Oh hey there, thanks for tuning in. If you haven't done so I encourage you to read the the first section of this two part post called,"Inhale" (won't really make sense if you don't). With that being said, let's dive in.
As I reflected on last year with more questions than answers, I deduced that perhaps I wasn’t “doing enough”. I wasn’t working, trying, pushing hard enough. That was until I stumbled upon “Stillness Is The Key”, a book that helped me clear the fog.
Now I am not a big reader, if I am being honest it has never been my media. That is not to say I am anti books but rather just, green around the horns when it comes to that realm. A close friend of mine lent me a book prior to after sensing my stress, which spiraled into Ryan Holiday’s work. Dissecting the lives of big names throughout history and breaking down their experiences to core ideologies regarding reflection, equilibrium and mediation resulted in the acquisition and consumption of his novel under a few weeks.
The biggest takeaway from the novel was that I was taking on too much (which anyone who knew me could have told you). More specifically, I was holding my breath in the hopes that as the more things I piled on, maybe, just MAYBE, things would make sense. All the while, amidst the chaos, the busy schedule, the skipped deadlines, long days and sleepless nights, I didn’t allow myself to exhale.
To be still.
Granted, once I read that book my third eye didn’t open and gave me the ability to summon various cosmic realms. But it allowed me to have a point of reference, a new way to perceive what was going on around me. To slow down to see what was really happening.
It has allowed me to recognize and begin to understand that my size in the scope of the world and the universe we call home - it’s not that big. Honestly, in the long run, a lot of the small chaos, inconveniences or conflicts we endure; like missing a promotion, running after the bus or a breakup, just isn’t that big of a deal when you REALLY take a closer (or rather further) look at it. This is especially true considering our “long lives” which lasts around 80 years, really isn’t much compared to the gargantuan book of time that the universe has written thus far (this sounds bleak but stay with me here).
Once I figured out that I wasn’t as great as I thought I was, or that my setbacks and problems weren’t these ground-breaking moments in history, the fog began to clear. And with that I found my mind gradually feeling lighter. I began challenging myself to speak less and listen more, turning off the news and being present with people around me and myself, embracing silence and learning when I needed to say “no”. Placing myself in the orbit of my problems rather than at the center allowed me to welcome new ideas and discover a new perspective. Time seemed to elongate itself. The suffocation once present began to loosen its grip as I took a step back to evaluate the nature of my surroundings. This ever-spinning clock, the journey of those that have come before me and the way that those yet to come would be affected, and my role within this convoluted equation, weirdly enough was starting to make a little bit of sense. My world had been changed.
The catch? IT IS SO HARD. Everything is a deliberate decision to examine and reflect rather than react. How easy is it for us to nod or just lose our cool and blame the situation without thinking about the people around us and how our actions impact their lives. For every successful attempt of self reflection during the day there are AT LEAST three failures. Its frustrating at times, it feels like the work you’re doing to better yourself is for nothing. The doubt creeps in, you begin to second guess yourself and it feels like your slipping back. But THOSE MOMENTS, are what its all about. Those moments I personally define our role in all of this. To mold ourselves into every role be everything for everyone is a fool’s errand.
So what do you do when you get to a point where you feel like the world is against you and you can’t do anything, but you feel like there’s nothing you can do?
You do what you can.
Again, I must stress that I can only speak from personal experiences but there is freedom in recognizing your limits. Admitting that you may not be “the chosen one” is scary at times, and that’s OK.
Sometimes being the fastest, richest, smartest most popular is not going to be you. You will realize that the world will not end, and a weight gets lifted. Imagine being able to look within, with no external pressure, to see the beauty and value of yourself and how it has been projected outward. To see your essence breathe life into the world in front of you. As crazy as it sounds this sounds it’s a mantra that is rooted within religions worldwide. And if all these thinkers and religious titans were able to come back to a central theme, maybe there’s more to be said about looking inward.
Mindfulness puts us in a position where we need to re-evaluate who we are, which is not a bad thing at all! In fact it’s encouraged by most thinkers/successful people. Who better to help you figure out what is on your mind or what you’re feeling than, you? We get bombarded with information and data from all corners of the world that oftentimes makes a mess of things. How can we focus and stability when the news stations and screens try to catch our eye with ground-breaking news and notifications every hour? How can we see what we have accomplished and the lives we’ve changed when we’re moving too quickly to turn and look back?
These aren’t bad things, we need to know what is going on in the world but what I have noticed (especially now that I have a little but more time) is that a lot of my time is spent refreshing and listening to the same information, just spun differently. Connection is important, but over-consumption will come with its list of side effects. To be honest I didn’t even intent to write the last two posts, but its one of the few things I can do right now. I am not the second coming or the next Dalai Lama, I’m just trying to take sense of all this craziness that’s been going on recently, and I encourage you all to do the same. Be still, reconnect with who YOU are. That could be meditating, playing an instrument, cooking, painting, running, reorganizing stamps who knows!
The last 3 months of this year has forced me to reflect on more than the last decade (over exaggeration? Yes, but you know what I’m getting at) but with struggle comes growth. And I felt like sharing that with all you beautiful people.
I am not saying I’m perfect - I still have my slip ups, overthink situations, have outbursts and doubts, but the road to stillness is not necessarily a straight one. Sometimes you need to drop your bags, go for a walk and exhale.
Are you breathing? Are you currently holding your breath? What’s holding you back from exhaling and if you have experienced that exhale, the sort of letting go, how did it feel? Once again thanks for tuning in, Be good, be healthy and do good. Not for me but for you, so you can then be good for the world. Here's Minano Pride by Uyama Hiroto, just click the cassette and enjoy.