Day 381: Expanding with Understanding

When I quit my last job I got a farewell gift. It was a book about the town I have lived in for many years now. It covered the history of the city – from its foundation until today. The last few days I have been reading it and it has been fascinating. Because even though I have been living in this town for the majority of my life, I have known very little about what happened in the past, and what have shaped the town and its inhabitants.

For example, my town was founded because of military strategic reasons. It was built in a inaccessible marsh that surrounded by lakes in order to slow down troop movement. The city streets were designed to allow for counter attacks if a enemy would be able to push through the walls. Hence the roads stretches straight through the entire city. This would allow cavalry and men to move swiftly and charge through the town. Furthermore, the city has been through many, many changes. It has been owned by two different countries and have swapped hands a couple of times. And the inhabitants have at times been forced to pay debilitating military taxes because of the many wars.

After having read the book I have begun to view my town differently. I could better understand why the inhabitants today are the way they are and why we have certain weaknesses and strengths within our township. My connection to the town have deepened. And I have realized that this type of research is something that I should commit to in all parts of my life because of how it supports me to expand my horizons. And there are many aspects of my life that I take for granted and that I have not researched at all. How cars work, the nature and ecology around my home, my own body and its processes – there are so many functionalities to look into.

I imagine that in the past, when life was more simple, people had a general understanding of how things worked. If something broke down, they could repair it. The world was not as big. People knew their local village, how it came about, who lived their, and had a personal connection to the earth that sustained the community. Today it is different. Not only do we have access to more information. There is also many more things to become informed about and understand. We are further away from the core of the inventions/processes that make our life possible. Almost every aspect of our day is moved by complex mechanical inventions. It easy to forget all of these high tech mechanics. From the sanitation systems that keep our cities and houses clean, to the electrical systems that provide energy for all of our modern facilities. They are all extremely important for our day to day living, yet few of us have a relationship with/understanding of these points, which is obviously something that would be supportive to correct.

Personally, I have during recent years committed to learn more about carpentry and gardening and that has been a intriguing journey through which I have also come to expand my abilities in math, physics and chemistry. There are still many parts of my life that I wish to explore and reading this book reminded me of that. When I learn, my world expands, and I expand with it – and that is something I love to experience.


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Day 380: True Detective Season 1 and What I can Learn from Rust and Marty

I have been watching the TV-series True Detective season 1 for the second time this week. It is a great show with so much depth. The dialogue is amazing and the interaction between the two main characters is both humorous and intriguing.

What struck a chord with me this time around was Rusts (one of the main characters) elaboration on his views of humanity. He thinks that we are all searching to create fictional stories to reinforce our idea of ourselves as a person. We will buy a particular type of car, in order to reinforce an image of ourselves. We will go into a particular type of relationship in order to reinforce an idea of ourselves. And we will seek solace in religion and money in order to not have to look at the frailty of it all and that we are in essence flesh – all equal and one. There is nothing special about me or you, because as everyone else, we will die, our bodies decompose, and our sense of individuality will be lost.

In many aspects I agree with Rust. We have become too obsessive and concerned about our image/personality. There is too much focus on ourselves as an individual and what we personally project externally. What is lacking is a care/concern/empathy for/with all. It is accepted as natural to only fight for ourselves and our own life’s – and we also believe that it can be done without consequences. Unfortunately – when everyone only chose to care about themselves and a select few people on top of that – what will develop in the world is a general lack of care and consideration. Survival of the fittest becomes the directive principle – instead of making sure that everyone leads a dignified life.

The mistake Rust makes is that he becomes complacent, resentful and bitter. He blames the world and the people in it for not being better and rejects everyone. He lives austere and abuses his body by over consuming alcohol and drugs. At the same time as he understands some of the key problems in humanity, he is still a part of it and does not do anything to change them.

The other main character of the series is called Marty. In contrast to Rust, Marty is a hedonistic, plain and pretty shallow person. However, he has a big heart and enjoys getting to know and developing relationships with people. The dialogue and interaction over-all between these two characters is one of the best I have ever seen. Rusts austere and fatalistic view of the world becomes a fascinating contrast to Marty’s simple, and according to himself, normal way of looking at life. Obviously they clash. Marty simply cannot understand why Rust must be so gloomy and dark. Rust on the other hand finds Marty’s plain and shallow views and erratic pleasure driven decisions to be immature and bothersome. Even though they are so different, together they become a strong team.

Rust and Marty balance each-other out. Rusts dark and rational understanding reality, his rugged and austere determination brings the case and plot line forward, while Marty’s warmth, his social skills and joy, allows for the team to network and get into the right places.

I can relate to both Rust and Marty and I see that I can learn things from both of them. I enjoy the depth and clarity of Rust, however I also enjoy the warmth and life of Marty – and both of these skills/characteristics are needed in order to be effective at changing/creating self and walking this process. We have to be able to see the depth of the shit, however, we must also bring through the passion and drive, and create something new in its place. We must be able to destroy the old, and then build the new. It is not enough to see what must be changed, we must also make the determined decision to do something about it – and shape life the way we see is best. It is so easy to give up and believe that life just sucks and there is nothing to do about it. It is not true – we determine what is possible to be created.


Day 379: Whatever it takes

When we run into problems in our life’s, usually, we will try a couple of solutions, and if nothing works, conclude that there is no solution and then give up. I have been there myself many times. And then I blame the problem, or what I perceive to be the cause of the problem. It is not my fault that I have not found a solution, because look, I have tried a couple of them.

Some weeks ago I listened to a Eqafe interview that discussed this tendency in-depth.

These interviews was about drug addiction and the difference in approach between those that are able to quit and those that are not. The deciding factor was perseverance and tenacity – the willingness to do WHATEVER it takes to get through. Those that embodied that grit were able to quit drugs. They would literally try everything, religions, rehabilitation centers, prescriptions, coaches, therapists, and so on. And eventually they would find a way.

I brought this back to my own life, and my own issues, and I could see how I actually accepted many of my problems and blamed my environment, because I was not willing to do whatever it took to find a solution. I realized that if I want to change an issue, and I find it difficult to do so, then I must push myself, and that literally means, pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try any and all things in order to move myself beyond the point of stagnation.

For example, if I experience myself to be stuck in my career, and I have tried a couple of things to change things for the better, I must be willing to expand and do things that might make me feel uncomfortable. I might have to contact a career coach, I might have to completely change my current career path, I might have to look beyond the very point of ‘career’ to see if that is really what I need, or whether there is something else, deeper down, that is bothering me. The thing is that I must be willing to do whatever it takes. Otherwise, it is obviously no surprise that things will stay the same. If I only try half-halfheartedly, do a push here and there, and then go into blame, things will remain the same, that is for sure.

Thus, change is possible. We can change most things about ourselves and this world. Whether we are able to do it or not, that is something that is mostly related to our approach, and the depth of our decision. Do we really mean it when we tell ourselves that, I am going to change this point!


Day 378: Are Our Values Misaligned?

The Soccer World Cup of 2018 gives rise to many questions and it also answers many of them. For example – I now know why we have difficulty creating healthy and sustainable living conditions for everyone on this planet. It is because we do not care. How do I know? I know because we would rather spend several billions of dollars on creating a soccer cup, which is nothing but pure entertainment. There is absolutely no need that justifies arranging a world cup in soccer – it is motivated by our desire. We should not be surprised that this world is a horrible place for many animals and humans. It is that way because we do not have the discipline to commit time, effort and resources to create solutions. We instead devote our resources to entertainment.

The world cup highlights what is problematic about the current human condition. We do not have the ability to use common sense, we do not have the ability to prioritize our resources and our time, we do not have the ability to be empathic and place ourselves in the shoes of another, and we do not have the ability to live by principles. That is what the world cup is showing us, that we would rather prioritize what we desire before that which be of benefit to everyone. Thus – when shit goes sour in our world – there is no point in complaining or wondering why things could not become better, why is there no politician or leader out there that can do something about this? There are none – we have decided that this is how we want things to be. If we would be serious about really fixing problems, we would have devoted the money going into the world cup, to for example, providing effective sanitation for everyone in the world.

Bringing water and sanitation to everyone in the world would cost $10 billion a year according to Richard Jolly, chairman of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, sponsored by the W.H.O. (see article here https://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/23/world/price-of-safe-water-for-all-10-billion-and-the-will-to-provide-it.html). The 2018 FIFA World Cup is estimated to cost $14.2 billion (see article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_the_FIFA_World_Cup). Consequently, if we decided to miss out on one FIFA world cup and spend that money on providing water and sanitation – that would make a BIG difference for many. According to W.H.O. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280 000 diarrhoeal deaths annually and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. Poor sanitation also contributes to malnutrition (http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation).

When put on paper like this, it is obvious that it does not make any sense. No one in their right mind can justify spending 280 000 lives to watch world class soccer for a couple of weeks. Yet still, we do it.

There is no mystery to understanding why the world looks like it does. It is like this because we do not care. There is no mystery in understanding why there is not enough movement to change things. There is no such movement because we do not care. We simply do not care enough about ourselves, our neighbors, our environment, our country or our world – we care about – SOCCER, ALCOHOL, HOBBIES, ENJOYMENT, PLEASURE and ENTERTAINMENT.

It might feel overwhelming to look at the world and see the disarray. It might feel as if there is no point to attempting to do anything about it. However – the point is that someone must begin. Someone must be the first to step up and make the necessary changes. If we wait for the mass to change before we do, then expect that everyone else is waiting for the same thing. The consequence of such a waiting game is that nothing ever happens. Status quo exists because we have been waiting for someone else, a leader, a movement, a organization, an external push and drive – that will not happen. If we want things to change – we must make it happen – firstly – in our individual lives. Where are we spending money on entertainment and pleasure instead of tending to our own and our families basic needs? Where in our lives are we making decisions with money that does not make any sense? When our personal lives have been given direction – we can turn outwards to start dealing with the bigger system and the major flaws that exist there.


Day 377: Forgetting What Is Important

Having money, having security and routine, having a meaningful job, it can create the illusion that everything is alright. When that happens it is easy to loose touch with what is of real importance. Life starts to circle around entertainment, various ways and methods to find enjoyment, and what is forgotten, is that there is a lot needed to be done in this world in order to create harmony, money, security, routine and meaning for everyone. I would say that this is one of the primary problems in the world and a reason as to why this world has not changed for the better. When we achieve a comfortable and stable position in the system, it is easy to forget the struggles and hardships that exist when there is no stability, no job, no money and no opportunities.

If all of us only place attention and focus unto building our own life’s without consideration and regard for the whole, that is going to have an negative impact on a global/existential level, and eventually that will also impact our personal life’s. That is how issues and problems in society breed. Only a select few takes time away from their own personal agendas to investigate how they are able support and give back on a level that extends beyond their own desires and wants. And I can understand why. To give up personal desires and wants is difficult. What makes it even more difficult is that the work done for a greater cause is seldom recognized or appreciated. Thus the drive and passion must come from within. It cannot be dependent upon external recognition and gratification. Because if we rely on the external reality to give us the necessary support and drive – eventually the decision will fade away and be forgotten.

And I do not want to make it sound as if the only way to contribute for me or anyone else is to quit our jobs, join a volunteer organization and move to a foreign country. Even though that might be a solution for some of us, it is not for everyone, and I know it is not something for me. What I have found is the contribution is something that can be made in the small, in that which we usually take for granted. Primarily, we have the opportunity to support ourselves to let go of all the bullshit that we know compromises us. By walking a personal process of change/transformation in our everyday life – we can bring through our genuine expression – and make our life something meaningful – and impact others around us by standing as an example of what is possible.

It is all about our starting point. Either our life can flow into a direction where we live to entertain ourselves, or we can live with principles and a purpose. Principle and purpose in the sense that we actively make decisions that we know will support the creation of a better world for ourselves and everyone else. We give up one lifetime of searching for entertainment and fulfillment to manifest a change that goes deep and extends far as within as without – that can ripple through existence and create waves of movement. And that is first and foremost done by who we are in the small, the apparently insignificant – our everyday decisions and choices. Who we are when we interact with our family, who we are when we interact with our colleagues, how we look at things, how we approach and proceed to create, how we form and maintain relationships – the devil is in the details. And the real cause of problems has and will always be our tendency to limit ourselves and live but a inkling of our real potential – our real expression.

It is fascinating to see how little attention we pay to the real issues in this world compared to how much effort, attention, time and money we place on things that are but entertainment. A timely example is the World Cup in Soccer. It is a enormous event and it generates billions in profit, it is prepared in in detail, and soccer players from all over the world train for months to be ready for match day. Does that not show us our potential to create? Yet – take a look at the real problems, like starvation, lack of medical care, lack of money and jobs, how come the same attention, drive and focus are not placed on these issues? It is because giving yourself to solving a real physical issue has no feeling-reward – it is not entertaining at all – rather it is boring, tedious, difficult, met with resistant and disbelief – it is not fun at all.

Do we really need entertainment to move ourselves forward? Do we really need a carrot on a stick to make a decision as to where we want to go and what we want to do? I say no – it is not necessary to have a stimuli. We can make a decision to move and then we move – that is enough – we do not need more. When we realize that and start to live this on a bigger scale – that is when things will start to happen.


Day 376: Routine and Structure

Routine and structure – it makes things easier – especially in a family where there are many life’s that must coordinated. It is something that I have resisted and also something that I have not been particularly good at. My main problem with structure is that it takes time and effort to create. Planning is a mental/intellectual task and it takes time – just like any other task. However – planning and structuring does not create any immediate results. Hence it feels as if there is no progress – I have just wasted an hour upon nothing. The value of planning/structuring instead becomes visible later on.

One thing that I have noticed when I have planned my week is that I become calmer and more grounded. There is also a defined sense of solidity and stability within me – as if I am standing on firm ground inside of myself. I know where I am going, I know what I am doing, and I know why. And I also know what to expect from myself and my family – because together we have decided upon how to structure our week.

This present week I have planned in terms of what we are going to have for dinner, when I am going to exercise, and what projects/points needs to be directed throughout the week. For those out there that like to be spontaneous and impulsive, it might sound boring. It would have sounded that way to me a couple of years ago. Being locked in a routine and a continuous schedule. However – now I find pleasure and support in having a structure and following it. And there is still room for changes to the structure – no freedom is ever lost. Rather – having a clear direction allows for informed decisions and directive spontaneity. Without a structure – it is easy things becomes haphazard and obfuscated. And it might be fun for a while – though it is not possible to run a smooth and functional life together with several different people that way.

I mentioned my misalignment with planning/structuring above, that I feel it takes too much time and effort and there is no result to show for it. When this experience/backchat comes up within me, to correct it, I look at the future support that my moment of planning will bring. I see, realize and understand that for every minute I put down into preparation, I receive stability and direction i many moments to come – I will make my life a lot more comfortable and easy. It will not happen in this instance – however it will come through as I continue to walk. That is how I realign my relationship to planning/structuring – so I can begin using this tool more in my life and not resist/suppress planning/structuring because of feeling like it is a waste of time.


Day 375: Opportunities

This past week I have been working with opportunities. A tendency I have is to compare my life to that of others. Naturally, it always seems as if I am worse off, which in turn can make me feel depressed. I will then stagnate and move my attention/focus unto what I should have done and what I have missed because I did not do it. This is problematic because it causes me to miss the life that is right in front of me.

That is why I have been practicing recognizing and moving on opportunities that come through. In can be small things. Still, if I am in my mind, I will miss them. For example, it can be that I meet someone that I have not seen in a long time. I then have the opportunity to do something more out of that interaction, which could be done by for example eating a lunch together. However the opportunity can be much more vague and difficult to spot. It can be a idea to do something that comes up while I drive my car. If I am not on my toes its easy to dismiss such things as daydreaming. Though it can be a worthwhile notion to move on. Who knows? That is why it is important to not worry about the life of others and compare myself and what I am doing with what others are doing.

The biggest issue that I have had with comparison have been in relation to my work. And this has been a reason as to why I have not dared to commit to any one direction or focus. I want to keep all roads free, because what if I make the wrong decision? What if I do not make the right choice, and then at the end of the day, I will compare my choice and realize that I was wrong? This fear inhibits my expression of moving on opportunities, interests, what fascinates and intrigues me, because I can never be sure where these will take me.

Where does comparison come from? From what I am able to see, comparison is a type of insecurity. It is cultivated with self-judgment, doubt, anxiety, and desires to be successful and famous. When I was a child I had no issues with comparison because all that existed was my life HERE. The decisions I made where fully my own. I did not care about whether someone else did the same or something different compared to me. My presence and enjoyment in the moment encompassed all of my inner reality – there was no room for comparison – every inch of me was needed HERE to express and live. And that is an important thing to take with me. That comparison cannot exist when I am FULLY engaged and present in the moment and in what I am doing.

The solution to be more awake and ready to move on the opportunities that present themselves is to be fully breathing – fully living – fully HERE. Comparing my life to that of others is really only a symptom of not living fully here – it shows me that I am accepting and allowing myself to do things halfheartedly, without intensity and passion – it shows me that I am thinking too much and not living. It is thus a opportunity in itself to investigate where it is that I am holding myself back and correct it.