Connect with Others by Connecting with yourself

As the warm sun greets me every morning as I step out of my door, I’m grateful that summer is finally peeking past the cold winter months that have gripped Ottawa for way, way too long.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been continually conscious, and therefore mindful, of the small things. I’m not second guessing any of the dreams or aspirations that have floated into my head, plus I’ve been quick to quash any fears or doubts that would normally surround such thoughts.

I guess I’ve taken a vivid interest in being genuine, and what that means. Honestly, it really stems from humility, and not beating myself up mentally. As I recently shared, I have had a history of sabotaging myself so prematurely that dreams are shattered before I’ve barely finished having them. No more.

This desire to be genuine has been birthed by something that I’ve recently identified as a major hurdle to me: legitimate interests versus interests that carry greater perceived value from others. I’m no zen master, and sometimes I feel like my blog belies otherwise. I struggle to keep up with daily practice as I’m constantly battling with my own demons. I rarely share when I’m feeling down, often because I’m afraid of being judged by my humanity, my frailty.. There’s so much stigma that surrounds admitting mental fragility, and while I volunteer on networks that promote eradicating this very stigma, I am very aware of how I avoid sharing it here.. But why? I’ve said plenty of times that I write this primarily as a way to explore my own life and journey.. yet I often doubt that.. Why should I care about how I’m viewed by others? Is it because all this content is shared and easily accessible on the internet for all to see? Confidently embracing this humanity, my uniqueness, without fear of repercussion or judgement is the primary key to attaining personal definition of a legitimate genuine “self”

Thanks to Amanda Gore for her post on Connections, which only further strengthens my convictions

Thanks to Amanda Gore for her post on Connections, which only further strengthens my convictions

I started this post to share that by connecting with myself,openly and honestly, have only affirmed that others feel the same way. By focusing inwardly, I’ve manifested a change and connection with others. By maintaining this open perspective, we can all grow as individuals.. and as a unified species.

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How to Sit

Ok, let’s work together on this one.

Go ahead, open a browser, and Google “How to Sit”

Not only will you not find anything about meditation (which, maybe, should be expected) but you’ll be inundated with articles and links that detail how to sit at a desk while looking at a computer screen..

Try to tally up the amount of time you spend in front of a screen. If you think it’s not that many hours, tack on the hours you spend with you television.

If you have come up with a number that’s under an hour or two, you’re probably in the minority. And that’s bad news.

When I recently flew to the UK for Christmas, all the seat-backs had small screens built into them. The people all sat like mindless drones, watching movie after movie after television show after music video.

As the we flew above the clouds, and I knew the sun to be rising, I attempted to open the window next to me to watch this glorious spectacle.

WalleYet I was met with the groans and complaints of all those around me that were touched by the sunlight as it spilled into the plane. Now, I’m not one to be nostalgic, but maybe there’s a reason we all yearn to return to living in a “simpler time”. Sure, no doubt we were equally stressed, but at least we were less connected to each other, and perhaps more connected to ourselves? It seems that in a gambit to become closer, we’ve retreated further into ourselves. The experience on the airplane grimly reminded me of how lazy the human race had become in “Wall-E”, everything automated to the point of a complete lack of effort in any fashion.

Now I don’t want to stray off topic, so I’ll bring this back around.. It feels like humanity is striving to remove effort from our lives.. but results feel less satisfying without it:

The less we work for something, the less we feel proud, accountable, and rewarded by the final product.

Learning to sit takes patience, takes effort, and takes perseverance.. But in today’s society, we are fighting an additional “enemy”: progress. Now I might catch a bit of flak for this statement, but I stand by it. While there’s plenty of new and exciting innovations that serve to assist our journey into the future of the human race, there’s always a higher percentage of those that are marketed at facilitating our procrastination: and let me tell you, as humans who have the power of choice, we don’t need help in shirking our responsibilities.

So, in closing.. Invest in yourself. Invest 5 minutes a day, make it a habit, and sit. Not in front of a computer, or a tv. Sit, in silence, in the moment, and get back in touch with someone you might have been taking for granted: yourself.

Personal Accountability

I was unsure where to post this. Do I get out paper and pencil? Do I save it to my desktop? To the cloud? Where does it make the most sense, and where does it have the most meaning? The answer I’ve given myself is “Anywhere, just write”

Life has taken over my life. It’s a funny image, but it’s true. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with tasks we give ourselves so that we have some “meaning” to attach our existence to. For me, recently, I have been working too much. Giving myself too many projects because I am keen to get on the fast track to a life that I feel I’ll be happy in.

But it’s a state of mind that I should be trying to foster. I’ll never get where I’m going, because once I do, that’s it. Final destination. The journey is all we have.

I’m trying my best not to depress anyone. As I’ve said many many times before, this blog isn’t about you. It’s about me. And I’m ok with that. Readers be damned, the world is what you make of it. The decisions you make ultimately only affect your own existence.

stevejobs

I was driving to see a client with a coworker yesterday, and he was telling me about a documentary on Steve Jobs he’d just watched. One of the things that had been quoted resonated with me. Jobs had apparently said that he had expereinced an epiphany at a young age: he’d looked outside at a work that was built by humans, for humans, and was dictated by humans. There was nothing written that said that he had to follow the rules of those that had come before him. He realized that he had just as much entitlement as anyone else to change the world he lived in.

This was eye opening to me. Not only did it speak to the power that Job’s had over his own existence: it speaks to the power we all have in our own lives.

We only get one kick at this can. It’s easy to feel like we have nothing but all the time in the world.. yet that’s hauntingly somewhat true. We only have our time in the world. And that clock is limited. The only thing we have control over is how we spend it. Every second that goes by is an opportunity to affect our existence here. Deciding how it’s spent only matters to us. Whether we use it lying on the couch watching tv, climbing mountains, writing inspirational blogs.. it’s really only our perception of these activities that carries any personal weight.

This is important. Our perception of our activities is integral to our existence. As long as we are “happy” with what we do at any given time, that’s all we can hope for. If we sit on the couch watching TV, continually unhappy that we feel we are wasting out time… then that’s what we are doing. However, the person who is able to lie back and enjoy themselves shouldn’t be judged by anyone else who is not happy doing this themselves.

As I’ve mentioned before, our journey is our own. If other people see something in us that they want to learn about, then they’ll reach out and we can then talk about how we got to where we are.. but if they are not interested, it’s not for us to try and convince them that our path has more value than theirs. It’s a behaviour that I frequently repeat: that of identifying my own hurdles, then spending all my time pointing those same ones out to other people, instead of investing my time figuring out how to overcome them.

Trying to motivate myself to do anything is a struggle at the best of times. It’s almost effortless for me to create excuses and new obstacles as reasons why I don’t change. And it makes sense. Effort requires energy, dedication, and most importantly, creates the possibility of failure. I’ve gotten it into my head that I’m destined to fail, so I don’t even bother trying anymore.

I’ll admit that this isn’t the first time I’ve had this realization. It also isn’t the second or third time. I’ve come to this conclusion a handful of times, and even as I write this, that very behaviour almost led me to write that I’d be back here again before I knew it. But I’m not here to remind myself that I should set myself up for failure.

I’m here to succeed in my own life, and to be confident in whatever that goal might materialize in. And I can do it.

But here’s the thing: So can you.