Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Dare to Do It

Why put off til tomorrow what we can do today?

As you may have seen over on the @daretolivesos Instagram and Facebook, we've just kicked off a movement of 'doing'. With the hashtag #daretodoit, we're making the choice each day to do something, anything, that is of significance for us. 

Because we know from experience that getting the most out of our lives is an active process. It’s not something where we can tick the box or read the book and be grand; it’s an active, involved and committed journey.

When we choose to move away from our restrictive, boring, habitual conditions and towards the exciting, abundant world of freedom, then we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.

There’s plenty we can do at any stage of this (no doubt we've come across a suggestion or two!), yet sometimes we still find ourselves static or stuck, loaded with knowledge but ultimately just frustrated because we feel like we're getting nowhere. 

Knowledge is wonderful, understanding is essential and of course taking in information is how we learn. But we’re not here to just continually add to our collection of knowledge. We need to act. We need to turn what we know into what we do.

Walking the talk is our best form of transport towards freedom.

So on the Dare to Live and @marinotc Instagram we’ve begun a hashtag of #daretodoit and with that, are making a conscious effort to get out there and just do it - the things we’re afraid of, the things we’ve been putting off, the suggestions we’ve been given. No talking ourselves out of it or putting it off til 'tomorrow', just daring to do it.

Though it can keep us nice and busy and safely stagnant, at some point we've got to stop the overanalysing, the second guessing and the doubts - and the time for that is right now.

As they say, 'If not now, when?' So..What could we dare to do?
  • When we talk about getting active and just doing it - what comes to mind? 
  • What more can we do in our daily lives that'll feel better?
  • What are we avoiding doing?
  • What would we like to do?
  • What could we see ourselves doing?
  • What are we afraid to do? 
  • What would we like to prioritise more?
This doesn't have to be a big deal everyday; we don't have to do tons of stuff and wear ourselves out - this is simply a commitment to taking action where before we would've found a reason not to. Whether that act is choosing to listen to one thought over another, deciding to be really present or even tidying our rooms or prioritising 'me' time - it's all of equal importance and potential impact.

The things that we do move us, they are the little steps that carry our journeys, the drops in the ocean that make waves. 

We can't just think our way to a better life, we've gotta get really involved.

So, let's dare to do it.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Poetry: The Nitty Gritty Necessity

Sometimes it can be helpful to try out new and different means of expression and engage our creativity in the feat of unraveling our inner thoughts.

Poetry is one such method that has weaved its way in and out of my journey as required. Sometimes it gave language to experiences that felt beyond basic explanation; it allowed analogy and comparison to convey feelings I didn't even fully understand myself. Other times it served to shape stories of celebration, hope and excitement.

For others it might be art, music, activities, anything. There's unlimited means of speaking our truth to be explored, and discovering which of these we can become fluent in, is going to give our voices real volume.

Sometimes it's just nice to find out how to tell our narrative in a new way.

This week, poetry is going to tell a little tale about freeing ourselves from the final roots of 'not good enough' that may be holding us back:

The nitty gritty called me, several times,

Leaving its message inscribed in various signs

Recurrent raindrop reminders I refused to address

Instead choosing to suppress the duress of its upcoming test;
The mess - in which, it knows I’m scared to fall
The reason I chose to reject that call.

Yet, I know too the facts of fear
And the trilling truths I don’t want to hear
I know that what I resist persists,
And that life consistently insists
On presenting me with what I need
So maybe, maybe it’s time to concede

As its resounding alarm refused to snooze,

I had to choose;

To recall that I don’t run anymore,

If anything I embrace the exciting invite to explore,

So I awaken to this request, this invitation inside the pain
Realising I’ve nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.

‘Write about me’ was the message’s demand
The clarity in its command knew my freedom would understand.
The message magnified as the seed grew, beginning to blossom into what I need to do;

Write about it. 

Write about the reason your stomach coils into a knot, 

When overwhelm points out what you still haven’t got,

Write about why being human can feel so godamn hard,

Why you wish to be armoured with an unwavering guard,

Why you think you’re so very afraid of hurt,
Why you’d ever attempt to hustle for your worth.
Stop quoting your lessons and learn them instead, 
And while you’re at it, actually feel the shit going on in your head.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to cry without any idea why. 
It’s okay to feel each feeling rise steadily high

When you have tears in your throat - it’s okay to resist the reflex to swallow

Instead let their natural flow follow, allow the healing sea outpour from within

Its waves whispering the soothing din,

A relentless reassurance you shrugged off before

Demanding of yourself to always take on more.

It’s okay to pause.

To take a moment and recall that this journey won’t be without its flaws,
So welcoming their colour gently unveils the core of this cause.

It’s okay to realise that there’s work still to do,
And doing something about that is entirely up to you
You can ignore the messages that well up inside,
The niggly insecurities that you try to hide,
You can do what you want, because the pen is in your hand. 
So you ultimately decide where you'd like to stand.

But the nitty gritty will call and ask that you listen.
That you use it to constructively conquer this condition.
It’ll implore that you embrace what it has to say
And it’ll rise to the surface impatient to be wiped away,
It rises with discomfort, defiantly dispersing the defence,

It was hardly going to just pop up without emotional expense

But when we choose to write our way out, its challenging purpose becomes crystal clear

And whispers of freedom replace its recuurent voice in our ear

Our exploration leads us to the inspiration for our new creation

One of a messy wonderful whole life, enriched with a concrete foundation of liberation
Cultivated purely from the decision to embrace uncomfortable contemplation
Of the answers to our curious confusion, tirelessly choosing to disband any old roots of delusion,
To respond to the internal intercom shouting the unravelling that remains
To finally heal the wounds of all our old pains.

The nitty gritty called me and when I finally answered the call
I showed up and unleashed my free self once and for all,
I wrote my way into a masterpiece that's entirely mine
Because the nitty gritty called me, several times.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

5 Lessons in Learning

 'The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.Brian Herbert

Learning is a progressive, continual undertaking. It invites us to open our minds, to consider alternatives, to grow and discover the potential both within and outside of ourselves. If we're not learning, we're staying static. We're settling. We're stagnating.

To learn is to move towards the doors of freedom and find out how we can break through them.

Sometimes it's a pain in the face having to learn though. We might feel like we know enough already or that we 'should' know all we need to know. We might be fearful of what 'can of worms' our explorations could uncover or even what we're going to do with the realisations we make ourselves. Because, what then? Then, we have the knowledge to move on and our justification for staying small or staying safe loses significant strength. But quite often, once we realise that there's more out there it's going to be hard to stop us going after it anyway. And while that could be a scary thought, I cannot recommend enough the act of doing it regardless.

We're all constantly learning and growing and seeking. We will never know it all. Regardless how much time, energy and commitment we give to the pursuit of perfection, we'll never be these infallible intellects with all the answers; some kind of encyclopedia-esque entity that just has nothing more to discover in the world. 

We need to legalise learning and the fact that if we want to move forward we're going to have to embrace it. That's what we're all about here after all; educating and informing and sharing ideas. Blog posts are the result of learnings I've picked up over the week, sometimes lessons that take longer to process and sometimes I just need to look back over old ones and remember what I've learnt before. In any case, here, we value the engagement in education, knowing from experience its capacity to enhance our liberation in life.

So what I'm saying is, I've learned to love learning and here's some stuff that helped that happen.

'The mind is like a parachute, it works best when open'

Becoming open in our mindset can be a worrying thought at first. When we're set in our ways or stuck within our own confines, outside ideas can seem like a threat. But opening our minds to that which others have to share or ideas that might contradict our own, puts us on the path to learning. Of course, it's uncertain, it could be uncomfortable and it could be challenging but the rewards will speak for themselves. 

If we can choose to be open, even if initially we refuse to act on anything we take in, we're still making a move towards learning. Entertain new perspectives, listen to the experiences of others and just gradually let them in. Let them swirl around our minds and contemplate them even if that ends up in an internal argument or we eventually decide we disagree - at least there's something happening and that's exactly what will steer us towards finding our own answers and opinions.

'The expert in anything was once a beginner'

Learning is vulnerable. It means admitting that we don't know it all, that we're imperfect and we're new to this. In order to accept this, we need to release ourselves from the prison of expectations that keep us barricaded in. We need to let go of 'should' and pressure and the echoes of 'not good enough' in our inner monologues. 

We haven't done everything, so how could we possibly know everything? Let yourself be new, let yourself be at the beginning of the journey. The pressure we put ourselves under to know everything already just cuts us off from the opportunity to actually learn. It's like sending a child home from school because they don't know how to read. It seems ridiculous but that's how we treat ourselves sometimes, ready to beat ourselves up with our stick of perfectionism just because we've fallen short of impossible expectations. There's no shame in being a beginner, it actually shows that we've tried something new, we've moved out of our comfort zones and had the courage to get something better for ourselves. 

“To make mistakes or be wrong is human. To admit those mistakes shows you have the ability to learn, and are growing wiser.” Donald L. Hicks

Learning about ourselves and our lives gives us the chance to dig up fantastic and occasionally frustrating self honesty and awareness. We get to learn about who we are in our best and worst manners. Along this journey, of course we're going to come across stuff we don't particularly like. We might realise that we make mistakes, we act in ways we're uncomfortable with, we react in unhelpful behaviours, we say things we don't mean - we need to realise too that this is all wonderful material to be welcomed. We don't learn if we just look at the good bits, we learn from our colourful, messy, mistake-heavy moments and they teach us how we could do things differently.

If we fear being wrong, we keep ourselves blind to these opportunities for growth. Self awareness is key to personal development and yeah sometimes it highlights the bits we're not  so proud of. But in embracing this and allowing ourselves be wrong, we get valuable fuel to move forward. So be wrong, be messy and then be able to change.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein

As in any learning, we need to get involved in order for the lesson to hit home. So get stuck into it, be the student who keeps putting up their hands to ask questions, think about it consistently, be active in the pursuit of understanding. Be incessantly inquisitive. Life is your lesson. It has an endless curriculum that we're lucky enough to be enrolled in. 

When we have opened our mind to learning, we begin to seek it in everything. In events, in disappointments, in doing well - there's always something to learn. When we become active participants we enrich our learning and get the most of each nugget of knowledge. We make use of our lessons and practice them well. We repeat and implement the learnings we've found. We take action in changing our habits and routines and putting what we've learnt to use. 

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron

The more we learn and grow and move on, the more some lessons get used and others can become less necessary. So it's okay to go back and learn the same things again and again. Sometimes we don't realise that we can apply the same knowledge to different situations or we discover that we've forgotten how to approach a certain challenge. Sometimes the same issue will keep arising because we still haven't fully learned what it's trying to teach us. This is all okay and all part of the process.

Maybe shame will rear its head when we realise it's time to revise, but the fact is, we can learn our lessons as many times as we need to. They will stick and we will conquer our challenges, and yes this could take time. Being patient and persistent will be key; just as you don't learn a language after a brief bit of vocab, we won't have all the answers straightaway. But they'll come, stringing their sentences together in each revision and speaking out more fluently each time.

When we understand the value of learning, the idea that we'll be constantly learning is an increasingly exciting thought. The world opens up and we get to ask questions, find new answers, and open our arms to new perspectives, concepts and opinions. It's a limitless venture and one that will only benefit us if we learn to let it. 

'Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.' Anthony J. D'Angelo