we have to deal with. Affirmations may work for some individuals, but for me, it feels like sticking a band aid over something.  It feels like I’m trying to bullshit myself at a sub-conscious level.

It has been suggested that neutral affirmations may work better, for a person with a more negative mind set.   Every day in every way I’m getting better and better  replaced with  I’ve had better days, but I’ve had worse, today, I’m ok.  I’m beautiful, happy and love myself, replaced with I’m working on accepting me as I am.  If your character leans towards positive then you can top yourself up with  I’m beautiful, happy and love myself.  There is a very good chance you may believe it over a period of time, it’s still about finding a balance point that works for each individual.

Finding balance.

A compelling argument, can take us into a certain way of thinking, but there is always a counter argument that can be just as colourful and compelling.  Presented in the right way, what felt so obvious no longer is. There is an overall big picture effect in nature, it transcends any sense of our ideas of order. It’s the order that was in place before we started to try and impose our own ideas of order to it.  If humans were taken out of the nature model altogether, there would be another adjustment balance.

Models and balance
Things in our life are often finally balanced

Hiking in nature especially over an extended period of time.  With our cell phone turned off, no I-pad and not looking for internet coverage.  Can often help us return to a place where our mind can relax and let go of reactionary responses. The constant distractions and stimulations of modern life, can be a threat to creativity and other cognitive benefits. Without becoming a hermit and living in complete solitude.  Or allowing ourselves to be pulled towards reactionary responses and negativity.  There has to be a balance for each of us, and that balance, I believe, is our mission to find.